‘An exciting time to be an Austin Packer:’ Looking back at school year

Published 9:18 am Saturday, June 2, 2018

By David Krenz

Superintendent, Austin Public Schools

The 2017-2018 school year is drawing to a close.  This year we will be honoring over 300 graduates at the graduation ceremony taking place 7 p.m. on Friday, June 8.

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This year’s commencement ceremony will again be held at Austin High School in Knowlton Auditorium with live streaming through the internet for those not able to attend or for families wishing to record the ceremony.

Superintendent of Schools Dave Krenz

We would like to recognize this year’s High Distinction students, students earning a cumulative GPA of 3.9 or higher throughout their high school years, who will also serve as student speakers at the ceremony.

Congratulations to Kellie Baier, Jennifer Boyle, Isaac Christopherson, Jo Ann Ziem La, Anh Hong Phuong Le, Sydney Marsh, Mitchell Mayer, Lilly Nystel, Emily Sayles, Abigail Schammel, Paiton Schwab, Bobbie Lee Thoma-Buschardt, Kristina Thorson, Lina Kim Vu, and Tara Watkins.

We would also like to honor 16 staff members who recently began or will be starting their retirement at the end of the school year.

We wish to extend our congratulations and a special thank you to these individuals for devoting their careers to education, where they have touched thousands of lives during their 346 years of accumulated service to the district.  Our 2018 retirees include Amy Baskin, Nancy Bawek, Marcia Burton, Ardith Craven, Carol Davis, Teresa Deters, Donna Dickhans, Debra Distad, Sara Gilberg, Brian Johnson, Steve Knox, Brian Koser, Jane Prihoda, Mike Rogers, Joyce Vermilyea and Melissa Voyce.

We continue to find ways to improve and challenge ourselves and our students.  It is not always easy to measure the levels of improvement, other than through recognition by others.

A few of this year’s notable recognitions include IJ Holton and Ellis robotics programs earning state and national honors, national award from the Center for Digital Education and the National School Boards Association on being rated in the top 10 districts in the nation for use of technology, Sumner Elementary moving from bronze to silver medal recognition for the National Healthiest School Award, boys soccer team earning a trip to the state tournament, dance team on their 16th trip to the state competition, the boys basketball team on earning a trip to the state tournament, symphony orchestra on being chosen to perform at the State Music Educators’ Conference and the numerous other students, clubs and teams who earned honors or qualified for their individual state competitions.

We continue to move forward with innovative opportunities.

This year we implemented the “Thought Luck” where we asked staff to submit ideas that would improve, challenge and advance the School District.  The School Board was committed to supporting the top six ideas, as chosen by the staff, for implementation.

It is truly a wonderful and exciting time to be an Austin Packer.

Our focus is not just on the challenges our students provide but more importantly, on the strengths each child brings to our school and community.
We want to reach each child at their level so they can use these strengths to grow and thrive.