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Articles in District News

School meal price policy FAQs

The Ames Community School Board on June 5, 2017 carved into a separate policy its procedures for dealing with unpaid meal account balances, which had been in place since 2015. However, the Board plans to revisit the policy to find a long-term solution. Watch this page for updates.

FAQs

Why is the School Board acting on an Unpaid Meal Policy?  

The USDA is requiring all school districts nationwide to have a policy in place by July 1, 2017 that details the procedures for unpaid meals. The Board approved unpaid meal procedures in June 2015 as part of another policy after the school district began to run large lunch account deficits, including $109,473 in the 2015 fiscal year. Since then, the negligent balances have fallen by more than $60,000. The Board drafted a separate policy in 2017 to meet the new USDA requirements. On June 5, 2017, the Board approved Policy 710.4 Meal & Snack Charges.

How do families know if they qualify for free or reduced school meal?

The district provides access to the application for free or reduced price school meals each year with other annual notices, and to all new families who enroll students in the district. When applications are processed, the district notifies families about their qualification status.  Income guidelines are established by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Students who qualify for reduced meals are charged the difference between the federal reimbursement for free meals and reduced meals, which is currently 40 cents.

To determine the price a school district must charge students don’t qualify for free or reduced price school meals, the USDA has established a formula through its Paid Lunch Equity Tool.

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Maker Camp at Edwards School connects technology and imagination

Student demonstrates tech project

School may be out for summer, but there won’t be a learning slump for students participating in a Maker Camp hosted by Edwards Elementary School.

Technology Teacher Librarian Teresa Green, who organized the camp, said the four-day camp engages students in making unique projects using technology, recycling used materials and leftover items, and using everyday items in new and interesting ways.

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Black Hawk lands at Mitchell School to spur STEM learning

Black Hawk Helicopter and students

A Black Hawk Army helicopter swooped onto the grounds at Mitchell Elementary School, Thursday, June 1, marking the last day of school and inspiring students to keep engaged with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning over the summer—and also spurring questions.

“Why does it have so many buttons?” “What is a co-pilot?” And a serious question from kindergarten student Max Nordman.

“What happens if you forget how to do something?”

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jim Funk, a Black Hawk instructor pilot with the Army National Guard Charlie 147 Aviation Company based in Boone, arranged with Mitchell Principal Justin Jeffs to provide the larger-than-life learning event.

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Creating digital magazines brings nonfiction to life for sixth graders

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Ames Middle School sixth grade students are ready with an answer in case anyone asks what they learned this year.

In their hands are printed versions of digital magazines the students researched, wrote, and designed for literacy class to show what they learned studying nonfiction text structures and writing processes throughout the year.

Literacy teacher Drew DeJong said the literacy team, as a professional Learning Community, created the magazine project so students could demonstrate understanding of sixth grade learning standards such as identifying the author’s purpose and the structure of a text. The students were expected to create two articles over a topic they chose, using a different text structure for each article.

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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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Literacy Pilot results will be shared June 12

UPDATED JUNE 12, 2017: The Word Study Team presented its findings to the Teaching and Learning Committee on June 12. Based on the WST recommendations, the Teaching and Learning Committee at a special board meeting June 12 will recommend that the Board approve using Fundations.

The Ames Community School District has concluded a pilot of program materials for kindergarten through second grade teachers to use when providing instruction around foundational skills in reading. The pilot was established after K-2 teacher representatives met in the spring of 2016 and recommended that all K-2 teachers have common materials for Tier 1 instruction across schools in phonics and phonemic awareness.

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Myers is Ames Morning Rotary Teacher of the Year for Ames Schools

IMG 3827Stephanie Myers, a fifth grade teacher at Edwards Elementary School, was awarded Rotary Teacher of the Year on Wednesday, May 17. A Model Teacher in the Teacher Leadership Program, Myers has taught fifth grade at Edwards for the past six years.

Principal David Peterson said Myers’ success as a teacher stems from an array of skills and practices that engage  her students in “thinking with great rigor; sharing their thinking with one another, and reflecting on learning.”

“She implements a connected sequence of content and instructional strategies at a high level,” Peterson said. “Many district teachers observe her classroom, and she reflects on her teaching with them and helps to identify best practice instruction.”

Among best practices, Myers reviews student data regularly with her colleagues in their Professional Learning Community for solid core instruction, re-teaching, and enriching learning, Peterson said. “She also works with  her fifth grade team of teachers to build community learning activities and routines, with practice to make a positive community of learners for the entire year.”

The Ames Morning Rotary is committed to youth education and realizes that teachers are responsible for quality education. To help demonstrate this commitment the Club annually recognizes a teacher from each of these school districts: Ames, Story City and Gilbert.

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Ames High School Young Engineers and Scientists present projects

YESInterns2017HR

Sixteen weeks of research and preparation carried out by Ames High School’s Young Engineers and Scientists (YES) culminated in a poster reception in the Ames High School Media Center May 10. The students presented their work to peers, parents and faculty from Iowa State University and Ames High School.

Funded through ISU’s Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC), YES is part of CBiRC’s pre-college education strategic plan to form long-standing partnerships with central Iowa school districts and school districts located in relative proximity to CBiRC partner institutions. According to CBiRC’s website, the pre-college programs’ mission is  to “effectively impart in the next generation of students the relevance of engineering professions; the skills required to succeed and the value in our technological society.”

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Colors of Kindergarten (Kindergarten Preview) 5 – 6 p.m., May 25, 2017

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To welcome the students of our new kindergarten class and their families and help them prepare for kindergarten, each of our elementary schools is hosting  Colors of Kindergarten,  a kindergarten preview, Thursday, May 25.

Parents and guardians and students enrolled for kindergarten for the 2017-18 school year will meet their principal, the kindergarten team and school staff. Students will do an activity in a kindergarten classroom while parents and guardians attend a presentation to learn about schedules and routines, the education philosophy, and the school community.

Families who have registered students for kindergarten will receive an invitation to Colors of Kindergarten. Pre-registration is required to attend.  To register, Contact: District Registrar, Barbara Peterson barbara.peterson@ames.k12.ia.us.

 

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