• Empowering Learners for Graduation and Life!

    The Saint Paul Area Learning Center (ALC) is an alternative K-12 education program for learners 5-20 years old. The programs are designed to help learners succeed in school and earn their high school diploma. This year round programs offer individualized and learner-centered education in non-traditional settings.

    Age requirements, criteria for eligibility and specific services vary. Most students under the age of 16 must be served in their home school.


    To be eligible for ALC services, a student must meet at least one of the following criteria:

    • at least one year or more behind in credits (will not graduate with their class)
    • at least two grades below expected performance on a standardized achievement test
    pregnant or is a parent
    • has been assessed chemically dependent and is now in recovery
    • has an assessed mental health issue
    • has been a victim of physical or sexual abuse
    • has experienced homelessness within the past six months
    • speaks English as a second language or has limited English proficiency

    Note: Special education students are best served in the traditional middle/junior and senior high schools where complete services are available. Alternative Education is not designed nor staffed for special education services.


     Area Learning Centers (ALC) History

    Over the last 25 years the ALC programs has grown from 1 location with 11 staff members and 127 students to the current 11 sites, plus extended day programs that serve nearly 3500 students, and summer programs that serve over 7000 students annually.  Our ALCs are a nationally recognized model for providing educational services leading to high school graduation for at-risk and underserved students.  Each school year:

    • Hundreds of students from Saint Paul and other districts are enrolled as full time ALC students in one of seven diploma granting programs
    • Hundreds more students earn credits they need for graduation through extended-day ALC programs at Unidale, Evening High School, and in their own high schools, thus enabling them to graduate on time
    • All ALC coursework is standards driven, focusing on providing opportunities to complete the current standards that are part of the Minnesota Academic Standards
  • Eligibility

    Admission Criteria for Alternative Education Programs
    Minnesota law specifies eligibility for Alternative Education programs. Students qualify to enroll if they:

    • Are academically behind others of the same grade
    • Are English learners
    • Are pregnant or parenting
    • Have certain health conditions
    • Meet only one of these or the other qualifications.

    See Minnesota State Statute 124d.68 for conditions of eligibility.


    Admission Criteria for Special Education Referrals

    Special Education students are best served in the traditional schools where comprehensive special education services are available.  If a student with an IEP is referred to one of the ALC secondary locations an IEP meeting at the referring school must take place.

    The points outlined in the “Procedure for Referring Special Education Students to an ALC program” must be followed and an “ALC Special Education Referral Form” must be completed.  These forms are available from the Counselors and any of the ALC programs.

    Please include a transcript of credits to be earned/completed at one of the ALC programs for the student to meet your schools graduation requirements if the student will be receiving a high diploma from the referring school. 

  • Department of Alternative Education
    Office of College and Career Readiness
    1780 W. Seventh Street
    Saint Paul, MN 55116