Austin Packer Bulletin - 0117
Volume 1, Issue 17
Carla Hall Visits Austin High School
Today iconic celebrity chef Carla Hall and Hormel Foods honored Austin High School Food & Nutrition Services team members with surprise and delight events. Jim Snee, chairman of the board, president, and chief executive officer of Hormel Foods, Tammy Snee, co-lead of the Hometown Food Security Project, and Molly Lanke, executive director of the United Way of Mower County, joined Chef Carla at Austin High School to pay tribute to our Food & Nutrition Services team.
In addition to attending a Foods Class to demonstrate how to make her world-famous biscuits with the school's culinary team and Foods Class students, Chef Carla and other guest culinary chefs prepared a meal for members of the Food & Nutrition Services team. Chef Carla is visiting schools in the communities across the U.S. where Hormel Foods team members live and work to help spotlight schools' important role in providing balance, dignity, and nourishment for students by creating a more food-secure environment.
Thank you to Hormel Foods, Jim and Tammy Snee, and Chef Carla for honoring our Food and Nutrition Team and highlighting the vital responsibility of food security. A special thank you to Food and Nutrition Director Mary Weikum for her outstanding leadership!
Dr. Joey Page, Superintendent
Mower County CEO Presents at MSBA Conference
Participants at the Minnesota School Board Association Leadership Conference (MSBA) learned about the Mower County CEO program. With this non-traditional learning experience, students engage with community members, organizations, and businesses in order to prepare to launch their own businesses and build their skills for career readiness. The presentation focused on positive community partnerships and fostering an environment that encourages students to connect with the community now and in the future. Witness and interact with students in the program and see how they demonstrate "real life" skills that set them apart from their peers. Thank you to Emily Hovland, Mower County CEO Facilitator and High School Teacher, Jeff Baldus, Mower County CEO Board Chair, Mower County CEO; Hayden Lunt and Meghan Rosheim, Mower County CEO Alumni for representing the program; Austin Public Schools and the community of Austin so well.
Paraprofessional Recognition Week
Governor Walz has proclaimed January 23-January 29 as Paraprofessional Recognition Week. Thank you to all our paraprofessionals for their vital daily work in our schools.
Free Financial Aid Events and Scholarship Opportunity for Minnesota Students in February
To support local high schools with their financial aid efforts, the Ready, Set, FAFSA! series will again be offered to students and families. Between Feb. 7–28, five virtual sessions will cover the financial aid process, details on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the Minnesota Dream Act for undocumented students, understanding offer letters and how to search for scholarships. All sessions will have simultaneous interpretation in Spanish, Somali and Hmong.
Financial aid experts from local colleges will be available during the events to answer questions in the chat. Students who attend or watch a session recording will be eligible to win a $500 scholarship. Registration is open now for families on the Ready, Set, FAFSA! website.
The Ready, Set, FAFSA! series is a collaboration between MDE, Minnesota Office of Higher Education, ECMC The College Place and Minnesota Goes to College.
Reminder: K-8 Summer School
Summer School for our incoming 1st-8th graders will start up on June 12 this year and run through July 27, with the week of the 4th off. Students are identified based on need and with the recommendation of their classroom teacher and support from their families. The curriculum is provided for students' reading and math and enrichment activities throughout the week. We will need teachers interested in working with students entering grade 1st-8th. For more information, contact Principal, Alternative Educational Programs Jessica Cabeen.
Access Free Computer Science Resources
Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organization, is offering free computer science resources to educators and students through Girls Who Code Clubs.
You can sign up to access resources from the Girls Who Code Clubs program for students of all genders in grades 3–12. You'll access:
- CSTA standards-aligned coding lessons in Scratch, p5.js, Swift, and Python with new tutorials in cybersecurity
- Comprehensive planning resources like scope and sequence resources a student recruitment toolkit
- Virtual events with tech leaders in the industry
- Girls Who Code t-shirts and stickers for each Club member and a $500 Amazon Wishlist for supplies through the Clubs Fund once you have three or more Club members
Read the Clubs flyer Inspire Coders of Tomorrow with Free Clubs Today for more information.
Escape the Vape Video Challenge Returns for 2023
The Escape the Vape Video Challenge, a youth vaping prevention video contest, is back for 2023. Minnesota middle and high school students are invited to create and submit a 30-second public service announcement (PSA) video to educate their peers on the dangers of e-cigarette use, also known as vaping. Submissions will be entered into a competition for cash prizes for students and their schools.
Key Contest Dates
- Feb. 1 – Video Submission Opens - Students will have the month of February to finalize and submit their videos.
- Feb. 28 – Video Submission Deadline
- March 24 – Finalists Announced
- March 24–April 6 – Public Voting
- April 7 – Winners Announced
Minnesota youth can learn more about the Escape the Vape Video Challenge and submit their video at mnescapethevape.org.
For more information on sponsorships or how to promote the contest with youth in your community, visit Escape the Vape Video Challenge.
Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES)
In partnership with Riverland, CLUES and other community agencies will host a free food distribution at the Riverland West Building throughout 2023. The distributions will mainly be on the 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month beginning January 13. The event is open to all in the community who need food support. Distribution begins at noon and lasts until food is gone. A variety of fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs, cheese, frozen meat and/or fish, and shelf-stable items are typically available.
Reminder: Elementary School Transition Updates
The Minnesota Department of Education's flexible learning year provides optional scheduling approaches for students and educators for a school year by building or program. Sumner Elementary School has utilized a 45/15 schedule for several years in the Austin Public Schools. Starting in the 2023-2024 school year, Sumner Elementary School will return to the same calendar as the other elementary schools in the district.
This means that beginning with the 2023-2024 school year, all Austin Public Schools will be on a traditional calendar when all students begin in the fall, have traditional breaks throughout the year, and have most of the summer off. This transition in schedule also means that all elementary students in the Austin Public Schools will eventually begin the process of adhering to attending their neighborhood elementary school. The elementary boundaries have not changed. This transition will involve several changes throughout the district, and we would like to share as much as possible with you here.
In this week's Alumni Spotlight, we catch up with alumna Elaine Gisvold.
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 Woodson Kindergarten Center Occupational Therapist Shari Michels.
"Shari Michels comes to work each day with positive energy and a passion for what she does. She has a wealth of knowledge and expertise to share and is a valuable member of the teams she serves to support children, families, and teachers."
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!
February 9 – 7:00 – 7:45 AM
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.