Austin Packer Bulletin - 0110
Volume 1, Issue 10
Thank You For Supporting Austin Public Schools
One of my favorite things about being a part of the Austin community is how residents come together to support each other when faced with a tough challenge.
Education costs have been climbing at Austin Public Schools, and state funding hasn't kept up. We were facing a $3 million budget deficit for the next school year, threatening our ability to provide the support and services our students need. Adequate funding is essential as we anticipate enrollment growth of up to 18% by 2031.
We asked our community for help, and our community stepped up.
On Nov. 8, Austin voters approved increasing the operating levy by $470 per student. This investment in our schools will stabilize our finances and allow us to avoid difficult cuts to programs and staff.
Further, we will be able to provide additional resources for students and protect programs for high school students to earn college credit and learn new vocations. We will also be able to preserve fine arts programs, athletics, and other extracurricular activities that enrich and prepare our students for life after graduation.
On behalf of our school board, staff, students, and their families, I want to express my deep appreciation for this commitment to our students. I can promise you that your support will only strengthen our efforts to ensure that we do everything to help our students thrive.
Dr. Joey Page, Superintendent of Austin Public Schools
Austin Teacher Of The Year
On Wednesday, Austin ECSE teacher Heather Ruzek was named the 2023 Austin Teacher of the Year.
Heather, who has worked with early childhood programming in Austin for the last 17 years, was surprised with the award in her classroom by a coterie of family, district administrators, and well-wishers.
According to Austin Teacher of the Year committee chair Dave Brown, Heather was one of 21 nominees considered for the award. "It's always hard to select just one of our nominees to be Teacher of the Year," said Brown, "but when the committee met to go over the nominees, we were all just blown away by Heather."
Now that Heather has received Austin's Teacher of the Year award, she will be in the running to be Minnesota Teacher of the Year. Nominees for the state award must go through a portfolio process and be selected to move forward. Over the more than 20-year life of the program, Austin has had two nominees make it to the semifinalist stage and one make it to the final ten.
American Education Week
American Education Week happens the week prior to the week of Thanksgiving. It is a week we honor the team of people who work in the Austin Public Schools! Thank you to everyone from the Teacher, support staff, paraeducators, food and nutrition, facility and technology services, administrative staff, plus countless others.
Sumner's Derek Picha Named MNShape Elementary PE Teacher of the Year
At the assembly, Derek was presented with a plaque, balloons, a basket of fresh fruit, and a notebook containing congratulatory notes from Sumner students.
2022-2023 Student School Board Representative
The Student School Board representative helps keep the board up-to-date with what's happening at Austin High School while also sharing concerns and helping find solutions from the student perspective. One of this year's student school board representatives is AHS senior Katherine Diaz.
Winter Catalog for Athletics and Activities is OPEN!
How to Register:
- Log into Parent Portal>Select School Store >Select School and Shop
- To register, the student must have a current sports physical on file. Otherwise, the catalog will not be visible
- ALL Athletics & Activities are available for Austin High School, Austin Online Academy, and Alternative Learning Center
- AHS Athletics: $100
- AHS Fine Arts/Activities/Clubs: $45
**If you qualified for Educational Benefits, it also permits you for free or reduced rates for our Athletics and Activities.**
- Basketball (grades 9-12)
- Dance (grades 7-12)
- Gymnastics (grades 7-12)
- Ice Hockey (grades 7-12)
- Basketball (grades 9-12)
- Ice Hockey (grades 9-12)
- Swim & Dive (grades 7-12)
- Wrestling (grades 7-12)
all activities listed below are available for grades 9-12 (unless noted)
- Art Club
- Diversity Club
- Drama Club
- Figure Skating
- Go Green
- Knowledge Bowl
- Prom Committee
- Science Olympiad
- Student Council
Teaching Profession Interest Survey - Parents/Guardians (Fall 2022)
Austin Public Schools (APS) and surrounding communities will need more teachers in the coming years. The school district has a desire to hire more racially, and ethnically diverse teachers, as the APS teaching force is not currently racially representative of the student body. This survey investigates if parents of current APS students would support their child in becoming a teacher if there were a low-cost or cost-free program to obtain a teaching degree in Austin.
Take Survey Here.
When to Keep Kids Home
As cold weather settles in and we move indoors, we tend to see an increase in illnesses like coughs, colds, influenza, and strep throat. Here are some tips to keep your family healthy this cold and flu season:
- Wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling food, using the restroom, playing with pets, or when they are visibly soiled.
- If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer. Be aware that hand sanitizer is not effective against all illnesses.
- Speak with your provider to determine which immunizations may help protect your family
- Stay home when you are ill.
- Avoid touching your face with your hands.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue.
- Practice good health habits such as exercising, good nutrition, drinking plenty of water, and getting adequate rest.
In this week's Alumni Spotlight, we catch up with alumnus Mark Haddorff.
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 Oakland Education Center special education teacher Mindy Carlson.
"Mindy is an amazing teacher. She is genuine and sincere in her interactions with students and staff. She wants the very best for her kids and her enthusiasm in what she does is infectious."
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!
November 29 - 7:00 – 7:45 AM
December 7 - 10:00 – 10:45 AM
January 5 - 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.