On June 26, 2020, Governor Murphy signed into law P.L. 2020 c. 41, establishing the Bridge Year Pilot Program. The purpose of this program is to provide students in the graduating classes of 2021 and 2022 with
the opportunity to offset disruptions to learning opportunities and participation in extracurricular activities that might have resulted from the closure of schools to in-person instruction in Spring 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the Bridge Year Pilot Program, certain students in the classes of 2021 or 2022 who have met all their state and local graduation requirements may defer graduation from high school for one year to participate in an
additional year of academic courses and extracurricular activities immediately following their senior year. This additional year will be known as the “Bridge Year.” During the student’s Bridge Year, the student must remain enrolled in the high school they attended as a junior.
To be eligible to participate in Bridge Year, a student must:
- Be in the graduating classes of 2021 or 2022;
- Meet all applicable high school graduation requirements by the end of their senior year of high school;
- Be 19 years old or younger during the entirety of the bridge year; a student that would turn 20 years old before the end of their bridge year is not eligible to participate.
- * Exception: A student with disabilities is eligible to participate if the student will turn 20 years old during the bridge year due to services provided under the student’s IEP.
- Maintain a grade point average of 2.0 during the bridge year.
Students with disabilities who receive special education and related services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) must be granted the opportunity to participate in a district’s Bridge Year in accordance with federal and state special education requirements. Regarding Bridge Year’s age requirements described above, the New Jersey Department of Education (Department) reminds districts that students with disabilities who have satisfied their state and local graduation requirements but may need an extra year of services, and will not turn 21 years old before June 30, may receive services for another year as determined by the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team, which includes the student and the student’s parent(s)/guardian(s). The district’s Bridge Year liaison should collaborate with the student’s IEP team as the services provided to students with disabilities should be focused on transition services. Services should be delivered via the IEP.
To participate in a Bridge Year, eligible students must notify their host high school’s Bridge Year Liaison of their intent to participate by February 15 of their senior year.
Bridge Year Liaisons – Robert Pellechio at North Hunterdon High School and Chris Maslonka at Voorhees High School
To read more about the Bridge Year Pilot Program, please visit the Department of Education’s website: https://www.nj.gov/education/covid19/boardops/bridge.shtml