Uplifting Urbandale

UCSD Newsletter 9.30.22 #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.

Fun-Filled Annual Valerius EL Family Picnic

Earlier this month, English language learner (EL) students, families, and staff attended the annual Valerius (at Jensen) EL Family Picnic. Over three dozen family members came together to support students and have a great time getting to know one another. The picnic was also a fantastic opportunity for staff to reconnect with returning families and get to know families who are new to Valerius (at Jensen) and new to the district.

Families enjoyed games, music, and refreshments provided by the UCSD Nutrition Services Team. Parents had many opportunities to connect with one another as well as ask questions and receive answers from staff members. It was a meaningful, relaxing, and fun-filled afternoon. Many thanks to EL Teacher Halyna Vogeler for sharing about this great event! #ValeriusPride

New Elementary Boundaries & Year-Round School Location

With the opening of the new Valerius Elementary School in the fall of 2023, Urbandale Community School District 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.

The benefits of the new elementary boundaries include:

  • All elementary schools are below maximum capacity based on five-year building utilization projections

  • Neighborhood boundaries stay intact

  • Less than 35% of total students are impacted in the concept

  • Efficiently utilizes the existing elementary buildings

  • Webster Elementary maintains the lowest enrollment in order to accommodate future residential growth in the west

  • Offers contiguous boundaries that utilize many main roads and natural boundaries (Douglas Ave., Aurora Ave., Urbandale Golf Course)

Elementary school assignments are based on a family’s home address. School assignment letters are being mailed to elementary families the week of October 3. To help with the transition to the new elementary boundaries, the school board also approved the opportunity for current Kindergarten through 4th grade students to stay in their current school, even if their home address is located within a different elementary school zone. Families should follow the instructions outlined in the letter if wishing to request to stay in their current school. (Note: Families will receive school assignment letters in the mail the week of October 3.)

An additional change in the district is that Karen Acres Elementary will become our year-round school. Currently, the year-round program is located at Rolling Green Elementary. Beginning in the 2023–24 school year, Rolling Green Elementary students and staff will relocate to Karen Acres Elementary located at 3500 74th Street. All families are welcome to enroll in the year-round school at Karen Acres. Although this is a ‘choice’ school, in that families can choose to attend the year-round school, there is no tuition for enrollment. Assignments to this school are filled on a first come-first served basis. If families are interested in the year-round school, please select Karen Acres when using the request form discussed in the letter.

Inquiry Based Social Studies at Urbandale Middle School

Social Studies staff members at UMS engaged in professional learning around best practices and inquiry. They started the session with an example launch of an inquiry unit, focusing on the compelling question, "Can disease change the world?" Teachers shared their learning through small and large group discussions. Together they created descriptors of what best practice looks like and sounds like in an inquiry-based social studies classroom.

Gone Fishin’ With the UHS Fishing Club

The UHS Fishing Club has had some beautiful weather to discuss plans for the year and have their first outing at the pond in Walker Johnston Park. The high school team will be partnering with Valerius Elementary (at Jensen) this year to help younger students learn more about fishing and catch a few fish! Many thanks to Derek Wilkins for sharing these fun-filled photos! Students pictured: Jesse Van De Voort, Caden Smith, Lily Stuart, Jack Baitinger, and Jonathan Reischel.

Join Us In Celebrating National Principals Month Throughout October 2022

During National Principals Month, we celebrate our Principals and Associate Principals for their outstanding support of students, families, teachers, and staff. When you see these leaders in your building, please extend a heartfelt 'thank you' for the countless hours they have dedicated, and continue to dedicate, to planning, preparing, and leading learning environments that are welcoming and inclusive for all students. We are grateful to have such outstanding leaders, partners, and advocates in education throughout all of our schools. Our schools are stronger because of their leadership. #ThankAPrincipal

Thank You For Attending Olmsted & UHS Community Open House Events

Thank you to everyone who attended the Community Open House Events on September 14. We enjoyed welcoming community members inside Olmsted Elementary and the UHS Performance Lab and Studio (fitness center). Thank you for a fun and memorable evening!

Input Needed—District-wide Behavior Values Input

In order to provide a safe and predictable learning environment for every student and staff member, our District is interested in aligning behavior expectations in all of our schools. A group of staff representatives from each school in our District met to discuss each building's current behavioral expectations. We would like to get feedback from parents/guardians regarding behavioral expectations you value most from the options our staff district team selected. Once our students, staff, and stakeholder feedback are gathered the staff representatives from each building will review the results and identify values for our district-wide positive behavior system.

New, Simpler Way To Become An Authorized Iowa Substitute Teacher

Learn more about the new self-paced Iowa Substitute Teaching Authorization Course. The authorization makes you eligible for districts to hire as a substitute teacher. Are you authorized to substitute teach? Fill out the application here: UCSD Substitute Teacher application
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Celebrating National School Lunch Week October 10 – October 14

Join us in celebrating National School Lunch Week (NSLW) October 10–October 14! This year’s NSLW theme, “Peace, Love & School Lunch,” highlights the importance of a healthy school lunch to a student’s success both in and out of the classroom.

We thank our Nutrition Services Team for their dedication to ensuring all students have access to healthy meals. The time, energy, and focus they put into creating menus that are nutritionally balanced and appetizing is nothing short of exceptional.

When you see our Nutrition Services team members this week, please thank them for all they do in support of our students and schools. We are most definitely #betterwithU! #NSLW2022

Parent University October 18: Register Today!

Interested in learning more about grading, bullying, social media, social emotional learning, technology, or how to apply for scholarships and financial aid for college? How about talking directly with the Superintendent and School Board members? Then register today for Parent University on October 18. All UCSD parents/guardians are welcome to attend these free sessions.


  1. School Board & Superintendent Listening Post: You are invited to join the Superintendent and two School Board members to discuss topics of interest. This is a session guided by the participants.

  2. Safety & Security—Bullying & Social Media: Bullying is the unwanted repeated aggressive behavior by someone in a position of power. This session will outline what bullying is through the lens of Iowa Administrative Code, Urbandale district policy, and law enforcement.

  3. Supporting Technology: This session will support 6th-12th grade families with how to use PowerSchool as a tool to engage with what is happening at school.

  4. Grading for Learning: This session will expand on the why and what of grading for learning. Participants will learn more about how grades are determined and what it means to be proficient.

  5. Social Emotional Learning—Supporting Your Elementary Student: Elementary students have access to Social Emotional Learning throughout their school day. This session will provide resources to families that may need access to more mental health support for students.

  6. Social Emotional Learning—Supporting Your Middle or High School Student: Middle and high school students are being pulled in so many directions. From school to academics, social media to relationships, the life of a teenager can be stressful. This session will focus on ways to support middle and high school students through academics, various activities, and busy social lives.

  7. College Prep—FAFSA & Scholarships: This session will discuss the procedure and information needed to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which is used to apply for federal student aid such as federal grants, work study and student/parent loans. (Note: You must complete the FAFSA between October 1 - June 30.)

  8. Facilitator of Family Outreach: A member of the FFO (Facilitator of Family Outreach) team will be available to answer questions about district and community resources.


Please take a moment to RSVP for the Parent University sessions and topics you plan on attending. We will be hosting Parent University at Urbandale High School on October 18. Enter through the west door by the baseball field (map below). Your RSVP will help us to ensure we have the appropriate space, seating, and audio visual requirements. Please RSVP by October 11, 2022.


Parent University consists of two sessions. The first session runs from 6:00 – 6:45 p.m. and the second session runs from 7:00 – 7:45 p.m. There are a total of eight topics to select from for each session. Parents/guardians are able to select one topic they’d like to attend for session one and select a second topic they’d like to attend for session two. Topics will be the same for session one and session two (i.e. the content from a topic in session one will be repeated in session two). Ideas for topics were generated from feedback received in the parent/staff survey as well as by the UCSD School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC).


Parent University is scheduled to take place on the following upcoming dates:

  • February 21, 2023

  • April 18, 2023

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Webster Elementary Celebrates Homecoming In Style

Webster students had a fantastic time celebrating homecoming this year! From pajama day, to Tacky Tuesday, to Class Color Day, to Sports Day, to School Spirit Day—there was something fun for everyone. Students enjoyed meeting the UHS Homecoming Court and spending time eating and playing together. Many thanks to Brenda Briggs for sharing these great photos that capture the joyful spirit of the week!

We Thank & Celebrate Our Dedicated Custodial & Maintenance Teams On National Custodial Appreciation Day October 2

On Sunday, October 2, 2022, we celebrate the dedication, determination, and professionalism of our UCSD Custodial and Maintenance Teams on National Custodial Appreciation Day. Please give our Custodial & Maintenance Teams a HUGE shout out when you see them for all of the days, nights and weekends they’ve worked to respond to ALL of the many custodial and maintenance needs throughout the entire District. We’d like to encourage our students, teachers, staff members, and families to extend a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to these outstanding team members. Our buildings are most definitely better #becauseofU!

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.

Flu Vaccine Clinic: October 26 At Urbandale High School

The Polk County Health Department will offer Flu Vaccine Clinics for Urbandale students, staff, parents, siblings, and community members.

Date: October 26, 2022

Time: 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Location: Urbandale High School Commons (cafeteria) (Note: Please enter the high school through the main entrance and turn right to walk toward the Commons.)

Reserve Your Flu Vaccine Appointment Online

Please make note:

  • FluMist and COVID-19 vaccines are not available this year.

  • We will offer the Quad Injectable Vaccine.

  • We will offer the High Dose Injectable Vaccine for those 65 years of age and older.

  • Most major insurance plans accepted.

  • Please bring your insurance card.

  • Flu vaccine for uninsured is $25 ($65 for High Dose); or what you can pay.

  • Parent/guardian must be present with minors and complete a consent form (Note: consent form included in the online registration).

Do your part to stop the flu!

  • WASH your hands

  • COVER your cough

  • STAY home if you’re sick

  • GET vaccinated

5th Annual Karen Acres & Valerius Elementary Fall Festival October 22

Mark your calendars now for the 5th Annual Karen Acres Elementary in cooperation with Valerius Elementary Fall Festival! Held on Saturday, October 22nd from 10:00 a.m.– 3:00 p.m. Shop from 40+vendors and crafters, enjoy free inflatables, princess and superhero meet and greets, and train rides for the kids.

Concessions include walking tacos, homemade bars, and more available for a small fee. Make sure to check out all the raffle baskets in the cafeteria, especially those put together by each grade's classroom! Raffle tickets are available for a small fee as well.

Join the event page for important details!

Interested in having a booth, information, or sales? Email: karenacresfallfestival@gmail.com

Join Us In Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month September 15 – October 15

Join us in celebrating our Hispanic and Latinx students, families, staff, and community members during National Hispanic Heritage Month! Every year, the United States honors the history and legacy of Hispanic and Latinx people by observing National Hispanic Heritage Month. From September 15 to October 15, we celebrate the cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. National Hispanic Heritage Week was first recognized by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968 and expanded to 30 days by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. Ultimately, it was enacted into law on August 17, 1988.

There are many great resources to learn more about National Hispanic Heritage Month including this collection of documentaries and programs on PBS. We’d like to take time to recognize and honor our students and staff of Latinx descent. We’d also like to empower and educate our non Latinx students and staff surrounding the contributions and impact Latinx people made and continue to make in our community, state, nation, and world. We are #strongerwithU!

Reminder: No School Dates October 2022

Please make note of the following dates in October 2022 when school will not be in session.


  • Friday, October 7: No school due to a teacher in-service/professional development day

  • Monday, October 10: No school due to Fall Break

  • Adventuretime All Day Program (PreK–5) on October 7 and 10 Learn more

Rolling Green Elementary

  • October 11 – October 14: No school due to Intersession

  • October 17 – October 21: No school due to Intersession

Student Meal Pricing and Payments

UCSD Nutrition Services recognizes the important connection between a healthy lifestyle and a student’s ability to learn effectively which is why we ensure all students have access to a healthy breakfast and lunch on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the federal waiver for free school meals was not extended to the 2022-23 school year; thus, families will need to carry a positive balance in their children’s school meal accounts in order for children to access breakfast and lunch while at school.

Meal Prices

Breakfast Meal Prices

Elementary: $2.00

Middle School: $2.50

High School: $2.75

Reduced price breakfast: $0.30

Second complete meal: $2.75

Lunch Meal Prices

Elementary: $2.70

Middle School: $2.95

High School: $3.10

Reduced price lunch: $0.40

Second Complete Meal: $4.15

Milk for students bringing a lunch from home: $0.50

For more information about meal prices, please visit the Nutrition Services website.

Funds can be loaded onto student accounts electronically through TITAN or by bringing cash/check to your student’s building (please place in an envelope and include your student’s first and last name so the money is credited to the correct account). Online payments are preferred because they happen instantaneously. You can also add payments through the Titan app available on the App Store (for iPhone) or Google Play Store (for Android).

If a student has a negative balance in their meal account, parents/guardians will receive an automated notification. No student shall be denied a complete meal, no matter their outstanding balance or qualification for assistance. For more information on negative account balances, please view Board Policy 702A.

Iowa Eligibility Application
To see if your child(ren) qualifies for free and reduced price meals please complete the 2022-2023 Iowa Eligibility Application.

Student Fee Waiver Program
UCSD offers financial assistance to families qualifying for the district’s free and reduced meal program. If your child(ren) qualifies for free or reduced price meals, you may also be eligible for other benefits such as free or reduced fees for books and materials, driver's education, busing, activities, and other district services.

In order to receive these additional benefits, make sure you complete the Waiver of Confidentiality portion of the 2022-23 Iowa Eligibility Application (which is located on tab 2, “Additional Questions” within the online application form). If you have already completed the application and did not select “yes” for this option, or if you received an email or letter stating that you were Directly Certified by the State, you can complete the waiver separately by using this form. By completing the waiver form, you waive your right to confidentiality of your eligibility status for the selected programs. Please note: The application and waiver forms need to be completed each school year.

To learn more about applying for free or reduced meals, please visit the Nutrition Services website.

For assistance in completing the application or for questions, please contact the Nutrition Department at 515-457-6911.

The Urbandale Community School District is an equal opportunity provider.

Join Our Nutrition Services Team!

Work with dedicated team members who are making a difference, one meal at a time. Learn more and apply today.
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Ticketing Moves Online in 2022-2023

Effective this fall, purchasing tickets for all Athletic and Performing Arts Events in grades 7–12 must be done online. Those wishing to attend events are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance at www.j-hawks.com/tickets. If you purchase tickets at the event, we will only be accepting credit card payments as there will no longer be a cash option at the gate.

The only venue where cash payment will still be accepted this year will be for Urbandale Middle School football games. This is due to the lack of infrastructure at that venue. All other Athletic and Performing Arts Events will only be accepting online payments in advance or credit card payments at the gate.

When attending events away from our home venues, we anticipate most opponents in the CIML will also be only offering online ticketing. To aid in the process of purchasing tickets in advance for away events, you may wish to visit www.cimltickets.com.

Please make sure you are prepared to cheer on your J-Hawks at our home venues by either purchasing tickets in advance at www.j-hawks.com/tickets or purchasing tickets at the gate with a credit card. We look forward to welcoming you and appreciate your support of Athletics and Performing Arts.
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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 which include the following:

Full-Time with Benefits:

  • Elementary Counselor - Valerius Elementary

  • Elementary & Secondary Special Education Teacher positions

  • Spanish Teacher - Urbandale High School

  • General Maintenance

  • Full-Time Substitute Teachers

  • Special Education Associates


  • Physical Education Teacher - Metro West Learning Academy

  • Special Education Associates

  • General Education Associates

  • General Workers - Production Kitchen & Serving Kitchen

  • Various High School and Middle School Coaching positions

  • Before/After School Adventuretime Childcare Associates and Greeters

Substitutes (work around your schedule!):

  • Teachers

  • Associates

  • Custodians

  • Production Kitchen & Serving Kitchen Workers

Learn more about available positions. For questions or additional information, please contact UCSD HR Manager Kate Johnson johnsonk@urbandaleschools.com We look forward to hearing from you!

UCSD Return To Learn / COVID-19 Guidance

We continue to take the health and safety of our students, staff, and families seriously which is why we’d like to share the following guidance regarding current COVID-19 mitigation strategies. Please be aware, all of the following strategies/practices are current as of July 19, 2022, and are subject to change pending federal, state, and/or local decision-making.

Reminder: if you test positive for COVID-19:

  • Students and staff 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).

  • Individuals 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 individuals wear a mask when around others at home and in public for an additional 5 days.

  • For students who test positive while school is in session, families need to contact their School Nurse.

  • For students who test positive while school is not in session and are participating in school programming or Activities, families need to contact the supervisor of the program (e.g. Adventuretime or Summer School) or Activities Department.

  • For staff who test positive, employees need to contact their supervisor and Kate Johnson.

  • This guidance applies to both unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals.

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.