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Articles in District News

Thirteen Ames High Seniors Named National Merit Finalists

National Merit Finalists

Thirteen Ames High School seniors have been named finalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) mailed Certificates of Merit to principals across the country, notifying them of the students who have advanced to Finalist standing in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program.

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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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Friday Night Lights: Ames High Coach Vertanen Steps Away from the Sideline After 34 Seasons

Coach Vertanen

After 34 seasons walking the sidelines as an Ames High football coach, Bruce Vertanen announced his retirement from football following the 2019 season. In a letter to his coaching staff, Vertanen said, “It has been one of my greatest joys to be the head football coach at Ames High. I can’t thank you enough for all that you have done to support me, my family, and more importantly our program as a whole. Wins and losses will fade with time but the kids will never forget how you have treated them.”

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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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Specially Designed Instruction

Specially Designed Instruction graphic

Entering the world of special education can be a challenging endeavor as a parent. You’ve witnessed your child struggle in a particular area and the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) process is full of educational jargon and acronyms. But through that process, our students get to work with amazing special education teachers across the District who specialize in learning disabilities. Alyssa Peiffer, a special education teacher at Meeker Elementary, is one of those amazing teachers and makes what seems impossible for many students and parents possible. 

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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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Dr. Valerie Nyberg named new Ames High School Principal

Valerie Nyberg New Ames High Principal

The Ames Community School District is excited to announce Dr. Valerie Nyberg as the new principal of Ames High School. Dr. Nyberg is currently the Associate Principal at George Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, a position she has held since 2013. 

As an associate principal in Cedar Rapids, Nyberg has experience in both curriculum and instruction as well as buildings and grounds. She was responsible for the evaluation of certified staff, development of the master schedule, and directly supported multiple departments such as English, special education, and Career/Technical Education, among others. As associate principal of building and grounds, she attended weekly construction meetings and worked closely with various departments to ensure that instructional programming was not compromised during construction. In her role as associate principal of curriculum and instruction, she worked diligently to ensure that students have multiple pathways open to them and this required working closely with special education teachers. 

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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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An Eye on the Sky: Ames High Senior Pooja Kasiviswanathan Named a Top Science Scholar

Top Science Scholar Graphic

“Ever since I looked up into the night sky, I have always wondered if there is another planet like Earth out there.” This is the inquisitive thinking that has driving Ames High senior Pooja Kasiviswanathan to be named a top 300 scholar in the 79th Regeneron Science Talent Search—the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and mathematics competition for high school seniors. 

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