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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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Ames High Student Judges Wearable Art Show at ISU

Wearable Art Judge

Sarah Oyervides, an Ames High Art student, was selected as 1 of 6 judges for the First Annual Wearable Design Show at Iowa State University. The inaugural Wearables Design Show featured 50 “Modular Mobile” designs by 200 students in the College of Design’s first-year Core Design Program. The designs were presented as a fashion show on a runway with lights, a DJ, and a live audience.

Patience Lueth, a Co-Director of the event, selected Sarah for this amazing honor because of her creative ideas and beautiful artwork. Sarah judged the work on the April 9th with alongside 5 other professional designers. The showcase took place last night, April 10th.

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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 use her art to 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, racial stereotypes, and 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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