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2019 State Science & Engineering Fair of Iowa (SSTFI)

State Science and Technology Fair

On March 28, students from Ames High School and Ames Middle School participated in the 2019 State Science + Technology Fair of Iowa (SSTFI), held at Hilton Coliseum. Open to students across the state, the SSTFI is a way to showcase youth across Iowa and their science research skills.

Student groups worked diligently all year on their research, posing an interesting, testable scientific question, design an experiment, analyze results, and creating a poster to present at the SSTFI. At the event, students set up their presentations and have an opportunity to tell their story and defend their research to professionals in the field.

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Speak Back: A Photography Collection from T’Ana Selah Smith

Speak Back Photography T'Ana Smith

For senior T’Ana Selah Smith, photography is more than just a hobby, it is an avenue to take her art and produce a socially conscious commentary on what students experience. As an Advanced Photography student, Smith wanted to create a “message to the world” and produce something that could make an impact. “I wanted this project to be something that starts conversations with people. I particularly wanted to look at issues that are close to the heart, especially for minority students.”

The result of her work is a photography collection that she has titled Speak Back. The collection represents painted messages on students that “speaks back to society about a generalization.” Messages in this collection include those on mental health, body shaming, how gender is assigned to eating disorders, and racial stereotypes, among many others.

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Northwood: The Preschool Center where Amazing Begins!

Northwood Preschool Center

At Northwood Preschool Center, student inquiry drives instruction, creating an environment where learning possibilities never cease. Principal Kristin Barber, now in her second year at Northwood, said, “Students are in charge of their own learning. We have projects that are 6-8 weeks, but it’s not always about the content. It’s about allowing students to explore their own understanding and learn how to ask great questions.”

Northwood Preschool is a part of the free statewide voluntary preschool program that serves 4-year-olds and a separate grant that serves 3-year-olds. They also provide a half day early kindergarten program that meets kindergarten expectations. All teachers are dual certified, meaning that they can teach in both special and general education settings, making Northwood a full inclusion school. Barber says, “All students are immersed in the classroom experience, and this is incredibly valuable for their learning.”

Within any classroom at Northwood, you will see students interacting with each other in what looks like “play time” for the students. But what is happening, in reality, is project-based learning that incorporates play for students, hands-on learning, and reinforces peer to peer interactions in the process. This approach lays the groundwork for learning that has no bounds.

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Industrial Technology Projects

Industrial Technology Projects

The Ames High industrial technology department offers a variety of classes that consistently produce outstanding projects. The department as a whole provides courses in Woodworking, Metals, Robotics, and CAD. Under the guidance of teachers Michael Scaramellino and Kent Jahn, students have access to a range of materials and equipment, with tool safety being a primary focus for both teachers. Many of the classes are guided through projects, but as students progress in proficiency, they have the ability to self-guide on projects they pick. With CAD software, a laser engraver, plasma cutter, and an arsenal of woodworking equipment, students are consistently churning out amazing projects from wood boxes, cutting boards, coasters, and a variety of amazing scrap metal projects.

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Rebrand and Online Apparel Store

Rebrand Graphic

In April 2018, the Ames community overwhelming approved a bond referendum for a new high school. With the design of the new Ames High School underway, we felt that now was a prime opportunity to assess the “Ames High” brand.

Brand Standards:

Through our evaluation of the brand, we quickly realized that Ames High brand has no brand standards or proper file formats associated with it. Brand standards are a set of guidelines for the colors, graphic elements, logo specifications, and fonts that comprise a brand. In essence, they are the glue that holds a brand together. Without those, it is difficult to regulate how our brand is used and we often see inconsistent application and an overall diminished brand. For example, a walk-through of Ames High showed three different secondary mascot logos being used in a variety of ways. Through our evaluation, we also quickly realized that our elementary schools, as well as Ames Middle School, would benefit from a solid identity.

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Academic Calendar Updates 2019-2020

Calendar Updates 2019-2020 school year

Updates to the 2019-2020 school year calendar were approved by the Ames school board on Monday, February 25, 2019. A couple of the key updates include the start date and how professional development is organized at Ames Middle School and Ames High School.

Start date – School will officially begin on Friday, August 23, 2019 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. This start date aligns with other Districts across the state and is the first day that school can officially start according to state law. This is a change from the originally scheduled Monday, August 26 start date.

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Seal of Biliteracy: A New Recognition to Celebrate Language Proficiency

Seal of Biliteracy

In October 2018, Iowa Department of Education announced that a state Seal of Biliteracy would be available for participating schools to recognize students who demonstrate proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation. Ames Community School District is pleased to announce that students will have an opportunity to earn this seal.

To receive a seal, students in participating schools must demonstrate proficiency in English and at least one other language through approved assessments. Students must be able to read, write, listen, speak in the language they are testing. Read more about the biliteracy guidance, including proficiency levels and accepted assessments here. At Ames High, assessments will be available in French, German, and Spanish. Additional languages are available to students off-site.

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Voice of the Ames High Little Cyclones: Carter White

Voice of Little Cylones

Meet Carter White, the voice of the Ames High Little Cyclones. New to this winter basketball season, home basketball games were streamed live on YouTube with exciting commentary from Carter.

Now a sophomore, his sports commentary aspirations date back to elementary school. As his younger siblings competed at athletic events, Carter would provide play-by-play commentary to himself as a way to stay entertained when he would attend their games. In 8th grade, he job shadowed radio stations in Des Moines and quickly made the decision that this type of career was one he wanted to pursue. “In 7th or 8th grade, I made the determination that I have a natural voice for and talent for this type of career,” said White. This was confirmed when he worked the drive thru at his part-time job at Wendy’s when customers would tell him he had a “good radio voice.”

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I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!

I Can Read With My Eyes Shut

Owais Samman, an 8th grader at Ames Middle School, may not be able to read with his eyes shut, but he sure can make Dr. Seuss’ classic children’s book fun to read. He debuted his rap of I Can Read with My Eyes Shut at the AMS Talent Show in December after entering the contest initially as a joke between his friends. After comtemplating other books such as Llama Llama Red Pajama, he settled this one and impressed the rest of the middle school student body.

You can watch Owais rap Dr. Seuss on our YouTube Channel.

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Yusef Salaam, One of the “Central Park Five,” Speaks to Ames CSD Staff

Yusef Salaam Central Park Five

On April 19, 1989, Yusef Salaam’s life, along with 4 others, changed forever. On that night, they became collectively known as “The Central Park Five,” when they were charged and convicted in New York City of a crime they did not commit. Yusef was 15 years old at the time.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of that event, and Dr. Yusef Salaam spent January 21, 2019, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, with Ames Community School District staff and students. Dr. Salaam shared his deeply personal story in an incredibly powerful and inspiration presentation. As he walked staff through his journey, he expressed the feelings and emotions that he felt 30 years ago. He was “railroaded into a criminal justice system of injustice,” based on the color of his skin, yet still finds ways to see his unnecessary time in prison as a blessing.

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