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Articles in Sawyer Elementary

Read-a-Thon Celebration

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.

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Fresh Thyme Launches Roundup Fundraiser to Address Food Insecurity Among Ames Students

Fresh Thyme Graphic

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.

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Kindergarten Registration

 

Kindergarten Registration Graphic

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.
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An Emphasis on Attendance

Attendance Graphic

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:

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New Fountas & Pinnell Reading Benchmarks

Fountas & Pinnell Graphic

What is the benchmarking assessment that my child takes?

Fountas & Pinnell have developed a Benchmarking Assessment System (BAS) in order to help teachers determine what reading skills your child has mastered and which she/he still needs to learn. In Ames, all K-5 students read aloud all or portions of a text and then engage in a comprehension conversation with the teacher to allow the teacher to better understand how to help the student in a variety of areas, including reading with accuracy and expression, and understanding the meaning of the text. This assessment is administered to all students twice per year.

Fountas & Pinnell have created a 3rd edition of the benchmarking materials which include revised rubrics, texts, teacher prompts, and online capabilities. ACSD purchased this 3rd edition for all elementary buildings as these improvements will allow teachers to more clearly target instruction with each student. Your child’s level may be lower than in the past as the 3rd edition materials are much more rigorous. This drop in levels has been predicted by the publisher and does not indicate that your child’s skills in reading have decreased.   

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Preschool registration launches Feb. 1

The youngest learners in the Ames Community School District will get a head start on enrollment with an on-site event at Northwood Preschool Center.

Northwood Principal Brandon Schrauth said it’s important for families to attend the session to provide the documentation the District needs to program planning and to form a connection with the District before school starts next August.

“We want to reach as many families as possible because early childhood education is so important,” Schrauth said. “Gathering paperwork and completing online forms is a necessary step in getting enrolled in preschool,” he said, “but it’s just as important to meet families and answer any questions they have.”

What to expect at Preschool Registration

Parents and guardians may enroll children in preschool who will be 4 years old by Sept. 15, 2017.

Parents and guardians who meet certain income guidelines may enroll children in the Early Success 3-Year-Old Preschool Program who will be 3 years old by Sept. 15, 2017.

Parents and guardians will complete an information form online.

Parents and guardians should bring proof of the child’s age such as a birth certificate or passport, student physical report and immunization records; and adoption or guardianship papers, if applicable.

Northwood Preschool Center is at 3012 Duff Avenue.

Learn more about preschool registration

 

 

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Kindergarten registration starts Jan. 26, 2017

Kindergarten enrollment sessions have long been a tradition for Ames Schools, and this year, Registrar Barbara Peterson is hosting the sessions at the new District Offices.

“Gathering paperwork and completing online forms is a necessary step in getting enrolled in kindergarten or preschool,” Peterson said, “But it’s just as important for us to meet families and answer any questions they have. Our new offices offer a welcoming and functional space to do that.” 

What to expect at Kindergarten Registration

  • Parents and guardians may enroll children in kindergarten who will be 5 years old by Sept. 15, 2017.
  • Parents and guardians will complete an information form online and a Home Language Survey, 
  • Parents and guardians should bring proof of the child’s age, such as the original birth certificate, or duplicate with raised seal or passport,  proof of residency (lease, mortgage, house title, or utility bill with current address), and adoption or guardianship papers, if applicable.

The Ames Public Library will provide story time, and representatives from busing and school meal services will be available to provide information. Other community organizations with early childhood services will be on hand. District Family Ambassadors, who are parents of current students, will be available to give support and supervise a playroom for children aged 2 and over.

 

 

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Sawyer students honor local veterans

Sawyervets

Local veterans say they were deeply honored by a ceremony fifth grade students at Sawyer Elementary School organized to honor them for their service.  

The school treated veterans to a breakfast followed by a ceremony and choral presentation of patriotic music, Wednesday, Nov. 9.

Veteran Richard Maurer said, “This is awesome. Because the kids are interested. We like sharing what we did. I think it will help them grow.”

Maurer said the veterans, who each shared their service record, experience, and philosophy of life, tried to “get across that  students need to get a good education.”

“The future just doesn’t hand you stuff,” he said. “You have to work hard and earn it.”

Students said they realized “Veterans are cool. “They do different jobs.” “They had to work and study hard to learn to serve our country.”

Fifth grade teacher Brett Fuller worked with American Legion Post 37 to organize the event, with the aim of engaging students with history, social studies and intergenerational learning.

“This event serves as an excellent learning opportunity for our students to develop a deeper understanding of why we celebrate Veterans Day,” Fuller said. “It will also help them to recognize that we have many veterans who live right here in our community.”

After the ceremony, veterans joined the students in their classrooms to answer questions. The guests toured the newly renovated Sawyer building.

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Fifth grade students tout benefit of Invention Convention

AMES–Fifth grade inventors in the Ames Community School District, like Payton Stewart, Grace Schmitt and Kayley Birkland, are honing life skills that will last well beyond the Invention Convention on January 25.

Payton said the inspiration for her invention, for example, came from wanting to solve the problem of her family’s increasing water bill.

“We were using too much water brushing teeth and would leave water going,” she said. “It’s been fun taking our own journey through all this cool inventing process to solve problems.”

Grace said she learned not to give up even when it was hard to get her project-mates together and to manage her time to  complete her invention.

“At school, we are learning what it means to persist when things are hard,” she said. “Persistence was helpful. We didn’t get together for a long time and I thought maybe we’d have to give up.  My plate was too full, but then we got together and we made a plan and got straight to work and we accomplished a lot.”

Kayley said she learned the value of taking the risk to try ideas that might fail.

“We weren’t sure if we should use plastic, cardboard or metal (for our materials). We knew whichever we chose, there was risk involved. If we chose metal, we didn’t know if we had time to send it to my grandpa to weld it,” she said.  “So I talked to my dad, and he helped us make a plan, so then I had confidence that it would turn out great.”

Extended Learning Program teacher Ariane Schmidt said the event is open to all district fifth graders.

“Inventors will be judged on inventiveness, the diagram, the model or prototype, the log and the oral presentation,” Schmidt said.

The young inventors will put their projects on display beginning at 4:15 p.m., Monday, Jan. 25, at Edwards Elementary School, 820 Miller Ave., for parents and friends to view and experts to judge.

At around 4:50 p.m., inventors and visitors will move to the Gymnasium for a science presentation while the judges continue to deliberate in the display area. Judges will present awards around 5:45 p.m. in the Gymnasium.

UPDATE: Student received medals for the following inventions:

Edwards
Snoozeless Pillow, Alicia Nicolas
The Nail Catcher, Samuel Vis.
Dugout Doctor, Ali Frandsen and Piper Kirsch
Seed Saucer, Karin Grevstad-Nordbrock.

Fellows
S.E.W.S., Mia O’Connor-Walker.

Mitchell
Adjusta Tub, Ryan Maland and Connor Johnson

Sawyer
The Coop Collector, Jackson Hufford.
Tunes Tie, Allie Enyart and Mia Vogel.
No Slip Hanger, Lauren Powers and Maddie Swartz.
EZ-Pour, Adam Lee and Owais Samman.

Photo gallery

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Juicebox Interactive