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Edwards Elementary News

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 (, 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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Old Edwards Cornerstone

The original Edwards Elementary was built in 1951 and the Board of Education honored the work of David Edwards by naming the “new Fourth Ward school” after him. Edwards was the owner and operator of the Edwards Coal company in Ames and was an influential member of the school board for 18 straight years. During that time, he saw a number of building projects completed, including the construction of Louise Crawford School, the reconstruction of what was the Central Junior High, as well as the Senior High School. He passed away on January 25, 1948.

In 2012, when the Ames community approved a bond measure to rebuild or renovate all of the elementary school buildings, the fate of the old Edwards building was sealed. Unlike other school properties such as Meeker Elementary where a new structure could be built on the same site, there simply was no room on the Edwards property. The Ames Community School District took the opportunity to build a new elementary school in a growing part of town.

History has interesting ways of making itself present. After Edwards Elementary was built in 1951, Meeker Elementary was finished the next year in 1952. Both buildings were done by the same architect and have a similar floorplan. Six decades later, both buildings are new again and followed a similar pattern. The new Edwards Elementary was completed in 2014 with the new Meeker Elementary finished in 2015. They were done by the same architecture firm, and also have a similar floorplan.

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Little Cyclone Teacher Academy

Little Cyclone Teacher Academy for Blog

During the week of August 7-11, teachers from every building, 135 in total and nearly 40% of our teaching staff, voluntarily participated in the Little Cyclone Teacher Academy at the Ames High School. The week long Academy offered a variety of courses to teachers, allowing them to select from professional development opportunities that they would want to focus on. Examples of the courses included Differentiation for all Learners, Calibrating Conversations, Incorporating Technology into a Gradual Release of Responsibility, Advocacy: a Counter Narrative, Twice Exceptional Learners, and many more.

The courses were primarily led by Teacher Leaders in the District, a few administrators, along with Area Education Agency (AEA) staff. It was a great way for teachers to get back into the swing of things, collaborate with colleagues, and brainstorm about the upcoming school year. On Thursday of that week, the entire group participated in a PLC Workshop led by Jack Balderman from Solution Tree. He provided practical ways to effectively implement the professional learning community (PLC) process in their buildings, with a focus on developing strategies to make it as authentic and useful as possible.

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Public Tours of AHS Scheduled

Public Tours of AHS Schedule 

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Good Afternoon, 
On behalf of the Ames School Board, I invite parents and community members to join us for informational meetings about the construction or renovation of Ames High School as well as tours of the Ames High campus. We are providing three different opportunities to accommodate everyone’s schedules: June 28, July 12, and July 19. Each meeting starts at 6:30 PM at the Ames High Cafeteria. 
On June 5, 2017, the Ames Board of Education recommended pursuing a referendum in April 2018 that would lead to the construction of a new high school building on the current AHS site. The Board’s recommendation was based on data review and results of a Phase I architectural study by Haila Architects of Ames. 
The District’s next task is to inform and stimulate community discussion and awareness and assess the community’s level of support for the Board’s recommendation. These meetings are intended to do just that and help answer questions from the public. 
While each meeting is designed to provide the same information, please feel welcome to join one or all of these meetings. I hope you can join us. 

Tim E. Taylor, Superintendent

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Fourth, Fifth Grade Scholars to shine in Quiz Bowl


Fourth and fifth grade students from the Ames Community School District will showcase their knowledge at the Sixth Annual Elementary Quiz Bowl Final Competition, Thursday, April 6.

The Quiz Bowl Final is the culmination of months of planning and collaboration. Ames High School students Nicole Kreider and Lydia Spurgeon, as part of their participation in the Ames Community School District’s Extended Learning Program, worked with Extended Learning Program teachers Vicki Taylor, Mark Royer, Ariane Schmidt, Julie Skaar, and Nicole Kuhns, and other high school volunteers to write questions, organize meeting dates, and administer Quiz Bowl competitions at all five Ames elementary schools.

Meeting monthly before school, district-wide teams participated in elimination rounds at each school.  Based on those standings, each building’s top-scoring team earned a slot in the final competition. The next three highest-scoring teams were selected at large to complete the field of finalists.

ELP Director Nicole Kuhns said the competition continues to gain popularity and participants each year.

“The Quiz Bowl gets students excited about learning and gives them a chance to have some fun showcasing their knowledge,” she said.

Ames High School is hosting the Quiz Bowl Final Competition. Doors open at 5 p.m. Registration begins at 5:15 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room. Following a brief orientation at 5:15 p.m., the competition rounds will begin, with awards at 7:30 p.m.  This event is open to the public.

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Fifth graders will display inventiveness at annual Invention Convention

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This photo of a boy showing his science project is from the 2015 Invention Convention.

Fifth grade inventors in the Ames Community School District will demonstrate skills in  problem solving, engineering, creative thinking, experimentation, and working with data to invent a new product or process, at the annual Invention Convention on January 30.

Extended Learning Program teachers Mark Royer, Ariane Schmidt, and Vicki Taylor are planning the event, which is open to all district fifth graders.    

“Inventors will be judged on inventiveness, a display board, a model or prototype, a log, and an oral presentation,” Taylor said.

The young inventors, which include 57 students from fifth-grade classes across the District, will showcase 29 inventions.


  • Events will be on display for the public and judges from 4-4:45 p.m., Monday, Jan. 30, at Fellows Elementary School, 1235 20th St..
  • Around 4:50 p.m., inventors and visitors will move to the Gymnasium for a chemistry presentation by Iowa State University professor of Materials Science and Engineering Lawrence Genalo, while the judges deliberate in the display area.
  • Judges will present awards after the chemistry presentation.
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Edwards Maker Faire sparks students’ creative solutions

Edwards Elementary students have embraced the Making process to create solutions to challenges and craft new games and 3D objects using a wide array of materials. Technology Teacher / Librarian Teresa Green led students in each grade to provide challenges for their projects and help them research ideas for their solution before designing and building. On Tuesday, March 29, students shared their creations with parents, friends, and their peers at the school’s second annual Maker Faire.

Green said first grade students were challenged to create a marble run from recycled materials. Second graders opted to design and build a cardboard arcade based upon the video “Cain’s Arcade”.

“Third grade students learned about Simple Machines and were challenged to create a chain reaction or a marble run in which a marble drops into a cup after using at least two simple machines in the process,” Green said.

Third grader Charles Hargrove said about his chain reaction machine, “It was hard to figure out how to make it work, but when we did, it was really fun.”


Edwards fourth grader Adrian Cardenas demonstrates a Makey Makey Game Controller he made with classmate Spencer Hostetter.

Fourth graders learned to create circuits using LittleBits, Makey Makeys, or Snap Circuits.

“Given an open range of choices, most fifth grade students worked with Tinkercad to create or tinker with 3D objects that would be used in their projects,” Green said. Others worked with engineering and design challenges with cardboard construction.

“And others worked with animation and movie production as they created game ideas, human interest stories, and public service announcements,” she said.

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