Centennial "Spotlight" Celebrations: Karen Acres Elementary

Throughout the 2016–2017 school year, we’ll be highlighting a school each month that is celebrating Urbandale Community School District’s Centennial Anniversary. Throughout October, Karen Acres Elementary shared gratitude and appreciation with various departments within the City of Urbandale and Urbandale community organizations. Check out all the fun here!

City Hall Showcases Rolling Green Elementary First Grade Artwork
First grade students at Rolling Green Elementary already have an accomplishment that many artists strive for throughout their careers: sharing their art with the public during an art exhibition. “Creative Cats” was the artwork theme and the focus was on having students explore different types of lines that can be created and then including those lines into the design of a one-of-a-kind cat.  Learn More

Urbandale Education Foundation Awards Over $14,000 In Grants To Educators

The  Urbandale Education Foundation  (UEF) was thrilled to have the opportunity to award over $14,000 to Urbandale educators as part of the UEF Making A Difference Grant Program. The program is intended to provide Urbandale Community School District educators the opportunity to receive funds for projects and initiatives not supported within existing school budgets. On October 20, 2016, UEF Board of Directors awarded a total of twelve grants by surprising educators in their classrooms with a celebration and award ceremony.   Learn More

New! Continual Improvement Section On District Homepage

Organizational improvement—be it education, business, healthcare or any sector—is often fraught with random acts of improvement that may deliver short-term results but do little to impact the sustainable improvement of the system. This is why in 2010, Urbandale began implementing a systems approach for Continual Improvement that adheres to the rigorous standards established by the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. This constancy of purpose has been woven throughout every facet of the district—from the student level, to the classroom level, to the school level, to the district level, to the Board level— which results in not only a common language for how the district will improve but clarity as to what’s needed for improvement and most importantly, a profound understanding for why this improvement is critical for student achievement and success. Learn More

School Cancellation Protocols

Every year we experience the need to cancel school due to a variety of reasons which is why we’d like to share more information regarding protocols that guide our decisions. The decision to cancel/close school due to any reason is one that we take seriously and with great caution, care, and concern—caution that we’re making an informed decision based on credible information from key sources, care that our decision supports the safety and well-being of students and staff, and concern that we’re taking into account all of the variables that cancelling school will inevitably impact. Learn More

Thanksgiving Break: Dates To Remember

November 16: All registrations due for Adventuretime All Day Program taking place at Olmsted Elementary on Wednesday, November 23, 2016. All Day Programs are not part of the normal monthly fee; please register here.

November 23: No School; Adventuretime All Day Program at Olmsted Elementary.

November 24 & 25: No School & No Adventuretime Program. Enjoy your Thanksgiving Break!

"Since attending Metro West Learning Academy (MWLA), I look forward to coming to school. Teachers do not beat around the bush. When I am here, I know that it is time to get down to business. Teachers at MWLA are also easy to work with. They explain things really well, and when you need help they work with you until you understand completely. MWLA allows students to learn about what interests them. Each teacher gives students the opportunity to choose topics that are most appealing to their self-interests."

CaraLeena Roeder, 12th Grade, Metro West Learning Academy

This month we’d like to bring greater awareness to two topics that can be difficult to find the words to describe but are felt deeply: depression and Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD). Although we’ll only cover these topics briefly in this section, please know there are helpful resources for learning more about how to cope and build resiliency in yourself, your children, and your family.  

Most everyone has experienced the feelings of being down, unmotivated, discouraged, sad, or hopeless for short periods of time. Perhaps it’s in response to an unexpected event or other life-impacting moment that causes short-term despair. These types of emotions are normal to experience throughout our lives as part of what it means to be human. It’s when these feelings begin to interfere with our daily activities, and last for more than two weeks, that may indicate we’re experiencing depression. One resource for learning more about depression is the Anxiety & Depression Association of America. Please take a few moments to view this TED Talk, "Confessions of a Depressed Comic" for powerful words and insight from a 19-year old.

A type of depression that occurs during the same season each year is called Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD). It is hypothesized that a lack of sunlight is a contributing factor as it impacts sleep-wake patterns and serotonin production. Serotonin is a brain chemical that affects mood. If you have felt depressed during the last two winters but felt much better in spring and summer; you may be impacted by SAD. Learn more about SAD here.

If you believe your child may be experiencing depression or SAD, or would just benefit from additional support, please reach out to your school counselor. We are here to help.

For those of us who grew up watching the latest antics of Alex P. Keaton, Blanche Devereaux, Carlton Banks, Samantha Micelli, Sam Malone, or Tootie, we may also have childhood memories involving a Sony Walkman, a Polaroid camera, or perhaps playing Asteroids or Pac-Man on an Atari Game System. Not only do these gadgets conjure up fond memories, but they remind of us of just how far technology has come within the past 30 years—or even, in the past 10 years.

Education visionary Ken Robinson has shared that if you have an iPhone, it probably has more computing power than was available on earth in 1940. So when we think about the ever-evolving task of staying current on the latest technology, it can often feel like a daunting challenge. This is why we’d like to share a handful of online resources for learning various tools and programs. You may or may not already be familiar with these resources in your daily and professional lives, but if you’re interested in learning more about any number of technology-related topics on your journey of lifelong learning, here are a handful of resources for your consideration:

Lynda.com                                  GCFLearnFree.org                           eDX                       
Pluralsight                                   Coursera                                            Udemy
Alison                                           Udacity                                               Google Developers
Apple Developer Center          Microsoft Virtual Academy

(Note: UCSD does not endorse the above websites or programs and is providing this list of resources for your consideration only.)

Educational Equity Statement

No student enrolled in the Urbandale Community School District shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in the District’s programs on the basis of race, color, creed, sex, religion, marital status (for program), ethnic background, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age (for employment) or socio-economic background (for program). The policy of the District shall be to provide educational programs and opportunities for students as needed on the basis of individual interests, values, abilities and potential. If you have questions please contact the District office at 11152 Aurora Ave, Urbandale, IA or call 515.457.5000. The District’s Equity Coordinators are Dr. Keri Schlueter, Coordinator of Student Services; Mark Lane, Director of Human Resources; and Crista Carlile, Director of Teaching and Learning.