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Dustin Rhoads named NFHS Iowa Girls Tennis Coach of the Year

Coach Rhoads

Ames High tennis coach Dustin Rhoads was named the National Federation of High School (NFHS) Coaches Association’s Iowa Girls Tennis Coach of the Year. Rhoads was specifically nominated by the Iowa High School Athletic Association as the most deserving recipient for this honor. This recognition honors coaches for significant achievement in their sport, lifetime community involvement, school involvement, and philosophy of coaching. 

The criteria for selecting nominees are coaching background & experience, career successes, involvement in coaches’ organizations, past coaching honors received, involvement in community service clubs & organizations, involvement in school, implementation of innovative programs for athletes, and philosophy of co-curricular athletics. 

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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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Equity Audit: Ames High School and Ames Middle School (2018-2019)

Equity Audit

Why this report now?

In the fall of 2016, Dr. Daniel Spikes, then a professor at Iowa State University, was asked to collaborate with the Ames Community School District (ACSD) to address racial disparities in educational outcomes. More specifically, district leadership wanted to provide professional development to its educational staff to equip them with tools to mitigate racism and racial disparities at the school. As a result, Dr. Spikes partnered with ISU professor Dr. Katy Swalwell, who also has expertise in equity-focused educator preparation. Together, they developed and implemented a three-year equity-focused professional development initiative. At the time of this equity audit, the partnership is beginning its third year. 

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Enrollment in Ames Up for the 2019-2020 School Year

Enrollment Up in Ames Graphic

Certified enrollment was finalized today. Below is a full write-up with that information, but here are some highlights first:

  • Certified enrollment is 4,477 students.
  • This is +90.5 from a year ago.
  • Open enrollment / Whole Grade Sharing / Tuition In is +330 (we were +329 a year ago)
  • The actual number of students served in buildings is 5,102.
  • This is +71 students from a year ago. 

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Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) 2019

ISASP

The Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) is the new state-wide assessment that replaced the former Iowa Assessments. Developed by Iowa Testing Programs at the University of Iowa for the state of Iowa, students in grades 3-11 took the new tests for the first time in spring 2019. School-level results were released by the Department of Education to schools, parents and other stakeholders in November 2019. 

According to the Department of Education, the “assessments are aligned with the Iowa Core standards and provide a clear and accurate assessment of student learning outcomes.” ISASP better reflects what is being taught in Iowa classrooms and how students are progressing toward grade-level expectations outlined in Iowa’s academic standards. 

Because this is a new and different test for students, results reset the baseline for student performance and should not be compared to previous years. The Department of Education also notes that because the new state test is more aligned to Iowa’s academic standards, it is more challenging. 

Student performance on the ISASP is scored in three ways: Advanced, Proficient, and Not Yet Proficient. A committee of 185 Iowa educators met for five days in July 2019 to determine recommended performance levels or cut scores, which define the range of scores for each of the three categories. English language arts and math tests were given to students in grades 3 through 11, while science tests were given in grades 5, 8 and 10. 

Results will be used to report to parents and communities, to help guide instruction, and to assist us in our school improvement planning. The test results also will be applied to Iowa’s school accountability system required under federal law. 

In Ames, 75.23% of students scored in the proficient and advanced ranges on the English language arts assessment, 75.9% in mathematics, and 65.22% in science. On the English test, the percentage of proficient students increases as students enter middle and high school. Wide disparities exist across all grade levels in the three test areas when those scores are broken down by race or students who qualify for free and reduced lunch. 

We have provided a breakdown of the data in all three tests in the PDF files below. For more information about ISASP, visit: http://iowa.pearsonaccessnext.com/

ISASP English Language Arts 2018-2019 Results

ISASP Math 2018-2019 Results

ISASP Science 2018-2019 Results

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PBIS at Edwards Elementary

 

PBIS Edwards

When students are learning how to read, add, or how to spell, we teach them. That same principle must apply to how students behave throughout the day at school. Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a “philosophy intended to guide the behavioral support and social culture needed for all students in a school to achieve social, emotional, and academic success.” It is a school-wide framework that focuses on the positive things that students are doing. This is an examination of what that looks like at Edwards Elementary School. 

School discipline has traditionally responded to specific student misbehavior by implementing punishment-based strategies that may include reprimands, loss of privileges, and office referrals. This approach, especially when applied inconsistently and without other positive strategies, is proven to be ineffective. With PBIS, consequences will still occur, but are not the focus; teaching expected behavior and rewarding those behaviors consistently is the focus. PBIS looks to establish a climate in which safe and appropriate behavior is the norm. 

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LC2: Little Cyclone Limited Collection

LC201 Social Graphic

When we launched the online apparel store in September, two of our goals was to be able to provide a convenient outlet to purchase Little Cyclone apparel and to build excitement around the school district’s brand. LC2: Little Cyclones Limited Collection is the next step of that commitment. 

LC2 is a limited edition collection that will offer a new design twice a year; once in the fall and once in the spring. Each design will be unlike anything else available on the store and will be a fresh and unique design. 

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