Uplifting Urbandale

UCSD Newsletter 4.07.23 #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.

Looking for a fun, meaningful, and well-paying job this summer?

Then look no further. The UCSD Adventuretime Family Services Summer Program is hiring associates to support preschool through fifth grade students participating in the summer program. You’ll have the opportunity to help children participate in crafts, games, enrichment activities, team building, field trips, guest speakers, and group celebrations. The summer program will be located at Olmsted Elementary from June 8 – August 4, 2023. Hours of operation are from 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Associate positions are great for parents, retirees, community members, college students, and high school students (must be 16 years of age or older to apply). Positions are part-time and not eligible for health insurance benefits. The beginning hourly rate is $15.03/hour. To learn more, view the associate job description or call 515-457-5855. We look forward to hearing from you!

Booster Club Day of Giving: 1 Day, 1 U

The Urbandale Booster Club is excited to announce their upcoming Day of Giving event, "One Day, One U," on April 14th. This event is an opportunity for the community to come together and support the school's athletics programs. The Urbandale Booster Club's mission is to enhance the student-athlete experience by providing financial support for athletic programs, equipment, and facilities. This 24-hour fundraising period will help current and future J-Hawks for years to come! Learn More

Karen Acres First Graders Learn About Meskwaki Culture

First grade students at Karen Acres have been spending time learning about different cultures and traditions in their Social Studies class. One culture that the students spent time learning about was the Meskwaki community. Karen Acres teacher Courtney Davenport is of Meskwaki descent and got to speak to the children about her culture. She shared many traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation, such as creating moccasins and jewelry, as pictured. She discussed different celebrations, told the students her Meskwaki name, “Anittigwea” meaning fox, and talked about their Proclamation Day where they celebrate the purchase of their land near Tama, Iowa. This was a great experience for Karen Acres students to see learning being brought to life! More Photos

Announcing Our Director Of Athletics And Activities

We’re excited to announce our UCSD Director of Athletics and Activities beginning in the 2023–24 school year. Mr. Josh Frey has accepted the position of Director of Athletics and Activities. We look forward to welcoming him to the position beginning July 1, 2023.

Mr. Frey brings an abundance of leadership experience both inside and outside the classroom. Since 2020, he has been serving as the Assistant Activities Director in the Waukee Community School District. Prior to that, he served as an instructional coach for one year in West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS), a behavior interventionist for one year in WDMCS, and a special education teacher in both WDMCS and Des Moines Public Schools for six years.

Mr. Frey holds a Master of Arts in Education Leadership from the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), an endorsement in 5–12 Level 1 Special Education from Morningside College, and a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education from Upper Iowa University. He is working on obtaining his Certified Athletic Administrator endorsement from the NIAAA.

“No one person can replace Dr. Watson; the accolades Urbandale has achieved under his leadership are truly admirable,” said Frey. “I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to build off the foundations he has built and push our programs to enhance the educational experience for J-Hawk Nation.”

Please join us in welcoming Mr. Frey as our new Director of Athletics and Activities. We look forward to working alongside this exceptional leader.


Give A Shout Out To Our Lunch Heroes For National School Lunch Hero Day

Between preparing delicious food, adhering to strict nutrition standards, navigating student food allergies, and offering service with a smile, Urbandale nutrition professionals have a lot on their plate. Urbandale students were served over 83,000 meals in the 2021-2022 school year. A tremendous effort from a tremendous team!

To celebrate their hard work and commitment, Urbandale schools will celebrate School Lunch Hero Day on May 5. This day, celebrated annually since 2013, was designated by The School Nutrition Association and Jarrett Krosoczka, author of the “Lunch Lady” graphic novel series. School Lunch Hero Day provides an opportunity for parents, students, school staff and communities to thank those who provide healthy meals to nearly 30 million of America’s students each school day.

We invite you to honor and recognize the balancing act performed by our school nutrition staff by filling out this Nutrition Staff Appreciation Form, or by sending handwritten cards or letters to your school’s Nutrition Team. If using the form, please submit ‘shout outs’ by May 3, 2023. We will share shout outs on social media and directly with the Nutrition Services Team.

Learn more about School Lunch Hero Day and our fantastic UCSD Nutrition Services Program. #SchoolLunchHeroes

Happy Paraprofessional Appreciation Day April 3!

Our UCSD Paraeducators and Associates partner with teachers to create a welcoming, inclusive, and caring learning environment for students every single day. We thank these outstanding team members for the countless ways they support students. We are better #becauseofU! More photos

Rolling Green Intersession Week: Full Of Learning, Art, And Fun!

Rolling Green’s year round calendar allows families to have longer breaks throughout the school year. Over these longer breaks, Rolling Green offers fun and exciting programs for a nominal fee. The focus of these programs are a theme-based, hands-on approach to learning. Over spring break in March, the topic of the intersession week program was fiber arts. The 40 students who attended had the opportunity to learn more about art and make their own projects. The students made scrape art, balloon string art, weaving art, and symmetrical art. This is such a great program for our year-round elementary students and families! More Photos

Happy National School Librarian Day April 4!

Join us in celebrating the expertise, innovation, & leadership of UCSD Teacher Librarians & Media Associates on National School Librarian Day! We’re thankful for the leadership of our exceptional Library Team! #weappreciateU More Photos

Celebrate Associate Principals and Deans during National Assistant Principals Week

Join us in celebrating our outstanding Associate Principals & Deans during #APWeek23 April 3-7, 2023! We’re fortunate to work alongside these exceptional leaders as they empower students, support families, and inspire educators. We’re thankful for their leadership, expertise, and compassion. Our school district is most definitely better #becauseofU! #UCSDpride More photos

Students Represent UHS At State Career Development Conference

Six Urbandale iJAG (Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates) students qualified for the State Career Development Conference on March 23rd at the Iowa Events Center. The iJAG program teaches 37 core competencies comprised of six skill sets: personal skills, leadership skills, communication skills, job attainment skills, job success skills, and career development skills.

The qualifiers from Urbandale High School include: Beltrain Nshizirungu, Simion Hendricks, Finn Sanders for Creative Decision Making, Yara Nasser for Career Preparation, Ryan Knight for Prepared Speaking, and Justin Carper for Financial Literacy. Congratulations to these students for representing Urbandale at the State Career Development Conference! Well-done! #proudofU

Last Day Of School June 1; Rolling Green Last Day June 15

As of April 7, our last day of school remains the same for both the traditional calendar and year-round calendar.

Traditional Calendar:

  • Last day for students is Thursday, June 1, 2023

  • Last day for certified staff is Monday, June 5, 2023

Year-Round Calendar:

  • Last day for students is Thursday, June 15, 2023

  • Last day for certified staff is Friday, June 16, 2023

  • Note: May 26 will be a work day for certified staff at Rolling Green

As we have had one early dismissal (January 18) and one cancellation (February 16) day this school year due to inclement weather, we will not need to make up additional days. However, this would need to be reassessed if we were to have an additional inclement weather or no school day(s). School calendars can be viewed here.

Safe+Sound Iowa: Safety Reporting Tool

The Iowa Governor’s School Safety Bureau developed Safe+Sound Iowa—an anonymous reporting tool for students, teachers, parents, and community members to help identify and provide intervention for students in crisis before they harm themselves or others. The school safety reporting tool is available state-wide to help prevent violence, unlawful possession of weapons, self-harm and other forms of victimization and threatening behaviors in schools.

Reports of safety concerns can be made securely and anonymously three ways:

  1. Download the free Safe+Sound Iowa mobile app

  2. Visit Safe and Sound Iowa “Make A Report”

  3. Call 800-224-6018

By reaching out anonymously about something you've seen or heard, you could help someone before they harm themselves or others. Safe+Sound Iowa will make sure the right people are notified of your report within seconds. Learn more at SafeandSoundIowa.gov

Class of 2023! Urbandale High School & Metro West Learning Academy Graduation Events

Urbandale High School Class of 2023 Commencement Ceremony
Thursday, May 25th at 7:00 p.m. at the Knapp Center, Drake University
Congratulations to the Class of 2023! We are #proudofU!

Metro West Learning Academy Class of 2023 Graduation Celebration

Wednesday, May 17th at 5:00 p.m. at the Lion’s Park Gazebo (please bring your own chair for an outdoor ceremony). To help us ensure we have enough space, please RSVP to Jamie Evans or (515) 727-6301 if you are planning to attend. Congratulations to the Class of 2023! We are #proudofU!

Student Registration For The 2023-24 School Year

Families with students in kindergarten through 11th grade currently enrolled in the district will receive an email between May 1 – May 14, 2023, with instructions for online registration. For families without email, a letter will be mailed to you with instructions for registering your returning student(s).

Student Registration:

2023-24 Bus Transportation Request Form

To be on a bus route for the first day of school, UCSD needs to receive your completed bus request form no later than July 1st for Karen Acres and August 1st for all other schools. After that date, UCSD can still add your student for bus transportation, but the bus stop locations will be set; thus, students may have to walk farther to their bus stop and possibly wait several days before they can begin riding the bus. All bus transportation information, including the bus request form, can be found here. (Please note: Beginning in the 2023-24 school year, the year-round program will move to Karen Acres Elementary; here is the Elementary Boundary Map beginning in the 2023-24 school year.)

Valerius Construction Progress Update Video

Join Principal Lara Justmann and Dean of Students Derek Wilkins for a brief tour highlighting areas within the new Valerius Elementary building in the latest construction progress update video. #ValeriusRising

Valerius Elementary Construction Progress Update April 2023

Conditions for Learning Survey

During April 17-28, 2023, if your child is in grades 3-12, they will be invited to complete a brief Conditions for Learning Survey online. Student participation in the Survey is highly encouraged, but is voluntary and no student is required to fill out the Survey. If you do not want your student to participate please notify your school principal. The Survey will take about 20 minutes to complete. The purpose of the Survey is to obtain information about how students feel about the culture and climate of their school and teachers, as well as the safety of their school. The information collected will help the state, our schools, and local community improve the school. It is important to ask children to tell us what is good and working about their experience in school, and what needs to be improved, in their eyes. The Survey questions are available using the links below, or you may request copies from your school:

Grades 3-5 Conditions for Learning Survey

Grades 6-12 Conditions for Learning Survey

Iowa Statewide Assessment of Academic Progress

The Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) is an assessment that must be administered to all Iowa students in grades three through eleven. To comply with the state of Iowa law requiring all school districts to conduct this test during the last quarter of the school year, Urbandale students in grades three through eleven will take the ISASP assessments from April 17-28, 2023. Specific schedules for each school building have been developed and will be shared by the school principal prior to the start of testing. Below is a table showing the ISASP assessments students in UCSD will take:

ISASP Test Name & Grade Levels

  • Reading: 3rd - 11th
  • Language & Writing: 3rd - 11th
  • Mathematics: 3rd - 11th
  • Science: 5th, 8th, & 10th

More information regarding the ISASP assessments, including practice tests, may be found by visiting the following website: https://iowa.pearsonaccess.com/test-prep/

Join the Fun During the UMS Color Run

The Urbandale Middle School PTO is hosting the first annual “Color Run” on Saturday, April 29, 2023. Participants can choose to walk or run a 3.5K or 5K route around Urbandale with stops at various elementary schools and Urbandale High School. The run will start and end at the Urbandale Middle School parking lot located at 7701 Aurora Avenue, Urbandale, IA 50322. Check-in begins at 9:00 a.m. with the race beginning at 10:00 a.m. and ending at 12:00 p.m. Registration is $30 per person and includes a race kit (t-shirt, sunglasses, stickers, tattoos and more!). Participants must register by April 6 in order to receive a race kit (note: race registrations still accepted after April 6). Proceeds will support students and teachers at Urbandale Middle School. All are welcome to participate. Come out and join the fun during the UMS Color Run! Register Today

Help Celebrate UCSD Educators—Share Your Appreciation Statement Today

In celebration of Educator Appreciation Week, May 8 – 12, 2023, we’d like to invite UCSD students, parents, guardians, staff, alumni, and community members to share your thoughts about a current UCSD educator(s) who has made a positive difference in your life and/or your child’s life. Statements will be shared online (district website, newsletter, social media) during Educator Appreciation Week. If you'd like to participate, please complete this brief form by today, Friday, April 7. Thank you for sharing a statement as a wonderful way to remind educators how much they are appreciated and valued!

Reminder: ‘No School’ Dates In April 2023

Please make note of the following dates in April 2023 when school will not be in session.


  • Friday, April 28: District-wide Teacher In-Service / Professional Development Day (no school)

  • Reminder: Every Monday is a late start

Rolling Green Elementary (only)

  • Monday, May 1 – Friday, May 5: Rolling Green Intersession (no school for Rolling Green only)

  • Reminder: Every Monday is a late start

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: Feels Like Family

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: Administrative Assistant to Special Education & Student Services 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.