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Colors of Kindergarten (Kindergarten Preview) 5 – 6 p.m., May 25, 2017


To welcome the students of our new kindergarten class and their families and help them prepare for kindergarten, each of our elementary schools is hosting  Colors of Kindergarten,  a kindergarten preview, Thursday, May 25.

Parents and guardians and students enrolled for kindergarten for the 2017-18 school year will meet their principal, the kindergarten team and school staff. Students will do an activity in a kindergarten classroom while parents and guardians attend a presentation to learn about schedules and routines, the education philosophy, and the school community.

Families who have registered students for kindergarten will receive an invitation to Colors of Kindergarten. Pre-registration is required to attend.  To register, Contact: District Registrar, Barbara Peterson


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Ames High School participates in World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute

2017Ames World Food PrizeAmes High School students were among  322 students from 132 Iowa high schools who came together at The World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute on April 24, to share their ideas and find solutions to solve the world’s most pressing challenges in food security. Students who participated came away with a deeper understanding of world hunger and the possible careers they might pursue to help alleviate it.

In preparation for the event, the participating high school student wrote a research paper on a key issue that impacts hunger in another country. At the Institute, students proposed their own solutions in small-group roundtable discussions facilitated by academic and industry experts, and  along with teachers, participated in hands-on immersion activities in research facilities and labs.  

From this experience, students will be selected to attend the Global Youth Institute held in Des Moines, in October 2017.

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Links to video presentations from pilot materials representatives

Thanks to everyone who came to view our video presentations from the representatives for each of our K-2 foundational skills materials pilot programs.

For those who couldn’t attend, we want to share the links to the Fountas & Pinnell Phonics Lessons presentation and the Reach into Phonics presentation. Unfortunately, due to corporate policy, we weren’t allowed to record the Fundations presentation. However, we have included a link to the Fundations website if you want to learn more about these materials.

Fountas & Pinnell Phonics Lessons presentation

Reach into Phonics presentation

Fundations website

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Opportunity to give feedback on Iowa’s Fine Arts Standards

Artwork by Josh McCunn

Iowa’s Fine Arts Standards Adoption Team, convened by the Iowa Department of Education earlier this year, has requested broad public feedback on the National Core Arts Standards, which were developed by the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards. 

Feedback gathered through spring public forums and an online survey will be used to provide guidance to the Fine Arts Standards Adoption Team, whose charge is to recommend fine arts standards to the State Board of Education.

Public forums have been scheduled statewide on April 25 and April 27, and an online feedback survey is open through May 12 .

If adopted, fine arts standards would be recommended, but not required for Iowa school districts.

The public forum for our area will be held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 25, at  Heartland Area Education Agency, 6500 Corporate Drive, Johnston.

Click to open a PDF with full details of public forum dates, times and locations.

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Brandon Schrauth announced as next Fellows principal

Pending Board approval, Schrauth will assume leadership July 1.

Superintendent Tim Taylor announced April 19 that he will be recommending to the Board of Education the appointment of Mr. Brandon Schrauth as the next principal of Fellows Elementary School.  

Brandon.Schrauth16 17“After a great deal of reflection and discussion with Mr. Schrauth, it was clear that he has the experience and skills to assume leadership at Fellows,” Taylor said.

Schrauth is currently serving as principal at Northwood Preschool Center, where he has collaborated with his staff to create a caring community that understands and embodies the attributes, behaviors, and supports necessary for all students to learn.

Alicia Ortner, Northwood’s Direct Instruction/Inclusion Teacher, said Schrauth’s leadership helped staff work together to “create a framework that is simple, clear and memorable.”  

Schrauth said he believes believes his experiences and skills can contribute to the elementary level as well as to the systemic goals for every stage of learning in the district.

“It’s my goal to build on the strengths of the Fellows staff and community to continue to prepare students for the lifetime of learning offered by the experience of Ames Schools,” he said.

Prior to coming to Northwood, Schrauth was an Instructional Coach at Horizon Elementary School in Johnston, Iowa. Before becoming an Instructional Coach he was an early childhood teacher (K-2) for 11 years.  After earning recognition as a National Board Certified Teacher , he obtained a M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction in 2009 and a M.S. in Educational Leadership in 2015, both from Iowa State University.  

Schrauth has been honored with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the Channel 13 “Golden Apple Award”, and the Channel 5 “My Favorite Teacher”.  In 2016, he received the Dan Woodin Excellence in Education Award, given to Ames district educators based on input from their colleagues.


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Ames High School graduation rates trending upward

State data on four-year graduation rates released by the Iowa Department of Education last week show continued improvement of graduation rates for the Ames Community School District. For the past four years, Ames High School graduation rates, especially rates for most student subgroups, have been trending upward and exceeding state graduation rates.

Overall, 93.2 percent of Ames High School seniors graduated in 2016—an all-time high in the past five years.

Associate Superintendent Mandy Ross said the steadily improving graduation rates in Ames are the result of systemic work to ensure that students meet milestones that are predictors of graduation, such as reading at grade level by third grade and attending school regularly beginning in preschool.

“Doing the work to ensure students graduate begins long before high school,” Ross said.

Besides supporting academic achievement, the District takes proactive measures using an Early Indicator System (EIS) to identify students in middle school and high school who are at risk for failing or dropping out based on attendance, academic performance, or office referrals. Implemented in 2013, the EIS is now used District-wide.

At the high school level, the EIS helps staff identify students who need support to meet graduation requirements. These students receive coordinated interventions that may include Additional Instruction, Alternative Learning Programs and Credit Recovery plans. Since the EIS was implemented, Ames High School graduation rates have improved and exceeded state graduation rates for all student subgroups except Asian students.

Highlights of the report:

  • The graduation rate for black students in Ames High School has improved from 53 percent in 2013, to 70 percent in 2015 and to 95.2 percent in 2016. The state’s 2016 graduation rate for black students is 79.7.
  • The graduation rate for students with individualized education plans (IEPs) has improved from 63.3 percent in 2013, to 75 percent in 2015 and 77.78 percent in 2016.
  • The graduation rate for students with low income backgrounds has been rising since 2012 when 73.6 percent of students graduated, to 85.4 percent graduating in 2016.
  • Hispanic students at Ames High School graduated at a rate of 95 percent in 2016, a rate higher than their white peers but down from 100 percent from 2015.
  • For the first time in five years, graduation rates for Asian students in 2016 dropped below state averages, to 87.5 percent.
  • While still above the state average of 92.93 percent, graduation rates for white students dipped slightly from 94.3 percent in 2015 to 93.15 percent in 2016, maintaining a narrow range between 92.98 and 94.3 percent for the past five years.

Fluctuations in the subgroup percentages often indicate a change in the number of students in the group in addition to overall performance.

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Ames High School Spring Play explores the complexities of love

The Theatre Department presents “Love/Sick, 7 p.m., April 28 and 29.

Sometimes we find who we are in a relationship; sometimes we lose who we are in a relationship. Sometimes we get what we want in a relationship, and sometimes the relationship is not our destiny. These are the themes the Ames High School Theatre Department will explore when it presents John Cariani’s “Love/Sick.” Following the popularity of “Almost Maine”, “Love/Sick” is nine vignettes that examine the lifecycle of love in various relationships. Beginning the evening is a one-act pre-show, “The Fifteen Minute Hamlet,” by Tom Stoppard.  Nine actors will recreate Shakespeare’s most infamous play in fifteen minutes.

Shows start at 7 p.m., April 28 and 29, in the Ames High School Auditorium.  Tickets are $4 for middle school aged children and younger and $5 for high school aged students and adults.

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District halts email phishing attempt

Recently an Ames Community School District email account was compromised and used to send out thousands of phishing-type emails that contained attachments that do not align with the District’s policies, vision and mission. District leaders are sincerely sorry that the message reached our staff and community members. The district took immediate action to stop the emails and secure the rogue account.

Phishing is the attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, credit card details, and social security numbers, often for malicious reasons, by posing as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. (This Wikipedia article explains more about phishing.)

District Technology Director Karl Hehr said phishing attempts use tactics that are becoming more and more realistic.

“It’s important to stay vigilant when reading and responding to emails, and to know how to spot a phishing attempt.” Hehr said.  

Signs of phishing:

  • Odd or incorrect “from” accounts. For example, the email may say it’s from John Smith, a known colleague at Ames Community School District, but clicking on the email address to expand it reveals it is not based on John’s District domain address.
  • Misleading or abnormal subject lines designed to get you to respond to the email. If the email concerns a subject and uses vocabulary and tone you wouldn’t expect from that sender, be wary of it.
  • Requests for usernames and passwords. No reputable company, the District included, would ask for login credentials via email or even provide a link to a site to enter them. NEVER provide user names, passwords or other sensitive information by email.
  • Misleading links embedded in the emails. 

What to do:

  • If the email looks suspicious, delete it. Don’t click on embedded images or links.
  • Contact the sender by PHONE, do NOT respond to the email. There are a number of times where the compromised account will be used to try and convince you that it is indeed real.
  • Enable 2-Factor Authentication on your chosen email platform
  • If the email looks suspicious, delete it. (This is worth saying twice.)
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Program representatives will give live video presentations of Literacy Pilot materials

Watch live video presentations 5:15 – 6:15 p.m, Monday, May 8

Representatives from Fountas & Pinnell, Fundations, and Reach into Phonics will provide live video presentations of the Literacy Pilot materials from 5:15 – 6:15 p.m, Monday, May 8. They will give a brief overview of each program and address questions. 

Submit question in advance

To allow the representatives to tailor their presentations to our needs, all questions must be submitted in advance through this survey:

Watch for the video link

We will provide the link to the live video presentation in advance. The video will be archived for future viewing.

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Public invited to review new science textbooks for Ames High School

The Ames Community School District invites the public to review new textbooks for Ames High School science courses. All of the textbooks available for review support the newly revised Ames High School Science curriculum and essential standards that align with the Iowa Science Standards.  

Textbooks available for review:

A Natural Approach to Chemistry–(2016, LAB-aids). This text will be used as a resource for the Science of Physical Systems, Foundations of Chemistry, and Advanced Chemistry courses.

Pearson Chemistry–(2017, Pearson). This text will be used as a resource for the Foundations of Chemistry and Advanced Chemistry courses.

Physics, by James S. Walker–(2014, Pearson). This text will be used as a resource for the Foundations of Physics course.

The Criteria for Reviewing Textbooks Form will be available along with the textbooks.

Times and locations for viewing textbooks:

  • 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, April 11-17, at Ames High School, 1921 Ames High Dr., in the Student Services Center,
  • 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, April 11-17, at the Ames Community Schools District Offices, 2005 24th Street.
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