Austin Packer Bulletin - 0121
Volume 1, Issue 21
The Minnesota School Boards Association has set February as Minnesota School Board Recognition Month to build awareness and understanding of the vital function elected school board members play in our society. Austin Public School is joining other public school districts from across the state to celebrate School Board Recognition Month to honor local board members for their commitment to Austin and its students.
Strong schools help build strong communities – and the Austin School Board devotes countless hours to making sure our schools are helping every child learn at a higher level. School board members make the difficult decisions every month – and spend many hours studying education issues and regulations in order to provide the kind of accountability our citizens expect.
The key work of boards is to raise student achievement by:
- Creating a vision for what the community wants the school district to be and for making student achievement the top priority;
- Establishing standards for what students will be expected to learn and be able to do;
- Ensuring progress is measured to be sure the district’s goals are achieved and students are learning at expected levels;
- Being accountable for their decisions and actions by continually tracking and reporting results;
- Creating a safe, orderly climate where students can learn and teachers can teach;
- Forming partnerships with others in the community to solve common problems; and
- Focusing attention on the need for continuous improvement by questioning, refining and revising issues related to student achievement.
Even though we’re making a special effort to show our appreciation this month, school board members’ work is a year-round commitment.
The members serving our district and their years of service are as follows:
- Kathy Green, Chair
- Peggy Young, Vice Chair
- Carolyn Dube, Clerk
- Cece Kroc, Treasurer
- Don Leathers, Director
- Evan Sorenson, Director
- Carol McAlister, Director
Please visit the school board website to learn more and join us by saying thanks to our school board members during Minnesota's School Board Recognition Week.
Dr. Joey Page, Superintendent
APDT Heads Back to State
You can check out the team's performance from last week below.
APS Well Represented at MMEA
The Austin High School Concert Choir, directed by AHS choir director Kalle Akkerman, performed at the Minnesota Music Educators Association Convention in Minneapolis this week. Being selected to perform is a prestigious honor for the students, the choir, and the AHS music program as a whole.
- AHS band director Christoph Dundas was part of the planning committee for the conference, which focused on "The Rhythm of Equality,"
- IJ Holton Orchestra director Leah Motl presented on How to problem solve using Design Thinking,
- Banfield Elementary music teacher Kim Zerke presented with Dr. Soojin Lee on the curriculum used with Austin Public Schools elementary students last spring for MacPhail Project Amplify,
- and both Chase Collins and Blake Zimmerli, Austin music students, were selected to All-State and will represent Austin in concert Saturday at Orchestra Hall.
Congratulations, one and all, as you represent the values of music in education, and what all of the Austin community, educational, and organizational support of music education can do!
Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools
A huge congratulations to IJ Holton Intermediate School on being named a Special Olympics Minnesota Unified Champion School!
The Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools program is aimed at promoting social inclusion through intentionally planned and implemented activities affecting systems-wide change. With sports as the foundation, the three-component model offers a unique combination of effective activities that equip young people with tools and training to create sports, classroom and school climates of acceptance. These are school climates where students with disabilities feel welcome and are routinely included in, and feel a part of, all activities, opportunities and functions.
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 101- Legal Status of the School District
- Policy 101.1- Name of the School District
- Policy 103 - Complaints - Students, Employees, Parents, Other Persons
- Policy 104 - School District Mission Statement
- Policy 516 - Student Medication
- Policy 707 - Transportation of Public School Students
Please check this site periodically to be sure you have the most current version of any given policy.
Grading and Reporting Committee
Last year the PK-12 Grading and Reporting Committee met monthly to review the APS grading and reporting systems. Given the feedback and next steps articulated by the grade level groups this year, a sub-committee from the Grading and Reporting Committee members will meet to review the weighting of practice work and assessments for our 5-12 system. Updates on the work will be shared at future District World's Best Workforce committee meetings.
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 in order to efficiently work through problems and concerns. Please visit our Report A Concern webpage to review our communication protocol.
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.
Leadership Learning Session
Are you a parent, family member, community leader or educator wanting to leverage leadership? Are you willing to explore an approach that interrupts traditional models and ways of engaging with families for better educational outcomes?
If you answered yes to these questions, consider registering for the learning session “Bringing Parents, Families and Community Leadership into the Center: An Innovative Model of Engagement to Enact the Minnesota Equity in Action Framework.”
MDE’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Center is partnering with Urban League Twin Cities to host this family engagement and involvement opportunity. School and district leaders, educators, parents and families, school board members, and community allies will learn how to implement the Minnesota Equity in Action Framework and center leadership.
Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources (AFNR)
As shared by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), the Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resource (AFNR) Career Cluster provides students with opportunities for leadership, personal growth and career success. Agricultural education programs are preparing the next generation of problem-solvers, leaders, and agriculturalists through relevant, engaging curriculum and real-life experiences. It includes the science, business, and technology of plant and animal production and environmental and natural resources systems management.
Work involves planning, managing, performing tasks and conserving resources in these areas:
- Agricultural production, plant and landscaping services, and related professional and technical services.
- Mining and extraction operations.
- Natural resources, environmental services.
- Agribusiness and related technical systems.
AFNR is also part of the career pathway work in the Packer Profile.
Department of Children, Youth, and Families
In a MDE communication it was shared that the Walz-Flanagan Administration is recommending creating a Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) that reimagines our state government structures to elevate child, youth and family priorities and funding needs. This proposed new state agency will provide focused leadership in our executive branch and with the legislature.
This proposal is based on feedback from governance reports, agency staff, service providers and, most importantly, families.
The why: To create a sustainable, public face for children’s issues in state government with aligned outcomes and policy; focus local partners on improving the front door for services; ease access and navigation for families; improve service; and sharpen the focus of current agencies.
Key principles: Whole child and family - focus on a child throughout their life, from intentional prevention to downstream services; consolidation of early childhood and education programs; ease navigation of services (a “front door” for families); and cross-agency coordination.
This is an opportunity to:
- Improve coordination of childcare and early learning provider registration, communication, payment and ongoing regulatory requirements;
- Align administration that allows for centralized funding prioritization, including building reimbursement methodologies for childcare to better support that critical sector; and
- Create a common application and entry point for families to apply for and be referred to early childhood programs and services.
In the interim, MDE is happy to collect questions and will share them with those who will be responsible for the planning of this new agency, should the proposal pass the Legislature. MDE will do their best to keep everyone apprised of information as it becomes available. Please send your questions and feedback to Terry Alvarado, Minnesota Department of Education.
In this week's Alumni Spotlight, we catch up with alumna Ochain Okey.
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 this week’s Staff Spotlight, we’re highlighting IJ Holton DAPE Gym Teacher Rebecca Deyo.
"Rebecca always has a cheerful smile for all the kids and goes above and beyond to recognize para support in her classes."
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!
March 30 – 7:00 – 7:45 AM
April 4 - 7:00 - 7:45 AM
May 29 - 7:00 - 7:45 AM
*Dates are subject to change
Or you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 507-460-1900 to schedule an appointment.