Laker Online - Middle & High School

Quarter 1 Community Newsletter

Launching a New School

Dear Laker Online families and friends

Laker Online - Year 1

It has been our pleasure working to launch a new online school this year as the newest member of Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools.

The last two years have changed the educational landscape. While there have certainly been challenges there has also been a great deal of innovation from American Educators.

Laker Online is the culmination of the innovation and learning that has occurred over the past two years. Knowing our community's families would most likely need options, our district started up the new online school this summer to meet the needs of our families during the (often changing) conditions of the pandemic.

A brief introduction

I have had the privilege of being in public education for the past 27 years. In 2009 I was asked to lead the opening of Bridges ALC in our district. I have used the lessons learned and experience during my time opening and growing Bridges in opening Laker Online.

Prior to that I had taught Chemistry, Biology and Physics at Prior Lake High School, Blaine High School and Moorhead High School. Additionally, I had the honor to be the student council advisor at Prior Lake High School and the head swimming and diving coach at both Blaine and Moorhead High Schools.

My masters degree and administration licensure is from the University of MN - Twin Cities.

My wife, Maria, is a Spanish Teacher at PLHS and is the NHS advisor. I have four beautiful daughters with my youngest in 5th grade at a Spanish Immersion School.

All In!

And now, we have opened the school year with k-12 Laker Online! My Colleague, Melissa Knettle, is the administrator for Laker Online at the elementary level. We all have learned so much over these past couple of years. These lessons and understandings have made us better as educators, students and humans.

Our district theme this year is All In. It is a testimony to the work our community collectively did last year and the amazing potential of this year.

I am truly excited to be at Laker Online and an educator working in such meaningful and important ways with our students, school, district and community. I am All In and know that my colleagues and students are as well.

Warm Regards,

Dave Brown



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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.

Technology Levy 2021

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Tech Levy Comparison to Comparable Districts

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Final Technology Video

Vote Early!

What you need to vote for the first time

  • ID with current name and address


  • Photo ID and a document with current name and address


  • Registered voter who can confirm your address

When to vote

Vote Early

All residents can vote early at the District Services Center, 4540 Tower Street SE, Prior Lake during these hours

• Monday-Friday through Oct. 25: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

• Tuesday, Oct. 26 and Wednesday, Oct. 27: 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

• Thursday, Oct. 28 and Friday Oct.29: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

• Saturday, Oct. 30: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

• Monday, Nov. 1: 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Vote Tuesday, November 2nd

To vote on Election Day, Nov. 2, go to your polling place to register and vote. Visit to find polling locations or call (952) 226-0010 with voting questions.

How does Laker Online use Tech? Technology use is and has been embedded in our work for many years and will only be more and more important:


  • Access and usage of learning management. Classroom materials.
  • Edmentum = digital curriculum used for Laker Online students.
  • Communication = significant amount of communication occurs digitally.
  • Student Information Management = grades, attendance and student information.
  • Google Meets = Teacher/Student Connection.


  • Updated digital platforms ensuring the safest digital space.


  • Wifi infrastructure to allow for school and personal device internet access
  • Student device management. Each student is allowed a school issued device.
  • Teacher station and tech support.

Laker Online Digital Platforms

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Infinite Campus - Student Information System

Google Meet - Connecting Students and Teachers

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Need Tech Help? Contact the District Help Desk

Laker Online Schedule - Middle School

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Laker Online - High School

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From the Student Support Team: Sarah Kortuem, School Councelor

Hello! My name is Sarah Kortuem and I am the *new* School Counselor at Bridges. I have been a professional school counselor since 2009; my entire career has been working at the secondary level. One of my core beliefs is that all individuals deserve to be seen, heard, understood, and valued for who they are. If you would like to learn more about my professional vision, mission, values and beliefs, please check out the attachment.

School counselors have a unique role because we work with learners, families, staff, administrators and community members. School counselors do not work in isolation; rather we are integral to the total educational program. My school counseling program is designed by identifying learner needs and developing proactive services that address learners’ academic, career, college, social/emotional, and mental health needs. I provide counseling services through school-wide initiatives, classroom lessons, small group counseling, and individual counseling. School counselors do not provide therapy or long-term counseling in schools; however, school counselors are prepared to recognize and respond to mental health needs and assist learners and families seeking resources. If you would like to learn more about the role of school counselors, check out the attached infographic.

If you or your learner have any questions, concerns, or need support, please feel free to reach out to me. I work part time and am in the office on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursday mornings. My schedule is subject to change at various times of the year. I can be reached by email at or by phone 952-226-0846. I look forward to working with you and your learner this year!


Our learners have been through an educational experience like none other over the past few years. While this year feels more normal than last, our learners are still adjusting to school during a pandemic. We have come up with a few tips that may be helpful to you and your learner.


One of the biggest challenges this year is inconsistent attendance.

We value our partnership with you and we need your help to improve your learner’s attendance.

What You Can Do

Communicate with Laker Online Staff

  • Contact your learner’s teachers and let them know how to reach you.

  • Request a schedule of classes and parent login information so you can track their progress.

  • Ask for help from Laker Online staff if you’re having trouble accessing Infinite Campus or need help with food, housing, transportation, mental health services or some other challenge.

  • Check on your learner’s attendance in Infinite Campus to make sure they are attending all of their classes.

Make School Attendance a Priority

  • Talk about the importance of showing up online every day so your learner knows this is your expectation.

  • Encourage and support your learning in maintaining daily routines, such as finishing homework and getting a good night’s sleep.

  • Avoid scheduling non-urgent dental and medical appointments during the school day.

  • Post your learner’s schedule and log in information in a visible location.

  • Identify a quiet place for your learner to do school work.

Help Your Learner Stay Engaged

  • Check in weekly with your learner about their progress and seek help from teachers, if needed.


Research shows that students cannot achieve academic success unless their personal and mental health needs are met. The pandemic has contributed to an increase in mental health struggles and highlighted the importance of addressing mental health.

During this time of increased stress and uncertainty, it is increasingly important to support your learner’s mental health and well-being.

What You Can Do

Physical Wellness

  • Encourage daily movement. It could be going to the gym, walking around the neighborhood, doing push ups in your room, anything that gets your body moving. Any kind of activity that expends physical energy is really helpful.

  • Focus on your sleep. Help your learner to improve their sleep hygiene by

  • Eat regularly. In highly stressful situations, it is common to lose appetite or forget to eat. Make sure to nourish your body with food each day.

Social/Emotional Wellness

  • Spend time together with your learner. Maybe it’s watching a movie or show together, going for a walk together, going grocery shopping. It doesn’t really matter what you do, as long as you are spending quality time together.

  • Listen to them without trying to fix it. Often when others are having a hard time, we want to jump in right away and offer a solution. Sometimes just listening and validating someone’s feelings is enough.

  • Coping with difficult emotions and thoughts. When faced with stress or uncertainty, our brains are designed to focus on warning signs of danger. This “fight or flight” response increases our heart rate and makes us feel uneasy. Help your learner to recognize unhelpful thoughts and focus on more helpful thoughts instead.

Mental Wellness

  • Try to provide structure and routine at home. A consistent schedule can help to know what to expect and adjust. Knowing how the day will go can help you get through it more easily too.

  • Make time for mental rest. Research shows that even 5 minutes each day of relaxation practice can help reduce stress, boost concentration, and improve sleep. Finding online meditations, including a body scan or loving kindness, or guided imagery can help.

  • Help your learner identify healthy coping strategies. It is normal to reach for coping strategies that provide immediate relief. However, some things that make us feel better quickly are unsafe or make us feel worse later. Help your learner recognize the ways they are coping and explore whether the strategies are truly helpful or not.

Ask for help from Laker Online staff if your learner is struggling to manage their emotional or mental health, Laker Online staff can connect your learner to services to support your learner’s mental health and well-being.

Attendance - the best way to succeed!

Attending Classes via Google Meet on all synchronous days and when needed on asynchronous days is the best step for success.

Laker Online: Differences and Similarities to Last Year's Distance Learning


  • Laker Online is a separate online school that is exclusively online only.
  • Classes are online only with no dual in-person and online delivery
  • Use Edmentum as a digital curriculum
  • Smaller program resulting in set schedules of core classes and limited electives
  • More independent


  • Students are still a Laker
  • Same calendar as PLHS and TOMS/HOMS
  • Access to same support staff as in-person peers (school counselor/social worker/administrators)

Attendance Line Open for Absences!

Please report absences to our attendance line: 952-226-0841

Fall Break

Fall Break is Oct 20 through Oct 25. Laker Online will be closed during this time.

Teacher Corner: Jacquelyn Jones; Social Studies

Hello! My name is Jacquelyn Jones and I teach Social Studies for Laker Online, at Prior Lake High School, and Hidden Oaks Middle School. I have had the privilege of working with your high school students in World Geography, Contemporary World, US History, US Government, and Economics so far, this year.

This is my second year in the Prior Lake Savage Area School District. Before getting my Master of Education from the University of Minnesota, I had a long a varied career. I started my post-secondary educational path with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Minnesota. While working on that degree I taught at the James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History and, after graduating, continued at the museum as the Interpretive Programs Coordinator. My passion for archaeology once again brought me back to school as I attended the University of Lund, Sweden in pursuit of a Master of Archaeology. After a year working on Viking age sites in southern Sweden, my education took me to the University of Aberdeen, Scotland where I completed my Master of Archaeology. While I began a PhD program combining my interest in Anthropology and Archaeology, I lived in a Native Alaskan Village (Quinhagak) and my research led me to work with the children in the village. This reignited my love of teaching and I made the difficult decision to leave the PhD program to follow the path to formal teaching. I did not leave my archaeological skills behind though, and I continue to contract with archaeology companies in Minnesota during the summer and have worked on local sites such as Fort Snelling.

I am happy to bring my life experiences to our unique virtual classroom this year. Laker Online has been an opportunity for students to learn, not only course content, but the skills to become self-motivated and independent workers. The synchronous time gives students the space to self-advocate and ask for help to fit their individual needs and the asynchronous time allows students to work at their own pace or follow along with my teacher made pacing guide. Fridays' period is reserved for student who need some extra help, sometimes this being a specific invitation by myself, other times students are free to choose to attend. Schoology has been a great platform for communication with the students outside of our synchronous time for things such as assignment reminders, requests to reset tests, and additional questions.

Thank you for sharing your students with me this year and I look forward to getting to know each of our Laker Online students better as we move forward in the year.

PLHS Year Book Info

· Yearbooks can be ordered on Prices are $75, and go up to $85 on 11/25.

· $25 fee to participate in commencement ceremony in June at PLHS, parents can pay on Affinety (located on parent portal in district website). If this is a hardship, let us know. Once paid--- Order Cap and Gown Here . See Jennifer Powers for help!

· Senior portraits and senior ads must be submitted by 1/7/2022. Go here to submit photo or purchase ad: Email here for questions:

· Senior panoramic photo will be taken on 10/28/2021in the Gold Gym at PLHS. Please arrive by 8AM. To order the photo, go to and use the code FM370158

Teaching Staff

Allison Roberts - Teacher (Elective, English)

Jacquelyn Jones Lawson - Teacher (Social Studies & Independent Studies Coordinator)

Candice Duval - Teacher (SPED)

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).

Ms. Lucas - Bridges Paraeducator


I'm Ms. Lucas the Paraeducator at Bridges and Laker Online. 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.

Im online in my google meet:

10:15am - 1045am

1pm - 1:30pm

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 4th through May 20th 2022.

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 1 Ending Date - Thursday Nov 11th

Help Needed

This school year, PLSAS Child Nutrition Services is experiencing critical staffing shortages that are negatively impacting our school meals program. We have gone to unprecedented lengths to try to fill positions, we have streamlined menus and even have district office staff volunteering in our kitchens, but our staffing shortages continue.

We are now at a point where we are asking available parents to be essential volunteers and come to select elementary and middle school kitchens where our staffing needs are greatest, to serve lunch to our students. It's a great opportunity to be in our schools and see students enjoy one of their favorite times of the day!

Dates are flexible to suit your schedule. We will provide you with the training, all the support you need AND a free lunch!

Volunteers can start immediately after completion of a successful background check. Masks are required of all kitchen staff and volunteers. The following is a Sign-Up Genius with available dates and lunch times.

Thank you for considering this volunteer opportunity!

On a personal note and in conlcusion

This will be my 27th year launching a school year and it has been among the most meaningful seeing our schools open five days a week in-person and having a full online option. We know the pandemic has affected schools and we know that we have learning a huge amount over the past two years. Seeing our lessons learned being applied has been an outstanding testimony to the value, ingenuity, resiliency and capability of American Educators. I am eagerly anticipating seeing all the learning and value that we gained from the pandemic applied to greater degrees of teaching, learning and engagement in our classes and school.

I also serve in the MN National Guard. I am a part of the 34th Infantry 'Red Bull' Division and was on active duty at the beginning of the school year as part of an exercise at Fort Riley, KS. I have the privilege of serving with my daughter and have included an article that the Public Affairs Officer wrote up about us. I especially appreciate our Bridges team, Dr. Bezek, Dr. Edwards and Mr. Thorp supporting Bridges and Laker Online while I am out.

Finally, we are just coming off of Fall Break. I hope our school community had a chance to enjoy the Fall weather and scenery in our beautiful state. My wife and I with a good friend had a chance to do some hiking in St. Paul which was absolutely wonderful.

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