Bridges Area Learning Center
Quarter 1 Community Newsletter
Year 10 AND Many Changes
Hello Bridges Community -
We have started our 10th year at Bridges ALC and it has been the best start I can remember since we opened the school! Opening a school year at Bridges is always a unique experience. We graduate many of our students, opening up spots for students that wanted to come to Bridges the year prior. We have had a consistent long waiting list for students wanting to come to Bridges as a result of being a small school, by design, so we can provide the best opportunities of personalize learning for our students. A good amount of work I do over the summer is talking to the students and families that wanted to come to Bridges and invite their students to attend at the start of the year. As a result, we always start the year with a mix of many new students with our returning students. This year's student group has been the most positive, energetic and enthusiastic groups I can remember.
Of course another major change is that I will be on a military leave of absences while deployed to Kuwait this year with the 34th Infantry Division - The Red Bulls. As I have been transitioning out I experienced so much love, caring and support by all. It was so wonderful and overwhelming to experience such caring from our Bridges community - students, alumni and parents alike! I am so appreciative of all of the kindness that was shown to me and our Bridges staff as I ended my time with the school on Friday, September 21st for the year.
Additionally, I am so appreciative of the support and caring that my colleagues have shown as well. Both my wonderful staff at Bridges and colleagues in the district were absolutely amazing. I absolutely love Bridges ALC and the work we do supporting and re-defining students educational journey in order for them to graduate. Seeing lives of all our stakeholders changed by the Bridges experience has been both profound and amazing. I will carry all of this love and support with me during my deployment and I know it will support me in trying times. Ms. Heather Fitzloff will be taking over as administer of Bridges ALC while I am gone. I have worked with Ms. Fitzloff in PLSAS over the past seven years and have relied on her knowledge on many occasions and have been impressed by the positive relationships she builds with students. Bridges ALC will be in good hands with her leadership and our experienced staff!
Another amazing change will be our beautiful new school projected to open Fall of '19. It will most certainly be an amazing place for students to continue to receive personal learning experiences and engagement as they progress towards earning their diploma in ways we are not able to in our current building. Myself along with our core design team have spent the last year touring some of the newest and most innovative educational spaces as we planned and designed our new school. THANK YOU Dr. Staloch in facilitating an early Ground Breaking ceremony for our new, spectacular school. I was so touched that we were able to conduct a Ground Breaking ceremony with our Bridges family and stakeholders before I left for deployment.
PLHS Assistant Principal - Heather Fitzloff - will be taking over as administrator of Bridges ALC during Dave Brown's deployment
WELCOME Ms. Fitzloff to Bridges ALC! We are happy you are here leading our school!
When I heard the news that Bridges Area Learning Center Coordinator, Dave Brown would be deployed by the military for a year, my heart sank. I was sad for Dave, his family, and the students and staff at Bridges. A few weeks later, I was approached and asked if I would be willing to step in as the administrator at Bridges while Dave is serving our country. I am humbled that Mr. Brown and his staff trust me to lead Bridges in his absence.
This is the beginning of my 22nd year in education, and 11th year as a school administrator. I began my teaching career in the south suburbs of Chicago, and after one year, I relocated to Minnesota and began teaching at a Minneapolis elementary school before finally settling in for almost 10 years at Scott Highlands Middle School (SHMS) in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District. I’m also proud to say that during that time, I coached Cross Country and Track & Field at Apple Valley High School and continued to coach basketball and swimming at the middle school. I decided very early on in my career to pursue my Master’s Degree and then my K-12 Principal license. In 2007, I assumed an Associate Principal position at SHMS. One year later, I accepted an Assistant Principal and Activities Director role at Richland Center High School, in Richland Center, Wisconsin, very close to my hometown. After two years, I was offered the Principal position there, and served in that role for 2 years. As a family, we made the decision to move back to the Twin Cities area and I was hired at Prior Lake High School as an Assistant Principal in 2012. This is the start of my 7th year in the Prior Lake-Savage Area School District.
Personally, I am a proud Mom of 3 sons: Connor (20), Camden (16), and Cade (13). They have been very active in sports and activities and I have enjoyed watching them grow. Other than that, I love to run, watch sports, and read in my spare time.
I’m proud to be serving at Bridges this school year. We are off to a great start, and the students and staff have been wonderful and welcoming! We will all miss Dave’s leadership, and my hope is that when he returns, we will have made him proud by continuing the positive school culture he has created with his staff, and the students. Please know that I will work hard to ensure all Bridges students are successful!
Bridges Mission - To support students' successful progress toward acquiring their high school diploma leading to gainful employment or post-secondary education.
Celebrating with our nearly 50 graduates!
Bridges ALC Ground Breaking as Dr. Staloch welcomed many stakeholders who came to the ceremony !
Renderings of our beautiful, innovative new school
Bridges In The News
Conferences - Q1
Thursday, Oct. 11th, 5-8pm
15875 Franklin Trail Southeast
Prior Lake, MN
Teacher Corner: Melissa Olson, Communications
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Socrates
In September, 2009, I received a call from David Brown. He responded to my teaching application and asked me to come in for an interview. The job was for an English teacher at the new PLHS ALC. During the interview, David shared that the school was still in the design process, there were no student computers, no curriculum, no other teaching staff, and no set-up classrooms. We expected 30-40 PLHS students that had been attending an out of district ALC. He warned me that I would need to be willing to “get my hands dirty”. I smiled, and said, “I am pretty sure they already are.” That was ten years ago.
As time has passed, our story has changed. This September, we sunk golden shovels into fresh ground. We have created a cutting edge learning environment that will serve 130 students. Our classrooms are full of energy and joy as students dive into the challenges and creative tasks designed by them and supported by an entire community. We have adults, families, and administrators who have given us more support than I have ever experienced in my 18 years of teaching at-risk youth.
This is a little bittersweet. As David leaves to serve our country in Kuwait (accompanied by a former Bridges Graduate), we will watch the new building grow, brick by brick, without him. We have promised to keep him informed. We have promised to continue the growth. We have promised to build the new, while honoring the intent of our beginnings. We will continue to do so as David begins his new journey. We will miss him. We will worry about him. And we will welcome him back at the doors of our newly constructed Bridges ALC upon his return.
Student Reflection - Jake
My name is Jake, and Bridges ALC, with all it’s wonderful and caring staff, changed my life. I’ve attended a couple of traditional settings until I found Bridges ALC. I first came here before my sophomore year to make up some credits that were not offered at my previous private school and quickly realized that I now had an alternative to the experience I’d soon have at the high school.
Bridges is a place where students can learn at their own pace in small classes with a staff who genuinely cares that every student graduates and are guided to do so. If this guidance is not needed, students who’d normally be constrained by deadlines, standardized testing, and piles of homework can thrive, dependent on themselves instead of a system they might not fit into. For many teenagers, the normal high school experience is right for them, but for many that’s not the case, and for them I proudly suggest Bridges.
Bridges ALC off to a GREAT year 10 start opening near capacity!
Congrats to our teachers recognized as 2018 Nominees for PLSAS Educator of Excellence!
THANK YOU Bridges Staff and Students as well as colleagues throughout the district in your support and appreciation on my last day before deployment
Spending my last evening with my family at the Roy Wilkins auditorium after the Departure Ceremony
Ill Be deploying with 2016 Bridges Grad Andre
Bridges Staff and Contact Information
Andrew Martin - Teacher (Math, FABLAB, Projects) & Independent Study Coordinator
Independent Study is held Monday & Wednesday from 3:30pm to 6:00pm
Student Support Staff
Welcome, Jennifer Powers, our new secretary!
Welcome Jennifer!! We are happy to have you!
From the Student Support Team: Ann Collins, Chemical Health
Hello Bridges Community!
It is hard to believe that we are in year 10 of Bridges ALC!! We had a wonderful start of the year despite the very sad news that Mr. Brown would be leaving for military duty. Although there is much sadness of Mr. Browns absence, the students and staff are grateful to have Ms. Fitzloff steer our ship this year! It has been great seeing all the returning students and meeting all the new faces at Bridges this year.
There is much excitement around the new building we will be in next year and the students are very impressed with the drawings of the new school. We saw so many Bridges alumni stopping in the first week to wish Mr. Brown well! It was wonderful to hear how well they are doing and nice to hear how much they loved their time at Bridges!
This year I will again be at Bridges every Monday and Tuesday with the addition of most Wednesdays! I am happy to be able to be more available to with the students with the additional day! The energy is high and the students motivation is strong at the the start of a new school year. The goal is to keep them motivated and working on getting that diploma they want so badly while trying to minimize the negative impact of outside influences. I know that this staff is up for that challenge and we are looking forward to a great year 10!!
Licensed Alcohol & Drug Counselor
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 fills out a registration form, brings 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.
If you have questions please feel free to reach out to one of our Independent Study Coordinators:
Andy Martin, School Year - firstname.lastname@example.org
David Lawson, Summer - email@example.com
JUMP DAYS 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. 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.
Q1 JUMP DAYS
- September 21
- October 12
- October 26
- November 7
- November 8 (last day of Q1)
Quarter 1 Significant dates
4 - Q4 Start
21 - JUMP DAY
24 - Picture Day
1 - Independent Study Open
11 - STRIVE mentor program & Conferences (5-8pm)
12 - JUMP DAY
17-19 - Fall Break (Ed MN Convention)
22 - No Classes (Staff In-Service Day)
25 - STRIVE mentor/mentee program
26 - JUMP DAY
1 - STRIVE mentor/mentee program
7 - JUMP DAY
8 - Last Day of Q1, Early Release, JUMP DAY