What is Tokata?

  • The Tokata Learning Center is a Minnesota State-approved alternative program. We serve students in grades 9 through 12 in the Shakopee School District and surrounding areas.

    Tokata is a Native American word meaning "future", which fits not only the cultural heritage of our community, but also the mission of the TLC to provide students with the education they need to help them reach their goals and establish a bright future. 
  • How is the Tokata Learning Center different from a traditional high school?

    How is the Tokata Learning Center similar to a traditional high school?

    Who attends the Tokata Learning Center?

    What is the enrollment process at the TLC?

    How does graduation work for TLC students?

    What transportation options are available to TLC students?



    How is the Tokata Learning Center different from a traditional high school?

    The TLC offers:
    - Smaller class sizes
    - Extended class times for more in-depth learning and teacher contact
    - More individualized attention and personalized instruction
    - Little to no homework in regular classes, provided students follow teacher instructions
    - Personal Learning Plan for each student that creates a custom path to graduation and success
    - Online learning options for students who learn well in this capacity
    - Independent study options for students who learn well in this capacity
    - Schedule flexibility, allowing us to create a plan for students to start later, end earlier, attend fewer days, and so on, provided students complete all work required (this schedule must be approved before starting at the TLC)
    - Free breakfast and lunch provided for all students



    How is the Tokata Learning Center similar to a traditional high school?

    - TLC students must meet the same graduation requirements as Shakopee High School students, and receive a Shakopee High School diploma upon satisfactory completion of graduation requirements
    - Licensed teachers lead all courses
    - The curriculum is designed to be challenging and rigorous while remaining achievable for students
    - Students have a variety of options available to them for elective courses
    - Transportation is available to students who live outside a two-mile radius of the school
    - Behavioral and attendance expectations help students grow into responsible adults
    - Guidance counselors, chemical health specialists, social workers, school resource officers, Special Services staff and cultural liaisons are all available to students
    - Students can participate in work study courses to earn credit for working at their jobs
    - Shakopee TLC students are able to participate in programs, events and activities at Shakopee High School with preapproval of the SHS principal, including:
       - Dances (for students enrolled in grades 10-12)
       - Events outside of school hours, such as football games
       - Academic activities
       - Athletics
       - Fine arts activities
       - Classes



    Who attends the Tokata Learning Center?

    Our students come from many backgrounds; some have only been in traditional school environments; others have gone to an ALC before. Some enjoy the smaller class sizes at the TLC. All are relieved to complete most, if not all, of their homework during the school day. Many appreciate the teachers’ ability to adapt curriculum and to offer alternatives to traditional seat-based courses. A few struggled in the past with drugs or depression and feel more relaxed around our small student body. Others found it difficult to succeed academically elsewhere, but things finally clicked for them here.

    We serve grades 9-12.

    Students must meet at least one of the following criteria to enroll at an area learning center (see MN Statute 124D.68):
    - Struggle with school work in comparison to peers (lower grades/test scores)
    - Be behind in obtaining credits for graduation
    - Speak English as a second language or has limited English proficiency (LEP)
    - Have withdrawn from school or history of truancy
    - Referred by a school district staff member for enrollment in a nontraditional program
    - Pregnant or a parent
    - Assessed as chemically abusive and/or dependent
    - Have been excluded or expelled
    - Have been a victim of physical or sexual abuse
    - Have an assessed mental health condition
    - Have experienced homelessness within the six months prior to applying to the nontraditional program
    - Receiving treatment in a hospital in the seven-county metropolitan area for a life-threatening illness



    What is the enrollment process at the TLC?

    If the student interested in attending at the TLC is on an Individualized Education Program (IEP), or has recently been on an IEP, the student must begin his/her school year at Shakopee High School so that the requirements of his/her IEP can be evaluated to determine if the TLC will be the best learning environment for the student. If the TLC is determined to be a good fit for the student, he/she should complete an application and submit it to his/her case manager, who will submit the completed application, a review form, and an approval document to the TLC.

    If the student interested in attending at the TLC is currently enrolled at Shakopee East Junior High, Shakopee West Junior High, or Shakopee High School and does NOT have an IEP, he/she should get an application from his/her guidance counselor, who will then submit the completed application with a review form to the TLC.

    If the student interested in attending at the TLC is transferring from another district or is NOT currently enrolled in Shakopee, and does NOT have an IEP, he/she is encouraged to start his/her enrollment at Shakopee High School, where there are intervention programs available for all types of student challenges, from family concerns to financial concerns to academic struggles. If the student decides after spending some time at SHS that he/she is still interested in the TLC, he/she should get an application from his/her guidance counselor, who will then submit the completed application with a review form to the TLC.

    Once the TLC has completed applications and review forms on file for a student applicant (as well as approvals for a student applicant on an IEP), the student will be added to a list that will be reviewed to determine which students will be enrolled starting the next quarter. Students will be notified when they are approved to enroll for the following quarter. Students are NOT guaranteed immediate entry and are encouraged to remain or enroll at another Shakopee school until they are approved for transfer to the TLC.



    How does graduation work for TLC students?

    Once students complete all credits and assessment requirements (which are the same for SHS and TLC students), they will be issued a Shakopee diploma. Students whose classes have already graduated can typically pick up their diplomas as soon as transcripts are finalized; students of current or future classes will have to wait until after the graduation ceremony of their class has concluded.

    Students who finish high school while at the Tokata Learning Center are eligible to participate in two separate ceremonies:
    1. The quarterly TLC celebration of success that takes place at the end of the quarter in which they complete their credits; and
    2. The annual SHS graduation ceremony that takes place after school lets out (usually in early June).

    To be eligible to participate in the TLC celebration of success at the end of the quarter in which the students are completing their last credits, graduating TLC students must:
    1. Be 100% caught up with all courses by noon two weeks prior to the end of the quarter in which they are graduating, INCLUDING make-up work and make-up time,
    AND
    2. Have no active terminal behavior/academic contracts.

    To be eligible to participate in the SHS ceremony, graduating TLC students must:
    1. Advise the TLC secretary of their interest before they complete their credits OR before April 1, whichever comes first,
    AND
    2. Have completed 46 of the 48 credits required for graduation by noon 8 days prior to the date of the ceremony,
    AND
    3. Not have previously participated in an SHS graduation ceremony,
    AND
    4. Participate in the graduation rehearsal (details are provided in the spring).

    Students whose behavior or attendance become a concern may be excluded from either the TLC celebration or the SHS ceremony, or both.



    What transportation options are available to TLC students?

    Students who live in Shakopee outside of a 2-mile radius of the school are provided busing. Call Palmer Bus at 952-445-1166 with questions.

    Students who are licensed to drive may drive to school and park in the front of the mall. Parking permits may be required, but will be free of charge.

    Students may also catch the Shakopee Circulator, as the Town Square Mall is a stop on the route. For cost and schedules, visit http://www.smartlinktransit.com/496circulators.html.