Academic Calendar Updates 2019-2020
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.
At the secondary level, the August 23 start date provides an orientation opportunity for 6th and 9th graders, as well as all other 6th-12th graders who are new to the District. This allows them time to meet teachers and get acquainted with a new building and expectations. Ames High modeled this approach last year, and received positive feedback from both teachers and students. Returning students in grades 7-8 and 10-12 will start school on Monday, August 26, and kindergarten classes will begin on Tuesday, August 27.
Professional Development – The other significant change to next year’s calendar is the professional development schedule for Ames Middle School and Ames High School. In January, a survey was sent to secondary parents, as well as teachers at both buildings to get feedback on their preference on full day professional development days versus weekly Wednesday late starts. The community results were split in half, with the majority of teachers preferring full days. Those results helped guide the decision to move away from weekly Wednesday late starts, and towards a hybrid of early out and full day professional development opportunities.
Ames Middle School Principal Yonas Michael and Ames High School Principal Spence Evans presented to the school board on February 11 and outlined their requests for the full day. They explained how full day professional development days allow for teachers to go deeper with the content, and offers the flexibility of bringing in experts to train staff. Additionally, these full days allow for more contact hours with students where they will be in school more often. Professional development at the elementary schools will remain the same next year with early dismissals every Wednesday.