Uplifting Urbandale

UCSD Newsletter 4.21.23 #upliftingU

We invite you to read the UCSD bi-weekly newsletter, “Uplifting Urbandale." Newsletters are archived on the Newsletter section of the District website. Please make note of the accessibility options which can be used to enlarge the text and/or translate this email. Mah hi Hakha holh in don na duh ahcun, Zaangfahnak tein Dar Lian ah peh tlai te.

National Kindergarten Day

Join us in celebrating #NationalKindergartenDay by giving a shout out to our UCSD Kindergarten Teachers! We are thankful for all the many ways they help each child learn, grow & achieve success on the pathway of lifelong learning. #grateful4U

UHS Student-Sponsored Blood Drive May 5

The Urbandale High School Key Club is sponsoring a community blood drive with the American Red Cross. Students from Key Club, Leo Club, National Honor Society, CORE, and the UHS Student Senate are volunteering their time to help with the blood drive and it is open to anyone in the community. Each pint of blood collected can help save up to three lives and will touch the lives of so many more. This is a great way to pay it forward and make an impact on people in the Urbandale community and across the country. The UHS Vision is, "UHS will change the world." By hosting the American Red Cross blood drive, UHS students are putting their vision into action!

To register for the Blood Drive, schedule an appointment by visiting UHS Blood Drive or call 1-800-733-2767 (1-800-Red Cross). The Blood Drive will take place at Urbandale High School from 9:00 a.m.– 2:00 p.m. on May 5, 2023. Thank you for making a difference!

Link for English parental consent form.

Link for Spanish parental consent form.

Webster Fifth Grade Students Have A Blast At BizTown

Webster fifth graders had the opportunity to interact in a simulated economy and learn what it takes to run a successful business, manage a debit card and checking account, and work as a team at BizTown. BizTown is a fully interactive, mock town that simulates the day-to-day functions of thriving communities. Students have been taking a financial literacy course as part of their social studies program where they learn how to apply for jobs, write checks, maintain a check register, service an existing customer or recruit new ones, and become a business owner who creates jobs. The program helps students connect what they learned in class with the realities of the business world and everyday life. What a fantastic experience for fifth grade students throughout our district! View More

Diving Into Learning: Math Professional Development

Our elementary teams at Valerius and Karen Acres are diving into their new math curricular materials for the upcoming school year. Teachers are learning about Illustrative Math and how they can implement it to its full effectiveness this fall.

Every Monday is a ‘dress-up theme day,’ at Valerius and Karen Acres where students and staff can dress up according to a fun theme. It just so happened that staff were taking a ‘deep dive’ into Illustrative Math on their ‘Tropical Monday’ themed-day. While we didn’t see any snorkels or scuba gear, the outfits were definitely beach-worthy. Way to keep learning fun! #KApride #ValeriusPride More Photos

Dr. Daca Visits Karen Acres Kindergarten For Fun Friday Learning

UCSD Superintendent, Dr. Rosalie Daca, popped into Mrs. Whitver’s Kindergarten classroom at Karen Acres on April 7th and experienced Fun Friday Word Study with the students. Students used iPads and the OSMO Words app to identify beginning sounds, practice letter identification with pictures, and worked on long vowel patterns like CVCe, ai, and ay. The kindergartners loved having Dr. Daca in the classroom! More Photos

Student Assistance Program—Free, Confidential Counseling

All UCSD students and their household family members (parents, guardians and siblings) have access to the Student Assistance Program (SAP) provided by Employee and Family Resources. The Student Assistance Program is here to help you and your family members manage the concerns in your life through free, confidential counseling. You can count on your SAP for guidance and support when it comes to assessing your concerns and developing strategies for addressing any of the following:

  • School-life balance

  • Family or relationship issues

  • Emotional issues

  • Alcohol and drug-related issues

  • Other issues that interfere with your daily living, happiness, and overall well-being

  • Take5 No Problem Too Small for SAP

You do not need a referral. The SAP is available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is strictly confidential. You can call the number directly, let them know you are an Urbandale Schools family, and request assistance. Phones answered by a masters-level clinician. Make as many calls as needed (no limit). Call (515) 244-6090 or 800-327-4692 if you’re outside of the Des Moines area. Learn More

Safety City: Register Your Incoming Kindergarten Student By May 27

Safety City is a week-long summer program for children entering kindergarten in the fall of 2023. Children will learn about traffic safety, fire safety, home, playground, and other kinds of personal safety in an entertaining, positive environment. To make learning about safety fun, Safety City incorporates songs, story books, films, games, and artwork in addition to riding Big Wheels in a mock city setting. Safety City also provides the experience of riding on a school bus to the Urbandale Police and Fire Departments for tours. Safety City is taught by Urbandale Police Officers and staff who are assisted by a team of student helpers. There are three sessions to choose from and the registration deadline is May 27th! Register Today (Select “2023 Spring/Summer,” then “Safety City 2023”)

Announcing Our UHS Dean of Students

We’d like to update you on the hiring status for our Dean of Students at the high school. We’re excited to share with you that Johanna Russell has accepted the position of Dean of Students at Urbandale High School beginning in the 2023–24 school year. Ms. Russell will support students with last names L– Z.

Ms. Russell brings a wealth of experience and expertise to her role as Dean of Students as she has been serving as our Interim Dean of Students throughout the 2022–23 school year. Prior to that, Ms. Russell served as a Student Building and Support Specialist, Building Master Instructional Mentor, Master Mentor Teacher, and Art Teacher in the Ankeny Community School District. She has also served as a K-12 Curriculum Advisor in the Knoxville School District, an Iowa Area Education Agencies Instructor, an Iowa State Education Association Instructor, a Grand View University Student-Teaching Supervisor, and an Art of Education University Graduate Instructor.

This summer, Ms. Russell will be receiving her Doctor of Education with Principal Licensure from Drake University. She holds a K-8 Instructional Strategist 1 License from Morningside College, a Master of Arts in Education from Viterbo University, is a License Master Educator, and received a Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of Iowa.

"I feel incredibly blessed and honored to continue my journey as the Dean of Students at Urbandale High School," said Russell. “Working with our amazing students, dedicated staff, and supportive community has been a true joy, and I'm thrilled to build upon the progress we've made together. I'm excited for the opportunities ahead and am grateful for the chance to continue making a positive impact on the lives of our students.”

Please join us in officially welcoming Ms. Russell as our UHS Dean of Students. We’re absolutely thrilled to continue working alongside this exceptional leader and genuine supporter of students and staff.

Last Day Of School June 1; Rolling Green Last Day June 15

As of April 20, our last day of school remains the same for both the traditional calendar and year-round calendar.

Traditional Calendar:

  • Last day for students is Thursday, June 1, 2023

  • Last day for certified staff is Monday, June 5, 2023

Year-Round Calendar:

  • Last day for students is Thursday, June 15, 2023

  • Last day for certified staff is Friday, June 16, 2023

  • Note: May 26 will be a work day for certified staff at Rolling Green

As we have had one early dismissal (January 18) and one cancellation (February 16) day this school year due to inclement weather, we will not need to make up additional days. However, this would need to be reassessed if we were to have an additional inclement weather or no school day(s). School calendars can be viewed here.

Class of 2023! Urbandale High School & Metro West Learning Academy Graduation Events

Urbandale High School Class of 2023 Commencement Ceremony
Thursday, May 25th at 7:00 p.m. at the Knapp Center, Drake University.
Congratulations to the Class of 2023! We are #proudofU!

Metro West Learning Academy Class of 2023 Graduation Celebration

Wednesday, May 17th at 5:00 p.m. at the Lions Park Gazebo (please bring your own chair for an outdoor ceremony). To help us ensure we have enough space, please RSVP to Jamie Evans or (515) 727-6301 if you are planning to attend. Congratulations to the Class of 2023! We are #proudofU!

Student Registration For The 2023-24 School Year

Families with students in kindergarten through 11th grade currently enrolled in the district will receive an email between May 1 – May 14, 2023, with instructions for online registration. For families without email, a letter will be mailed to you with instructions for registering your returning student(s).

Student Registration:

2023-24 Bus Transportation Request Form

To be on a bus route for the first day of school, UCSD needs to receive your completed bus request form no later than July 1st for Karen Acres and August 1st for all other schools. After that date, UCSD can still add your student for bus transportation, but the bus stop locations will be set; thus, students may have to walk farther to their bus stop and possibly wait several days before they can begin riding the bus. All bus transportation information, including the bus request form, can be found here. (Please note: Beginning in the 2023-24 school year, the year-round program will move to Karen Acres Elementary; here is the Elementary Boundary Map beginning in the 2023-24 school year.)

Conditions for Learning Survey

During April 17-28, 2023, if your child is in grades 3-12, they will be invited to complete a brief Conditions for Learning Survey online. Student participation in the Survey is highly encouraged, but is voluntary and no student is required to fill out the Survey. If you do not want your student to participate please notify your school principal. The Survey will take about 20 minutes to complete. The purpose of the Survey is to obtain information about how students feel about the culture and climate of their school and teachers, as well as the safety of their school. The information collected will help the state, our schools, and local community improve the school. It is important to ask children to tell us what is good and working about their experience in school, and what needs to be improved, in their eyes. The Survey questions are available using the links below, or you may request copies from your school:

Grades 3-5 Conditions for Learning Survey

Grades 6-12 Conditions for Learning Survey

Iowa Statewide Assessment of Academic Progress

The Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) is an assessment that must be administered to all Iowa students in grades three through eleven. To comply with the state of Iowa law requiring all school districts to conduct this test during the last quarter of the school year, Urbandale students in grades three through eleven will take the ISASP assessments from April 17-28, 2023. Specific schedules for each school building have been developed and will be shared by the school principal prior to the start of testing. Below is a table showing the ISASP assessments students in UCSD will take:

ISASP Test Name & Grade Levels

  • Reading: 3rd - 11th
  • Language & Writing: 3rd - 11th
  • Mathematics: 3rd - 11th
  • Science: 5th, 8th, & 10th

More information regarding the ISASP assessments, including practice tests, may be found by visiting the following website: https://iowa.pearsonaccess.com/test-prep/

Help Celebrate UCSD Educators—Share Your Appreciation Statement Today

In celebration of Educator Appreciation Week, May 8 – 12, 2023, we’d like to invite UCSD students, parents, guardians, staff, alumni, and community members to share your thoughts about a current UCSD educator(s) who has made a positive difference in your life and/or your child’s life. Statements will be shared online (district website, newsletter, social media) during Educator Appreciation Week. If you'd like to participate, please complete this brief form by Wednesday, May 3rd. Thank you for sharing a statement as a wonderful way to remind educators how much they are appreciated and valued!

Reminder: ‘No School’ Dates In April 2023

Please make note of the following dates in April 2023 when school will not be in session.


  • Friday, April 28: District-wide Teacher In-Service / Professional Development Day (no school and no Adventuretime)

  • Reminder: Every Monday is a late start

Rolling Green Elementary (only)

  • Monday, May 1 – Friday, May 5: Rolling Green Intersession (no school for Rolling Green only)

  • Reminder: Every Monday is a late start

Year-Round Learning—Year-Round Fun! Learn More About Our Year-Round Elementary School

Take a few moments to listen to what our students, parents, and teachers have to say about our year-round elementary school! Any family living within the UCSD boundaries, or outside the UCSD boundaries, can choose to attend our year-round elementary school. Beginning in the 2023-24 school year, the year-round program will move to Karen Acres Elementary. Bus transportation is available anywhere within district boundaries outside of the walk zone. We would love the opportunity to share more about our year-round school with you and all it has to offer your child and family. Please reach out to Principal Dania Wilson to learn more.

Join Our Team! We’re hiring for various positions and we’d like to hear from you!

Are you interested in making a positive difference in the lives of Urbandale students? Do you like building relationships and helping others reach their potential? Would you enjoy hours within a school-day schedule while being a member of IPERS (the state’s largest public retirement system)? If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, we’d like to hear from you! We’re currently seeking team members for a variety of positions. We currently have several new openings for the 2023-24 School Year! Learn More

New Class Offerings With Urbandale Community Education

Urbandale Community Ed is excited to offer new classes in Science, Engineering, and Robotics. Your student can also learn Spanish, Chess, and Art in fun and engaging classes offered at UCSD elementary schools. Check out urbandalecommunityed.com for all of our new classes for any age. Don't forget to come back in March when the Summer Camp Series is released for all of the fun camps and clinics offered here in Urbandale!

Come On Out & Support Your J-Hawks!

You can find information about all activities to include athletics, the performing arts, and the Booster Club right at your fingertips. Be sure to visit j-hawks.com for all of the latest information, upcoming events, and highlights. Plus, purchase your fan gear online at the J-Hawk Shop. Let’s go J-Hawks!

Check Out What’s New In The Flyer Hub

The UCSD Flyer Hub is a great resource for finding information about community activities, opportunities, and services. We post flyers from our district, community education, and organizations within our community. Flyers are frequently updated so be sure to check back often.

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Educational Equity Statement

It is the policy of the Urbandale Community School District not to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, religion, marital status (for program), ethnic background, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age (for employment), or socio-economic background (for program) in its educational programs and its employment practices. There is a grievance procedure for processing complaints of discrimination. If you have questions or a grievance related to this policy, please contact the District office at 11152 Aurora Avenue, Urbandale, IA or call 515-457-5000. The District’s Equity Coordinator is Dr. Ryan Williamson, williamsonr@urbandaleschools.com.