The Mountain Lion's Pulse
Altoona Area School District February 2022
NOTE FROM DR. PRIJATELJ
Dear Parents, Guardians, and Students,
Mid-winter, the time between the holidays and the emergence of spring. We’re still dealing with the cold, the snow and ice, and bundling up to stay warm. In school, mid-winter is one of the most productive times of the year with limited interruptions and a lot of time focused on learning and growth. In Altoona, we are closing many of the learning gaps from the past two school years. We have seen significant success with our Reading Workshop instruction and our reading supports/interventions moving students up to grade level in the Elementary schools. In the Secondary, the focus on STEM technologies is paying dividends with four high school students receiving internships at The Blair Companies. Both Sheetz and UPMC will be presenting opportunities for strong futures and careers in the local area to our students in February. Right now, is a great time to be a young adult in the Altoona Region. The opportunities for high-quality/high-paying jobs in our region is stronger than it has been in probably 30+ years. Students and parents/guardians need to remember one tried and true statement, “luck favors the prepared” and we have guidance counselors, social workers, and a full instructional staff ready and willing to help with that preparation. All students need to do, is ask.
Charles A. Prijatelj, Ed.D.
2020-2021 Annual Report
The 2020-2021 Annual Report has just been released and highlights some of the interesting and progressive things happening at AASD. Be sure to check it out at https://bit.ly/AASDAnnualReport
The winter season always presents challenges for Central Pennsylvania drivers. Please help maintain the safety of students by verifying bus/van stops are not obscured by snow piles, keeping sidewalks clear of ice and snow and being mindful of walkers on these cold and dark winter days.
The team at the bus terminal does an amazing job ensuring vehicles are well maintained and ready to roll; however, delays may occur due to unforeseen circumstances. If a delay is expected to be in excess of 30 minutes parents/guardians will be notified via Skylert. Thank you for your patience.
And as a reminder, masks continue to be mandated on all transportation vehicles.
Calling all Superheroes!
This event brings together various community organizations that are available for students and families in Altoona. There will be representation from the Altoona City Police, Altoona Fire Department, Altoona Public Library, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Canoe Creek, Girl Scouts, Kids for Community, Operation Our Town, UPMC, Blair Regional YMCA, Arts Altoona, Altoona Curve, and many more!
Come join us to enjoy games, activities, and prizes! We appreciate the opportunity to bring the superheroes of our community together to provide resources to our families and students! Don’t miss this fantastic event! A special thank you to our Title I Team for organizing this event!
January and February are very important months in the scheduling process at AAHS. The scheduling process is critically important to ensure each scheduled course fulfills not only a credit requirement towards graduation, but meets the intrinsic academic goals of each student. To achieve this goal the AAHS staff dedicates countless hours of preparation.
The team of eight school counselors at the high school is integral to the process. Additionally, the eighth grade counselors play a key role as well. Immediately following the end of the first semester the counselors went into action meeting with each class at AAHS explaining the scheduling process and answering student questions. The AAHS admin team along with the school counselors also met with eighth grade students and parents the evening of January 27th to explain how schedules and credits work at the high school.
February is a very busy month in regard to scheduling. AAHS counselors are now meeting with individual students to review schedules and enter requests into Skyward. The counselors are checking to make sure students are scheduling the proper amount of credits for the upcoming year and fulfilling credit requirements.
Once all student course requests are entered into Skyward it’s the AAHS Principal Team’s time. Building a master course schedule is a unique and intricate task that takes time, creativity, and patience. The master schedule is like a massive rubik's cube. Make one move and you end up with three more problems. The philosophy of building a master schedule at AAHS has always been to meet the needs of all students. Generally speaking, the master schedule is set by the middle of April.
April and May are the months used to make tweaks to individual student schedules. This is the time students may have to make choices on courses based on conflicts in their schedule. The counselors work hard to see every students’ schedule meets their academic goals and needs.
As you can see the process is long and detailed, and it is the academic heart of what AAHS does for its students.
Now is the time of the school year when the secondary school counselors will be meeting with students to schedule for the 2022-2023 school year. Please utilize the Course Description Books below to make informed decisions about academic planning.
AAJHS Course Description Books
AAHS Course Description Book
Thinking about playing Sports in college?
In order compete at an NCAA Division I or Division II school, you need to meet eligibility requirements certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center. This link may answer some questions about this process.
If you are unsure what courses you may like to take this may help.
As students are making decisions for further education after high school, applying for financial aid can be a difficult process. Several questions about the financial aid process can be answered by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency website.
Below is the information for upcoming SAT and ACT registration deadlines . More test dates and information about the SAT can be learned by going to http://sat.org/. For more ACT test dates and information please go to act.org.
Test Date: March 12, 2022
Regular Registration Deadline: February 11, 2022
Late Registration Deadline: March 1, 2022 (Late Fee Applies)
Test Date: April 2, 2022
Regular Registration Deadline: February 25, 2022
Late Registration Deadline: March 11, 2022 (Late Fee Applies)
For additional information please visit the Counselor page on the AAHS website.
The Special Education Department was busy in January providing many professional development opportunities for staff members. In-service trainings included trauma informed practices for our Emotional Support and Autistic Support teachers as well as our Social Workers. Full Time Autistic Support, Life Skills Support, and Multi-Disabilities Support teachers participated in a training for a new curriculum. Unique Learning Systems provides an alternate curriculum for students with the highest needs. Teachers continued their training on progress monitoring to improve data collection and help make data-based decisions for students. At the end of the month, an educational consultant reviewed programming and provided specific recommendations to continue improvements within the department. We appreciate their input as we continue to strive to improve the social, emotional, and behavioral functioning of students in the Altoona Area School District.
Technology Department School-to-Career Students
In the January issue of Mt. Lion’s Pulse, you were introduced to Dawn, one of two of District School-to-Career (STC) students hired by the Technology Department. This month we asked Jake, the Department’s afternoon STC student, to share with us his thoughts about working in the Technology Department.
Why did you decide to become a School-to-Career student?
“I decided to become a STC student because I wanted a background in computer hardware, and I needed to develop work experience.”
What do you do as a STC student for the Technology Department? What do you like best about being in the Technology Department?
“I work directly with troubleshooting for student technology problems, printer problems with teachers, and Windows laptop troubleshooting for teachers. I like the fact that I am constantly learning and around friends.”
What have you learned about yourself by working in the Technology Department?
“I have learned that my skills of working with people as a team and collaborating will be important to continue developing.”
What are your career plans after you graduate from AAHS?
“I plan to go to college and study computer science.”
The Technology Department is happy to provide experience and training to students like Jake and Dawn so they can not only get a feel for the technology field, but also to help train these students for a future career in technology.
Altoona Athletics Honored Our Own at AAHS Basketball Games
- AAHS Girls Soccer Team for winning three consecutive District 6 Titles
- The AASD School Board
- Former AASD Board Member, Mayor of Altoona and Retiring County Judge Dan Milliron.
- AASD Athletics also honored the memory of former AASD Board member Mr. Richard Lockard
Upcoming Athletic Schedules and Physicals
- AAA District Wrestling Feb 26, 2022
- AAA Regional Wrestling March 4-5, 2022
- District 6 basketball playoffs begin week of Feb 21, 2022
- Gymnastics League Championships Feb 11, 2022 at St Marys'
- District 6 Swimming Championships March 4, 2022 at Hollidaysburg
- Altoona Elementary Wrestling Feb 6, 2022
- AA District Wrestling February 18-19, 2022
- PJW Area 2 Wrestling February 20, 2022
Spring sports begin - March 7 2022
The tentative schedule for spring sport physicals is February 24th at the High School and March 3rd at the Jr High, both are after school starting at 2:45 PM.
Be sure to check out the winter/spring sports schedules on the AASD Schedule page.
On January 8th the Drama Club was joined by over 80 alumni to perform Hindsight, a concert tribute to all the musicals AAHS has ever done. This special night was originally planned before the pandemic to say farewell to the old auditorium. After 2 years of uncertainty, the performance was finally brought to fruition as a celebration of the opening of our new auditorium. We were happy to have so many community members in the audience, many experiencing our state-of-the-art facilities for the first time. It was a memorable evening that will be treasured for a long time to come.
Mark Your Calendars!
AAHS All-State Orchestra Musicians:Two AAHS students have been selected for the PMEA All-State Festival for Orchestra: Sarah Saylor on Bass and Lukas Caracciolo on Trumpet. Congratulations Sarah and Lukas!!
PMEA District 6 Jazz Festival:
AAHS hosted the PMEA District 6 Jazz Festival on Thursday, Jan. 20 and Friday, Jan. 21, 2022. Fourteen band and 2 vocal students participated in the festival. The guest conductors were Dr. Laura Ferguson (IUP), Dr. Kevin Eisensmith (IUP) and Dr. David Glover (Slippery Rock University).
PMEA District 6 Band Festival:
The PMEA District 6 Band Festival was held at Hollidaysburg HS on Thursday, Jan. 27 and Friday Jan. 28, 2022. Fourteen band students from AAHS participated with 12 of those placing high enough to advance to the Region III Band Festival which will be held in March.
Keystone String Festival:
AAHS will host the Keystone String Festival on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. This festival will bring together JHS string players from all over the area and will conclude with a concert on Friday evening in the AAHS Auditorium.
PMEA District Chorus:
The PMEA District Chorus Festival will be held Feb. 10-12, 2022. Eight students from AAHS have been selected and will participate in this Festival.
AASD All-City Band and Orchestra:
Both the All-City Elementary Band and the All-City Elementary Orchestra have begun rehearsing for their concerts that will take place in March. Both ensembles are doing a fantastic job and we are looking forward to their performances.
AAHS Vocal Ensemble to perform at the PSU Basketball Game:
The AAHS Vocal Ensemble will perform the National Anthem for the PSU Basketball game on Friday, Feb. 25 at the Bryce Jordan Center on the Main Campus of PSU.
AAHS Indoor Silks:
The AAHS Indoor Silk competitive team has begun practicing for their upcoming competitions. The first one will be held at Glendale HS on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. Good Luck Indoor Silks.
In December, Governor Tom Wolfe signed Act 91 of 2021, amending the Public School Code by addressing the immediate need for substitute teachers due to the pandemic. Flexibilities for school years 2021-22 and 2022-23 include:
- Retired teachers are now eligible to fill teacher vacancies on an emergency or short-term basis.
- Schools can use eligible college students and recent graduates of education programs to serve as substitute teachers.
- Educators with active Pennsylvania certificates and those with comparable out-of-state certificates can serve as day-to-day substitutes for 20 days, or longer under certain circumstances.
- Teachers with inactive certificates may substitute for 180 days instead of 90 days per school year.
- Individuals who are 25 or older, have at least 60 college credits or 3 years of experience as a paraprofessional, and complete training on classroom management, may serve as “classroom monitors” by delivering preplanned assignments for a teacher.
If you have any interest in becoming a substitute teacher, please contact Lynn Weakland at ESS. Lynn’s email is email@example.com and her phone number is 814-515-3894.
We are also in need of crossing guards, bus drivers, greeters, custodial substitutes, and classroom aides. You can find current opportunities available at any time at www.aasdcat.com/apply.
The City of Altoona is Accepting Applications for School Crossing Guards
If you like being outside, helping keep children safe, and can commit to a morning and afternoon work schedule, we would appreciate your help.
For more information, please call Holly at 814-949-2418 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.