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Articles in District News

Kendra Kruse is IAAE Newcomer of the Year Award

IAAE Newcomer of the Year Graphic

Ames High English Teacher Kendra Kruse recently won the Iowa Association of Alternative Education Newcomer Of The Year Award. This award is presented annually to an alternative educator who has less than five years of alternative education experience, and honors a person who is enthusiastic about promoting a positive atmosphere in the school setting, and is an advocate for students.

Kendra has been an invaluable member of the six person Ames High School Alternative Learning Program (ALP) Team for the past three years and she has taken on the unofficial responsibility of serving as the ALP team manager. In his nomination letter of recommendation, fellow Ames High teacher Ben Matthies wrote, “She has the unique experience of being the one teacher nearly all our ALP students interact with for four years of high school. She is able to build relationships with our students to teach them English, Life Skills, and simply be there as a positive, caring adult in the student’s life. It is with this same caring deposition that Kendra embraces any students who walks into her classroom, regardless of academic programming.”

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Jazz Band Championships

Jazz Championships

The Ames High School Jazz Band, under the direction of Andrew Buttermore, participated in class 4A at the 43rd Annual Iowa Jazz Championships on Thursday, April 5th, 2018 in Ames, IA for the first time in school history!

Longtime Ames High Band Director Home Gartz (1962-2003), confirmed that no jazz band participated in any competitions under his tenure. “They were called ‘dance bands’ and ‘stage bands’ in the early years. It is quite an accomplishment to achieve this award.

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Ames High Culinary Students Compete in a “CHOPPED” Competition

CHOPPED competition

On Friday, April 6, four Story county schools gathered for a culinary arts expo held at the DMACC Hunziker Center in Ames. Participating schools included Ames High School, Colo-NESCO High School, Nevada High School, and Roland-Story High School. Students participated in a “CHOPPED” competition using the mystery ingredients of turkey tenderloins, strawberries, zucchini, mushrooms and strawberry patch kids candy. During this competition, students applied skills and knowledge learned in their Family and Consumer Sciences classes to create an entrée using the required “mystery” ingredients. 

Students had 40 minutes to prepare their entrée all while being evaluated on teamwork, safety and sanitation, food preparation skills, and presentation of food. The judges for this competition were Executive Chef Robert Bruno from the Iowa Stater restaurant at the Gateway Hotel, Chef/Owner Evie Peterson from Farmhouse Catering in Nevada, and Director of Member Services Sheila Larson from the Iowa Turkey Federation.

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Legislation That Would Force District Cuts or Increased Property Taxes

Legislation That Would Force District Cuts or Increased Property Taxes

Notice to the Ames community,

In 2013, the Iowa Legislature reduced local commercial property taxes. To replace the income lost by Iowa cities, counties and school districts, the state provided a “backfill” where state dollars replaced local property tax income that were lost due to the commercial property tax cut.

Next year, the state backfill will provide $1,316,906 to the Ames Community School District. Leaders of the Iowa House and Senate have said they plan to eliminate the backfill, beginning with the budget year starting on July 1 of this year.

What does this mean for the Ames Community School District? The Iowa legislative proposal would mean $1.3 million in budget cuts for the 18-19 school year. The majority of those cuts ($996,000) would have to come from the general fund. It is unclear if the legislature will allow school districts to replace the lost revenue with property taxes. If this is the case, the District would be forced to reduce expenditures including, but not limited to, teaching staff (resulting in increased class sizes), support staff, and enrichment programs for kids.

On Monday night, the Ames school board will consider a resolution opposing the reduction of the backfill for the 2018-2019 school year. That opposition will be communicated to the Iowa Legislature and to Governor Reynolds. The Ames Community School District believes that any changes to the backfill should be decided with the participation of local government and school leaders.

The District believes that this bill is moving quickly through the legislature.

The following people represent the Ames Community School District:

Jerry Behn – jerry.behn@legis.iowa.gov

Herman Quirmbach – herman.quirmbach@legis.iowa.gov

Beth Wessel-Kroeschell – beth.wessel-kroeschell@legis.iowa.gov

Lisa Heddens – lisa.heddens@legis.iowa.gov

Rob Bacon – rob.bacon@legis.iowa.gov

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Ames Community Gives Free Bike Helmets to Every Third Grader

Bike Helmets Graphic

For the third year, members of the Healthiest Ames Board of Directors, in collaboration with other community partners, spent a morning at each Ames elementary school bringing a message of bike safety to third graders and providing bike helmets. The program ran from Monday, April 2 through Friday, April 6, and included visits to Meeker, Edwards, Sawyer, Mitchell and Fellows Elementary Schools. 

The project is a partnership between the Ames Police Department, Skunk River Cycles, Ames Bicycle Coalition, and Healthiest Ames. It is funded by the Mary Greeley Medical Foundation. Each program began at each school with a bike safety message from School Resource Office Nick Schieffer, followed by a bicycle helmet fitting for each third grader. Healthiest Ames volunteers checked each student’s helmet to ensure proper fit and optimal protection. 

In total, 450 helmets were purchased thanks to the $3,600 Mary Greeley grant and $800 contributed by the Healthiest Ames. 

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National History Day competitors moving on to state!

 
National History Day Graphic
 
Twenty-six Ames students competed at the Historic Highways Regional History Day competition today. The competition judges students based on original research they have conducted around the 2018 theme: Conflict and Compromise.
 
The students are ranked on their ability to find and creatively present primary source information; they may present their research as a film documentary, website, exhibit, research paper, or performance. Students who are ranked top 2 in each category progress to the state competition in Des Moines on Monday, April 30.

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Mathcounts Middle School State Tournament

AMS Mathcounts Team

On Thursday, March 23, six students from Ames Middle School competed in the state Mathcounts tournament held at DMACC.

In the overall team competition, the Ames Middle School team of Ne Dassanayake, Rishabh Swamy, Suya Que and Caleb Sheldon finished in 3rd place.

Individually, Ne and Rishabh finished in the top 10, with Ne winning the Iowa State Championship. Ne will be part of the state of Iowa team that will compete at the national competition in May in Washington D.C.. Suya Que and Jixiang Li also finished in the top 25% of individuals. Adil Orysapayev represented Ames as an alternate, and the co-sponsors were Robert Alden and Lauren Booten.

Please congratulate these students on an outstanding day. They have worked very hard this year and their efforts payed off. Well Done!

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Fellows 4th Grade STEM Challenge

Right before spring break, the 4th grade teachers at Fellows Elementary created STEM challenges for their students with hands-on activities that presented students with a “problem” to solve and limited resources.

Christy Franco said, “We decided to do the STEM challenges for several reasons. We know students learn best with hands-on exploration. For these activities, they must collaboratively come up with a plan, try it out, revise as needed, and test it. The STEM challenges allow our students to integrate scientific inquiry, technology, engineering, and math.”

All four teachers combined the approximately 100 fourth graders and split them up. “We wanted to make this large group feel like a community and we want students to have the opportunity to work in groups with others they don’t normally get to work with during the school day,” said Franco.

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Kristi Mixdorf named as new Edwards Elementary Principal

Kristi Mixdorf Edwards Elementary Principal

The Ames Community School District is pleased to announce Kristi Mixdorf as the new principal of Edwards Elementary. She will replace Dave Peterson who announced his retirement earlier this year. Ms. Mixdorf will officially start her new position on July 1, 2018.

Mixdorf has 18 years of experience in education as both a leader and teacher. She is currently serving as Director of Teaching and Learning for the North Polk Community School District, and her previous experience included being an Instructional Coach in Ankeny, and a classroom teacher in both the Ankeny and Des Moines School Districts. She obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Northern Iowa, and her Masters in Education degree from Viterbo University, where she also served as an adjunct professor for five years. Mixdorf is a highly engaged professional who has participated in a variety of professional development opportunities including presentations at local and national conferences.

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Youth Diversity Inclusion Committee

Youth Diversity Inclusion Committee

The Youth Diversity Inclusion Committee (YDIC) is one of the newest groups this year at Ames High an is already increasing awareness about social justice. YDIC is composed of student leaders from a variety of different organizations that include student council members, SACRE (Students Advancing Civil Rights Education), Spectrum (LGBTQA), DECA (business), and SHEPH (Students Helping End Poverty and Hunger), among others.

The group got started in the fall when they attended the inaugural Youth Diversity and Inclusion Summit in Des Moines along with many other CIML-member schools. Junior Kijune Kim said, “A lot of us were really inspired at the Summit and presented a lot of ideas there and wanted to take them back to Ames High, but it didn’t happen that way.”

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