Uplifting Urbandale

UCSD Newsletter 3.10.23 #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.

Successful State DECA Competition Leads To International Competition

On February 26, Urbandale High School students competed at the State DECA Competition at Southeast Polk High School. Critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and presentation skills were in high demand as 10 Urbandale High School students demonstrated leadership, poise, and expertise resulting in multiple awards and an invitation to the International Competition. Elijah Wasburn and Ryan Dinh earned 6th and 5th places. Elijah did so well he will be continuing competition in his event during the International Career Development Conference in Orlando, Florida at the end of April. We are #proudofU! Learn More

Coach Sloth Scores Big With Webster Elementary Students

For Read Across America Week, Webster Elementary invited Iowa children’s author Ryan Sloth to read his books to students. Coach Sloth played football for the Iowa State Cyclones and the Iowa Barnstormers, has coached football for 10 years, and has even acted as a football player in movies such as The Amazing Spider-man and The Dark Knight Rises. Sloth has had a passion for writing since he was young. Sammy Sloth Sport Superstar and Sammy Sloth and the Iowa State Cyclones are just a couple of Coach Sloth’s successful children’s books that he shared with Webster students. His presentation was designed to educate, entertain, and inspire kids through his stories. He shared about the book writing process, involved students in an interactive skit with an anti-bullying message to go along with his book, Hank the Bully, and emphasized the importance of reading and hard work. Coach Sloth has visited over 1,000 schools sharing his stories with students in hopes of inspiring them to become “world famous authors” someday. The students loved every minute of Coach Sloth’s visit! #WebsterPride More Photos

Karen Acres Students “Jump Rope for Heart”

On February 13th, Karen Acres Elementary students kicked off their two-week Jump Rope for Heart Kids Heart Challenge. Throughout this two-week period, students learned more about how to keep their hearts healthy, get moving with fun jump rope activities and raise funds for the health of all hearts through the American Heart Association. Great work, KA! #proudofU More Photos

Celebrating National School Social Work Week 2023

Join us in celebrating our Facilitators of Family Outreach (FFOs), Juvenile Court Officer, and Coordinator of Student, Family & Community Resources during National School Social Work Week March 5–11, 2023. The theme for National School Social Work Week is “We Rise.” School Social Workers rise up—supporting our students, families, and school communities. School Social Workers rise to share hope. They rise to listen and understand. They rise to support all students. Please reach out to your social work team and share your appreciation for the countless ways they go above and beyond in supporting students and families. We are truly fortunate to work alongside this exceptional group of professionals. #SSWweek2023 #thankful4U

UCSD Social Work Team

  • Maddy Punsalan, Karen Acres and Valerius Facilitator of Family Outreach

  • Joelly Scheff, Olmsted Facilitator of Family Outreach

  • Sarah Downs, Rolling Green and Webster Facilitator of Family Outreach

  • Katelyn Hockett, UMS Facilitator of Family Outreach

  • Christy Stroope, UHS Juvenile Court Officer

  • Michele Hamilton, UCSD Coordinator of Student, Family, and Community Resources

UPDATE: View The “WHO 13” Story About The Iowa Academic Decathlon State Competition; UHS Is On To Nationals

The Urbandale High School Academic Decathlon team earned Second Place behind Cedar Rapids Jefferson at the Iowa State Academic Decathlon Competition held on March 3–4, where they competed in 10 events related to the theme The American Revolution and the New Nation. This outstanding achievement earned them the opportunity to compete at the Online Nationals Competition which will be held in late April. Well-done! #UHSpride Learn More

Metro West Students Learn Culture of Kazakhstan

Alex Yakobson, CultureALL Ambassador, shared stories about Kazakhstan culture and traditions during the sixth week of the Metro West CultureALL workshops. Yakobson, a Kazakhstan native, has lived in and visited numerous countries throughout Europe before moving to Iowa. Metro West students learned about the history of Kazakhstan and various countries through viewing attire, listening to the language, and participating in dancing. The CultureALL team has done a great job providing opportunities for Metro West students to learn about cultures from around the world! #MWpride 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

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

Celebrating National School Breakfast Week March 6 – 10

Racing to get out the door in the morning? We know how busy mornings can be! Our UCSD Nutrition Services Team offers nutritious breakfasts to ensure students are fueled and ready to “dig in” to learning every school day. Join us in celebrating National School Breakfast Week and give a shout out to our exceptional Nutrition Services Team! #NSBW23

Free and Reduced Price Meal Availability

If you have already completed the Iowa Eligibility Application for this school year, you do not need to reapply. Federal law requires that School Food Authorities provide information regarding the availability of free and reduced price meals two times a year. To learn more, please visit UCSD Nutrition Services. If you believe you may qualify for free and reduced price meals but have not applied, you can visit TITAN to complete an application. No login is required. For questions, please contact Cassie Mayrose at mayrosec@urbandaleschools.com or 515-457-6911.

Reminder: Elementary Boundaries Next School Year

With the opening of the new Valerius Elementary School in the fall of 2023, UCSD is also implementing new elementary school boundaries beginning in the 2023–24 school year. These boundaries were created through the work of the Elementary Boundary Committee which was comprised of parents and school employees. The boundaries were approved by the school board on September 26, 2022. Learn More
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Celebrating Women’s History Month

Throughout March, be sure to reach out to the women in your life who have made an impact on you. We're all stronger for the insight, support, wisdom & leadership of the outstanding women in our school district. https://bit.ly/30bZe8x #WomensHistoryMonth

Announcing Our Olmsted Elementary Principal 2023–24

We’re excited to announce our Olmsted Elementary Principal beginning in the 2023–24 school year. Mrs. Jolee Donnelly has accepted the position of Olmsted Principal. Mrs. Donnelly brings a wealth of educational leadership experience to this role as she has been serving as our Olmsted Interim Principal throughout the 2022–23 school year. Prior to that, Mrs. Donnelly served as our UHS Dean of Students for two years, a UCSD Facilitator of Curriculum and Professional Learning for two years, an English teacher at UHS for seven years, an English teacher at West Liberty High School for one year, and an English teacher at Taft High School in San Antonio, Texas for two years.

In addition, Mrs. Donnelly has first-hand experience of being a J-Hawk as she is a proud UHS alumna. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Iowa with Certification in Secondary Education and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Iowa.

“I am honored that I have been able to serve the staff, students, and families of Olmsted this school year and I am excited about all the opportunities ahead to keep growing with you!” said Donnelly.

We’re thrilled to continue working alongside this outstanding leader as she is a trusted, respected, and highly valued member of our Urbandale team!

Announcing Our Olmsted Elementary Principal 2023-24

Students Share Their Cultures: Metro West’s Final Week of CultureALL

During the seventh and final week of the Metro West CultureALL workshop series, students had the opportunity to share their own cultures with the class. Students shared their personal traditions, the types of food they like to eat, music they enjoy listening to, and holidays they like to celebrate within their culture.

Learning about cultures different from our own is an excellent way to build understanding, broaden perspectives, and develop a greater sense of appreciation for one another. Many thanks to CultureALL for providing the seven-week workshop series for Metro West students. This would not have been possible without Metro West Language Arts/English Teacher, Tracy D’Alessandro, applying for and receiving a Making A Difference Grant from the Urbandale Schools and Alumni Foundation. #leadership #MWpride #HerefortheKids More photos

Help Celebrate UCSD Teachers—Share Your Appreciation

In celebration of National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 8 – 12, we’d like to invite UCSD parents, guardians, alumni, and community members to share thoughts on video about a current UCSD teacher(s) who has made a positive difference in your child’s life and/or your own life. We’re hoping to compile many short videos as a wonderful way to remind our teachers how much they are appreciated and valued. Videos will be shared online (social media, website, etc.) during Teacher Appreciation Week. If you would like to participate, please review the following.

Option 1: Submit Your Own Video

  • Keep your video to a maximum of 1 minute (60 seconds)

  • If using your phone to record the video, please turn your phone horizontal when recording (not vertical)

  • Make sure you are in a well-lit area, no background noise, and your voice is able to be captured well with the device you are using

  • Email Dena Claire claired@urbandaleschools.com, UCSD Communications Manager, when your video is ready; Dena will then send you a link to a Google Folder to upload your video(s)

  • Video content will be reviewed and anything deemed inappropriate will render the video unusable in its entirety

  • Videos must be received by 11:59 p.m. April 3, 2023

Option 2: Schedule Time For District To Record Video

  • We’re happy to help record your thoughts on video; please email Dena Claire claired@urbandaleschools.com to schedule a time (we can also arrange for a translator)

  • Videos may be recorded at your child’s school (if your child is currently a student) or at the District Administration Office 11152 Aurora Avenue (whichever is most convenient for you)

  • Maximum video length is 1 minute (60 seconds)

  • Video content will be reviewed and anything deemed inappropriate will render the video unusable in its entirety

  • Videos will be scheduled February 27 – March 10 and March 20 – April 3, 2023

Reminder: ‘No School’ Dates In March 2023

Please make note of the following dates in March 2023 when school will not be in session and when school resumes:


  • District-wide Recess Day: Today, Friday, March 10 (no school)

  • District-wide Spring Break: Monday, March 13 – Friday, March 17 (no school)

  • Adventuretime Spring Break Programming: March 10, March 13 – March 16 (registration due by February 28; learn more

  • District Administration Office Closed: Friday, March 17

  • School resumes for all UCSD students except Rolling Green: Monday, March 20

  • Reminder: Every Monday is a late start

Rolling Green Elementary (only)

  • Rolling Green Intersession: Monday, March 20 – Friday, March 24 (no school for Rolling Green only)

  • School resumes for Rolling Green students: Monday, March 27

  • Reminder: Every Monday is a late start

Enjoy your Spring Break!

UHS Seniors: Apply For Scholarships By April 1, 2023

Attention UHS SENIORS: Applications are now being accepted for the Urbandale Dollars for Scholars scholarship program! Scholarships will be awarded to graduating UHS seniors. Many scholarships will be available and students can apply for multiple scholarships with just one profile and application! Scholarships to be awarded include, but may not be limited to:

  • Dollars for Scholars – Merit-based (multiple to be awarded)

  • Dollars for Scholars – Need and Merit-based (multiple to be awarded)

  • Dollars for Scholars – Trades

  • George & Helen Newsom Scholarship – Need and Merit-based (two $2,500 awards to one male and one female student)

  • Richard L Haynes Memorial Scholarship – Merit-based (one $1,000 award for (grand)child of a military veteran or servicemember)

  • Urbandale Alumni Association Legacy Scholarship – Merit-based (award(s) for (grand)child of an Urbandale High School alumnus)

Students and parents can learn more about Urbandale Dollars for Scholars by clicking HERE. Last year, Urbandale Dollars for Scholars awarded $18,600 in scholarship awards to graduating UHS seniors! In addition, learn about financial aid and more scholarship opportunities by visiting the UHS Counseling site.

Preschool Pre-Registration Now Open

Preschool Pre-Registration began January 24, 2023. Click here to review detailed Preschool Pre-Registration information for the 2023–2024 school year. Please note: Preschool Pre-Registration will not only pre-register your student, but will play a key role in determining facility and programming needs for the 2023–2024 school year. Pre-registering your student does not guarantee your student a spot in the Urbandale Preschool Program. Once all facility and programming decisions are confirmed, you will be contacted regarding your acceptance into the Urbandale Preschool Program by April 14, 2023. https://urbandaleschools.com/learn

Welcome Preschool Families: 2023-24 Pre-Registration

Kindergarten Registration Now Open

Kindergarten Registration for the 2023–2024 school year is open! Click here to review detailed Kindergarten Registration information for the 2023–2024 school year. Please note: Kindergarten students must be residents of the Urbandale Community School District or file the appropriate paperwork. Please see the section of our website about Open Enrollment if you do not live within district boundaries. View the UCSD elementary boundary map beginning in the 2023–2024 school year. To be eligible for kindergarten a child must be 5 years old by September 15, 2023. https://urbandaleschools.com/learn
Welcome Kindergarten Families 2023-24

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.
Year-Round School: Excited To Move To Karen Acres

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 posted positions for this school year include: Custodian 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.