Bridges Area Learning Center

Quarter 2 Community Newsletter

Taking the Distance out of Distance Learning

Dear Bridges families and friends

Quarter 2 has seen our district (and most MN districts) shift to distance learning due to increased COVID-19 infection rates during the month of November. Here at Bridges we know the critical roles our teachers and staff play in our students education and overall wellness. As a result, we have worked to provide a weekly structure that allows opportunities to continue to come to Bridges as well as work in a distance learning model to provide mitigation for COVID-19.

Weekly Schedule

We have structured the week in two parts:

  • Optional In-Person days with classes that are asynchronous - Monday & Wednesday
  • Distance Learning Days with synchronous classes - Tuesday, Thursday & Friday

Optional In-Person days - Monday & Wednesday

These days allow students to come into the building and work with teachers as well as our student support staff as needed. Coming in is optional and not required. Classes these days are asynchronous meaning to be done on your own. Teachers will have class instructions and a schedule in their Schoology page for students to work on their own.

We also call these asynchronous days. This means that students conduct their learning and work on their own without a live teacher working in tandem with the student. To do this work and learning students should access their teacher classes in Schoology, PBL work in Headrush and/or online classes in Edmentum.

Distance Learning Days - Tuesday, Thursday and Friday

These days are done outside of Bridges (at home). A key component of these days are the video classes or Google Meets conducted throughout the day. Bridges have five blocks (or periods). Each Block requirement is below:

Block 1 (8:10am-9:20am) - Asynchronous without live teaching

Block 2 (9:20am-10:10am) - Synchronous/Live teaching through Google Meet - 9:20am

Block 3 (10:10am-11am) - Synchronous/Live teaching through Google Meet - 10:10am

Block 4 (11am-11:50am) - Synchronous/Live teaching through Google Meet - 11am

Block 5 (12:20pm-2:50pm) - Office Hours with an advisor through Google Meet - 12:30pm

Student Support

We know that the effects of the pandemic on our students and families have been hard. As a result, our full support staff are in both Mondays and Wednesdays. During distance learning days there is regular scheduled time to be meeting with students and provide needed support. Additional, we publish a survey each week that our student support team reviews regarding meeting requests and student needs.

Meals and Transportation

As of now, the US Department of Agriculture continues to provide free meals to students. This includes breakfast and lunch. If getting to school is a barrier the district can help. If transportation is needed please call Jennifer Powers, School Secretary, @ 952-226-0840.

Taking the Distance out of Distance Learning

We know the value of students being in school and working with our fabulous teachers and support staff. Bridges is open five days a week and our teachers and staff are accessible every day either in person or through a video link. It is key during this time that students stay engage and connected. The effectiveness of Bridges has always been the engagement, empathy and competency of our staff which is needed now more than ever. I know that things are challenging and difficult. We are all still here to provide the support, education, connection and guidance to accomplish our mission to educate all learners to reach their full potential in our ever-changing global community.

Warm Regards,

Dave Brown



Big picture

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.

Big picture

Bridges Q2 Weekly Schedule

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Winter Break

Winter Break is December 23 through January 1st. Bridges will be closed during this time.

Bridges Students Supported by PL Rotary!

ALL Bridges students will receive gift cards from PL Rotary to bring some cheer for Winter Break.

Fill out the form below to get your gift cards!!

Bridges Winter Cheer

Your Feedback is Needed

Please take a few moments to complete the below survey on how Quarter 2 is going. Your feedback is valuable to ensure we are working to best meet the needs of Bridges students and families!

Q2 Bridges Stakeholder Feedback

Bridges Graduation Information

SENIORS!! Be sure to be checking in the Bridges Graduation Info Schoology Page for important announcements and info about graduation!! Parents and Guardians can access this page too.

See Ms. Powers for access info - 952-226-0840.

What is Bridges like? See below!!

Bridges Area Learning Center- Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools

Taking the Distance out of Distance Learning

Students are able to come in and work with teachers and support staff Monday's and Friday's

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

PLSAS Ready to Learn Plan and COVID-19 School Info

Congrats to this year's grads (so far!!)

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Bridges Past - 2017. Students and staff getting ready for Winter Break

STRIVE group returning from a luncheon

Big picture

Mr. Lawson and students happy about a donation of gift bags

Big picture

Now in 2020 with COVID procedures in place this year was more one-on-one

Big picture

October Student of the Month, Alicia, Created Beautiful Art for Ms. Powers

Big picture

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.

Q1 Class @ Bridges

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Many graduates have stopped by to check in and see the new school!

Big picture

Teacher Corner: David Lawson, Social Studies and Independent Study

We’re heading into the winter months in 2020, this strangest of years.

Nobody asked for this. Nobody expected this. But here we are.

Distance Learning is our jam until a vaccine drops and the all-clear is sounded.

So how do we do our best work and press ahead under the circumstances?

Here’s what Bridges students have told me works:

  • Establish a comfortable learning space for schoolwork. Study near a window, if possible.

  • Even though we’re meeting and working online, get dressed just like any other school day. The act of getting ready for the day helps you feel more alert and present.

  • Set up a daily schedule based on the Bridges Q2 Schedule and your own schedule. A planner helps.

  • Establish a routine. Shoot for a reasonable bedtime. Get up early enough to wake up. Make a smoothie.

  • Stay engaged and reach out. Contribute to class discussions. Social interactions are more important than ever.

  • Connect with your classmates. Pretend it’s 2009 and talk on the phone.

  • Reach out to your teachers. Ask for help or just catch up with a little chit-chat.

  • Keep an eye on the big goal. Every class completed is another credit toward the magic 63 and graduation.

Know that your Bridges teachers and staff want you to succeed and will support you however we can, even from a distance.

Stay safe and keep in touch.


Graduation 2020 - Celebration despite a Pandemic

Big picture
2020 Prior Lake-Savage American Indian Education Graduates

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


PL Rotarian

Big picture

STRIVE Taking the Distance out of Distance Learning

Big picture

Amber connecting with her mentor.

Big picture

Several Mentors enjoying lunch with their students

Big picture

PL Mayor Briggs and his mentee enjoying lunch

2020-2021 Mentor share outs

The power of STRIVE is apparent with my student. She just almost ‘pours’ out her heart when we get together. I know she looks forward to it and it makes both our days. I am taking driving from time to time to help her so she can get her license. She is a wonderful person. I love this program.

--Pam Kraska

Re/Max Preferred

We try to stay focused on the positive things in life and around us. He has been really concentrating on his school work and finishing strong. We as STRIVE leadership plan to continue the program as "Normal" as possible with all of the extra curricular activities that we have done in the past. Let's all be thankful for our health and family at this time.

--Manny Perez

JMLM Restaurants Inc

This is my first year and if all future years are like this, I think you have me hook, line & sinker Prior Lake style. My student is an extraordinary young lady that has found not only what it takes to succeed, but also the hard work and perseverance to accomplish the hard work. She also has a passion to serve as she takes care of her Grandmother through these very trying times. I’ve been about empowering and encouraging her to search for the who she will become in the future. At the same time, she has encouraged me to see who I am today. Seriously great mentorship. I can honestly say that we both seem to encourage each other to succeed and drive towards our NOW NORMAL & Future goals. I thought STRIVE was for the student, if so, I guess that I’m the student. Thanks Bridges and PL Rotary!

--Mark Braaten

Prior Lake Neighbors

I've been impressed by the work that Bridges has continued to do for its students. My mentee has said several times how grateful he is for Bridges. Previously he felt as if he was drowning in school work and didn't feel supported. Since going to Bridges, he has felt significant support and gained confidence that is clearly provided by the staff and teachers of Bridges ALC. Thank you for all you guys do!

--Max Moser

Scott County Young Life

I am certainly enjoying my year as a Strive mentor. I am mentoring a wonderful young lady. She is smart, positive and hard working. We are having great interaction even during the pandemic. I really think being a Strive mentor helps me greatly as well. I think I am a better person and father for mentoring in the Strive program.

--Paul Hofslien

Wealth Services

This is my second year as a mentor in Strive and it has been wonderful. The relationship one develops with the student continues to grow as they learn that it is built on mutual trust. I look forward to meeting with my student as we talk about everything from family to school. I would encourage all Rotarians to give it a try. You will not be disappointed!

--Andy Zarras

Schedule a conference this quarter!

Conferences will look different this quarter due to COVID-19. Teachers are available to schedule a Google Video conference or phone conference as needed. Feel free to reach out to your student's teacher any time! Contact information can be found on our webpage - Bridges Area Learning Center.

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 Voices - 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.

Student Voices - Bella

This is my second year at bridges and overall I've had a really good experience. The teachers are super helpful and the way the school is run really fits my needs. It's really weird because in the beginning I didn't even want to be here but i've grown to love this alternative way of learning. Ive been able to work with the teachers and staff to meet my needs including credits and other academic and life revolving things. I've learned way more here at Bridges than I have or could have at a traditional high school. Quarter 2 so far has been good. Sometimes it's hard to do things all online for me so i think it's really helpful that they let me come in to do my schoolwork or talk to teachers.

Bridges Students of the Month

September - Dailyn

From her Teachers:

Fantastic job creating driving questions for her and other students Project Based Learning. Working hard in all classes. Doing great in project based learning and helping others!

October - Alicia

From her teachers:

Alicia is dedicated and hard working student. She always has a smile and helpful to staff and students. Alicia continues to blow me away with her great attitude and always proactively asking what she can work on next!

November - Lauren

From her teachers:

Amazing work, always gives her best effort. Positive attitude & engaged learner!

Hard worker, respectful, positive attitude, always willing to help others with a smile

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

Teaching Staff

Melissa Olson - Teacher (Language Arts)

Tuesday, Thursday, Friday / 9:20am, 10:10am, 11am & 12:30pm

Mon, Wed / by appointment

Andrew Martin - Teacher (Math, FABLAB, Projects)

Tuesday, Thursday, Friday / 9:20am, 10:10am, 11am & 12:30pm

Mon, Wed / by appointment

David Lawson - Teacher (Social Studies & Independent Studies Coordinator)

Tuesday, Thursday, Friday / 9:20am, 10:10am, 11am & 12:30pm

Mon, Wed / by appointment

Independent Study:

Independent Study is an opportunity for students to take additional classes if needed. Students are assigned edmentum 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 - Thursday.

Chris Nelson - Teacher (Art, Phy Ed)

Tuesday, Thursday, Friday / 9:20am, 10:10am, 11am & 12:30pm

Mon, Wed / by appointment

Candi Jenkins - Teacher (SPED)

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday / 8:40am, 9:40, 11am & 12:20pm, 1:10pm

Wed / by appointment

Alexius Serefeas - Teacher (Language Arts, Science, Work Program)

Tuesday, Thursday, Friday / 9:20am, 10:10am, 11am & 12:30pm

Mon, Wed / by appointment

Student Support Staff

Jennifer Powers - Bridges Secretary

Please contact Jenniferfor attendance, general information and access to student grades/attendance through Infinite Campus (PLSAS student information system).

Erik Elsberry - Therapist

Erik comes in every Friday from the Scott County Mental Health Center to provide individual and family counseling to Bridges students and families.

Ted Klotz - Custodian

Ms. Lucas - Bridges Paraeducator


I'm Ms. Lucas the Paraeducator at Bridges. You can find me in the classrooms assisting in small group instruction and one on one instruction with students. I enjoy connecting with students to build positive relationships as well as supporting our students in achieving their academic goals.

From the Student Support Team: Kevin Wagner, Social Worker

Hello Bridges families,

For those who are not familiar with me, I am the social worker at Bridges. I work with students who may be struggling with any number of barriers to success in school. Being a teenager is a stressful time in anyone’s life, and Covid has made things even more stressful. I am committed to helping as many students and/or families as I possibly can…especially during this difficult time.

In addition to being at Bridges in person on Mondays and Wednesdays until 11:00, I am also available over phone, email or google meet Monday through Friday until 11:00.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to remind everyone how to get ahold of me:

Phone: 763-226-5829 (I get texts too)


Google Meet office hours: 8:30 to 11:00 Tuesday, Thursday Friday

My schedule/availability:

Mondays: At Bridges in person until 11:00

Tuesdays: call, email, or google meet with me starting at 8:30

Wednesdays: At Bridges in person until 11:00

Thursdays: call, email, or google meet with me starting at 8:30

Fridays: call, email, or google meet with me starting at 8:30

Bridges Guidance Counselor congratulating April on her Project Based Learning Experience

Big picture

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:

Quarter 2 Ending Date - Friday Jan 29th!

A sample of the spectacular art @ Bridges

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Staff Appreciation @ Bridges ALC !!

November 30, 2019
November 30, 2019
November 30, 2019

At Bridges we work to support our students to positively progress towards earning their Prior Lake High School Diploma leading to gainful employment or post-secondary education

Big picture

Beautiful sunrise @ Bridges with a jade plant donated from the late, former PLSAS superintendent Dr. Sue Ann Gruver and cared for from our custodian Ted

Big picture