Portage Academy

About Portage Academy
  • PURPOSE: Please refer to the Portage Academy of Achievement Mission Statement located on first page of the school's website.
  • ENROLLMENT: Attendance at PAA is a privilege and enrollment spots are limited.  To apply for admission, the student and parent must fill out the application form that is available on the Portage School District Website.  Applications are considered only at the start of the school year and at the beginning of each quarter, as spots become available.  Students considering applying should see their PHS counselor.  Students are required to do a formal interview to apply for admission.
  • LOCATION: We are located on the 3rd floor of the Rusch Elementary Building at 117 West Franklin St., Portage, WI  53901.  Use the intercom at entrance #11, from the playground side of the Rusch Building.

Phones: School Phone: 608-745-0887.  Mr. Pease’s email: peasej@portage.k12.wi.us. 

   Switchboard #: 742-7376 Ext. 117 (this # has voice mail.) 

                  Email: peasej@portage.k12.wi.us    meierdirkk@portage.k12.wi.us

                  Website: There is lots of good information and links on the PAA Website.  Just Google the

    Portage School District website and follow the links!

  • DIPLOMA: Enrolled students will work to earn a PAA High School Diploma.  This is a regular high school diploma that offers lots of job and post-secondary opportunities.
  • CREDITS: 21 Credits are required for graduation:

4 English                                     3 Math                                                      1.5 Phy Ed

3 Social Studies                         3 Science                                                .5 Health

Work Experience: Max of 4 credits @ a max of 2 per year.  (80 work hours = .5 credit)

Electives: Elective classes make up the other 4 credits.

In addition, all students must complete a work based employment portfolio.

  • SESSIONS: There are two sessions each day.

AM SESSION: The morning session is from 8:30 to 11:30.

PM SESSION: The afternoon session is from 12:30 to 3:30.

WEEKLY HOURS: Students attend 15 hours of instruction per week (3 hours X 5 days). 

WORK EXPERIENCE: Students are awarded academic credits for relevant supervised work experience.  This is an important component of our learning process. 

FRIDAYS: Students who are significantly employed are excused from attendance on Fridays if they have also maintained adequate academic progress in e2020.

  • CURRICULUM: Instruction will be delivered via:

ON-LINE LEARNING: We will use a program called E2020 that is on-line and accessible from either school or home.  Students may need to do some work at home if they want to set a pace that will get them to graduation on time!

TEXTBOOKS: The AGS learning series is another less-used option for PAA classes.

  • OTHER CLASSES: The credit requirements for graduation from PAA are outlined earlier in this document.  In addition, some required classes include:
  1. Phy Ed – This class is taught by a certified Portage Schools teacher.
    1. AM PE Class is every Monday from 10:55 to 11:25
    2. PM PE Class is every Tuesday from 12:45 to 1:15.
  2. Contemporary Literature – This class is required of all students.  We will read selected literature (fiction and/or non fiction) aloud, as a group.  We will also do numerous writing themes and assessments to improve writing and reading comprehension skills.
  3. Employability Skills – This class is taught during second quarter and it concentrates on putting together a complete job resume and learning what employers expect and demand.
  4. Life Skills – This class covers all of the other skills that are needed for a happy and successful adult life. If possible, we will have a consultant present ideas to the class, then will facilitate discussions, do written reflections, and do other projects to apply our learning.
  5. Work Experience – PAA students attend only three hours of classroom instruction per day.   This comes with the expectation that you will be working (for credit) for the other half-day.  In some cases, all or part of this work could be unpaid. 
  • TRIAL PERIOD: Each new PAA student will be assigned to an initial two-week Trial Period:
    • The student is allowed NO absences during this period.
    • The student will attend PAA classes for four hours instead of three during this time.
    • The area of focus during this extra time will be FINDING A JOB. Next is a jump-start on classes.
    • The Trial Period ends when all of these things have happened: 10 consecutive school days without an absence, the student has secured paid employment, and all other expectations outlined in this document are being followed (to the satisfaction of the teachers.)
    • If the student does not successfully complete the Trial Period (or decides not to attend) he/she will return to PHS and will not have been considered a PAA student. 
  • PREPARING FOR COLLEGE AND CAREERS: Every PAA student will leave our school with a personal job portfolio that includes:

* An action plan                                                              *A personal budget

* A resume                                                                        *College financial information

* Letters of reference                                                      * A Graduation Goals personal plan

 *Applications for employment                                      * Many important job-seeking tools

The link below has excellent information about Post-Secondary opportunities for PAA students:



  • A COMPARISON BETWEEN PHS AND PAA: The below are differences in programs.  One school is not “better” than another. What is different is the delivery of instruction and the pace.  Expectations are very high at the Academy and in order to earn a diploma you will have to work for it.  You will need to be focused and determined in order to cover all the material you will need to earn credits.

PORTAGE HIGH SCHOOL                                    PORTAGE ACADEMY

35 Hours Per Week                                                        15 Hours Per Week

24 Credits to Graduate                                                   21 Credits to Graduate

Work/Study                                                                        Up to 4 Credits For Work

5 Day Week                                                                       5 Day Week

Many Teachers                                                                 Two Teachers

Many Classrooms                                                            One Classroom

Deadlines                                                                           Work at Your Own Pace



Sets Clear Goals                                                                        Is Self Motivated

Is willing to Work                                                                        Is Respectful to Everyone

Attends 100%                                                                             Works Independently

Always on Time                                                                          Is Patient and Honest

Asks for Help When It is Needed                                            Follows All of the Rules

Is Positive Every day                                                                 IS THANKFUL


  • RULES & RESTRICTIONS: PAA students follow all PHS rules.  Further clarifications and additions for PAA rules and procedures are outlined in this document.


  1. TWO ABSENCES POLICY: Each PAA student will be allowed two sick days per quarter.  IF THE STUDENT CALLS THE TEACHER ON THE MORNING OF THE ABSENCE, he/she does not need to make up the time missed for these two days.  No call = makeup required.
  2. TERMINATION: A third absence in a quarter will call for immediate termination from PAA.
  3. EXCEPTIONS: Possible exceptions may be made in cases of:
    1. Absences verified by a doctor’s excuse.  This time must be made up within one week of the absence.  Maximim of five doctor’s excuses per semester.
    2. Family emergencies, work-related meetings/trainings, unchangeable appointments, court dates, family vacations.  These absences must be arranged with the teacher in advance, and are NOT automatically excused. Time missed for emergency absences must be made up before leaving for the appointment!
  4. READMITTANCE: Students who are terminated from PAA for attendance or other reasons may apply only one time for readmission.  Readmission will be considered only at the beginning of a quarter, and there is no guarantee that a spot will be available. 
  1. Students who are tardy will be assigned to detentions. 
  2. 1 to 5 min tardy = 10 min makeup.  6 to 89 min = doubled.  90+ min = absent. 
  3. Students work during tardy make-up time and time must be made up on the day earned. 
  4. More than 4 tardies in a quarter are considered chronic and make up 60 minutes per tardy. 
  1. Our campus consists of the PAA classrooms on third floor of the Rusch Building and the bathrooms directly below, on second floor. 
  2. All other areas of the Rusch Building are strictly off limits at all times unless teacher permission has been obtained each time. 
  3. PAA students are to use ONLY ENTRANCE #11, which is located on the playground side of the building.  There is an intercom/buzzer system to be used for entry. 
  4. PAA students park in the lot on the other side of Franklin Street.  No permit is required. 
  5. Portage High School is off limits at all times unless you have prior permission of both the PAA teacher AND the PHS Office.
    1. Dropping in on an old PHS teacher is not allowed.
    2. Stopping in to eat lunch with a friend at PHS is not okay. 
    3. Exceptions:

*Some students may be taking a PRE-APPROVED PHS class (tech ed, art, etc).   *PAA students are eligible to participate in an approved PHS sport.

*PAA students may get pre-approval to attend dances, Prom and similar activities.

*PAA students are allowed attend any events that are open to the general public.

  • ELECTRONIC DEVICES:  Cell phones and electronic devices are not allowed at PAA, unless pre-approved.  We will not look for them, but if your phone goes off or you take it out, you will be asked to give it to the teacher until the end of class.  At this time, it will be returned to you.  Repeated violations will draw increased consequences.
  • FIELD TRIPS AND GUEST SPEAKERS: Not all learning takes place in the classroom.
  1. We hope to take several field trips during the school year.  These might include doing the ROPES course, and other fun learning activities.  We will also visit local industries, etc. 
  2. All school rules apply on field trips. 
  3. Missed field trips are counted as a day of absence, so you are required to attend. 
  4. Some field trips might be more than one-half day.  We will let you know about these in advance so you can make other work and social arrangements. 
  • DISMISSAL FROM THE ACADEMY: A violation of any one of the following offenses will result in a team meeting to confer on consequences or to begin dismissal proceedings. Each incident will be handled on an individual basis.
  1. Insubordination                                                6. Illegal/dangerous use of equipment
  2. Excessive abusive or vulgar language       7. Theft
  3. Extreme disrespect to staff or others            8. Assault
  4. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco/AODA Offenses     9. Harassment/Abuse
  5. Fighting                                                              10. Other serious behavioral violations
  • WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT OF YOUR TEACHERS: This whole document has told you what is expected of you.  Here is what you can expect from your teachers, Mr. Halberg and Mrs. Meierdirk.
  1. RESPECT: We will always show you mutual respect.  
  2. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: We will do our best to correct your mistakes without embarrassing you.  We will also try to notice and praise the good things you do. 
  3. COMMUNICATION: We will not have hidden agendas.  We’ll communicate what you need to do and will do our best to create a safe environment where you can ask questions of us and/or express your constructive opinions positively. 
  4. CONSISTENCY: We will do our best to enforce all rules and policies fairly and evenly.  Note: We will always try to understand the background and needs of each student and act accordingly within the given guidelines.  For example, we might be more understanding with a make up for a student who needs to miss for child care than for one who is deer hunting, will treat a third tardy differently than a first, etc. Equitable does not always mean equal, and we might not always be able to share individual circumstances with other students. 
  5. ENGAGEMENT: We will try to keep our classes and activities as interesting and engaging as we can.  Learning is hard work but it can also have a component of fun. 
  6. HELP: We want every one of our students to SUCCEED and we will do everything possible to make your success happen. We will help however we can but we will not do it for you
  7. RIGOR: We will set up curriculum and assignments that are rigorous but doable for you.
  8. DIPLOMA: The high school diploma is the minimum “job ticket” in today’s society. Just getting this critical piece of paper will double the amount of money you will make in your lifetime!   Our goal is to have every student earn a high school diploma and then to succeed . . . we want you to become a productive member of society who can someday have a home, a car, a family, and a better life.  The PAA diploma offers this.  Help us to help you.


Copyright © 2016 Portage Community School District. All Rights Reserved.
  • 305 East Slifer Street, Portage, WI 53901
  • District Office Phone: (608) 742-4879
  • Fax: (608) 742-4950
  • Contact Us