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Articles in Ames Middle School

Ames Middle School Art Teacher Cappie Dobyns named 2020 Western Region Middle Level Art Educator Award Winner

Cappie Dobyns Award Graphic

The National Art Education Association (NAEA) has named Ames Middle School Art Teacher Cappie Dobyns the 2020 Western Region Middle-Level Art Educator Award winner. This prestigious award, determined through a peer review of nominations, recognizes the exemplary contributions, service, and achievements of an outstanding NAEA member annually at the Regional level within their division. The award will be presented at the NAEA National Convention in Minneapolis, MN, March 26-28, 2020.

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Revenue Purpose Statement Vote to Utilize SAVE Tax Funds

Special Election Graphic

The Ames Community School District is seeking voter approval of a proposed Revenue Purpose Statement (RPS) that describes how the District will utilize funds made available through the Iowa Legislature’s extension of the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) Fund, commonly referred to as the one-cent sales tax. The District’s current RPS expires on 1/1/2031. 

Approving the proposed RPS will allow the District to continue using future SAVE funds for school infrastructure through the calendar year 2050 when the SAVE law expires. It will not change the current sales tax rate. Citizens will continue to pay the one-cent sales tax even if the proposed RPS is not approved. 

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Demography Report Part I: Enrollment Analysis

Demographers Report Graphic

Last fall, the Ames Community School District contracted with RSP Associates, a school planning company that works solely with school districts and provides demography analysis for those who are experiencing enrollment changes. For a school district, enrollment changes have financial implications, determine the number of certified teaching positions that are needed, and directly impact building capacity. With accurate demographic information, school districts can use the information to make informed-decisions around facilities planning and enrollment processes. Robert Schwarz, the CEO of RSP Associates, has experience in city planning and founded the company in 2003.

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Student Advocacy at the Center of new Iowa Core Social Studies Standards

Iowa Core Social Studies Standards

Student advocacy and developing a classroom where students can analyze current events, ask compelling questions, communicate their conclusions and take action is at the heart of new Iowa Core Social Studies standards being implemented at Ames Middle School. This inquiry cycle took center stage when 6th-grade teachers Michelle Andrews, Carissa Danielson, and Shawn Peterson began exploring the continent of Australia. 

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Iowa Department of Education releases Iowa School Performance Profiles

Iowa School Performance Profiles

On January 29, 2020, the Iowa Department of Education released updates to its online school accountability reporting system called the Iowa School Performance Profiles. The website shows how schools are performing on multiple measures and meets federal and state requirements for publishing report cards. 

The Iowa School Performance Profiles include scores and ratings on a set of accountability measures, such as student growth and graduation rate, and additional data that are required by law but do not count toward school accountability scores. New to the 2020 profiles are updated school scores and ratings, post-secondary readiness is now factored in accountability, and the scores include performance on the new state test, the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP). The website also specifies schools that have been identified for additional support and improvement based on their performance.

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Ames Community School District is pleased to introduce a new communications tool called Anonymous Alerts®.

Anonymous Alerts

The Ames Community School District has launched a new communication tool called Anonymous Alerts®, an anti-bullying and safety app reporting system. As a District, we believe that the best way to address problems that our students face in school is personal contact with a teacher, school administrator, psychologist or counselor and we strongly encourage and fully support that continued practice. However, we do know that sometimes there is a concern that a student or parent may want to communicate anonymously. 

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2020-2021 School Year Calendar Approved

 

Calendar Approved

The 2020-2021 school year calendar was approved by the Ames school board on Monday, January 13, 2020. 

Start date – School will officially begin on Wednesday, August 26, 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 26 – 1st-5th grades. Orientation for 6th grade and 9th grade, and all AMS and AHS students new to the district. 
  • August 27 – Early kindergarten, 7th, 8th, and 10th-12th grade 
  • August 28 – Kindergarten 
  • September 8 – Preschool 

At the secondary level, the August 26 start date provides an orientation opportunity for 6th and 9th graders, as well as all other 6th-12th graders who are new to the District. This allows them time to meet teachers and get acquainted with a new building and expectations. Ames High modeled this approach two years ago with Ames Middle School implementing this approach last year.

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Big 12 Conference and CFP Foundation Complete “Extra Yard for Teachers Classroom Makeover” for Ames Middle School

Big 12 Makeover Digital Learning Lab

The Big 12 Conference, in partnership with the College Football Playoff (CFP) Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers (EYFT) initiative and Lakeshore Learning Materials, today revealed the creation of a digital learning lab at Ames Middle School. 

Through a $50,000 grant, Ames Middle School was able to completely repurpose a space into a digital learning lab featuring virtual reality technology and items from Lakeshore’s brand-new, exclusive line of Flex-Space classroom furniture so that the space will be both interactive and inviting for students. Equipping the lab with virtual reality has the ability to impact all students at Ames Middle School.

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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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