Pequot Lakes High School trying in-house ALC model

This allows for students needing ALC (Alternative Learning Center) services to work within the walls of Pequot Lakes schools as needed, yet also accrue some work experience


PEQUOT LAKES — In this current school year, the Pequot Lakes School District has taken a different approach to help students behind on credits for graduation.

Previously — and for several years — those Pequot Lakes students had gone to the Pine River-Backus School District's alternative learning center. Now ALC students are served in-house.

“The model that they (PR-B) are running is pretty significantly expensive per pupil, and the success rate that we had for our students was pretty low,” Pequot Lakes High School Principal Aaron Nelson said. “We decided that we could continue to fund that model — which doesn’t appear to be working — or we can try something different.”

This new model allows for students needing ALC services to work within the walls of Pequot Lakes schools as needed, yet also accrue work experience that will aid in their futures and serve as school credits.

“We basically created a 'school within a school' model here for these students,” Nelson said. “We are using work-based learning or work experience credit to help them earn their elective credits. They are coming to school part time and working part time — all of that resulting in earned credit.”


Three students were eligible for this learning model at the beginning of the school year — a number Nelson said was “fairly typical” — and two are currently using it.

“This is an option for students who are likely not to get through school (conventionally),” Nelson said. “We are trying to find a way to help kids who are in desperate need get a diploma in a less conventional route.”

Results are currently inconclusive, but seem better than results from the previous model. Nelson said he would not describe it as a “raging success” thus far, but feels the model needs time and some fine-tuning first.

“We have a lot of students — as a result of COVID — who found themselves in a lot of credit deficiency, and they are sort of losing hope, thinking they will never make it (to graduation),” Nelson said. “Our goal, really, is to try to give them hope, and try to adapt to some of the realities that these kids are experiencing — one of those being, ‘I want a job and go to work.’”

One other benefit considered by this in-house model is that it helps those students falling behind maintain a level of normalcy in their school days.

“It’s our staff, and we are familiar with them,” Nelson said. “They are here with their peers, and that can help be a draw. They want to come to school with their friends, and if they know that they can come and get only what they need and be able to work to earn their remaining credit … a lot of kids may jump at that opportunity.”

Dan Determan, sports writer/staff writer, may be reached at 218-855-5879 or . Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at .

Dan Determan has been a reporter for the Echo Journal since 2014, primarily covering sports at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus
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