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Articles from December 2019

Better Together at Ames Middle School

Better Together

In January 2019, Yonas Michael began his current role as the head principal of Ames Middle School, a position that allowed him to return to Ames after spending time in Maryland to be with his family. Superintendent Risner entrusted him with the mission of strengthening the culture and achievement at Ames Middle School at a time of great transition in the building.

As a school leader, a top commitment is to improve student learning. But before jumping into student achievement data, examining the current culture of the building is paramount. “You can have all of the great structures in place. You can hire the best teachers, you can have the best materials and best programs, but if the culture isn’t right or healthy in the building, then none of those things are going to be successful,” said Michael. 

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Panorama School Climate Survey 2019

Panorama Data

In the spring of 2019, the Ames Community School District surveyed students, staff, and families using the Panorama Culture and Climate Survey. The survey included questions around social and emotional learning, school satisfaction, and staff and family engagement, among others. The purpose of the survey was to gather perception data from key stakeholders as a way to set a baseline for evaluation. With a baseline set, the survey results will guide goal areas based on the District’s Purpose and Priorities. 

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Equity Audit: Ames High School and Ames Middle School (2018-2019)

Equity Audit

Why this report now?

In the fall of 2016, Dr. Daniel Spikes, then a professor at Iowa State University, was asked to collaborate with the Ames Community School District (ACSD) to address racial disparities in educational outcomes. More specifically, district leadership wanted to provide professional development to its educational staff to equip them with tools to mitigate racism and racial disparities at the school. As a result, Dr. Spikes partnered with ISU professor Dr. Katy Swalwell, who also has expertise in equity-focused educator preparation. Together, they developed and implemented a three-year equity-focused professional development initiative. At the time of this equity audit, the partnership is beginning its third year. 

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