Attention: The Ames Community School District is DISMISSING CLASSES 2 HOURS EARLY today (01/18/19) due to weather conditions: No afternoon preschool or early kindergarten classes. K - 5: dismissal 1:30 p.m. Middle School: dismissal 1:00 p.m. High School: dismissal 1:15 p.m. No afternoon or evening activities.
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.
Fellows Elementary held a Multicultural Day for students on September 28 when they collaborated with CultureALL, a Des Moines area company. CultureALL reaches out into the community to identify real people and resources, and connect them to the needs of schools, communities, and businesses. CultureALL programs are about “more than discovering other cultures’ arts, clothes and language. They are about shifting perspective, discovering new concepts, and experiencing differences. We create cultural experiences that spark a desire to know more about the people and cultures around us,” according to their website. Ambassadors from Mexico, Scotland, Senegal in West Africa, Kenya, and Japan helped Fellows students gain new perspectives on the rich cultures that exist within Iowa and beyond.
On September 26, District administrators partnered with the board of directors during a work session to establish board priorities. Superintendent Risner said, “One of my first goals in joining the Ames Community School District was to bring our leaders together and identify what our purpose truly is. In other words, what is the reason we do what we do. During our toughest times, our purpose should be our foundation or anchor. My second important task was to establish clear priorities to guide our work, decision making, and allocation of resources.”
After many conversations, planning, and research, our administrators and board of directors took an important step and joined together to define our purpose and district priorities which you will see below. The opportunity provided the two groups to share and align visions from a philosophical and practical standpoint. The groups worked in breakout sessions to develop goals around five priorities sections. What they created was a living document that will evolve over time and become embedded in operational and educational practices. …
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.…