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Lifelong Learning

Building Profile

Red River Area Learning Center

Phone: 218-284-2200
Fax: 218-284-2233

Attendance Office: 218-284-2201

School Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (other options as arranged)

Josh Haag, Principal Career Academy/Alternative Education
Josh Haag,
Principal Career Academy/Alternative Education
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Andrea Thiner, Coordinator Career Academy/Alternative Ed
Andrea Thiner,
Coordinator Career Academy/Alternative Ed
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Welcome to Red River Area Learning Center! Red River ALC's vision is to partner with participating schools to assure that a continuum of programs and services are available to meet the unique needs of each student at-risk in the learning process. Since 1997 the Red River ALC has provided services to more than 3,000 students, K-12.

The Red River Area Learning Center offices are located at the Vista Center for Education in south Moorhead. Although the Red River ALC at Vista Center for Education is also home to separate site programs for middle and high school students, these are just two programs in a comprehensive range of options that the ALC provides.

The Red River ALC is administered by Moorhead Area Public Schools and is a cooperative venture with the Barnesville and DGF districts. Students from other districts in the region may also access services sponsored by the Red River ALC.

Red River ALC services are designed to:

  • Intervene with the youngest students, before the school failure cycle begins
  • Prevent students from dropping out of school
  • Allow students who have already dropped out a way to come back
  • Provide specialized options not typically available in traditional school settings

Why Alternative Education?

Alternative education is based on the belief that all learners have the right to be educated and that it is a benefit not only to the individual learners but also to society to ensure that they are. Therefore, determined communities must work together to meet the needs of all children and youth.

Traditional education simply doesn't work for all students. The programs and services of the Red River ALC are designed to provide a variety of structures and environments to increase the likelihood that each student will find the path to success.

Learn more about why dropout prevention matters to all of us.

Flexible Options

Based on the belief that every student can learn and succeed, Red River ALC offers alternatives that are customized to the needs of individual students. Eligible students and their families can choose from a continuum of flexible options to create a program that best suits their unique needs, social circumstances and schedules.

Red River ALC offers services year round for students in grades K-12. Programs are operated in a variety of regular education settings and at Vista Center for Education in Moorhead.

In order to accommodate a range of unique learner needs, Red River ALC options include:

  • Daytime
  • After school
  • Evening
  • Independent study
  • Post-secondary enrollment
  • Community based
  • Work programs
  • Minor parent programs
  • Summer
  • Full time
  • Part time
  • Dual enrollment
  • Combinations

Goal of the Red River ALC

The goal of the Red River ALC is to support the healthy growth and development of all students in a changing world by providing accessible and high quality educational services.

The Red River ALC accomplishes its goal by:

  • Engaging students in the learning process
  • Creating learning experiences that are relevant and meaningful
  • Preparing students to meet grade level benchmarks
  • Preparing students to meet the Minnesota Graduation Standards
  • Facilitating transition between educational settings
  • Supporting the achievement of grade level progression and a high school diploma
  • Equipping students with necessary coping skills for success in school as well as in the greater community
  • Strengthening skills for self-advocacy, critical thinking and decision making
  • Preparing students to meet educational and vocational goals beyond high school
  • Empowering students to achieve personal and economic self-sufficiency

Philosophy and Belief Statements

  • The learning environment must focus on a number of issues affecting the learners, including, but not limited to, those issues identified under graduation incentives.
  • Learners need to develop solid academic skills and interactive skills to be successful in today's society.
  • Success breeds success.
  • Learners need to have involvement in the community, including being assisted by community mentors and earning credits by work experience and entrepreneurial projects.
  • Learners need to be encouraged to develop their strengths and to overcome their weaknesses and problem areas.
  • Learning must be both directly related to the learners' world and their potential futures.
  • Recognition of the dignity and worth of all learners is basic to the learning process.
  • All learners have the potential to learn and are entitled to the best opportunity in reaching their maximum potential.
  • Current curriculum, instruction and assessment should be modified, developed and evaluated to meet the specific needs of learners.
  • Learners need to be assisted in developing positive attitudes toward learning, active participation, responsibility, self-motivation and positive self-esteem.
  • The family, school and community need to collaborate so that learners may be successful in society and contribute to society.
  • Learners should be able to learn at their own pace.
  • Technology should be part of learning methodology.
  • Learners should be able to learn and mature in an atmosphere with little or no disciplinary problems.
  • Learners need to be able to have a major role in developing their own goals.
  • Learners need to explore different ways of learning and find a way that is best for them.
  • Learners should become acquainted with various learning resources and learn how to use them.

A Community of Caring

Programs offered by Red River ALC are built upon the premise that, “It takes a village to raise a child.” This means parents, staff members, agencies and the community must work together to create meaningful experiences that lead to success.

Staff Members

Quality programs sponsored by Red River ALC are the result of dedicated staff. Red River ALC staff members provide an engaging and supportive climate that promotes student achievement and accountability. Red River ALC is committed to recruiting and retaining caring, flexible and creative staff members.

The ALC supports staff in their quest to maintain high expectations while creating opportunities for student success. This is accomplished by maintaining low teacher/student ratios and providing ongoing training and support to staff members.

Red River ALC is a member of the Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs. Participation in this organization provides the opportunity to connect with alternative programs across the state and throughout the nation. This organization also provides staff and curriculum development through state and regional conferences.

Community Agencies

Red River ALC staff members believe there must be an open door partnership between the school and the community. Therefore, staff members work hard to bring community agencies directly into ALC programs.

Some of the agencies whose services are woven into programming at the Red River ALC include:

  • Red River ALC Staff
  • Lakeland Mental Health Center
  • Minnesota Extension Service
  • Clay County Probation Officers
  • Clay County Minor Program
  • Interns from local colleges
  • Migrant Health
  • Truancy Intervention Program
  • Planned Parenthood of Minnesota
  • Detention Transitional
  • Rape and Abuse Crisis Center
  • Youthworks

Although this is not an exhaustive list, it does illustrate the multi-agency approach that the ALC strives to accomplish in its programs. These partnerships provide students with the services, information and mentoring that they need to become productive members of the community.


Parent involvement is another crucial element in building successful programs for students. The programs of the Red River ALC are designed to enhance the relationship between parents and the school and provide meaningful opportunities for parent involvement. When parents and teachers form partnerships, students benefit.