Project BRIDGE

Welcome to Project BRIDGE: Developing Academic Competency of Young Gifted English Learners with Advanced Mathematics Program and Language Scaffolding.

Dr. Seokhee Cho, Professor, Department of Administration and Instructional Leadership is awarded a very competitive research grant of $1.9 million from the US DOE for 2017-2022.

Project Bridge Logo

Key members of this Project BRIDGE are:

  • John Spiridakis, Ph.D., Professor of TESOL, Department of Education Specialties,
  • James Reed Campbell, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Administration and Instructional Leadership,
  • Judith Mangione, Ph.D., and Bilge Cerezci, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Dept of Curriculum and Instruction
  • Son Mi, Ph.D. Research Director
  • Jenny Yang, Ed.D. Research Coordinator
  • Gulnur Ozbek, Visiting Scholar
  • Nia Hulse, Doctoral Fellow, Department of Administration and Instructional Leadership
  • Kyung Hee Jeon, Ed.D., Visiting Scholar, Department of Administration and Instructional Leadership

Project Bridge is an interdisciplinary project which will examine the impact of scaffolding strategies for teaching mathematics to potentially gifted English learners for three years from kindergarten through second grade after school on their motivation, math and literacy growth. Project BRIDGE is built upon the team’s prior Project HOPE, funded by the US DOE in 2009–2014.

Project HOPE scaffolding strategies were found to contribute to increased math achievement, creative problem solving, and English proficiency for promising English language learners in grades three through five.

Currently, the team has prepared instructional materials which integrated scaffolding strategies, Professional Development Program, and instruments for data collection and recruited 10 schools (300 gifted ELs and 30 teachers) in New York City.


The project targets Gifted English Learners (GELs) from kindergarten through grade 2.

Through the project BRIDGE, the following goals will be accomplished:

Goal 1. To improve GELs’ mathematical proficiency and English proficiency.

Goal 2. To increase the number of GELs who are officially identified by the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE).

Goal 3. To increase teachers’ use of effective Language Scaffolding Strategies for GELs.

Goal 4. To disseminate a professional development program that trains teachers to use the Project BRIDGE Program for young GELs.


We provide advanced mathematics programs with language scaffolding to support Gifted English Learners (GELs) from kindergarten through grade 2.

Project BRIDGE program will implement evidence-based program built upon Project M2 (2008-2013) funded by the National Science Foundation and Project HOPE (2009-2014) funded by the US DOE.

Mentoring Young Mathematicians (M2) program based on gifted pedagogy demonstrated a positive impact on math achievement and math reasoning of Grade K-2 students.
Language scaffolding strategies of Project HOPE were found to contribute to the increased math achievement, creative problem solving, and English proficiency of Grade 3-5 promising ELs.
The Project M² units have the Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Practice as their core philosophy. Students think and act like practicing mathematicians.

Students make sense of problems and persevere in problem solving.
Students construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
Students model with mathematics to solve real-world problems.
Students use appropriate tools strategically.
Students attend to precision by communicating with appropriate mathematical vocabulary.

Special Features of the Project BRIDGE program:

  1. Strength-based selection system will recognize strengths of young promising ELs and increase their learning opportunities at a young age.
  2. Covers advanced math content with emphasis on communication skills and language and instructional scaffolding to meet the unique needs of promising ELs,
  3. ELs will be provided with opportunities to think and solve problems like mathematicians, concurrently improving their English proficiency.
  4. Strengths, Efforts, and Improvements of Gifted ELs will be recognized.
  5. Gifted ELs will be expected to achieve high and think critically and creatively.
  6. Gifted ELs will be provided with differentiated instruction with challenges and supports.  

Potential Benefits for Schools:

  1. Young promising ELs’ math and English language proficiency will be improved.
  2. Teachers’ expertise in math and language scaffolding instructions will be improved.
  3. Schools will be provided with enrichment resources.
  4. Achievement of all students in the school will be improved as “A rising tide lifts all boats.”


New York City DOE

  • St. John’s University
  • Project Team


  • Activities
    • Developing student selection system
    • Developing language scaffolding materials
    • Professional development
  • Participation
    • Student selection (MAP, GogAT, behavioral checklist)
    • Program Implementation

Outcomes Impact

  • Short
    • Teacher guide on language scaffolding for teaching math to gifted English learners
  • Medium
    • Improved teacher knowledge and skills for serving gifted English learners
  • Long
    • Increased number of gifted English learners in NYC DOE Gifted & Talented program
    • Improved math and English proficiency for gifted English learners

Dr. Seokhee Cho (Principal Investigator)
St. John’s University

Dr. John Spiridakis (Project Director)
St. John’s University

Dr. Sonmi Jo (Research Director)
St. John’s University

Dr. Katherine Gavin
University of Connecticut

Dr. Diane Rodriguez
Fordham University

Dr. Nancy Hertzog
University of Washington

Dr. Jenny Yang
St. John’s University

Dr. Judith Mangione
St. John’s University

Dr. James Campbell
St. John’s University

Dr. Angelo Gatto
External Evaluator
Director of Educational Research Advantages, LLC

Kisong Kim, Ed. M
St. John’s University

Nia Hulse, Ed. M
St. John’s University

Dr. Bilge Cerezci
St. John's Unviersity

Dr. KyungHee Jeon
Kyungpook National University-Korea

For more information about PROJECT BRIDGE,

Please contact:
* Seokhee Cho, Ph, D. at: (718) 990-1303 or [email protected]
* John Spiridakis, Ph, D. at: (718) 990-5591 or [email protected]
Nia Hulse, Ed, M. at :