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Articles in Ames High School

Ames High Junior Performs at Prestigious Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Julie-Michelle Manohar, a 16-year-old junior from Ames High School, recently performed at the world-renowned Sydney Opera House as part of the prestigious 2017 High School Honors Performance Series (HPS) honor choir. The HPS program provides a selective learning and performance opportunity to qualified high school musicians who are invited to apply after being nominated by music teachers/directors familiar with their accomplishments. Students are accepted after a review by the Honors Selection Board based on their talent and achievements demonstrated in the application and audition recording.

Julie-Michelle (pictured right) auditioned and was selected to sing Soprano-1. HPS processed 18,000 nominations this year for their various programs at the Carnegie Hall and Sydney Opera House. According to the director, Nancy Richardson, 750 of these nominations were for the 2017 High School HPS at the Sydney Opera House of which only 150 were selected- 80 for the HPS choir, and 70 for the HPS orchestra. This was an international program; performers arrived from 44 states within the United States, Guam, several provinces of Canada, Australia, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, and South Korea.

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AHS Girls Swimming & Diving Team Defines Dynasty with National Championship

AHS Girls Swim State Team

Congratulations to the 2016-2017 Ames High Girls Swimming & Diving team for being rated the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (NISCA) National Champions for the second straight season.

Head Coach Dan Flannery is proud for the work that this team put in. “We had a great year and the girls worked so hard to put themselves in this position.” In many ways, the second consecutive National Championship is the work of years of training and commitment by the community. The Ames High Girls program has entered the “dynasty” conversation and has some staggering statistics to back up that claim:

  • Undefeated for 7 straight years
  • Conference Champions for 7 straight years
  • State titles 6 of the last 7 years
  • Back-to-back NISCA National Champions (‘16 and ‘17)

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Public Tours of AHS Scheduled


          Good Afternoon, 

On behalf of the Ames School Board, I invite parents and community members to join us for informational meetings about the construction or renovation of Ames High School as well as tours of the Ames High campus. We are providing three different opportunities to accommodate everyone’s schedules: June 28, July 12, and July 19. Each meeting starts at 6:30 PM at the Ames High Cafeteria. 
On June 5, 2017, the Ames Board of Education recommended pursuing a referendum in April 2018 that would lead to the construction of a new high school building on the current AHS site. The Board’s recommendation was based on data review and results of a Phase I architectural study by Haila Architects of Ames. 
The District’s next task is to inform and stimulate community discussion and awareness and assess the community’s level of support for the Board’s recommendation. These meetings are intended to do just that and help answer questions from the public. 
While each meeting is designed to provide the same information, please feel welcome to join one or all of these meetings. I hope you can join us. 

Tim E. Taylor, Superintendent

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Ames High School teacher Kirstin Sullivan recognized by Iowa Secretary of State

Sullivan2017Kirstin Sullivan, who teaches AP European History, AP Government and Politics, and U.S. Government at Ames High School, was recognized by Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate for organizing Ames High School’s participation in the statewide Iowa Youth Straw Poll for the 2016 general election.

In a press release, Pate said Sullivan “stepped up and registered to include our students’ voices in the statewide straw poll, and as a result of her efforts, students received a unique civic education experience.”

Sullivan said participating in the Iowa Youth Straw Poll gave all students at Ames High School a chance to be engaged.

“A vital part of my job is for students to know how important it is that they are engaged in their community and in their government at all levels,” Sullivan said. “In both U.S. Government and AP Government and Politics classes, we spend the semester learning about civil liberties and how to best advocate for oneself and one’s community.”

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Ames High School participates in World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute

2017Ames World Food PrizeAmes High School students were among  322 students from 132 Iowa high schools who came together at The World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute on April 24, to share their ideas and find solutions to solve the world’s most pressing challenges in food security. Students who participated came away with a deeper understanding of world hunger and the possible careers they might pursue to help alleviate it.

In preparation for the event, the participating high school student wrote a research paper on a key issue that impacts hunger in another country. At the Institute, students proposed their own solutions in small-group roundtable discussions facilitated by academic and industry experts, and  along with teachers, participated in hands-on immersion activities in research facilities and labs.  

From this experience, students will be selected to attend the Global Youth Institute held in Des Moines, in October 2017.

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Ames High School graduation rates trending upward

State data on four-year graduation rates released by the Iowa Department of Education last week show continued improvement of graduation rates for the Ames Community School District. For the past four years, Ames High School graduation rates, especially rates for most student subgroups, have been trending upward and exceeding state graduation rates.

Overall, 93.2 percent of Ames High School seniors graduated in 2016—an all-time high in the past five years.

Associate Superintendent Mandy Ross said the steadily improving graduation rates in Ames are the result of systemic work to ensure that students meet milestones that are predictors of graduation, such as reading at grade level by third grade and attending school regularly beginning in preschool.

“Doing the work to ensure students graduate begins long before high school,” Ross said.

Besides supporting academic achievement, the District takes proactive measures using an Early Indicator System (EIS) to identify students in middle school and high school who are at risk for failing or dropping out based on attendance, academic performance, or office referrals. Implemented in 2013, the EIS is now used District-wide.

At the high school level, the EIS helps staff identify students who need support to meet graduation requirements. These students receive coordinated interventions that may include Additional Instruction, Alternative Learning Programs and Credit Recovery plans. Since the EIS was implemented, Ames High School graduation rates have improved and exceeded state graduation rates for all student subgroups except Asian students.

Highlights of the report:

  • The graduation rate for black students in Ames High School has improved from 53 percent in 2013, to 70 percent in 2015 and to 95.2 percent in 2016. The state’s 2016 graduation rate for black students is 79.7.
  • The graduation rate for students with individualized education plans (IEPs) has improved from 63.3 percent in 2013, to 75 percent in 2015 and 77.78 percent in 2016.
  • The graduation rate for students with low income backgrounds has been rising since 2012 when 73.6 percent of students graduated, to 85.4 percent graduating in 2016.
  • Hispanic students at Ames High School graduated at a rate of 95 percent in 2016, a rate higher than their white peers but down from 100 percent from 2015.
  • For the first time in five years, graduation rates for Asian students in 2016 dropped below state averages, to 87.5 percent.
  • While still above the state average of 92.93 percent, graduation rates for white students dipped slightly from 94.3 percent in 2015 to 93.15 percent in 2016, maintaining a narrow range between 92.98 and 94.3 percent for the past five years.

Fluctuations in the subgroup percentages often indicate a change in the number of students in the group in addition to overall performance.

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Ames High School Spring Play explores the complexities of love

The Theatre Department presents “Love/Sick, 7 p.m., April 28 and 29.

Sometimes we find who we are in a relationship; sometimes we lose who we are in a relationship. Sometimes we get what we want in a relationship, and sometimes the relationship is not our destiny. These are the themes the Ames High School Theatre Department will explore when it presents John Cariani’s “Love/Sick.” Following the popularity of “Almost Maine”, “Love/Sick” is nine vignettes that examine the lifecycle of love in various relationships. Beginning the evening is a one-act pre-show, “The Fifteen Minute Hamlet,” by Tom Stoppard.  Nine actors will recreate Shakespeare’s most infamous play in fifteen minutes.

Shows start at 7 p.m., April 28 and 29, in the Ames High School Auditorium.  Tickets are $4 for middle school aged children and younger and $5 for high school aged students and adults.

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Public invited to review new science textbooks for Ames High School

The Ames Community School District invites the public to review new textbooks for Ames High School science courses. All of the textbooks available for review support the newly revised Ames High School Science curriculum and essential standards that align with the Iowa Science Standards.  

Textbooks available for review:

A Natural Approach to Chemistry–(2016, LAB-aids). This text will be used as a resource for the Science of Physical Systems, Foundations of Chemistry, and Advanced Chemistry courses.

Pearson Chemistry–(2017, Pearson). This text will be used as a resource for the Foundations of Chemistry and Advanced Chemistry courses.

Physics, by James S. Walker–(2014, Pearson). This text will be used as a resource for the Foundations of Physics course.

The Criteria for Reviewing Textbooks Form will be available along with the textbooks.

Times and locations for viewing textbooks:

  • 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, April 11-17, at Ames High School, 1921 Ames High Dr., in the Student Services Center,
  • 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, April 11-17, at the Ames Community Schools District Offices, 2005 24th Street.
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Pancake printer interfaces with food, technology and art

Student and pancake printer

Ames High School freshman Cole Malone points out features of a pancake design he programed for a 3-D printer.

Cole Malone has a passion for figuring out how things work. The Ames High School ninth grader typically applies his grit and creativity—and engineering and design skills—to science, math and art classes. In his spare time, he’s likely pondering animation design or gaming software. But when he had the opportunity to try out the Ames High School’s new  3-D pancake printer, Malone couldn’t resist the challenge.

Yes, there is such a thing as a 3-D pancake printer. Carol Van Waardhuizen, who teaches Family and Consumer Science classes at Ames High School, arranged to purchase the pancake ‘bot with a Perkins grant (provided under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006) as a way to introduce her students to technology in food preparation.

“I was researching food trends for 2017,” Van Waardhuizen said. “I learned that even Barilla has a 3-D printer to make pasta. I wanted my students to have a chance to learn how computers interface with food and design.”

Malone, who’s part of Van Waardhuizen’s Housing and Interior Design class, said accomplishing the learning goals between computer interface and food and design required solving problems in physics, thermodynamics, software programming and common logic.

To print his pancake designs, in the shape of houses with intricate features, he had to find drawing software to add to the pancake ‘bot’s menu. He  had to make sure the air pressure in the feed hose was set to deliver the batter at the correct speed and volume, that the viscosity of the batter was compatible with the design, and that the darker colored batter printed first so the lighter colors wouldn’t burn on the griddle.

“I think it’s most important for people my age to learn how to solve problems quickly, to figure out what works and discard what doesn’t work,” he said. “In engineering and science and design, you need to know the basics and then keep working to solve things.”

Despite the high tech process, Malone remembered, in the end, the art of pancake making depends on at least one basic principle.

“No matter how fancy the design, when a pancake bubbles, it’s ready to flip, he said.”

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Ames High School Drama Department presents “Guys and Dolls”

The streets of Broadway when fedoras, showgirls, and a few colorful shady characters ruled the street is is the setting for Ames High School’s production of ‘“Guys and Dolls,” a musical fable based on characters by Damon Runyon. Ames High School students are cast as characters like Nathan Detroit, who is trying to find a location for his “floating crap game”, while attempting to keep the game a secret from his lovelorn, beleaguered fiancée, Adelaide. Meanwhile, Sarah Brown’s earnest efforts to keep her mission open are distracted by a handsome, smooth-talking gambler, Sky Masterson.  

Curtain is 7:30 p.m., Feb. 10 and 11, and 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 12 in the Ames High School Auditorium. Admission is $10 for persons in ninth grade and older and $8 for children in eighth grade and younger.

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