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Mitchell Elementary News

Read-a-Thon Celebration

In January, elementary schools across the District organized read-a-thon events in collaboration with their PTOs. “The goal is to get students to develop a passion for reading by specifically targeting time for reading outside of the classroom,” said Sue Lawler, principal at Sawyer Elementary.

A kick-off evening event often started the two- week book push in most schools. Sawyer Elementary invited parents to attend a family reading night themed “reading under the big top,” while Mitchell Elementary hosted a “book tasting” evening with parents. Once it began, families kept track of minutes read outside of the classroom and students received an incentive every time they read for those minutes.

The momentum continued throughout the read-a-thon to encourage students to read. Students at Mitchell Elementary made a fun video titled “Wild About Reading” to promote reading where students wore masks they made in class. The culimating read-a-thon event celebrated student reading. Students were cheered and given high fives as they filed into their gymnasiums for an assembly. At Sawyer Elementary, the guests of honor were Smyles from the Ames Public Library, and Cy from Iowa State University.

“We had an overwhelming majority of our students participate this year, and our total minutes continues to grow each year. Next year we want to look for more opportunities to get the kids excited about reading!” said Lawler.

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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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Mitchell students enjoy “walking school bus”

Mitchell Elementary School students walked to school with seniors in the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program at Iowa State University for two weeks in April. The ROTC Corps initiated the walking school bus program to encourage the students to walk together and exercise.

“We have a couple different routes laid out, and we walk any kids that want to come out to school,” said ROTC senior Dani Hadaway. “It’s to start a mentor program for them and get them outside and actually walking.”

On the final day of the program, the ROTC Corps led students in outdoor activities.


Read more in the Ames Tribune: 

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Super Summer registration opens March 28

Registration for the Ames Community School District’s Super Summer enrichment program opens Monday, March 28. Coordinator Charlyn Mason said the classes offered this year will give students a variety of opportunities beyond the school curriculum.

“The depth and variety of classes this program offers for students reflects the high caliber of instructors from the community who share their expertise in their chosen field,” Mason said.

The 2016 program will be held June 6-17 at Ames Middle School.

Super Summer offers two sessions each day, Monday through Friday:

  • Period I from 8:30 to 10 a.m.
  • Period II from 10:15 to 11:45 a.m.

A snack is available from 10 to 10:15 a.m. for students enrolled in either session.

Students entering first through eighth grade may attend Super Summer. Tuition is $80 for one class and $160 for two classes. A 50% tuition reduction is available for students who have applied for and been approved for the Ames Community School District Fee Waiver.

A link for choosing classes online will be posted on the Super Summer webpage Monday, March 28, along with links to a printable class choice form and the registration form.

Since classes fill up quickly, Super Summer Secretary Catherine Monroe recommends parents and guardians choose their classes online to improve their chances of getting into the classes they want.

How to register:

  • Select classes online or print and complete the class selection form
  • Print and complete the PDF registration form
  • Mail the completed form(s) with a check to
    Ames High School
    Attention: Catherine Monroe
    1921 Ames High Dr.
    Ames, IA 50010
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Elementary and Middle School students advance to You Be the Chemist State Challenge

Fifth and sixth grade students in the Ames Community School District competed in the You Be The Chemist Local Challenge at Meeker Elementary School, Saturday, February 13. The 30 students who participated qualified for the competition by taking a test in January. The Local Challenge put the students through a series of elimination rounds that tested them on high school level chemistry vocabulary and concepts.

Ten students advanced to the You Be The Chemist State Challenge, scheduled Saturday, April 16 at Iowa State University’s Hach Hall:

Adrian Guan and Sebastian Molina, from Edwards; Kieran Trotter, from Fellows; Josefina MacIntosh, from Mitchell; Lauren Powers, from Sawyer; and Sophia Cordoba, Jacob Stevens, Suya Que, Colin McLeod, and Rishabh Swamy, from Ames Middle School.

The winner of the State Challenge will advance to the National Challenge in Philadelphia, June 20.

The You Be The Chemist Challenges are sponsored by the Chemical Education Foundation, a national organization dedicated to advancing science education.

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Fifth grade students tout benefits of Invention Convention

AMES–Fifth grade inventors in the Ames Community School District, like Payton Stewart, Grace Schmitt and Kayley Birkland, are honing life skills that will last well beyond the Invention Convention on January 25.

Payton said the inspiration for her invention, for example, came from wanting to solve the problem of her family’s increasing water bill.

“We were using too much water brushing teeth and would leave water going,” she said. “It’s been fun taking our own journey through all this cool inventing process to solve problems.”

Grace said she learned not to give up even when it was hard to get her project-mates together and to manage her time to  complete her invention.

“At school, we are learning what it means to persist when things are hard,” she said. “Persistence was helpful. We didn’t get together for a long time and I thought maybe we’d have to give up.  My plate was too full, but then we got together and we made a plan and got straight to work and we accomplished a lot.”

Kayley said she learned the value of taking the risk to try ideas that might fail.

“We weren’t sure if we should use plastic, cardboard or metal (for our materials). We knew whichever we chose, there was risk involved. If we chose metal, we didn’t know if we had time to send it to my grandpa to weld it,” she said.  “So I talked to my dad, and he helped us make a plan, so then I had confidence that it would turn out great.”

Extended Learning Program teacher Ariane Schmidt said the event is open to all district fifth graders.

“Inventors will be judged on inventiveness, the diagram, the model or prototype, the log and the oral presentation,” Schmidt said.

The young inventors will put their projects on display beginning at 4:15 p.m., Monday, Jan. 25, at Edwards Elementary School, 820 Miller Ave., for parents and friends to view and experts to judge.

At around 4:50 p.m., inventors and visitors will move to the Gymnasium for a science presentation while the judges continue to deliberate in the display area. Judges will present awards around 5:45 p.m. in the Gymnasium.

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Ames Schools Band News is online

Ames High School Band Director Chris Ewan says Ames Community School District bands are generating so much excitement, the band directors got together and created an all-new digital newsletter! “This web edition of the newsletter features our record-breaking start to the school year,” Ewan staid. “Our students have also already had some tremendous experiences this fall, including guest artists and participation with the ISU marching band.”

The newsletter is filled with photos, videos, and calendars and articles.

View and bookmark Ames Bands News


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