Bridges Area Learning Center

Quarter 4 Community Newsletter

Greetings Bridges Community,

The most active time of the year

Happy Spring as we are well underway with our final quarter of the school year AND graduation is just around the corner! It is hard to believe that we are nearly done with the school year. Didn't we just start?!? As I reflect back on our time together this year some things stand out. First is our graduates! As we concluded quarter 3 FIVE students were able to graduate early from Bridges ALC by taking advantage of the multiple individual learning pathways we have available! This makes our graduation total to date 11 students! Also, we have several 5th and 6th year students finishing up and graduating. And, it looks like this may be the largest graduating class as we approach June. I could not be more proud of the students and staff here at Bridges! Another thing that stands out is the amount of Bridges alum that have returned to visit! It is so motivating to hear our students stories of their life after graduation. These stories include post secondary work, degrees earned, enlistment in the military and success in the world of work. I love hearing the many good things of our students!

The one thing that comes to mind about quarter 4 is how busy and active it is!! I have included all the events and activities that we are involved to end the year in this newsletter. Needless to say A LOT is happening! I love this time as many of our events are a celebration of the accomplishment, resiliency, growth and achievement of our students. We have the privilege to see our students emerge into adulthood and launch into the next stage of their lives being a smaller school. Seeing the growth, development and progress of our students is certainly a cause for celebration! I hope we see you for some of our events!

Warm Regards,

David Brown

Bridges ALC Coordinator



Save the Date!

2017 Senior Recognition Banquet @ Fong's Restaurant in Prior Lake Thursday, June 1st @ 5:30pm

Previous Year's Banquet = A Spectacular Evening!

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Bridges Senior Recognition Banquet

Thursday, June 1st, 5:30pm

4770 Pleasant Street Southeast

Prior Lake, MN

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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.

Teacher Corner: Andy Martin, Math/FABLAB/Projects

It seemed so recently that this school year started, and yet the end is just around the corner. This will chronicle my 6th year as Bridges’ math teacher, and I look forward finishing strong.

The final quarter of the school year is by far my favorite. Not because the year is almost over, but because the sun comes out, the student’s and I emerge from the mentally debilitating dregs of winter, and some of our best school events happen. One of the best days to experience here is the Epic Breakfast Challenge day. The staff competes in a grueling battle to cook up the most delicious breakfast meal possible, and on top of that, it must feed roughly 80 hungry teenagers. It’s exciting to see that students stroll into the school and be greeted with a smorgasbord of scrumptious food. I thoroughly enjoy cooking for the students and I know that this year I will take home the crown of “beast breakfast food” as voted by the students. Shortly after this delightful day we get yet another school wide, food-coma inducing event at Lakefront park where we grill up burgers and hotdogs and have a fun day at the park. We then round off the end-of-year activities with our senior recognition banquet at Fong’s. Another wonderful event to round out the year. I look forward to this trio of fabulous events and I’m sure some of you will get to experience them too!

Board Approves Task Force Facilities Recommendations

After months of work, on May 8 the School Board accepted the Facilities Task Force's recommendations as input for long-term facilities planning to help with our space needs due to enrollment growth. The Board will now begin its planning process for a November referendum.

Long-Term Facilities Needs

Did You Know?

  • All buildings are currently at capacity or over capacity
  • 2,165 additional students are expected to enter our schools in the next ten years
    • This is more than the total combined enrollment of Glendale, Jeffers Pond, Five Hawks and Grainwood elementaries
  • To provide enough classroom space for our students into the future, an additional 93 classrooms are needed throughout the district
    • In addition to the 93 classrooms, more space is needed for gyms for physical education class, pre-kindergarten, Special Education and Bridges Area Learning Center
  • Core spaces such as kitchens, cafeterias and conference rooms also need to be expanded in some schools

Facilities Recommendations

The following Task Force recommendations will be refined prior to making decisions on a November referendum request:

Elementary Schools

  • Centralized option: 4-year old pre-k program housed at Edgewood School (Nature-based preschool still an option where space is available)
  • Construct a new elementary school
  • Additions to existing K-5 schools: kitchen/cafeteria, gyms, kindergarten, Special Education
  • The project estimates for this option are approximately $46-51 million

OR option two:

  • Neighborhood option: 4-year old pre-k program housed in our neighborhood elementary schools
    • Additions at each elementary for two, 4-year old pre-k rooms
  • Construct a new elementary school
  • Additions to existing K-5 schools: kitchen/cafeteria, gyms, kindergarten, Special Education
  • Connect the upper level of Edgewood with WestWood to create more space
  • The project estimates for this option are approximately $49-54 million


Secondary Schools

  • Add classroom space at existing middle schools and high school
  • Expand core spaces such as kitchens, cafeterias and conference rooms
  • Update parking lots to improve traffic flow
  • The project estimates for this option are approximately $79-87 million

Next Steps

  • Determine operating expenditures to run our schools and building additions (current operating levy expires in 2018)
  • Continue to study the district's technology and building security needs

More Information: or contact:

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Student Reflection - Andre

Bridges has been a very successful means for me to have opportunity in life! Many programs were helpful. An example is STRIVE. STRIVE is a way for students to meet with a mentor from The Prior Lake Rotary Club to discuss about the daily things going on with the students lives as well as plans and tips on how to graduate on time. We also talk about future goals.

One other thing that is very supportive at Bridges ALC is how flexible a schedule can be for students. They work with each student individually. As my senior year comes to end and with all the help and guidance Bridges staff has given me, I plan to finish up the rest of my training in the military and pursue my dreams in Active Duty Army.

Student Reflection - Harry

Bridges has changed my entire outlook on school.

In a matter of months, I went from being behind almost a semester in credits and not even planning on graduating on time, to being on track to graduate at the end of the year with better grades than I’ve had since middle school. I went from dreading going to school every morning, to waking up excited to go to school. I can’t say enough about what Mr. Brown and the rest of the staff are doing here at Bridges ALC. They really care about their students and want to see them succeed, as well as do the best they can to give students the means to do it. School is fun here, which is something I had never experienced before.

One of the greatest things about this place, in my opinion, is the individuality that every student is treated with. For example, I am able to work thirty to forty hours a week and still achieve in school because of the plan I set up with Mr. Brown. In the past semester I’ve had the best academic experience of my life. I am incredibly grateful for all the staff here, the amazing help they have given me, and the wonderful thing they are doing at this school.

Student Reflection - Izzy

I came to bridges 2nd quarter of my sophomore year. Ever since I have been here all of the problems I had at the high school changed, I never used to want to go to school, now coming to school is no big deal. I actually like it. My biggest issue was attendance, I now have no attendance issues. I think coming to bridges has helped me even as a person. Everyone here helps everyone. The teachers are always a big help because you have a question there are always there to help answer it. It's more hands on then any other school I've ever been too. I am now in my second quarter of my junior year and I'm ahead of credits. That would of never been possible if I had stayed at the high school but all the teachers here have encouraged me so much to get my stuff done and now I'm ahead of the game.

Most of us are here for similar reasons so I think that really helps. Being here I've seen kids with terrible attitudes about school completely turn around and go from getting all F's to all A's. The environment at bridges is always so calm. At first my parents were uneasy about me coming to bridges because they did not know a lot about it. Now they love it, they even feel more involved in my schooling. Not only did it help me but it helped my parents know where I was at in school.

I think bridges gives kids a new start to their high school careers. It gives them that extra chance to turn things around when they didn't think they could. Bridges is a great place to be. We are all a family, we help each other out to succeed.

Student Reflection - Shea

My name is Shea, and I am one of the many students who attends Bridges ALC.

I was attending another high school before coming to Bridges, I struggled in a mainstream environment because of the lack of help and attention. I was an average student who was having a hard time competing in a larger school.

Bridges allowed me to not only be a student who exceeds but a young adult as well. I enjoy attending Bridges because help is provided wherever it is needed. The teachers make it easy to keep up with work and are always there to answer your questions. They provide credit help and make sure that you are caught up and ready to graduate. Everyone who attends is open minded and accepting of everyone around them. Bridges helps the scary jump into adulthood more of a confident leap into my future.

Congrats to our teachers recognized this year!

Student of the Month

Jacob - September

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From his teachers - Jacob has been a positive leader, doing excellent and VERY strong effort!

October - Jimmy

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From his teachers - Jimmy is doing so well this year. He is keeping up with his work and doing quality work.

Novemeber - Josey

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From her teachers - Engaged and on top of her work. Josey is a pleasure to have in class!

December - Emma

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From Her Teachers - Congrats on GRADUATING!

January - Matt

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From His Teachers - has worked hard in class and is a gentleman.

February - Andre

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From His Teachers - FOCUSED on graduation

March - Precious

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From Her Teachers - Great example and student leader!

Bridges Staff and Contact Information

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 10 hours is needed to completed at Bridges ALC.

Independent Study is held Monday & Wednesday from 3:30pm to 6:00pm

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 Alcohol and Drug Counselor)

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 Testing Schedule

Please see below for Bridges Testing Schedule:
  • Thursday, April 13th - ACT Pre-Test
  • Wed., April 19 -- Accuplacer- Select Seniors, ACT - Juniors, MCA Reading - Sophomores. No School for 9th grade & seniors.
  • Monday April 24 – MCA Math Test - Juniors. MCA Science test - select students. Work Day if others want to report to school.
  • Fri & Monday April 28 & May 1 - MCA Makeups
  • Wed, May 3 – ACT Make Ups

A Test Security Tip Line has been set up by MDE for reporting security breaches and potentially unethical behavior related to testing. Any action that jeopardizes the integrity of a secure test or gives an unfair advantage to a student or group of students is a breach of security.

Individuals who have concerns about test security practices are encouraged to raise their concerns with their District Assessment Coordinator before contacting MDE. Minnesota Statewide Test Security Tip Line.

From the Student Support Team: Erik Elsberry, Therapist

Greeting Bridges Community,

I am Erik Elsberry, a therapist with Scott County. I provide therapy services to students at Bridges every Thursday.

With the school year coming to a close, I have a couple of thoughts to offer regarding mental health. Firstly, I’d like to point out one of the largest benefits and drawbacks that summer has to provide: lack of structure and predictability. Many students look forward to the freedom that summer brings, often not having a regular schedule and loads of free time. While this sounds appealing in many ways, there are drawbacks, as well. Lack of structure and organization can contribute to increased anxiety and worry, which may impact other areas of functioning. Perhaps we can work with students on finding a balance between enjoying the freedoms of summer, while also maintaining some sort of regularity. Summer jobs, athletics, clubs and volunteering are examples of ways your student can keep active over the summer.

I have recently noticed the increase in public awareness of mental health. Organizations like NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) seem to show up regularly as sponsors of TV shows and events. As a therapist, I of course support the increased awareness and understanding of mental health. I would like to point out, however, that individual and family therapy services are not exclusively for people with severe mental illness. We all experience hardships and times of instability, which can lead to significant amounts of distress. My hope is that part of this rush of mental health awareness also points out that even those without severe mental health issues can seek help from mental health professions. People going through major adjustments, relationship issues, family conflict, and a host of other normal life transitions can benefit from mental health services. I encourage everyone to do their research in finding a therapist that works for them if mental health services may be helpful. Of course, the Scott County Mental Health center has a full staff of licensed psychologists, marriage and family therapists and clinical social workers who serve the county’s mental health needs. For more information, you can call 952-445-7751.

Happy Summer!

Erik Elsberry, MA, LMFT

Therapist, Scott County Mental Health Center.

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 Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 to 6:00 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 DAYS the Only Difference in Bridges Calendar to PLHS

Our school calendar is the same as Prior Lake High School's (days off, start/end of quarters, etc) with the exception of Work Fridays. During Work Friday's there are no structured classes. Instead, teachers are in their rooms working with students for the day. These days provide structured support and intervention for students that need dedicated time during the school day to work with teachers on needed work to hand in or better understand concepts. Additionally, students earn make up time for coming in on Work Friday's that will be applied to removed absences at the end of the quarter.

These days can be an optional for students as absences are not counted towards the attendance policy! If a student's grades and attendance are in good shape they do not necessarily need to be there.

Work Friday's usually happen every other Friday (twice a month). Sometimes, however, they do not land on a Friday (we still call it a Work Friday though).


  • April 28th
  • May 12th
  • May 26th
  • June 6th
  • June 7th - Early Release
  • June 8th (Thursday & Early Release & Last Day of school)

Quarter 4 Conferences!

Tuesday, April 25th, 5-7pm

Bridges Area Learning Center

Please come to hear the many good things that are occurring with your student! Students who have adults partner with school for there success are set up for success!!

We hope to see you then!

Quarter 4 Significant dates

April 10 - Q4 Start

April 13 - ACT Pretest - Juniors

April 19 - ACT Test & MCA Reading Test & Acuplacer Test

*JUMP DAY for non-testers*

Apr 24 - MCA Math Test - Juniors & MCA Science Test

*JUMP DAY for non-testers*

Apr 25 - Conferences

April 28 - JUMP DAY

May 12 - JUMP DAY

May 26 - JUMP DAY

May 24 - Epic Breakfast Challenge

May 30 - All School Picnic @ lakefront

June 1 - Senior Recognition Banquet

June 6th - JUMP DAY

June 7th - JUMP DAY - Early Release

June 8 - Q4 End & early Release & JUMP DAY

June 9- Commencement

Bridges Students!!

Quarter 3 Bridges Graduates!

Quarter 4 Off to a Great Start!

JUMP DAY student collaboration

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School gathering

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Former Bridges Grads Checking In!

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STRIVE (PL Rotary & Bridges ALC Mentor Program) having a great year at Bridges!

Bridges Guidance Counselor - Jenny Bauer

Ms. Bauer, Bridges ALC Guidance Counselor, has been a great addition to our team this year! She is working individually with our students to provide academic and social support, track credit requirements, and guide students with resources and information about post-graduation options. We are excited about the increased collaboration with student support staff this year.

Summer School June 19th to July 14th - Summer Independent Study June 19th to August 18th

Summer school registration and summer independent study is now open for registration. All summer classes will be held at Bridges ALC. Students and parents can register by clicking on the link below. Both summer school and summer independent study will begin Monday, June 19th. Summer school ends Friday, July 14th with no class July 3rd and July 4th. There will be three class sessions. Summer independent study ends Friday August 18th. If your student is currently enrolled in other credit recovery (Independent Study during the school year) your student can still register for summer school. If you have questions about the summer programs at Bridges ALC, please contact me.

Students will be able to make up one quarter class each class session during summer school. One quarter class is equivalent to .75 credits. Students needing to make up a quarter class (.75 credits) should register for one session, students needing 1.5 credits (a semester or two quarter classes) should register for two class sessions and students needing 2.25 credits should register for all three class sessions. 1 summer school session = 1 quarter class = 0.75 credits. 1 summer independent study class = 1 quarter class = 0.75 credits.

All students enrolled in summer school classes as well as parent(s)/guardian(s) must read and sign the summer school handbook. The summer school handbook must be returned to Denise Schmidt, Bridges ALC secretary, no later than the first day of summer school.

Please note that the majority of summer school classes will be delivered through an online learning environment (Plato). Please reference the summer school quick reference guide and/or the summer independent study quick reference guide for detailed information on both summer options.

See Our Webpage for More Info!

Summer School & Summer Independent Study Registration Link (Click Here)

Bridges ALC End of Year All School Events

Epic Breakfast Challenge - May 24th!

Mr. Brown has NEVER LOST this challenge to make the best breakfast for the school! This year Mr. Lawson and Mr. Martin will once again try to receive this illustrious title!!

All School Picnic - May 30th

Each year we as a school community enjoy a day at Lakefront park to celebrate the success and the journey of the ending school year. Plus, we have an epic game of staff vs. student kickball!
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Senior Recognition Banquet! - June 1st @ 530pm

The event of the year! This is a great night as we recognize our seniors!!
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Commencement - June 9th @ 730pm

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