APS Column: The end of a fun, but challenging school year

Published 5:47 pm Friday, May 27, 2022

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By Dr. Joey Page

Austin Public Schools Superintendent

The final chapter of the 2021-2022 school year is closing. First, I want to thank all our retirees for their service to the district. Their impact will forever be carried forward with the individuals they have taught or worked with at Austin Public Schools.

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Second, it’s been an incredibly fun, challenging, and strategic year. To quote T.S. Elliot, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”  For a long time, I’d believed that Austin was where I was from, never where I was going to. But a phone call from School Board Chair Kathy Green last year was the sign that wasn’t true anymore. One phone call, and suddenly my family’s lives would go in a very different direction. Our family was coming back home!

As another historic year in education ends, much work has been done on preparing APS for the future. We’ve concluded our strategic planning process and are already starting to implement key deliverables in our new plan. If you recall, we have been focusing on developing strong career pathways and a clear vision for students that enter our system over the past few months. From the first day of pre-kindergarten to the day they get their diploma, our students should develop their strengths and learn how to apply their education in life after graduation. We call this the Packer Profile.

The Packer Profile is for all learners and will launch next school year. On Aug. 25, Mark C. Perna, founder and CEO of TFS Results, will keynote our welcome back to begin the school year. TFS Results is a full-service strategic communication and consulting firm at the forefront of the national paradigm shift in education and workforce development. Mark, a graduate of John Carroll University, has many years of experience addressing industry leaders on expanding their reach in an increasingly global marketplace. As an international expert on the millennial and Z generations, Mark has devoted his career to empowering educators and employers to unleash the tremendous potential of today’s young people.

Staff, parents, school districts, businesses, and state organizations across North America have successfully used Mark’s best practices, including the Education with Purpose philosophy and Career Tree strategy, to connect more effectively with the younger generations. A dynamic and motivational public speaker, Mark delivers more than 70 virtual and in-person keynote speeches annually at national and statewide events and spoke at Harvard University by special invitation. Mark also serves on the Advisory Council for the Coalition for Career Development in Washington, DC.

Families/caregivers and their students may have questions about the future. Maybe they have expressed worries about what they should major in for college or if they should even go to college, or what job they should pursue. The Packer Profile takes those concerns seriously and provides a clear pathway for your student to come to a deeper understanding of who they are, what they can offer the workforce and the world, and how they can get there.

Mark, a weekly contributor at Forbes.com, has published many articles in national publications and interviews frequently on radio shows, television, and podcasts. He hosts the 90-second Perna Syndicate micro-podcast every weekday, covering education, careers, and workforce development insights. His award-winning bestseller, “Answering Why: Unleashing Passion, Purpose, and Performance in Younger Generations,” was written to help educators, employers, and parents understand the millennial and Z generations and inspire them to greater performance in all areas of life. It will be a great kick-off to the new school year, and the public is welcome to attend and hear Mark connect the dots.

The book also covers many topics that could not be covered in the presentation due to time constraints.

Thank you for all your support this school year.