APS shares new changes as school year begins

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(ABC 6 News ) – Freshmen and sophomores returning to or heading to Austin High School for the first time were greeted with applause before they even had a chance to walk through the doors.

The Link Crew, made up of some of the school’s upperclassmen played music, passed out candy, and cheered on the lower classmen to help make their first day of school a positive one.

“They really are just a resource to help support our students. Our incoming 9th-graders especially as they transition into the high school,” says Austin High School Student Council Advisor Emily Hovland.

“They help give them tours, meet with them, connect with them, and just try to really bridge that transition. They really are just a resource to help support our students.”Members of the link crew had to apply and be approved for their positions.

Monday was a bittersweet day for Austin families as it marked the end of summer, but the beginning of a brand new school year. Superintendent Dr. Joey Page says there is a lot for families to look forward to.

This year, the Grow Your Own Grant will move forward. Austin is receiving $749,000 in state funding to create opportunities for students to explore the teaching profession. For adults, the money will be used to help recruit and prepare community members to join the education field.

Related: “Grow Your Own” Grant to put diversity first for Austin Public Schools

“Operationally too, we have some big things that are happening. We have transitioned back to neighborhood schools this year. In the following school year, our kindergarten students will return to their neighborhood elementary schools so that process will begin this fall,” said Dr. Page.

Over the last several years, APS buildings were at capacity and some were underused. Dr. Page says the change is about balancing out enrollment and using buildings to their fullest potential.

As far as staffing, there are several support professional and teaching positions open. The district is working to fill those roles as soon as possible.