The Student Services Principal, Cara Neesen, reviewed the attached 23-24 Board Presentation. There are currently 22 students enrolled in the Learning Academy. There are three students on the way into the program, which means the Learning Academy will have 25 students within the next month. Four students are starting to transition back into their home district school. There have been six students who have successfully completed the Learning Academy program and fully transitioned back into their home district school. With the level system, when students get to the level prior to the transition plan, Principal Neesen is able to give the district school awareness and invite them to come to the Learning Academy to see how the student is doing. The district school is able to come as often as they would like. Principal Neesen makes sure the school feels like they are ready for the student before the transition takes place. With the students transitioning to their district schools, it is a long process and Principal Neesen wants them to be successful. 

Principal Neesen discussed the bell schedule. 

The Learning Academy has nine core values: gratitude, perseverance, engagement, integrity, responsibility, generosity, compassion, grace, and vulnerability. 

Decisions at the Learning Academy are based on data. There is a data dashboard, which was created by Professional Development Coordinator, Otis Pierce, and Student Services Principal, Cara Neesen. District schools have access to data regarding the student(s) from their district almost immediately. The data dashboard is a great tool to have. 

The Learning Academy has highly qualified staff. There are three teachers with their master’s degree, with one working on their BCBA. Two staff members have their education specialist, with one having their BCBA. There are two therapists with their Licensed Mental Health Licences. There is specialized training for all staff, including MANDT practices and restorative justice practices. Principal Neesen wants to make sure all staff have the resources they need to be successful. Board President Pauley mentioned there was a concern about finding the right staff when the Learning Academy first opened, so it is great to know the staff are so qualified. 


  • Do you follow up with the students after they transition back into their district school? Yes, Principal Neesen follows up with the principals and asks how the student is doing, both academically and with their behavior. 
  • What is the age group of the students in the Learning Academy? It varies; the youngest is in 4th grade and there are others in junior high school. 
  • Is the Learning Academy close to capacity? Capacity is not just students per classroom, it is also determined by the scores the students receive. There is a weighted rubric. Each student gets a score in different areas. Principal Neesen wants to make sure the number of students in a classroom can be sustained by the teacher.
  • How does the Learning Academy take on out-of-district students? The Learning Academy has served two out-of-district students before. One was a previous Learning Academy student who moved out-of-district. The other student moved out of state and when they moved back, the student was not having success in their district school. When there is a waiting list, students in-district take priority. 
  • Can you please spell out the acronyms? Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Licensed Mental Health Practitioner (LMHP)
  • If a student is already a student in the Learning Academy, will they be removed if they move out-of-district? It is determined on a case-by-case basis with the best interest of the student in mind. 
  • Are any of the students court ordered? The Learning Academy is a Level III program, so students cannot be court ordered. There is an application process that has to be started by the school.  
  • Do you get testimonials from students who have successfully completed the program? This has been discussed as a possibility in the future. 
  • Other than the playground, what could make life easier at the Learning Academy? Really, the playground would be the biggest thing.
Board Spotlight