Austin Packer Bulletin - 0101
Volume 1, Issue 1
Welcome Back to Austin Public Schools
I think it’s fair to say this will be a big year for us and not just because of the referendum. This is the year our strategic plan becomes a reality! Seeing our students and staff back in the classroom excited for another year of learning at Austin Public Schools is terrific.
Last year, we put a lot of work into creating our strategic plan. We listened to each other, our students, and our parents. We thought hard about what we want for ourselves in our work and what kind of education our students receive at Austin Public Schools.
We found that our students want to feel supported, challenged, and have fun when they’re here. Our students’ parents and guardians want to feel welcomed and valued in our schools. And we know, as staff and teachers, that we want to be seen, valued, and respected for our work.
Our strategic plan centers on our mission and vision while highlighting our core values and strategic priorities. These big goals look great on a poster, but are we ready to live them? This is the year we put into action the new systems and processes that will help us deliver on our goal. But what’s going to make this real is everyone at APS and in the community. As Dr. Henry Cloud points out, people are the plan. Along with our staff, the Austin community is how our strategic plan becomes real for each other, our parents, and our students.
Now, it’s all well and good to have big exciting words at the beginning of the school year, but it’s a lot harder to be excited about our strategic plan when we’re in the slog of February or frustrated with problems that don’t seem to get any easier. Make no mistake; this is hard work. But when the work gets hard, know that we can work together to keep the focus on our students and our WHY.
When it comes to our students, we all have the same mission (to Inspire, Empower, and Accelerate in every area) and the same vision (to prepare all learners to make a difference in the world). That is our WHY. Everyone at APS invests so much time in our students; it’s our job to prepare them to make a difference in the world as they become Austin’s ambassadors in it.
When I think about our WHY, I think a lot about the word Accelerate in our mission. We spent a lot of time on this word when discussing inspiring, empowering, and accelerating learning for our students. As we emerge from a global pandemic, we know we must move quickly to address the challenges we went through, which are still in front of us. Change needs to happen quicker in education because that is the world we’re dealing with now. This is the year that we MOVE and move fast.
We have a big vision in front of us, and I know we’ll see this vision come to life daily. It will happen because the people who come to work here have incredible talent, grit, and understanding. What’s more, we are uncompromising in our ability to move forward.
This is also the first year for our new Packer Profile. The Packer Profile identifies and articulates the community’s shared aspirations for our students and helps define what it means to be a graduate of APS. It reflects what our students, staff, and families desire each day and will support students in their preparation to become college, career, and life ready.
Within the Packer Profile, students will work to develop the core values through career pathway exploration and meaningful learning experiences. This will be demonstrated through a portfolio before graduation starting with the class of 2027.
Big things will happen this year. Last year we laid the groundwork for change, and now we get to see it come to life. As I said, the Austin community will play a massive part in the success of our strategic plan. As we work toward creating and maintaining an educational system that prepares all learners to make a difference in the world, we want to thank you for supporting our students and staff.
So welcome back to Austin Public Schools. This year is going to be great.
Dr. Joey Page, Superintendent
Local schools are an important community asset that helps attract new families and new business to our community while also supporting businesses in need of skilled workers. Across Minnesota, strong schools mean stronger communities and local economies. You can learn more about the November 8 referendum at AccelerateAustin.org.
In this week's Alumni Spotlight, we catch up with alumna Sabrina Anderson.
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/aps-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 AHS choir director Kalle Akkerman.
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/aps-staff-spotlight. It only takes a minute and can truly make someone’s day. Thanks!
The Lunch Tray Project
Have you heard of the Lunch Tray Project at Austin Public Schools?
Government grants have allowed APS to serve all students' lunches for the last two years at no cost. Unfortunately, that funding was not renewed. The free or reduced-price lunch program is still in place, but many families whose incomes fall just outside the cutoff for the program. The Lunch Tray Project aims to help those families with daily lunches.
All money raised through the program goes directly into student lunch accounts and can make a huge difference in a student's life. For more information or to donate to the project, please visit https://www.givemn.org/story/Lunchtrayproject.
We appreciate your consideration.
Bully Report Form
Austin Public Schools believes a safe and civil environment is needed for students to learn and attain high academic standards and to promote healthy human relationships.
Our goal is to prevent and respond to acts of bullying, intimidation, violence, reprisal, retaliation, and other similar disruptive and detrimental behavior.
We have updated the reporting form here.
KSMQ's "On Q"
KSMQ recently had special guest Jessica Cabeen, who has worked extensively in the Austin Public School District and is also now a public speaker and author. She's also the new principal for the Austin Online Academy. Check out the interview here.
As the political campaign season approaches, this is a reminder to school staff 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 of the school day, work hours, or school activities and to 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.
988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
On July 16, 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 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 also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.
For more information, including resources to support mental well-being during COVID-19, visit Mental Health and Well-being.
Remote "E" Learning Days
A reminder this day refers to a school day where instead of coming to a school, teachers and students communicate online or set up prior learning expectations, and the students continue their learning from home. Teachers can opt to do this from off-campus or their classroom.
Check Out Austin Public Schools Activities
APS offers a wide range of student activities, including competitive athletics, intramurals, academic clubs, fine arts, and performing arts. View schedules and learn more here.
Austin, MN 55912