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General Program Information

BRIDGES Program Purpose

Young adults ages 18-21 who receive special education services often need continued services after high school in order to meet their individualized post-secondary transition goals for:

Working, Independent Living, and Learning (WILL)

Through a majority of off-campus community-based instruction, BRIDGES provides opportunities for students to become productive, independent, and engaged adults.

Program Focus

  • Personal Life: Social Skills, Self-Advocacy, Executive Functioning
  • Employability: Job Awareness, Hard & Soft Skills, Building Stamina
  • Daily Living: Time Management, Food Preparation, Self-Care
  • Community Living: Transportation, Recreation/Leisure
  • Functional Academics: Money Management, Reading and Writing Skills in the Workplace
  • Agency Linkages: DDA, King County DDD School to Work, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), Washington Initiative for Supported Employment (WISE), employment vendors, Washington Initiative for Supported Employment (WISE), Arc of King County, King County METRO etc.

Typical Volunteer and Work Experiences

Data entry, filing, retail, fast food, mail delivery, printer stocking, recycling, linen processing and delivery, warehouse, food prep, mail, copying, packet assembly, sanitizing, kitchen & cafeteria work, childcare, inventory, receiving donations, sorting, greeting, groceries, landscaping, etc.

Daily Living and Recreation and Leisure

When students leave school, they often do not have not enough activities to fill their time, even if they work. One day/week, BRIDGES students visit community sites such as restaurants, stores, swimming pools, zoo, bowling alleys, museums, libraries, sporting events, etc. Students access Specialized Programs through Seattle Parks and Recreation.

Program Locations

There are numerous classes/programs at multiple sites around the city.  Even though some of the BRIDGES programs are ‘home-based’ at high schools, BRIDGES students are no longer part of daily high school schedules, routines, and events.  Most student employment and recreation/leisure activities are off-campus.  Recreation and leisure activities may involve using METRO as a group to visit restaurants, museums, swimming pools, bowling alleys, libraries, etc.  Each site/class is staffed by a Seattle Public Schools certificated special education teacher and at least two instructional assistants.

Project Search @ Children’s Hospital*, Swedish Hospital at Ballard, Swedish Hospital at First Hill, Providence Mt. St. Vincent in West Seattle
*Students in last year of school-age eligibility and DDA-eligible. Classroom located at Roosevelt Commons in U-District, internships at the hospital.
Ingraham High School, Nova High School, Rainier Beach High School, Sugiyama High School, Roxhill Annex in West Seattle2
Ingraham High School, Rainier Beach High School, Roxhill Annex in West Seattle3
Rainier Beach High School4
BRIDGES U (BU) serves students who attend North Seattle College, Seattle Central College, South Seattle College, Highline College ACHIEVE ProgramU

Community Locations

Students go into the community at various work, volunteer, & learning sites. Examples include grocery stores, college campuses, libraries, restaurants, hospitals, childcare settings, gardens, & Seattle Public Schools’ Skills Center classes.


  • Eligible for special education services.
  • Ages 18-21.
  • Demonstrates safe behaviors in the community and work sites.
  • Has not graduated with a diploma yet, but has completed as many graduation requirements as possible.

Each BRIDGES program has additional prerequisites. Please see each BRIDGES webpage for details.

Grades and Graduation

Students are graded on a pass-fail basis. Students can still graduate if they enroll in the BRIDGES program. However, given that the focus of BRIDGES is not academic in nature, students should complete as many of their high school graduation requirements as possible before an IEP team places the student in the BRIDGES program (e.g. all state wide testing, credits, academic requirements, etc.).  Students should check with their home base high school IEP case manager and/or school counselor to determine where they stand in relation to graduation requirements.

Students who have graduated from high school are not eligible for the BRIDGES programs or their 18-21 program equivalents.

Related Services

If students were eligible for and receiving related services such as speech-language and occupational therapy prior to their entry into the BRIDGES transition program, then those services will continue. Each student’s IEP team determines how those services will be delivered. However, the high school IEP team should strongly consider whether or not continued related services will help or hinder the student from becoming a more independent adult.


Every student is issued a district-provided MetroORCA card at the beginning of the school year.

Most students in the BRIDGES U, BRIDGES 1, and BRIDGES 2 programs use a district-issued ORCA card and/or their own means of transportation to get to their class/program sites.

Most of the students in the BRIDGES 3 and 4 programs use some form of door-to-door transportation provided by the school district.

Depending on a student’s level of independence, students may or may not be accompanied by school staff to their individual work sites. Students are highly encouraged to access free Metro training.

For more information, call King County Metro at 206-749-4242 or visit the Metro website metro.

Food and Meals

Each site has a different way of addressing student food and nutrition needs.  Similar to the world of work, many students bring or buy their own lunch. Students who qualify for free and reduced lunch can receive a sack lunch provided by the district.  Contact the individual site teacher for details.


Students in the BRIDGES 18-21 transition programs are covered by an accident insurance policy carried by Seattle Public Schools. Staff and families should discuss and agree on a plan of response for emergencies including, but not limited to:

  • Exchange of medical/insurance plan information
  • Emergency contact numbers
  • Primary care physician name and number
  • Current medications and possible side effects
  • Allergies
  • Special equipment
  • Other information as appropriate