Community - October 12, 2011

Bridge breakfast introduces new executive director

by Samantha Bergeson

Deirdre Marlowe will be introduced as the new executive director of the Peninsula Bridge program at a benefit breakfast to be held from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Sharon Heights Golf & Country Club, 2900 Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park. Doors open at 7 a.m.

The program's mission is to promote academic and personal success for middle school students from under-resourced communities.

The breakfast is free; however, a donation may be made at the end of the event.

Go to to RSVP or call Sherri Staner at 408-358-8805.

New director

Ms. Marlowe joins Peninsula Bridge from a similar program in Baltimore called Middle Grades Partnership, which offers summer and after-school learning sessions to academically strong inner-city students.

Peninsula Bridge has a summer program that brings motivated middle-school students from lower-income families onto such campuses as Menlo School, Sacred Heart Prep and Menlo-Atherton High School for academic courses, including algebra and high-level English, and enrichment activities, such as art, music and sports.

Bridge plans to add two sites to next summer's program: Saint Francis High School in Mountain View and Pinewood School in Los Altos Hills.

Since the program began in 1989, some 5,000 kids have been involved, including 375 enrolled this past summer. Most of the students come from the Ravenswood district in Menlo Park and East Palo Alto, and the Redwood City and San Mateo-Foster City districts.

Teachers for the program work at local middle schools. High school students can volunteer as teaching assistants.

Ms. Marlowe succeeds Grainger Marburg as executive director. During his six-year tenure, enrollment grew 60 percent, Bridge said.

In addition to Middle Grades Partnership, Ms. Marlowe has worked as an acting director for a statewide charter school advocacy network in Maryland. She has trained public school teachers and taught at public schools in Baltimore.

She holds a bachelor's degree in religious studies from the University of California at Berkeley, and a master's in leadership in teaching from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. She earned principal certification after additional graduate work in school administration at Johns Hopkins University.

"The opportunity to expand efforts to reduce the achievement gap by serving middle-school students in an area with so much potential for growth is exciting," Ms. Marlowe said.


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