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Multicultural Books

Multicultural Books

This year, Heartland Area Education Agency (AEA) offered three separate Title III mini-grants and the Ames Community School District is proud to have received all three of them. Totaling $15,000, these grants have allowed the District to purchase books in a variety of languages to help support students who are English Language Learners.

One of the mini-grants from Heartland is specific to family and community engagement and aligns with one of our main goals this year that came out of conversations with staff and families who participated in our Lau Plan review last September. The group identified making the school environment more welcoming for students and their families as an area of need. One of the specific aspects of the goal was to have more diverse books in the native languages of English Learners in schools and classroom libraries.

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Building Placement for 2019-2020 School Year

Building Placements

As we prepare for the 2019-2020 school year, we want to outline the building placement process for our new students. The District Office determines building placements for each of our five excellent elementary schools with the goal of respecting the boundaries of each building.

Due to growing enrollment and building capacity, some of our elementary schools are becoming full. This is particularly the case for two of our elementary schools (Fellows and Meeker), as well as some grades at the other elementary schools. If a grade is full, your student will attend Sawyer Elementary and transportation will be provided for in-district students.

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Sensory Path at Mitchell Elementary

Sensory Path

Elementary students are full of energy and it is important for them to have an outlet for that energy throughout the day. For many students, recess and physical education classes serve this need, but there are times when additional breaks are needed. Teachers at Mitchell Elementary recently installed a sensory path down one of their main hallways, which is in many ways an indoor “obstacle course.”

“The initiative started around conversations with staff about alternative ways to provide “brain breaks” to reduce our building-wide behavior referrals,” said special education teacher Angela Pardun. “During these conversations, we discussed multiple options including a puzzle break table, the sensory path, the addition of a trampoline, and others.”

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Safety Patrol at Edwards Elementary

Safety Patrol at Edwards

If you visited Edwards Elementary School this year in the morning during student drop off time, you were likely greeted with a friendly smile and saw students high-fiving each other. This is the work of Safety Patrol, a rotating team of nearly 30 fifth graders who are taking the lead on establishing a positive environment in their building by greeting students at the front door and at designated points throughout the school.

Principal Kristi Mixdorf saw this concept modeled at another school and approached fifth-grade teacher Chris Douglas about implementing it at Edwards. Douglas said, “I told her I wanted to continue looking for leadership opportunities for our 5th graders so I decided to take the lead on this and told the kids and parents what we envisioned this looking like.”

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Creating an Art Studio at Meeker Elementary w/ Michelle Mathias

Art Studio with Michelle Mathias

Michelle Mathias runs her art classroom at Meeker Elementary like an art studio; full of student-choice with the ability to simply create. This means that students come to art class and get to make and create whatever they envision and desire from a number of centers, called “studios,” that are open that day.

To begin the year, studios are rolled out individually starting with drawing. Each studio sets high expectations for cleanliness and safe use of tools, and provides best practice techniques and ideas. More studios are opened following the same pattern as the first and eventually students have an opportunity to work in painting, collage, paper sculpture, modeling clay, printmaking, and sewing and weaving studios, among others. “With the opportunity to use and choose from so many of the studios, students are given the choice to create almost anything. With this freedom of choice comes great responsibility and freedom,” said Mathias.

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ISPRA Communication Awards 2019

ISPRA Awards

The Iowa School Public Relations Association (ISPRA) held their annual communication awards the evening of Thursday, April 25. The Ames Community School District submitted materials in 8 of the 22 competition categories that included Bond Campaign, Excellence in Writing, Infographic, Magazine, Social Media, and three Video categories.

As a local chapter of the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA), it is a policy that another state score the submissions based on rubrics, and this year the Arizona chapter judged the Iowa submissions.

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CFO Chris Stensland Presented with Professional Leadership Award by Iowa Association of School Business Professionals

CFO Chris Stensland Award

Ames Community School District Chief Financial Officer Chris Stensland was presented with the Professional Leadership Award by the Iowa Association of School Business Professionals (IASBO) at their annual conference on March 27, 2019. The award is one of the highest honors that IASBO bestows upon its members as recipients are nominated by their peers.

The award is not just a measure of extraordinary deeds or a lengthy career, it is a recognition of school business officials who throughout their career and lifetime have demonstrated excellence in service to their school district, community, and profession. As an award recipient, Stensland receives a scholarship that she will present to a graduating high school senior from Ames, and an invitation to the next Iowa ASBO Leadership Conference.

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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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