Skip to content

Articles from April 2018

National Honor Society 2018

National Honor Society

The Ames Community School District would like to congratulate the 128 Ames High students who earned membership into the AHS chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS). This year, 61 seniors and 67 new members were recognized and celebrated at an April 22 event at Ames High.

Each chapter of the National Honor Society can have slightly different criteria for admission, but all assess academics, service, leadership, and character. New members were chosen by a selection committee based on how each student upholds the purpose of the Ames High School Chapter. Over 100 applications were considered this year for new membership, increasing the competitive nature of the process.

Read More

ISPRA Communications Awards 2018

ISPRA Communications Awards

The Iowa School Public Relations Association (ISPRA) held their annual communication awards the evening of Thursday, April 19. The Ames Community School District submitted materials in 8 of the 20 competition categories that included Bond Campaign, E-Newsletter, Excellence in Writing, Magazine, Social Media, and three Video categories.

This year, there were entries from 20 different school districts. The Ames Community School District won two Blue & Gold Awards as best in state for the Amazing Magazine (magazine category), and the district’s Facebook page (social media category). Ames was also awarded the prestigious Department of the Year award based on the quality of work across many categories.

Read More

Jenny Risner named the Next Superintendent of Ames Community Schools

New Superintendent (Jenny)

The Ames Community School Board is excited to announce Jenny Risner as the next Superintendent of the Ames Community School District. Jenny stood out of an applicant pool of 69 individuals from across the country after participating in two rounds of interviews with the school board and a variety of representative groups that included teachers, community leaders, former board members, parents, and District staff.

Ms. Risner currently serves as the Superintendent of Ocean Beach School District in Long Beach, Washington where she has been the superintendent for the past four years. Ms. Risner has been an educator for over 20 years and has served as a director of student services, director of special education, secondary principal, assistant principal, instructional coach, and elementary and middle school teacher. She received her superintendent credentials in 2013 from Washington State University, where she also received her MA in Education Administration in 2001.

Read More

Education in the Cloud

Education in the Cloud graphic

This story was originally published in Volume 2 of Amazing Magazine that you can download here.

In December, Google visited the Ames Community School District to gather promotional materials that highlight some of the many ways in which our classrooms leverage Google Chromebooks. A group of three representatives visited classrooms in Ames Middle School and Edwards Elementary and witnessed first hand how their next generation Chromebooks were being utilized. The promotional materials that they gathered, namely photos and stories, were used in January at the British Education Training and Technology (BETT) show in London, England.

During the visit, their first stop was in Robyn Reisetter’s 7th grade math class where students were completing assignments with a stylus on the Explain Everything app. They then moved over to Willie Lodermeier’s 8th grade Technology Exploratory class where students showed off their TinkerCAD skills as they created models to be made in 3D printers.

After lunch, the Google team visited Amy Simonson’s kindergarten class where students were engaging with math principles on their Chromebooks thanks to software provided by an Iowa company, PearDeck. Students in Kimber Spaulding’s first grade class were coding using the Scratch app. Finally, a group of 5th graders, under the direction K-5 Technology Teacher Librarian Teresa Green, were having a blast with their “maker space” time. Some students were coding Sphero balls, others Hummingbird boards, and another group was working with LEGO EV3 Bricks.

Read More

Science Olympiad State Competition

Science Olympiad

The Science Olympiad is a competition where students work in partnerships competing in different disciplines in science that include chemistry, physics, biology, engineering and general science knowledge events. High school and middle school students competed at the state competition on Saturday, April 7th at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Historically, to say that Ames has dominated the State Science Olympiad would be an understatement. The Science Olympiad is like a track meet for science where a team of 15 students compete in 23 events with usually 2-3 students in each event. The more 1st places finishes the better, and the team with the lowest score wins. This year, 16 teams competed at state in the high school level and 18 at the middle school level.

Ames Middle School has been competing for the past 26 years and has won state 23 years. Ames High has been competing for 25 years and has won 24 times. Their only loss came last year and this year’s team was hungry to reverse that outcome.

Read More

Kendra Kruse is IAAE Newcomer of the Year Award

IAAE Newcomer of the Year Graphic

Ames High English Teacher Kendra Kruse recently won the Iowa Association of Alternative Education Newcomer Of The Year Award. This award is presented annually to an alternative educator who has less than five years of alternative education experience, and honors a person who is enthusiastic about promoting a positive atmosphere in the school setting, and is an advocate for students.

Kendra has been an invaluable member of the six person Ames High School Alternative Learning Program (ALP) Team for the past three years and she has taken on the unofficial responsibility of serving as the ALP team manager. In his nomination letter of recommendation, fellow Ames High teacher Ben Matthies wrote, “She has the unique experience of being the one teacher nearly all our ALP students interact with for four years of high school. She is able to build relationships with our students to teach them English, Life Skills, and simply be there as a positive, caring adult in the student’s life. It is with this same caring deposition that Kendra embraces any students who walks into her classroom, regardless of academic programming.”

Read More

Jazz Band Championships

Jazz Championships

The Ames High School Jazz Band, under the direction of Andrew Buttermore, participated in class 4A at the 43rd Annual Iowa Jazz Championships on Thursday, April 5th, 2018 in Ames, IA for the first time in school history!

Longtime Ames High Band Director Home Gartz (1962-2003), confirmed that no jazz band participated in any competitions under his tenure. “They were called ‘dance bands’ and ‘stage bands’ in the early years. It is quite an accomplishment to achieve this award.

Read More

Ames High Culinary Students Compete in a “CHOPPED” Competition

CHOPPED competition

On Friday, April 6, four Story county schools gathered for a culinary arts expo held at the DMACC Hunziker Center in Ames. Participating schools included Ames High School, Colo-NESCO High School, Nevada High School, and Roland-Story High School. Students participated in a “CHOPPED” competition using the mystery ingredients of turkey tenderloins, strawberries, zucchini, mushrooms and strawberry patch kids candy. During this competition, students applied skills and knowledge learned in their Family and Consumer Sciences classes to create an entrée using the required “mystery” ingredients. 

Students had 40 minutes to prepare their entrée all while being evaluated on teamwork, safety and sanitation, food preparation skills, and presentation of food. The judges for this competition were Executive Chef Robert Bruno from the Iowa Stater restaurant at the Gateway Hotel, Chef/Owner Evie Peterson from Farmhouse Catering in Nevada, and Director of Member Services Sheila Larson from the Iowa Turkey Federation.

Read More

Legislation That Would Force District Cuts or Increased Property Taxes

Legislation That Would Force District Cuts or Increased Property Taxes

Notice to the Ames community,

In 2013, the Iowa Legislature reduced local commercial property taxes. To replace the income lost by Iowa cities, counties and school districts, the state provided a “backfill” where state dollars replaced local property tax income that were lost due to the commercial property tax cut.

Next year, the state backfill will provide $1,316,906 to the Ames Community School District. Leaders of the Iowa House and Senate have said they plan to eliminate the backfill, beginning with the budget year starting on July 1 of this year.

What does this mean for the Ames Community School District? The Iowa legislative proposal would mean $1.3 million in budget cuts for the 18-19 school year. The majority of those cuts ($996,000) would have to come from the general fund. It is unclear if the legislature will allow school districts to replace the lost revenue with property taxes. If this is the case, the District would be forced to reduce expenditures including, but not limited to, teaching staff (resulting in increased class sizes), support staff, and enrichment programs for kids.

On Monday night, the Ames school board will consider a resolution opposing the reduction of the backfill for the 2018-2019 school year. That opposition will be communicated to the Iowa Legislature and to Governor Reynolds. The Ames Community School District believes that any changes to the backfill should be decided with the participation of local government and school leaders.

The District believes that this bill is moving quickly through the legislature.

The following people represent the Ames Community School District:

Jerry Behn –

Herman Quirmbach –

Beth Wessel-Kroeschell –

Lisa Heddens –

Rob Bacon –

Read More

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. 

Read More
Juicebox Interactive