Guest Commentary: APS experiencing the positive effects of growth

Published 5:44 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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By Dr. Joey Page

Austin Public Schools Superintendent

It’s hard to believe the school year has only seven weeks left. Our district continues to experience the effects of strategic growth and positive change, and momentum is building as commencement draws near.

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As we look forward to honoring our graduates next month, we are still celebrating that Austin Public School District has excelled compared to a few other districts in Minnesota. Despite a statewide drop in graduation rates, APS has seen a 3% rise – from 71.9% in 2021-22 to 75.5% in 2022-23.

This is truly a collective victory for our district. From our teachers and staff who guide and support our students, our administrators who collaborate on innovative strategies, and our hardworking students themselves, each person plays a vital role in shaping our students’ educational journey. Families, caregivers, community members, and local businesses also contribute by fostering an environment that values education and provides resources for student success. Working together, we help every student thrive, equipped with skills and knowledge for a bright future. Thank you for your partnership!

Undoubtedly, improved graduation rates reflect many successful programs within our schools. Several of these programs were spotlighted in the Austin Daily Herald this past month, including the intervention program Targeted Services and the Transition Program that helps students with disabilities gain self-independence.

Another element that will bring tremendous change to our district starting next year is the Minnesota Reading to Ensure Academic Development (READ) Act, signed into law last year. This legislation aims to have every Minnesota child reading at or above grade level every year, beginning in kindergarten, and to support multilingual learners and students receiving special education services in achieving their individualized reading goals. APS has been planning and preparing for the READ Act, and we have developed an informational website to share current and ongoing updates.

In addition, we will soon share the results from our biennial community survey. This survey provides important opportunities for Austin Public Schools to hear from everyone. However, you are always welcome to share your questions and feedback directly. You can contact me at or call 507-460-1900 to schedule an appointment.

Thank you for all you do for our students and schools. It’s a privilege to be part of our amazing district.