Open Forum - Review Questions and Answers

Q (2/10/17):   What time is the volleyball meeting on Sunday, February 11, 2017?
The February 11 meeting is from 6-7:30 pm in the high school commons.

Q (2/6/17):   Why isn't the Wrestling schedule on the High School Calendar like the other high school sports?
RAW (Regis Altoona Wrestling) is scheduled and run by Regis High School. The schedule can be accessed at the following direct link or from the Altoona High School webpage, left-side navigation labeled High School Athletics, and scroll down to wrestling.

Q (12/23/16):   When does registration start for 4k for next year?
A: 4K enrollment will begin in mid/late January, and will continue throughout the year. If you want to make sure that you are on the list to receive information and the forms needed for registration, please contact Lisa Boss at Altoona Elementary School at 715-839-6050, or email her at:

Q (10/24/16):   I noticed that in the October 17 School Board Packet there was a credit card expense from Johnny's Italian Steakhouse for $700.00. Could you please let me know what that expense covered? If it was a staff or school board outing, could you please let me know how many staff/school board members attended?
A: The expenditure was for gift certificates for our custodial/maintenance and technology staff who worked throughout the spring and summer moving classrooms and equipment in preparation for occupying our new spaces this fall. Eleven gift certificates were purchased.

Q (10/7/16):   When will parents receive the results of the Parent Satisfaction Survey?
A: The district results were shared in the Back to School edition of the Rails Review that went out districtwide in August (pasted below). Principal will share  building-level results with their families in their newsletters.

Parent Satisfaction Survey

In April we asked you to participate in our first Parent Satisfaction Survey.  We want to thank everyone who did participate.  We appreciate your input and we value your feedback on the learning environment we provide for your child(ren). The purpose of the survey is to find out, from you, the parents of our students, what we are doing well so we can continue to perform those actions and build upon them to better serve our students and our community.  We also want to find out what you feel we need to improve on, so we can focus our work on those improvements.

Here are the top three scoring items that you said we are doing well, and we will work hard to continue to serve you well in these areas.

  • My family is treated with respect at this school. 
  • My child’s learning is a high priority at this school.
  • This school provides a safe environment for my child to learn.

Here are the two lowest scoring items from the survey.  We will work to improve these items and we will send out another survey in the future to see if we are improving.

  • I regularly receive feedback from school staff on how well my child is learning.
  • I receive positive phone calls, notes, or emails about my child from the school.

Thank you again for participating in the survey.  We hope you will participate in future surveys because we value your input and ideas.  If you did not participate in this survey we hope you will consider participating in the next survey. 

Q (9/5/16):   When is Altoona high school fall semester start?
A: The high school fall semester starts on the first day of school (9/8 for freshmen and 9/9 for all others). It ends on January 20 with semeter 2 starting on January 23.

Q (8/19/16):   My son didnt know that middle school had soccer offered and he is now interested in signing up for Soccer and will be entering 6th grade in a few weeks. We didn't go to the Middle School Athletic code meeting because we were unaware soccer was offered. Is there a way to get the information from the meeting we may have missed. Thanks!
A: There is a video on this webpage that should answer your questions:
Please contact our athletic director Jamie Oliver if you have further questions (715-839-6031, ext 418)

Q (8/5/16):   It appears online that 8th grade students have specials for the first two hours of the school day. Since it is proven students learn best in the morning, isn't that the optimal time for core classes?

A: Eighth grade students have specials during the first hour of the day.  While research does say the morning is a productive time of day, it is not always possible to do what is ideal. Ultimately, we have a limited amount of core teachers and they all cannot be teaching everyone at the same time, likewise, we have highly qualified specials teachers that are full time and we need to optimize their expertise as well. Scheduling students is one of the most challenging tasks completed by the school, and it does involve some compromise such as the one you describe. When it comes to scheduling we have made adjustments according to research, such as a later start time for teens. However, best practice is not always practical. Another example includes the research that points to increased student learning when students go to school year round, rather than than receiving an extended summer vacation; however, we need to balance that statistic with family, community, and business needs. No schedule is perfect, but we believe this is the best for our students and teachers as a whole with the current supply of resources available to the school district. 

Q (8/5/16):   Is there an alternate plan for starting the middle school if the building is not finished? It would be difficult to have different starting dates for families. If so what is your plan? Thanks!
Classes across the district will begin on time. Classroom and instructional spaces will be finished first, and some of them are already getting their finishing touches now. The intermediate and middle school offices will reopen on August 22 in alternate locations and move in to the new office complex upon its' completion. The tentative move date for the District Office is August 29, and that may be into a temporary location or into the new complex.

Q (8/4/16):   I see New Student Registration is August 24th 8-11 a.m. What is taking place and is it required if new students registered during the summer? If required, can grandparents bring the children in?
A: Students who are new to the district will register on August 24, 8-11 a.m. in the High School Commons, 711 7th Street West. Required documents include birth certificate and proof of residency. Even if you have already completed and turned in your enrollment paperwork, you may want to attend. Representatives from support services (food and transportation) will be available. Grandparents are welcome.

Q (8/2/16):   I am inquiring about the 4K sites in the Altoona School District. 1. Are there still openings at any for this fall? If so, how many at each site and what times will the session(s) be? 2. Is there wrap around care and what would the hourly rate be?
A: As of today, there are still 4K openings for 2016/17. We have four community-based 4K sites. Two of them, Head Start at the Early Education Center, and St. Mary's School, are full. The other two sites still have openings. They are the Little School House of Altoona, and Little Star Daycare, and both offer wrap-around child care.  If you visit our Altoona School District home page, you will find a drop-down menu entitled 'Schools'. Click on this, and you will see '4 Year Old Kindergarten.' There you will see a PDF of 2016-17 Registration forms. It contains not only the forms that need to be filled out, but also a list of all of our sites, with contact information, and brief descriptions of their programs. You can then contact the Little School House and Little Star directly for accurate information about their charges. You are also welcome to visit both sites.

Our A.M. 4K session is scheduled to begin at 7:30 A.M and end at 10:45 A.M. The P.M. session will begin at 11:30 A.M., and end at 2:45 P.M. These times are approximate, and do not include time on the bus to and from school. Our 4K students attend M-Th each week. There is no 4K on Friday.

Q (7/28/16):   What time will students be allowed to be dropped off before the 7:42 start time at the elementary school?
A: 7:20 AM is the earliest time that kids can be dropped off at the elementary school.

Q (7/27/16):   When can you make corrections on your (high school) schedule?
A: The schedule change dates are: Monday, August 22 and Tuesday, August 23, 9AM to 1PM in the high school counseling office.

Q (7/6/16):  How do I gain access to the family/student access?
A: During the school year the parent contacts their child's school office to request a username and password for their Family Access account. During the summer months the district office staff or Mark Scheppke can provide this information. Please send your child's name and your full name to Mark at

Q (6/6/16):  Where is summer school located since the school is getting torn down?
A: Due to construction on the Bartlett Avenue campus, all summer programs are being held at the high school, 711 7th Street West.

Q (5/16/16):  Will there be public open houses at new elementary and remodeled intermediate/middle schools before the beginning of next school year? Where is summer school located since the school is getting torn down?
A: The grand opening of the Altoona Elementary School is scheduled for August 25, 1-3 pm. The grand opening/open house for the remodeled schools has not yet been scheduled.

Q (4/13/16):  When will parents be allowed to see the results to the survey that was sent home today?
The survey period will close on April 29. The results will be analyzed by an outside organization (Studer Education), and then sent to each school and the superintendent. The results will be shared with parents and the community following.

Q (4/12/16):  What time is graduation on the 18th and is it first come first serve as far as seating?
Graduation is at 7:00pm on May 18, 2016.  The doors will open at 5:30pm.  There will be some chairs available on the floor and up above the bleachers by the railing that can be reserved for handicap or special seating.  Please call Michelle at the high school office to reserve handicap/special seating (715-839-6031).

Q (3/8/16):  Why wasn't a walking/biking access plan addressed when considering building a new elementary school?
A: When discussions began regarding the possibility of building a new school on KB we were made aware, by the city that they were in the process of performing initial engineering for the extension of a sidewalk/bike trail along highway KB.  The trail came up again during our discussions about extending the water and sewer to our site.  When we recently learned that the trail was not included in the 2016 budget we were quite surprised.The School District is installing a bike path on our property that extends from the elementary building to KB.  We are also creating a connecting path to the Hillcrest Estates Mobile Home Park so students who reside there can walk or ride their bikes to school.  We will also have bus pick-ups for elementary students along highway KB.  As it exists, without a path it is not deemed safe for bicycle or foot traffic.  The city is doing some investigations regarding the trail at this time, and our hopes are that they will move forward. 

Q (2/11/16):  When does third quarter end?
A: Quarter 3 is scheduled to end on Friday, March 11.

Q (2/4/16):  When is senior prom and what is the cost? Also, when is senior skip day?
A: Junior prom is scheduled for Saturday, April 16, 7 - 11 PM. The specifics, including cost, have not been yet determined. The school district does not sponsor a skip day.

Q (12/9/15):  What is happening to the newly renovated 'house', that currently houses the district office, when the new offices are built above the middle school?
A: A committee has been meeting to establish an alternative education program for grades 10-12. If approved, they anticipate that the program would begin in September and be housed in the current district office building.

Q (12/4/15):  Where would one find the new attendance policy updated this year?
A: The attendance policy is published in the high school student handbook. (Please note, the attendance policy is not new.) The handbook can be easily accessed using  the "search" function on the district website by just typing in Student Handbook. It is also a left-side navigation link on the high school page. Please contact the high school office with any specific questions.

Q (12/1/15):  When is graduation?
A: The  Class of 2016 will graduate on Wednesday, May 18.

Q (11/20/15):  Which School Board Members are up for reelection?
A: The terms of Brad Poquette and David Rowe expire in April.

Q (11/12/15):  Who was the elementary school principal in 1977?
A: John Grafenauer was the principal at Pedersen Elementary at that time until he retired in 1999.

Q (9/23/15):  How is one supposed to access the guest WI-FI at Altoona Schools? Even though it shows as guest and is not requires a user name and password.
A: The passwords are changed daily at each school and emailed to staff. Stop at the office to find out that day's password.

Q (9/11/15):  Teacher names are not listed in Skyward for the classes being taken for my high school student (in the grade book or the student's schedule tab). Can this be changed? The teachers are listed for middle school students.
A: The settings have been updated and you should now be able to see the high school teachers.

Q (9/11/15):  I have tried for a couple weeks to change my settings because I do not want emails every week telling me how my students are doing. I have unchecked the boxes and yet I am still getting them. How do I make it stop?
A:  In Family Access click on "My Account" in the upper right corner. This is where the frequency of attendance/grading notifications can be adjusted. If this has been done and notifications are still being received please contact Mark Scheppke in the technology department, 715-839-6031 ext 506. 

Q (9/4/15):  ?The new app is great and has some helpful information. Just wondering why the school calendar portion doesn't include any of the girls' tennis and cross country meets. At this time there is only one meet listed for next week for either sport. Volleyball and football have whole season included. It would be nice for the district to finally give the 'no money maker' sports equal importance. The participants sacrifice just as much for these sports.
A: Thank you for your feedback. We will look into it!

Q (8/27/15):  Where can I find information about before and after school care for the elementary school?
A: The before- and after- school care is provided by the Grace Lutheran Foundation. See their childcare services webpage: or call them at 715-832-3039.

Q (8/21/15):  Do you have a map of the bus parking for the children. My daughter is entering 7th grade and is wondering where she will pick up the bus after school. Her bus number is 71. Thank you.
A:  The middle school office is putting together a map, which will be sent to parents by email. They are working with Student Transit to get a fixed order of bus parking for the afternoon departure.

Q (8/21/15): Aren't you concerned about taking a students' phone for five days? High school students could have jobs that need to call their cell if needed, parents want a way of contacting their child when not with them, and for those who drive, what if an accident happened and they can't call and get help because their phone is locked in the school? I know these may be drastic examples but did you consider these things?
A:  Students using a phone/device during classroom instruction is a huge distraction and only takes away from the education of that student and others around them.  We have looked into several variations of a cell phone policy and have found that this is very fair.  We are also modeling Eau Claire Memorial?s policy to maintain consistency within the area.  We still have phones in the office for students to make calls and will be able to take messages for students if emergencies may arise.  We also are asking students to be respectful and responsible in the classroom and, if they can do that, then the new policy will not be an issue for them and they will have the opportunity to have phone with them at all times, in and outside of school.

Q (6/2/15): Is it true that you are not replacing or fixing the high school roof?
A:  The roofs of the middle school and high school buildings are slated for work in the summer of 2016.

Q (3/25/15):  Is the enrollment form for the summer weight training program available yet?
A:  Just available as of this afternoon. View it at:

Q (3/20/15):  Is lice currently spreading around the school?
A:  There have been several cases of lice this year, but we are only aware of one case in the last 4 weeks. It is best to check your child(ren) daily. If lice are found, treat and notify the school and close friends to help prevent the spread. Head lice are a treatable nuisance.

Q (2/9/15):  Can a student from another school visit another student during their lunch in high school?
A:  Visitors are not alllowed in the building during the school day unless they are parents/guardians or siblings with permission from the principal.

Q (1/515):  Is it possible to add in a school filter to the Food Service Menu? i.e. MS Lunch
A:  A Keyword Search has been added.  With it, you can enter MS Lunch in the search, hit enter, and just the MS Lunch menu will come up.  If you want to print: Click on PDF/Print or Printer Icon, Click on Descriptions, Click on Print or Save PDF.

Q (12/23/14):  When will the new elementary school be finished?
A:  All construction projects, incluidng the new elementary school are to be completed for the start of school in September 2016.

Q (12/18/14):  When is the snowball dance??? When will the new elementary school be finished?
A:  The high school's winter dance is scheduled for Saturday, January 17, at 7PM  in the high school commons.

Q (12/10/14):  How will the proposed start date for the 2015-16 school year impact the start of practice for fall sports? Proposed Calendar: The 2015/16 calendar features a school start date of Wednesday, August 19, 2015 for students, and an end-date of May 25, 2016.
A:  The start date really doesn't impact fall sports, which already start early to mid-August depending on the sport. Football start date is August 3, tennis is August 11, and cross country and volleyball both start on August 17.

Q (11/25/14):  What is your internet policy? Do you check chrome books and computers with internet survelliance (such as special software to view history of what teens are doing)? And if so how do you do that?
A:  Our Technology Acceptable Use Agreement covers not only the use of the Internet but it also lays out the expected use of other technology tools that the district provides our students. It can be found on our website at: At this time, our LMCs do not checkout Chromebooks for overnight use. We are considering the possibilitity of sending home Chromebooks or other networked devices in the future, but do not have a specific plan at this time. For special circumstances, we have allowed checkout of laptop computers. We use the iBoss Internet filtering appliance to filter and report Internet traffic during the day for students and staff.

Q (11/6/14):  Do you ever close for snow day?
A:  See this webpage for school closing and delay information.  We close when necessary for snow and/or extreme cold, or other emergency. Last year, we had a total of six days when we had no school, one two-hour delay, and one early release due to our extreme winter!

Q (11/3/14):  How many total kindergarten students are there this year?
A:  As of October 23, the kindergarten count was 121.

Q (10/30/14):  What is the current population of students in Pedersen elementary (not including students that are offsite)? What was the population of the students in Pedersen from 1999-2000? What building additions and renovations have been done since 2000 to accommodate the population?
  The current population (as of 10/23/14) of students in kindergarten through 3rd grade at Pedersen is 491. (This does not include the 86 students served in 4K centers off-site.) In May 2000 (1999/00 school year), there were 483 students in grades kindergarten through 4 (grade 4 is no longer served at Pedersen), and 493 kindergarten through 4 in September 2000. There have been no further building additions since 2000. Since then classrooms have been reconfigured and rooms previously used for storage have been cleaned out for classroom use.

Q (10/6/14):  Is the lunch menu supposed to be the same as for the high school?
  Regardless of grade group, the menus for meals to be claimed for federal reimbursement must be planned to offer the same meal pattern components at all grade levels.   However, the number of food items to be offered per day and per week (and/or portion size to complete each component) increases by grade group from elementary to middle to high school.  

Q (10/1/14):   You stated that the first referendum meeting is at 9:00 a.m. at the Town of Washington building. Please respond as to how Altoona residents who work would ever be able to attend this meeting? Why aren't meetings held at the school? This seems very reasonable to have stakeholders at the school rather offsite. I would be very surprised if anyone showed up at the October meeting.
A:  Three public information meetings were scheduled, one at the high school, one at City Hall and one at the Town of Washington. Two are evening meetings, and one a morning meeting to accommodate different schedules. The first referendum information meeting was held last night, September 30, before the volleyball game at the high school. In addition, Dr. Biedron shared referendum information with the Pedersen PTO on September 23, and was available at a referendum information table at the Homecoming tailgate pre-game on September 26. Referendum information tables will also be set-up in the schools during Parent-Teacher Conferences, October 23-24, and more will be added. Community members are also hosting neighborhood meetings. We will add information to the Referendum Webpage as it becomes available. Check the right-side panel for the "How can I get more information?" link.

Q (9/29/14):   What days are non-school days during the month of December, 2014?
A:  Winter break is scheduled from Wednesday, December 24 - Friday, January 2.  You can select one school or view all, on the online calendar. In addition, a one-page printable calendar for the school year is available for download on the homepage at - scroll down to 2014/15 School Year Calendar or follow this link.

Q (9/8/14):  Are any open meetings scheduled for the public on Referendum 2014?
A:  We're in the process of scheduling Referendum Information Meetings. One meeting has been confirmed as of this time. It will be held on October 22 at the Town of Washington Municipal Building (5750 Old Town Road) at 9:00 AM. The meeting dates/times and locations will be publicized once confirmed.  Our Referendum Webpage will be kept up to date as decisions are made.  The school board will be making some of the decisions this week, when they meet in a work session on Tuesday morning.

Q (8/21/14):  On the High School Lifetouch order form the message below is shown - "Background for your yearbook is selected by your school." What background has been selected?
  While you can choose background colors for your order, for the yearbook the background color is standard gray.

Q (7/31/14):  What time can you drop your son off for Kindergarten in the morning?
  The arrival time for Pedersen Elementary is no earlier than 8:10am unless students eat breakfast at school. The school breakfast is served from 7:50 - 8:20am in the commons.

Q (7/15/14): So, in reading earlier posts, I see the cost of data wiring the "house" for the District Offices was $9,000. The public was told that we would be able to remodel this $154,000 purchase for around $25,000 because "a lot of the work will be done in house by our maintenance staff." To date, no electrical, plumbing, or construction costs have been released. What is the current spend on this project?
  The following are included in the project budget: heating and cooling to the board room (former garage); plumbing, reception-area cabinets; electrical work including exit lights and power where walls have been relocated; wall and ceiling finishes; patching of exterior siding and building permit. The project budget totals $56,000. With in-kind donations, net construction costs included in the budget total about $46,0000.

Items that were not included in this budget include windows and a sink in the board room, tree removal, carpeting, paint and supplies, desk supports, interior doors, cabinets and countertops, network wiring, security and other items required by the inspector to meet code, an exterior door (on back) and decking for egress, and grading and paving of parking area.  These items total approximately $47,064 (some costs are still estimates).  No work is being done in the lower level (basement) due to HVAC code compliance. Significant HVAC work and related remodeling would have been required to make this area compliant to commercial building codes. Initial plans provided for two offices and a conference area to occupy this space.  Without that space, some walls had to be removed and relocated on the main floor to accommodate the five (5) district office staff that will be housed there. 
District maintenance staff have completed/will complete project demolition, painting, clean-up of tree removal, excavation for parking area, and building the decking area. 
The move to the administration house will make four classrooms available for much needed instructional space. The one-time renovation costs-estimate of $93,064 compares to an estimated yearly cost of $30,000 ($2,500/month) to lease office space elsewhere, or an estimated minimum cost of $100,000 for portable classrooms. Although this expenditure is more than anticipated, we feel it is money well-spent to avoid displacing students and staff, and disrupting education.
The target move dates are: July 23-25.

Q (6/23/14):  How does one find out how diverse the school system is in Altoona?
  You can view and compare data on the state-wide system called WISEdash. There is a link on our website:

Scroll down to see the link labeled WISEdash.  From there,

  • Click on the Enrollment tab (under the page header)
  • See the "Group by" option to look at data for disability, economic status, race/ethnicity, etc

Q (6/16/14):  With a referendum coming in the fall, I have been looking for information on proposal(s) and costs. Is there a projected date when more information will be available/released?
  The board hasn't taken action on the referendum date and scope yet. You'll see on the timeline that July 7 is the "target" date for their action on date and scope.

Q (5/28/14):  What is the status of the construction going on in the "house"? specifically are we onn track financially with the original proposal/plan? Rumor has it we are way over budget.
  The only bill we've received to date is for the network wiring, about $9,000.

Q (4/24/14):  When is summer school for the high school students?
The high school's credit recovery program will run June 16- July 11.

Q (3/25/14):  It was nice that in the last newsletter for Altoona school district that was mailed to our residence and the newsletter was also on the Altoona school website, outlined the taxes that Altoona residents pay along with the taxes for Eau Claire residents and Fall Creek residents pay. I believe it was that Eau Claire and Fall Creek had the highest tax and Altoona the lowest. And it was emphasized that Altoona is the lowest tax bracket. But have you all considered or thought about the residents that reside inside Eau Claire that are in the Altoona school district, along with the residents that reside in Fall Creek that are in the Altoona school district? And our taxes are higher than the taxes of Altoona residents, in the Altoona school district. Just because we are in the Altoona school district does not mean we are paying lower taxes. And what percent of these residents are in the Altoona school district that are in Eau Claire, and Fall Creek vs. residents in Altoona. Something the board and Connie should consider when asking for another referendum.
A:  School taxes are assessed for the school district in which you reside. For example, if your address is Fall Creek but you are in the Altoona school district your school district tax dollars are assessed by the School District of Altoona not the School District of Fall Creek.  Our school district contains property in the City of Altoona, Town of Washington (some Fall Creek and Eau Claire addresses), Town of Lincoln and the City of Eau Claire all with the lower Altoona school tax.
If you look at your tax bill you will see the School District of Altoona on the school tax line. 

Q (3/6/14):  When will the snow days be made up?
On March 5, the school board approved a proposal for make-up of the days lost due to inclement weather.


  • At this time, the last day of school for students is Friday, June 13. Students will be released that day at 11AM (grades 6-12) and 11:30AM (grades K-5). 
  • A big change, though, is that there will be a partial-day of school on Monday, April 21, which was scheduled as a "no-school" day for students. Students will have a late-start that day (4/21), so school will start at 10:45AM for grades 6-12, and at 11:30AM for K-5
  • Should another day be needed, Friday, April 18 will be used. It would be another partial day (2-hour early dismissal).

More information will be coming. See the approved proposal.

Q (2/24/14):  We thought the reason minutes were added to the school days this year was to help off set the days school needs to close for weather, isn't this the case? The half days on Wednesdays were also removed this year, was this also to help off set the days that school closed?
A:   There are two-parts to the law - a minimum number of days of instruction and a minimum number of minutes of instruction. Both have to be met. The number of minutes are different, depending on the grade-level. Minutes were added into the daily schedule this year, so that we wouldn't be short minutes and have to change the schedule later to compensate for lost minutes. The statute and other resources are included at this link: .

Q (2/4/14):  There are links for the AIS/AMS newsletter on the their school page, but I don't see any for the high school newsletter. Could you tell me where I can view that newsletter?
A:   The high school newsletter has been posted on their webpage. Just scroll down. The link is just under the 100 Best Schools graphic.

Q (01/29/14): Not really a question-more of a request. The website is great and has tons of information but: Could you please put all district phone numbers, especially absentee/activity hotline, on top of home page of the website. Would be nice to be able to find them immediately rather than spending 5 minutes searching for them. (I do realize that after all the years in the district I should already know the numbers but sadly I don't .) Thank You!
A:   Thank you for the suggestion. There is a left-side link called Contact Us.That page includes contact numbers for all the school offices, district office, absentee hotline, the staff directory, Student Transit, etc. One other tip, the search function on the website (it says "search this site...." on the header). For instance, if you put in the word "hotline" in the search, it comes up first in the search results. If you put in the word "phone," the Contact Us link comes up sixth on the list.

Q (01/29/14): How many inclement weather days does the school build into the schedule? If we exceed the number of days scheduled for, does Altoona add days onto the end of the year? When will the parents be notified if days are added onto the end of the year?
A:   Two days are "built-in" meaning that they do not have to be made up. With this week's closings, we are now at four inclement weather days resulting in two-days (currently) that have to be made up. Two make-up days are designated on the calendar. They are Thursday and Friday, June 12 and 13. Building principals will be sharing this information with parents.