Austin Packer Bulletin - 0202
Volume 2, Issue 2
Hello! You may have heard that the 2023 legislative session greatly impacted education. One of the many things decided was how schools teach reading.
The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) stated, "The Minnesota Reading to Ensure Academic Development Act, known as the READ Act, was passed and signed into law by Governor Tim Walz on May 24, 2023. The goal of this legislation is to have every Minnesota child reading at or above grade level every year, beginning in kindergarten, and to support multilingual learners and students receiving special education services in achieving their individualized reading goals. The READ Act replaces Read Well by Third Grade (RWBTG) in Minnesota Statutes 2022, section 120B.12, effective July 1, 2023."
What will APS do to reach this goal?
- Required Training in Structured Literacy
- By July 1, 2025, a district must provide access to approved training in structured literacy
- All teachers and instructional staff are required to receive training under the Read Act must complete the training no later than July 1, 2027
- By August 30, 2025, we must employ or contract with a literacy lead or support a designated literacy specialist in becoming a literacy lead
- Universal Screening and Dyslexia Data Reporting
- Twice per year (beginning 2024-2025 school year), each school district must screen every student enrolled in kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2, and grade 3
- The screening will also identify characteristics of dyslexia
- We will be providing reading intervention through our developing MTSS framework
- Staff Development
- We will provide training on evidence-based reading instruction to teachers and instructional staff
- Local Literacy Plan
- We will adopt a local literacy plan to have every child reading at or above grade level every year beginning in kindergarten and to support multilingual learners and students receiving special education services in achieving their individualized reading goals
These are just some of the responsibilities we have in this new legislation. Like other districts, we have tremendous work ahead of us regarding literacy instruction over the next couple of months and school years. The podcast "Sold a Story" discusses the state of reading education in American classrooms and is well worth your time. If you have already done the series, I suggest Hard Words: Why aren't kids being taught to read?
Dr. Joey Page, Superintendent
School Board Information
As your elected representatives, School Board members welcome questions and conversations about governing the District. Board members actively participate in many areas throughout the community, attending advisory council meetings, serving on committees, and attending school and community meetings and events. Board members welcome invitations to your events and will try to attend. You can review agendas and upcoming meetings here.
Role of the School Board
As the entity legally governing a school district, the Austin School Board is responsible to its community for governing efficiently and leading effectively to provide equitable education, resulting in high student achievement. The Board's work is guided by five standards essential to being an effective, high-performing school board team. You can review these standards here and the Board's governance model here.
Communicating with the School Board
Formal and informal opportunities exist to communicate with the School Board and individual Board members.
Who To Contact
The School Board delegates the administration and management of the District to the superintendent. Austin Public Schools strives to address your questions and concerns quickly and effectively. Therefore, we have developed communication protocols to promote direct, open, and respectful interactions to efficiently work through problems and concerns.
A reminder, the first level of communication does not resolve the issue. The immediate supervisor, principal, or superintendent should be the next contact.
Learn more about your school board here.
Mower County CEO
Most of you know Emily Hovland in her as the Mower County CEO Facilitator. This year, she will still be facilitating CEO but will also be the Packer Profile Coordinator for Austin High School.
We are asking community members to complete the survey below to develop a contact list of community members interested in connecting with our students and staff. This is a great way to partner with our schools and community, help our students grow and explore through their learning, and create business connections in the future. You all know this well through your experiences with CEO. I hope you will consider getting involved in this as well and that you will take a few minutes to complete the survey as a way for us to have a database of community members for staff and students to connect with in various ways.
Survey: Click Here
Learn more about the Packer Profile: Click Here
Learn more about Mower County CEO: Click Here
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact CEO Facilitator and Packer Profile Coordinator Emily Hovland.
Parenting Resource Center
The Parenting Resource Center is a nonprofit organization serving southeastern Minnesota. The Parenting Resource Center's mission is to provide resources, services, and prevention education to promote healthy, safe lifestyles for families within communities. PRC serves people of any race, creed, gender, ethnic background, age, income, or geographic location.
Check out the PRC and their helpful Mower County Resource Guide.
Invitation to Apply – English Learner Stakeholder Input Group (ELSIG)
The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is seeking applications from educators, parents, and community members to serve on the English Learner Stakeholder Input Group (ELSIG). The purpose of the ELSIG is to provide MDE ongoing recommendations on various issues relating to improving standards, instruction, and assessment for the state's English learners (ELs). It comprises educators, parents, and community members from throughout the state who are knowledgeable about the educational needs of ELs.
The time commitment is two hours, from 1 to 3 p.m., on each of three dates during the 2023-24 school year (October 23, 2023, January 8, 2024, and April 29, 2024), with the possibility of additional survey requests by email. The meeting location is to be determined. Hybrid options will be available when in-person meetings become an option.
Complete the ELSIG application by Thursday, August 31, 2023.
Selected applicants will be notified and posted by the middle of September 2023.
Please contact Julie Chi (651-582-8444) if you have any questions.
2023-2024 Targeted Services Update
As you are preparing to return your child to school, we wanted to share an out-of-school opportunity available for students entering grades K-8 at their school. The purpose of this program is to support academic goals and provide enrichment opportunities outside of the school day.
Families will have an opportunity to learn more about this program during open houses with their child's teacher.
Important Technology Information
Please click below for some important information from the Technology Services department.
New this year - thanks to an MN pilot program, more people than ever are eligible to be substitute teachers!
During the pilot, individuals with an associate's degree in any field and educational support professionals (paraeducators) with a high school diploma who have worked at APS for at least a year are eligible for a short-call substitute license.
Call us at 507-460-1903 or email us for more information!
Speaking of Health
In this week's Alumni Spotlight, we catch up with alumnus Elijah Kenitz.
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.
All you need to do is take a minute to answer a few quick questions at https://www.austin.k12.mn.us/alumni-spotlight.
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 Ellis Middle School Counselor Farin Delaney.
"Ms. Delaney cares about all of our kiddos with her whole heart! She brings out the best in all the students and has a contagious smile! I am forever grateful for her!"
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
Superintendent Coffee and Conversation
Please consider joining me at the Coffee House on Main for coffee and conversation.
Coffee House on Main
329 Main Street North
Austin, MN 55912
- September 11 – 7:00-7:45 AM
- October 23 – 7:00-7:45 AM
- November 27 – 7:00-7:45 AM
- December 20 – 7:00-7:45 AM
Or you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 507-460-1900 to schedule an appointment.
* Dates are subject to change
Monday, Sep 11, 2023, 07:00 AM
329 Main Street North, Austin, MN, USA
In The News
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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.