The Mountain Lion's Pulse

Altoona Area School District - September 2022


Welcome Back!

As we finish the third week of school, a lot of great things have already happened. The Boys Varsity Football team defeated crosstown rival Hollidaysburg in the opening game of the season and the Girls and Boys Soccer teams are romping through the beginning of the season giving their opponents fits. Our band is exciting the fans and finally the heat is starting to subside. The Tennis, Golf, and Cross-Country teams are all having solid winning seasons. If you’re not a person that likes to sit in the sun, Girls Volleyball is tearing it up in the gym. There is something for everyone to see and belong to. Fall is great time of year to get involved and be a part of something great. Soon, the leaves will be turning colors and the crisp bite of a brisk Fall breeze will be in the air.

A couple of programs happening that you may not know about: The High School Robotics Team is preparing for the BEST Robotics Competition in Dubois at the end of October and soon there will be the auditions for the fall play. These are just a couple of the activities starting in the next few weeks. We have a lot of great opportunities for our children in Altoona.

Also, fall means college applications, PSATs, SATs, and college visits. Please visit the Counseling website page and click on the links for specifics regarding courses and pathways to many significant opportunities after high school. We do have a limited number of printed course manuals available. Parents wishing to receive a hard copy of the course manual should contact the counseling office.

Below are more details of what is happening and what changes were made while you were away on summer vacation. Note: that all the banners are links to the corresponding web pages for each department.

Welcome Back,

Dr. P

Charles A. Prijatelj, Ed.D.



The beginning of the year is the perfect time to review your Skyward Family Access account for accurate information and specifically, be sure to update your contact preferences within Skylert. We will communicate weather related information, transportation delays and most importantly emergency notifications through this system. You decide your contact preferences.

We will follow the below protocol for delivering messages:

1. Phone Call – Phone calls will made in emergency situations ONLY. In rare instances, a phone call may be used to provide information that is time sensitive or deemed important at the time.

2. E-Mail – E-mail will be used to disseminate information that is not time-sensitive. Types of messages may include snow delays and cancellations, general announcements, sports physical dates, upcoming events, etc.

3. Text Message - Text alerts will be used for snow delays and cancellations, transportation delays, and general information.

You must enter a phone number in the SMS Section of Skylert in order to receive text messages. You may add up to two phone numbers to receive text messages. If you update your information and are not receiving text messages, please check with your carrier to be sure the number is not being blocked.

To read more go to Skyward Family Access news at

The 2022-23 school year will bring some changes to the cafeteria program. Funding for pandemic related free meals is no longer available; therefore, families not approved for Free or Reduced meals will be charged $1.10 for breakfast and $2.15 for lunch.

Visit the District website for a Free and Reduced Price School Meal Application. Almost 70% of the students in the Altoona Area School District qualify for free or reduced priced meals. Complete your application and return it to the cafeteria office or your students school building.

2022 Military Family Survey

In compliance with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) we are required to identify active military families each year.

A military parent is defined as a person serving full time in the United States Military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard) or is a deployed member of the National Guard or Reserves.

If the military parent is the biological or adoptive parent, step parent or legal guardian with full or partial physical custody of the child and resides with the child when not deployed, then the child is considered a "child of the military."

This form only needs to be completed if you have an active military family member and a "child of the military" as defined above.

If applicable, please complete the survey by Friday, September 16, 2022.

To complete the survey, click: 2022 Military Survey

We are excited to have children and families back to school for the 22-23 school year! It is great to see smiling faces, hear laughter filling hallways, and watch the growth of children as they experience the joys of the school day! Our goal is to always support your child as they venture through their years in elementary school. Please reach out to the teacher, school counselor, or school principal with any questions that you may have or anything needed to best support your child!

As we kick off the year, children are participating in baseline assessments that will allow us to target instruction and track their progress throughout the year. I encourage families to make sure you have access to the parent portal in Skyward to talk with your children about their assignments and grades. If you do not have this information, please reach out to your school secretary. They will be glad to help!

Just a reminder that attendance at school is very important! We understand that illness occurs and encourage parents to write an excuse to ensure your child is marked with an excused absence for the day. A doctor’s excuse is required after ten days of absence.

The AASD Elementary Program is looking forward to hosting Parent and Family Engagement events each month throughout the school year! Look for the save the date to come home from your child’s school for these special events. They are all filled with learning for families, fun for your child, and prizes! Parent and Family Engagement events are a great way to become involved in the school community!

Mrs. Haley Fleegle

Assistant to the Superintendent

Curriculum, Instruction & Elementary Programs

(814) 946-8365

Where did the summer go? Welcome back to all of our students and families from junior high school and high school. Hopefully, your school year is off to a great start! Fall activities are in full swing with extra curricular activities and athletics programs engaged in a full schedule. Thank you to those parents that were able to attend our annual Meet the Teacher Nights. If you have any questions about scheduling or classes, please reach out to your child's guidance counselor or individual teacher by email or phone.

We welcome the "normal" start to the 2022-23 school year and look forward to students returning to all of our academic, social, and extracurricular events throughout the school year. We have a lot of work to do to make up for lost academic time and look forward to the challenges that lie ahead. Together, I am confident that we can get everyone back to pre-pandemic norms. This will take a lot of hard work and dedication that I know our staff and students are committed to!

We look forward to seeing you at a game, event, concert, or just during arrival or dismissal. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your child's teachers, administrators, nurses, coaches, and advisors. Let's have a great year!

Brad M. Hatch

Assistant to the Superintendent for Secondary Schools

Altoona Area School District


The Special Education Department kicked off the 2022-23 school year with some amazing trainings for the Special Education Aids (SEAs). These dedicated employees spent 4 total hours participating in both a Trauma 101 training and a Suicide Prevention training with Dr. Ralph May. Trauma 101 was presented by Ryan Hollen of Community Care Behavioral Health and Heather Savino of Blair Health Choices. This training allowed participants to learn more about trauma-informed practices and about responding to the complex needs of our students across the district. Dr. Ralph May delivered valuable information regarding current suicide statistics and suicide risk factors. More importantly, staff members were provided with information on how to respond to threats of self-harm and coping with loss following a suicide. SEAs were enthusiastic about both trainings. The possibility of a future Trauma 102 training has also been discussed. These professional development opportunities are integral to maintaining a school environment that is safe and welcoming to all students, not just students receiving Special Education services.

The school counselors want to welcome everyone back as we begin the 2022-2023 school year. We encourage all parents and guardians to log into Skyward periodically to keep up to date with the grades and attendance of your student.

There has been a couple of changes to the Elementary school counseling department. Marissa Zelnoski will now be the school counselor for Baker and McAuliffe Heights Elementary Schools. We want to thank David Caldwell best wishes and good luck as he moves to a new school district. We want to welcome Caitlyn Jeffries to the district as the new school counselor for Juniata Elementary. The high wants to welcome our new secretary Mrs. Kim Fischer. She comes to us from the Junior High and is looking forward to working with the students at the high school. Welcome Caitlyn, and Kim!

September is National Suicide Prevention Month click here for more information to help those who may be struggling with thoughts of self-harm. The Blair County Out of the Darkness Walk will be Saturday September 10th at Lakemont Park. Please visit the website for more details and how to register.

Juniors who want to take the PSAT, it will be given on Wednesday October 12th. Sign-ups will be announced in September. This test is for junior students only. Click PSAT for more information.

For those interested in joining the military, the ASVAB will be given on Tuesday October 4th. Sign-ups will be announced in September. This is also a very good tool for all students to learn about their career interests and abilities.

Below are the upcoming SAT and ACT testing dates. More test dates and information about the SAT can be learned by going to For more ACT test dates and information please go to


● Test Date: October 1, 2022

● Regular Registration Deadline: September 2, 2022

● Late Registration Deadline: September 20, 2022 (Late Fee Applies)

● Test Date: November 5, 2022

● Regulate Registration Deadline: October 7, 2022

● Late Registration Deadline: October 25, 2022 (Late Fee Applies)


● Test Date: September 10, 2022

● Regulate Registration Deadline: August 5, 2022

● Late Registration Deadline: August 19, 2022 (Late Fee Applies)

● Test Date: October 22, 2022

● Regulate Registration Deadline: September 16, 2022

● Late Registration Deadline: September 30, 2022 (Late Fee Applies)

Welcome Back and Have a Fantastic Year!

Upcoming AASD Athletic Department Promotions

AAHS Football Honorary Captains

Friday, September 9, 2022 – Military Appreciation Night - SSGT Scott Chirdon ‘01

Friday, September 16, 2022 – Gold Ribbon Night Memory of Dawn Morden ‘74

Friday, September 30, 2022 – Homecoming- Philip Devorris ‘83

Friday, October 14, 2022 - Senior Night - Big A Booster Club Officers

Girls Volleyball

Erin Dodson Night – September 19, 2022 vs. Hollidaysburg

Girls Basketball

Free youth basketball clinic- September 17, 25, October 2, 9 AAHS Field House

(Grades 3-5) 3:30pm – 4:30pm

(Grades 6-8) 4:30pm – 5:30pm

Boys Basketball

3rd annual Golf Outing October 8, 2022 – Sinking Valley

Lady Lions Youth Basketball Clinic

Check out the opportunity to participate in the Lady Lions Youth Basketball Clinic below.

You can register for the clinic at the link below:

AAHS Marching Band:

The AAHS Marching Band kicked off its Fall Season with three performances in August. They performed for the AAHS Meet The Teacher night on Tuesday, August 23, they presented and band and light preview show for the public at Mansion Park on Wednesday, August 24, and performed for the Altoona-Hollidaysburg home opening football game on Friday, August 26 where we welcomed the JHS Marching Band to join us in the stands and for a combined number to end the halftime show.

The Marching Band will be performing at the following events in September:

Friday, Sept. 2 - Football vs. Alderdice - 7pm

Saturday, Sept. 3 - Altoona Labor Day Parade - 10am

Friday, Sept. 9 - Football vs. Mifflin County - 7pm

Friday, Sept 16 - Football vs. State College - 7pm

Sunday, Sept. 18 - Baker Mansion Concert - 2pm

Friday, Sept. 23 - Football @ CD East - 7pm

Friday, Sept. 30 - Football vs. Harrisburg - 7pm


The AAJHS Marching Band will be performing at the following events in September:

Wed. Sept. 7 - Football @ Mansion Park - 6pm

Thurs. Sept. 15 - Football @ Mansion Park - 6pm

The JHS will be holding auditions for the Jazz Band on Tuesday, September 13 from 4-6pm in the JHS Band room. Please contact Miss Myers for further information.

AAHS Vocal Ensemble:

The AAHS Vocal Ensemble has started rehearsals and will be performing the National Anthem and the AAHS Alma Mater during the pregame show at the home football games on Friday, Sept. 9 and Friday, Sept. 16.

Technology Tips

It's the start of the 2022-23 school year and we in the Technology Department are excited to have students return. We anticipate both our elementary and secondary students will have a positive school year and are confident they have been equipped with all the technology tools necessary to succeed in their studies.

Secondary students are receiving or have already received their take-home mobile devices. Here are a few tips/reminders to ensure your student is able to use his/her device successfully:

  • When the device insurance becomes available in mid-September, please be sure to consider registering your student's device on the One2One website. Purchasing insurance for your student's device is easy to do and the cost to register remains $25 for the 2022-2023 school year. Your principal will notify you when the insurance registration window opens.
  • Remind your student the device should be kept in the case provided when the device is not in use. This can help to prevent accidental damage.
  • Students were required to sign the District's Acceptable Use Policy before receiving a device. Remind your student of the importance of following District guidelines and to avoid inappropriate use of District-issued technology.

We are looking to hire substitute custodians. First, second, and third shifts available starting at $12 per hour with possibility of advancement when regular positions arise. Strong consideration is given to substitute employees demonstrating superior work ethic.

The grandstand repairs and handrail installation at Mansion Park are complete. Additional lighting was added at Mansion Park Main Gate area.

With school now back in session , I would like to remind motorists to use extra caution while in the vicinity of school buildings throughout the district. There will also be more buses and vans traveling with students on board and waiting at respective stops. Please pay attention and always make sure you stop when the flashing lights on buses are illuminated and the Stop Sign arm is extended. This is State law and is taken very seriously by law enforcement.

Please make sure that you always stop when kids or pedestrians are within the crosswalk. You must yield to pedestrians within a crosswalk.


One-Time Boost to Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program

Eligible senior citizens and people with disabilities will see enhanced rebates through this year's Property Tax/Rent Rebate program thanks to a one-time infusion of additional funds in the 2022-23 state budget.

The additional funding brings the maximum standard rebate to $1,105 for both homeowners and renters, up from the usual $650. People who already received their checks this year will not need to take any further action; the Department of Revenue will automatically send a check for the additional funds starting in early September. For additional information about the bonus rebates, click here.

For those who qualify but have not yet applied, the deadline to do so for rebates on rent and property taxes paid in 2021 has been extended to Dec. 31. Claimants are encouraged to file their rebate applications online by visiting though paper applications are also available at

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate program benefits Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 annually for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded.
Upcoming Events

Click to be directed to the AASD calendar of events

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