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Articles in District News

Update on CTE Programming from Superintendent Risner

Ames High Course Offerings Update

Dear Ames,

I want to provide clarity on the decision to make programming changes at Ames High School next fall. Following an evaluation of our Career and Technical Education (CTE) programming, the addition of a financial literacy requirement, and an assessment of our immediate high school staffing needs, the decision was made to not offer Family and Consumer Science (FCS) classes next year.

Starting in the 2019-2020 school year, the state requires each school district provide 4 out of 6 complete service areas within CTE. Those service areas must offer 4 years of course study in an area to prepare students for post-secondary careers and/or education.

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Ames High to offer an Agricultural Pathway Next Year

Ames High Course Offerings Update

Starting next year, in the 2019-2020 academic school year, we are pleased to announce that Ames High will begin to offer agricultural classes as a part of a pathway that students can pursue. The Department of Education requires that all schools offer at least 4 of 6 service areas in secondary schools. At Ames High next year, those service areas will include:

  • Business, Finance, Marketing, and Management
  • Information Solutions
  • Applied Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Manufacturing
  • Agricultural, Food, and Natural Resources.

When the new Ames High building opens in 2022, we anticipate expanding into another service area: health science, when we begin to offer courses toward a CNA program.

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Kindergarten Registration 2019

Kindergarten Registration Graphic

KINDERGARTEN / EARLY KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION

WHEN: Thursday, January 24 – 10:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. and Friday, January 25 – 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

WHERE: Ames CSD District Office 2005 24th St. Ames, IA 50010

WHAT TO EXPECT:

  • Parents and guardians may enroll children in kindergarten who will be 5 years old by Sept. 15, 2019.
  • Parents and guardians will complete an information form online and a Home Language Survey.
  • Provide the child’s original birth certificate, or duplicate with raised seal; proof of residency (lease, mortgage, house title, or utility bill with current address); and adoption or guardianship papers, if applicable.
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Google Expedition VR

Google Expedition VR

The day when students can visit landmarks from across the world is here, thanks to virtual reality. The District started looking into Google Expedition VR kits as soon as Google released them a couple years ago. Last year, Technology Director Karl Hehr put together a small kit equipped with cardboard cutout headsets, as a “proof of concept” to gauge interest from teachers. Overwhelmingly, teachers were interested in the concept as it opened the world to their classrooms.

Last semester, the District purchased a set of 30 Google Expedition VR units for classroom use. Ames Middle School teacher Dianna Sheldon, along with Instructional Technology Coach Sarah Davison, were the first to test the units when they took students to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The field trip was a companion piece to the book they were reading in class.

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App Smash: Descriptive Papers w/ Green Screen Video

App Smash

Ames Middle School 6th grade literacy teacher Drew DeJong is using the idea of “app smashing” to increase student engagement. App smashing is the process of using multiple apps to create projects or complete tasks. It is a great way to provide students with creative and inspired ways to showcase their learning, and it allows teachers a great way to assess their understanding and skills.

A recent project in DeJong’s class had students write descriptive papers about their favorite place in the world. The quick 300-400 word piece was looking for sensory writing from the students. “I wanted them to really describe their favorite place,” said DeJong. “What does it look like? Smell like? My goal was that the students would show us where they were at.”

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Iowa Department of Education releases new school performance results

Iowa School Performance Profiles

On December 18, 2018, the Iowa Department of Education released new online reports showing how public schools performed in a new accountability system that meets the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a federal education law that replaced the No Child Left Behind Act.

The new reports, called the Iowa School Performance Profiles, include each school’s scores on a set of accountability measures. The reports display scores based on a school’s overall performance, as well as the performance of subgroups of students, such as children from low-income backgrounds. The scores reflect how public schools performed on a set of core accountability measures, such as results on the statewide assessment. The tool displays a school’s score based on overall performance, as well as scores based on the performance of subgroups of students. These subgroups include students who are eligible for free and reduced-price lunch, students receiving special education services, English learners, and students from racial/ethnic minority groups.

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Advocate. Listener. Social Worker. Life Saver. Jean Muhammad

Jean Muhammad

The City of Ames is an affluent community full of Iowa State University professors and staff. The city boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state: 1.8% in March 2018 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and is continually ranked as one of the best places to live. The Ames Chamber of Commerce website links to 102 lists that date back to 2009 that include “Best College Towns,” “Smartest Cities in America,” Most Livable Cities in America,” and “Best-Performing Small Cities” type lists.

The Ames Community School District also has lists that point to academic excellence. For the past 6 years, the District has ranked as the #1 District in the State of Iowa by Niche. Ames High has ranked as the #1 High School for the past 4 years. All these lists point to Ames’ favorable economy, business climate, cost of living, and sense of community, and they are all true. Ames is a great community, with a great university, and has an amazing school district.

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Falls Sports Highlights 2018

Fall Sports Recap

Girls Swimming and Diving

The Ames High Girls Swimming & Diving team entered the 2018 Iowa Girls State Championships as the only team to understand what it felt like to be team state champions. Ames High had won 3 straight state titles, and 7 of the last 8 years, heading into the competition this year. Needless to say, this year’s squad not only had the pressure of the competition weighing on their minds, but the pressure of continuing Ames High’s dynasty in girls swimming.

The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) state meet was held on November 2-3 in Marshalltown. For the first time in head coach Dan Flannery’s storied career, he qualified every entrant, 30 for 30, for the state meet.

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Critical Consciousness: Year Two

Critical Consciousness

Understanding and developing tools to address oppression, implicit bias, and deficit thinking are at the heart of what Drs. Daniel Spikes and Katy Swalwell are hoping to accomplish as they enter their second of three years of critical consciousness training with Ames CSD staff. This year, the work is expanding beyond principals and including instructional coaches and other staff in each building. Next year, administrators, under the guidance of Spikes and Swalwell, will roll out the training to all staff.

In the training, Spikes and Swalwell define a critically conscious person as one who is able to reflect on and take action in the world in order to make it more equitable and just. To make that academic definition more applicable to everyday life, it’s being able to recognize when inequity exists and knowing what steps to take that help address the issue.

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Mental Health Conference 2018

Mental Health Conference

On November 15, the Ames CSD hosted a mental health conference at Ames High that was free to families, students, and educators in the Ames community and surrounding areas. The conference served as a great way to help educate the community on a variety of issues and to connect them with available resources.

The conference was a partnership with District schools, Story County Community Partnerships for Protecting Children, and The Cameron Carico +10 Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to “Promote happy and healthy students and families in central Iowa through suicide prevention and mental health education.”

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