Austin Packer Bulletin - 9/22/23
Volume 2, Issue 8
With our students back in our buildings, Austin Public Schools is buzzing with excitement for the school year ahead. Classes have begun, and activities are in full swing, from the theater, pep band, clubs, and student council to cross country, tennis, swimming, soccer, volleyball, and football. At APS, we know our students learn, grow, and get involved in many ways.
The start of a new school year is always a special time filled with promise and potential. It represents a fresh start and an opportunity to recommit ourselves to our mission to Inspire, Empower, and Accelerate to prepare our learners to make a difference in the world.
To help support our mission, we've developed a strategic plan with a focus on four priorities:
- Support and resources to ensure a safe and welcoming learning environment
- Packer Profile for all learners
- Districtwide multitiered systems of support (MTSS) for all learners
- Excellence in resource management
Over the past two years, we've been working diligently to meet these lofty goals to help our students be successful, and this year, the school board has approved goals to re-affirm our district's commitment to our strategic plan:
- Implement our strategic plan. The superintendent will continue to facilitate the development of the district's short-term and long-term goals and align available resources within the district's budget.
- Keep the public informed of the school board's roles and responsibilities. The superintendent and school board will inform the community with appropriate, regular communication on various school district topics.
As we move forward into the school year, you'll be hearing a lot about how we're working to make our classrooms safe and welcoming environments for learning, how we're implementing the Packer Profile with the class of 2027 (this year's ninth graders), how we're planning and implementing the MTSS process across the district, and how we're utilizing our resources most effectively and efficiently to support student learning.
One of the best things about Austin is the community's support for our students and schools. Our strategic plan is designed to help develop Austin Public Schools into a leader in education and give all our students the chance to be successful.
Thank you for your interest in and support of our schools. Here's to a fantastic year of achievement.
Dr. Joey Page, Superintendent
Austin Public Schools Distinguished Alumni
Austin High School Alumni and Friends Association will honor this year's Distinguished Alumni on October 5 in the AHS Commons Area. This year's honorees are Patrick Bradley (1969) and Baffour Agbey (1999). Tickets to the event are available by calling 507-433-4557. Read more about this year's honorees here.
Austin Elementary Walkathon
We are so excited for the 1st Annual Austin Elementary Schools Walkathon! On October 3, all four elementary schools in Austin (Banfield, Neveln, Southgate, and Sumner) will have a walkathon at their school. Money raised by the annual walkathon goes directly to provide extras for our students. This includes field trips, special programs, author visits, classroom supplies and technology, safety patrol gear, playground equipment, and more!
To give you a little bit more information, here is the informational video from our elementary principals.
You can donate here.
For any questions, or for additional information, please contact:
Culturally Responsive Arts Education Action and Learning Program
MDE selected a group of Austin Public Schools teachers to participate in this learning program over the summer. The Culturally Responsive Arts Education program is designed to advance equity and improve the quality of arts education in Minnesota classrooms, schools, and districts by developing and implementing culturally responsive and anti-racist arts curricula, instruction, policies, and practices. The program is funded by a U.S. Department of Education Assistance for Arts Education grant led by the Minnesota Department of Education's (MDE) Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Center. You can review the group's presentation to the School Board and learn more about the program here.
PBS – Almanac
PBS has been working on a diversity story in Austin Public Schools and will air on all MN-based PBS stations Friday, September 22, at 7 p.m. on Almanac. KSMQ is our local station. It will also air on our live stream, tpt.org/almanac. The link will also be where you can find the story to share – probably available starting around 9 p.m. Friday and search under "clips" to isolate just that story from the hour-long program.
School Board Policy Updates
APS policies are routinely reviewed and/or revised. These policies provide the governance structure and guidance in school district matters and decisions. Please check this site periodically to be sure you have the most current version of any given policy.
The Violence Project
The Violence Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research center dedicated to violence prevention and intervention. The Violence Project believes data and analysis can improve policy and practice. Their research on mass shootings, funded by the National Institute of Justice, has received global media attention. The Violence Project's areas of expertise include gun violence, violent extremism, cyber violence, trauma and mental illness, street gangs, and youth violence. Learn more here.
Be Part of the Digital Opportunity Planning Process
"Digital opportunity" means everyone has technology options that work for them.
In November of 2021, Congress passed the Digital Equity Act, appropriating $2.75 billion to help Americans access technology. Each state needs to develop a digital opportunity plan to receive this funding. The Office of Broadband Development (OBD) at the Department of Employment and Economic Development has published a draft of Minnesota's Digital Opportunity Plan, and now they'd like your feedback. Minnesotans can help shape the state's digital opportunity plan in several ways listed on the OBD website.
The public comment period is open through September 29, 2023, and you can register to join a listening session in person or online.
Report a Concern
Austin Public Schools strives to address your questions and concerns quickly and effectively. Therefore, we have developed communication protocols to promote direct, open, and respectful interactions to resolve problems and concerns efficiently. Please visit our Report A Concern webpage to review our communication protocol.
Reminder: Isolation and Precautions for People with COVID-19
Speaking of Health
In this week's Alumni Spotlight, we catch up with alumnus Jolene Dennis.
Are you an alumnus of Austin Public Schools? If so, we'd love to hear from you! We're excited to hear about your accomplishments and are eager to share your successes and advice with our current students, families, and the Austin community.
All you need to do is take a minute to answer a few quick questions at https://www.austin.k12.mn.us/alumni-spotlight.
Thanks, and we look forward to hearing all your wonderful stories!
At Austin Public Schools, our mission is to inspire, empower, and accelerate every one of our learners, and we know that the only way for us to reach this goal is through the efforts of all our incredibly hard-working staff.
In this week’s Staff Spotlight, we’re highlighting Oakland Education Center Mental Health Practitioner Lynsie Moritz.
"Ms. Moritz works hard to make positive relationships with every student that she meets. She is passionate about her career, an amazing advocate, and a rock star at helping her students succeed. She truly is an asset to the Oakland Education Center."
If you’d like to nominate an outstanding Austin Public Schools staff member for our weekly Staff Spotlight, please take a moment to fill out the form at https://www.austin.k12.mn.us/district-resources/staff-spotlight. It only takes a minute and can truly make someone’s day. Thanks!
Superintendent Coffee and Conversation
Superintendent Coffee and Conversation
Please consider joining me at the Coffee House on Main for coffee and conversation.
Coffee House on Main
329 Main Street North
Austin, MN 55912
- October 23 – 7:00-7:45 AM
- November 27 – 7:00-7:45 AM
- December 20 – 7:00-7:45 AM
Or you can contact me at email@example.com or call 507-460-1900 to schedule an appointment.
* Dates are subject to change
Monday, Oct 23, 2023, 07:00 AM
329 Main Street North, Austin, MN, USA
In The News
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Austin Public Schools is committed to creating an inclusive environment that values the diversity of its employees and does not discriminate against any employee or candidate based on race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, age, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, familial status or membership or activity in a local commission. The school district strongly encourages anyone interested to apply to join our teams. Reasonable accommodations to access job openings or to apply for a job are available. Click here to learn more.