Since 1985, the Winona Area Learning Center (WALC) has been "A Second Chance at Learning" for students who for many reasons were unable to achieve and graduate from the traditional K-12 setting. The WALC is a year-round program for students in grades 9-12. Policies, rules, educational objectives and resources are designed to accommodate student needs and provide a comprehensive education using non-traditional methods consistent with the goals of the district. Those enrolled as Independent Study students check in weekly rather than attending daily.
To be in any of the WALC programs, a student must meet at least one of the nine high school graduation indicators:
- Performing substantially below grade level
- Behind in credits for graduation
- Pregnant or parenting
- Have experienced physical or sexual abuse
- Chemically dependent
- Have mental health problems
- Have been homeless recently
- Have withdrawn from school or been chronically truant
- Speak English as a second language or have limited English proficiency
All academics at the WALC are taught by first assessing the incoming students' performance levels and then individualizing the instruction. Curriculum is in place for the following subjects: English, Social Studies, Science, Math, and Physical Education. Electives include Work Skills, Work Experience, Art, and Active Parenting.
The WALC also has a teen parent program which offers courses in Parenting and Prenatal. The WALC has an on-site child care center for infants and toddlers of high school students.
Students at the WALC may receive high school credit for employment. Students are required to take a semester of work-skills seminar. The work-skills coordinator conducts on-site visits to the students' place of employment.