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. …
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.
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:
8:10 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:
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!”…
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.…
In January, elementary schools across the District organized read-a-thon events in collaboration with their PTOs. “The goal is to get students to develop a passion for reading by specifically targeting time for reading outside of the classroom,” said Sue Lawler, principal at Sawyer Elementary.
A kick-off evening event often started the two- week book push in most schools. Sawyer Elementary invited parents to attend a family reading night themed “reading under the big top,” while Mitchell Elementary hosted a “book tasting” evening with parents. Once it began, families kept track of minutes read outside of the classroom and students received an incentive every time they read for those minutes.
The momentum continued throughout the read-a-thon to encourage students to read. Students at Mitchell Elementary made a fun video titled “Wild About Reading” to promote reading where students wore masks they made in class. The culimating read-a-thon event celebrated student reading. Students were cheered and given high fives as they filed into their gymnasiums for an assembly. At Sawyer Elementary, the guests of honor were Smyles from the Ames Public Library, and Cy from Iowa State University.
“We had an overwhelming majority of our students participate this year, and our total minutes continues to grow each year. Next year we want to look for more opportunities to get the kids excited about reading!” said Lawler.
Customers’ roundup dollars from Feb. 7–28 and $2,500 Fresh Thyme donation will pay students’ negative lunch balances
Fresh Thyme Farmers Market believes no student should go without a meal. That’s why the full-service specialty retailer announced today the “No Student Goes Without Lunch” fundraising campaign at its new Ames store. All customer donations from the campaign — as well as a $2,500 donation from Fresh Thyme — will go to the Ames Community School District to pay students’ negative lunch balances.
As of Dec. 31, 2017, Ames students’ negative lunch account balances totaled $47,932.42. Last year, the school district grappled with how to address this issue. In June, the Ames School Board amended a policy so that today all students receive lunch regardless of their negative account balance. However, with this action, the district still must find ways to settle students’ outstanding balances.…
WHEN: Thursday, January 25 – 10:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. and Friday, January 26 – 8:00 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, 2018.
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.
The Three Little Pigs is fairy tale about threepigs who built three houses of different materials. A big bad wolf blows down the first two pigs‘ houses, made of straw and sticks respectively, but is unable to destroy the third pig’s house, which was made of bricks.
Fellows 2nd grade teachers Holly Shirbroun and Shena Crawford, and their classes, recently explored this story and added a STEM component to the unit. Students were asked to collaborate with each other and implement engineering strategies to create a house to surround a paper pig using only gumdrops and toothpicks. In teams of two, students collaborated with each other, and practiced engineering strategies that asked them to design a plan, implement that plan, and afterwards make decisions on how they could improve their structure. The project was also used as a way to introduce new math terms that students will be utilizing as the school year progresses.
The engagement of the students was high as they communicated with each other on how to build their structures. Students were given opportunities to share their “best practices” that they discovered with the rest of the class (hint: cut the gumdrops in half!). The highlight of the activity came when students were asked to test their building structure. Mrs. Shirbroun kept this component a secret from the students until it was time to unveil a hair dryer dressed as a big, bad wolf. Students were delighted by the wolf and held their toothpick structures up against the blowing wind. They were especially satisfied when their structure stood tall.
Although not all structures stood as a whole, the enthusiasm surrounding the project encouraged students to revisit their structure, design new, and build again so they can have a chance to test again the wolf.
Student attendance is an important predictor of success in the classroom. Only through attendance and class participation do students achieve the benefits of our education program within the Ames Community School District. Learning lost due to an absence can have a profound effect throughout the school year, and we are placing a greater emphasis on communicating absences with parents this school year.
Our previous attendance policy stated that communications would be sent home after 10 absences. The board supported a proactive approach to addressing chronic absenteeism and on August 21, revised the attendance policy to the following:…