Uplifting Urbandale

UCSD Newsletter 11.11.22 #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.

UMS Students Visit Iowa State University During Women in Science and Engineering “Go Further” Day

Each year, Urbandale Middle School offers an opportunity for 8th grade girls to attend “Go Further,” a day hosted by the W.I.S.E (Women In Science and Engineering) organization at Iowa State University. Students enjoy traveling north to the prestigious Iowa State campus to explore science, technology, engineering, and math.

"I didn't expect to feel so encouraged,” said UMS 8th grade student Myrsa Sarmiento. “I learned a lot and was motivated to continue my interest in architectural engineering. When we toured the campus I saw so many buildings that were dedicated to engineering and even a building called the Sloss Building that is for women and the support of them on campus. There was a question/answer portion at the end and I heard from women who look like me—women of color."

While some students have siblings or family members who can bring them onto a university campus for a first-hand view of a college experience, others may not have those connections. This school field trip to a university campus just might be a catalyst for students to begin seeing the world of opportunities that await them. Learn More

Metro West Academy Gives Back By Raking Leaves And Yard Clean Up At The Olmsted-Urban House

Metro West Academy students and staff are doing great things inside and outside the classroom. Most recently, the Metro West team helped our neighbors at the Urbandale Historical Society and Urbandale Community Action Network (UCAN) by raking leaves and cleaning up the yard at the Olmsted-Urban House. Students and staff enjoyed a beautiful fall day as they rolled up their sleeves and got to work. The time they spent raking leaves was not only fun, but a meaningful way to give back to the community and very much appreciated by the recipients. A job well-done! We are incredibly #proudofU!

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. 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: Feels Like Family

UHS National Honor Society Students Trick-or-Treat For A Cause

Not only did Urbandale High School students involved in the National Honor Society enjoy a night full of fun and good laughs during Beggars Night on October 30, they also enjoyed collecting items in support of the Urbandale Food Pantry. Students went out into the community to collect non-perishable food items in order to help support families in need. Many thanks to these outstanding students for their efforts, to the community members who donated items, and to the National Honor Society sponsors—Social Studies Teacher Adam Dirks and Extended Learning Program Teacher Carrie Baird-Forristall. We are #thankful4U!

We Thank All Who Have Served: Veterans Day November 11, 2022

Veterans Day, observed annually on the 11th day of November, is a time for honoring all men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces. We are grateful for the service and sacrifice of all those who have served and their families. We are especially thankful to honor and recognize members of our UCSD team who also served in the U.S. Armed Forces. #thankful4U
Honoring Our UCSD Veterans

PreK-12 Math Curriculum Review Underway: Share Your Feedback

Last school year significant work was carried out to both understand the current state of math instruction and student performance within our system and to understand the current landscape and best practices in math instruction. This year a leadership team of PreK-12 teachers have been engaged in learning and will be field testing two sets of instructional materials with students within our system. The two curriculum materials that are being field tested are: Illustrative Mathematics and Eureka Math²

During fall conferences, all staff and parents/guardians were able to review samples of materials and provide feedback as part of the curriculum review process. Materials were available to review at each school within our system. Following field testing and our learning communities’ feedback, the math leadership team will evaluate and make a recommendation for the adoption of new instructional materials. If you would like to provide feedback, please use this form.

From January through May of 2023 professional learning will be provided to prepare for implementation of the new instructional materials with the intent of having these materials in teachers’ hands by April of 2023 to prepare for initial implementation in August of 2023.
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UMS Students Collaborate In Celebration Of Día de los Muertos

UMS CORE and Al Exito students collaborated together in the creation of the altar, the "ofrenda" table for "Día de los Muertos" (Day of the Dead). Day of the Dead is widely observed in Mexico, but is also celebrated in other Latin American countries, on November 1st and 2nd. In Mexican culture, the altar usually has traditional dishes, candles, pictures of families and friends who have passed away, colorful skulls and decorations. The Day of the Dead is a time for families and friends to gather and remember joyful memories of those close to them who have passed. Thank you to our UMS students for sharing this special tradition! Learn more about this Mexican tradition. #UMSpride

UHS iJAG Students Take Home 2nd Place & Represent Iowa In National Conference

Earlier this month, six Urbandale High School students participating in the Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates (iJAG) program, attended the Leadership Development Conference (West) along with 51 other iJAG programs across the state. Leading up to the conference, iJAG students were tasked with the challenge of creating a “hype video” for Urbandale iJAG. This was a competition across all programs participating in the Leadership Development Conference. UHS iJAG students took home second place for their hype video and $150 to go toward their fundraising goal. They also won a team building activity by creating a tower out of newspaper and tape which came in at a whopping 147 inches tall. View the hype video (Note: The original hype video included background music, but due to copyright restrictions, the music was removed so the video could be viewed on YouTube.) In addition, UHS iJAG student Ryan Knight was selected as one of eight students – out of a total of 48 applicants – to attend the National Student Leadership Academy in Washington, D.C. When Ryan attends the conference, he will not only be representing Urbandale, but the entire state of Iowa. #UHSpride Learn More

URBSAF Awards Over $23,000 in Grants To Urbandale Educators

The Urbandale Schools and Alumni Foundation (URBSAF) was thrilled to have the opportunity to award over $23,000 to Urbandale educators — the largest amount awarded to date — as part of the URBSAF Making A Difference Grant Program. The annual program, now in its ninth consecutive grant cycle, is intended to provide Urbandale Community School District educators the opportunity to receive funds for projects and initiatives not supported within existing school budgets. Learn More

Reminder: No School Dates November 2022

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


  • Wednesday, November 23 through Friday, November 25: No school due to Thanksgiving Holiday

  • The All-Day Adventuretime Program for preschool - 5th grade students is taking place on November 23

  • Thursday, November 24 and Friday, November 25: District Administration Office closed due to Thanksgiving Holiday

Rolling Green Elementary (only)

  • Monday, November 21 and Tuesday, November 22: No school due to Intersession

Free, Confidential Counseling For All Members Of Your Household

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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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.

Student Meal Pricing and Payments

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. 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). Learn More

Ticketing Moves Online in 2022-2023

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.
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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. Our newly posted positions include: General Maintenance and Full-Time Special Education Associate at Rolling Green Learn More

UCSD Return To Learn / COVID-19 Guidance

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. 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.
**The next issue of Uplifting U will be distributed December 9. Enjoy your Thanksgiving Break!**

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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.