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Articles from October 2017

ESL Bookland Night at Ames Public Library

ESL Bookland Night

ESL Bookland Night took place at the Ames Public Library on October 13, 2017, and was organized in collaboration with the Ames Community School District (ACSD), the Ames Public Library, and the Future Teachers – Future Leaders Learning Community at Iowa State University. The event was a great social function for students and families who have English as their second language and an opportunity to distribute books to families to support literacy.

The after-hours event saw 141 attendees (ESL students and family members) and approximately 40 ISU students who assisted with the activities. In total, approximately 200 individuals including Ames Public Library, ISU, and ACSD staff were in attendance. Shaeley Santiago, K-12 ESL TOSA / Instructional Coach for the ACSD, said “It wouldn’t have been possible without each of our ESL teachers handing out invitations and encouraging students to attend, and volunteers arranging their Friday evening so they could be there, too.”

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Darin Johnson receives Distinguished Service Award from ICTE

English Teacher Darin Johnson

On Friday, October 13th, 2017, Ames High School English teacher and department chair, Darin Johnson, was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the Iowa Council of Teachers of English (ICTE). It is the highest honor that the ICTE bestows once a year to a member who has displayed extraordinary service to promote and support English teachers in their own schools and throughout the state. Darin accepted the award, saying, “I can’t thank the ICTE community enough for the ways you have fed my heart and mind and – most importantly – have repeatedly asked me to share my voice. For this I am truly thankful, and I am truly humbled to receive this award. I thank you for helping me lift my voice.”

Darin has served as an English teacher at AHS for twenty five years. In that time, his primary focus has been on meet the needs of his students. As Erin Miller, ICTE President and former AHS English teacher, describes, “Darin’s continual drive to better his craft, dedication to building relationships with students, and willingness to be a constant innovator has made him an ideal role model for teachers in Ames and around the state.”

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Official Statement Relative to the AHS Band and Student Body

Student Section Band

From District, High School, and Board Leadership:

At every school board meeting, the mission statement of the Ames Community School District is read aloud. The moment is often overlooked and perceived as a formality before immediately moving on to official business. Let’s face it, these statements from all companies are word-smithed to be non-controversial and uniform in their meaning. They are great for websites but most of us never revisit them.

In the wake of social media chatter and conversations about our high school band, let’s take a moment to revisit the mission statement of the Ames Community School District. There is some profound meaning in it.

Our mission statement reads as follows:

The mission of the Ames Community Schools is to ensure that all learners develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes, values, and personal esteem necessary to grow in and shape a changing society.

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An Emphasis on Attendance

Attendance Graphic

Student attendance is an important predictor of success in the classroom. Only through attendance and class participation do students achieve the benefits of our education program within the Ames Community School District. Learning lost due to an absence can have a profound effect throughout the school year, and we are placing a greater emphasis on communicating absences with parents this school year.

Our previous attendance policy stated that communications would be sent home after 10 absences. The board supported a proactive approach to addressing chronic absenteeism and on August 21, revised the attendance policy to the following:

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New Fountas & Pinnell Reading Benchmarks

Fountas & Pinnell Graphic

What is the benchmarking assessment that my child takes?

Fountas & Pinnell have developed a Benchmarking Assessment System (BAS) in order to help teachers determine what reading skills your child has mastered and which she/he still needs to learn. In Ames, all K-5 students read aloud all or portions of a text and then engage in a comprehension conversation with the teacher to allow the teacher to better understand how to help the student in a variety of areas, including reading with accuracy and expression, and understanding the meaning of the text. This assessment is administered to all students twice per year.

Fountas & Pinnell have created a 3rd edition of the benchmarking materials which include revised rubrics, texts, teacher prompts, and online capabilities. ACSD purchased this 3rd edition for all elementary buildings as these improvements will allow teachers to more clearly target instruction with each student. Your child’s level may be lower than in the past as the 3rd edition materials are much more rigorous. This drop in levels has been predicted by the publisher and does not indicate that your child’s skills in reading have decreased.   

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