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First Version of Return to Learn Plan

 Ames Community School District parents and community, 

We are happy to share that we have posted the first version of our Return to Learn plan on our website. You can access it directly at the URL below. 

https://www.ames.k12.ia.us/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Return-to-Learn-Plan-Ames-Community-School-District-2020.pdf

Thank you for your patience and understanding this summer around our Return to Learn planning. We know that there are a lot of questions around what school will look like in the fall and we hope that this document helps answer some of those.

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RTL DE Submitted Plan / Timeline / Website

Department of Education Submitted Plan:

Today was the deadline to submit the District’s Return to Learn (RTL) plan to the Iowa Department of Education and we are happy to announce that it has been “accepted.” One of the requirements is to post that submitted plan on our website, which can be accessed directly at the URL below. Please know that our developed plan is much more detailed than what was required from the state and we plan to share that larger document next week on our website (see the timeline below). 

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Ames High Commencement Confirmed for July 11 at Ames High Stadium

Commencement Date Confirmed

After postponing the last scheduled commencement ceremony, we are excited to announce that we will be hosting the Ames High Commencement Ceremony on July 11 at Ames High Stadium at 10:00 a.m. 

Earlier this spring, the feedback we heard from students and families made it clear that there was a strong desire to have the celebration in person, even if it is delayed from the originally scheduled May 24th date. To honor that feedback, we established several prospective dates, the first of which we postponed due to a spike coronavirus cases in Story County. We are foregoing the second option at Hilton Coliseum and planning for an outdoor ceremony on that date. 

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School Board Presentation and Overview

Last night, Superintendent Risner and District leaders presented an overview of the District’s Return to Learn (RTL) plan that is due to the Iowa Department of Education on July 1. 

The multi-faceted plan includes contingencies for the following conditions:

  • 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.

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Panorama School Climate Survey Results 2020

Panorama Data Results Graphic

In March of 2020, 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. New to this year’s student 6-12 survey were questions related to equity and inclusion. The purpose of the survey is to gather perception data from key stakeholders as a way to set and continue the evaluation of specific goal areas around the District’s Purpose and Priorities. 

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Department of Education Releases Reopening Guidance

Within the past week, we have received competing recommendations from two entities that we look to for guidance. 

Today, the Iowa Department of Education (DE) released guidance for reopening schools. Within that guidance, the DE cited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation that schools do not need to screen students and staff upon entering the building. They also said that requiring face coverings for all staff and students is not recommended. 

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Jessica Sharp named as new Edwards Elementary Principal

Jessica Sharpe named as new Edwards Elementary Principal

The Ames Community School District is excited to announce Jessica Sharp as the new principal of Edwards Elementary School. Sharp is currently a Behavior Strategist in the Ames Community School District, a position she has held since 2019. In this position, she provided support across the District in the implementation of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support and oversaw the District’s Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS). 

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Revised 2020-2021 School Year Calendar Approved

Calendar Approved Graphic

As a result of school closure due to the coronavirus, we have made slight changes to next year’s calendar. In April, the Governor’s Office along with the Iowa Department of Education waived the requirement that schools could start no earlier than August 23 for the 2020-21 school year. This allowed for local decision making and flexibility for school districts on how to enter the next academic school year. We were exploring the concept of beginning school earlier in August when we found out that the decision to waive the start date was reversed with a recent proclamation from the governor

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Book Giveaway Initiatives with Community Partners

Book Giveaways Graphic

The ability for Ames Community School District students to have high-quality reading materials in their homes was an early concern in the COVID-19 school closure period. To meet student’s needs for reading materials, critical for continued learning, elementary staff in each building set to work. Two separate book giveaway initiatives helped students and families get books into their home. 

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