Bridges Area Learning Center

Weekly Reflections

Dear Team,

The month of May has arrived and the weather has turned spectacular! This time of the year brings A LOT of activities, events and feelings about school for both staff and students. There are MANY, MANY moving parts. At-risk students experience a mixed set of emotions as the closing of the school year is imminent. For most, being in a caring and supportive environment is important. Many are anxious about ending their time at Bridges and moving into the next phase of their lives and/or summer. Some students wait all weekend to be back in school as its the only place they feel safe and valued.

For us on the other side of the desk we just closed out a very busy testing season and are looking at some big events at Bridges to close out the year. Bridges staff successfully administered the ACT, MCA Reading, MCA Math, MCA Science, accommodated versions of all tests as well as the accuplacer. During these days we adjusted our building schedule, adjusted busing schedule, adjusted teacher schedules in order to proctor tests and staff responsibilities to securely receive, distribute and collect to ship back. All was done without incident! This was the largest group we tested; and, I was so impressed with our students can-do-it attitude. I can say that it was the easiest testing we have facilitated thanks to a great district and building team! With only a few weeks remaining we are in the midst of a final graduation push. Busy, busy time!!!

The allure of warm weather and sunny days have always affected the last bit of the school year. We here are applying all energies to support our students finishing as strong as possible with the most being able to graduate earning their PLHS diploma. Working to keep at-risk students focused is a science and art in and of itself. This is even more so when its sunny and 75 degrees!

I am confident that as the year drains away our highly effective team at Bridges will do all that is possible to ensure our students are positively progressing towards their diploma and as many as able earn that diploma by June 9th!

Warm Regards,


Week at a glance

  • BSAT @ 730am
  • Teacher Observation 3rd & 6th Periods
  • Admin Meeting @ DSC
  • Minnesota Student Survey - 9th & 11th grade 4th period.
  • Future Ready Presentation @ 730am
  • Learning Team Meeting @ 3pm

  • Staff Meeting @ 730am

The Art of Arms (courtesy of Ms. Nelson's art class)!

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Teacher Corner: Candi Jenkins, SPED

Hello everyone,

I am the Special Education Teacher at Bridges Area Learning Center. I’ve been wanting to share a few words regarding my students with disabilities who sometimes get frustrated, often struggle, and sometimes wonder if they are dumber than others.

The biggest idea that I want my students to come away from high school knowing is that they are so smart and have so much potential! I explain to them that we all learn in different ways, some people are auditory, some are visual, and some are kinesthetic learners. Some of us prefer online learning and some people would like to use “hands on” paper and pencil. My students need to hear over and over again that all students have strengths and weaknesses. Every student has their best subjects and their worst subjects. I tell my students they can successful!

As the year is winding down in the next few weeks, I have to say that it’s been a productive, successful year for my stellar students! Some of the successes include students making up their credits, getting all A’s on their report cards, increasing their reading levels and skills, collaborating on group projects, actively participating in the Stress-Busters group, graduating, and doing volunteer work in the school or the community.

We are preparing these students for life after high school to be prominent, vital citizens in the community, in the workplace, and in their post-secondary education. I’m privileged to teach these fabulous students and the rewards are great!

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On May 24, 2016, Prior Lake-Savage Area School district residents will be asked to vote on a funding proposal that would respond to increasing student enrollment by providing the following:

Space for students

Additions and/or renovations at every building in the district, including classrooms, cafeterias and gyms; a new elementary school; a new Bridges Area Learning Center; and space for our innovative learning programs.

Technology for teaching

Support to maintain our position as a leader in Minnesota for innovative technology use in the classroom, including student and staff devices; software programs that support students, teachers and families; technology infrastructure; and technology support staff.

Security for schools

A new, secure entrance at Prior Lake High School, a visitor screening system at every school; and additional security cameras for all schools.

If approved, the tax impact on the average homeowner ($300,000 value home) would be less than $31 per month.

Learn More

Attend an Information Session:

• Thursday, April 28 at 7 p.m.

District Services Center

• Wednesday, May 4 at 7 p.m.

Prior Lake High School

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From the Student Support Team: Erik Elsberry, Therapist

Hello Bridges Community,

Summer’s nearly here. We know it. Students know it. Parents know it. Everybody knows. It might be a time of mixed feelings; excitement for the exhale of another school year finished, and also the anxiety of another school year approaching its end. Self care has been a theme in multiple settings for me this year, and I think it is especially true at this part of the school year.

People often talk about it, but what is it, really? Yoga? Exercise? Cooking? When do you know you’re “doing” self care? My conclusion is that you know you’re taking care of yourself when you’re doing the little things that keep you going. Getting proper sleep, eating healthy food, spending time with family, whatever it looks like for you. Self care does not have to be a vacation to Mexico (although it certainly can be).

As the school year winds down, I encourage you to maintain your everyday habits that help keep you going. It is largely those small things than help us avoid repeating our more negative patterns like isolation or overexertion. Keep it together for one more month – your students, co-workers and your self will thank you for it.

Happy (soon to be) Summer,

Erik Elsberry, MA, LMFT

Therapist, Scott County Mental Health Center


Teacher Appreciation Week

Last week I had the privilege of honoring and acknowledging the great work our teachers and staff does here every day. Seeing the caring, dedication, hard work and seemingly limitless energy to both provide a warm, caring learning environment AND engagement in the content of teachers classes is truly an honor.

I asked some students what they like about Bridges teachers and staff. Here is what they had to say:

  • Ms. Olson is chill about a lot of things.
  • Mr. Lawson is awesome and I'm his favorite student!
  • Ms. Nelson is outgoing and friendly. I feel like I an talk to her about anything.
  • Mr. Callahan is very understanding and he helps motivate me.
  • Ms. Serefeas understands and cares.
  • Ms. Jenkins is so nice and helps me so much!
  • Mr. Martin is cool and a gamer.
  • My teacher knows when I need help and is good at helping.
  • My teacher helps me stay on track and graduate.
  • My teacher has humor and likes to work with me.
  • My teacher is sweet.
  • They help me succeed academically and in life.
  • My teacher goes out of her way for me.
  • Bridges teachers are very kind, smart and they make sure I'm doing work.
  • My teachers make me enjoy going to class and make class fun and interesting.
  • They care.

Senior Recognition Dinner

Thursday, June 2nd, 5:30pm

Fong's Restaurant - Prior Lake

Bridges Life Quarter 4

Alumni Update

Mr. Martin's projects class on their third project of the quarter - miniature bridges!

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Ms. Nelson's art students working on a new mural!

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Ms. Serefeas in applied genetics with Angora Rabbits

Final STRIVE topic speaker of the year - Mr. Jack Haugen (Haugen Insurance and former PL City Mayor) speaking to the Strive group on success

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PD Points

Simon Sinek

To earn the trust of others we must first extend our trust to them.

Great Week Everyone!

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