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#FOOD4FRIENDS AMS Food Pantry Drive

AMS Food Pantry Drive

The Ames Middle School Cyclone Leadership Council (CLC) organized a food drive where all of the donations went directly toward filling the middle school food pantry. Homeroom teachers collected food on two days, October 31 and November 7, and students were able to dress up during those days. Lisa Kirsch, a staff organizer of the event, said, “Our goal is to restock the AMS Food Pantry for students in need while allowing our students to contribute to this worthy cause and have fun dressing up with fellow students.”

The initial goal set by the CLC envisioned success if each homeroom could bring at least 10 items for the food pantry. At the end of the two day drive, 2,250 food items were collected among the homerooms in grades 6-8, far exceeding expectations. The initiative of students and generosity of the families at the middle school made storing the food the most challenging part of the drive.

Although coordinated by AMS student leaders, along with Lisa Kirsch and Sara Knutson who serve as CLC co-chairs, the drive was a schoolwide effort. Students brought this drive home, families supported it, and homeroom teachers coordinated with their students to collect the food items. The food goes home with students in need for their families each weekend, and this drive directly impacted middle school families.

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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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Middle School Principal Dan Fox

AMS Principal Dan Fox

On June 5, the School Board accepted the appointment of Dan Fox as the new Principal of the Ames Middle School. His career began in the Saydel School District where he taught 6th and 8th grade mathematics, but he has ties to the Ames community, having earned both his undergraduate degree in elementary education, and his Masters degree in Educational Administration from Iowa State University.

His first administrative position was in Burnside, Iowa, at the middle school in the Southeast Valley School District, just south of Fort Dodge. “Middle school is a passion of mine. They are not elementary students any more, but they are not ready to be treated like high school students either. They still need guidance and help figuring out situations, and I love that about them.”

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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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Ames Middle School team takes first place at State Science Olympiad

SciencolympiadlogoThe Ames Middle School team finished in first place in the Iowa State Science Olympiad competition  held March 25 at Coe College in Cedar Rapids.

First place medals:

  • James Lin and David Jiang for Invasive Species
  • Steven Tian and Henry Tang for Towers
  • Eddie Wei, Henry Tang and Jerry Han for Experimental Design
  • Emily Poag and Steven Tian for Meteorology
  • Quinn Harbison and Jixiang Li for Bottle Rocket
  • Quinn Harbison and Sivani Manimaran for Microbe Mission
  • Sophia Cordoba and Henry Tang for Ecology
  • David Jiang and Quinn Harbison for Disease Detective
  • Eddie Wei and Rishabh Swamy for Road Scholar
  • Seth Durbin and Emily Poag for Wright Stuff
  • James Lin and Jerry Han for Optics
  • Ziad Ibrahim and Sivani Manimaran for Fast Facts
  • Seth Durbin and Jerry Han for Rocks and Minerals

Second place medals:

  • Emily Poag and Anyang Yu for  Crimebusters
  • Emily Poag and Anyang Yu for Write It/Do It
  • Steven Tian and Ziad Ibrahim for Scrambler
  • Sophia Cordoba and Jixiang Li for Dynamic Planet
  • Eddie Wei and Jixiang Li for Wind Power
  • Anyang Yu and Rishabh Swamy for Mission Possible

Third place medals:

David Jiang and Quinn Harbison for Anatomy

The team is coached by Peg Barbour, Mary Glenn and Kerri Marsh.

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Feb. 20- 24 is Spirit Week at Ames Middle School

Screen Shot 2017 02 20 at 2.14.24 PMHere’s how Ames Middle School is celebrating school spirit this week!

Every day of the week is a dress up day to help kick off a pep assembly on Friday, Feb. 24, sponsored by Cyclone Leadership Council!

  • Monday, Feb. 20, Lazy Day sweats and/ /or PJs
  • Tuesday, Feb. 21, Twin or Triplett Tuesday
  • Wednesday, Feb. 22, Wild Wednesday animal theme
  • Thursday, Feb. 23, Team Thursday
  • Friday Feb. 24, Spirt Day, Orange and Black AMS Pride!
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Ames Middle School team earns first place at Science Olympiad regionals


The Ames Middle School Science Olympiad team finished first place in the invitational tournament against 34 other middle school teams from Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa on Feb. 4. The team will compete in the State Science Olympiad competition March 25 at Coe College in Cedar Rapids.

First place medals:

  • Seth Durbin and Emily Poag for Wright Stuff
  • Anyang Yu and Emily Poag for Crimebusters
  • Henry Tang, Eddie Wei , and Jerry Han for Experimental Design
  • Sophia Cordoba and Sivani Manimaran for Fast Facts
  • Seth Durbin and Michael Huang for Hovercraft

Third place medals:

  • Taylor Xu and Eddie Wei for Invasive Species
  • Seth Durbin and Jerry Han for Rocks and Minerals
  • Steven Tian and henry Tang for Towers

Fourth place ribbons:

  • Emily Poag and Steven Tian for Meteorology
  • Sivani Manimaran and Quinn Harbison for Microbe Mission

Fifth place ribbons:

  • David Jiang and Quinn Harbison for Disease Detectives
  • Sophia Cordoba and Jixiang Li for Dynamic Planet
  • John Zheng and Taylor Xu for Reach for the Stars

Sixth place ribbons:

  • Sophia Cordoba and Henry Tang for Ecology
  • James Lin and Jerry Han for Optics
  • Eddie Wei and Rishbh Swamy for Road Scholar
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Important news about Boys Basketball and Spirit Squad Practice

Eighth Grade Boys Basketball will practice on Friday, December 16, Monday December 19th, and Tuesday, December 20 before winter break. Practices will resume on Wednesday, January 4th after break. Practices will be held after school until approximately 5:15.

Seventh Grade Boys Basketball will practice beginning on Monday, January 9 at 6:30 a.m. Practices will be before school. The gym doors will open at 6:15 a.m.

Spirit Squad  will begin practice on Tuesday, January 17 after school in the Wrestling Room.

For more information please visit the Ames Community School district middle school athletics page or the AMS Athletics FAQ page.


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Student leads effort to collect coins for Blank Children’s Hospital

girl holding coin collectionRaising $10,000 for Blank Children’s Hospital on her own got 11-year-old Grace McCunn thinking about what the experience taught her.

“I learned a dollar helps more than you think, and every little bit really does help,” she said. McCunn said she also learned that most people want to help if they know an actual need exists.

Now the sixth grade student at Ames Middle School hopes to get her peers involved so they can learn, too.

McCunn said when she was a patient at Blank Children’s Hospital, she discovered the need for books, games and toys for children her age.

“The variety of things available was limited, and they were more for much younger children,” she said.

Over the past couple of years, Grace has sold hot chocolate in winter and lemonade in summer, catching the attention of adults who sponsored her efforts with sizable sums to donate to the cause.

Although McCunn was told that a $10,000 donation is enough to get her name on a plaque at the hospital, she hopes to raise at least $2,000 more.

“I want so see how much students can raise just by collecting coins in homeroom,” she said.

Students at Ames Middle School are collecting coins in homeroom December 5 through 16.

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Fabric needed for student-led Fundraiser

Ames Middle School is proud to announce its first Fabric Fundraising Drive for Ryan’s Case for Smiles. Ryan’s Case for Smiles is an organization that helps children with cancer or other life-threatening diseases by brightening their spirits with a fun and colorful pillowcase. With the fabric, we will design and construct pillowcases for children and teens going through these life-changing events.

Fabric you have around your house, extra fabric or thread you won’t use, or fabric you want to purchase and donate will work. The main requirements for fabric donations are as follows:

  • Fabric must be 100% cotton.
  • No fabric with glitter, please.
  • Use colorful “kid-friendly” or teen prints.
  • Solid-color 100% cotton fabric is also welcome.

Bring your fabric to the Student Services office at Ames Middle School between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. during the school weeks of September 26-30 or October 3-7. With this fabric, we will put together a team of students and community volunteers to construct the pillowcases for Ryan’s Case for Smiles.

Ames Middle School hopes that you will help us out with this worthwhile project. If you have questions or you would like more information on our workshop date, please email: eighth grade student Erin Murphy, or Family & Consumer Sciences Instructor Shari Hernandez,



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