Bridges Area Learning Center

Quarter 2 Community Newsletter, 2017

Greetings Bridges Community,

As our new quarter is now upon us a lot of energy is swirling around the school! We have new students, new schedules, new classes and new opportunities for success! Being that we are at the beginning of the quarter I wanted to highlight a few items that are key to success:

Consistent Daily Attendance - The greatest contributor to a successful school experience is good attendance. Bridges is a smaller environment with smaller class sizes and a tremendous teaching staff that works to engage students in many effective ways. Additionally, our teachers are great at approaching students individually meeting their individual needs. None of this can happen, however, if students are not in school. We have a highly effective support team as well that is here to work with students in a variety of ways to help them progress positively. We also have Jump Days twice a month as scheduled intervention days (see below for more) that can support students in many ways.

Completing Daily Class Work - At Bridges students are graded on what they do while they are here. We acknowledge that there are many responsibilities required of our students outside the school day. As a result, students grades are based on the daily projects, work and contribution that happens during the school day. Homework will not be a reality unless work is not submitted.

Staying in the Know. Grades, attendance, classroom learning are all available to both students as well as parent(s)/guardian(s) through PLSAS website. Infinite Campus will show you daily attendance as well as grades. Schoology is an online extension of each teacher's classroom. Most of the work that happens in the classes can be found there. If you are not sure how to log in to get this information our school secretary, Denise Schmidt, can assist (952-226-0840).

Take Advantage of the Differences in Bridges. Being a smaller school (by design) we can offer a lot for our students. Flexible scheduling, hybrid online classes, work release, scheduled intervention days (JUMP DAYS), variety of student support services including a social worker, licensed drug and alcohol counselor and therapist and Bridges ALC guidance counselor. These are just some of the options we can and have successfully leveraged for the progress of our students to earn their PLHS diploma!

Warm Regards,

David Brown

Bridges ALC Coordinator

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Thank you Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools voters! Both school funding requests on the November 7 ballot were approved. Question 1 bond funds- 62.16% yes Question 2 operating levy increase- 62.42% yes

Bridges in the News

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Bridges Mission - To support students' successful progress toward acquiring their high school diploma leading to gainful employment or post-secondary education.

Bridges September Student of the Month - Ben

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From his teachers - Ben always gets it done. He is responsible, kind and fun to have in class!

Bridges October Student of the Month - Marlo

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From her teachers - Positive attitude, always does her best, and has fantastic participation in class discussions.

Bridges November Student of the Month - Ja'Mar

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From his teachers - Motivated, friendly, always smiling, relates well to both students as well as staff, uses self-advocacy

Quarter 2 Conferences

Thursday, Dec. 7th 2017 at 5-8pm

Bridges Area Learning Center

Teacher Corner: Mr. Lawson, Social Studies

With the first December snow flying and Thanksgiving now a high-calorie memory, we are well into second quarter and perhaps a good time to remind ourselves what student success looks like. It has been my observation that students who succeed at Bridges share some important traits, attitudes, and behaviors. What follows are a few ideas about what success looks like during the long days at the heart of our school year.

Success looks like… starting the day with a positive attitude. Our thoughts drive our actions and thinking positively fosters more effective actions. (Plus, you’ll be fun to be around!)

Success looks like… eating breakfast at home or during first hour (because a hungry student has a harder time learning). Grab a cup of coffee from Très Café (Mr. Brown’s office), if that’s your thing, and come to class ready to engage.

Success looks like… reliably showing up for school. Regular attendance is one of the biggest predictors of success, decreases the chances of falling behind, and lessens the risk of not graduating. Regular attendance helps students stay connected!

Success looks like… breaking the journey to graduation down into short-term goals and visualizing what it will feel like to achieve them. Then, work with teachers to pass this particular class, this particular quarter. Focus on the present moment and complete the task at hand.

Success looks like… investing in relationships with teachers and Bridges staff, and in friends who share similar positive attitudes about school and life. These are the people who will provide support and affirmation; partners on the journey to graduation. Take the time to participate in informal chats and small conversations. It is here that your aspirations and ideas will evolve and take shape.

What does success look like to you?

David Lawson

Social Studies

Student Reflection - Anyang

When I first came to bridges I was kind of unsure but I soon loved it. The teachers are amazing, the students are great. There's really no way for you to hate it here. I think people really do underestimate this school, this is one of the best choices I've ever made in my 18 years of living and I would never have it any other way ! Ever since I've been here I made so many friends and have a great connection with my teachers.

Here's some advice I gave myself when transferred over to bridges Alc

  • You don't have to be best friend with everyone but try to get along with people

  • Focus on what you came to do

  • And of course have a blast !

Student Reflection - Desirey

I love being at Bridges!

Before I came here I was struggling a lot with school and talking or socializing with people. I hated coming to school because I had no friends and my grades were horrible, but all that changed when I started at Bridges. There are many reasons why I enjoy attending here. One reason is because the teachers here care a lot about their students and help them succeed, another reason is there is more flexibility. My future goals in life are to become a veterinarian. To become one I have to make sure I have all my credits, graduate, go to college, graduate again, and eventually be licensed as a vet. Now that I go to Bridges the teachers can have more one on one time with me and give me advice and help me reach my future goal. I've done so much better with my grades, socializing, and I actually like coming to school.

That's why I love and recommend coming to Bridges!

Quarter 2 Life @ Bridges ALC !

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Drizzt B being recognized by Melissa Olson and Dave Brown at the Optimist Club's Youth Appreciation Luncheon along with students from every school in the district

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Salma, Octavia, Katelyn and Safa enjoying time before getting to class

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Guest Speaker Frank Boyles guiding a class though Career Success in Ms. Bauer's Work Program class

Personalized learning @ Bridges ALC

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Bridges ALC received all new carpet!! Thanks Mr. Dellwo, custodians and maintenance staff!!

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Students helping Ms. Olson set up her class after the new carpet

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Jose and his working group engaged in Ms. Serefeas's Communications I class

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Celebrating the end of a quarter with A LOT of brats!!

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Creative expression at work in Ms. Nelson's Art classes!

Graduation Highlights from This and Last Year!

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Bridges Alumni Reunion - 9 years in the making!!

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Alumni Visits

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Andre off of military duty

End of the Day

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PL Rotary & Bridges ALC partner in a mentorship group - STRIVE

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From the student support staff: Ms. Bauer, Bridges Guidance Counselor

As the holiday break sneaks up on us, I am once again reminded how quickly the year flies by!

I am now in my second year as the Bridges School Counselor and my 16th year overall in PLSAS! And as I reflect on the growth, improvement and opportunities that Bridges has provided our students these many years, I am honored to be a part of its dedicated and committed staff. To see what this program has become instills in me a great sense of pride for our district.

As a “refresher,” my role here at Bridges is multi-faceted. My priority, first and foremost, is to partner with students and families to develop a path to success. At the end of the day, that is really the root of what we ALL want for our kids. I am able to look at and track credit progress and more importantly, assist students and families in making a plan BEYOND our walls. And yes…that is still as scary for some today as it was for us years ago! Our society is ever-changing, and it is our responsibility to meet the needs of ALL students and push them to be the best they can be!

Now is the perfect time for seniors (and parents of seniors!) to think about what options are available after graduation. One question I am often asked by students and parents is, “Is it possible for my son/daughter to attend college even if they have attended an ALC?” The answer is YES! College is certainly within reach and for those who wish to pursue continuing their education through a technical school, community college or four-year college. That being said, we also know that many of our students may choose to enter the work force right after graduation or enlist in the military. The important point to be made is that “having NO plan is a BAD plan!” Future planning is an aspect of my role as a School Counselor at Bridges Area Learning Center that I am passionate about. Throughout the past two months, I have met with several students to determine a plan for the remainder of this year and to look ahead to graduation. I understand that the goal of most students at Bridges is to attain their high school diploma…a great accomplishment, no doubt! However, we must do more to ENSURE that our students are well prepared for the world they will enter into once they have that diploma and that they can contribute to that community!

Knowing that many of our students struggle with credit recovery and sometimes experience a hopeless feeling that the road is just too long, discussing future plans and possibilities can instill a sense of hope and intrinsic motivation. I hope to play an important role in realizing those accomplishments for our students at Bridges Area Learning Center!

I welcome you to reach out to me if you have questions or concerns as to how I can support your student here at Bridges. I can be reached via e-mail at or voicemail at (952) 226-0855.

Warm Wishes!
Ms. Jennifer Bauer

Bridges Staff Contact Info

Teaching Staff

Andrew Martin - Teacher (Math, FABLAB, Projects) & Independent Study Coordinator

Independent Study is an opportunity for students to take additional classes if needed. Students are assigned Plato classes (online) and can work on them at school during the designated time and/or outside of school. A minimum of 10 hours is needed to complete at Bridges ALC.

Independent Study is held Monday's and Wednesday's from 3:30pm to 5:30pm

Alexius Serefeas - Teacher (Language Arts, Science)

Student Support Staff

Denise Schmidt - Bridges Secretary

Please contact Denise for attendance, general information and access to student grades/attendance through Infinite Campus (PLSAS student information system).

Ann Collins - (Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor)

Ms. Collins also oversees the production of our yearbook. If you have photos you want in Bridges yearbook please send them to her! She is at Bridges Monday and Tuesday.

Kassandra Kadel - Paraprofessional

Erik Elsberry - Therapist

Erik comes in every Thursday from the Scott County Mental Health Center to provide individual and family counseling to Bridges students and families.

Bridges ALC Independent Study

Do you know of a student that is behind on credits? Independent Study is a great way for students to make up those lost credits.

Here at Bridges we offer a flexible online based program to get students the credits they need. After a student determines their credit needs, they simply fill out a registration form, bring it in, and they are ready to go within minutes. Each student is enrolled in a class through a browser based program called PLATO.

Each class a student signs up for requires a total of 10 hours of seat time here at Bridges, and this can be done after school on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Once the attendance piece is completed the student will finish the course(s) on their own time. I’ve had many students get caught up, back on track, or even finish up for their diploma through Independent Study. It’s a great program and it provides a great service to our students.

JUMP DAY the Only Difference in Bridges Calendar to PLHS

Our school calendar is the same as Prior Lake High School (days off, start/end of quarters, etc) with the exception of JUMP DAYS. These days are designed for students to jump ahead with their grades, academic skills and attendance. During JUMP DAYS we pause regularly scheduled classes and switch to a block schedule (four periods instead of seven). Students are scheduled in periods for interventions and enrichment based on their progress during the quarter. Additionally, students earn make up time for coming in on JUMP DAYS that will be applied to remove absences at the end of the quarter. All students will receive a HYBRID Ticket OR Bridges Ticket before each JUMP DAY. You will receive an email indicating which your student has received the day before JUMP DAY.

If students are progressing well in their classes and there are no issues with attendance they may earn a HYBRID Ticket allowing student choice on where to conduct learning – at Bridges or on their own. If they have received a HYBRID pass students will need to check in with the HYBRID teacher for the JUMP DAY and determine what learning and classes will be done if they will not be coming into Bridges (Plato online classes, class projects or work, project based learning – all of which can be found in students’ learning management system: Schoology).

If students receive a Bridges Ticket they will be expected to attend at Bridges for the JUMP DAY and will be scheduled with teachers that will help support academic progress or skill development. Students earning a Bridges Ticket will have their attendance count towards the attendance policy (7 absences = no credit). Students will be marked absent if they do not attend.


  • Dec 8
  • Dec 15
  • Jan 12
  • Jan 24
  • Jan25 (Thursday & Early Release & Last Day of school)
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Mr. Lawson spending some time during his enrichment block with his students!

Quarter 2 Significant dates

Nov 13 - Q2 Start

Nov 22-24 Thanksgiving Break

Dec 7 - Conferences from 5-8pm

Dec 8 - JUMP DAY

Dec 15 - JUMP DAY

Dec 19 - All School Lunch Holiday Lunch

Dec 20 - All School Field Trip - Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Dec 21- Jan 1 Winter Break - No Classes

Jan 12 - JUMP DAY

Jan 15 - Staff In-service - No Classes

Jan 24 - JUMP DAY

Jan 25 - JUMP DAY/Early Release - Last Day of Q2

Jan 26 - Staff Work Day - No Classes

Jan 29 - Q3 Start

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