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Ames High Career Fair 2018

AHS Career Fair

On Wednesday, October 10, the entire student body at Ames High participated in a full day career fair. This year’s event came on the heels of one held last academic school year in February 2018. Prior to that, it had been nearly 15 years since Ames High hosted a career fair.

This year’s event expanded on the efforts from last year, which only served the freshman class. The organizational team led by Ames High Business Teacher Vicki Hales, quickly realized that all students at Ames High would benefit from career exposure. “There are more and more students leaving Ames High without having a clear idea of what they want to do. Getting them more exposure to potential career opportunities that they can further explore is valuable as we better prepare them for what lies ahead.” Recent Iowa legislation also emphasizes the importance of providing all students with ongoing and meaningful experiences to explore career options and help them navigate these choices for their future.

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Running with Nigel

Running with Nigel

Jackie Baird runs with Nigel Flagge, a 7th grader at Ames Middle School, every day during the cross country season. She is an Educational Associate in her 3rd year in the District, and has worked with Nigel for the past two years during literacy class. Nigel’s father, Paul Flagge, describes his son as “gentle, loving, and sometimes very playful,” but also admits he is a little biased. “He fights very hard to learn and understand despite having a disability that affects his learning and understanding.”

Knowing how much Nigel loves to run, his teachers approached Carmen Flagge, his mother, with the idea of joining the cross country team. Jackie volunteered to be the person who runs with Nigel. “I am actually not an active runner. I tend to dislike running for the purpose of running,” said Jackie. “However, running with Nigel gives me a purpose.”

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Affirmation Stones at Meeker Elementary

Meeker Affirmation Stones

Students and families at Meeker Elementary recently had an opportunity to write empowering words on pre-painted rocks during their open house event. In total, about 150 affirmation stones were created that students could either take home as a personal reminder, or hide them around Ames.

“I was looking to increase interaction with students and their families during Open House — meet more parents, introduce myself and put faces to names, initiate positive relationships,” said Meeker Elementary School Counselor Kari Deal. Anyone who found a stone around Ames was encouraged to post a photo to Meeker’s Facebook page. Deal felt like this activity would also encourage interaction on our social media space.

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Amazing Grace Lemonade Race

Amazing Grace Lemonade Race Graphic

This story was originally published in Volume 4 of Amazing Magazine that you can download here.

When Grace McCunn was 10 years old, she passed out at school for the first time, seemingly for no reason. It’s a phone call that no parent ever wants to receive. Her mother, Mary Jane, raced to the school where she found Grace conscious and alert, and brought her to McFarland Clinic for evaluations. She said, “That night, they admitted her because they didn’t know what was happening. She was having chest pains at the time, so they kept her over night, but they just couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her.”

The McCunn’s, who have some experience spending time in a hospital with their older daughter Sarah, reached out to Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines and the neurologist who treated her with migraines. Grace got admitted and the doctors at Blank immediately diagnosed her with Chronic Daily Migraines, the same as her sister. What they determined that worked for Sarah, did not for Grace. Mary Jane said, “With Grace, they gave her this new medicine and within 30 minutes she felt great. What it did was put Grace to sleep immediately. When she woke up, she was a new person.”

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Paul Gorski Talks Equity with Teachers

Paul Gorski Talks Equity with Teachers

On August 20, the Ames CSD held its annual “Kick-Off Breakfast” for all teachers and staff at Ames Middle School, with Paul Gorski serving as the keynote speaker. Gorski is the founder of Equity Literacy Institute and EdChange. He has 20 years of experience helping educators strengthen their equity efforts in classrooms, schools, and districts. He has published more than 70 articles and has written, co-written, or co-edited twelve books on various aspects of educational equity including Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap and Case Studies on Diversity and Social Justice Education.

Gorski was selected to keynote as a way to further deepen the District’s equity work that started last year with Dr. Katy Swalwell from Iowa State University, and Dr. Daniel Spikes. Their professional development with teachers will continue this year in the area of cultural competency. Talking about equity, or lack thereof, is a difficult topic for many people. “Equity is the process of wrestling with cognitive dissonance,” he said during his keynote, meaning that each individual must challenge what they hold as facts. According to Gorski, only then can we address equity.

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Little Cyclone Teacher Academy 2018

Little Cyclone Teacher Academy

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.

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Summit on School Climate and Culture

Summit on School Climate and Culture

On August 13 -14, over 50 Ames CSD staff attended the 3rd Annual Summit on School Climate and Culture. The event is put on by Des Moines Public Schools and “is designed help educators improve school climate and culture through professional development, skill building and application of best practices and research.” The event allows educators to “engage with leading experts in education and school improvement on how a positive school climate and culture is key to student, school and district improvements.”

Director of Student Services Dr. Anthony Jones, said, “The Summit is important for us because I believe the topics (Climate, Culture, Inclusion, and Equity) discussed there address a missing piece of professional learning for our district’s success.”

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AHS Girls Swimming & Diving Team awarded National Champion status

Swimming National Champions

On August 18, the Ames High 2017-2018 Girls Swimming & Diving team was awarded National Championship status by the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (NISCA).

Coached by Dan Flannery, the Little Cyclone swimmers and divers out paced every other public school in America ranked on class size (enrollment 900-1,400 students) by over 250 points. That is an unprecedented margin and marks the 3rd consecutive year that the Ames High girls team has won this prestigious national title. Ames High girls swim teams have won 7 of the last 8 state team titles, including last year’s competition.

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Social Media Accounts

Social Media

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. 

District:

Website – http://www.ames.k12.ia.us

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AmesCommunitySchoolDistrict/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ACSD_News

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/OfficialACSD

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/acsdnews/

Amazing Magazine – http://www.ames.k12.ia.us/district/departments/school-community-media-relations/amazing-magazine/

 

School Pages:

Edwardshttps://www.facebook.com/EdwardsElem/

Fellowshttps://www.facebook.com/FellowsElementary/

Meekerhttps://www.facebook.com/MeekerElem/

Mitchellhttps://www.facebook.com/MitchellElementary/

Sawyerhttps://www.facebook.com/SawyerElem/

Northwood

 

Middle School :

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Welcome Back Message from Superintendent Risner

Welcome Back Graphic

My transition to the Ames Community School District has been a wonderful experience and living in the Ames community has given me an opportunity to explore all the incredible things this community has to offer. Since my move late June, my calendar has been full of meetings with individual staff and board members, parents, community groups, and community and state leaders in an effort to better understand where we should focus our efforts. These meetings have opened my eyes to the pride that exists within; from the facility upgrades, student activities, staff development opportunities, to the passion and commitment from outstanding educators that serve our community. There is a deep desire from our staff and community to provide unique opportunities for our students.

Shortly after my arrival, I was able to spend some focused time with our administrative team discussing our “why” both individually as well as our district as a whole. One thing that became clear to me was their passion for students while encouraging and supporting every student’s journey. We also discussed areas that need attention in their buildings and at the district level. I can assure you, we all feel a sense of urgency and are committed to building a collaborative environment.

As we begin the year, there is work to be done and with that work will come change. Change takes courage and honesty. I can promise you that I will provide both. On this journey, I will need your support and willingness to embrace a new leadership style. I will be honest and transparent and you will begin to hear us grapple with some difficult topics at the board, district, and building levels. I will work to communicate and be transparent with our work, and together we will address the areas that need to be addressed. It is an exciting time for Ames Community School District and I am honored to be serving as your leader and thankful to call this my home.

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