Austin Packer Bulletin - 0118
Volume 1, Issue 18
As we move forward into the second semester at Austin Public Schools, I hope the past few weeks have been relaxing and enjoyable with family and friends. Each new year, my family comes together for a family meeting, usually with us gathering in the living room to review the previous year's aspirations, accomplishments, and the "not yets." My wife, Chel, also asks everyone to pick a word for the year.
I didn't offer Inspire, Empower, or Accelerate (our Austin Public Schools mission) as my word for the year, but it was close! No, my word for 2023 is Transform. Yes, this means miles on the treadmill and bike on a personal note. But more importantly, I see this year as an opportunity to Transform our Austin Public Schools. Here are the highlights of a few significant transformations that are already underway.
The Packer Profile is a district priority based on the community's shared aspirations for students and what it means to be a graduate of APS. It reflects what our students, staff, and families desire each day for our students, and it supports students' preparation to become college, career, and life ready. Students will work to develop the Packer core values through career pathway exploration and meaningful learning experiences, which will be demonstrated through a portfolio before graduation.
APS graduates are entering an ever-changing world filled with endless possibilities. To support our students in achieving their dreams after high school, APS staff will model and guide students toward their development of the Packer Core Values. The core values will hold our system accountable for focusing our instruction, student engagement, and community collaboration as we support our students to make a difference in the world.
The Packer Profile reflects three key principles to guide student experience throughout their education at APS:
- 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.
Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)
Following an extensive evaluation, we are working with the University of Minnesota's Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) on the district-wide implementation of a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) framework.
The Minnesota Department of Education defines MTSS as a "systemic, continuous improvement framework for ensuring positive social, emotional, behavioral, developmental, and academic outcomes for every student." MnMTSS provides access to layered tiers of culturally and linguistically responsive, evidence-based practices and relies on the understanding and belief that every student can learn and thrive. In addition, it engages an anti-bias and socially-just approach to examining policies and practices and ensuring equitable distribution of resources and opportunity."
Our District is using this information as we prioritize, design, and implement academic, behavioral, and mental health services that align with best practice research and the needs of students. The work with CAREI follows a continuous improvement framework that creates a roadmap to facilitate the District's continuous improvement of programs, practices, and student outcomes. This process acknowledges that all systems can improve and that opportunities for improvement are built upon our District's current strengths, history, structure, and resources.
Elementary School Transition
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 schedule transition 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 on our webpage.
These are just some transformational highlights underway in the Austin Public Schools, and it demands a lot from everyone—including action. In his gem, The Fred Factor, Mark Sanborn says: "Intention without action is only a dream. In the end, it isn't what we want to do or plan to do but what we actually do that makes any difference."
None of this opportunity to Transform is accomplished without people. I am incredibly proud and inspired by our staff and school board—they make it all happen. I feel energized by the possibilities to continue these transformations to achieve the best for our APS students, staff, and the community.
Dr. Joey Page, Superintendent
Mower County CEO Presents Dueling Pianos
The Mower County CEO Program is hosting a Dueling Pianos Event! Come support this program and event on Sunday, March 5th. It will be from 4-8 pm, including a nice dinner and dueling pianos show to follow. There will also be the opportunity to bid on silent auction items. Tickets are for sale and can be purchased online through the Mower County CEO’s Facebook and Instagram pages. The program’s students hope to see you there, as you will not want to miss!
Click to purchase tickets here.
The 2023 National Youth Science Camp is accepting applications from high school juniors and seniors to be the student delegates for Minnesota (at no cost) at the program this summer in West Virginia. Applications are due February 28. Learn more and apply here.
MITY Expand Your Mind Summer Enrichment Program
Since 1967, Expand Your Mind at Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth (MITY) has been giving bright, intellectually curious teenagers the opportunity to spend time in an exciting, challenging atmosphere focused on hands-on learning, shared experiences and building friendships.
Austin Public Schools and The Hormel Foundation offer two scholarships for Austin students currently in grades 8-11 to attend this summer program at Macalester College. Scholarships will cover tuition, course fees, and room and board. For more information about MITY or to see the course offerings, visit https://mity.org/.
Students interested in applying for the scholarships may pick up the forms in the Counseling Offices at AHS and Ellis Middle School, or by emailing Andrea Malo . The deadline for returning the forms is February 15, 2023. Forms can be returned to the High School or Middle School Counseling offices, or to Andrea Malo, Teaching and Learning Office, room 163, AHS.
Restorative Skills Sessions and Circle Trainings
The Minnesota Department of Education, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Division is offering Restorative Practices in Schools and Communities Online Restorative Skills Sessions and Circle Trainings. Register now for Circle 1: People of Color Affinity, Building Community. This four-day, 20-hour total restorative skills session will take place on Feb. 4, 11, 18 and 25 from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. online. Fee: $300.
This circle is specifically for participants who identify as People of Color (POC), facilitated by POC keepers, Fallon Henderson and Yusef Davis. The circle will offer opportunities for participants to celebrate culture, connection and collaboration in an affinity space. Participants will explore the dynamics of the circle process and ways that the process provides space for brave and equitable discussions and community building. Participants will practice keeping community building circles with each other. White allies may attend other circle trainings.
For more information about Circle 1: People of Color Affinity, Building Community, go to Online Restorative Skills Sessions and Circle Trainings - January and February 2023.
Austin Public Schools Poetry Contest
Students in grades K-12 are invited to participate in the 2023 Austin Public Schools Poetry Contest. Entries are due February 15, 2023, by the end of the school day. Poems may be turned into the office of each school building or by email to Andrea Malo.
- The contest is for all Austin Public School students in grades K-12.
- A student may only submit 1 poem.
- All poems must be original work; poems cannot be submitted that were completed with the help of a parent, teacher, etc.
- All poems must be typed.
- All poems must have a title.
- Poems must be appropriate in nature – no violence, foul language, etc.
- Poems cannot be longer than 25 lines.
- ON THE BACK: Write your full name, grade, Homeroom/Advisory/Connect teacher’s name & school name.
Finalists will be announced the week of March 13, 2023.
If you have any questions, please contact Andrea Malo or call (507) 460-9124.
Grade Level and District Spelling Bees
Grade level spelling bees were held on January 11. The top 5 spellers from each grade level moved onto the district spelling bee held on January 18. The top 2 spellers will move onto the regional competition held at the Southeast Service Cooperative in Rochester on February 7. Congratulations to all who participated.
District Top Finishers:
1st Place: Carter Peterson
2nd Place: Ruthie Carlson
3rd Place: Gavin Mayers
In this week's Alumni Spotlight, we catch up with alumna Nina Cardel.
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 IJ Holton Intermediate School band teacher Ethan Wightkin.
"[Mr. Wightkin] has a passion that makes kids fall in love with music. He is kind, compassionate, and is always willing to help his students."
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.
Thursday, Feb 9, 2023, 07:00 AM
329 Main Street North, Austin, MN, USA
In The News
- Cardona urges education community to ‘raise the bar’ on student achievement
- House bill places Minnesota’s dearth of teachers of color under the spotlight
- Anger & Fear: New Poll Shows School-Level Impact of Anti-LGBTQ Political Debate
- AI is the end of writing: The computers will soon be here to do it better