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Co-op director: Arise offers learning options

FAIRMONT — The Fairmont Area School Board heard from Sarah Mittelstadt, director of Southern Plains Educational Cooperative, on Tuesday.

She gave the board a brief update concerning Arise Academy, which recently held an open house at its location in the now-renovated former Lincoln School. She also shared information describing some of the programs available to students at the school.

“Within the building, we have four separate programs,” she said. “The Area Learning Center is for students who are at risk of dropping out of high school, grades 9-12.

“We also have the Bridges program, which is a program for students with disabilities. They’re K-12, with social and emotional deficits that impacts their education. So here we’re really able to accommodate the building and adjust it to meet the unique needs of the students.

“Then we have the PALS classroom, which is for special education, K-12. We often call this our autism classroom. Not all the students are autistic but they have autism-like tendencies, they have minimal non-verbal skills and they need a lot of support along the way.

“Then we have our PAES lab, where students come to us for about an hour and a half a day from one of our member districts while they’re in high school. So they need to work on job and transitional skills, for about a semester. They punch into their time-clock and are given a job assignment for the day in one of five different areas.”

Mittelstadt noted that turnout for the recent open house was good, at around 300.

“A huge thank you to the Fairmont school district for helping to support and make sure all of our students have access to a good quality education,” she said.

“We’re really appreciative to all these districts that made it possible for our students and our staff to make it successful,” said board member Julie Laue.

Turning to other matters, the board:

o Approved the retirement of Jeff Nauman, high school social studies teacher, effective June 3.

o Approved the employment of Kristina Kullman as a kindergarten teacher, Bethany Faber as a lunchroom aide and Timothy Kue as a paraprofessional.

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