OVERSEAS 'BRIDGE' EXPANSION
From its base in San Francisco, Summerbridge is suddenly spanning oceans.Last month, seven veteran Summerbridge faculty members - now college students - held a three-week workshop in Prague to help train Czechoslovak teachers and college students who will be establishing the program there. Next summer, Summerbridge will begin at Gymnazium Na Zatlance, a public high school in Prague, and the Island School, a British school in Hong Kong. Two high school teachers in Prague learned of Summerbridge from a former American director who was traveling around the world. Zuzana Sedlackova and Iva Mladicova were so intrigued with the concept that they immediately began the process of bringing Summerbridge to Prague. "This is the kind of program that can help the Czechoslovak students," Ms. Sedlackova says. Large class sizes are common in the schools, and a strictly mandated curriculum in Czechoslovakia allows students little choice of subjects. "This is reflected back in the quality of what they study," Sedlackova says. "The less they can choose, the less they feel responsible for their education and the less they are motivated to study anything." The Prague Summerbridge program will be very much like its American model. But rather than six weeks, the Czechoslovak Summerbridge will be a four- or five-week program. Students there have about eight weeks of summer vacation, Sedlackova says. But several weeks must be spent outside of Prague, she adds, because of the poor environmental quality of the city. Ms. Mladicova, who is a biology teacher, hopes to include environmental studies in the Summerbridge curriculum. During gymnasium, or the equivalent of high school, students spend only two months on ecology, she says.