School Handbook
    Mission Statement
  • St. Matthew’s Lutheran School partners with families to provide students a quality, Christ-centered education while cultivating lives of service to the Lord in his harvest field.
  • St. Matthew's Lutheran School was established, with the inerrant and verbally inspired Word of God for its foundation, as a means to fulfill God's command in Ephesians 6:4, "Bring [children] up in the training and instruction of the Lord." St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Stoddard has partnered with St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Chaseburg to maintain this Christian day school so that Jesus' lambs receive their instruction in all subjects and school activities in the light of God’s Word (John 21:15), and grow in faith to live all their lives in the footsteps of our Good Shepherd.
    Enrollment Policy
  • Our school board has adopted the following enrollment policy with regard to available space. Admission will be granted in the following order:

    1. Children who are members of St. Matthew’s Stoddard and St. Peter’s Chaseburg

    2. Children who are members of other WELS / ELS churches

    3. Children without a church home

    4. Children with membership in a church other than the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod

    The age of the child must coincide with state law. By September 1st, all first grade children must be 6 years old and all kindergarten or “K5” children must be 5 years old. St. Matthew’s policy requires pre-kindergarten or “K4” children must be 4 years old as of September 1st. For rare cases, the school board has adopted guidelines for early admission to select students.

    Admission Community Member Students
  • Our school board has adopted the following procedure with regard to admission of students who are not currently members of a WELS church:

    1. During the summer home visit, the principal acquaints the community family with the school’s mission and certification process.

    2. At a January meeting with the pastor, the community family learns about their different Bible Information Class options in more detail. Community families are given 2 years of flexible scheduling to complete Bible Information Class with the pastor to become “certified community members” and continue at the tuition break. The purpose of this course is to inform the family of our church’s doctrinal position as we teach their child(ren).

    3. Should a community family choose not to complete Bible Information Class, the child(ren) is welcome to continue enrollment at the adjusted “noncertified” rate of $2000 per child.

    4. Parents and children are encouraged to attend worship services regularly, including occasions his/her class participates in a service.

    Nondiscriminatory Policies
  • St. Matthew’s Lutheran School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, administration policies, scholarship and loan programs, athletic and other school administered programs.

    USDA Nondiscrimination Statement
    In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. 
    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits.  Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
    To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027). Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture; Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights; 1400 Independence Avenue, SW; Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) email:

    This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
    Registration Fees
  • The registration fee for the children in grade levels PreK-8 is $150.00. This money is used to purchase textbooks, workbooks and other educational materials. The students are expected to buy their own books for religion class (Bibles, hymnals and catechisms). These can be bought at the school. Prices are not printed here because they change so frequently.
    Tuition Program


    WELS/ELS Members

    1st Child

    2nd Child

    Maximum Paid






    Community Members

    1st Child

    2nd Child

    Maximum Paid







    Tuition Policy
    1. A family who enrolls a child at St. Matthew’s Lutheran School agrees to pay the tuition and fees set by the school board.

    2. All fees and tuition are due in full by the last day of May. Re-enrollment may not be allowed if any past due tuition is not paid by registration day. The school board reserves the rights to hold a student’s transcript if payment is not made or an agreement cannot be reached.

    3. All parents, both tuition and CEF, are required to pay the registration fee of $150 at registration day. This fee is non-refundable. Students will not be enrolled until those fees are paid in full.

    4. The payment of tuition and fees can be paid in two methods:

      1. Full payment of tuition made on registration day with the registration and book fees.

      2. Four quarterly payments made in October, January, March and May. Notice of remaining payment due will be sent out in May.

    5. The school board realizes that unforeseen financial burdens might occur. In the case of financial hardship, parents are to contact the principal, school board chairman, or any school board member at your congregation. A meeting will be set up to discuss the financial problems and make a change in the agreed upon payment schedule.

  • The term “curriculum” refers to all experiences of the child for which the school accepts responsibility. St. Matthew’s curriculum provides for the spiritual, intellectual, emotional, physical and social needs of every child.

    In addition, our curriculum meets the requirements of the State of Wisconsin and of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. In order to keep our course of instruction as current as possible, as well as consistently Christ-centered teaching, the faculty members hold staff meetings, attend conferences, workshops, and in-service training programs. With the best interests of the children in mind, the curriculum is always subject to evaluation, study, and discussion by the faculty, with the purpose of providing the most efficient instruction possible.

    St. Matthew’s places its various religion classes in the foreground as the most important subject of all. God’s Word is more than just a school subject and permeates the entire school day. It impacts our teaching, curriculum, and sets the standard for teachers as they nurture and care for students.

    Bus Transportation
  • Bus transportation is provided by the De Soto and Westby school districts. We also expect to enter into agreement with the La Crosse school district for 2018-2019. Even though children who ride these buses are not our responsibility while traveling to and from school, parents should remind them that they are still God’s children on the bus and should obey its rules and regulations. This not only sets a shining example for other children to follow, but it promotes good will between our school and those who transport our children.
    Emergency School Closing
  • It is imperative for parents and guardians to stay informed of school closings in the area and to keep contact information available to the school and up to date in the case of emergencies.

    On wintry days when the weather is inclement, the announcement for St. Matthew’s school cancellation can be seen on tv channel WKBT 8 or WXOW 19. St Matthew’s School is always closed when the Westby School District closes for inclement weather. If it is announced that the buses from Westby are running one or two hours late, then we will also be begin late. Students who do not ride the bus should also stay home for that delay. If De Soto district is delayed or closed but Westby is not, and St. Matthew’s is unable to adjust buses for this, parents will need to find transportation for their child. The school board will reassess our school closing procedures each year to best meet the needs of the greatest number of our students.

    In the event of an emergency school closing, the principal will also contact those parents or guardians enrolled with a current phone number using the One Call Now service. Again, please speak with the principal for any clarification or concerns.

    Mission Collection
  •             Our school has mission collection every Thursday morning. The children are given offering envelopes for this purpose.
                Twice a month, the children of our school have the opportunity to worship together in a special church service. Parents are invited to these services to worship with their children. The services begin at about 8:00 AM on the mornings they are held.
    Church Attendance
  •             Regular church attendance is expected of all the children as it is of all Christians. The Psalmist says, “I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’” (Psalm 122:1) As parents, we will eagerly and joyously worship regularly, realizing that we are to be good examples for the children whom the Lord has given to us. The St. Matthew’s School Board has instructed the teachers to take weekly church attendance. This will be done privately and is intended to serve as a reminder to students and parents of the importance of growing in faith through hearing God’s Word. On those Sundays when your children are scheduled to sing, we ask that the children be at church no later than 10 minutes before the service is to begin.
  •             Our school uses the A-B-C-D-F system of grading for most subjects. The meaning of each letter is explained on the report cards that are distributed quarterly. For most daily assignments, 70% or above is considered passing.

    School Attendance
  • Students in all classrooms are expected to be ready to learn at 8:00 AM each day. Students will be marked tardy if they are not present or ready to learn at this time. Students will be marked absent if they arrive after 10:30 AM. A parent or guardian of the child should contact the teacher during the school day, before 8:00 AM if possible, to avoid an unexcused absence or a tardy. This gives the teacher extra time to prepare make-up work for the academic benefit of the child. When a child is going to be absent for an extended period of time, parents should make every effort to notify the teacher in advance to allow for the student to complete make-up work prior to these absences.

    Absences create extra work for both the teacher and student, so please attempt to schedule any medical or dental appointments after school or on days off from school. If a student does have to miss school for an appointment, please give the teacher advanced written or phone notification for the planned absence.

    We understand that students may fall behind on homework due to absences. Teachers make the appropriate accommodations for these circumstances. Please speak with the teacher if ever there is an issue with absentee work.

    To provide parents with a guideline for their child’s school attendance and to emphasize the importance of school attendance, a policy has been put in place by the school board:

    After 4 absences in a quarter, a doctor-signed note is required for any additional absences, or else a sit-down meeting with parent(s), student, and principal is required. We recognize there may be extenuating circumstances that will warrant exceptions to be made by the principal and school board.

    Student Behavior
  •             Satan works hard to keep us from serving our Lord. He works especially hard in a Christian school. In order to keep things running smoothly, therefore, we encourage the students to remember how the Lord would want them to behave. With this in mind, some rules for student behavior are necessary.
                Kind and courteous behavior is required of all students. No boisterous activity or running will be permitted in the school and the children should be especially quiet in the hallway during school hours. If a child has and needs cough drops, parents should inform his/her teacher.
    Students should be on the playground during all recess periods. Both students and the teachers need these recesses in order to refresh themselves after their classroom activities. Parents can request a child to remain inside by submitting a written note. Students are not permitted off the school grounds.
  • In general, teachers adhere to a “three-strikes policy.” Early offenses against teacher expectations (disrespect, unpreparedness) constitute a warning (strike one), though more may be required for blatant disregard or disrespect. If the behavior persists, the teacher will arrange for a private conversation with the student (strike two). If the student persists yet even further, a private conversation will be arranged with the principal or pastors and the student’s parents or guardians will be contacted.

    Most problems that arise in the classroom are dealt with quickly and seem to resolve themselves just as quickly. There are instances, however, when further action is required. When a student exhibits a serious behavior problem, a reoccurring behavior problem, or is repeatedly failing to complete work, he or she may be kept after school to serve a detention. Parents will be notified when this occurs. Teachers reserve the right to make these types of disciplinary decisions throughout the school day for both the good of the child and the school as a whole.

    When detentions or private discussions between the teacher, student, parents and principal cannot resolve a continuing problem, a suspension from school may result. In most cases, the parents will be aware that a problem exists well before it gets to this point. A suspension may range anywhere from part of a day to several days depending on the severity of the problem.

    Grounds for suspension include cursing/foul language, repeated unfinished work with no apparent reason, willful bodily harm inflicted/intended to be inflicted upon another student, willful harm done to property., and truancy according to the school absence policy (p.7).

    Parents will be notified prior to the child’s being sent home. Only the principal has the power to suspend a student. When a suspension occurs, the child’s pastor and the school board president will be notified. The principal reserves the right to make these difficult decisions for both the good of the child and the school.

    If, after two such suspensions, the problem is not corrected, expulsion from school may be necessary. The school board must approve the recommendation before an expulsion can take effect.

  •             Most problems that arise in the classroom are dealt with quickly and seem to resolve themselves just as quickly. There are instances, however, when further action is required. When a student exhibits a serious behavior problem, a reoccurring behavior problem, or is repeatedly failing to complete work, he or she may be kept after school to serve a detention. Parents will, or course, be kept notified when this occurs.
                When detentions or private discussions between the teacher, student, parents and principal cannot resolve a continuing problem, a suspension from school may result. In most cases the parents will be aware that a problem exists before it gets to the point of a suspension. A suspension may range anywhere from part of a day to several days depending on the severity of the problem. Parents will be notified prior to the child’s being sent home. Only the principal has the power to suspend a student. When a suspension occurs, the child’s pastor and the Board of Education president will be notified.
                If, after two such suspensions, the problem is not corrected, expulsion from school may be necessary. We hope this never happens! If a problem continues after two suspensions, the principal will call a meeting between the parents, teacher, pastor and the Board of Education. If a solution to the problem cannot be found, the principal may recommend that the student be expelled. The Board of Education must approve the recommendation before the expulsion can take effect.
                If is our sincere prayer that through the proper use of both the Law and Gospel, the situations mentioned above may be avoided. Because of the presence of sin in the world we must continually fight the devil’s attacks. We can take comfort, however, in God’s Word as it is found in Hebrews 2:18, “Because he (Jesus) himself was temped, he is able to help those who are being temped.” In the Lord’s Prayer we ask God to “deliver us from evil.” May we teach our children to lean on their Savior each day for that deliverance.
    Desk and Personal Property Searches
  •             From time to time, students bring items to school that do not belong there, such as squirt gun, etc. It’s possible that other more serious items like knives, guns and illegal drugs may be brought to school. Although we hope this does not occur, the School Board reserves the right, when there is reasonable suspicion, to have the staff search desks and personal property and confiscate such items. The principal will hold the items until the parents are notified and the problem can be resolved.
                Items such as trading cards, MP3 players or other media or electronic devices which can serve as distractions to the purpose for which parents send their children to our school, are not permitted. Any item that becomes a nuisance and is, in the opinion of the teacher, unnecessary or detrimental to the education process, will be confiscated.­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­       
    Care of Property
  •             All students are expected to take good care of all church and school property. This includes playground equipment, textbooks, library books and desks. Any damage caused intentionally or by careless conduct will require the student to be responsible for its repair or replacement.
    Telephone Use
  •             The school telephone is available to use by students only when absolutely necessary. Teacher permission is required. When parents need to call school, please call before 8:00 AM, at noon or after 2:45 PM when that is possible. However, when there is an emergency, feel free to call at any time.
    Fire Drills
  •             State law requires us to have monthly fire drills. Teachers discuss the proper procedures with the students so we are able to evacuate the building as quickly as possible. In spring, we also have a tornado drill that coincides with tornado awareness week so students will be prepared in case of such an emergency.
  •             The Vernon County Nurses Office conducts vision and hearing screening for the children during the school year. Volunteers will be needed for these screenings. Proper immunization forms are required for admission into school. Check with the school for requirements.
  •             St. Matthew’s Lutheran School has been inspected for asbestos materials according to the requirements of the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA). The first inspection took place on June 17th, 1988 and was completed by the state-certified inspector. As required by the AHERA, a re-inspection was completed on May 1st, 1992, and again on April 29th, 1995.
                Our building contains only small amounts of asbestos. This asbestos containing material is in good condition, and we have a management plan in place to help maintain it and keep it from becoming a health hazard.
                We do regular six-month surveillance of this material to make sure it remains in good condition. By law we must notify staff and parents of the availability of our management plan. This plan is available for you to see in our school office during regular school hours.
    Dress Code
  •             Our school does not have a formal dress code. We do, however, expect our students to dress in a neat and clean manner. Some forms of clothing (T-shirts with inappropriate messages, torn clothing, flip-flop sandals without a back strap for support, tank tops) are not acceptable. Children in PreK through 2nd grade are not to wear Crocs to school. This has become a safety issue.
    We ask that parents be aware of what their children are wearing to school, and that they teach them to make good Christian decisions in their style of dress. If it is felt that a child’s clothing is in poor taste we will speak to the child about it and ask for the parent’s cooperation. Shorts are permitted in the early fall and late spring when the weather is hot enough and the principal grants permission. Anything not specified will be decided by the principal and School Board.
  •             The annual Science and Fine Arts Fair at Luther High School gives the children an opportunity to display art and science projects and to complete in spelling, math, social studies, forensics and musical competitions. The fair is open to students in grades 5-8.
                Our students also have the opportunity to play a band instrument through Luther High School’s grade school band program. Lessons are held at St. Matthew’s during the school day.
    Piano lesson are offered through an outside teacher who gives lessons one day a week. These piano lesson are allowed to students in grades Kindergarten through 8th grade.
                The children of St Matthew’s Lutheran School, in grades 4-8, have a chance to participate in many different activities. The La Crosse Area Lutheran School Athletic Conference (LALSAC) provides team competition in softball, basketball, volleyball and track.
    Athletic Code
  •             Students participating in any sport must continue to maintain good study habits. To help encourage good study habits, all students must maintain a C average in all classes. All the subjects will be averaged together to determine the student’s eligibility. Teachers will contact the parents if a child is in danger of having below a C average. If a child’s average is below a C, teachers and parents will work together to determine the best course of action.
    Bit O News
  •             The Bit O’ News is a newsletter sent home to inform students and parents of upcoming events. Parents are encouraged to read this newsletter carefully in order to keep up with school news. The Bit O’ News is sent home Thursday of every other week.
    Lunch Program
  •           St. Matthew’s participates in the National School Hot Lunch Program. We contract with the local school district and buy lunches from them. The food is prepared for Stoddard Elementary School and subsequently brought over and served at St. Matthew’s. Since the lunch is prepared at the elementary school, it is required that we contact them each day with a lunch count in a timely manner. If your child is going to be late to school, you must call St. Matthew’s by 8:00 AM to order a lunch for your child. Otherwise, your child must bring a sack lunch that day. Parent volunteers serve hot lunch each day. The cost is determined by the contract with the public school district. Those families who qualify are urged to apply for free or reduced price lunches. Speak with the Hot Lunch Coordinator for any information on our lunch program.
    Wellness Policy
  • We believe that having students who are healthy, well-nourished, and active is an important part of carrying out the mission of our school. To reflect this concern, the following guidelines outline our commitment to wellness:

    • We will provide quality nutrition to all students and staff.

    • We will provide a school nutrition program that includes well-balanced and nutritious food choices that contribute to lifelong positive eating habits.

    • We will provide students with a positive eating environment with adequate time to eat.

    • We will meet or exceed state requirements for physical and health education. Physical activity includes regular physical education and co-curricular activities.

      For full information on our school's dedication to wellness, see our full wellness policy here.

    Christian Education Society
  •             The Christian Education Society (CES) is an organization made up of all school parents and others interested in Christian education.
                We consider it a privilege to conduct our school so that our children may grow in the Christian faith, may develop their God-given talents, may be trained in leading a God-pleasing life and may finally receive eternal life. As we seek to develop the talents of the children we want them to learn faithfulness, to develop a sense of responsibility and learn the skills and concepts that are the basis for a productive and happy life.
                The CES meets three meets each school year in September, March and May. In addition to a brief business meeting, a topic of interest is covered by a guest speaker or members of the faculty. The chief aim of this organization is to provide information so that parents and teachers may cooperate more effectively in Christian training. The CES also aids the school in its educational needs.
                The September meeting will consist of the Fall Festival Fun Night. This will be a night in which there will be games for the kids and adults alike. It will also be a night in which parents get a chance to meet other parents.
School Handbook
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