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Academics

What We Offer

Bridgedale Academy provides a classical education** to its student-athletes. At the core of a classical education is the “Trivium” (comprising Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric), so crucial to a student’s proper intellectual development. Through this we work to instill self-reliance, discipline and integrity in our student-athletes.

The classical model we utilize focuses on providing a solid academic foundation, grounded in the classics, and true to the Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian roots that form the basis for western civilization generally and for the United States of America specifically.

The steady decline in the performance of our nation’s education system over the last few decades can perhaps be tied to the reality that most schools have sought to replace a classical education with more “modern” teaching methods.

Academically, we define ourselves as a “Hillsdale Academy Model” school. Our academic curricula are based on the academic curricula of prestigious Hillsdale Academy as outlined in their Reference Guides. We encourage you to visit Hillsdale’s website where you can learn more about this prominent K-12 school. Hillsdale’s curricula are being used by more than 300 schools nationally, including numerous charter schools.**

Bridgedale Academy - Prep Hockey School in Woodridge, IL

Philosophy

Bridgedale’s academic philosophy is rooted in a firm belief in the potential of individuals, and in the timeless values of discipline, respect and honor, so integral to individual achievement. We expect and demand these virtues of all our students, not only as competitive athletes but also as citizens-in-the-making. We look to instill in all our students the honest pride and self-esteem that come from true achievement.

Students at Bridgedale Academy - Classical education in woodridge

Curriculum

These curricula are intended as Reference Guides only. And while our teachers will indeed utilize these guides in preparing for and teaching their classes, we anticipate and expect that adjustments from strict adherence to them will be necessary at times.

Staff

Our academic staff brings together diverse backgrounds. But all our teachers must possess a similar passion for teaching. This is because the bottom line requirement for all our teachers is that they be excellent teachers. And to be excellent in any endeavor requires a passion for that endeavor.

The ability to get through to students and make them want to learn is critical. It is a mindset that all Bridgedale teachers must possess. Here is a universal truth that we believe applies to all learning: when a child is able to understand or do something today that he wasn’t able to understand or do yesterday, his self-esteem grows and his passion to learn/do even more is enhanced. This is as true in athletics as it is in academics.

This must be the mission of all our teachers, and we include our athletic instructors in our definition of teachers. Our mantra is: Training Elite Student-Athletes. That is what we do and we are proud of it. We regard each and every Bridgedale Academy student-athlete as an elite person. And our expectations for them are very high, not only as an athlete but also as a student. And so we take tremendous pride to train them to the best of our abilities, both athletically and academically.

Dress Code

All student-athletes are required to comply with Bridgedale’s Academic and Athletic Dress Codes. The intention is to achieve a proper, business-like appearance for our student-athletes and to free them from fashion trends and peer pressure. Hair is to be neat and clean. Athletic shoes may not be worn at Bridgedale except while engaged in off-ice training sessions.

Academic Dress Code and Athletic Dress Code

C
4th through 7th Grades
Students in 4th through 7th grades must wear a Bridgedale-logo polo shirt (available in three colors) with black or beige khaki slacks and dress shoes.
C
8th Grade

Students in 8th grade must wear a Bridgedale-logo dress shirt (two colors are available) with an approved tie, with black or beige khaki slacks and dress shoes. Bridgedale-logo sweaters, vests and/or blazers may be worn over the uniform.

Athletic Dress Code

C
All Grades
For athletic training sessions, students are required to wear Bridgedale Academy jerseys and socks for on-ice sessions, and Bridgedale workout clothing for off-ice sessions. Such items must be purchased through Bridgedale Academy.
C

New and Used Uniforms Available

We have available a large selection of used school uniforms that were donated back to Bridgedale by former students. Please feel free to contact our administrative office at 630-796-2505 to inquire.

For those preferring to buy new items, we have chosen Lands’ End as our uniform provider. You can order your new uniforms and obtain more information here.

Sample Daily Class Schedule

A typical school day at Bridgedale Academy using our classical school curriculum includes three 1-hour classes in Math, Science and History, and one 2-hour class in the English Language Arts.

In addition, our student-athletes have a nearly two-and-a-half-hour block of time set aside each day for their athletic training. This includes a 70-minute on-ice session and a 40- to 45-minute off-ice session.

Our on-ice training sessions focus on skill development, specifically a hockey-specific skills set, and is based on the Seven Themes for Hockey Development. Our off-ice training session, conducted by Goodman Elite Training, focus on developing the overall athleticism of our student-athletes, so very important to a developing athlete between the ages of 10-15, and also includes strength, core and agility training.

Teaching at Bridgedale Academy

Bridgedale Academy is seeking qualified individuals with a passion for teaching who share our mission for educating and developing elite student-athletes.

Interested candidates should contact Christina Di Pauli, Bridgedale Academy’s Academic Dean and Head of School, by phone at (630) 796-2505 or by filling out the employment form.

Applicants should be prepared to submit additional supporting documents such as a list of references and a copy of unofficial college or university transcripts upon request.

Is America's Education System Hurting Boys?

Something’s wrong with the US education system.

Boys Will Be BoysConsider this fact: today more than 60% of college graduates in the US are female. This disparity is even more unbelievable when you consider that college-age males still slightly outnumber their female counterparts. So just what the heck is going on?

There are many theories. One theory is that males are less inclined to take on the debt associated with attending college today and so either drop out early or choose not to go to college in the first place. In my opinion, this theory is bunk. How many college-age males do you know who think like that?

Another theory is that boys are discouraged from a young age by the peer pressures of “gender-identity” from getting involved in “un-masculine” cultural activities like art, music, drama and foreign languages and as a result do not like school as much as girls. Again: bunk. Boys today are more likely NOT to worry about being masculine than they were in the past.

Here’s my theory: Education today, more than ever, is controlled by government. Government is controlled by politicians. Politicians are (how should I say this?) “influenced” by politically- motivated interest groups. And many of the politically-motivated interest groups that choose to get involved in “education” are anti-male (or at least anti-traditional male). This has been going on for some time now and the results speak for themselves.

Who can deny that there has for years been a movement afoot to prevent boys from being boys, and not just in school. Think about it. Boys, by their very nature, are rambunctious. Sorry but this is not allowed. Boys by their nature enjoy taking risks. Sorry, no can do. Boys are more aggressive and fight a lot more than girls. Hmmm, we may have to medicate you. It makes you wonder how in the world the males of our species ever managed to survive (much less move on to productive, successful adult lives) before the advent of Ritalin.

Well, sorry to burst any bubbles out there but here’s an irrefutable fact: boys are different than girls. Always have been; and (hopefully) always will be.

For many involved in the politicized education bureaucracies, however, this irrefutable fact is troubling; it is the proverbial “inconvenient” truth. And rather than deal with the differences, our “educators” have for years been trying to jam round pegs into square holes.

This ongoing attempt to evade reality, I would argue, is perpetrating a terrible injustice on the males in the US education system.

In fact, I’ll go further and give my opinion that some of the most productive, successful men in the history of our country were/are successful precisely BECAUSE they were rambunctious, aggressive, risk-takers when they were boys. And as they matured they learned discipline and how to direct all that “little boy energy” into productive greatness.

And so I say: “boys will be boys,” and we should be encouraging them to be.

Is Common Core a Good Thing?

Let me start by acknowledging that Bridgedale Academy does not subscribe to the Common Core standards now being taught by virtually all other Illinois schools. This of course reflects the fact that we utilize the academic curriculum of Hillsdale Academy, which itself does not subscribe to the Common Core standards.

So just what is Common Core (“CC”) and what are these standards?

In a nutshell, CC reflects an attempt to establish national education standards. It is based on a document that sought to create a common set of curriculum standards in English language arts and mathematics. Forty-five states and the District of Columbia adopted the CC standards. One state, MN, adopted the English language arts standards but rejected the math. Four states, Alaska, Texas, Virginia and Nebraska, rejected Common Core in its entirety.

Proponents of CC point out that in today’s mobile society, the notion of having different educational standards in different states is unworkable and disadvantageous to students moving from school to school. They also argue that the US has lagged behind many industrialized nations in key academic areas (e.g. math and science), and CC was needed as a coherent national plan to improve our country’s standing in these subject areas. This second argument includes the notion that the US will be less able to compete in a global society if our education systems reflect a “patchwork of state standards.”

Critics of CC claim it will be prohibitively expensive to implement (some opponents have disparagingly labeled it “ObamaCore”), that rather than pushing the states toward high standards it encourages a mediocre middle, that new databases being used will create privacy invasion issues, and that the creation of a “national” program to control education violates the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution (i.e. powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states).

But there may be an even more compelling argument against CC.

Both the language arts and the math components of CC appear designed to train drones, worker bees. The math component was actually rejected by the only mathematician on the CC Validation Committee, and the language arts component chose substantially to do away with the study of certain classic literature in order to focus on how to read technical manuals.

The CC’s mission statement reflects the notion that the outcome being pursued is to prepare young people “for success in college and careers,” i.e. so that American communities can “compete successfully in a global economy.” In other words, workforce training.

Yet many believe flatly this should NOT be the sole purpose of education.

One prominent education policy analyst put it this way: “In a self-governing nation we need citizens who can govern themselves. The ability to support oneself with meaningful work is an important part, butonly a part, of self-government. When a nation expands workforce training so that it crowds out the other things that rightly belong in education, we end up turning out neither good workers nor good citizens.”

For my money, the education of citizens capable of self-government should be THE purpose of education in the US, a notion the Common Core standards appear to be at odds with.

Why is there so little leadership today?

In a scene from “The Patriot,” Lord Cornwallis says to the movie’s hero Benjamin Martin, played by actor Mel Gibson, “there must be gentlemen in command to lead and, … when necessary, restrain their men.” He was arguing that British officers “must not be accorded inappropriate levels of hostile attention” by the American militia during military confrontations.

What at first blush seems like a reasonable argument is immediately annihilated by Colonel Martin, who uses logic to link the officers with the conduct of their soldiers and turn it against them. “As long as your soldiers attack civilians, I will order the shooting of your officers at the outset of every engagement,” he tells Cornwallis.

In Cornwallis’ view of war only certain men, presumably the more civilized among us, must be in command. Only gentlemen must have positions of leadership as officers. Furthermore these gentlemen-officers must be accorded (by both sides in his view) a status that puts them above the fray, above the “utter chaos that would follow from leaderless armies having at each other.”

The implications inherent in this view of leadership are intriguing: who were these gentlemen-officers and how were they chosen to be in command?

The answer in the case of eighteenth century British of course is that the officers were most often chosen from the ruling elites of British society, sons of landowners and men of title, men of favor upon whom the king might bestow even more land and title for a job well done.

And although these officers in most instances were privileged from birth, that alone obviously did not make them gentlemen. What made them gentlemen was their education. They were educated to be gentlemen. They were educated to be leaders. And they were, like we all are, the products of their education.

This brings me back to the question posed in the title above. Why is there such a dearth of leadership in our country today?

If we are indeed products of our education, then the regrettable answer seems fairly obvious: we simply do not educate our citizens to be leaders any more, and we haven’t done so for quite some time.

Before I continue, let me qualify this answer. A very small percentage of our young people are indeed being educated to be leaders. But most of our citizens, dependent on our public education system, are not. In fact, just the opposite occurs: they are educated to be followers, cogs in the wheel.

This should, however, surprise no one. After all, our public education system is based on the so-called Prussian education system. The Prussians, after being defeated by Napoleon, had come up with a “new” system of education. In a nutshell, the Prussian education system was designed to keep the ruling elites in power, while encouraging the masses to be loyal to the government. This was accomplished through two primary mechanisms. First, they made schooling mandatory; all children were required to attend school. Second, they simplified the education; they left out some things that had up to that point been regarded as essential to a proper education and instead emphasized careers and service to the state.

Several of the United States began to adopt this Prussian education system in the mid-1800s and by the early-1900s it had taken root nationally. It continues to dominate our national education landscape.

It should be noted that the ruling elites in Prussia, comprising perhaps 0.5% of the population, continued to educate their own children by the “old” system of education, through tutoring and/or in exclusive private schools. In other words, their own children continued to receive a proper, classical liberal arts education. In this way, they intended to guarantee that their children would continue to be the ruling elites of Prussia.

This concept of a classical liberal arts education deserves some analysis.

At its root is the so-called “Trivium,” i.e. comprising grammar, logic and rhetoric.

The word Trivium comes from the Latin meaning “three roads.” It is the study of the three disciplines of grammar (knowledge), logic (reason) and rhetoric (persuasion) that forms the basis upon which the proper development of the human intellect proceeds. All three disciplines are necessary to proper intellectual development, and the three disciplines alone, if mastered, are sufficient to that purpose.

Properly taught, they allow a person to be self-reliant.

This notion of self-reliance is integral to a classical liberal arts education. The word “liberal” in this context is closer to its Latin root meaning “free.” A true liberal arts education is the type of education appropriate to free men living in a free society. Properly taught, the classical liberal arts education imparts to students the foundation needed to become citizens capable of self-government.

But the Prussian elites who fashioned the education system were not interested in educating a nation of citizens capable of self-government. They were interested in creating an obedient citizenry who supported the state and would give them a better chance to win any future wars.

Sadly, it is a fact in America today that only a handful of schools teach the Trivium properly, if at all. And you can get a pretty good idea of which schools do so by finding out where leading politicians and other ruling elites send their own children. Elite expensive east-coast boarding schools like Philips Andover, St. Paul’s and Milton Academy come to mind.

But most schools, including virtually all public schools, do not teach the Trivium. And the national Common Core initiative that controls public education takes us even further away from it.

There is however some good news. More and more schools are opening that are dedicated to providing a proper classical liberal arts education. Schools like Hillsdale Academy (MI), Regents School-Austin (TX) and Bridgedale Academy (IL) remain committed to the development of grammar, logic and rhetoric. These schools seek to educate citizens capable of self-government.

And now back to “The Patriot.” In the eyes of Cornwallis, Colonel Martin was merely a “rube” farmer of inferior breeding. He underestimated Martin, who in fact was more than adequately educated when it came to his knowledge (grammar), his reasoning abilities (logic) and his powers of persuasion (rhetoric). He proved to be more than a match for Cornwallis.

Contact Bridgedale Head of School Christina Di Pauli or more details, (630) 796-2505.

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