As a result of school closure due to the coronavirus, we have made slight changes to next year’s calendar. In April, the Governor’s Office along with the Iowa Department of Education waived the requirement that schools could start no earlier than August 23 for the 2020-21 school year. This allowed for local decision making and flexibility for school districts on how to enter the next academic school year. We were exploring the concept of beginning school earlier in August when we found out that the decision to waive the start date was reversed with a recent proclamation from the governor.
We have made slight adjustments to the 2020-2021 school year calendar and here are some highlights:
Start date – The official start date of school has moved up two days and will officially begin on Monday, August 24, 2020, for most grades across the District. This includes 1st – 5th grade, as well as 6th and 9th graders and all other students at the middle and high school who are new to the District. Here is a breakdown of the staggered start dates across the district:
- August 24 – 1st-5th grades. Orientation for 6th grade and 9th grade, and all AMS and AHS students new to the district.
- August 25 – Early kindergarten, 7th, 8th, and 10th-12th grade
- August 26 – Kindergarten
- September 8 – Preschool (same date as before)
Other Dates to Highlight:
- October 26-29 – Fall Parent/Teacher Conferences
- November 25-27 – Thanksgiving Break (one additional day, no early dismissal the day before.)
- December 21 – January 1 – Winter Break – resume January 4. (two additional days on the front end of break, no early dismissal the day before.)
- March 8-11 – Spring Parent/Teacher Conferences
- March 15-19 – Spring break
- June 2 – Last day of classes (weather permitting)
Objectives to this Calendar:
With limitations on when we can start the academic school year, the slight adjustments that were made to this calendar accomplished the following objectives:
- Set a total of 170 direct student contact days for all grades. This is up from 166 student contact days from the previously approved calendar.
- Increased professional development time with the addition of one staff day at the beginning of the year
- Maintain a consistent number of teacher contract days from the previously approved calendar.
- Balanced semesters for secondary schools (86/84)
- Spring break consistent with Iowa State University
Professional Development – As we previously communicated, elementary schools across the District will continue with Wednesday early out professional development for staff. At the secondary level, Ames Middle School and Ames High School will continue to use full days for professional development.
Return to Learn – Return to Learn planning is active within the Ames Community School District. Plans must include how we plan to meet the needs of learners due to the disruptions of school closure, as well as contingencies of additional school closure. They must be submitted to the Department of Education by July 1 and will include the following components:
- Health and Safety
- Academic Standards
- Social-Emotional-Behavioral-Mental Health and Basic Needs
- Equity and Special Services
We have posted a District at-a-glance calendar in PDF form on our website that can be downloaded and printed at the URL below.