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Articles in Ames Middle School

Ames Middle School Associate Principals for 2019-2020 Announced

AMS Associate Principals

Ames Middle School associate principals for the 2019-2020 school year were approved by the Ames school board on Monday, April 8. The Ames Community School District is pleased to announce the following associate principals for Ames Middle School:

  • Jeremie Knutson, Associate Principal for Operations and Student Services
  • Erin Miller, Associate Principal for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
  • Nicole Coronado, Associate Principal for School Improvement, Culture and Equity

Principal Yonas Michael opened all the positions this spring and added another associate principal for next school year. Each principal will be a point person for a specific grade, but will also use their expertise in their particular area to better serve Ames Middle School.

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Executive Directors of Curriculum Announced

Executive Directors

The Ames Community School District is excited to announce Dr. Jeff Hawkins as the new Executive Director of Secondary Education, and Dr. Chad Dumas as Executive Director of Elementary Education. Both are new positions as part of a district office reorganization that will provide a more focused approach to aligning curriculum efforts across the District.

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AMS 2019 Scholastic Writing Award Winners

AMS Scholastic Writing

Two Ames Middle School students earned 2019 Scholastic Awards for their outstanding written pieces. Leslie Kim’s sci-fi short story Fallen by One, and Jennifer Newman’s short story The Pianist were selected by some of the foremost leaders in the visual and literary arts for excellence in originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal voice or vision.

Nearly 340,000 works of art and writing were submitted to the 2019 Scholastic Awards. Since 1923, the Awards have celebrated teen artists and writers from across the country. Notable winners have included artists Andy Warhol, Robert Indiana, and Kay WalkingStick; writers Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, and Joyce Carol Oates; and filmmakers Lena Dunham and Ken Burns.

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2019 State Science & Engineering Fair of Iowa (SSTFI)

State Science and Technology Fair

On March 28, students from Ames High School and Ames Middle School participated in the 2019 State Science + Technology Fair of Iowa (SSTFI), held at Hilton Coliseum. Open to students across the state, the SSTFI is a way to showcase youth across Iowa and their science research skills.

Student groups worked diligently all year on their research, posing an interesting, testable scientific question, design an experiment, analyze results, and creating a poster to present at the SSTFI. At the event, students set up their presentations and have an opportunity to tell their story and defend their research to professionals in the field.

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Rebrand and Online Apparel Store

Rebrand Graphic

In April 2018, the Ames community overwhelming approved a bond referendum for a new high school. With the design of the new Ames High School underway, we felt that now was a prime opportunity to assess the “Ames High” brand.

Brand Standards:

Through our evaluation of the brand, we quickly realized that Ames High brand has no brand standards or proper file formats associated with it. Brand standards are a set of guidelines for the colors, graphic elements, logo specifications, and fonts that comprise a brand. In essence, they are the glue that holds a brand together. Without those, it is difficult to regulate how our brand is used and we often see inconsistent application and an overall diminished brand. For example, a walk-through of Ames High showed three different secondary mascot logos being used in a variety of ways. Through our evaluation, we also quickly realized that our elementary schools, as well as Ames Middle School, would benefit from a solid identity.

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Academic Calendar Updates 2019-2020

Calendar Updates 2019-2020 school year

Updates to the 2019-2020 school year calendar were approved by the Ames school board on Monday, February 25, 2019. A couple of the key updates include the start date and how professional development is organized at Ames Middle School and Ames High School.

Start date – School will officially begin on Friday, August 23, 2019 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. This start date aligns with other Districts across the state and is the first day that school can officially start according to state law. This is a change from the originally scheduled Monday, August 26 start date.

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I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!

I Can Read With My Eyes Shut

Owais Samman, an 8th grader at Ames Middle School, may not be able to read with his eyes shut, but he sure can make Dr. Seuss’ classic children’s book fun to read. He debuted his rap of I Can Read with My Eyes Shut at the AMS Talent Show in December after entering the contest initially as a joke between his friends. After comtemplating other books such as Llama Llama Red Pajama, he settled this one and impressed the rest of the middle school student body.

You can watch Owais rap Dr. Seuss on our YouTube Channel.

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Google Expedition VR

Google Expedition VR

The day when students can visit landmarks from across the world is here, thanks to virtual reality. The District started looking into Google Expedition VR kits as soon as Google released them a couple years ago. Last year, Technology Director Karl Hehr put together a small kit equipped with cardboard cutout headsets, as a “proof of concept” to gauge interest from teachers. Overwhelmingly, teachers were interested in the concept as it opened the world to their classrooms.

Last semester, the District purchased a set of 30 Google Expedition VR units for classroom use. Ames Middle School teacher Dianna Sheldon, along with Instructional Technology Coach Sarah Davison, were the first to test the units when they took students to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The field trip was a companion piece to the book they were reading in class.

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App Smash: Descriptive Papers w/ Green Screen Video

App Smash

Ames Middle School 6th grade literacy teacher Drew DeJong is using the idea of “app smashing” to increase student engagement. App smashing is the process of using multiple apps to create projects or complete tasks. It is a great way to provide students with creative and inspired ways to showcase their learning, and it allows teachers a great way to assess their understanding and skills.

A recent project in DeJong’s class had students write descriptive papers about their favorite place in the world. The quick 300-400 word piece was looking for sensory writing from the students. “I wanted them to really describe their favorite place,” said DeJong. “What does it look like? Smell like? My goal was that the students would show us where they were at.”

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Mental Health Conference 2018

Mental Health Conference

On November 15, the Ames CSD hosted a mental health conference at Ames High that was free to families, students, and educators in the Ames community and surrounding areas. The conference served as a great way to help educate the community on a variety of issues and to connect them with available resources.

The conference was a partnership with District schools, Story County Community Partnerships for Protecting Children, and The Cameron Carico +10 Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to “Promote happy and healthy students and families in central Iowa through suicide prevention and mental health education.”

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