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Articles in District News

John Sletten (1931-2020) – Ames High Track Coach

John Sletten Ames High Track Coach

Former Ames High track & field head coach John Sletten is a legend. For 43 years, he built a championship tradition for the Little Cyclones that is unrivaled, and today, the track at Ames High Stadium is named in his honor. Mr. Sletten passed away the morning of  September 8 after battling a brain tumor. He was 88 years old. 

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Fall Meals Free for All Children at Ames Schools

Grab and Go Meals

The Ames Community School District is excited to share we will offer a free breakfast and lunch each school day to every child in our community. Beginning September 8, any child aged 1-18 is eligible to receive a school breakfast and lunch at Ames Middle School, Edwards Elementary, Fellows Elementary, Meeker Elementary, Mitchell Elementary, and Sawyer Elementary. Grab and Go meals will be available for students that are in virtual learning at the above sites. Free meals will be available to students when they return to on-site learning at each of these sites. Meals will be available for free at Ames High School and Northwood Preschool for students when they return to on-site learning.

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Ames High will Compete Against Urbandale with No Crowd on Friday, September 4

Football No Crowds

Given the current COVID-19 positivity rate across Story County, we have made the decision as a District to host Friday night’s football game against Urbandale with no crowd. This means no band, student section, or walk-up tickets. Leading into this decision, we planned for this night with a wide-range of mitigation steps that included vastly limiting crowd numbers. As we have progressed throughout this week, we know that those steps are not enough for our community and county. The only individuals that will be permitted to attend the game are key event staff and parents/guardians of senior cheer and football players to participate in the previously scheduled senior night recognition (masks required). 

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Revised 2020-2021 School Year Calendar Approved (August 28, 2020)

2020-2021 Calendar Approved

As a result of the ongoing pandemic due to the coronavirus, and in order to return to school safely, we have made slight changes to next year’s calendar. 

The easiest way to understand these changes is to know that outside of the federal holidays indicated below, every other day in our calendar will be a student contact day, giving teachers and students increased opportunities for instruction. A special thank you to the Ames Teacher’s Union for working collaboratively on these changes. 

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Team Neutrino: #morethanrobots

Team Neutrino

Team Neutrino’s social media accounts often use the hashtag #omgrobots. It’s a fun tag to posts that communicates the light-heartedness of the organization while also serving as a reminder that these students BUILD ROBOTS! In its simplest form, Team Neutrino is organized to compete in robotics competitions. But it would be a mischaracterization and a disservice to leave it at that. Although robotics is the face of the organization, it is only a fraction of the work they do. The reality is that student members, along with their mentors and community partners, function like a well-rounded business. 

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Dr. Kathi Arnold named new Emergency Management Coordinator

08 Kathi Arnold

The Ames Community School District is pleased to announce Dr. Kathryn Arnold as the new Emergency Management Coordinator. In this position, she will organize and manage many of the COVID-related logistics across the District throughout the school year. 

Arnold most recently served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Missouri St. Louis, teaching online courses in numerous topics. Prior to that, she was an Education and Policy Consultant at Boca Raton Regional Hospital. 

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Ames CSD Mourns the Passing of Ames High Teacher and Coach Dan Flannery

Dan Flannery

Ames CSD Mourns the Passing of Ames High Teacher and Coach Dan Flannery

The Ames Community School District family and community mourns the passing of longtime Ames High teacher and storied Ames High Swim Coach Dan Flannery, who passed away Tuesday morning. 

“Dan was Ames High Pride. He loved our students, our high school, and our community. This is a huge loss for not only our school community, but the swimming community in Ames and across Iowa,” said Superintendent Jenny Risner. “Dan was committed to excellence in his program and his success speaks for itself. But what was even more impressive was his ability to build strong relationships with his student-athletes that lasted well beyond high school. He made those he coached better athletes and better people.”

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Healthiest Ames Seeking Volunteers to Help Provide Face Masks for Students

Healthiest Ames Masks

Healthiest Ames is organizing a collaborative, community project to provide face masks for every student in the Ames Community School District. The project is a two-pronged approach to making face masks available. Community volunteers are working to sew a large quantity of face masks, and Healthiest Ames is also organizing a campaign to collect financial donations to purchase face masks. The project will supply every student in the ACSD with at least one face mask. Ames Middle School and Ames High School students and Ames PTOs are currently working toward a successful outcome. 

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Steven Hopper named as new Director of Technology

Steven Hopper

The Ames Community School District is excited to announce Steven Hopper as the new Director of Technology. Last school year, Hopper was a School Administration Manager with the Ankeny Community School District. Prior to that, he was a Curriculum Technology Coordinator in Ankeny and an Instructional Technology Consultant with Heartland AEA.   

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RTL Update from Governor’s Proclamation and DE Guidance

Today, Governor Reynolds signed a proclamation and the Iowa Department of Education (DE) issued new guidance that directly related to how school districts must return to school in the fall. Both the proclamation and Senate File 2310 state that in-person instruction is the presumed method of instruction for the upcoming school year. 

Here are the delivery model definitions currently in our Return to Learn plan:

  • On-Site Delivery – A full return of students and staff to school buildings. This delivery model will be done in buildings with face to face delivery of instruction for all students given application of mitigation steps described in the plan. 
  • Required Continuous Learning – This delivery model will be done via remote learning, either online or packet-based, in the event that schools remain closed due to the pandemic. Opportunities to interact with staff and students would occur virtually.
  • Hybrid 1 Learning (state-mandated) – This delivery model will be done by alternating students between on-site and remote learning. Using appropriate mitigation steps while on-site, most students will attend school 2 days per week and engage in remote learning each week on other days. This model would be used if the state-mandated that schools operate at 50% capacity, for example.  
  • Hybrid 2 Learning (family choice) – This delivery model will closely mirror the on-site model for most students. However, some families may choose to have children remain in a required continuous learning model for personal safety reasons.


Below is how the new guidance impacts each of those delivery models

Required Continuous LearningThe new guidance prohibits school districts from providing instruction primarily through remote learning without explicit authorization by the governor, but does allow for parents or guardians to voluntarily select required continuous learning as a delivery model. As of today, the district will now be required to complete an approval process for any and all online courses. We have yet to receive guidance on what this process will entail. At this point, this means that district-wide online learning is not an option that our District can select.

Hybrid 1The new guidance dictates that districts must deliver core subject matter (English, math, social studies, and science) in a face-to-face delivery model. Additionally, 50% of student instruction must be delivered in an on-site, face-to-face delivery model. How these two pieces of guidance impact our proposed Hybrid 1 is yet to be determined with more guidance coming next week. What we do know is that our current delivery model for Hybrid 1 must be modified in order to meet these new requirements.

On-Site DeliveryThis delivery model is the assumed default delivery model and the preferred method of instructional delivery by the Governor’s proclamation and Department of Education guidance. 

Hybrid 2 This guidance is clear that parents or guardians may voluntarily select required continuous learning as a delivery model. 

Metrics / Ability to Close Temporarily – The new guidance also states that school districts do not have the authority to immediately close a classroom, wing, or building in the event of a COVID outbreak and move to online learning. Districts must seek approval from the Department of Education, in consultation with the Department of Public Health, to temporarily move a classroom or an entire building into an online delivery model. As a District, this is a troublesome requirement and one that works in conflict with the work around developing a metric for decision-making with Story County school districts, Mary Greeley, and Story County Public Health. 

We know that there will be many questions about how this new guidance impacts the beginning of school. As a District, we are still awaiting clarity from the Department of Education. They are scheduled to hold a webinar on Monday, July 20 and our hope is that they will provide additional guidance for our many questions at that time. 

We are committed to providing our parents with the most up-to-date information as we continue to develop our plans around Return to Learn. As we have continued to see, these plans are fluid and we appreciate the patience and understanding of our parents and community. 

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