Building a Bridge

Jervion’zoe Brown, 3rd grader, and Kiante Walker, 1st grader, are students at IDEA Bridge Academy. They also happen to be cousins and give each other a cheery wave and a greeting when they pass in the school corridors each day.

Both children were at the former Baton Rouge Bridge Academy charter school before it merged with IDEA to become IDEA Bridge. In fact, it was Jervion’zoe’s mother, Roshare Sylvester, who introduced her sister Tayshara Harvey, and niece Kiante to the original charter school. The two families decided to stay on after the merger and see what IDEA had to offer.

Roshare admits that she didn’t know much about IDEA at first, but what convinced her was “having faith in Baton Rouge Bridge Academy and knowing those teachers and hoping that they would get the same opportunity. I looked into IDEA, how big it was and how many things they have accomplished, and I am hoping that they can bring the same to Louisiana,” she continues.

The merging of the former school with the new one brought many benefits including that of familiar faces and a quick adjustment for the younger kids. Although Kiante was a bit nervous after the summer to come back to a new school with its big campus, she was relieved to see her old teachers and her old head of school, Principal Chloe Wiley, there to welcome her back. Meanwhile her big cousin Jervion’zoe was quick to appreciate the new building and the spacious new amenities such as the playground and the cafeteria. Both children love the singing and music that they participate in at school. Each class has a different theme song and the children love to sing these songs at home.

As for the hard work of the classroom, Tayshara approves of the progress Kiante had made last year and also in 1st grade so far. “They are just really cool as far as academics go,” she says. “They send them homework every day, make sure that they’re understanding it…It’s a really good school.”

Roshare is a certified medical assistant and Tayshara is soon to start nursing school. Perhaps it is no surprise then that the medical profession is part of the children’s future goals as well: Jervion’zoe says he’d like to be a dentist when he grows up. Kiante has many dreams for her future profession, from being a hairstylist, to a nail stylist, from a doctor, to a nurse, to a firefighter.

As Tayshara talks about Kiante’s education, her focus is on the future. She wants to make sure that Kiante “is getting information that she’s going to be able to use now as well as in the future, that she can apply to upcoming grades so that she is ready for the next step.” She also appreciates the focus on college at IDEA Bridge. “I love that they get a chance to grow with the school and also, really, that they’re preparing them for college. That’s what really matters the most.”

Roshare also notes that IDEA Bridge children are being acclimatized to the college mindset from a young age. Every classroom, for instance, has a university mascot and Jervion’zoe’s mascot is West Virginia University. While Roshare knows that they are still very young to be thinking a lot about college, she hopes the message will be instilled deeper as they grow.

To Tayshara, what says it all is the IDEA school uniform: “I love that the uniform logo is ‘No Excuses.’ That’s what I try to instill in Kiante all the time: There’s no excuse for anything. Whatever work you put in, that’s what you’ll receive.”

With the help of their families and a dedicated learning community supporting them at IDEA Bridge, these two young cousins are on their way to building a bridge to a successful future at whatever colleges and professions they choose in their lives.

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