At Bridgeway Academy, we consider academic advisors to be the unsung heroes of homeschooling. Every day, our advisors are there to provide support of all kinds to our wonderful students and their families. From enrollment through graduation, Bridgeway’s academic advisors are there to help during every stage of the homeschool journey.
Our academic advisors shall remain unsung no more, as every so often we’ll be spotlighting one of the amazing advisors in this blog. First up is Heather Falk, a K-8 advisor. I spent some time chatting with Heather so you can get to know her–and the important role an academic advisor plays–a little bit better.
Bridgeway Academy: Heather, thank you for spending some time helping people better understand the role and how important it is for students and families. What originally brought you to Bridgeway?
Heather Falk: One of my previous teaching coworkers started with Bridgeway and I was so intrigued by the homeschool community. After looking into Bridgeway and seeing their company values, I knew it would be a perfect fit!
BA: You mentioned a teaching coworker. Can you tell us about your prior experience?
HF: I started my teaching career with a long-term substitute position for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade special education. I then taught 2nd grade, pre-K, and 1st grade before moving on to become the director of education for Sylvan Learning Center. When the center closed, I found Bridgeway!
BA: Tell us about your current position and what you enjoy most about it.
HF: I am currently an academic advisor for grades K-8. I love helping to support the families and helping them navigate their homeschooling experience.
BA: Can you tell us what role an academic advisor plays at the point of enrollment and then throughout a student’s education with Bridgeway?
HF: An academic advisor plays an instrumental role in helping families choose curriculum and get started on their homeschooling journey. Throughout the year, an academic advisor also helps monitor the progress of each student and offers support to families to ensure a successful year.
BA: What do you think are families’ favorite things about working with an academic advisor?
HF: I think having that personal connection and that extra layer of support to help with the homeschooling journey is such a plus. It is nice to know you have someone to help you navigate the curriculum and support you when you need help.
BA: If the programs or classes a family or student chooses aren’t working out, how can an advisor help?
HF: An advisor can talk through the issues families are having and help find a better fit for the students. They can also give ideas and/or support for different things to try to help students succeed.
BA: How often are advisors generally in touch with students/families?
HF: It really depends on the family. I have some families that like to stay in touch weekly, or sometimes even more, and other families who prefer I only check in quarterly. Some families find they don’t need me to reach out on a regular basis and will contact me when they need something.
BA: As we head into summer, what’s the best time for new students and families to enroll for fall?
HF: If you’re thinking about homeschooling for the fall, I recommend registering as soon as possible. This gives you time to take the Learning Style Assessment, Placement Testing, go through the orientation, and discuss all of the options with your advisors. Doing this earlier in the summer gives you time to review the curriculum and ask all of the questions you have before you begin, without feeling rushed.
BA: Do you have any recommendations for summer activities/education ahead of the new school year—especially considering the strange year that is finally ending?
HF: Bridgeway is offering a great STEAM camp for elementary students and online summer courses for middle and high school students. This is a great way to keep some academics over the summer. I also love the Summer Bridge books! They really help keep that connection of concepts between grades during the summer. Our Elephango website has great lessons as well!
BA: What makes Bridgeway special for both teachers and students?
HF: Bridgeway has a wonderful community for both teachers and students. I feel valued as a part of the company, and the Bridgeway team is so supportive. Students are able to have a curriculum customized to their wants and needs, and there are also many opportunities for engagement with the Bridgeway community.
BA: Many people–teachers, advisors, students, and parents–express how it feels like they’re all part of a larger Bridgeway “family.” What do you think contributes to that sense of community?
HF: It is so great to be a part of the Bridgeway family. My coworkers are so supportive and it is so fulfilling to see the success of our students. All of the families have opportunities to engage with others all over the world! It is so nice to be able to make those connections.
BA: What favorite “moment” or memory stands out during your time with Bridgeway?
HF: My favorite memory is attending Bridgeway’s 2019 graduation ceremony. It was so endearing seeing all of the graduates and listening to the wonderful speeches. It is amazing to see the freedom and flexibility homeschool can give and allow students to pursue their interests at the same time.
BA: What’s the one piece of advice you would give prospective homeschoolers right now, especially since many might be contemplating a return to their regular school now that the pandemic has dissipated? In other words, why choose homeschooling over returning to a brick-and-mortar school?
HF: Homeschooling really has so much to offer! The flexibility is wonderful and it allows students to use their time to discover things that might interest them. You are able to customize the curriculum to meet the needs of your child and even allow the student to take the lead and dig deeper into topics that might interest them.
BA: What advice would you give to families who are considering choosing Bridgeway as their homeschool partner?
HF: Bridgeway allows students the flexibility of homeschooling with an accredited academy. We meet the students’ needs and individualize the homeschool experience. Families will have advisor support with navigating their courses and have the support of the Bridgeway community to help with a successful year!
Our many thanks to Heather for taking the time to answer these questions–and a big thanks to all of Bridgeway Academy’s academic advisors for being there for families and students every step of the way. These past few school years haven’t been the easiest or smoothest for many families, but with the help of these highly qualified advisors, making the transition to–or even from–homeschooling is much smoother.
Bridgeway Academy offers a high-quality education in a variety of forms–online, textbook, self-paced, live classes, and more–as well as the flexibility you need. Call us today at (800) 863-1474 to learn more and see why so many families trust Bridgeway Academy with their child’s education.