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Ames CSD Ranked Best District in the State for 6th Consecutive Year by Niche

Niche Graphic for Blog

Niche recently released their 2019 K-12 Rankings of the best schools in the country. For the sixth consecutive year, the Ames Community School District has been ranked as the #1 district in the State of Iowa, with Ames High School also receiving the #1 ranking for the fourth year in a row.

The Ames CSD earned this ranking through key factors such as strength of academics, quality of teachers, school resources, as well as student and parent reviews. The statistical data used in this ranking was obtained from the U.S. Department of Education and then analyzed by Niche’s team of data scientists to create the 2019 rankings.

The Niche 2019 K-12 Rankings are based on rigorous analysis of academics and student life data along with test scores, college data, and ratings collected from millions of Niche users. Their wide-ranging data allows them to provide a comprehensive suite of rankings across all school types.

Thank you to our students and staff for continuing to make the Ames Community School District the best in the state. We’re very proud of our long tradition of excellence, and we’re confident that the upcoming school year will continue that tradition.

Learn more about the methodology of the Niche rankings on their website.

https://www.niche.com/k12/rankings/methodology/

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Elementary School Arrival/Dismissal Times

Elementary School Schedule

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:

  • 8:05-8:25 breakfast
  • 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:

http://www.acpc-childcare.org

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Ames CSD and Ames Police Department to put on Active Shooter Training for Staff

Active Shooter Training Graphic

On August 21-22, all Ames Community School District staff will participate in an active shooter training within one of our schools. Due to the content of the training, it was important for us to get it completed before school begins, and to ensure that no students would be present in the buildings during the time of this training. The training will be conducted by officers of the Ames Police Department and will include an ALICE refresher segment followed by unknown scenarios that staff must respond to, and will conclude with debrief sessions with officers.

We understand that this work is never done and we, as District leaders, need to constantly ensure that our buildings are safe and that our staff are adequately prepared for a variety of situations. Our goal is to make this training as applicable as possible, and that all staff walk away from it feeling prepared. But we also understand that this content can be unsettling. We have encouraged our staff to reach out to us at the District level, or to their building principal with questions or concerns.

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Super Summer Program

Super Summer Program

The ACSD Super Summer Program is a two-week summer school for students who are entering 1st-8th, 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, there was to meet their needs. 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!”

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Dr. Tim Taylor: Superintendent Retires after 46 Years in Education

Dr. Tim Taylor

This story was originally published in Volume 3 of Amazing Magazine that you can download here.

Superintendent Dr. Tim Taylor announced his retirement at the November 20, 2017 school board meeting. After 46 years in education, 26 of those years in the Ames CSD, and the last 8 as Superintendent, his last day within the Ames CSD will be June 30, 2018. The next day, he will take a much needed and well deserved golf vacation to Scotland to kick start the next chapter of his life.

The IPERs Rule of 88 says that an individual has qualified to retire when their age plus years of service has reached “88.” Dr. Taylor has reached 115. Taylor grew up in Iowa Falls and is proud to be an Iowa kid. His first teaching job was in Janesville, Iowa, near Waterloo, and later he taught and coached boys basketball in Winterset.

After he finished his Ph.D. at Iowa State University in the early 1990s, Taylor began working with the Department of Education in Human Resources. “I had been involved in graduate school and been a graduate assistant for years at Iowa State University. So I lived in town and commuted to the Department of Education. As a graduate student, I fell in love with the community and wanted to be a part of it,” he said, reflecting on his collegiate days.

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Anthology: A Students’ Voice 2018

Anthology Project

On the morning of May 9, middle school editors got to see for the first time their self-published anthology after months of work putting it together. The book is a collection of stories and poems all written and edited by middle school students.

The project started in November when 8th graders Preksha Sarda and Claudia Murphy began recruiting writers and editors for the project. This is the second year that Steph Schares, who is an Extended Learning Program teacher at Ames Middle School and staff liaison to the anthology project, has helped students produce the anthology. Sarda and Murphy took applications from fellow students for positions of editors, marketers, and also managed the communications with students. They also paired each writer with an editor early in the process to provide a collaborative and authentic approach to the writing process.

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Brian Carico named new Associate Principal at Ames High

Brian Carico Associate Princial AHS

The Ames Community School District is excited to announce Brian Carico as the new Associate Principal at Ames High School. Mr. Carico is replacing long time Associate Principal, Dr. Mike Avise, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

Mr. Carico most recently served as the Field Experience Coordinator at Grand View University where he secured placements for practicum and student teachers. Prior to that, he served as the associate principal at Waukee Middle School, and before that building principal at Johnston Middle School. He received his Specialist in Educational Administration from Drake University, which is where he also received his Master of Science Educational Administration. He has 26 years of experience in education and has held a number of leadership positions in building level administration.

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Sawyer News Network

Sawyer News Network

In a few years, you may see Quin and Elijah, currently 4th graders at Sawyer Elementary School, behind the anchor desk reading the news. Until that time, they are comfortable as the content creators of Sawyer News Network, a weekly news segment created by the duo and shared across the building.  

New episodes arrived each Friday for the past two months of school. Their teacher, Nicole Coronado, has allowed the students creative freedom on the weekly segment and the pair have made it their own. “Quin and Elijah are in charge of picking who they interview, what questions they ask, and when they video tape. They also write their own script and research the weather and events for the following week, so they can report those out to the school,” said Coronado.

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Girls Tennis Runner Up State Champions

Girls Tennis

The Little Cyclones Girls Tennis team finished the 2018 regular season with a 10-0 record and a conference title. A week later on May 21, they punched their ticket for the 12th straight year to the team state tournament after beating Johnston to be one of the final 8.

Tennis is a unique sport in that athletes have an opportunity to compete individually and as a team in the post season. For Ames High, most of the girls did both. The girls nearly swept the regional singles and doubles state qualifying tournament on May 16. Freshman Arunadee Fernando was the overall singles champion, and the doubles team of Chloe Wilson and Caitlyn Hanulikova won doubles over their teammates Lauren Couves and Shria Chug. As a result, Ames High qualified 5 out of 6 athletes individually, setting up a busy week from May 30 – June 2 with both individual and team tournaments taking place.

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ONETeam: State Track & Field

ONE Team State Track

Last fall, the Ames High track and field program announced that they would combine the boys and girls teams into #ONETeam this spring, in a move that is unprecedented in the state. The teams combined activities, practices, and competitions in an effort to create positive connections between the coaching staff and students. Head coach Ben Duea announced on Twitter that “It is our goal to build on the successes that both programs have enjoyed in past years, and continue the championship tradition of Ames Track & Field.” It is without question that the first season as ONETeam was a success.

Looking back on the season, Duea said, “The credit goes to the kids. We opened up eyes all over the state on this new innovating idea of having one team. The kids made it special. They bonded and connected unlike any team I have seen. It was truly remarkable to see two genders in one sport support each other as much as our group did.”

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