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Articles in District News

Paul Gorski Talks Equity with Teachers

Paul Gorski Talks Equity with Teachers

On August 20, the Ames CSD held its annual “Kick-Off Breakfast” for all teachers and staff at Ames Middle School, with Paul Gorski serving as the keynote speaker. Gorski is the founder of Equity Literacy Institute and EdChange. He has 20 years of experience helping educators strengthen their equity efforts in classrooms, schools, and districts. He has published more than 70 articles and has written, co-written, or co-edited twelve books on various aspects of educational equity including Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap and Case Studies on Diversity and Social Justice Education.

Gorski was selected to keynote as a way to further deepen the District’s equity work that started last year with Dr. Katy Swalwell from Iowa State University, and Dr. Daniel Spikes. Their professional development with teachers will continue this year in the area of cultural competency. Talking about equity, or lack thereof, is a difficult topic for many people. “Equity is the process of wrestling with cognitive dissonance,” he said during his keynote, meaning that each individual must challenge what they hold as facts. According to Gorski, only then can we address equity.

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Little Cyclone Teacher Academy 2018

Little Cyclone Teacher Academy

The second annual Little Cyclone Teacher Academy (LCTA) took place from August 6-10 at Ames High School. Teacher on Special Assignment Lisa Clayberg, who is also the Teacher Leader Coordinator, said, “The idea originated last year from being able to provide in-house professional learning for our teacher leaders outside of contract time. However, we quickly realized that any educator could benefit from multiple learning opportunities.”

The LCTA quickly opened to all staff across the district, including administrators and Educational Assistants. This year, 30 different courses were offered to staff, up from 21 a year ago. The courses covered a range of topics that include understanding behaviors in the classroom, work based learning, dyslexia, assessing students with disabilities, and professional learning committees, among many others.

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Summit on School Climate and Culture

Summit on School Climate and Culture

On August 13 -14, over 50 Ames CSD staff attended the 3rd Annual Summit on School Climate and Culture. The event is put on by Des Moines Public Schools and “is designed help educators improve school climate and culture through professional development, skill building and application of best practices and research.” The event allows educators to “engage with leading experts in education and school improvement on how a positive school climate and culture is key to student, school and district improvements.”

Director of Student Services Dr. Anthony Jones, said, “The Summit is important for us because I believe the topics (Climate, Culture, Inclusion, and Equity) discussed there address a missing piece of professional learning for our district’s success.”

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AHS Girls Swimming & Diving Team awarded National Champion status

Swimming National Champions

On August 18, the Ames High 2017-2018 Girls Swimming & Diving team was awarded National Championship status by the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (NISCA).

Coached by Dan Flannery, the Little Cyclone swimmers and divers out paced every other public school in America ranked on class size (enrollment 900-1,400 students) by over 250 points. That is an unprecedented margin and marks the 3rd consecutive year that the Ames High girls team has won this prestigious national title. Ames High girls swim teams have won 7 of the last 8 state team titles, including last year’s competition.

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Social Media Accounts

Social Media

As we kick off the new school year, we want to encourage you to interact and follow some of our many social media channels. Below are district and building level social media links. It’s a great way to celebrate the activities in your own building, and collectively as a district. 

District:

Website – http://www.ames.k12.ia.us

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AmesCommunitySchoolDistrict/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ACSD_News

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/OfficialACSD

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/acsdnews/

Amazing Magazine – http://www.ames.k12.ia.us/district/departments/school-community-media-relations/amazing-magazine/

 

School Pages:

Edwardshttps://www.facebook.com/EdwardsElem/

Fellowshttps://www.facebook.com/FellowsElementary/

Meekerhttps://www.facebook.com/MeekerElem/

Mitchellhttps://www.facebook.com/MitchellElementary/

Sawyerhttps://www.facebook.com/SawyerElem/

Northwood

 

Middle School :

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Welcome Back Message from Superintendent Risner

Welcome Back Graphic

My transition to the Ames Community School District has been a wonderful experience and living in the Ames community has given me an opportunity to explore all the incredible things this community has to offer. Since my move late June, my calendar has been full of meetings with individual staff and board members, parents, community groups, and community and state leaders in an effort to better understand where we should focus our efforts. These meetings have opened my eyes to the pride that exists within; from the facility upgrades, student activities, staff development opportunities, to the passion and commitment from outstanding educators that serve our community. There is a deep desire from our staff and community to provide unique opportunities for our students.

Shortly after my arrival, I was able to spend some focused time with our administrative team discussing our “why” both individually as well as our district as a whole. One thing that became clear to me was their passion for students while encouraging and supporting every student’s journey. We also discussed areas that need attention in their buildings and at the district level. I can assure you, we all feel a sense of urgency and are committed to building a collaborative environment.

As we begin the year, there is work to be done and with that work will come change. Change takes courage and honesty. I can promise you that I will provide both. On this journey, I will need your support and willingness to embrace a new leadership style. I will be honest and transparent and you will begin to hear us grapple with some difficult topics at the board, district, and building levels. I will work to communicate and be transparent with our work, and together we will address the areas that need to be addressed. It is an exciting time for Ames Community School District and I am honored to be serving as your leader and thankful to call this my home.

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Ames CSD Ranked Best District in the State for 6th Consecutive Year by Niche

Niche Graphic for Blog

Niche recently released their 2019 K-12 Rankings of the best schools in the country. For the sixth consecutive year, the Ames Community School District has been ranked as the #1 district in the State of Iowa, with Ames High School also receiving the #1 ranking for the fourth year in a row.

The Ames CSD earned this ranking through key factors such as strength of academics, quality of teachers, school resources, as well as student and parent reviews. The statistical data used in this ranking was obtained from the U.S. Department of Education and then analyzed by Niche’s team of data scientists to create the 2019 rankings.

The Niche 2019 K-12 Rankings are based on rigorous analysis of academics and student life data along with test scores, college data, and ratings collected from millions of Niche users. Their wide-ranging data allows them to provide a comprehensive suite of rankings across all school types.

Thank you to our students and staff for continuing to make the Ames Community School District the best in the state. We’re very proud of our long tradition of excellence, and we’re confident that the upcoming school year will continue that tradition.

Learn more about the methodology of the Niche rankings on their website.

https://www.niche.com/k12/rankings/methodology/

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Elementary School Arrival/Dismissal Times

Elementary School Schedule

Starting this school year, we are adjusting arrival and dismissal services at all of our elementary schools. Safety and security are of utmost importance to us, and to ensure safety, we are making adjustments to our arrival times as follows:

  • 8:05-8:25 breakfast
  • 8:10 doors unlock and classrooms open
  • 8:25 instruction begins

ACPC, who operates the before and after school program in our building, has communicated to us that they are able to expand enrollment. As a District, we are unable to provide supervision prior to 8:05 and after 3:30. Therefore, students arriving before or after those times will be enrolled with ACPC and will be billed the daily rate. We understand that this may be a change from last year, and we are committed to working with you to explore child care options. If you have specific questions or concerns about this policy, please reach out to your building office personnel.   

If you are interested in ACPC care, more information can be found on their website:

http://www.acpc-childcare.org

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Ames CSD and Ames Police Department to put on Active Shooter Training for Staff

Active Shooter Training Graphic

On August 21-22, all Ames Community School District staff will participate in an active shooter training within one of our schools. Due to the content of the training, it was important for us to get it completed before school begins, and to ensure that no students would be present in the buildings during the time of this training. The training will be conducted by officers of the Ames Police Department and will include an ALICE refresher segment followed by unknown scenarios that staff must respond to, and will conclude with debrief sessions with officers.

We understand that this work is never done and we, as District leaders, need to constantly ensure that our buildings are safe and that our staff are adequately prepared for a variety of situations. Our goal is to make this training as applicable as possible, and that all staff walk away from it feeling prepared. But we also understand that this content can be unsettling. We have encouraged our staff to reach out to us at the District level, or to their building principal with questions or concerns.

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Super Summer Program

Super Summer Program

The ACSD Super Summer Program is a two-week summer school for students who are entering 1st-8th grades, who want to take interest oriented classes to further their passion in those areas. This year, Super Summer offered 30 different courses not accessible in the regular school curriculum to give students an opportunity to study a subject in-depth.

Extended Learning Program Director Nicole Kuhns, said, “The goal is really just to provide classes to stretch our students’ minds during the summer break.” Super Summer has been around in some form for over 25 years. This year, over 250 students registered for classes that included a variety of topics. Kuhns said, “We saw many teachers proposing new classes and reinventing old classes. There was literally something for everyone from students interested in STEM, art, performance, sports, business, and crafting. Many teachers focused on bringing a cultural lens into their classes and helping students learn more about the way others live. Our students left excited each day about all they had learned, which is really all we could ask for!”

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