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Seal of Biliteracy: A New Recognition to Celebrate Language Proficiency

Seal of Biliteracy

In October 2018, Iowa Department of Education announced that a state Seal of Biliteracy would be available for participating schools to recognize students who demonstrate proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation. Ames Community School District is pleased to announce that students will have an opportunity to earn this seal.

To receive a seal, students in participating schools must demonstrate proficiency in English and at least one other language through approved assessments. Students must be able to read, write, listen, speak in the language they are testing. Read more about the biliteracy guidance, including proficiency levels and accepted assessments here. At Ames High, assessments will be available in French, German, and Spanish. Additional languages are available to students off-site.

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Voice of the Ames High Little Cyclones: Carter White

Voice of Little Cylones

Meet Carter White, the voice of the Ames High Little Cyclones. New to this winter basketball season, home basketball games were streamed live on YouTube with exciting commentary from Carter.

Now a sophomore, his sports commentary aspirations date back to elementary school. As his younger siblings competed at athletic events, Carter would provide play-by-play commentary to himself as a way to stay entertained when he would attend their games. In 8th grade, he job shadowed radio stations in Des Moines and quickly made the decision that this type of career was one he wanted to pursue. “In 7th or 8th grade, I made the determination that I have a natural voice for and talent for this type of career,” said White. This was confirmed when he worked the drive thru at his part-time job at Wendy’s when customers would tell him he had a “good radio voice.”

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I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!

I Can Read With My Eyes Shut

Owais Samman, an 8th grader at Ames Middle School, may not be able to read with his eyes shut, but he sure can make Dr. Seuss’ classic children’s book fun to read. He debuted his rap of I Can Read with My Eyes Shut at the AMS Talent Show in December after entering the contest initially as a joke between his friends. After comtemplating other books such as Llama Llama Red Pajama, he settled this one and impressed the rest of the middle school student body.

You can watch Owais rap Dr. Seuss on our YouTube Channel.

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Yusef Salaam, One of the “Central Park Five,” Speaks to Ames CSD Staff

Yusef Salaam Central Park Five

On April 19, 1989, Yusef Salaam’s life, along with 4 others, changed forever. On that night, they became collectively known as “The Central Park Five,” when they were charged and convicted in New York City of a crime they did not commit. Yusef was 15 years old at the time.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of that event, and Dr. Yusef Salaam spent January 21, 2019, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, with Ames Community School District staff and students. Dr. Salaam shared his deeply personal story in an incredibly powerful and inspiration presentation. As he walked staff through his journey, he expressed the feelings and emotions that he felt 30 years ago. He was “railroaded into a criminal justice system of injustice,” based on the color of his skin, yet still finds ways to see his unnecessary time in prison as a blessing.

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Update on CTE Programming from Superintendent Risner

Ames High Course Offerings Update

Dear Ames,

I want to provide clarity on the decision to make programming changes at Ames High School next fall. Following an evaluation of our Career and Technical Education (CTE) programming, the addition of a financial literacy requirement, and an assessment of our immediate high school staffing needs, the decision was made to not offer Family and Consumer Science (FCS) classes next year.

Starting in the 2019-2020 school year, the state requires each school district provide 4 out of 6 complete service areas within CTE. Those service areas must offer 4 years of course study in an area to prepare students for post-secondary careers and/or education.

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Ames High to offer an Agricultural Pathway Next Year

Ames High Course Offerings Update

Starting next year, in the 2019-2020 academic school year, we are pleased to announce that Ames High will begin to offer agricultural classes as a part of a pathway that students can pursue. The Department of Education requires that all schools offer at least 4 of 6 service areas in secondary schools. At Ames High next year, those service areas will include:

  • Business, Finance, Marketing, and Management
  • Information Solutions
  • Applied Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Manufacturing
  • Agricultural, Food, and Natural Resources.

When the new Ames High building opens in 2022, we anticipate expanding into another service area: health science, when we begin to offer courses toward a CNA program.

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Kindergarten Registration 2019

Kindergarten Registration Graphic 2

KINDERGARTEN / EARLY KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION

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.
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Google Expedition VR

Google Expedition VR

The day when students can visit landmarks from across the world is here, thanks to virtual reality. The District started looking into Google Expedition VR kits as soon as Google released them a couple years ago. Last year, Technology Director Karl Hehr put together a small kit equipped with cardboard cutout headsets, as a “proof of concept” to gauge interest from teachers. Overwhelmingly, teachers were interested in the concept as it opened the world to their classrooms.

Last semester, the District purchased a set of 30 Google Expedition VR units for classroom use. Ames Middle School teacher Dianna Sheldon, along with Instructional Technology Coach Sarah Davison, were the first to test the units when they took students to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The field trip was a companion piece to the book they were reading in class.

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App Smash: Descriptive Papers w/ Green Screen Video

App Smash

Ames Middle School 6th grade literacy teacher Drew DeJong is using the idea of “app smashing” to increase student engagement. App smashing is the process of using multiple apps to create projects or complete tasks. It is a great way to provide students with creative and inspired ways to showcase their learning, and it allows teachers a great way to assess their understanding and skills.

A recent project in DeJong’s class had students write descriptive papers about their favorite place in the world. The quick 300-400 word piece was looking for sensory writing from the students. “I wanted them to really describe their favorite place,” said DeJong. “What does it look like? Smell like? My goal was that the students would show us where they were at.”

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Iowa Department of Education releases new school performance results

Iowa School Performance Profiles

On December 18, 2018, the Iowa Department of Education released new online reports showing how public schools performed in a new accountability system that meets the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a federal education law that replaced the No Child Left Behind Act.

The new reports, called the Iowa School Performance Profiles, include each school’s scores on a set of accountability measures. The reports display scores based on a school’s overall performance, as well as the performance of subgroups of students, such as children from low-income backgrounds. The scores reflect how public schools performed on a set of core accountability measures, such as results on the statewide assessment. The tool displays a school’s score based on overall performance, as well as scores based on the performance of subgroups of students. These subgroups include students who are eligible for free and reduced-price lunch, students receiving special education services, English learners, and students from racial/ethnic minority groups.

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