Austin Packer Bulletin - 9/8/23
Volume 2, Issue 6
* Haas Field image credit to Steve Fines
Too many people are experiencing suicidal crises or mental health-related distress without the support and care they need, and sadly, the pandemic only made a bad situation worse when it comes to mental health and wellness in America.
Urgent realities are driving the need for crisis service transformation across our country.
- The U.S. had one death by suicide about every 11 minutes
- For people aged 10–14 and 25–34 years, suicide was the second-leading cause of death
- Suicide rates increased significantly among non-Hispanic Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native people
- Nearly 900,000 youth aged 12-17 and 1.7 million adults attempted suicide
- About 107,000 people died from drug overdoses
Yet, there is hope. The 988 Lifeline helps thousands of people struggling to overcome suicidal crises or mental health-related distress daily. Source
In 2022, the United States transitioned to the new three-digit dialing code 988 to reach crisis support. The change is part of a nationwide effort to transition the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (the Lifeline) to a phone number people can more easily remember and access in times of crisis. The shift also includes an online chat feature and a new texting option.
The new 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline code will serve as a universal entry point so people can reach a trained crisis counselor who can help regardless of where they live. Anyone can dial or text 988 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to reach crisis support or to use an online chat feature to connect with crisis support. People can dial 988 if worried about a loved one needing crisis support.
For more information, visit Mental Health and Well-being.
Dr. Joey Page, Superintendent
Finance and Operations Update
Regrettably, we are announcing the departure of Executive Director of Finance and Operations Andrew Beenken-Adams. Mr. Adams has accepted the Executive Director of Finance position with Saint Paul Public Schools and will begin transitioning out at the end of September. While we are sad to see him go, we appreciate his work during his time here at Austin Public Schools. Under his leadership, we passed an operating referendum, implemented a robust strategic plan and priority around financial management, overhauled our transportation system, increased financial and operational reporting transparency, and strengthened relationships with community partners.
We wish Mr. Adams the best on his future adventures in Saint Paul and beyond! A comprehensive search is underway for the next Executive Director of Finance and Operations.
Welcoming Week to take place September 8-17 #WhereWeBelong
As the Austin Daily Herald notes, "Austin's Human Rights Commission, through the help of community collaborations, will present a line of amazing events to celebrate Welcoming Week in the community as a way of bringing Austin together and fostering a sense of belonging."
Mayor Steve King proclaimed Sept. 8-17 as Welcoming Week at Tuesday night's City Council meeting. "This will be a special week in Austin," King said. "Welcoming Week provides us with a great opportunity to recognize the collaborations within the business community, civic groups, other units of government and other community organizations, with a series of events that will bring diverse communities together to celebrate their unity and strong connection to Austin and with each other." Source
Mower County CEO
Most of you know Emily Hovland in her as the Mower County CEO Facilitator. This year, she will still be facilitating CEO but will also be the Packer Profile Coordinator for Austin High School.
We are asking community members to complete the survey below to develop a contact list of community members interested in connecting with our students and staff. This is a great way to partner with our schools and community, help our students grow and explore through their learning, and create business connections in the future. You all know this well through your experiences with CEO. I hope you will consider getting involved in this as well and that you will take a few minutes to complete the survey as a way for us to have a database of community members for staff and students to connect with in various ways.
Survey: Click Here
Learn more about the Packer Profile: Click Here
Learn more about Mower County CEO: Click Here
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact CEO Facilitator and Packer Profile Coordinator Emily Hovland.
Remote "E" Learning Days
A reminder this day refers to a school day where teachers and students communicate online or set up prior learning expectations instead of coming to school, and the students continue their learning from home. Teachers can opt to do this off-campus or in their classrooms.
New this year - thanks to a MN pilot program, more people than ever are eligible to be substitute teachers!
During the pilot, individuals with an associate's degree in any field and educational support professionals (paraeducators) with a high school diploma who have worked at APS for at least a year are eligible for a short-call substitute license.
Call us at 507-460-1903 or email us for more information!
REACH, a collaboration between Austin High School and the Hormel Foundation, provides support to students in the academic and socioemotional world. The elective course is a blocked class that serves 50 students in grades 9-12 and consists of two staff, each with their own specialty and strength. We have also expanded the REACH program to grades 7 and 8 at Ellis. At REACH, we are building a culture with the values of Relationships, Education, Accountability, Character, and Hard Work (REACH). REACH believes in meeting students where they are and supporting the whole child to foster success.
Most students arrive at the program behind in credits with low GPAs, disengaged from school, lacking study habits, and/or needing mental health support. REACH believes in volunteering in the community and has partnerships with Sumner Elementary School and many other community businesses and service agencies. You can learn more about REACH here.
Isolation and Precautions for People with COVID-19
Reminder: 2023-2024 Targeted Services Update
We wanted to remind everyone of an out-of-school opportunity available for students entering grades K-8 at their school. The purpose of this program is to support academic goals and provide enrichment opportunities outside of the school day.
Below is the calendar for the year, and families will have an opportunity to learn more about this program during open houses with their child's teacher.
Reminder: School Board Meeting Change
Reminder: Indigenous Education for All Needs Assessment By September 22
Indigenous Education for All (IEFA) is new legislation that will educate all students in Minnesota about the 11 Tribal Nations with whom we have geography in common. MDE is gathering feedback from students (including former students), parents, educators, community leaders (including elders), and residents of Minnesota. The Indigenous Education for All Needs Assessment Survey will be open until September 22.
Information gathered from this survey will inform the legislature and MDE about the need to implement Indigenous Education for All. MDE would also like to hear how we can support the work to implement Indigenous Education for All to serve each student in Minnesota schools better.
If you have any questions regarding this survey or Indigenous Education for All, please contact Indigenous.Education.For.All.MDE@state.mn.us.
Speaking of Health
In this week's Alumni Spotlight, we catch up with alumnus David Maloney.
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 Sumner Elementary School music and Advanced Academics teacher Nikky Tolde.
"Mrs. Tolde goes above and beyond for every student she works with. She has impacted thousands of children with her work in music, theater, MacPhail, and the Austin community. She has dedicated her life to making sure each child knows how special they are."
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
- September 11 – 7:00-7:45 AM
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 507-460-1900 to schedule an appointment.
* Dates are subject to change
Monday, Sep 11, 2023, 07:00 AM
329 Main Street North, Austin, MN, USA
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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.