Bridges Area Learning Center

Quarter 3 Community Newsletter

Greetings Bridges Community,

Welcome to Quarter 3!!

We start the quarter with over 100 students and welcome over a dozen new students to the program! Our work at Bridges ALC is to re-define students' educational journey in order for them to successfully progress towards earning their PLHS diploma for post-secondary education or gainful employment. So far this year we have graduated several students and are looking forward to awarding many more PLHS diplomas upon students meeting graduation requirements.

As we enter this time of the year it can be difficult for some as the Winter is still upon us, days are still shorter and we have a good deal of time before Spring break. Here at Bridges we are fortunate to have BOTH a quality teaching staff and a highly effective student support team. We know there is a relationship between academic success and social/emotional success. At Bridges we strive to meet students' needs where they are at in both areas and support their growth.

I think of this quarter as the calm before the business which is quarter 4. There are not a lot of big things going on during this time. Quarter 4, however, is the exact opposite in that there are MANY big events going on - state testing, senior recognition banquet, all school picnic, commencement to name just a few!!

Also, now is the time to look closely at graduation projections. Many students need to complete some online classes through independent study (more info below) in order to get to that finish line where graduation standards have been met and a PLHS diploma can be issued. As a result, increased focus on daily classes, taking advantage of our JUMP DAYS (more info below) and getting done with any independent study classes are more important than ever. I know that June is still months away but it will be here before we know it!!

Warm Regards,

David Brown

Bridges ALC Coordinator



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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.

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

Last Year's Banquet - Spectacular Evening!

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Congrats to Bridges ALC Teacher of the Year - Melissa Olson!

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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.

Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment

Schools have a legal obligation to offer open enrollment where space is available. Currently this year we have 1,023 students open enrolling into the district and 717 resident students leaving our district for a net gain of 306 open enrolled students or 3.6% of K-12 open enrolled students.

It is important to know 3 things about open enrollment in our schools. Open enrollment helps us:

· Balance class sizes

· Staff our schools efficiently

· Maintain financial balance to maintain programming

As a short-term solution to help ease crowding in our schools, PLSAS has limited open enrollment to 1% for grades K-12 for the remainder of 2016-17 through the 2017-18 school year. For more information about open enrollment, click here.

Resident Enrollment

Our district’s space needs are primarily due to resident student enrollment growth. Our district is expecting 850 resident students entering our schools over the next five years. As a result, a long-term facilities planning process is underway to research options for our space needs. You can follow the work of the Facilities Task Force here.

As we move forward, there will be opportunities for the community to provide input on solutions for long-term facilities planning. Our district is in a time of unprecedented enrollment growth and the space needs in our district are very real. I encourage you to become engaged in the planning process and the work of the Facilities Task Force.

Bridges September Student of the Month - Jacob

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

Bridges October Student of the Month - 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.

Bridges November Student of the Month - Josey

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

Bridges Decemeber Student of the Month - Emma

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From her teachers - Emma is reliable and offers guidance to my students when needed.

Bridges January Student of the Month - Matt

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From his teachers - Matt has worked hard in class and is a gentleman

Teacher Corner: Alexius Serefeas

Belonging at Bridges

What are students looking for? Teenagers - young adults, really - have many different needs. The need to be support by adults in their life. The need for acceptance and belonging with the peers. The need for self-discovery and personal growth. The need for structure, and stability. The developing need for direction and purpose, for a goal to strive for beyond just the completion of assigned tasks. Young men and women have many needs - but perhaps the most important is having a safe place where those needs can be met.

Bridges ALC is home to a diverse population of students, who come here for a wide range of reasons. Some come here to get a second chance, or a fresh start. Some are here for the smaller class sizes, the individual attention and support from teacher and staff. Some are here for the calmer atmosphere. But most of all, our students are here for acceptance.

At Bridges, no one is an outcast. No matter where you came from or why you are here, there is a place for everyone at this school. All of or students have experienced struggles in their lives, and all of them have known the feeling of being outside looking in. In the past, this experience made them feel isolated, but here it is the basis for solidarity and friendship. Because they have all gone through this experience, our students are more accepting, better able to empathize with some of the struggles that their peers are going through. Having a peer group that understand little things, like having a really difficult day or needing to get away for a moment, changes those experiences from something potentially embarrassing or divisive into something bonding.

Students who have not thrive anywhere else, flourish here. There is affirmation of the atypical among students at Bridges, an ability to feel for others without judgement. Every student has arrived here by a path that is somewhat different from the mainstream. That is one of the reasons they fit in here - because they embrace that difference together, and celebrate being with others who have gone through those trials as well. For many of our students, coming to Bridges means being with peers who get it, who get them - it’s a kind of coming home.

Students from all walks of life have found their place at Bridges. In an environment where there is less pressure to look or act a certain way, students are able to feel comfortable, to focus. And once they are able to focus - to truly be engaged in school, without all the stress and anxiety of feeling like an outsider - they excel. Bridges students succeed because, sometime for the first time, they find what they need in a school. And what students really need is a place to belong.

JUMP DAY 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 JUMP DAYS where students can jump ahead with their grades, academic skills and attendance. During JUMP DAYS we pause regularly scheduled classes and switch to a block schedule. 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 removed absences at the end of the quarter.

If a student is progressing well and there are no issues with attendance they may earn a Golden Pass allowing their attendance on these days to be optional.

JUMP DAYS usually happen every other Friday (twice a month). Sometimes, however, they do not land on a Friday.


  • Feb 10th & 24th

  • Mar 10th

  • Apr 5th & 6th

Quarter 3 Significant Dates

Jan 30 - Q3 Start

Feb 10 - JUMP DAY

Feb 20 - No Classes

Feb 23 - Conferences: 5pm to 8pm

March 10 - JUMP DAY

March 13 - 17 - SPRING BREAK

April 5 - JUMP DAY

April 6 - JUMP DAY/Early Release - Last Day of 3

Jan 10 - Q4 Start

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 Tuesday's 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)

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: Ann Collins, Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor

Adolescent Substance Abuse

The teenage years are times of pushing boundaries, taking risks, and learning through experience. When alcohol and other drugs are in the mix, risk taking can bring increasingly dangerous and potentially irreversible consequences, including psychological and emotional damage as well as a greater likelihood of developing addiction later in life.

Adolescents are especially vulnerable to the harmful and lasting effects of alcohol and other drugs for many reasons.

The teen brain is not fully mature. Development of the brain’s prefrontal cortex – the center for logical thought, judgment, and higher order decision making - continues until a person reaches their early to mid-20s. Use of alcohol and drugs can alter or impair healthy brain development.

Substance use increases the likelihood of other risky behaviors. Teens think that nothing bad will happen to them and prone to impulsive behaviors. They focus less on consequences and long term effects of their behaviors and more on immediate gratification. Alcohol and drug use interferes and impairs their capacities for logical thinking and impulse control.

Substance use threatens emotional development. We learn to delay gratification through practice and experience. We have to study to do well on a test, we have to show up on time and do our job to receive a pay check, etc. Making small efforts on a daily basis lead to long term benefits. Drugs and alcohol are a short cut to feel good without putting in any effort therefore providing instant gratification that they will start to rely on.

Substance use at a young age is a risk factor for addiction. It is well established that regular use of alcohol or other drugs during the teenage years increases the likelihood of developing a substance use disorder. Substance use in adolescence is also associated with negative consequences such as increased medical and mental health problems, discipline problems at school, absences from school, unintentional injury and even death.

If you have concerns or questions please feel free to contact me. I am at Bridges every Monday and Tuesday and at the high school the rest of the week. Parenting is tough job and the teenage years can be some of most difficult. We understand and are here to help, so please reach out to us!

Thank you,

Ann Collins, LADC

Quarter 3 Conferences!

Thursday, Feb. 23rd, 5-8pm

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!

Recently @ Bridges

Quarter 3 Off to a Great Start!

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All School Lunch

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Mr. Lawson's Global Class

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Ms. Nelson's Art Class

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Ms. Olson's Communications Class

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Ms. Serefeas's Bio Class

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Student presentations

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Students enjoying some down time

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Former Bridges Grads Checking In!

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

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Bridges Alum returning to Check in !

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 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.

For more info or to register your student please contact Mr. Martin, Bridges ALC Independent Study Coordinator.

Summer School June 19th to July 14th

Summer school registration will be available in the first week of May. All classes will be held at Bridges ALC.

Summer School will begin Monday, June 20th and end Friday, July 15th with no class July 4th and July 5th. There will be three sessions (see below). Also listed below is a list of the credits your student needs. If your student is currently enrolled in other credit recovery (After School Program or Independent Study) your student can still register for summer school. If you have questions about credits, please contact me.

Students will be able to make up one quarter class each session. 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 (or a semester) should register for two sessions and students needing 2.25 credits should register for all three sessions. 1 summer school session = 1 quarter class = 0.75 credits.

Please note that the majority of summer school classes will be delivered through the an online learning environment (Plato). Students will still need to attend summer school classes at Bridges ALC and adhere to the summer school attendance policy.

Graduation Highlights @ Bridges ALC

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