Bridges Area Learning Center

Quarter 3 Community Newsletter

Greetings Bridges Community,

As our new quarter is now upon us a lot of energy is swirling around the school! We have new students, new schedules, new classes and new opportunities for success! Being that we are at the beginning of the quarter I wanted to highlight a few items that are key to success:

Consistent Daily Attendance - The greatest contributor to school is good attendance. Bridges is a smaller environment with smaller class sizes and a tremendous teaching staff that works to engage students in many effective ways. Additionally, our teachers are great at approaching students individually meeting their individual needs. None of this can happen, however, if students are not in school. We have a highly effective support team as well that is here to work with students in a variety of ways to help the progress positively. We also have Work Friday's twice a month as scheduled intervention days (see below for more) that can support students in many ways.

Completing Daily Class Work - At Bridges students are graded on what they do while they are here. We acknowledge that there are many responsibilities required of our students outside the school day. As a result, students grades are based on the daily projects, work and contribution that happens during the school day. Homework will not be a reality unless work is not submitted.

Staying in the Know. Grades, attendance, classroom learning are all available to both students as well as parent(s)/guardian(s) through PLSAS website. Infinite Campus will show you daily attendance as well as grades. Schoology is on online extension of each teacher's classroom. Most of the work that happens in the classes can be found there.

Take Advantage of the Differences in Bridges. Being a smaller school (by design) we can offer a lot for our students. Flexible scheduling, hybrid online classes, work release, scheduled intervention days (Work Fridays), variety of student support services including a social worker, licensed drug and alcohol counselor and therapist and Prior Lake High School guidance counselors. These are just some of the options we can and have successfully leveraged for the progress of our students to earn their PLHS diploma!

Warm Regards,

David Brown

Bridges ALC Coordinator

Referendum Planning Information Sessions Scheduled For Feb. 11 and 16

Over the past year, Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools has undergone an extensive and thoughtful process to study our district’s growth and needs. Between this school year and 2021, 1,500 more students are expected in our schools, spread across all grade levels. That’s an average of 250 additional students every year.

In early March, the School Board will make a final decision about what to include in a May referendum to support our growth into the future, knowing that our existing funding sources are not enough to handle this growth. Prior to that decision, the Board is inviting community input. The public is invited to attend the following Information Sessions to learn more about the districtwide facilities study, ask questions and provide input.

February 11, 7 p.m. at Prior Lake High School

February 16, 7 p.m. at Twin Oaks Middle School

During this planning phase, we are trying to address needs at all levels and at all buildings; they may include a new elementary school and additions to all of our buildings to alleviate crowding due to enrollment growth. The board may also consider a technology levy to provide dedicated funding for classroom technology and free up operating dollars for a new elementary school.

At the Information Sessions, we will share an overview of the district’s process, facilities study and options being considered for a May referendum. Following the presentations, the public can visit a variety of stations where district representatives will be on hand to answer questions and collect input regarding: building construction, technology, finance and more. Hope to see you there!

Bridges consideration in the process includes:

  • Creating an equitable learning environment for 135 students
  • 7 classrooms, multipurpose commons, office space
  • Vacate existing leased strip-mall location
  • Suitable office space for instructional and support staff
  • Site location to be determined
  • Estimated 5.4M


Teacher Corner: David Lawson, Social Studies

How to help your student to be successful at Bridges

By design and in practice, Bridges is different than a mainstream high school. We have a smaller enrollment, a small student to teacher ratio, the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with caring teachers, and the expectation of high standards for behavior. Some days we even have donuts.

Each of the above factors are essential to student success at Bridges during the school day. But there are other ways to support our students, as well, and I thought it worthwhile to take a minute and look at some additional supports that can be offered by parents, guardians, and others who support our Bridges students.

Reachable goals. If you know a student well and have insight into what makes her or him tick, foster a conversation about reachable goals. Unrealistic platitudes about education, career, and even income are not as motivating as goals that are within reach right now (with the application of some effort.) Getting on a good sleep schedule. (Eight hours!) Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. Giving up one bad habit. Making it to every class on time. Reading for 20 minutes a day. Accomplishing small goals builds the habit of completion which carries over into bigger things.

Make a realistic road-map. None of us reach goals on our own. Help a student move ahead by helping them to visualize a scenario that includes staying on track in the near term, graduating with a PLHS diploma, and then looking further into school, training, and work opportunities. Develop a hopeful, forward-looking narrative about the future and revisit it often. Along the way, celebrate the effort made in working toward it. Acknowledge small victories!

Help a student find a mentor. Students need someone from the community who is on their side (and who enjoys the critical distance of not being family.) Mentors are often better positioned to discuss with students the potential consequences of their actions, both positive and negative. In a spirit of improvement, a mentor can provide practical advice and be a sounding board for frustrations, aspirations, and even dreams. (Bridges offers the STRIVE mentorship program with the support of the Prior Lake Rotary. Urge your student to get more information about this from Mr. Brown.)

Students today face many challenges and have much competition for their time and energy, so they need our unconditional support. We can help them to succeed by in many ways. Discuss reachable goals. Develop a positive future vision. Encourage them to build a solid relationships with caring adults. And once in a while, share a box of donuts.

Bridges Staff and Contact Information

Teaching Staff

Andrew Martin - Teacher (Math, FABLAB) & 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)

Ms. Collins also oversees the production of our yearbook. If you have photos you want in Bridges yearbook please send them to her! She is at Bridges Monday and Tuesday.

Corey Callahan- Paraprofessional

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.
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Bridges finishes 2nd expansion in 7 years!

The office suite next to us opened up and we have now turned that into two learning spaces! The front area is an online learning environment and the back room will be for small groups and special education services. This will allowed room 4 that was being used for small groups to be a dedicated class room for science and language arts! More room to keep classes small!

Bridges ALC 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 Tuesdays and Thursdays 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.

Work Fridays 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 Work Fridays. During Work Friday's there are no structured classes. Instead, teachers are in their rooms working with students for the day. These days provide structured support and intervention for students that need dedicated time during the school day to work with teachers on needed work to hand in or better understand concepts. Additionally, students earn make up time for coming in on Work Friday's that will be applied to removed absences at the end of the quarter.

These days can be an optional for students as absences are not counted towards the attendance policy! If a student's grades and attendance are in good shape they do not necessarily need to be there.

Work Friday's usually happen every other Friday (twice a month). Sometimes, however, they do not land on a Friday (we still call it a Work Friday though).

Q3 Work Friday's

  • February 19th
  • March 4th
  • March 25th
  • April 6th (Wednesday)
  • April 7th (Thursday & Early Release & Last Day of Q3)

Quarter 3 Conferences!

Thursday, Feb. 25th, 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!

Quarter 3 Significant dates

Feb 1 - Q3 Start

Feb 15 - No School

Feb 19 - Work Friday

Feb 25 - Conferences

Mar 4 - Work Friday

Mar 7 - Board Decision on Referendum

Mar 14 - 18 - Spring Break

Mar 25 - Work Friday

Apr 6 - Work Friday

Apr 7 - Q3 End & early Release & Work Friday

Bridges Students!!

Bridges Student of the Month in September: Jasmine!

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Bridges Student of the Month in October: Andre!

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Bridges Student of the Month in November: Erica!

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Bridges Student of the Month in December: Shali!

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Student Reflection - Brando Day

Ever since I came to Bridges last year, I feel like I have progressed academically and as a person. I’ve never liked school, was never my thing and I never got the best grades. Once I got to Bridges, I really got more one on one time with all my teachers when I needed it. Now I like all my teachers i'm getting all my work done. I think Bridges is a very great opportunity for anyone who feels like they struggle in school as I did.

The atmosphere at Bridges is a lot more calm than the high school. I love Mr. Brown’s “NO DRAMA” rule. And that's really how it is. Everyone is cool with everyone no matter what, because most of us are here for the same reasons anyways whether that’s because you couldn't handle the high school, legal/school issues, or you need to make up credits like what i'm doing. Although I have to make up credits, it is still my choice to come to Bridges, and I wouldn't change a thing I love it here at Bridges I wouldn't change a thing about it.

They do very great things at Bridges, and really do their best to help everyone succeed. That's the reason why, when my friends ask me “when are you coming back from the high school?” I simply say, “I dont know, Im not sure I even want to”. Bridges has helped me is so many ways, and now i'm moving forward in life,finally getting better grades and joined the military. I don't know where I would be if i never got this opportunity.

Student Reflection - Sara Sperrazza

I always thought that I would live the life I have been living since the summer of 8th grade. My life consisted of some bad decisions. I was not happy with school either.

Finally, when I had to go to summer school, I was sent to a different type of summer school. This summer school was different not a bad different but a nice different. After experiencing the caring environment and the amazing teacher and seeing how amazing this place was I knew that this would be a perfect place for me. After I left Bridges because summer school was over I knew what I needed to do. I talked to my parents about the fantastic school I had gone to. At first they didn't think an ALC would be good for me which I understand because they both went to a traditional high school.

But after talking to my parents I finally got them to let me show them how great it was, and that also included talking to the Bridges Administrator Mr. Brown. My family and I went to the school and had a conference about deciding whether to go or not to go. Mr. Brown and I decided that we had to agree on some things to attend the school. Then to my surprise I was lucky to be given a second chance and attend a new beginning!

The year started and I was ready for a new start. The Bridges school is amazing. I am liked by my teachers, student and I love my grades. For the first time I have all A's and B's. I got a job and I am getting my license. My life is finally looking out like the way I never thought it could. I am happy and now I realize how important it is to have goals and hopes. Now I have dreams like wanting to be a midwife when I am older. My family and friends see a difference in me and are always telling me how good I am doing, and I haven't heard that for a long time and it feels amazing knowing I did something great for myself.

I love Bridges and I really suggest it to a lot of people. To anyone that thinks that school is hopeless and you can never do it you can! Bridges is a great community and everyone is friendly. We all bring each other up and support everyone's choices. If you really want a second chance at your future bridges is the place to go.

Quarter 3 Off to a Great Start!

Sara and Alexius @ Edgewood and La Ola Del Lago helping stock milk for the students - daily!

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Quarter 3 Classes

Graduates and Former Bridges Grads Checking In!

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

PLHS guidance counselors at Bridges weekly

Our high school counselors have an elevated presence at Bridges this year. They are working individually with our students to provide academic and social support, track credit requirements, and guide students with resources and information about post-graduation options. We are excited about the increased collaboration with student support staff this year.