Uplifting Urbandale

UCSD Newsletter 5.19.23 #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.

Urbandale Students Enjoy the 2023 Dragon Games

On May 16, nearly 200 students participating in special education enjoyed a beautiful day of fun, games, and friends during the 2023 Dragon Games! Hosted by Johnston Peer PE and Best Buddies students, the specially designed field day at Johnston Middle School featured around 20 different stations run by peer helpers including adaptive bicycles, wheelchair bikes, parachute, ribbon twirling, catapults, sensory stations, giant soccer, giant bowling, giant target throw, therapy dogs, and more. Many thanks to our Johnston neighbors for inviting Urbandale and Dallas Center Grimes to participate in the 2023 Dragon Games! More Photos

Celebrating National Band Director Day May 20

On May 20, join us in celebrating National Band Director Day in honor of our UCSD band instructors and instrumental music teachers! UCSD appreciates your love for music and all of the many ways you inspire and enhance students’ musical experiences. We are lucky to have such exceptional instructors in our District. We are #grateful4U! Photos

UHS American Red Cross Blood Drive

On May 5, 2023, UHS students involved in Key Club, Leo Club, National Honor Society, CORE, and Student Senate hosted a student-sponsored American Red Cross Blood Drive for school and community members. A total of 41 units of blood were collected. Over 120 lives will be positively impacted by the generosity of so many individuals who donated their time and blood. Many thanks to our UHS students who organized this entire event and to everyone who participated. #UHSpride #thankU More Photos

Celebrating Our Graduates! Metro West Graduation May 17, 2023

Metro West Learning Academy enjoyed a beautiful evening celebrating the Class of 2023. On May 17, students, staff, families, and friends gathered to honor and celebrate all the hard work, dedication, and perseverance of these outstanding students. We thank our Metro West team for their outstanding leadership. We thank our Metro West families for their incredible support. Metro West graduates, we are so very #proudofU! More Photos

Help Honor Rolling Green By Purchasing A Leaf For A “Memory Tree” At KA

Our fifth grade Rolling Green students are selling paper “memory leaves” in order to purchase a new tree that will be planted at Karen Acres in honor of the years spent at Rolling Green. Students, families, staff, and community members can purchase a paper leaf and then write their name and/or draw a picture of a favorite memory on the paper leaf. The paper leaves are then placed on a paper tree in the Rolling Green gym so students can see the progress they are making toward a real live tree! Money raised will go toward the purchasing and planting of a new special "memory tree" at Karen Acres. If you would like to purchase a leaf, please reach out to Melissa MacGregor at macgregorm@urbandaleschools.com.
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Olmsted’s ‘Superintendent Day’

Since there is not an official “appreciation day” dedicated to recognizing the hard work of school district superintendents, Olmsted Elementary decided to create their own. On April 27th, Olmsted students and staff invited Dr. Rosalie Daca to Olmsted in celebration of the inaugural, “Superintendent Appreciation Day.” They honored Dr. Daca for all of the time, dedication, and energy she brings in her leadership of UCSD. Dr. Daca was given a bouquet of flowers and cards of appreciation from students. Students shared what they think a superintendent does all day, which brought about many smiles, chuckles, and an ever-present reminder of how lucky we are to be in education with such wonderful students, teachers, staff, and families. Below are some of the comments students shared about what a superintendent does all day—we hope you enjoy them as much as we did! More Photos

“She helps people with stuff.”

“She keeps us safe.”


“Helps people who don’t feel good.”

“Gives out surprises.”

“Helps people get to the nurse.”

“She’s in charge of everyone.”

She is always willing to have fun!”

“She pays rent for every school.”

“She is the principal of principals.”

“She is president of the schools.”

UCSD Summer Meal Program: Free Breakfast & Lunch Served To Children June 8 – August 10, 2023

Urbandale Community School District is participating in the USDA Summer Food Service Program this summer. The Summer Food Service Program was created to ensure that children continue to receive nutritious meals during the summer months when school is not in session and children do not have access to school lunch or breakfast.

Meals will be provided at no charge to all children ages 1 to 18 years. Children do not need to be enrolled in the District. The meals and service provided will be the same for all children regardless of race, creed, color, sex, religion, ethnic background, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or socio-economic background.

UCSD Nutrition Services will be offering on-site meals, at Olmsted Elementary, Aldersgate Church and Urbandale Middle School. Dates and times vary by location. Meals will be provided on a first come, first served basis and must be consumed on site. No meals will be available July 3 through July 5 in observance of the holiday.

2023 Summer Food Open Sites

Olmsted Elementary School

7110 Prairie Ave, Urbandale IA, 50322

June 8 - August 4*

Breakfast: 8:00am - 9:15am

Lunch: 10:50am - 12:30pm

Aldersgate Church

3600 75th St, Urbandale IA, 50322

June 12 - July 28*

Breakfast: 8:30am - 9:10am

Lunch: 11:30am - 12:10pm

*Sites are closed July 3-5, 2023

Urbandale Middle School
7701 NW Aurora Ave, Urbandale IA, 50322

August 7 - 10

Breakfast: 8:00am - 9:00am

Lunch: 11:45am -12:15pm

CultureALL Ambassadors visit Valerius

During Culture Day on May 5, Valerius Elementary students had an opportunity to learn first hand about some of the world cultures represented in their community. Twelve Cultural Ambassadors from CultureALL, the premier provider of cultural programming in Central Iowa, led 292 Valerius students in interactive workshops. Each class participated in four workshops learning about other cultures - there were native songs and dances, visual arts and stories. Through these unique activities students learned about immigration, lifestyles, history, etc. Every workshop was an engaging interactive learning experience that helped build understanding and appreciation of other cultures, promoted equity and inclusion. At the end of the day, guided by their classroom teachers, students debriefed and connected these new experiences to their prior learning in the classroom and to their own lives. More Photos

Join Us May 22 In Celebration Of Our 2023 UCSD Retirees

Please join us at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, May 22, 2023, at the Urbandale High School Media Center for a Retiree Reception where we will honor and celebrate our UCSD staff members who are retiring at the end of this school year.

EVENT: Retiree Reception
DATE: Monday, May 22nd
TIME: 5:30 p.m. (prior to the School Board Meeting at 6:30 p.m. which will be held in the UHS Media Center)
LOCATION: UHS Media Center (please enter through Media Center doors)

Note: Retirees will be recognized during the reception as well as at the beginning of the School Board Meeting.

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UCSD Educators: Apply For A ‘Making A Difference Grant’ By September 22, 2023

The Making A Difference Grant is intended to provide educators the opportunity to receive funds from the Urbandale Schools and Alumni Foundation (formerly known as the Urbandale Education Foundation) to assist you in a project to “bring learning to life” in the classroom. Historically, funding for grants has ranged between $100 and $1,500 per grant. Please review the grant criteria on Page 2 of the application, complete the following information and submit your application by September 22, 2023; grants will be awarded in October 2023. If you have questions, please email Aaron Young at younga@urbsaf.org or call 515-412-4284. Here is a link to this year’s application: 2023-24 UEF Making a Difference Grant Application

Join Our Adventuretime Team For the 2023-24 School Year! Before & After School Associate Positions Earning Over $15/hour

Adventuretime offers before and after school programming for preschool – 5th grade students at all UCSD elementary schools. Associate positions are great for parents, retirees, community members, college students, and high school students. Work up to 5 hours per day between the hours of 6:30–9:00 a.m. and/or 3:30–6:00 p.m. Must be 16 years of age or older to apply. Beginning hourly rate is over $15.00/hour. Learn more and apply today! Also, check out all UCSD open positions by visiting: urbandaleschools.com/jobs

Announcing Our UCSD Coordinator of Student Services

We’re excited to announce our UCSD Coordinator of Student Services beginning in the 2023–24 school year. Mrs. Renee Gelfond has accepted the position of Coordinator of Student Services. We look forward to welcoming her to the position beginning July 1, 2023.

With over 17 years of experience, Mrs. Gelfond brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to this position. Since 2015, she has been serving as Principal at Hillis Elementary in Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS). Prior to that, Mrs. Gelfond served as a Dean of Students for four years, a K–5 Literacy Leader for one year, K–5 Reading First Coach for one year, and a K–5 English Language Learner (ELL) Teacher for two years in DMPS.

Mrs. Gelfond earned a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Drake University, a Master of Arts in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)/Applied Linguistics from Iowa State University, and a Bachelor of Science in Education from Iowa State University. She holds a K–12 Principal Licensure, a K–12 Special Education Administrator Licensure, a Reading Endorsement, and a Teaching English as a Second Language Endorsement.

“I am honored to be joining the Urbandale Community School District,” said Gelfond. “I hope to share some of the experiences I have had the past eight years as a principal in Des Moines in order to continue the fantastic work that Urbandale is already doing. I am looking forward to learning and growing alongside the other leaders in the district. I am committed to serving the students, staff, and families in Urbandale.”

Please join us in officially welcoming Mrs. Renee Gelfond as our UCSD Coordinator of Student Services. We look forward to working alongside this exceptional leader.

Announcing Our New UCSD Coordinator of Student Services

2023–24 School Year Calendars & First Day of School Dates

Please make note of the following dates for the start of our 2023–24 school year. We’re looking forward to a great year together!

Karen Acres (year-round calendar)

  • The first day of school for Karen Acres students is Thursday, July 27, 2023

  • View quick-view calendars (Please see calendar for start/dismissal times as well as “Late Start Monday” times.)

UCSD (except Karen Acres)

  • The first day of school for UCSD K-12 students (except Karen Acres) is Wednesday, August 23, 2023

  • The first day of school for Preschool students is Friday, August 25, 2023

  • View quick-view calendars (Please see calendar for start/dismissal times as well as “Late Start Monday” times.)

Design and Construction Progress Update May 2023

Click here for an updated summary of the construction progress at the new Valerius Elementary School. Many thanks to Stahl Construction who provided a tour of the new Valerius Elementary for our Board of Directors on May 15. We loved seeing the great progress and appreciate all the hard work going into this new school! #ValeriusRising


Class of 2023! Urbandale High School Commencement Ceremony *Livestream Link Included*

Urbandale High School Class of 2023 Commencement Ceremony
Thursday, May 25th at 7:00 p.m. at the Knapp Center, Drake University
The graduation livestream can be viewed on the District YouTube Channel beginning at 7:00 p.m. on May 25. Congratulations to the Class of 2023! We are #proudofU! (Note: Please use the link above for the most direct access to the livestream.)

May Is Mental Health Awareness Month — Resources And Support

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and serves as a great opportunity for our community to begin eliminating stigma by starting conversations and increasing understanding about mental illness. 1 in 5 people will have some kind of mental illness in a given year and stigma is the greatest barrier to individuals seeking help regarding their mental illness. By breaking down the stigma around mental illness, we can support those who are struggling to find resources and treatment. To learn more about how you can help end mental illness stigma, visit: Makeitok.org/IOWA Learn More

Celebrating Asian American And Pacific Islander Heritage Month

We celebrate this month in recognition of the outstanding achievements and contributions of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. We welcome you to view, read, and listen to resources about Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month provided here.

Rolling Green Legacy Celebration May 26

Please join us for a special celebration as we honor the proud history of Rolling Green Elementary. The Open House begins at 3:30 p.m. with refreshments and self-guided tours. We’ll welcome everyone to the gymnasium at 4:45 p.m. for a brief ceremony. Activities will conclude at 5:30 p.m.

EVENT: Rolling Green Elementary Legacy Celebration
DATE: Friday, May 26, 2023
TIME: 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Rolling Green Elementary, 8100 Airline Avenue, Urbandale, IA 50322

Beginning in the 2023-24 school year, Rolling Green will relocate to Karen Acres Elementary. New location—same great teachers, staff, students, year-round calendar, and school community!
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Reminder: ‘No School’ Dates In May 2023

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


  • Memorial Day: Monday, May 29, 2023 (no school; no Adventuretime; District Administration Office closed)

  • School resumes for all UCSD students: Tuesday, May 30, 2023

  • Last day of school for all UCSD students except Rolling Green: Thursday, June 1, 2023

  • Last day of school for Rolling Green students: Thursday, June 15, 2023

UCSD Garage Sale July 14, 2023

Urbandale Community School District is hosting a garage sale event at Rolling Green Elementary. On July 14, 2023, the sale will be open exclusively to educators within UCSD and the community from 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Please contact Brandi Crawford at (515) 457-5010 or crawfordb@urbandaleschools.com to schedule a time to visit the pre-sale (open for educators by appointment only). From 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. the garage sale will be open to the public. The sale will include chairs, desks, electronics, file cabinets, storage units, tables, and more. We look forward to welcoming you! Full details: www.urbandaleschools.com/sale

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”)

Looking for a fun, meaningful, and well-paying job this summer?

Then look no further. The UCSD Adventuretime Family Services Summer Program is hiring associates to support preschool through fifth grade students participating in the summer program. You’ll have the opportunity to help children participate in crafts, games, enrichment activities, team building, field trips, guest speakers, and group celebrations. The summer program will be located at Olmsted Elementary from June 8 – August 4, 2023. Hours of operation are from 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Associate positions are great for parents, retirees, community members, college students, and high school students (must be 16 years of age or older to apply). Positions are part-time and not eligible for health insurance benefits. The beginning hourly rate is over $15/hour. To learn more, view the associate job description or call 515-457-5855. We look forward to hearing from you!

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

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

School calendars can be viewed here.

Student Registration For The 2023-24 School Year

Families with students in kindergarten through 11th grade currently enrolled in the district should have received an email between May 1 – May 14, 2023, with instructions for online registration. For families without email, a letter was 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.)

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.