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Edwards Elementary News

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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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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Jenny Risner named the Next Superintendent of Ames Community Schools

New Superintendent (Jenny)

 

The Ames Community School Board is excited to announce Jenny Risner as the next Superintendent of the Ames Community School District. Jenny stood out of an applicant pool of 69 individuals from across the country after participating in two rounds of interviews with the school board and a variety of representative groups that included teachers, community leaders, former board members, parents, and District staff.

Ms. Risner currently serves as the Superintendent of Ocean Beach School District in Long Beach, Washington where she has been the superintendent for the past four years. Ms. Risner has been an educator for over 20 years and has served as a director of student services, director of special education, secondary principal, assistant principal, instructional coach, and elementary and middle school teacher. She received her superintendent credentials in 2013 from Washington State University, where she also received her MA in Education Administration in 2001.

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Ames Community Gives Free Bike Helmets to Every Third Grader

Bike Helmets Graphic

For the third year, members of the Healthiest Ames Board of Directors, in collaboration with other community partners, spent a morning at each Ames elementary school bringing a message of bike safety to third graders and providing bike helmets. The program ran from Monday, April 2 through Friday, April 6, and included visits to Meeker, Edwards, Sawyer, Mitchell and Fellows Elementary Schools. 

The project is a partnership between the Ames Police Department, Skunk River Cycles, Ames Bicycle Coalition, and Healthiest Ames. It is funded by the Mary Greeley Medical Foundation. Each program began at each school with a bike safety message from School Resource Office Nick Schieffer, followed by a bicycle helmet fitting for each third grader. Healthiest Ames volunteers checked each student’s helmet to ensure proper fit and optimal protection. 

In total, 450 helmets were purchased thanks to the $3,600 Mary Greeley grant and $800 contributed by the Healthiest Ames. 

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Kristi Mixdorf named as new Edwards Elementary Principal

 

The Ames Community School District is pleased to announce Kristi Mixdorf as the new principal of Edwards Elementary. She will replace Dave Peterson who announced his retirement earlier this year. Ms. Mixdorf will officially start her new position on July 1, 2018.

Mixdorf has 18 years of experience in education as both a leader and teacher. She is currently serving as Director of Teaching and Learning for the North Polk Community School District, and her previous experience included being an Instructional Coach in Ankeny, and a classroom teacher in both the Ankeny and Des Moines School Districts. She obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Northern Iowa, and her Masters in Education degree from Viterbo University, where she also served as an adjunct professor for five years. Mixdorf is a highly engaged professional who has participated in a variety of professional development opportunities including presentations at local and national conferences.

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I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award

Teresa Green STEM Award

Teresa Green, K-5 Technology Teacher at Edwards Elementary, was recently selected as the North Central Iowa Region’s recipient of the 2018 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award. The award is established through the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council and sponsored by Kemin Industries. It recognizes “exceptional dedication toward increasing student interest and achievement in STEM fields and careers in innovation.”

Green is a 30 year veteran teacher (25 in the Ames CSD) who started as an elementary music teacher. She got her Masters of Curriculum and Instructional Technology degree from Iowa State University, and today is a the K-5 Technology Teacher at Edwards Elementary.

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Little Inventors at Edwards Elementary

Little Inventors Graphics

If you have not heard of “The Real Video Game,” a “Work-o-Tron,” the “Desk Fluffinator,” or an “Allergy Protector,” you will someday. These are some of the many inventions that third graders at Edwards Elementary have come up with as a part of a Little Inventors project.

It is another collaboration between 3rd grade Edwards teachers, and Sara Nelson, an Iowa State University College of Education professor. Nelson has collaborated with Edwards Elementary teachers a lot in the past, most recently with 3rd grade teacher Patti Allen, whose relationship goes back nearly a decade.

The catalyst for the idea came when Patti and Sara were looking for STEM education ideas, and they encountered an article about Little Inventors (www.littleinventors.org), a group based out of the United Kingdom that showcases student ideas. Sara contacted the group via Skype and they have been in contact ever since.

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Edwards Elementary Maker Theater

On October 13, third graders at Edwards Elementary staged a theater production in front of packed classrooms full of family members and fellow students. The “maker theater” was a collaboration between Edwards teachers and Iowa State University students in the School of Education.

Professors Sara Nelson and Christa Jackson worked with students and staff to combine lessons in literacy and geometry to help develop sets and scripts within the third grade classrooms. The scripts were based on seven children’s books and performed in the form of a reader’s theater. This style gives students an opportunity to focus on fluency and to express themselves while reading. This year’s maker theater was a pilot project with both teachers and ISU professors looking to expand the concept in future versions.

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