Our alternative schools provide specialized settings for students who need non-traditional pathways to personal, academic, and social success. If you think your child might benefit from an alternative learning experience, or your child has dropped-out or struggled in school, we encourage you to learn more about these unique non-traditional school communities.
Rochester Phoenix Academy fosters and promotes personal and academic growth for all students by establishing high academic and social expectations for individual student involvement within the global community. Phoenix Academy is a setting 4 special education site that provides programming for students with disabilities and intense mental health and behavioral needs. Programming is designed to meet mental health, behavioral, and academic needs in students K-12 grades.
Rochester Public Schools offers Rochester Academy for Independent Living (RAIL) to help young adults with disabilities integrate into the community and work settings. The program's goal is to assist the adults at RAIL in developing the independent living and social skills needed to become active, productive, and integrated members of their community.
The schedule for times you will be at RAIL are flexible, and will fit around your work hours. Talk to your case manager about your individualized schedule. If you are scheduled to work on a non- school day you are expected to work. It is your responsibility to get to work or cancel work if you need to take the day off. Student must give two-weeks notice to take a day off of work, as with any job.
RAIL uses public transportation instead of school buses.
- City bus #6 leaves downtown 8:15 AM, arrives 3rd Ave & 16th St. SE at 8:22 AM.
- City bus #6 leaves 3rd Ave. & 16th St. SE at 2:58 PM, arrives downtown 3:10 PM
- Fridays – City bus #6 leaves 3rd Ave. & 16th St SE at 11:58 AM, arrives downtown 12:10 PM
RAIL will provide bus tickets for your fare on public transportation, for days school is in session. Once you receive a ticket, you are responsible for holding on to the ticket, or replacing it if it is lost ($42.00 for a monthly and $16.00 for a weekly). If you are working on organizational skills and don’t want to start out being responsible for a monthly bus ticket, talk to your case manager about receiving a 10-punch bus ticket instead of a monthly bus pass.
Some students use ZIPS dial-a-ride service. You must apply for this service. See the following web site for information and application:
RAIL is designed to prepare students for the adulthood. We encourage dress-casual attire. Clothing should be clean, free of holes,and presentable for being in public places. Students should present a positive appearance, as they will be in public frequently and maybe picking up/dropping off job applications.
We have cafeteria service at RAIL. If you want to use this, you are responsible for having money in your account. Hot lunches are prepared at Mayo High school and delivered to ESC. Students wanting hot lunch need to indicate this upon check-in every day. If students are not at RAIL first thing in the morning and want hot lunch, they are expected to call the main RAIL phone and inform staff. Students also have the option of bringing lunches from home. Refrigeration and microwaves are available. Students are encouraged to label containers. There are vending machines available in the building with limited snack and beverage options.
Students should call the main RAIL phone number (507) 328-4360 to report absences. While some individuals prefer sending emails to notify teachers of absences, this has caused communication issues when teachers have been absent. We would prefer students to call in their own absences or tardies, as opposed to parents doing this for them as this is a work skill they will need to develop for life.
RAIL is focused on teaching skills related to adult life in home, work and community settings. Behavior is expected to be acceptable at work settings. This may differ from a high school cafeteria where noise levels are higher. Social interactions are expected to be appropriate,respecting personal boundaries.
Electronic devices (i.e. audio MP3 players, cell phones) are not to be used during class times. Cell phones can be used during class, for class related work, if approved in advance by instructor. On community outings, cellphones are to only be used for communication with RAIL, as these outings are part of the learning experience.
Lockers are available for students to keep belongings safe. Some sharing of lockers will be necessary, as locker availability is limited. Locks should be used on lockers, with students providing case managers with extra key or combination, to assist when or if problems occur opening lockers or keys forgotten or lost.
Each student should bring a personal planner (paper or electronic device) that contains space to keep track of your schedule of activities and appointments (community trips, food preparation, work and volunteer events, etc.), a place for your personal information (name,address, phone number, computer passwords), and contact information for family or support people.
Students are required to supply their own pencils and pens and bring them to class daily.
Students also keep a “to do” or “reminder” list. Some have found small notebooks that fit in their planners to be helpful. Some students have used note taking applications on their electronic devices.
Recreation, Leisure, and Social Skills
(507) 328-4361 | Email
Monday - Thursday from 8:45AM - 2:45PM
Friday from 8:45AM - 12PM
*RAIL follows the Rochester Public School calendar.
The mission of the ALC is to support viable education options for students who are experiencing difficulty in any education system and are at risk for educational failure. Educational options, including credit recovery and night school, help our students find success on the road to graduation. RALC was named the 2019 Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs School of the Year. ALC serves more than 375 students district-wide.