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Innovation

Here at Austin Public Schools, our goal is to Engage, Empower, and Inspire every learner, every day. To do that, we strive to develop and promote innovation. From our annual crowd-sourced innovation program (the thoughtLuck) to our partnerships with local, state, and national companies and programs, APS is Packed Full Of Ideas.


Participants at the thoughtLUCK workshop.

thoughtLUCK

The thoughtLuck is our new, annual crowd-sourced innovation effort. APS staff are invited to submit their ideas, no matter how big or small, to an online portal where users get the chance to vote on them. The top ranked ideas then move on to an idea workshop, where the ideators work with industry leaders to further develop their ideas before implementing small-scale testing in the hopes of rolling their ideas out district- or school-wide.

The top ideas from our first year included Grab-and-Go STEM Kits, Automatic Filtered Water Fountains, and Flexible Seating.

You can check out some awesome videos about the 2017-18 thoughtLuck here.

Phrazer

APS has partnered with GeaCom to develop their Phrazer medical engagement device for use in the educational setting. The Phrazer device allows us to quickly and accurately gather data on incoming students despite language barriers that would otherwise exist. You can learn more about the Phrazer device here, or you can learn more about Austin's work with the company here.

MacPhail

The MacPhail Center for Music has partnered with Austin Public Schools to provide additional music enrichment opportunities for our students. From weekly classroom visits at Woodson Kindergarten Center to opportunities for private lessons for APS students, our partnership with MacPhail has already proven successful. Additionally, Austin will soon be breaking ground on a multi-million dollar renovation and expansion of the AHS Annex. The project will upgrade the current music facilities at the school while adding a new story to the building to house additional classroom and practice spaces. You can learn more about the program here.
A student working with a MacPhail instructor.

2+2 Program

The 2+2 Program is a teacher preparation partnership between Austin Public Schools, Riverland Community College, and Winona State University. Students in the program take two years of traditional coursework at Winona before moving into the schools to complete their courses through intensive, onsite clinical and student teaching experiences. This has proven to be a very popular and effective program, and we look forward to continuing the partnership for many years to come. To learn more, please check out the video here.
REACH provides mentoring for at-risk students.

REACH

The REACH (Relationship, Education, Accountability, Character, and Hard Work) program serves a diverse population of students at Austin High School. Through a blend of accountability, hard work, relationship building, and fun, the REACH program is helping at-risk students to be successful both in the classroom and in life. It's an amazing program that has seen tremendous success. Check out this video to learn more.

AVID

AVID is a college readiness system designed to increase the number of students who enroll in four-year colleges. Although AVID serves all students, it focuses on th least served students in the academic middle. The formula is simple - raise expectations of students and, with the AVID support system in place, they will rise to the challenge. To learn more about AVID at Austin Public Schools, check out this video.

Flexible Learning Spaces

Flexible learning spaces allow for more movement and a wider range of learning opportunities for students. There are many examples of this at Austin Public Schools, from the learning suites at Sumner and Neveln to the FTLAs at IJ Holton and Ellis. In general, we have found that providing these spaces helps our students to experience different modes of instruction, which increases student engagement and learning. To learn more, you can check out this playlist of videos related to flexible learning spaces.
Students working with a teacher in an FTLA at IJ Holton.