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- Willmar Public Schools
- Prairie Lakes - Paul Schmitz Principal - 231-8310
Lakeview, Gemini & Focus House -
Neil Schendel Principal - 231-8311
ALC & CAC - Scott Hisken Principal - 231-8312
Alternative learning programs and schools assist students in becoming self-directed learners and community contributors by profiding a safe, supportive, caring learning environment.
The Willmar Public School's Alternative Education Programs recognize the many environments in which a student can be educated. Believing that all students can learn, the school system seeks to develop and implement alternative education programs to meet the needs of students who are not experiencing success in regular school settings. Alternative education programs strive to ensure that every student finds a path to personal and community educational goals.
Currently, the school system operates six specific programs that address targeted student needs.
Alternative Programs Staff Directory
Area Learning Center
The Area Learning Center is an optional educational program available to students who meet specific at-risk criteria. Evening classes, day classes, and summer school are provided to students to help them complete diploma-based classes. Classes are smaller, and individualized instruction is available. Students enrolling under the age of eighteeen must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The Area Learning Center provides a non-traditional education to students in grades seven to twelve. The Area Learning Center staff is committed to making an effort to connect with students to give them new and different educational opportunities.
ALC Application Form
Prairie Lakes School
Prairie Lakes School provides the education program to Prairie Lakes Youth Programs through the Willmar Public Schools. Since 1991, the program has served youth, ages 12-18 from all areas of Minnesota. This Care and Treatment program works with 340--400 students per year from approximately 80 school districts. School program highlights include:
- Full day, year-round school;
- Transition to and from home school district and other placements;
- Special education services;
- GED preparation and testing through Ridgewater College;
- Vocational evaluations and classes through the Career Assessement Center;
- Continual learning plans for each student;
- Educational standards implemented in coursework;
- School credit toward graduation;
- Minnesota Basic Skills Testing;
- Individual instruction as needed
Career Assessment Center
The Career Assessment Center assists students and adults in setting appropriate vocational and academic goals. The Center provides vocational assessment and evaluation in a formal school or on-site work setting. The evaluation includes: interest testing, video exploration, computerized exploration, dexterity testing, achievement testing, aptitude testing, completion of work samples, independent living survey, and learning styles inventories, among other things. Students are assessed on their work skills, behaviors and attitudes. Evaluation results assist the student in determining appropriate educational goals and work experience options, as well as to establish realistic goals and a plan of action.
Willmar Lakeview School provides education for patients who are hospitalized at the Child Adolescent Behavioral Health Services (CABHS). CABHS offers psychiatric residential medical care to the children and adolescents with mental health needs. Teachers provide an academic intake screening for all students and offer classes in the core areas of math, communications, social studies and science. Emotional and behavioral support for students is also provided through the school program.
The educational goals of the Willmar Lakeview School program are to provide individual and small group instruction to students in each academic area, to help students continue to earn school credit while they are hospitalized, and to provide assistance to students in reaching their goals. Special education is provided for students with IEP goals and their progress is monitored. Students have the opportunity to take the Minnesota Basic Standards Tests and are given help in preparing for testing. All Willmar Lakeview teachers have been trained in special education and many teachers have several years of experience in teaching children with mental health needs. Experienced paraprofessionals are an integral part of Lakeview's educational program.
Gemini Learning Center
Gemini Learning Center provides education for students in grades 1-12 who are in a residential group home setting for children with mental health or transition needs. The teacher, along with a paraprofessional, provides an all-day school program for students during their stay at the Gemini Learning Center. Student stays can range from one or two days, to several months.
Gemini Learning Center offers a comprehensive educational program for students. Students receive instruction in the subject areas of communications, math, social studies, science and health. They also have the opportunity for physical education and mental health groups through the assistance of the Greater Minnesota Shelter Care staff. An academic intake screening is completed for each student upon enrollment. Special education is provided for students with IEPs. Academic, behavioral, and IEP progress, when applicable, is monitored for each student.