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Articles from January 2016

Ames High School presents “Bye Bye Birdie”

Ames High School Vocal Music and Theatre departments present “Bye Bye Birdie,”  Feb. 5, 6 and 7, 2016. Inspired by Elvis Presley’s departure into the Army, the play shows how teen heartthrob Conrad Birdie’s induction into the Army creates the opportunity for one last media spectacle. Come see Conrad Birdie give small-town girl Kim MacAfee one last kiss on the Ed Sullivan Show, cheer for Peterson’s lovelorn secretary, Rosie Alvarez, and enjoy the songs and satire that give insight to our everyday hopes and dreams.

Showtimes are 7:30 p.m., Feb. 5 – 6, and 2 p.m., Feb. 7. Tickets are $8 for students elementary through eighth grade and $10 for adults and students ninth grade and above.

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Fifth grade students tout benefits of Invention Convention

AMES–Fifth grade inventors in the Ames Community School District, like Payton Stewart, Grace Schmitt and Kayley Birkland, are honing life skills that will last well beyond the Invention Convention on January 25.

Payton said the inspiration for her invention, for example, came from wanting to solve the problem of her family’s increasing water bill.

“We were using too much water brushing teeth and would leave water going,” she said. “It’s been fun taking our own journey through all this cool inventing process to solve problems.”

Grace said she learned not to give up even when it was hard to get her project-mates together and to manage her time to  complete her invention.

“At school, we are learning what it means to persist when things are hard,” she said. “Persistence was helpful. We didn’t get together for a long time and I thought maybe we’d have to give up.  My plate was too full, but then we got together and we made a plan and got straight to work and we accomplished a lot.”

Kayley said she learned the value of taking the risk to try ideas that might fail.

“We weren’t sure if we should use plastic, cardboard or metal (for our materials). We knew whichever we chose, there was risk involved. If we chose metal, we didn’t know if we had time to send it to my grandpa to weld it,” she said.  “So I talked to my dad, and he helped us make a plan, so then I had confidence that it would turn out great.”

Extended Learning Program teacher Ariane Schmidt said the event is open to all district fifth graders.

“Inventors will be judged on inventiveness, the diagram, the model or prototype, the log and the oral presentation,” Schmidt said.

The young inventors will put their projects on display beginning at 4:15 p.m., Monday, Jan. 25, at Edwards Elementary School, 820 Miller Ave., for parents and friends to view and experts to judge.

At around 4:50 p.m., inventors and visitors will move to the Gymnasium for a science presentation while the judges continue to deliberate in the display area. Judges will present awards around 5:45 p.m. in the Gymnasium.

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Northwood renews NAEYC accreditation with high marks

AMES–Northwood Preschool Center has attained renewed accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) for its preschool programming for 3 and 4 year olds. The accreditation renewal process began in the spring of 2015 and culminated with a two-day site visit in the fall.

Northwood provides preschool programming under the guidelines of  Iowa’s Statewide Voluntary Preschool program.

Northwood Preschool Center Principal Brandon Schrauth said NAEYC assessors reviewed 417 criteria for evidence of program quality in classroom and program portfolios, staff certifications, and health and safety. They conducted nine random 60-minute classroom visits, observing for 188 criteria from 10 different standards.

Schrauth said a program must meet at least 70% of the criteria for each standard to achieve accreditation. The Northwood programs earned more than 100% on several standards, he said.

“Meeting standards at such a high level has a direct impact on student success,” Schrauth said. Northwood shined on the Relationships standard, for example, because staff demonstrated how it values staff relationships and relationships with students and families.

“Our staff forms relationships through powerful interactions that help us get to know each individual child and family’s interests, prior knowledge, and needs.” he said. “We also value each other as colleagues.”

Schrauth said the programs’ high scores on Assessment stem from strategies that staff identified to lead to better understanding of each individual child’s learning process.

“These assessments range from daily observations to more formal benchmarks,” he said. “At the heart of these assessments, we strive to document student learning to make their thinking visible. This leads to collaboration around what students are learning and what experiences we need to provide for them next.”

Schrauth said the accreditation experience was valuable for celebrating successes and reflecting on areas of focus for improvement.

“In the coming year, our staff will process the feedback that NAEYC provided to us, such as how we integrate the arts into our curriculum and support teacher professional development goals,” he said.  “This will be an integral part of our journey to further define the Northwood experience.”

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