Mille Lacs Academy School —
An Onamia Public School
Inspiring Lifelong Learning
The Mille Lacs Academy (MLA) on-sight school serves youth with a variety of emotional, behavioral, and academic needs who receive treatment at Mille Lacs Academy. The school is independent from Nexus, and is part of the Onamia Public School System. Students' graduation and credit requirements are governed by the local district affiliation.
The school serves grades 4 through 12 and prides itself on utilizing a highly structured environment that engages students in small class sizes to best meet the needs of each student on an individual basis. Mille Lacs Academy staff and school staff work cooperatively to meet the needs of our youth.
Each student's education plan is tailored toward credit and coursework necessary for advancement, to meet graduation and diploma standards, and the student's functioning ability. The elementary education offers all classes governed by State Academic Standards. In addition, the school has two self-contained special needs classrooms. The school additionally offers a library, computer lab, and a behavioral support room. When the IEP identifies a need for increased 1:1 educational guidance, there is an academic resource room to support the student's varying educational needs.
Students who enter the MLA school program undergo a series of initial assessments to evaluate the student's academic functioning. Comprehensive special education evaluations are conducted for those students who qualify or for those in need of a reevaluation to continue to receive special education services.
At the Mille Lacs Academy School, we believe all students are capable of academic achievement, regardless of their disability, mental health diagnosis, or past school experiences. It is our mission to provide students with a safe, engaging environment with an academic experience that allows them to grow and discover all that they are capable of achieving.
The Mille Lacs Academy School
- Accredited by the Minnesota Department of Education.
- School Administrator: Ryan Rehnstrand
Staff is comprised of 10 teachers and 9 support staff. Our certified personnel are made up of the following:
- General Education Teachers
- Special Education Teachers
- Behavioral Specialist
Specific areas of focus include:
- Elementary Education
- Special Education
- Social Studies
- Computer Skills
- Physical Education
Courses for K-12 are offered in the following subjects:
- Social Studies
- Health/Physical Education
- Curriculum is aligned with Minnesota's state academic standards and students are placed in curriculums that best fit their needs – both in terms of their own functioning ability and standard requirements.
- Classroom placement is initiated by the valid past records received from the previous educational facilities. Students are typically educated with the peers from their program as they are of the same age and general developmental level. An initial assessment is completed as well as IEP reviews to assure that the student is within the appropriate educational setting that most fosters success and growth.
- Classroom ratio varies somewhat by areas of need and the amount of students enrolled. Currently, our ratio is 19 staff to 89 students.
- Special Education is served to students in grades 4-12 and each student participates in an education program that is unique to their academic and social needs. The school has an elementary program that serves both regular and special education students. Additionally, the school also has a Level 3 self-contained classroom that serves only students with special needs and is operated by Special Education teachers and paraprofessionals. Mille Lacs Academy's School provides direct special education service instruction. Offsite consultants also are available and come on site to address students with identified speech issues, Autism, physical therapy, deaf and hearing services, or occupational therapy needs.
- Education and supply costs are managed consistently with the public school. Books are provided. Pens, binders, notebooks, pencils and any other identified material the student may need are administered within the program. Mille Lacs Academy program staff, as acting caregivers, support the student in preparation for successful entry into the school year.
- Family involvement is encouraged within each student's educational plan. Families and caregivers are updated on student progress through report cards and progress reports, IEP meetings, and phone calls or emails as needed. Because the school is a separate entity from Mille Lacs Academy, all school meetings such as IEPs are coordinated by the school. Mille Lacs Academy participates as it can, bringing updates to program case conferences and within the reports. Mille Lacs Academy encourages all families and caregivers to ask questions, attend meetings, and contact Mille Lacs Academy and the school with any concerns or feedback.
- Extracurricular activities are not available for traditional extracurricular activities such as organized sports, band, or choir. The school works in partnership with the programs to support educational and cultural trips, speakers, and community involvement. In addition, the school sponsors events in conjunction with the local public school. There are many enrichment activities that occur throughout the school year.
- Advanced life and job skills training is offered to students at Mille Lacs Academy. This reinforces career choices, interviewing, and an increased understanding of expenses and income.
- Education and transfer credits are obtained for classes taken. These meet Minnesota's state educational expectations and prepare the student for graduation and the transition into the community.
- Experiential college courses are not formally offered, however, the school incorporates preparation for college within the life skills and college prep curriculum. GED and/or self-study are not offered at Mille Lacs Academy's school. We encourage the experience of a school, appropriate healthy interaction, development of goals and success for a diploma.
- Disciplinary concerns are handled on an individual basis. It is the goal that the school remains a safe place where students can feel comfortable learning and prospering. Students are given alternative interventions to assist with increased stress and behavioral concerns. The goal of the Behavior Room, supervised by a Special Education faculty member, is to increase skills that reinforce school involvement and reduce disruption, thereby increasing safety for classroom reintegration. The school personnel work closely with program staff to maintain safety and continuity with program guidelines.
- Graduation requirements are followed as defined by the Onamia Public School District. Students who are behind a few credits before graduation have an opportunity to do independent study to earn graduation credits. The program staff offer additional support to assist with educational success. Those students who complete all academic and local district requirements towards graduation are eligible to participate in the yearly graduation ceremony each spring.
- Community school transition is available through the school's administrative staff who support the transition of the student to their new school.