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Articles from November 2020

Delivery Model / Revised Guidance Indicators

Delivery Model After Thanksgiving Break

We will be submitting our application for approval from the Iowa Department of Education (DE) to continue 100% online remote learning for all buildings PK-12 after Thanksgiving break. The DE approves applications in two-week intervals, and if approved, the 100% online remote learning would continue for another two weeks through Friday, December 11. As you head into the Thanksgiving break, please plan to continue online learning on Monday, November 30. 

As a reminder, when a school building has been granted approval from the DE to move into remote learning, the ability for that school to participate in extracurricular activities is suspended for the duration of the period of remote learning. As a result, all practices, competitions, and in-person meetings of any sports, activity, or club will continue to be suspended through the period of remote learning. 

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Masked Hero: Andrea Lowe

Masked Hero: Andrea Lowe

Superpower: Generate weird and random teaching examples.

Understanding the how and why concepts work together, rather than just presenting facts and numbers, can create long-lasting learning for students. This is how Ames High Earth and Space Science teacher Andrea Lowe approaches the classroom. “I’m spending more time teaching the hows – how to use technology wisely and beneficially, how to complete certain actions or functions, how to find information when you don’t have immediate access to the teacher.”

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The Making of An All-Stater

Student singing for all-state audition

Acceptance into the Iowa All-State Music Festival is one of the most challenging goals for high school musicians to achieve. Each year, many Ames High students rise to the challenge as they embark on the journey to earn All-Stater status. The end goal is to make it to the Festival, a compilation of Iowa’s top high school band, orchestra, and chorus musicians. Yet, few make it. According to the Iowa High School Music Association, in 2019, 4,586 students auditioned, representing 286 of the state’s high schools. Out of that, 601 students were accepted into the All-State Chorus, 278 into the All-State Band, and 226 into the All-State Orchestra. At AHS, approximately 12 percent of the students in band, orchestra or chorus audition, and even fewer make it to the Festival.  

A tedious preparation process requires all musicians to practice both in and out of school, starting as early as summer. Optional clinics, workshops, and camps help musicians effectively learn their music for the late-October audition. On top of their rigorous rehearsal schedule, students are challenged to keep up with academic, athletic, and personal obligations. Why do they do it? The consistent answer is a passion for music.  

“Music has always been a big part of my life,” said senior clarinet player, Sofiya Palasyuk. 

This same sentiment was echoed by other AHS students auditioning, including Yunjae (Daniel) Lee, violin; Sofiya Palasyuk, clarinet; Cassidy Peterson, alto; Madelyn Timmermans, trumpet; and Adam Wolf, tenor. Together, they have a combined eight years of experience performing at the Festival. Performing in the Festival each year of high school, also known as a four-time All-Stater, is one of the highest honors. Lee hopes to make 2020 his fourth appearance in the All-State Orchestra.  

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Masked Hero: Suzy Nordhus

Masked Hero: Suzy Nordhus

Superpower: Shapeshifting teaching style

For much of the school year, Suzy Nordhus has taught preschool students both in the classroom and remotely. She knows the challenges of engaging up to 20 preschool students at a time through the computer. “I am quite the three-ring circus, sideshow act when I teach. I do nothing short of tap dance on the tables to keep students (or maybe just myself) engaged during remote learning. But I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know these little people.” This is why they love her!

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Enrollment in Ames Down for the 2020-2021 School Year

Certified Enrollment in Ames 2020

Across the state, October 1st marks the official “count day” for certified enrollment, which is the annual report of enrolled resident students used for the Iowa School Finance Formula calculation. After recent years of steep increases, certified enrollment decreased for this year. Here is a snapshot of key statistics:

  • Certified enrollment is 4,352.6 students.
  • This is -125.31 from a year ago.
  • The gain from open enrollment and whole grade sharing is +232.5 (down 100.4 from a year before).
  • Preschool students total 253 students who are not included in certified enrollment, +15 from a year ago. 
  • The actual number of students served in the District is 5,121.

This year’s certified enrollment was 4,352.6 students, which is down 125.31 students from a year ago. The graph below shows the trends over the last 36 years.

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Ames High Girls Swimming Win Their Ninth State Title

Girls State Swimming

The Ames High girls swim team approached the state championship this year with the passing of their long-time coach, Dan Flannery, on their mind. Flannery passed away in July 2020, just before the season kicked off. A legendary figure in the swimming community, he led the girls’ program to 8 state titles and the boys to one in 2018. The loss of Flannery continues to weigh heavily not only on the school community, but the Ames community at large. 

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Harrison Barnes Signing Day: An Oral History

Harrison Barnes Signing Day

During his senior year, Harrison Barnes was the #1 high school basketball recruit in the nation. On November 13, 2009, he announced where he would play his collegiate ball live from Ames High, broadcast on ESPNU for the nation to watch. The schools under consideration included North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, and Iowa State University. This is an oral history of that day from Ames High Athletic Director Judge Johnston and Ames High Head Basketball Coach Vance Downs. 

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Masked Hero: Charles Grim

Masked Hero: Charles Grim

Superpower: Making students smile through their masks. 

“I am much happier trying to make sure the kids are happier,” said Charles Grim when asked what he has learned about himself during this pandemic. It is this approach to teaching that has allowed Grim to teach elementary music for 32 years, 22 of which have been in the Ames district. 

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All PK-8 Schools to Move to 100% Online

Remote Learning NW, Fellows, Mitchell, AMS

As we continue to monitor our District on a daily basis, we have expanded our application for approval from the Iowa Department of Education (DE) to move to 100% online remote learning for all school buildings PK-8. This includes all elementary schools, Northwood Preschool, and Ames Middle School. 

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