Northern Lights Academy

Message from the Director of Special Education, Dena Hagen: 3/27/20

Dear NLA families,

On March 15th, in response to the current pandemic, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz gave schools an unprecedented directive to create a distance learning plan that meets the needs of all Minnesota students, in the event of a long-term closure of school, due to a public health crisis. This has never been done in the history of our state. 

In addition, he directed schools to help support our state and communities by providing childcare for school-aged students of emergency and essential workers, and by creating a system to distribute meals throughout our communities for children. 

The staff at the Northern Lights Academy have done an excellent job responding to the directive of our Governor and worked diligently to create a distance learning system that will serve as the educational foundation of our students.  

On March 25, the Governor ordered that distance learning plans start March 30th and remain in effect until May 4th.

We do not expect that our initial plan, as linked below, will be perfect, but we will learn as we go and we will adjust to meet the needs of our students to the best of our ability.  As we identify areas for improvement, it will be important that everyone communicates clearly and effectively, and with patience. We are all entering uncharted territory. None of us can truly anticipate what’s to come, but we can all commit to supporting each other in order to give our best effort for students.

NLA School Closure and Distance Learning Plan (updated May 5, 2020)

Families First Coronavirus Response Act Employee Rights Poster

302 14th Street
Cloquet, MN 55720
fax: 218-878-3061

Barb Mackey x8000, Assistant Special Education Director (
Emily Brown x8004, Special Education Teacher (
Amelia Calverley x8006, Direct 878-3062, Special Education Teacher (
Morgan Warbalow x8005, Special Education Teacher (
Lisa Dalbec x8004, Social Worker (
Tisha Warbalow x8001, Administrative Assistant (

Mission Statement

The Northern Lights Academy (NLA) mission is to support children and youth with significant emotional and behavioral needs, as well as those with low incidence disabilities. We provide academic, social and functional skill development, and mental health services to students from the member school districts of The Northern Lights Special Education Cooperative.

Our goal is to foster learning, promote independence, cultivate social and behavior skills, work in partnerships with families, and support students to become successful learners in their least restrictive environment, as well as active, productive members of our communities.

2019-20 School Year Information

For the 2019-20 school year, the NLA will offer Setting 4 Special Education programs for up to 34 students in grades K-8, who need an alternative educational placement. Contact your school's principal for more information.

Related Files image