Bridges Area Learning Center

Quarter 3 Community Newsletter

Grow - Discover - Belong

Hello Bridges families and friends!

The second half of the year is now well underway! At Bridges, we work to provide a personalized learning experience for our students in our smaller setting. Additionally, we are a place where students can re-define their educational journey and progress towards earning a Prior Lake High School diploma. All the work we do supports student success in progressing towards graduation. Our support staff develops individual plans for students' pathways to success and prioritizes students' social and emotional aspects. Our teachers meet students needs in their educational journey and works with them to move forward in that journey. Our custodial staff ensures our beautiful school has great spaces and places for our students to be as they work in their educational journey. Already this year we have seen nearly a dozen students graduate with their Prior Lake High School diploma and we are projecting many more!

We continue to experience great days at Bridges in our beautiful new school. Having an incredible space to personalize learning, utilize flexible areas and have some great group options has all played into an absolutely wonderful year. When we opened Bridges eleven years ago we had three words to capture the essence of our new school: Grow, Discover, Belong. We are truly grateful to our wonderful community's support in providing a place where so many students can now experience these three opportunities. While we are moving towards the end of our school year we are just beginning this great experience in our fabulous school.

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.

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Great having Mr. Bell, principal at Five Hawks, along with several other administrators visiting and re-connecting with former students!

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Bridges 1920 Grads (so far!)!

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SAVE THE DATE!! Senior Recognition Banquet @ The Wilds Club House in Prior Lake Wed., May 20th 2020 more info to follow

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Mid Year Reading and Math Progress Monitoring

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And, after our progress monitoring tests - some celebration with Hot Dogs!!

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Melissa Olson and David Brown presented about Bridges transformational journey at the state conference of Minnesota Approved Alternative Programs (MAAP)

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Jim Sporleder - Principal Featured in Paper Tigers was a keynote speaker at the MAAP conference

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A grand time at Bridges Grand Opening during the evening of Oct 21, 2019!

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Bridges was awarded the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International Certificate of Appreciate

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.

Congrats, Xavier, recognized during the Optimist Club's youth appreciation luncheon at Fong's restaurant in PL

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Class @ Bridges

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Ms. Jenkins's Transition Seminar

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Ms. Olson's Communication III Class

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JUMP DAY focus on learning

Art in Action

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

Teacher Corner: Melissa Olson, English

“Shall I dare to suggest the greatest, the most important, the most useful rule of all education? It is this, do not save time, but lose it.” Jean Jacques Rousseau

Profound learning takes time. Rousseau knew it in the 1700’s. Emerson knew it in the 1800’s. Dewey and Freire knew it in the 1900’s. Students do not need an assembly line education driven by 50 minute increments and time-bound bells assessed by the reiteration of memorized facts. It may have worked for Henry Ford...and worked for my father who tended one such assembly line at the St. Paul Ford Plant for 30 years of his life; but even that is questionable, considering my dad’s current state of physical disability for doing so. What students need is as much time as they require to figure out what they want to learn, the space in which to learn it, the guidance from teachers in how best to find and use it, a critical lens in which to process it, and the passion to bring it forth into the world. Learning is best when it is an interactive, real-world, personalized experience. Radical. I know. But not new. We have known this for over 300 years. We just need to figure out how to put this old knowledge into current action.

When I hand the curricular reigns over to my students- when I ask them what they want to learn and how they want to learn it- student engagement soars. This isn’t a willy nilly affair. Nor is it a free-for-all. It is very intentional. It requires that students develop concrete and attainable goals, that they dive into critical problem solving, and that they formulate solutions that encompass a global perspective. There are solid tracks to follow; but where they take those tracks is entirely up to them. It requires a transfer of educational power; which can be scary for us teachers who spend small fortunes on our professional education and see ourselves as the omniscient, omnipotent, protectors and purveyors of knowledge.

By giving up snapping the reigns, I give both my students and myself a gift. For me, it is the joy of learning beside them, coaching them, and watching them learn things that are lacking in my own educational toolbox. Over the years, students have created animations and fantastical characters and worlds. Students have researched the viability of planetary colonization. (Space elevators?) Students write poetry and short stories. Students study film and lore. They have read Jules Verne, Mary Shelley, and biographies of Galileo. They connect to their learning experiences in a manner that ensures personal ownership, individual accountability, and an understanding of social intersectionality.

So, what does that mean for Bridges’ students? What does that mean for my Communications classroom? It means we all need to embrace educational personalization. It means we need to stop telling students what we think they should read and what we think they should know. What I know dictates the minutiae of my life, not theirs. There are a myriad of educational standards that already do that. That framework of outcomes and can-do’s is accessible to all students and to all parents. We need to help students interpret those educational standards and allow them the time to create learning pathways for themselves that motivate, challenge, cultivate, and inspire. Ultimately, it means that I am dedicated to losing my time with students while they participate in losing as much of their time as they need in order to save the integrity of their education.

Melissa Olson

Celebrating with some of our graduates during commencement at beautiful Dan Patch Field!

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PL Rotary to sponser STRIVE @ Bridges ALC for 10th 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 over 10 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

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Conferences - Q3

Thursday, Feb. 20th, 5-8pm

Bridges Area Learning Center, 15780 Fish Point Road, Prior Lake, MN, USA

Student Reflection - Caryn

I'm Caryn Rose and I've only been at Bridges for a couple of weeks now, but it has helped me so much. I feel great about my grades, and I actually see my friends. I used to loathe going to school but don't any longer. Outside of school is easier too. I get to be with my friends at Prior Lake High School and have more overall freedom after school because of how successful I am here. Overall being at Bridges is a positive impact on my mental health and making my high school experience a lot better. I really appreciate Bridges!

Student Reflection - Jay

Bridges is a second chance for me to finish school which is both exceptional and amazing! What I’ve really noticed so far are the ways that this school is different from the other three learning facilities I have attended. First, the building is open and welcoming. It’s a very socially supportive place, and students here have each other's back. If you’re having a tough day, at least five students will check up on you, and it’s really easy to find a few friends within seconds of entering the building.

No matter who you are, talkative or silent, someone will vibe with you. Second, we are given enough time to understand and finish our school work in our classes. We have some of the best teachers in this building that I’ve ever seen, it’s like having all your favorite teachers in one place. Third, it’s clear that everyone in the building is here to help you succeed. If you need help or more time with a teacher to go over material with you, they are more than happy to accommodate you and find a time within the same day you ask. They want you here as much as they want you to leave with a diploma.

Bridges is a place for students to save themselves from getting lost and missing out on their diploma--it catches student who might otherwise “get lost in the cracks.“


Student Reflection - Zach

Bridges has been a big part of my senior success, because of the help from the staff and peers. It’s helped me catch up on credits and learn more about myself as a student. The support and connection with my teachers has helped me a lot. I’ve even been able to talk about my feelings and struggles with the counselors here, and I’ve made great friends and they have helped me with my school work. The smaller classrooms help me learn more, and I'm able to get more help and attention from my teachers. At other schools I felt like none of my teachers cared about me, because I didn't get good grades. Now I know my teachers want to see me do well. I'm glad I'm not taking this opportunity for granted.

I came to bridges expecting to graduate late, but I’ve been able to work hard enough to catch up and graduate on time. This has been a great opportunity for me and I'm very grateful for Bridges. I will continue to try my hardest to finish my senior year successfully.


Bridges Students of the Month

September - Martha!

Martha brings focus and hard work--and always a great attitude!

-David Lawson, Social Studies Teacher.

October - Justin!

Justin is a good student both academically as well as being respectful to all.

-Candi Jenkins, Work Program & Special Education Teacher

November - Sam!

Sam is kind, dedicated, and has a great work ethic

-Alexius Serefeas, English & Bio Teacher

December - Cole!

Cole works hard toward his goals and brings out the best in others.

-David Lawson, Social Studies Teacher

January - Sophie

Sophie is a hard worker with an amazing work ethic.

- Chris Nelson, Art and Phy Ed Teacher

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

Andrew Martin - Teacher (Math, FABLAB, Projects)

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 Monday & Wednesday from 3:30pm to 6:00pm

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

Candi Jenkins - Teacher (SPED, Work Program and Music Projects)

Alexius Serefeas - Teacher (Language Arts, Science)

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).

Ann Collins - (Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor)

Christina Lucas - Para Educator

Lee Korby - Peer Teaching Coach

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

From the Student Support Team: Doug Revsbeck, Guidance Counselor

Greetings Bridges students and families!

As the new school counselor at Bridges, I want begin by thanking you for all that you are doing to support your child’s personal, academic and career growth and development. It is my goal that we working to ensure that they are accelerating in their learning and creating pathways for success.

Since joining Bridges last November, I have been able to get to know many of the students, especially our seniors. What I have learned in these two months is that Bridges student want to know how they can best plan for their future…..many students are especially eager to learn about the best path for preparing for after high school. In other words, there is so much more to prepare for outside of meeting requirements for high school graduation!

Now that I am settling into some of the routines 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 of our planning conversations have timelines and deadlines that require action planning on the part of our students. Common topics 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?

As we move into the second half of the year, I want to point out some key reminders to complete a successful school year at Bridges.

  1. Remember the importance of making attendance a TOP priority at Bridges. Daily class attendance is critical to student success.
  2. Check in with teachers and 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!
  3. Juniors will take the ACT at Bridges on April 7, 2020.

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. I am working at Bridges half-time and mostly Tuesday through Thursday. I can be reached by email at or by phone at 952-226-0846.

Doug Revsbeck

Guidance Counselor

Bridges ALC

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:

JUMP DAYS the Only Difference in Bridges Calendar to PLHS

Our school calendar is the same as Prior Lake High School (days off, start/end of quarters, etc) with the exception of JUMP DAYS. These days are designed for students to jump ahead with their grades, academic skills and attendance. During JUMP DAYS we pause regularly scheduled classes and switch to a block schedule (four periods instead of seven). Students are scheduled in periods for interventions and enrichment based on their progress during the quarter.


  • Feb 7 & 21
  • March 18 & 19

Quarter 3 Significant dates


21 - Q3 First Day





17 - No School






18 - End of Quarter Day

19 - Final Day of Q2; Early Release

20 - No Classes (staff work day)

23-27 - Spring Break

30 - First day of Q4

A sample of the spectacular art @ Bridges

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Staff Appreciation @ Bridges ALC !!

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

Last year I was on military leave as I served in the Middle East. I was so appreciative of the support of my colleagues, our district and community!

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

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