The School District of Onalaska is located in the Southwest corner of Wisconsin. The district serves a community of approximately 17,000 people. Onalaska is the fourth smallest school district in terms of geographic square miles. It is a suburb of La Crosse. The school district contains one high school, one middle school, and three elementary schools. The population predominantly consists of white middle to upper class families. The additional community members are made up of smaller numbers of African Americans, Asians, Native and other Pacific Islanders, and Hispanic or Latino peoples. The largest ethnic minority population in Onalaska is the Hmong community.
The Hmong community started arriving in the La Crosse area in the 1980s as political refugees. Since then the number of Hmong people in Onalaska has continued to increase and now makes up over two percent of the La Crosse County population. Non-bilingual Hmong speaking students create the greatest number of English learners in the Onalaska public schools.
In addition to the diversity of race and language in Onalaska, the community also serves many students that are considered to be lower-socio-economic. Other pockets of diversity served include the special education population, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender and questioning (GLBTQ) community and students with various religious backgrounds.