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Offering opportunities to engage

By Edwina Harder

Gifted Services for Talent Development Coordinator, Austin Public Schools


“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”  F. Scott Fitzgerald

Though the calendar year begins in January, the start of the school year marks a significant transition.  Families are busy shopping for school supplies, backpacks, and school clothes and shoes.  The rhythm of life changes with the start of school and the activities that begin at this time.

Edwina Harder, Gifted Services for Talent Development Coordinator

Austin Public Schools strives to offer many options to engage, empower, and inspire its learners.  There are numerous sports teams students can join:  football, soccer, cross-country, cheerleading, swimming and diving, tennis, volleyball, basketball, hockey, wrestling, dance team, gymnastics, baseball, softball, golf, track and field and adaptive bowling are all offered at the high school.  Many of the same sports begin at Ellis Middle School.

Many students also enjoy joining clubs based on interests.  Each individual school offers activities that students may be interested in, such as Robotics teams or after school offerings.  To find out what various sites offer you can go to their web sites or contact each school’s office.

In addition to providing advanced academics at each site, the Gifted Services for Talent Development department sponsors a variety of after-school offerings for interested students.  AMC-8 is a math competition for interested Ellis students.  The district hosts spelling bees in January.  These competitions are open to 5th-8th graders who qualify.  All K-12 students can enter the Eberhart Poetry Contest in January.  Three finalists are chosen from each school, and one person from each site wins a cash prize.  The geography bee is a competition for interested 5th-8th graders.  Students take a qualifying test to advance to the district competition.  Math League is for 7th and 8th grade students who are interested in higher level math.  The team practices throughout the fall and travels to competitions.  Math Masters is for students in 5th and 6th grade.  These teams practice for a winter competition.  Third-sixth grade students can design and carry-out a science experiment and enter the STEAM Expo held in February.  Science Olympiad is a club for 6th-12th graders interested in science.  This group practices and enters competitions.  Thinking Cap Quiz Bowl is a competition for 5th graders that covers various areas of trivia.  The team practices for a fall competition.   Young Authors, Young Artists is an event for 4th-8th graders that are interested in writing and creative endeavors.  Each school selects students to attend.

Austin Public School offers students a wide variety of athletic and academic offerings.  If you know a student who may be interested in joining any of these activities, please direct them to their school office for more information.