Bridges Area Learning Center
Quarter 1 Community Newsletter
School During A Pandemic
Dear Bridges families and friends
Welcome to the school year and to our beautiful, new school here at Bridges. Opening a school year during a pandemic with unprecedented changes to operations, teaching, learning and general school life has been a challenge to say the least. Our team along with our district partners spent a great deal time this past Summer readying for the start of the school year that will look profoundly different than what we are used to. I am happy to report that our first month of school has gone very well. Our staff and students have implemented our COVID safety protocols and procedures very well and have settled into the many new requirements which are in place. Our teachers, custodial and support staff have done monumental work ensuring that our school is an engaging and safe place for students to learn and progress towards graduation. Additionally, teachers are concurrently running class for students that are distance learning as well as our students that are attending in person.
Furthermore, we have changed the way we deliver education to a project based learning model (PBL). PBL emphasises student choice and agency in a project development process focusing on what students need to progress towards graduation by meeting needed content standards in ways that they would like to demonstrate their learning. This change is a result of two years of planning and studying this model with our partner - EdVisions. In this time we have looked at models of PBL, conducting site visits and planned for this shift which offers a more effective personalized experience for students at school. We have always provided a more personalized experience here at Bridges to meet our students' needs. Now, our system is better aligned to support that work.
The theme of PLSAS this school year is We Are PLSAS Voices. This theme serves to remind us that we listen to student voices and voices of all stakeholders. These voices are a crucial component of our work and culture. PLSAS voices played a major role in our system shift to PBL. Our feedback as we initiated some work last Spring and through the work this past summer was that our school community was ready for PBL and it will offer a better experience for our school community.
Now, we are already into our second month of the school year - the beautiful month of October. Working with students again has been absolutely wonderful. We are committed to providing a school that strengthens connections, supports students progress towards graduation, engages students and has strong healthy and safety protocols.
Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools Mission - to educate all learners to reach their full potential as contributing and productive members of our ever changing global community.
What is Bridges like? See below!!
We are so happy to have students return to our beautiful building!
PLSAS Ready to Learn Plan and COVID-19 School Info
Bridges Hybrid Operations
- In-Person classes Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri
- Daily concurrent Distant and In-Person Classes
- Wednesday's are standing JUMP DAYs
- In-Person students are at-home learning
- Focus for 1:1 and other distance learning support
- In-Person available for students needing more direct teacher/staff support
Students taking a mask break
Bridges was among the first schools in the state to welcome back students this past Summer for Summer Programing! Several students were able to finish graduation requirements and earn their PLHS diploma!
Custodian Appreciation Day was Friday, October 2nd. We are so grateful for our fabulous custodian, Ted, maintaining and keeping our new building beautiful!
Melissa Olson and David Brown presented about Bridges transformational journey from our start in 2009 to the opening of our beautiful new school last year at the state conference of Minnesota Approved Alternative Programs (MAAP) last February
Jim Sporleder - Principal Featured in Paper Tigers was a keynote speaker at the MAAP conference
Bridges first day of school, Sept 8 2014, opening our 5th year
Approaching the one year anniversary of our Grand Opening - Oct 21, 2019!
Bridges was awarded the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International Certificate of Appreciate in 2019
The award is presented to individuals or organizations that embody the spirit of Rotary and service above self through their daily and special activities in our community, region, nation or world.
Class @ Bridges
Many graduates have stopped by to check in and see the new school!
Teacher Corner: Alexius Serefeas, English and Biology
There’s no doubt it has been a strange, tumultuous year. 2020 has affected each one of us, making us reconsider things that used to seem certain. Returning to school has been no different, with changes abounding at Bridges ALC. Sadly, there were none of the usual hugs and high fives as students returned to school in the age of COVID -- but even in the face of uncertainty, we have seen incredible resilience of spirit. Staying at arm’s length only applies to the physical, as our Bridges family return to our beautiful building with excitement and enthusiasm, ready to start a new year regardless of the bumps in the road ahead.
In the face of many negatives in the outside world, we have made a major positive change here at Bridges by making the shift to Project-Based Learning, which gives students more responsibility for and command over their own learning. The premise of PBL is that students select a topic they are interested in, and teachers give them guidance on how their topic connects to different subjects and academic standards. This approach increases student engagement, while also giving them a lens to practice the skills and gain the knowledge they need. A student studying music engineering and production works with our math teacher to understand what formulas that govern sound manipulation software. A project on mental health includes a polished but earnest personal narrative as the final piece for an English credit. A student builds an aquarium from scratch, and studies the different species that can form a contained aquatic ecosystem for Biology.
Allowing students to learn by studying subjects that they choose pushes them to take control of their own education and sets them on the path to being adults who are independent problem-solvers. In addition, by sharing and discussing projects with each other, students are truly able to experience the ways that their learning extends beyond the classroom. In a world facing complex problems, teaching students to be innovative, driven thinkers ensures that they will be ready to face the challenges that await them -- and hopefully, to find solutions that improve the world around them.
Graduation 2020 - Celebration despite a Pandemic
PL Rotary to sponser STRIVE @ Bridges ALC for 11th consecutive year!
STRIVE (an acronym for “Students Taking a Renewed Interest in the Value of Education”) is a Prior Lake Rotary program that helps Bridges students set and attain goals with the ultimate goal being earning a Prior Lake High School diploma! The program pairs students with an adult Rotarian or person in our community allowing mentorship to occur.
We have been doing STRIVE for 11 years and with our new space we can accommodate more students! Prior Lake Rotary sponsors the STRIVE program with Bridges and provides catered lunch from The Pointe in Prior Lake and a mentor to call their own. For successful participation in the program (missing two or less meetings and consistent participation) students are awarded an attendance scholarship, and a $500.00 - $750.00 scholarship to a post-secondary school of their choice. If a student is going into the military, a $500.00-$750.00 check is given to them upon graduation.
The days we meet with our students, the entire school is buzzing with activity. The mentors are chatting, the students are full of energy, and food (frequently pizza) is creating a delectable aroma that fills us with anticipation. As we get into our positions to converse, it sometimes is so loud it’s difficult to hear one another. As we begin our program this year in our new space, we not only have more of it, but we also have places where more private conversations can happen. This program is very successful, many students graduate, and several of them earn scholarships. As we look to the future, I see the program growing and expanding with more interest and participation. We are looking forward to the new scholastic year!
Dr. Cindy Shepard
Schedule a conference this quarter!
Your student's progress is always available through Infinite Campus, Schoology and Plato. Please be frequently checking in and connecting with your student and us!
Student Reflection - Arian
My name is Arian and I am a senior in high school. I recently transferred to Bridges Area Learning Center. I transferred because at my current state, I would be unable to graduate high school normally. I chose to go to Bridges because they were capable of supporting me in a way where I can graduate on time. At first, I preferred to have stayed at my previous school rather than be here in Bridges, as it can be difficult to adapt to new environments. During my first week, I talked to Mr. Lawson (social studies teacher), who is also present when in Summer School. Another person I talked to was the principal, Mr. Brown. Not only did these two help me understand how Bridges is different, they were also very helpful in guiding me on the right path and answering any questions I may have had. By the second week, I had a decent grasp on what was expected of me, and what I had to do. I especially love that the school features pretty high quality food! A big difference between Bridges and PLHS is how you can work. You have the flexibility of choosing to work wherever you want to, as long as the teacher knows where you are, and I can be there as long as it works for me. This is possible because Bridges is way smaller, and they can easily talk to you if they need something from you. Overall, as I got used to Bridges, I found it a pretty enjoyable day to day place! Both teachers and students are very nice and respectful when talking to each other.
Bridges Students of the Month
Congrats to Ms. Jenkins, Bridges 2018-19 Teacher of the Year and Ms. Nelson, Educator of Excellence nominee!
Bridges In The News
Bridges Staff and Contact Information
Andrew Martin - Teacher (Math, FABLAB, Projects)
Independent Study is held Monday & Wednesday from 3:30pm to 6:00pm
Student Support Staff
From the Student Support Team: Doug Revsbeck, Guidance Counselor
Greetings Bridges students and families!
I want begin by thanking you for all that you are doing to support your child’s personal, academic and career growth and development. I am especially grateful for all that you a doing to support them during these uncertain times. It is my goal that we work together to ensure that they are accelerating in their learning as we help them create pathways for success.
As I begin my second year as your half-time counselor at Bridges, I would like to offer an important suggestion. Please speak with your child about making it a common practice to check in with me regarding both academic planning and their future planning! Even if it is for a weekly academic “check-in” to review their Continual Learning Plan, plan for classes, or check on grades!
Many students will have important timelines and deadlines that require action planning, especially our seniors. Common topics I will have with students include but are not limited to:
What classes do I need to graduate?
What classes will best help me prepare for the career pathway I am interested in?
How to learn about career trade programs and Technical colleges?
When should I take the ACT and how can I apply?
How do I complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form (FAFSA)?
What Scholarships are available and how can I apply?
How do I apply for Post-Secondary Options Program (PSEO)? What is the Eligibility criteria?
1. Remember the importance of making attendance a TOP priority at Bridges. Daily class attendance is critical to student success.
2. For our Distant Learners; Please make it a routine for making daily contact with teachers and please feel free to reach out to our support staff regularly! Know that all staff are here to ensure that you are successful at Bridges. Ask questions! All Bridges staff are here to help!
Thank you for all that you do to support your child in their learning journey here at Bridges. Please feel free to contact me at any time if you have any questions or to simply check in on how your child is progressing in their learning. As a reminder, I am working at Bridges half-time and I am mostly at school on Tuesdays through Thursdays. I can be reached by email at drevsbeck@Priorlake-savage.k12.mn.us or by phone at 952-226-0846.
Bridges ALC Independent Study
Here at Bridges we offer a flexible online based program to support students in need of credit recovery. After a student determines the credit need (usually through the student's guidance counselor), simply register online, complete needed forms, bring them in to Bridges ALC and meet with the independent study teacher, Mr. Lawson, and they are ready to go within minutes. Each student is enrolled in a class through a web browser based program called PLATO. The program runs October 1st through May 19th, 2020.
Each class a student signs up for requires a total of 10 hours of seat time here at Bridges and/or PLHS, and this can be done after school on Mondays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m @ PLHS and @ Bridges Tuesday through Thursday from 3:30 to 5:30pm. 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.
More information and online registration can be found on our webpage:
If you have questions please feel free to reach out to our Independent Study Coordinator:
David Lawson: firstname.lastname@example.org