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Meeker Elementary News

Meeker Little Cyclone Captains

Meeker Captains

Students at Meeker Elementary are using some of their free time to make an impact on the culture of their school through the building’s new Little Cyclone Captains initiative. The student leadership program provides students with opportunities throughout the day to have a positive platform to lead and be a captain for kindness.

Each day, captains serve as greeters (who are called “morning sprinkles”) at the front door to provide a welcoming smile as students enter. Captains also take time during their day to write kind notes to other students. They often come in during their recess time, pick from a pile of student names from across all grade levels, and write notes of encouragement or inspiration. These notes are then placed in the student’s cubbies by School and Family Counselor Kari Deal to serve as a pleasant surprise. She has noticed that many notes remain in their cubbies for weeks at a time.

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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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Meeker Elementary Buddy Bench

Last year, a group of 5th graders at Meeker Elementary worked with the middle school builders club on a project to make their building better. They saw the need for a Buddy Bench on the playground “as a place for kids to go to indicate that they would like someone to play with at recess,” according to Meeker Elementary School Counselor Kari Deal.

On Friday, August 25, the new Buddy Bench was unveiled at a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Meeker PTO. If you’re not familiar with the concept of a Buddy Bench, it is a place for a child to sit if they’re feeling lonely while indicating interest in joining an individual or group during recess. The bench also provides a visual cue for children playing that another child desires to be included.

The Buddy Bench is a great addition to the playground, but also a wonderful way to continue the Meeker C.A.R.E.S. initiative, which is an acronym for Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, and Self-Control. Melissa Stone, a School Counselor at Meeker, said “we’re definitely trying to instill compassion, but also assertion. It’s hard to go sit down and let people know that I want someone to play with.” Kari Deal said “It’s really cool to hear them use the term as they are talking to other kids and adults, and they realize when they are making a positive choice, which ties in really well with the Buddy Bench.”

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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. 
  
Sincerely, 

Tim E. Taylor, Superintendent

 
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Fourth, Fifth Grade Scholars to shine in Quiz Bowl

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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.

Schedule:

  • 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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Meeker C.A.R.E.S. ties social-emotional skills to learning

“We believe that children learn academics most easily when they have strong social skills that let them take a positive role in classroom life.” From Meeker Elementary School letter to parents.

This acronym Meeker C.A.R.E.S is prominent on signs and posters all around Meeker Elementary School. It’s designed to reinforce social skills the school is fostering so students learn to build them into every aspect of their school day—from academics, recess and lunch, to entering and leaving the building and classrooms. It stands for:

Cooperation: working smoothly with others

Assertion: standing up for yourself and asking for help when you need it

Responsibility: being dependable and doing the things you need to do

Empathy: caring about how your words and actions affect other people

Self-control: thinking before acting

School and Family Counselor Kari Deal said Meeker C.A.R.E.S. blends Responsive Classroom and the school’s approach to Multi-tiered Systems of Support.

“Both practices speak to the importance of fostering social and emotional skills in individuals, thus aiding in the development of a safe classroom community,” Deal said.

Classroom teacher Ondrea Dellman said Meeker C.A.R.E.S has given the community of students, families and staff a common language for behavior standards.

“As a result, students have consistent guidelines about appropriate choices in their classroom, fine arts, and common areas—setting a foundation for their future in the world,” she said.

“Powerful opportunities occur when social and emotional learning is brought to the forefront,” Deal and Dellman said.

Meeker secretary Jessi Neilson said the behavior standards are already setting a positive tone for the new school year.

“It’s making e a big difference in our school community to have these expectations ingrained in a positive way.”

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Fellows and Meeker students take first and second place at Quiz Bowl

AMES–District fourth-and fifth-grade students showcased their knowledge at the Fourth Annual Elementary Quiz Bowl Final Competition, Thursday, April 7. Fellows and Meeker teams took first and second place.

The Quiz Bowl final is the culmination of months of planning and collaboration. Ames High School students Kaleb Stevens and Jay Amin, as part of their participation in the Ames Community School District’s Extended Learning Program, worked with Extended Learning Program teachers Vicki Taylor, Nicole Kuhns, Mark Royer, and Ariane Schmidt, 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.

Fellows Team – Winners:

  • Leo White
  • Aneesh Shrotriya
  • Noam Ben-Shlomo
  • Isabella Corierri
  • Alina Markutsya
  • Jacques Attinger

Meeker Team – Runners Up:

  • Maddy Cook
  • Michael Huang
  • David Lee
  • Dishant Sharma
  • Avery Opperman
  • Haley Prakashan
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Meeker School hosts 500 Project public art show

Meeker art teacher Susan Norris challenged students to create representations of the number 500. The idea for the project originated from both the “growth mindset,” which encourages students to develop ideas that could keep them moving forward and lead into other ideas, and the sheer number of students in the school. – Norris received a Finn-Milliman grant in February to purchase a digital video camera to record students working on projects.

The public is invited, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, April 22 at Meeker Elementary School, 300 20th St.

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