Austin Packer Bulletin - 0128
Volume 1, Issue 28
During the 2022-23 school year, we engaged in a formal program review for K-12 Gifted and Talented Services and K-12 Math. This was an opportunity for us to learn about our system and use the findings to support teachers and learners.
Gifted and Talented Services
Austin Public Schools again partnered with the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) from the University of Minnesota to conduct a program review of our K-12 Gifted and Talented Services.
The information gathered will help prioritize, plan, and implement gifted and talented programming that aligns with best practice research and the needs of students. You can review the full report here and Dr. Kim Gibbon's presentation to the school board here.
Austin Public Schools also worked with Lesa M. Covington Clarkson, Ph.D., a mathematics educator with forty-three years of classroom experience, to conduct a program review of the K-12 Math Program.
Our purpose of this math program review was to examine the academic services and determine the strengths, challenges, and gaps between the potential experiences and the lived experiences of its stakeholders. Dr. Clarkson has been collecting information from our district through classroom observations, meetings with teachers, administrators, and curriculum leaders, and examination of student achievement data and instructional materials. The findings will be presented to the Board next month.
Dr. Joey Page, Superintendent
AHS Principal Announcement
Austin Public Schools is pleased to announce that Matt Schmit has been selected as Austin High School principal. This appointment follows a comprehensive search process to find the right candidate for the position.
"We are thrilled to have Mr. Schmit lead Austin High School," said Superintendent Dr. Joey Page. Mr. Schmit brings over 20 years of experience and expertise to the role, including being the interim principal since January. His knowledge will be invaluable as we continue implementing Austin High School's strategic priorities. "With his extensive experience and dedication to Austin Public Schools and the Austin community, we are confident that he will be a strong leader and advocate for the students and staff of AHS."
Matt Schmit shared, "I am honored to accept the Austin High School principal position. Austin High School has a rich tradition of academics and extracurriculars and has been a big part of my life for over 30 years. I look forward to working with students, parents, staff, and community to continue our mission to Inspire, Empower and Accelerate so all students are prepared to make a difference in the world."
Mr. Schmit was selected as interim high school principal in the second semester of the 2022-2023 school year. We look forward to his leadership and guidance as we prepare all learners to make a difference in the world.
The 50th anniversary Austinaires Show is this week, April 14-15, at 7:00 PM in AHS Christgau Hall. Remember, passes and IDs will not work for admission - you must purchase a ticket to attend the show! Tickets are $7 for adults / $5 for students and can be purchased at HyVee, from the AHS cashier, or at the door.
Culturally Responsive Arts Education
Nikky Tolde, David Hovland, Katie Tharp, Kim Zerke, and Krystal Lennie have been selected for the Culturally Responsive Arts Education Action and Learning Cohort. The Culturally Responsive Arts Education program is designed to advance equity and improve quality in arts education in Minnesota classrooms, schools and districts through the development and implementation of culturally responsive and anti-racist arts curriculum, instruction, policies, and practices.
From June 2023 through September 2026, the Professional Learning + Action Cohort, made up of teachers, administrators, district leaders and other partners, will engage in ongoing professional learning culminating in the development and implementation of local Pilot Action Initiatives at the K-12 classroom, school and/or district levels. The program is funded by a U.S. Department of Education Assistance for Arts Education grant and is led by the Minnesota Department of Education's (MDE) Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Center.
Women's History Assembly
Austin High School recently welcomed the Austin chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) for the annual Women's History Assembly. The AHS drama club helped portray various female activists and leaders from throughout history. It was a great presentation and a wonderful learning opportunity for all.
Back Row (L-R):
- Lisa Deyo as Betty Freidman
- Ellen Ekins as Rosie the Riveter
- Afi Adjowui as Frances Harper
- Ella Nack as the Narrator
- Haylie Meyer as Alice Paul
- Kalli Potter as Elizabeth Cody Stanton
- Director Kim Potter
Severe Weather Awareness Week is April 17 - 21, 2023
Are you ready for severe weather? Each year, HSEM, in collaboration with the National Weather Service, sponsors Severe Weather Awareness Week in Minnesota. The week is designed to refresh, remind and educate everyone about the seasonal threats from severe weather and how to avoid them. It's also a great time to make and practice your emergency plan and build or refresh your emergency preparedness kit.
Statewide Tornado Drills
The two annual statewide tornado drills are the most important events during Severe Weather Awareness Week. Minnesota's 2023 statewide tornado drills are scheduled for Thursday, April 20.
Outdoor warning sirens will sound in a simulated tornado warning. The first drill is intended for institutions (including APS) and businesses. The evening drill is intended for second-shift workers and families. Learn more here.
Common Chords celebration in Austin begins on Sunday, April 30, and culminates in a Minnesota Orchestra performance at Knowlton Auditorium on Saturday, May 6. Click here to learn about all the festivities!
The Impact Austin 2023 Speaker Series is a virtual community learning resource as strategic planning gets underway to address future growth, housing, economic development, immigrant support, food access and equity, parks and open space, connectivity and transportation, education, arts and culture, brand/story and tourism, city infrastructure, and public policy and planning. Bringing dynamic national practitioners together with local leaders, the goal is to offer inspiration by sharing practical models, working projects and ideas from across the county and within the city that inform innovative solutions to the challenges and opportunities within Austin, Minnesota.
- Communities of Practice: The Power of Collaboration and Alignment in Land Use Policy and Development – view here.
- The next ones, Growing An Equitable, Accessible and Dynamic Regional Food System and Cultivating Planning and Development Alignment Between Cities and Counties can be registered for here and here.
New Report Examines Minnesota's Dual Enrollment Funding System
A product of 18 months of collaboration with MDE, the Office of Higher Education, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, a new report outlines how Minnesota funds its dual enrollment programs and details a set of consensus recommendations to advance equity of access and student success.
With support from the College in High School Alliance, the report was developed with input from over 230 representatives from high schools and colleges and over 340 students across Minnesota. It outlines how the current funding system contributes to a myriad of challenges faced by high schools, colleges and students—and details a list of recommendations aligned to the FY2024–25 Governor's Budget Recommendations, including:
- A pilot program to fully fund Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) by centering equity
- Updates to the PSEO transportation formula statewide
- Collection and reporting of PSEO data by contract from all dual enrollment partnerships
- New research into Minnesota's Dual Enrollment Programs
This is a reminder that the school district will maintain neutrality as to all political campaigns and issues. This means that employees of the school district, while acting in the capacity of a school district employee, shall not engage in any political activity during the school day, during work hours, or at school activities. This includes any conduct that is intended to be or that reasonably could be perceived as endorsing or opposing specific political issues or political candidates.
Of course, school district employees are free to engage in political activities outside the school day, work hours, or school activities and campaign and run for political office.
However, employees shall not allow any such political activities to interfere with the proper performance of their school duties and shall not use school time, supplies, or equipment in these activities.
See Board Policy 909 for more information.
Austin 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. The school board recently approved the following:
- Policy 428 - Employee Use of Social Media
What is a Tax Abatement?
A tax abatement is a property tax incentive taxing authorities can issue that will reduce or eliminate taxes on real estate in a specific area for a specific amount of time.
You can learn more about Tax Abatement here.
Congressional Art Competition
Each spring, a nation-wide high school arts competition is sponsored by the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives. The Artistic Discovery Contest is an opportunity to recognize and encourage the artistic talent in the nation, as well as in our Congressional District.
The Artistic Discovery Contest is open to all high school students in our District. The winning artwork of our district's competition will be displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol. The exhibit in Washington will include the winning artwork from all participating districts from around the country. The winning artwork is also featured on the Congressional Art Competition page.
The following is a summary of the Congressional Art Competition rules:
Artwork entered in the contest may be up to 28 inches by 28 inches, may be up to 4 inches in depth, and not weigh more than 15 pounds. If your artwork is selected as the winning piece, it must arrive framed and must still measure no larger than the above maximum dimensions. Learn more here.
Teach Summer School
Austin Public Schools is seeking teachers for Summer School 2023!
In this week's Alumni Spotlight, we catch up with alumnus Maya Wuertz.
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. Please take a few minutes to complete the quick questionnaire at https://www.austin.k12.mn.us/district-resources/alumni-spotlight regarding your current position and your career trajectory.
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 last week’s Staff Spotlight, we highlighted Ellis Middle School counselor Lea Oelfke.
"Mrs. Oelfke is a kind and mindful person who clearly makes her students’ educations one of her top priorities. She is the STAND advisor at Ellis and truly cares about helping students make good choices regarding drugs, alcohol, bullying, and mental health."
In this week’s Staff Spotlight, we’re highlighting Austin High School special education paraprofessional Amanda Rickerl.
"[Ms. Rickerl] is extremely passionate about her job and helping people. She is well liked by the teachers she works with, other faculty members, and her students."
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
Please consider joining Superintendent Page at the Coffee House on Main, 329 Main Street North, for Coffee and Conversation!
April 24 - 7:00 - 7:45 AM
May 29 - 7:00 - 7:45 AM
*Dates are subject to change
Or you can contact me at email@example.com or call 507-460-1900 to schedule an appointment.
Thursday, Mar 30, 2023, 07:00 AM
329 Main Street North, Austin, MN, USA
We are providing the opportunity for you to offer the Austin Public Schools feedback with “snapshot data.” Each week, we will open a quick 1-minute survey for you to share your thoughts on the district for the week. These data can generate insights into trends and patterns over time, which can help inform our decision-making and strategic efforts as well help us address concerns and celebrate successes.
Thank you in advance for your time!
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.