Student Essay: Why I like the Fridley Area Learning Center
By Samantha Rossi
Having been a student for many years, I became more aware of the way I like to learn and concentrate so I can understand the curriculum. At the ALC, my needs are met more easily compared to the high school. It is much easier to get my questions answered by teachers and to complete the needed assignments. I also have more opportunities at the ALC.
For example, the student to teacher ratio at the high school is far greater than the student to teacher ratio at the ALC. Since there are less students to teachers, any questions that I may have are answered promptly. The teachers here are also always willing to help. They spend their time making sure you understand fully because they want to see you succeed. I also like the fact that you can work at your own pace.
I went to the high school for all of my freshman and sophomore years, and a little of my junior year. The classes I took there were either too fast or too slow. I did try to ask questions to help myself understand the lessons, but I often had to wait for other students to have their questions answered as well. Sometimes I would have to wait the entire class period, and by the time it was my turn, class was over. If classes weren’t progressing fast enough, I would become less engaged and bored. This would cause me to be distracted. Thus, I wouldn’t get the needed work done.
As if there aren’t enough distractions from other students’ conversations and loud music, daily life gets in the way as well. Outside struggles fill my mind up, making it difficult to handle the tasks at hand. All the courses at the ALC are work at your own pace. You are able to take as much time as you need to finish the course’s tasks without penalty or point deduction. I am a big critic towards myself, and I do not want my work to have any flaws. So I over accentuate my homework, spending more time on it than what it really needs. I am grateful for having no due dates on assignments. That puts less stress on me and I can continue to put all my effort into my assignments.
Besides being appeased by the lack of anticipated dates, I have a lot more opportunities at the ALC. For example, third block I work with the Itsy Bitsy Tigers. It is a childcare for 16 months to three-year-olds. The little kids make me laugh all the time by the silly things they do. For instance, during music time, we dance to music, and the way they all dance is funny! They like to move their feet and hands in random motions that do not follow any beat-and the little ones like to jump! When they jump, they have the biggest smiles on their faces. I think they could jump all day! Although they have a lot more energy than the staff or me, it’s worth trying to keep up with them to see them smile and have a good time (and to also give the staff a break).
All in all, I am so happy to be a part of the Fridley ALC. The teachers, students, and opportunities here are great. I have good memories of a great senior year. I honestly wish I had come here sooner.
Fridley ALC - Dreams come true with second chances:
(L) Ari Kibrat with his mother Yenenesh Kibrat during the 2012 STRIVE Awards ceremony at Fridley High School in May 2012. Ari was one of the recipients of a college scholarship award. (R) ALC Principal Dr. Robert Smith congratulates Ari upon his graduation May 31, 2012.
Ari Kibrat did not plan on attending Fridley Public Schools’ Area Learning Center (ALC). A transfer student from Brooklyn Center, Ari joined Fridley High School as an open enrolled student in the 11th grade because he felt that Fridley High School’s curriculum was better and more challenging.
In 2012, due to a six credit deficit, he transferred to the ALC to make up the credits. He would arrive to school riding the bus from Brooklyn Center.
“I came to the ALC to make up hours and I found my home,” said Ari. “Had I known about the ALC when I transferred from Brooklyn Center, this is where I would have enrolled.”
The ALC offers its students more flexibility. “I attended night school and took additional classes to make up the hours that I needed,” said Ari.
Ari also felt that he had better connections with his teachers at the ALC. The teacher to student ratio is 1 to 12. The ALC’s flexibility allowed him a faster way to get his credits.
But the transfer to the ALC created changes in transportation that resulted in Ari riding a bicycle to school. Students who are open enrolled at Fridley Public Schools through the Northwest Suburban Integration School District (NWSISD) receive transportation to and from school from their home districts. Since the ALC is not part of the magnet programs covered under NWSISD, Ari did not qualify for transportation when he transferred to the school in the 12th grade.
Determined to finish his high school senior year and graduate, Ari rode his bike from Brooklyn Center on Highway 694 to Fridley every morning and afternoon for a total of about 12 miles a day. “It was the only way I could get to school,” he said.
“In the beginning I would get very tired,” Ari recalled, “but as I got used to the ride, the commute became easier.”
Yet Ari has no regrets. “I was determined to finish high school, so I had to do what I could to accomplish that goal,” he said.
On May 31, 2012, Ari was one of the 211 seniors who graduated with a high school diploma. Ari is currently studying criminal justice at Hennepin Technical College. “My father and older brother are both in the military, and I hope to follow in their footsteps and enlist when I finish college,” said Ari.
Ari acknowledged that there are misconceptions out there about ALCs. “People have bad impressions of the ALC,” he said, “some people think that alternative schools are for kids who are bad and the ALC is the place where all the bad kids go.”
There are some kids who cannot handle the large crowds in high school, or those who need a slower pace and fewer distractions, or more individualized learning. “ALC offers all these and much more,” he said, “so don’t judge a book by its cover,” and added that “the quality of education is the same, and in addition, students benefit from smaller classes.”
Ari said that if there was one thing that he could do differently, he would have attended the ALC full time. “I worked at my own pace, so the faster, and more classes I took, the faster I made up the credits/hours that I needed.”
Ari said all his teachers inspired him. “Jennifer Pearson (math), Nicole Moussette (science), Danny Johnston (English) and Janio Axelson (social studies) all helped me get here. I couldn’t have asked for better teachers,” said Ari.