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Alternative collaborative: Rosemount 917 will run Farmington ALC

A new alternative learning center will open its doors in Farmington in 2019. And alternative it will be in more ways than one: Independent Intermediate School District 917 of Rosemount will run it.

The ALC will be located at the District Service Center, 421 Walnut St. 

Farmington Superintendent Jay Haugen reported about the new ALC at the Monday, April 23, 2018, School Board meeting.

"To me, it is close to my heart as a professional that we are going to try to do something for our students who struggle and fall behind for one reason or another, and sometimes it is coming to really large buildings and going by bells is just isn't who they are," Haugen said.

The ALC also will be a place to educate students who are at risk. Farmington and Rosemount will design a program to help juniors and seniors who have been falling behind," Haugen said.

"We know students who are going to be behind by 10th, ninth and even eighth grades, so how about for students who do need a different kind of programming and something that can help them be successful and catch up on credits," Haugen said.

Located in Rosemount, Intermediate School District 917 is a cooperative that serves students in many southeastern Twin Cities schools districts. The district:

• offers programs for students who need low incidence special education services,

• provides opportunities for personal and career skill development, along with educational programs to meet individual and technical needs of students.

District 917 students receive a high level of support in classrooms that have a low student-teacher ratio. The district specializes support teams in facilities with spaces designed for a variety of student needs.

The new ALC could house up to 60 students without Farmington School District making any real changes to the building's structure, Haugen said.

"I am alerting the public that we are going to find a new name and call it something different," Haugen said.

The building may be redesigned with new learning spaces and a few new walls.

"We will see where that goes, but I wanted people to know that this is one thing we are exploring and spending some time on," Haugen said.

Board Chair Melissa Sauser asked about a timeframe.

"If you can do building projects in the winter, you are going to get the best price because schools fight to get all their building projects done in the summer. So our hope is to be confident and know our project is done and we could build in time to have the construction done over the winter months," Haugen said.

The ALC could open in the fall of 2019 or the final quarter of the 2018-19 academic year.

Haugen is optimistic about how the ALC could benefit area and local students.

"District 917 would run the program but it would be right here so our students would have a very short distance to go to make use of the programs."

Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the ALC would be housed at the Instructional Service Center.