Uplifting Urbandale

UCSD Newsletter 12.09.22 #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.

What Parents Need To Know About Fentanyl—Community Forum January 17

Urbandale Community School District is hosting a community forum regarding the dangers of fentanyl. Fentanyl is a deadly synthetic opioid that is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. U.S. Department of Justice Assistant Attorneys Mallory Weiser and MacKenzie Tubbs will share critical information about counterfeit pills, warning signs, NARCAN, and how social media is impacting distribution. Attendees will also gain an understanding of Des Moines metro area statistics on seizures of fentanyl, drug cases, and overdoses. The forum is the next session in the District’s “Parent University” program. All metro area public or private school parents and guardians are welcome to attend this free event.

  • Event: What Parents Need To Know About Fentanyl Community Forum
  • Time/Date: 6:30 p.m. January 17, 2023
  • Location: Urbandale High School, Performing Arts Center, 7111 Aurora Avenue
  • Attendees: All metro area parents and guardians
  • Tickets: No tickets necessary; free admission
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Olmsted & UHS Students Collect Over 2,300 Items For Thanksgiving Food Drive

Students across the district have been participating in projects that make a positive difference in our community. Several of those meaningful projects include a Thanksgiving Food Drive at Olmsted Elementary and Urbandale High School.

Olmsted Elementary students, families, and staff collected nearly 1,000 food items to help support families in need over the Thanksgiving holiday. The Olmsted Power of U Character Council sorted the items in order to make Thanksgiving meals for 20 families, plus three bins of desserts. UCAN delivered the meals to families in time for Thanksgiving.

Urbandale High School students in Marketing Education are expected to do 10 hours of community service to earn DMACC credit for the class. As a class, the 16 students decided they wanted to do something that would help others. They chose to organize a food drive at the high school throughout November. To promote the food drive, Marketing Education students created posters, maintained an Instagram account, and wrote an article for the school newsletter. All UHS students were encouraged to bring donations to their Connections classrooms every week. On Fridays, Marketing Education students counted items in each Connections class to see which class contributed the most that week. Marketing Education students kept all students informed about which Connections classes were in first, second, and third place and provided a fun incentive for students to participate with first through third place Connections classes earning two free pizzas donated by Casey’s. UHS students collected 1,165 food items, plus an additional 200 items that Mr. Moreno and others who attended the Turkey Trot collected, and delivered them to the Urbandale Food Pantry.

Many thanks to Olmsted and UHS students, families, and staff who organized and contributed to such successful food drives. Your generosity, kindness, and compassion have a far-reaching impact in our community. Incredibly well-done! #UrbandalePride

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Maintaining A Healthy Learning Environment

Throughout our school district, we have noticed an increase in student absenteeism due to illness which is why we’d like to request your help in maintaining a healthy learning environment for our students and staff. Please review the following guidelines for monitoring and reporting illness as well as preventative measures.

Monitoring and Reporting Illness

  • It is very important for parents and guardians to continue monitoring your child’s health. If your child has a temperature of 100.4 or higher, we ask that you keep your child home, observe for symptoms such as sore throat, rash, vomiting, or diarrhea, and follow up with your healthcare provider. Your child may return to school after your child has been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications, and other illness symptoms are improving. If your child visits a healthcare provider, please request a note from the doctor to excuse the absence(s).

  • If your child does not have a temperature, but is feeling ill and the illness prevents your child from participating comfortably in academics/activities, please keep your child home until illness symptoms have passed.

  • When calling in your child absent from school, please be sure to contact your school’s attendance line leaving your student’s name, grade, symptoms, temperature, and the best phone number to reach you if your school nurse has further questions.

  • Students who test positive for COVID-19 must remain home for at least 5 full days (day 0 is the first day of symptoms or the date of the day of the positive viral test for asymptomatic persons). Students may return to school on day 6 if they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving. It is highly recommended that students wear a mask when around others at home and in public for an additional 5 days. Families need to contact your school nurse if your child tests positive for COVID-19.

Preventative Measures

  • Wash your hands often.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your sleeve.

  • Stay home and rest if you are sick.

  • Seek guidance from a healthcare professional when needed.

School Board Officers Elected

School Board Officers were elected during the November 21 School Board meeting. Congratulations to Katherine Howsare who was elected Board President and Brianna Sayre Geiser who was elected Board Vice President. Thank you for your leadership! #weappreciateU

UCSD School Board President & Vice President November 2022

UCSD Certificates of Recognition

During the December 5 School Board meeting, the Board and Administration awarded 25 Certificates of Recognition to UCSD students for the following accomplishments. What an impressive group! We are #proudofU!

  • All-State Chorus: Kiki Ibsais and Dylan Rains

  • All-State Orchestra: Katelyn Knight and Anna Thompson

  • All-State Band: Henry Dix, Oscar Dix, Sophia Huber, Aiden Leiran, Sia Smith, and Oded Harazi

  • Academic All-State Volleyball: Lauren Nepper

  • Academic All-State Boys Cross Country: Evan Leggett

  • Academic All-State Girls Cross Country: Sophia Huber

  • Academic All-State Boys Golf: Carter Hartman

  • All-Iowa Dance Selections: Megan Reinhardt, Ava McConnell, Katelyn Chaky, Sami Walljasper, Norah Seeley, and Amelia Casteel

  • Iowa Girls Coaches Association – All-Class Player of the Year: Lily Dykstra

  • Class 5A Player of the Year; Elite All-State; 1st Team Class 5A All-State: Lily Dykstra

  • Superior Rating and National Qualifier Lighting Design for Radium Girls by Iowa Thespians: Hope Stice

Pictured Front Row: Oded Harazi, Hope Stice, Katelyn Chaky, Norah Seeley, Sophia Huber, and Amelia Casteel. Back Row: UCSD Board President Katherine Howsare, Lily Dykstra, Lauren Nepper, Ava McConnell, Megan Reinhardt, Evan Leggett, Dylan Rains, Aiden Leiran, and Superintendent Dr. Rosalie Daca.

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Design and Construction Progress Update December 2022

Click here for an updated summary of the construction progress at the new Valerius Elementary School. Please join Principal Lara Justmann & Dean of Students Derek Wilkins for a quick look around the new Valerius Elementary School! #ValeriusRising
Valerius Elementary Construction Progress Update November 2022

18 Apps Parents Should Know About

As new apps hit the market on a daily basis, keeping up with them can be a challenge. To help in that effort, the Urbandale Police Department has created the following 1-pager outlining 18 apps that parents should learn more about in order to make an educated decision about their children using the apps. A brief description of each app is included in the 1-pager. For a more detailed view of each app, please visit Common Sense Media. In addition, UPD will be leading a session about this topic during the February 21 Parent University night. Plan on attending that session in order to learn more about the apps and have the opportunity to ask questions/receive answers.
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Reminder: No School Dates Winter Break 2022

Please make note of the following dates over winter break when school will not be in session.


  • Thursday, December 22 through Monday, January 2: No school due to Winter Break. Learn more about the Winter Break Adventuretime All Day Program for preschool – 5th grade students.

  • Friday, December 23; Monday, December 26; Monday, January 2: District Administration Office closed due to Winter Break.

  • Tuesday, January 3: School resumes for all UCSD students.

Rolling Green Elementary (only)

  • Wednesday, December 21: No school due to Winter Break. (Note: Rolling Green’s Winter Break begins one day earlier than all other UCSD schools.)

Feeling stressed? You Don't Have To Go It Alone

If this holiday season is causing you stress, you don't have to go it alone. 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. The SAP is available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is strictly confidential. Call (515) 244-6090 or 800-327-4692 if you’re outside of the Des Moines area.
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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 school boundaries, or outside the UCSD school 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.
Year-Round School: One Big Family

Cancellations & Delays

When UCSD needs to delay, dismiss early, or cancel school due to inclement weather or emergency situations, UCSD will notify families directly via email, phone, and text*, post an alert on the district website, district Facebook, district Twitter, and communicate with media outlets (WHO 13, KCCI 8, WOI 5). Please make note of the following two-hour delay, early dismissal and cancellation information. Be sure to keep your contact information updated with your school in order to stay aware, updated, and informed. *SMS (text): Parents/guardians can opt-in at any time to receive text messages by texting “Y” or “YES” to 67587. The “67587” number is the “short code” that connects to our notification provider, School Messenger.

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. Our newly posted positions include: General Education Behavior Tech and Building and Grounds Supervisor Learn More

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.