From the April 2012 Observer
Centennial will have a new family member beginning July 1.
Pines School is located within the district’s geographical boundaries on the west side of I-35W across the freeway (north) from Blue Heron and Centennial Middle School. Pines School is considered a care and treatment facility by the Minnesota Department of Education and serves, on average, 100 middle and high school students each day.
Over the course of a year, Pines staff will enroll over 800 students, which obviously means many enrollments are short term. Students come from many different districts for a variety of reasons. Some are placed by the juvenile court system, some by social workers, and still others are placed by school districts like Centennial.
Pines School began operation in 1977 through a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) between Anoka County and the district. That agreement defined the district’s responsibilities as consultative and allowed the county to hire licensed staff, design the educational program, and operate the school in conjunction with the Anoka County Community Corrections Department.
The agreement remained in effect until late February when the county board voted to end its involvement. Leaders in the county have long realized that education was becoming more and more complex and it was in everyone’s best interest to transfer responsibility to the Centennial School District. Their reasoning is sound, as this change will allow the district and the county to focus on their respective core missions and do what each does best.
Pines School has been known by a variety of names. ACJC (Anoka County Juvenile Center) is the most common. There are four programs on the campus: three residential, and a day program where students are bussed to and from school. Classes take place in each of the four programs during a six period/six hour school day. Historically, the school year has been a bit longer at Pines School, but that will change to match what’s done at Centennial.
There are an enormous number of details to be worked out in this transition and teams from the county and district are working together to facilitate the transfer of responsibility. Weekly meetings are led by Centennial Superintendent Keith Dixon and Director of Corrections in Anoka County Dylan Warkentin.
When all is said and done, Pines School will be a welcome addition to Centennial’s genealogy.
Dr. Bonnie Thoms, 2012 - present