BIA - Bridgeport International Academy

Frequently Asked Questions

How is BIA different from other schools?

As a selective, private, college preparatory school, BIA offers a unique opportunity for our students. It combines academic excellence and a global student body and faculty with the small size that allows individualized attention to each student. Nowhere will you find a private high school in Connecticut with such a global student body and faculty in such an intimate setting.

dsc_0167BIA emphasizes academic excellence, ethical values, and character education, with a particular focus on bringing together people with diverse national, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. While American students, both local and from other US states, remain the majority of the student body, students also attend from Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa, and Australia. These students are provided with a healthy and safe environment for gaining academic knowledge, cultural competence, and universal values that prepare them for productive and meaningful lives.

Many BIA students have studied in a variety of languages, countries, and schools with different educational methods. While BIA properly credits students for their past academic achievements, all students must meet strict graduation requirements. To assist its international students, BIA provides a flexible approach to learning, including intensive ESL classes, personalized instruction, and distance learning courses to augment on-site classes.

Adjacency to the University of Bridgeport provides a unique benefit for BIA students. Qualified juniors and seniors may take up to four college courses per year (three a semester under special circumstances), receiving both college and high school credits. This prepares students for studying in a college environment, extends the high school curriculum available, and enhances their high school transcript. Offered in lieu of AP courses, UB courses (and those offered at other local colleges, such as Housatonic Community College or HCC) include a wide spectrum of offerings, including English, science, mathematics, computer technology, psychology, psychology, foreign languages, music, drama, and fine arts. Students who take advantage of this program may graduate from BIA with as much as one year of college credits; this often reduces the time and expense required to complete an undergraduate degree.

BIA attracts many creative students who enjoy the digital arts, where they make videos and TV productions and take advantage of BIA's green screen. The drama department is known for its excellent productions, including well-recieved musicals and comedys performed in the University of Bridgeport's Mertens Theatre.

What do most students do after high school graduation?

college_hatAll BIA graduates are college-bound and most have been accepted by excellent universities. See listing HERE!

A number of graduates express their ideals by participating in community service projects through nonprofit organizations and internships in the USA, Europe, and Asia for a year or more before enrolling in colleges and universities to which they have been accepted.

BIA's location adjacent to the University of Bridgeport gives the students early exposure to college life and courses.


What are BIA's graduation requirements?

BIA students must have at least 23 credits to graduate from high school, as shown in the chart below. As a graduation requirement, BIA mandates completion of 75 hours community service during their four years in high school (25 per year for those attending BIA for less than four years). While it is recognized tht students who participate in the ESL/ELL program may complete many of their English language credits through that program, such students still must complete at least one credit in a mainstream English class in order to gradute.

Definition of Credit

  • One credit is based on completion of a one-year course of study, defined as meeting 200 minutes per week for 36 weeks.
  • One half credit is based on completion of a semester course of study, defined as meeting 200 minutes per week for 18 weeks or 100 minutes per week for 36 weeks.
  • Credit for physical education: Students receive .25 credits each semester for completing 2 hours per week of required physical education activities, including team sports, individual sports, martial arts, dance, and yoga. Students are also encouraged to participate in co-curricular sports, music, and art programs.
  • Transfer credit: For transfer students with a grade of C- or higher, course credit is accepted from accredited high school institutions and from recognized home school and distance learning programs.International transcripts should be translated into English when submitted.
Courses of Study
Required Credits
Social Studies
Foreign Language
Physical Education
Health and Human Biology
Computer Science
Elective Courses
Total Credits
Required for Graduation

Are advanced placement courses available?

In lieu of AP courses, BIA students are offered the opportunity to take college courses through an arrangement with the University of Bridgeport. Qualified juniors and seniors are able to take two college courses per semester. Students may also take courses at Housatonic Community College. Whereas students taking AP courses often find their course work has not translated into college credit, UB and HCC courses are generally transferable to the student's future college. After all, they are actual college courses.

These college courses are offered for dual credit (college and high school credit). Students who successfully complete university courses can accumulate one high school credit and generally 3 to 4 university credits per course. Examples of university courses taken by qualified BIA students include:

  • English composition
  • Creative Writing
  • Literature and Civilization
  • Intermediate Algebra
  • College Algebra
  • Trigonometry
  • Introduction to Statistics
  • Applied Statistics
  • Pre-Calculus
  • Calculus I
  • Calculus II
  • Calculus III
  • Discrete Mathematics
  • Introduction to Computing I
  • Introduction to Computing II
  • Computer Graphics
  • Communications
  • Economics
  • International Business
  • Psychology
  • Principles of Physics I
  • Principles of Physics II
  • Fine Arts
  • General Biology I
  • General Biology II
  • Elementary Microbiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Intermediate Chemistry
  • World Politics
  • American History
  • American Government
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Computer Concepts
  • Child Psychology
  • Personality Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Educational Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Psychology Electives
  • Beginners Japanese
  • Intermediate Japanese
  • Beginners Korean
  • Intermediate Korean
  • Beginners French
  • Intermediate French
  • Beginners Spanish
  • Intermediate Spanish
  • Beginners Arabic
  • Intermediate Arabic
  • Martial Arts

What is BIA's Accreditation?

In March 2007, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) granted accreditation to BIA. NEASC is widely regarded as the premier accreding body in New England for schools and colleges. It also is the nation's oldest accrediting agency, founded in 1885. NEASC recognizes more than 2,000 public and independent schools, colleges, and universities in six states and American and international schools in more than 60 nations worldwide. NEASC requires compliance with high standards in order to receive accreditation.

BIA also has had approval by the State of Connecticut since June 2001. Since December 2001, BIA has had approval from the U.S. government to issue I-20 forms enabling international students to obtain F-1 nonimmigrant student visas.

Are there special programs for international students?

The English language and mathematic skills of international students are accessed early in the program in order that they can be properly placed into their courses. In order to support those students who lack sufficient proficiency in English, BIA offers a specialized instruction program. This program aims to develop ELL (English Language Learners) student's language and literacy competency to where they can fully participate in mainstream classes. It is the policy of BIA to move ELL students into the mainstream classroom as soon as it is determined that they would not be a signficant disadvantage. For some BIA classes, such as P.E., creative activity, and often some math classes, all ELL students are immediately mainstreamed. However, most academic subjects rquire a certain minimal level of English competency.

Non-English speaking international students experience school in a carefully planned transitional program, with variations according to the student's accessed need. Students generally are integrated into the school in three phases:


Phase 1
Introductory Intensive English Program

This program prepares non-English speaking students to participate in the regular school. Students practice English vocabulary skills in grammar, reading, writing, and mathematics by working with textbooks, workbooks, computer games, sports and activities. During the summer, trips to historic and popular tourist sites are part of the program.

Phase 2
Intermediate Academic Content Courses

Students follow the school schedule, taking classes such as math, physical education, the arts, and activities. They also participate in a special curriculum, which includes Intermediate ELL science, history, and English. Classes focus on academic content of core subjects using basic English. Though this intermediate program, students will earn the necessary credits to be fully mainstreamed into the regular school curriculum.

Phase 3
The Regular High School Curriculum

International students will be helped to polish reading and writing skills and to complete all requirements to graduate from the Academy and apply to colleges.

The Student/Parent Handbook details the English Language Learner Program, including placement, assessment, and graduation from the program.


Can domestic students from other areas enroll at BIA?

Certainly! BIA has always attracted students from outside Connecticut, from all corners of the United States, such as California and Washington State, Texas and Kentucky, Minnesota and Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York. While the dormitories primarily house international students, there is limited dormitory space for domestic students where meals, entertainment, transportation, medical attention, recreational activities, and staff are available. Home stays may be arranged as well.

What activities are available for BIA students?

During the school day, one class period each day is devoted to cocurricular activities, which are non-academic activities that accomplish such functions as enhancing social interactions and leadership, promoting physical well-being, learning skills such as contemporary dance and yoga, engaging in sports, and fostering such creative activities as drama, fine arts, and chorus. Among the offerings are:

  • Fine Arts
  • Graphic Arts
  • Filmmaking
  • Sports (basketball, soccer/football, volleyball, swimming, handball, martial arts)
  • Mentoring
  • Chorus
  • Drama
  • Band
  • Yearbook
  • Contemporary Dance
  • Physical Education
  • Yoga .


Students are involved in a variety of extracurricular clubs and activities after school and during weekends. New clubs are formed based on requests to the Student Council, and since students live in or near the school, students are able to schedule a meeting at any reasonable time. After-school clubs and activities include:

  • Student Council. The Council is composed of elected students who represent the student body and help to manage student activities.
  • National Honor Society. The nation's premier honor society for outstanding high school students.
  • Volleyball Club. After-school volleyball games are organized for fun and love of the sport. Games are played at the University of Bridgeport’s Wheeler Recreational Center and on beach volleyball courts by the Sound.
  • Softball/Basketball Club. Baseball is America's pastime, but it is also popular in many other countries, so this club sparks the interest of many students. Students play baseball and softball on courts in Seaside Park until winter, when they play basketball on Wheeler Recreation Center's newly renovated basketball court.
  • Soccer Club. BIA students are enthusiastic about one of the world’s most popular sports. They are able to take advantage of Seaside Park's large soccer fields.
  • UB Tae-Kwon-Do classes. The University of Bridgeport Martial Arts program is the first at an American Institution leading to a Bachelor’s degree in Martial Arts Studies. Some students have chosen to participate in this fee-based program as an activity which teaches self-defense, self-discipline, determination, and inner peace.
  • Music Club. Using the school's drums, keyboards, and privately owned guitars, students enjoy playing together informally, sometimes supporting school musical performances.
  • The University Singers. This mixed-voice chorus is open to students, faculty, staff, and alumni of BIA and UB, as well as community members. The group is a UB student organization, a course for credit, and a community service. The Singers perform four to six times each year for on-campus events such as the International Festival and Commencement, as well as performances in the greater Bridgeport area.

All students provide a minimum of seventy-five hours of community service to fulfill graduation requirements. Students have worked with the Boy Scouts of America, hospitals, elementary schools, and other community projects. Other examples of service include:

  • The WAIT Team. Washington AIDS International Teens (WAIT) is a performing arts group that educates youth about the dangers of HIV/AIDS. WAIT team members use their talents to make a difference in the world by modeling abstinence and faithful life partnership. The Bridgeport chapter has been in operation for seven years, and many BIA students participate in this activity.
  • Service for Peace. This international not-for-profit organization coordinates the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and conducts activities to bring diverse groups together to eliminate barriers created by race, religion, class, creed, or national origin. The organization also works to address various social needs. Volunteers from Service for Peace chapters at the University of Bridgeport provide numerous activities, service opportunities, gatherings, and sports activities in addition to what BIA provides.

What opportunities are available for students interested in technology?

In 2010, a digital arts design studio was added to BIA as part of a newly formed program called Connecticut Academy of Art and Design (CAD). CAD focuses on digital literacy in the 21st Century and preparing students for art schools and careers in teh digital arts (digital filmmaking, graphic design, computer-aided design, web design and development, communicatin arts, etc.). BIA also has two computer labs equipped with computers for student training and use. The graphic arts studio include a green screen stage with cameras, lights, and editing equipment, and the studio has produced numerous productions for TV and the Internet. Many students also take advantage of computer and technology classes at the University of Bridgeport.


Do you offer scholarships or other forms of financial aid?

Information about limited financial aid is available through BIA administration.

What facilities at the University of Bridgeport are available for use by BIA students?

BIA has an arrangement with the University of Bridgeport to use the university facilities when they are available. BIA is thus able to provide greater opportunity for the students. For example, dormitory students use the Wahlstrom Library for study and physical education classes and sports activities are held in the Wheeler Recreation Center. High school drama performances have been held in Mertens Theatre in the Arnold Bernhard Arts and Humanities Center and dance performances in the Cox Student Center. Among the facilities that have been made available for BIA students are:

  • Wahlstrom Library
  • Cox Student Center
  • Harvey Hubbell Gymnasium
  • Wheeler Recreation Center
  • Knights Field
  • Arnold Bernhard Arts and Humanities Center

Who are your teachers?

BIA has a solid core of full-time teachers, adjunct faculty, and staff, many with graduate degrees, who provide instruction in Math, English, Science, History, Foreign Language, Fine Arts, Physical Education, and Character Education. Teachers also support cocurricular and extracurricular activities. A consistent characteristic of BIA teachers is their commitment to core values of the school and to the academic and personal development of each student.

What is the role of BIA’s Student Council?

The Student Council is a group of responsible students who devote their time and effort to organize, discuss, and implement school social functions that encourage a sense of community. Leadership positions include president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, a representative from each grade level, and an international representative. Student Council members are selected by the entire student body through an election process based on attributes of responsibility and motivation. Weekly Student Council meetings are held to discuss and organize events. The Student Council has the responsibility of mediating between the administration and students and of leading and listening to the student community.

The Student Council is a vibrant heartbeat of the school. They plan many activities, an end of the year school trip, and are part of the decision making for some of the school policies.

Activities sponsored by the Student Council include:

  • Trips to New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and other destinations.
  • Social events, including Halloween Party and Lock-in Party.
  • Fundraising activities, including car washes and Mother’s Day flower sales.

What curriculum is offered at BIA?

Although the class schedule is personalized for each student, a typical course schedule is as follows:

Grade 9 - Freshmen Year
Course Description
Elm Writ Elements of Writing
Earth Sci Earth Science
Algebra I Algebra I
W Civ I World Civilizations/Geography I
Comp Sci Computer Science
PE Physical Education
Char Ed Character Education
Elective Foreign Language Elective
Elective Creative Activity Elective
Grade 10 - Sophomore Year
Course Description
World Lit World Literature/Composition
Geometry Geometry
Biology Biology
W Civ II World Civilixations/Geograhpy II
Health/HumBio Health and Human Biology
PE Physical Education
Char Ed Character Education
Elective Foreign Language Elective
Elective Creative Activity Elective
Grade 11 - Junior Year
Course Description
Amer Lit American Literature/Composition
Algebra II Algebra II
Chemistry Chemistry
AM Hist/Gov American History & Government
Col&Career College and Careers
Comp Appl Computer Applications
PE Physical Education
Char Ed Character Education
Elective Creative Activity Elective
Grade 12 - Senior Year
Course Description
Brit Lit British Literature/Composition
Precalc Pre-Calculus
Physics Physics
PE Physical Education
Char Ed Character Education
Elective Creaticve Activity Elective
Elective Psychology, World Religions

Elective course, Internship, or
Optional Senior Project

What are BIA’s plans for the future?

BIA’s program for international youth has expanded since it began in 1997 as a college preparatory school for day students. Residential students are housed in recently renovated Seaview House, across from Seaside Park and the Long Island Sound, in dormitory space on upper floors of the newly renovated academic and administrative facility, and with local host families. As the international community of students grows, BIA will continue to accept qualified domestic students from all areas of the United States. BIA’s new school facility provides for continuous upgrades to provide cutting edge technology and science labs. It also allows for future expansion in student enrollment, though the school’s commitment to small class sizes will be maintained.

BIA is proud of its strong academic foundation and the resulting achievements of its students. As the school adapts to accommodate the changing needs of a richly diverse student body and faculty, core values will be sustained through character education and community service programs.

A sustantial current project is a major expansion of BIA's main facility. To be done in stages, this expansion will culminate in a large multipurpose assembly room, additional classrooms, a kitchen/faculty lounge, and a student lunch area. The large assembly room will accommodate meetings, indoor sports, drama presentations, and music practices and performances.





Contact us

  • Phone: (203) 334-3434
  • Fax: (203) 334-8651