Learning Academy

What We Do

ESU 7 Learning Academy is an option for school districts to utilize as a temporary educational placement to support students who struggle socially, emotionally, or behaviorally. Learning Academy is not a permanent placement. The program is designed to support students with developing the skills necessary to transition back to their home district and support school districts with the training and tools necessary to have success after the student returns.

Learning Academy staff will support students with the academic requirements of their home school district while also providing instruction in Social-Emotional Skills. In addition to the teachers and paraprofessionals who provide instruction, there will also be a principal, licensed mental health practitioner (LMHP), school psychologist,  and school nurse on site.

Learning Academy is located on the grounds of ESU 7 in a newly renovated space. There are four classrooms, a sensory room, an activity center,  a conference room, and an office space for the principal and LMHP. The activity center is equipped with exercise equipment, play space,  and tables that fold down to serve meals. There are also two dignity rooms which are smaller rooms where students can work one-to-one with staff,  take a break,  or have a quiet place to work. Dignity rooms can also serve as a place for students in crisis to preserve their privacy and the safety of everyone else.

Learning Academy programming and social/emotional instruction will focus on five areas: Responsible Decision Making, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, Self Management, and Self Awareness.

After a school district applies for placement, Learning Academy staff will collaborate with school district officials, the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team, and parents to develop a plan for each individual student. Should this plan include the need for a temporary educational placement the Learning Academy is an option for the IEP team to consider. Only after the IEP team determines placement at the Learning Academy is necessary will the student be placed in the program. If the IEP team and Learning Academy staff feel the program and facilities are not sufficient to meet a student’s needs, the IEP team will work to find an alternative solution.


ESU 7 Learning Academy will support students in unlocking their potential by working in cooperation with stakeholders and meeting students where they are academically, behaviorally, and socially to build on their strengths.


ESU 7 Learning Academy will strive to support students in developing the behavioral and academic skills needed to successfully transition to their resident school districts and communities as engaged and capable students.


These are the ideals we intentionally and relentlessly model, teach, and reinforce:

  • Grace
  • Resilience/Perseverance/Grit
  • Generosity
  • Engagement
  • Compassion
  • Responsibility
  • Gratitude
  • Integrity
  • Vulnerability
Group Horse Ride 2Boy on HorseWoman on horseChair Ball game

Please contact Learning Academy at the numbers below with any questions

Cara Neesen
Student Services Principal - Learning Academy
Phone: 402-564-0815, ext 1008

Tamra Clay
Special Education Director ESU 7
Phone: 402-564-0815, ext 1018

Department Staff

Hover over staff members' pictures to see their e-mail addresses and phone extensions.

Tamra Clay

Special Education Director
Ext. 1018

Cara Neesen

Student Services Principal
Ext. 1008

Jayne Abegglen


Anne Baptiste

Learning Academy Teacher
Ext. 1049

Christine Barber


Lindy Eberle

Learning Academy Teacher
Ext. 1041

Tiffany Hackett


Brenda Hake


Alicia Hastreiter


Brooke Hemmer

Learning Academy Teacher
Ext. 1012

Ronelle Jackson

Licensed Mental Health Practitioner
Ext. 1044

Ashley Lerch


Melissa Schwichtenberg