Ankeny Schools Snapshot
A monthly district newsletter
Advancing the Vision
Throughout the course of the winter, planning teams throughout the district have been working hard reimagining how our district might improve how we are serving the needs of our students. Teams of parents, community members, teachers, and administrators have been working to create the district’s Strategic Plan, work is beginning to create ACSD Diversity Equity & Inclusion Framework that will define how the district will help school staff and leaders ensure initiatives undertaken within the district are directed toward the achievement of our core district goals and are aligned to the strategic plan, and input has begun to be collected to define Ankeny’s Profile of a Graduate. Our hope for these three guiding documents is for them to serve as an anchor for all the district’s work, which is why such a large, diverse group of community and staff members are working together to create these plans.
Strategic Plan: The first of these three key initiatives is the Strategic Plan. As you know, our district is currently engaged in the process of updating our strategic plan, the vision, and goals that will guide the Ankeny Community School District over the next three to five years. This fall, the Core Planning Team of students, parents, community members, and staff developed a draft strategic plan framework. The next step in our strategic planning process to build out the steps we will take to reach the goals outlined in the framework is currently underway. Action Teams, consisting of staff, parents, and community members, are working to establish an action plan to present to the Core Planning Team for review and inclusion in the overall strategic plan. A more detailed report on the work of the strategic planning action teams is included later in this newsletter.
DEI Framework: The DEI Framework will be a guiding set of principles, specific to Ankeny, with local priorities, definitions, and actions identified that will help Ankeny achieve its vision of equity and inclusion for all students. Currently, a formal, comprehensive, external analysis of the Ankeny Community School District is being conducted. Our goal is to identify the key areas of opportunity and success to help inform the strategic planning process, guide the work of developing a framework, and support the district as we engage in continuous improvement. Along with the culmination of this audit, a preliminary DEI Framework will be developed, which will help school staff and leaders ensure that initiatives undertaken within Ankeny schools are directed toward the achievement of core districts goals and are aligned to the strategic plan.
- Ankeny’s Profile of a Graduate: An Ankeny Graduate Is…We are excited to launch the process of re-imagining our graduate profile. What is a graduate profile? It is a document that will work together with our new strategic plan and equity framework to help us chart a path for the district’s future. Our strategic plan will be the guide that allows us to build the kind of district we hope to have. The DEI Framework will help us ensure all students have a high quality educational experience. The graduate profile will serve as our district's North Star, outlining the competencies and characteristics we collectively believe all of our students should have by the time they graduate from our district. We need your help to develop this important guide for our work! Click here to provide your feedback on our graduate profile.
Dr. Erick D. Pruitt
Superintendent of Schools
ACSD Grows: Laying the Groundwork for Ankeny’s Future
Ankeny has been growing quickly for decades, and projections indicate that we will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.
We pride ourselves on having safe, welcoming, and educationally supportive schools for all Ankeny students, both today and in the future. This includes the maintenance and improvement of our current facilities, how we plan and design new construction and renovation, and how we use data to inform future planning
Maintenance and improvement of current facilities is informed through multiple sets of data. One critical data set is our facility audit data. The district began the comprehensive facility audit process in 2015, and we updated audit data in 2018 and in 2021.
The facilities audit looks at school sites, school structure and mechanicals, plant maintainability (floors, windows, restroom fixtures), building safety and security, educational adequacy, and the environment for education.
Enhancements like our safe entryways at all schools, projectors and voice amplification systems in all classrooms, LED lighting with occupancy control, HVAC updates, and playground improvements emerged from needs identified in the facility audit. We also use the facility audit to update schedules for projects such as carpet replacement and painting.
In addition to maintaining our current facilities, the district must renovate and construct new facilities to keep up with student enrollment growth. These projects are based on district data and long range planning. A key component of the design process is stakeholder input. We engage in ongoing conversations with teachers and administrators to determine what works well in our current buildings and what needs to be included in future buildings.
The last major component of facilities planning is the use of data to make long-term decisions. Primary considerations for long-term planning include:
Enrollment and demographic data
Implications for boundaries, feeder systems, and grade configurations
These considerations are all interdependent, and it is not possible to fully investigate any one consideration without analysis of the impact on the others. However, it is important that we engage in conversations about how best to approach district growth. All projections indicate continued enrollment growth over the next decade.
Our district is hitting capacity limits in the north feeder elementary schools, and we are nearing capacity in our middle schools. In addition, recent research indicates that school transitions in the middle school years have a negative impact on academic performance. We also need to consider a significant imbalance in enrollment between the north and the south feeder schools that increases over time.
The growth of the Ankeny Community School District means that our community will need to remain engaged in the work of long range planning. We are looking forward to breaking ground on the next elementary school in April, which will open for the 2024-2025 school year, and we look forward to future conversations to ensure that all students in Ankeny have access to safe, welcoming, and educationally supportive facilities.
Strategic Plan Mid-Point Report
Following the work of the Strategic Plan Core Planning Team this fall, the Strategic Plan Action Teams have been working hard to develop action plans to inform the implementation of the Core Team’s draft strategic framework. The draft framework includes proposed updates to the district’s mission statement, core beliefs, strategic directions, and parameters within which we will operate.
The Action Teams are working to create concrete paths forward in specific focus areas. Each of our seven Action Teams focuses on one of the following topics:
Educational Program & Student Learning
Social Emotional Learning & Mental Health
Family & Community Partnerships
The action teams are working separately but using a coordinated process to brainstorm, narrow ideas, and then propose concrete recommendations. The process they are following goes through these key phases:
Strategic Analysis: Identify Core Team Intent
Information Gathering: Fresh Perspective & Information
Moving to Action: Distillation & Specific Results
Action Plan Writing: Sequence & Step of Activity
Cost-Benefit Analysis: Evaluating the Feasibility & Return on Investment of Possible Strategies
Clear themes are beginning to coalesce within and across action teams.
Personalizing the educational experience to meet the needs, interests, and post-secondary goals of individual students.
Deepening authentic partnerships between the district, families, and the community.
Supporting students to grow and develop as well-rounded individuals who are prepared to succeed personally and professionally and to make positive, meaningful contributions to society as adults.
The Action Teams will complete their work this spring when they present their action plans to the Core Planning Team. Ultimately, the strategic plan - including the action teams’ action plans - will be delivered to the Board of Education for a vote in mid-May.
We are pleased with the true community partnership of this work. We’ve received 4,535 contributions from our school community about the plan; this puts us about one-of the way toward our goal for 13,402 contributions by the end of the strategic planning process. Collectively, our community has spent 78.349 minutes - the equivalent of more than 54 days! - collaborating on our strategic plan, which puts us within close reach of our goal of spending 79,395 minutes as a community engaged in the strategic plan design work.
But we aren’t finished! We are committed to ensuring our strategic plan reflects the aspirations our community has for our students, so we encourage you to share your feedback to support our action teams framework and/or to share your input on what school is now and what school should be.
Affirmative Action Plan
State law requires that the district update its Affirmative Action Plan every other year. Ankeny Schools was required to make an update this year. You can view the plan submitted to the Iowa Department of Education here.
The district is allowed to update the plan more frequently than biennially. Once the strategic planning work is completed, it may be a natural time to revisit the affirmative action plan and align it to the new strategic plan.
School Board Meeting Schedule
Ankeny Community School District
It is the policy of the Ankeny Community School District not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, creed, age (for employment), marital status (for programs), sexual orientation, gender identity and socioeconomic status (for programs) 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 Ken Morris, Jr., Equity Director at 306 SW School Street, Ankeny, IA 50023, 515/965-9600 or email@example.com. The grievance will then be directed to the appropriate administrator charged with managing the program or department specified in the grievance.