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Middle School News

Dr. Kathi Arnold named new Emergency Management Coordinator

08 Kathi Arnold

The Ames Community School District is pleased to announce Dr. Kathryn Arnold as the new Emergency Management Coordinator. In this position, she will organize and manage many of the COVID-related logistics across the District throughout the school year. 

Arnold most recently served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Missouri St. Louis, teaching online courses in numerous topics. Prior to that, she was an Education and Policy Consultant at Boca Raton Regional Hospital. 

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Healthiest Ames Seeking Volunteers to Help Provide Face Masks for Students

Healthiest Ames Masks

Healthiest Ames is organizing a collaborative, community project to provide face masks for every student in the Ames Community School District. The project is a two-pronged approach to making face masks available. Community volunteers are working to sew a large quantity of face masks, and Healthiest Ames is also organizing a campaign to collect financial donations to purchase face masks. The project will supply every student in the ACSD with at least one face mask. Ames Middle School and Ames High School students and Ames PTOs are currently working toward a successful outcome. 

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Ames CSD Mourns the Passing of Ames High Teacher and Coach Dan Flannery

Dan Flannery

Ames CSD Mourns the Passing of Ames High Teacher and Coach Dan Flannery

The Ames Community School District family and community mourns the passing of longtime Ames High teacher and storied Ames High Swim Coach Dan Flannery, who passed away Tuesday morning. 

“Dan was Ames High Pride. He loved our students, our high school, and our community. This is a huge loss for not only our school community, but the swimming community in Ames and across Iowa,” said Superintendent Jenny Risner. “Dan was committed to excellence in his program and his success speaks for itself. But what was even more impressive was his ability to build strong relationships with his student-athletes that lasted well beyond high school. He made those he coached better athletes and better people.”

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Steven Hopper named as new Director of Technology

Steven Hopper

The Ames Community School District is excited to announce Steven Hopper as the new Director of Technology. Last school year, Hopper was a School Administration Manager with the Ankeny Community School District. Prior to that, he was a Curriculum Technology Coordinator in Ankeny and an Instructional Technology Consultant with Heartland AEA.   

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RTL Update from Governor’s Proclamation and DE Guidance

On Friday, July 17, Governor Reynolds signed a proclamation and the Iowa Department of Education (DE) issued new guidance that directly related to how school districts must return to school in the fall. Both the proclamation and Senate File 2310 state that in-person instruction is the presumed method of instruction for the upcoming school year. 

Here are the delivery model definitions currently in our Return to Learn plan:

  • 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.

Below is how the new guidance impacts each of those delivery models

Required Continuous Learning – The new guidance prohibits school districts from providing instruction primarily through remote learning without explicit authorization by the governor, but does allow for parents or guardians to voluntarily select required continuous learning as a delivery model. As of today, the district will now be required to complete an approval process for any and all online courses. We have yet to receive guidance on what this process will entail. At this point, this means that district-wide online learning is not an option that our District can select.

Hybrid 1 – The new guidance dictates that districts must deliver core subject matter (English, math, social studies, and science) in a face-to-face delivery model. Additionally, 50% of student instruction must be delivered in an on-site, face-to-face delivery model. How these two pieces of guidance impact our proposed Hybrid 1 is yet to be determined with more guidance coming next week. What we do know is that our current delivery model for Hybrid 1 must be modified in order to meet these new requirements.

On-Site Delivery – This delivery model is the assumed default delivery model and the preferred method of instructional delivery by the Governor’s proclamation and Department of Education guidance. 

Hybrid 2 – This guidance is clear that parents or guardians may voluntarily select required continuous learning as a delivery model. 

Metrics / Ability to Close Temporarily – The new guidance also states that school districts do not have the authority to immediately close a classroom, wing, or building in the event of a COVID outbreak and move to online learning. Districts must seek approval from the Department of Education, in consultation with the Department of Public Health, to temporarily move a classroom or an entire building into an online delivery model. As a District, this is a troublesome requirement and one that works in conflict with the work around developing a metric for decision-making with Story County school districts, Mary Greeley, and Story County Public Health. 

We know that there will be many questions about how this new guidance impacts the beginning of school. As a District, we are still awaiting clarity from the Department of Education. They are scheduled to hold a webinar on Monday, July 20 and our hope is that they will provide additional guidance for our many questions at that time. 

We are committed to providing our parents with the most up-to-date information as we continue to develop our plans around Return to Learn. As we have continued to see, these plans are fluid and we appreciate the patience and understanding of our parents and community. 

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Free Books For Students at Grab and Go Meal Sites

Book Giveaway

Ames Community School District families will again have access to free books at four grab and go meal sites: Meeker, Mitchell, Sawyer, and the Ames Public Library. One book per week per student will be distributed on Fridays only for students in grades pre-K through 12. Scheduled dates are July 17, 24, 31 and August 7, from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. Books were purchased by the Ames Public Library Friends Foundation and are individually packaged according to grade-level appropriateness.

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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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Summer Food Service Program Update

Grab and Go Meals

Summer Food Service Program Update

The Ames Community School District is continuing to participate in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) through August 7, 2020. This is the same “grab and go” meal program where we were able to provide breakfast and lunch to all children without charge.

Locations – Meals will continue to be provided at Meeker, Mitchell and Sawyer Elementary Schools, in addition to the Ames Public Library. (Note: we previously communicated that meals would end at Mitchell Elementary, but this is no longer the case.)

Time – breakfast and lunch will be provided from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. starting on June 22.

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Ames High Commencement Postponed

Commencement Date Confirmed

Dear Ames High seniors, staff, and commencement guests, 

We are writing to regretfully inform you that we will not be holding the Ames High commencement ceremony this Sunday, June 21. Please know that this communication comes with a great deal of disappointment and regret as we very much wanted to make graduation happen for you all this Sunday. As a senior class, you have been amazingly resilient, patient, and positive as we have navigated numerous challenges throughout your senior year. 

Most of you know, Story County, and specifically the City of Ames, is experiencing a sudden and significant increase in COVID-19 cases this week. Throughout COVID-19, our priority has been the safety of our students, staff, and families. We are unable to ensure that this event can be held in a manner that creates an environment that aligns with this ongoing priority. Again, the postponement of this ceremony comes with much regret. 

In April, we communicated three prospective dates for the commencement ceremony. We will revisit those options with our staff and school board, and will continue to collaborate with the Story County Health Department to align our ceremony with guidance for providing an environment that keeps the health and safety of everyone as our priority. 

Our intent in this commencement remains to honor the Class of 2020 with a celebration that they deserve while keeping the safety of our students, staff, and families as our top priority.  As a school district and school board, we apologize once again for this last-minute change. We appreciate the support and grace we have received from our community as we lead through this unprecedented and unforeseeable time and we look forward to our next opportunity to celebrate this senior class with you.




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Ames High Commencement Ceremony Update


Commencement Date ConfirmedWe are excited to announce that we will be hosting the Ames High Commencement Ceremony on June 21 at Hilton Coliseum at 1:00 p.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. Based on that feedback, we established several potential dates, with June 21st being the first option. 

The most recent governor’s proclamation permits social, community, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings and events of more than 10 people if public health measures are implemented, including limiting attendance to 50% of the venue capacity and maintaining six feet of distance between those attending. Because Hilton Coliseum is such a large venue, we are able to accommodate this guidance and we are actively working with Hilton Coliseum staff on additional logistics. 

Providing an in-person commencement celebration for the Class of 2020 is an amazing opportunity and a wonderful conclusion to a very unusual year. There are a lot of considerations taking place for this event and we will communicate more information in the coming weeks. Some of those considerations include:

  • Seating and layout for seniors

  • Entrance to Hilton Coliseum and flow of people

  • Live-streaming capabilities for the event

  • Logistics on the ceremony

Thank you again to the senior class who has continually demonstrated their Ames High Pride during this very unusual year and we look forward to seeing you all on June 21. 

Brian Carico, Principal

Ames High School
Thoughtful, Safe, and Responsible
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