Austin Packer Bulletin - 0119
Volume 1, Issue 19
Austin Public Schools will join school districts throughout the state to salute their local school board members during Minnesota School Board Recognition Month in February.
The commemorative month is designed to recognize the contributions made by Minnesota's school board members, including the Austin School Board, which are charged with governing public education under state law.
Minnesota school board members are chosen by their communities through election or appointment to manage local schools. Their personnel decisions affect more than 58,000 teachers and thousands of administrators and support workers. They oversee multimillion-dollar budgets which fund education programs for more than 893,000 students in more than 2,000 schools.
These volunteer leaders also are responsible for formulating school district policy, approving curriculum, maintaining school facilities, and adhering to state and federal education law. Legal concerns and the complexities of school finance, including budgeting and taxation, require them to spend many hours in board training programs and personal study to enhance their understanding of these issues.
Our deepest appreciation is extended to the dedicated men and women who make it possible for local citizens to participate in education in our community.
We salute the public servants of the Austin School Board whose commitment and civic responsibility make local control of public schools in our community possible:
- Kathy Green, Chair
- Peggy Young, Vice Chair
- Carolyn Dube, Clerk
- Cece Kroc, Treasurer
- Don Leathers, Director
- Evan Sorenson, Director
- Carol McAlister, Director
Please visit the school board website to learn more and join us by saying thanks to our school board members during Minnesota's School Board Recognition Month.
Dr. Joey Page, Superintendent
Minnesota State High School League: Boys Volleyball
In December, the Board (MSHSL) approved Boys Volleyball for Emerging Status. Boys Volleyball is currently operating under the direction of the Minnesota Boys Volleyball Association, with approximately 70 teams registered this year. Boys Volleyball will operate for the 2023-2024 season in the spring, and the season-ending competition to be operated according to its current rules. Teams will register with the MSHSL, and students will be held to the eligibility rules the same as other programs in 2023-2024. The Board (MSHSL) will assemble a group to review the most appropriate season for Boys Volleyball to be placed when it comes into full interscholastic status in 2024-2025.
Given that emerging status is a part of the Representative Assembly process for adding programs, the proposal for Boy's Volleyball to be approved by the Representative Assembly would also be considered an application for emerging status. Therefore, no additional action by the authors of the Representative Assembly proposal would be needed at this time. However, Austin Public Schools will require further examination of offering Boys Volleyball.
More information can be found in the latest MSHSL Newsletter.
Good long-range planning is essential for our school district. Here in the Austin Public Schools, we put a lot of effort into ensuring that our schools are safe and healthy places to learn and work. We do a great job of keeping up with necessary repairs and renovations with available resources. Nevertheless, upon closer inspection of our facility study, we found that our infrastructure exhibits typical aging-related deterioration indicators.
Investing resources into improving our schools' infrastructure is an important and expensive decision. The study's goals were to look at the age of different schools, sites and grounds, interior and exterior segments of buildings, and mechanical and electrical equipment required for this review and planning for our future.
The District is dedicated to working closely and inclusively with the Austin community to achieve this objective. Our goals are threefold:
- to inform the public about the findings of the facility study and district-wide program needs;
- to solicit feedback from the public on what facility improvements taxpayers would like to see in the Austin Public Schools; and
- eventually, determine the level of community support for potential facility upgrades.
To review the facility study, click here.
Packer Speech went toe-to-toe with some of the toughest competition in the state at Wayzata High School's Trojan War tournament on Saturday. This is the largest tournament the team will attend for the whole season. Last year, this was the only tournament where no AHS speakers broke to finals.
This year was a different story.
Nadia Hummel took 5th place in the Prose Interpretation Merit Finals and 18th overall out of 52 competitors.
Anna Gil took 1st place in the Discussion Merit Finals, finishing 15th overall out of 96 competitors.
Sebastian Emeline finished 4th in the Next-in Finals, finishing 11th overall out of 70 competitors.
Way to go!
Austin High School Drama Club
The Austin High School drama club presents "Sally Cotter and the Censored Stone" on February 23 & 24 at 7:00 pm and February 25 & 26 at 2:00 pm. All shows are at Ellis Middle School auditorium. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for youth.
Supply And Demand of Minnesota Teachers Report
Every two years, the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) provides information to the Minnesota Legislature about the supply and demand of licensed teachers in Minnesota public school districts. The 2023 Teacher Supply and Demand Report shows the ongoing trend of struggles to retain current educators and recruit new individuals to the profession. Click here to review the 2023 Biennial Report.
Project Resonance: Reflecting on our COVID-19 journey
Asian Media Access (AMA) is a community media arts education agency that supports communities to overcome challenges through education, production, information technology, and community organizing. AMA partnered with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to tap into community cultures, wisdom, and knowledge in promoting equitable access to COVID-19 prevention and response resources.
AMA and Pan Asian Arts Alliance (PAAM) came together to create a rich cultural dance show, AMA: Project Resonance, to reflect and showcase the story of their unity and resiliency in fighting the pandemic. Project Resonance is an artistic illustration of the importance of cultural understandings, collaborations, and other hard-won successes in the face of fear, anxieties, and frustrations that gripped the Asian community during the pandemic. Through culturally and artistically nuanced dance movements, the voice and pain of the community is heard and seen.
Read more: Project Resonance: Reflecting on our COVID-19 journey Source: MDH
Lessons from the Field Webinar: Preventing and Addressing Fentanyl Use
The U.S. Department of Education is hosting a webinar series to address hot topics that are on the top of educators' minds. After sharing federal updates, the series features lessons learned and best practices from faculty, staff, schools, districts, institutions of higher education, and other places of educational instruction. It also shares a variety of useful resources. If interested, please register here.
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 alumnus James Freitag.
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 Banfield Elementary School Horizon Program teacher Jodi VanPelt.
"Jodi is very kind, compassionate, patient and caring. She connects with each of her students on their level to build relationships, help them with their learning, and make sure each student has what they need to be successful in school."
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 email@example.com or call 507-460-1900 to schedule an appointment.