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Articles from May 2017

Creating digital magazines brings nonfiction to life for sixth graders

Digitalmagcupcakes copy

Ames Middle School sixth grade students are ready with an answer in case anyone asks what they learned this year.

In their hands are printed versions of digital magazines the students researched, wrote, and designed for literacy class to show what they learned studying nonfiction text structures and writing processes throughout the year.

Literacy teacher Drew DeJong said the literacy team, as a professional Learning Community, created the magazine project so students could demonstrate understanding of sixth grade learning standards such as identifying the author’s purpose and the structure of a text. The students were expected to create two articles over a topic they chose, using a different text structure for each article.

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Ames High School teacher Kirstin Sullivan recognized by Iowa Secretary of State

Sullivan2017Kirstin Sullivan, who teaches AP European History, AP Government and Politics, and U.S. Government at Ames High School, was recognized by Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate for organizing Ames High School’s participation in the statewide Iowa Youth Straw Poll for the 2016 general election.

In a press release, Pate said Sullivan “stepped up and registered to include our students’ voices in the statewide straw poll, and as a result of her efforts, students received a unique civic education experience.”

Sullivan said participating in the Iowa Youth Straw Poll gave all students at Ames High School a chance to be engaged.

“A vital part of my job is for students to know how important it is that they are engaged in their community and in their government at all levels,” Sullivan said. “In both U.S. Government and AP Government and Politics classes, we spend the semester learning about civil liberties and how to best advocate for oneself and one’s community.”

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Literacy Pilot results will be shared June 12

UPDATED JUNE 12, 2017: The Word Study Team presented its findings to the Teaching and Learning Committee on June 12. Based on the WST recommendations, the Teaching and Learning Committee at a special board meeting June 12 will recommend that the Board approve using Fundations.

The Ames Community School District has concluded a pilot of program materials for kindergarten through second grade teachers to use when providing instruction around foundational skills in reading. The pilot was established after K-2 teacher representatives met in the spring of 2016 and recommended that all K-2 teachers have common materials for Tier 1 instruction across schools in phonics and phonemic awareness.

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Myers is Ames Morning Rotary Teacher of the Year for Ames Schools

IMG 3827Stephanie Myers, a fifth grade teacher at Edwards Elementary School, was awarded Rotary Teacher of the Year on Wednesday, May 17. A Model Teacher in the Teacher Leadership Program, Myers has taught fifth grade at Edwards for the past six years.

Principal David Peterson said Myers’ success as a teacher stems from an array of skills and practices that engage  her students in “thinking with great rigor; sharing their thinking with one another, and reflecting on learning.”

“She implements a connected sequence of content and instructional strategies at a high level,” Peterson said. “Many district teachers observe her classroom, and she reflects on her teaching with them and helps to identify best practice instruction.”

Among best practices, Myers reviews student data regularly with her colleagues in their Professional Learning Community for solid core instruction, re-teaching, and enriching learning, Peterson said. “She also works with  her fifth grade team of teachers to build community learning activities and routines, with practice to make a positive community of learners for the entire year.”

The Ames Morning Rotary is committed to youth education and realizes that teachers are responsible for quality education. To help demonstrate this commitment the Club annually recognizes a teacher from each of these school districts: Ames, Story City and Gilbert.

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Ames High School Young Engineers and Scientists present projects


Sixteen weeks of research and preparation carried out by Ames High School’s Young Engineers and Scientists (YES) culminated in a poster reception in the Ames High School Media Center May 10. The students presented their work to peers, parents and faculty from Iowa State University and Ames High School.

Funded through ISU’s Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC), YES is part of CBiRC’s pre-college education strategic plan to form long-standing partnerships with central Iowa school districts and school districts located in relative proximity to CBiRC partner institutions. According to CBiRC’s website, the pre-college programs’ mission is  to “effectively impart in the next generation of students the relevance of engineering professions; the skills required to succeed and the value in our technological society.”

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Colors of Kindergarten (Kindergarten Preview) 5 – 6 p.m., May 25, 2017


To welcome the students of our new kindergarten class and their families and help them prepare for kindergarten, each of our elementary schools is hosting  Colors of Kindergarten,  a kindergarten preview, Thursday, May 25.

Parents and guardians and students enrolled for kindergarten for the 2017-18 school year will meet their principal, the kindergarten team and school staff. Students will do an activity in a kindergarten classroom while parents and guardians attend a presentation to learn about schedules and routines, the education philosophy, and the school community.

Families who have registered students for kindergarten will receive an invitation to Colors of Kindergarten. Pre-registration is required to attend.  To register, Contact: District Registrar, Barbara Peterson


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Ames High School participates in World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute

2017Ames World Food PrizeAmes High School students were among  322 students from 132 Iowa high schools who came together at The World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute on April 24, to share their ideas and find solutions to solve the world’s most pressing challenges in food security. Students who participated came away with a deeper understanding of world hunger and the possible careers they might pursue to help alleviate it.

In preparation for the event, the participating high school student wrote a research paper on a key issue that impacts hunger in another country. At the Institute, students proposed their own solutions in small-group roundtable discussions facilitated by academic and industry experts, and  along with teachers, participated in hands-on immersion activities in research facilities and labs.  

From this experience, students will be selected to attend the Global Youth Institute held in Des Moines, in October 2017.

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Links to video presentations from pilot materials representatives

Thanks to everyone who came to view our video presentations from the representatives for each of our K-2 foundational skills materials pilot programs.

For those who couldn’t attend, we want to share the links to the Fountas & Pinnell Phonics Lessons presentation and the Reach into Phonics presentation. Unfortunately, due to corporate policy, we weren’t allowed to record the Fundations presentation. However, we have included a link to the Fundations website if you want to learn more about these materials.

Fountas & Pinnell Phonics Lessons presentation

Reach into Phonics presentation

Fundations website

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