Bridges Area Learning Center

Weekly Reflections

Dear Team,

"Chance favors the connected mind." This was a quote from Dr. Scott Mcleod (@mcleod) during my and Ms. Nelson's time at the most recent meeting for the district's Innovative Academy. During the day we spent time together along with other professionals from each building and across the district working to move forward with practices to best help our students be future ready. It was an great day processing what we do and what we can be doing. The day's theme was connecting and collaborating. Im excited that Ms. Nelson and I will be reviewing with you some of the big ideas that we covered at the academy during our in-service day, January 18th. One item that I wanted to emphasize now, especially with Winter break almost upon us, is the importance of being connected professionally. Connections as educational professional are so very important. We know that the educational landscape changes and seems to be changing faster and faster. These connections help us stay current on the best methodologies, information on learning and at-risk learners, ways to get ideas for the classroom or our work areas as well as many, many additional pieces of information to help us both stay current and grow as professionals. Education is about learning and we as the leaders should be modeling learning in our lives. I encourage you to take some time now that we will be moving into our break to increase your connectedness to take advantage of all that is out there.

Also, this will be my last publication until after break. Something seems a bit odd with weather in the upper 30's to mid 40's! I continue to see you do so well in providing warm and welcoming learning environments for your students so they know that despite the obstacles in their lives outside of school there will be no barriers in school. It is so nice to be a part of a team that both operates so well in their individual areas as well as perform so effectively as a team. I hope that you are able to get some well deserved rest and relaxation during our break. Enjoy your time off!

Warm Regards,


Ms. Nelson contemplating all the possibilities during the Innovative Academy

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Bridges Full - Waiting List Established!!

Bridges currently is a maximum student capacity with about 100 students currently enrolled! As a result, there is currently a waiting list established. Students/parents looking to enroll at Bridges can meet with me and will be accepted based on openings.

Week at a Glance

  • Student Intake Meeting (am)
  • Mr. Brown @ DSC (admin meeting - am)
  • All School Meeting @ 11:30
  • Mr. Brown out (military duty - Mr. Wygant in)
  • STRIVE holiday lunch @ Fong's. Bus leaves @11:30 and returns around @1230
  • Mr. Brown out (military duty - Mr. Wygant in)
  • Mr. Brown out (military duty - Mr. Wygant in)
  • Movie Field Trip (10:30am - 2:00pm) Work Friday time prior
  • Work Friday
  • Last day before break
  • Mr. Brown out (vacation)

Teacher Corner: Mr. Martin - Math & FABLAB

When I first heard we would possibly be acquiring the room adjacent to mine I was thrilled, and then it became a reality. I very much appreciate that our district understands and meets our needs as a school, and additional space is very much in need.

The new space is divided into two rooms, each roughly half the size of our current classrooms, and this much needed space will alleviate the growth we’ve seen in recent years. I remember checking out the new rooms immediately after we got the word it would be ours, and seeing it in disarray from the previous tenants. It’s great to see how far it’s come and how much work our kind maintenance workers have put into it.

I’m most excited that our PLATO lab will be gaining a larger, dedicated room, and it should provide a much more comfortable learning space for our students. In addition to that, we will be providing a dedicated room to our new teacher Alexius Serefeas, which gives her a place to call home.

Overall this is a wonderful addition to our program and I look forward to seeing how else our school will expand in the future.

Senior - Ashley Williams

Throughout my 12 years of schooling, I've been to 9 different schools, and 3 different high schools. I can honestly say that Bridges ALC is THE best, and most effective school I have ever attended. Not only is the staff caring and curious about their students' lives, the curriculum is real-world applicable, and fun to learn! I love attending Bridges ALC!

Congrats to Erica Olson!! November Student of the Month!

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From the student support team: Erik Elsberry - Therapist

As we all know, this time of year can be very difficult for many students and families. While some take comfort in the reunifying and joining with family and friends, others experience or re-experience loss and heartbreak which can influence a down fall in their relationships and every day functioning. Those downfalls can be especially severe when people have existing mental health concerns. As educators who interact with students on a daily basis, it is important to have a basic understanding of how these students may present and what you as an educator can do about it. Often times, school environments can be hectic and chaotic, which can make it difficult to identify changes in students. It can also be discouraging to feel helpless in now being sure how to intervene with these students. To cast a little light over the subject, I will outline a few changes/behaviors to look for, as well as some interventions that may be helpful.

Firstly, any drastic changes in behavior are worth taking note of. Other things of concern can include: increased irritability, increased isolation, perseverating on negative thoughts, negative self-talk, rapid weight gain or loss, changes in appetite, changes in school attendance, changes in sleep and loss of interest in typically high interest activities. Depression and other mental health concerns can present in all sorts of ways, but these are some general ones that commonly occur.

What to do? Most importantly, talk to the student. You don’t have to pry or figure out their life story, but often when people are experiencing these things, it is accompanied by isolation. Even as a therapist, one of the most powerful tools is to simply validate and be present. None of us can simply take away the pain or hurt of another. Other steps to take include speaking with parents (be careful not to violate the student’s trust here), or speak with the resident counselor. If you find yourself in a crisis situation with no mental health professionals around, there are 24 hour crisis hotlines where a mental health professional can assess the student, and even come on site if needed. For Scott/Carver Counties, that number is 952.442.7601. Other counties will typically have their crisis numbers readily available on their website. If you feel that a student is in more of an immediately risky situation, do not hesitate to call 911. Dispatchers, first responders and other emergency personnel are accustomed to responding to mental health emergencies, and they’ll be able to direct the next steps to take. This can seem like a drastic step to take, but it is always better to be on the safe side. If you are acting out of good will, there should be no liability or negative consequences of taking this step.

This may not be the most uplifting piece to read around the holiday season, but unfortunately there is the reality that many people suffer this time of year. I hope some of this was helpful, and wish all a happy and healthy holiday season.

Erik Elsberry, MA, LAMFT

Therapist, Scott County Mental Health Center

Bridges Happenings!

Brando Working Hard on a Work Friday with Izzy

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Mr. Lawson has heat! A new heating unit installed!

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Mr. Cory Callahan joining the Bridges Team as our paraprofessional! Welcome Mr. Callahan!

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PD Points

Simon Sinek

A community is a group of people who agree to grow together.


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