Dr. Joey Page: Welcome to the 2022-23 school year

Published 5:23 pm Friday, September 2, 2022

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I think it’s fair to say this will be a big year for us and not just because of the referendum. This is the year our strategic plan becomes a reality! Seeing our students and staff back in the classroom excited for another year of learning at Austin Public Schools is terrific.

Last year, we put a lot of work into creating our strategic plan. We listened to each other, our students, and our parents. We thought hard about what we want for ourselves in our work and what kind of education our students receive at Austin Public Schools.

We found that our students want to feel supported, challenged, and have fun when they’re here. Our students’ parents and guardians want to feel welcomed and valued in our schools. And we know, as staff and teachers, that we want to be seen, valued, and respected for our work.

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Our strategic plan centers on our mission and vision while highlighting our core values and strategic priorities. These big goals look great on a poster, but are we ready to live them? This is the year we put into action the new systems and processes that will help us deliver on our goal. But what’s going to make this real is everyone at APS and in the community. As Dr. Henry Cloud points out, people are the plan. Along with our staff, the Austin community is how our strategic plan becomes real for each other, our parents, and our students.

Now, it’s all well and good to have big exciting words at the beginning of the school year, but it’s a lot harder to be excited about our strategic plan when we’re in the slog of February or frustrated with problems that don’t seem to get any easier. Make no mistake; this is hard work. But when the work gets hard, know that we can work together to keep the focus on our students and our WHY.

When it comes to our students, we all have the same mission (to Inspire, Empower, and Accelerate in every area) and the same vision (to prepare all learners to make a difference in the world). That is our WHY. Everyone at APS invests so much time in our students; it’s our job to prepare them to make a difference in the world as they become Austin’s ambassadors in it.

When I think about our WHY, I think a lot about the word Accelerate in our mission. We spent a lot of time on this word when discussing inspiring, empowering, and accelerating learning for our students. As we emerge from a global pandemic, we know we must move quickly to address the challenges we went through, which are still in front of us. Change needs to happen quicker in education because that is the world we’re dealing with now. This is the year that we MOVE and move fast.

We have a big vision in front of us, and I know we’ll see this vision come to life daily. It will happen because the people who come to work here have incredible talent, grit, and understanding. What’s more, we are uncompromising in our ability to move forward.

This is also the first year for our new Packer Profile. The Packer Profile identifies and articulates the community’s shared aspirations for our students and helps define what it means to be a graduate of APS. It reflects what our students, staff, and families desire each day and will support students in their preparation to become college, career, and life ready.

Within the Packer Profile, students will work to develop the core values through career pathway exploration and meaningful learning experiences. This will be demonstrated through a portfolio before graduation starting with the class of 2027.

Big things will happen this year. Last year we laid the groundwork for change, and now we get to see it come to life. As I said, the Austin community will play a massive part in the success of our strategic plan. As we work toward creating and maintaining an educational system that prepares all learners to make a difference in the world, we want to thank you for supporting our students and staff.

So welcome back to Austin Public Schools. This year is going to be great.