Austin Packer Bulletin - 0130
Volume 1, Issue 30
Austin Public Schools has been named one of the Best Communities for Music Education by The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. Now in its 24th year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. Austin is one of only seven districts in Minnesota to earn the honor.
Austin Superintendent Dr. Joey Page shared, "We are thrilled to be recognized nationally for our music program. Here in Austin, our music department excels not just in teaching students the fundamentals, such as how to read music, play an instrument, or sing, but also in imparting a deep appreciation for the powerful ways in which music impacts us. Not only is music a doorway to lifelong learning, but it is also an instrument for cultural appreciation and understanding."
According to Christoph Dundas, Austin High School band director, "Music connects students, both within themselves and with others around them. Performing music enables students to simultaneously use both the artistic and technical sides of their brains to create something both technically precise and beautiful. It teaches critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, collaboration, creativity, and perseverance. But most importantly, music education teaches students to connect with each other and the world around them. It is a universal language shared by students around the world."
To qualify for the Best Communities designation, APS completed a rigorous application featuring questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, and support for the music program and community music-making programs. Responses were verified by school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.
The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its 15,000 member companies and individual professionals. The foundation advances active participation in music-making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs. For more information about The NAMM Foundation, please visit www.nammfoundation.org.
Dr. Joey Page, Superintendent
Minnesota Graduation Rates Released
This week Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) released the class of 2022 graduation rate data. We know the COVID-19 pandemic has brought difficulties never seen before for our students, staff, and families/caregivers. Throughout the last few years, Austin Public Schools has seen an increasing number of students leave their high school educational journey for primarily socio-economic reasons, impacting 4-year graduation rates. While the state average for graduation improved slightly, Austin's did not.
According to the APS data collected in 2021-22, now more than ever, our students are asking to be supported and challenged in their learning and need to believe they will be successful. Our staff needs the support and resources to do their job well to create a healthy and safe learning environment. Our families/caregivers want to be part of their child's education and feel welcomed, valued, and respected as a family.
That being said, not only are we redoubling our efforts to provide our students with a high-quality education aligned with our strategic plan. Beginning in the fall of 2023, we are implementing several approaches to support the teaching and learning of our students. Here are a couple to highlight:
Packer Profile Implementation District-Wide
A strategic priority of the district, the Packer Profile reflects three key principles to guide student experience throughout their education at Austin Public Schools:
- Career Pathways Exploration: Students will leverage their interests and abilities to explore future careers and educational opportunities.
- Meaningful Learning Experiences: Core content and instruction will intentionally engage students in authentic learning experiences with relevance beyond APS.
- Packer Portfolio: Beginning with the class of 2027, students will celebrate by sharing their meaningful pathway journey and growth in the Packer Core Values through a digital portfolio with the community.
Implement Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) District-Wide
In June of 2022 comprehensive review from the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) at the University of Minnesota of our district-wide implementation of an MTSS framework. The MTSS framework provides a structure to organize best practices, allocate resources efficiently, and deliver support across academic, behavioral, and social-emotional domains. This framework assists educators to work more effectively and efficiently as they address the needs and build on the strengths of all learners. This is another strategic priority of the Austin Public Schools.
We will be implementing the evaluation findings in the fall of 2023. A well-implemented MTSS framework delivers for students leading to a significantly better probability of achieving Minnesota's rigorous academic standards and flourishing socially, emotionally, and behaviorally.
Early Warning System Application District-Wide
Many districts across Minnesota suffer from low on-time graduation rates. Targeted interventions help at-risk students meet graduation requirements promptly, but identifying these students takes time and practice, as warning signs are often context-specific and reflected in a combination of attendance, social, and academic signals scattered across data sources.
This fall, Austin Public Schools will begin using Campus Early Warning. This system uses powerful statistical algorithms to measure how attendance, behavior, academics, and home and school stability interact to predict graduation. (https://bit.ly/ICEWS23)
BARR (Building Assets, Reducing Risk) installation at AHS
BARR is a national organization that aims to bring education into the 21st century through intentionally deepened relationships and a data-driven, personalized, and supportive approach.
This fall using a strength-based lens, BARR will support the AHS staff to help close and transform the opportunity gap, improve academic outcomes, and increase their graduation rate. On average, large urban schools see a 40% reduction, and smaller rural schools see a 29% average reduction in failure rate after one year of BARR.
Becoming a Strengths-Based Organization
This year we have started to onboard staff in critical development work. Our goal is for the Austin Public Schools staff to acknowledge their unique contribution to the culture and climate of our schools. Staff will have the opportunity to know, own, show, and grow their innate talents intentionally. It takes all of us, bringing the best of ourselves, to impact our students' and this community's growth and development.
- KNOW - Our staff will gain a basic understanding of their top five Themes, according to the CliftonStrengths® assessment, and deepen their awareness of how those talents manifest in observable behaviors.
- OWN - Staff will be invited to internalize the value each of their talents brings, accept their innate talents as what is "right" about them, recognize how pairings of Strengths impact behavior, and grow in their capacity to notice how they might be perceived.
- SHOW - Staff will learn how to course correct, regulate the timing and intensity of their Strengths, and dig into how their unique "brand" of talents can be an asset in relationships with students, colleagues, and the community.
- GROW - As we continue our journey beyond the 2022-2023 school year, staff will continue to have opportunities to explore the impact of Strengths in their daily lives and relationships. We are taking an asset-based approach to collaboration, communication, and navigating conflict and change.
About the Data
- Find graduation and other data on the Minnesota Report Card and APS Information Services, including charts and graphs illustrating trends and results for all student groups.
- View the complete statewide, district, school, and county graduation rates by visiting the Data Reports and Analytics Student webpage.
- View data on enrollment in developmental education in Minnesota colleges and universities on the Minnesota Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System (SLEDS).
Improving the Austin Public Schools is not only the right thing to do for our children but also an investment in our collective future. We want all stakeholders to know we are committed to ensuring our students achieve their full potential. We call on our community partners to join us in this critical work and help prepare all learners to make a difference in the world.
Banfield Elementary School Principal
Austin Public Schools is pleased to announce that Blake Henely has been named the new principal at Banfield Elementary School.
Henely has worked in the classroom in the district for many years as a Technology Coach and, most recently, as assistant principal at IJ Holton Intermediate School.
According to Austin Superintendent Joey Page, "Blake Henely is a proven leader in education. As the new principal of Banfield Elementary School, Mr. Henely will bring a wealth of experience and a track record of success in creating a positive learning environment for students, staff, and families/caregivers."
"I am excited to join the Banfield community as their principal," said Mr. Henely. "I look forward to supporting students, their families, and the staff as we fulfill the mission of Austin Public Schools."
Henely will move into his new position on July 1, 2023.
K-12 Math Audit
The purpose of the APS instructional audit was to examine the academic activities to determine the strengths, challenges, and gaps between the potential experiences and the lived experiences of its stakeholders.
The instructional audit was comprised of classroom observations, meetings with teachers, meetings with administrators and curriculum leaders, and examinations of student achievement data and instructional materials.
Dr. Lesa Clarkson and the Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, Katie Baskin's met to discuss the instructional audit steps and schedule site visits. Lesa M. Covington Clarkson, Ph.D., is a mathematics educator with forty-three years of classroom experience.
Student of the Month
Congratulations Rachel! The Austin Noon Kiwanis, in conjunction with staff from Austin High School, had selected senior Rachel Toland as their Student of the Month in March. Rachel joined our team in October 2022, working in our School Age Childcare program. This fall, Rachel plans to attend The University of Mississippi - Ole Miss majoring in Integrated Marketing Communications to work towards being a Media Brand Manager.
Read more at: https://bit.ly/3AjV7tb
Between preparing healthy food, adhering to strict nutrition standards, navigating student food allergies, and offering service with a smile, Austin Public Schools' food and nutrition professionals have a lot on their plate. To celebrate their hard work and commitment, [district] schools will celebrate School Lunch Hero Day on May 5. This day, celebrated annually since 2013, was designated by Jarrett Krosoczka, author of the "Lunch Lady" graphic novel series and The School Nutrition Association. School Lunch Hero Day provides an opportunity for parents, students, school staff, and communities to thank those who provide healthy meals to nearly thousands of Austin's each school day.
Mental Health Awareness Month
Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in the U.S. since 1949. Millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition each year. In May, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) joins the national movement to raise awareness about mental health. Each year, they fight stigma, provide support, educate the public, and advocate for policies that support people with mental illness and their families. As stated by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), "Good mental health is important for everyone." Check out these resources.
Tips and Takeaways for Well-being, College, and Career Success
Academic skills and test scores are important, but focusing on your well-being can build a base for lifelong success wherever your journey takes you.
Understanding yourself and determining your goals will give you the best opportunity for a successful future. Join ACT and Joe Dorri, president of TheGoodStudent.org, as we help you pursue that opportunity by exploring key critical psychological factors for developing your mindset and future success.
Developing your mindset can help shape your future and give you the best tools possible to overcome anything that lies ahead on your path. A longtime psychology professor and researcher, Joe Dorri, will share his journey and showcase how key factors will help you channel your well-being into lasting success. Learn more here.
Distinguished Alumni Award
Nominations will be accepted until June 1 for the annual Distinguished Alumni Award, which coincides with Homecoming. Nominations are available online at www.apefoundationahsalumni.com or by emailing Jeni Beckel Lindberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AHS ALUMNI & FRIENDS ASSOCIATION DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARD SELECTION CRITERIA FOR AWARD RECIPIENTS:
- The candidate(s) must be an alum of AHS who has been out of school for a minimum of 10 years prior to nomination.
- The candidate(s) must have contributed to society in an exemplary manner.
- The candidate(s) must have achieved outstanding success in any of the following: business, a profession, the arts, humanitarian efforts, or community service.
AHS ALUMNI & FRIENDS ASSOCIATION DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARD GOALS:
- To recognize alum of Austin High School for outstanding achievements and contributions to society following graduation.
- To promote positive role models for currently enrolled students at Austin High School.
Impact Austin Speaker Series
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.
May 1: Investing in the Community Story: The Power of Brand and Experience Design – Register here
Reminder: Coming to Austin!
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!
Mayo Clinic Health System: Speaking of Health
In this week's Alumni Spotlight, we catch up with alumnus Jamie Brandt.
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 Austin High School EL science teacher Nicole Zoske.
"Ms. Zoske goes above and beyond to create meaningful and authentic learning opportunities for all students. She is constantly looking for ways to improve her classroom and is the first person to volunteer when something needs to be done. She is truly one of a kind!"
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!
May 22 - 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
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.