Uplifting Urbandale

UCSD Newsletter 2.24.23 #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.

UMS Toy Parade: Propelling Students Into Their Future

In January, Urbandale Middle School 7th and 8th students participated in a friendly competition with their own inventions. The UMS “Project Lead the Way'' class spent several weeks developing an understanding of engineering design and core concepts of technology by learning the details of mechanisms. Students formed small groups and were responsible for researching, designing, and building their own pull-toys that demonstrate the functions they learned. Project Lead the Way teacher Kelsie Van Gorkom provided an opportunity for students to participate in a pull-toy parade which allowed other UMS students to vote on their favorites—having a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in each class. What a fun and exciting way to bring learning to life in the classroom! #UMSpride More photos.

Celebrating Friendship

For Valentine's Day, Urbandale elementary students celebrated with “friendship parties.” Students got to show off their creativity with decorative boxes for their friendship cards. They were very eager to show off their projects and enjoyed playing games, making crafts, and sharing treats with each other during the celebrations! #UCSDpride More photos.

Announcing Our New UCSD Building and Grounds Supervisor

We’re excited to announce Mr. Zac Wheeler has accepted the position of our UCSD Building and Grounds Supervisor. Mr. Wheeler’s first day was Monday, February 13.

With over 20 years of experience in both the public and private sectors, Mr. Wheeler comes to this position with a wealth of knowledge and hands-on expertise. He recently had an opportunity to help start a plumbing division for a local company where he helped manage all aspects of the business. Prior to that, Zac served as the head plumber for the Ankeny Community School District in order to support the maintenance needs of 20 buildings which included plumbing, boilers, construction, backflow preventers, electrical, HVAC, materials, and partnering with contractors. Mr. Wheeler is a licensed State of Iowa Master Plumber and State of Iowa Journeyman Plumber.

"I’m enjoying being part of the UCSD team and I look forward to supporting the building/maintenance needs of our students, teachers, and staff,” said Wheeler.

Please join us in welcoming Mr. Wheeler to our District Administrative Team!

Announcing Our New UCSD Building & Grounds Supervisor

A Joyful Surprise: Students Create Homemade Valentines During Community Ed Class

Urbandale Community Education hosted a Valentine’s Day Art Class at Webster Elementary for students to express what they are grateful for this Valentine’s Day. On Monday, February 13, students created two projects during the two-hour after-school class. The class was led by Kelley Stahl, an art teacher who works between two different Community Education programs. Kelley shared how watching students be creative and make the projects their own is what makes art so special. More photos

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 the 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! #UCSDpride

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

Metro West Students Learn the Art of Chinese Calligraphy

As part of their CultureALL workshops, Metro West students had a unique opportunity to learn about Chinese Calligraphy on February 7. The CultureALL Ambassador facilitated a group discussion about the origin of language and shared how the Chinese language is based on pictographs. Students gained insight into the meaning behind various Chinese characters and then had an opportunity to practice writing the characters which date back thousands of years. WHO 13 Meteorologist Megan Salois featured the CultureALL workshop on her recent Scholastic Spotlight segment. View the story here. #MWpride More photos.

The Key to Our Hearts—Key Club Raises Money From Rose Sale

For Valentine’s Day, the Key Club at Urbandale High School sells roses to raise money for their “Project Adopt a Family.” Key Club students spend time after school prepping the roses and creating bouquets to deliver them to students in the morning. This project allows the Key Club to “adopt” a family each year through West Des Moines Human Services. Throughout the year, students get to do many deeds for the family such as grocery shopping and gift giving. In addition to adopting a family, UHS Key Club members do many projects throughout the year for the community including the UCAN Fall Clean-Up, working the Homecoming Street Party, making tie blankets for various organizations, decorating cards for residents in nursing homes, and holding a blood drive. Many thanks to the UHS Key Club for all of the many ways they are providing support in our community. We are #proudofU! #UHSpride More photos.

Stories and Music Build Connection and Understanding

Abe Goldstein was the Cultural Ambassador for Metro West’s fifth week of the CultureALL workshop. Students learned about the Jewish culture through stories and traditional accordion music. The CultureALL ambassador shared information behind different Jewish traditions, such as breaking glass at wedding celebrations, and the meaning behind them. Hearing personal stories is a great way to better understand and connect with various cultures in our community. Many thanks to the CultureALL organization for providing such meaningful and engaging learning opportunities for students! #MWpride More Photos

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: 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!

Design and Construction Progress Update February 2023

Click here for an updated summary of the construction progress at the new Valerius Elementary School.

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.

Opt-In To Receive Text Message Notifications

In addition to receiving notifications via email and phone, parents, guardians, and staff can opt-in at any time to receive text message notifications by texting “Y” or “YES” to 67587. The “67587” number is the “short code” that connects to our notification provider, School Messenger.

Urbandale Apparel At Hy-Vee

We are proud to announce that Urbandale J-Hawk apparel is now available for purchase at the Urbandale Hy-Vee. Check it out TODAY!
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Urbandale Spring Apparel—Order By March 2

Urbandale Spring Apparel is now available for purchase! Please visit this link to place an order. All orders must be placed by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 2, 2023. Questions may be directed to Adam Fraher at adam.fraher@j-hawks.com.

Celebrating Black History Month Throughout February 2023

Black History Month is an annual celebration and recognition of the extraordinary accomplishments of Black Americans. Black History Month began in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, a renowned Black American historian, scholar, educator, and publisher, and was originally referred to as “Negro History Week.” It became a month-long annual celebration first acknowledged by the U.S. Government in 1976 under the leadership of President Gerald Ford. Since 1976, every U.S. President has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. The celebration is held in February in order to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln; both men having made positive and lasting contributions to the lives of Black Americans. (Source: History.com, Black History Month, January 2010) Join us in celebrating #BlackHistory throughout February. We encourage you to set aside time to learn more about our collective American History by viewing, reading, and listening to these resources. We honor, support, and lift up Black voices everywhere. #empoweringU

Urbandale Residents to Vote on U-Plex in March

On Tuesday, March 7, a special election will be held for Urbandale voters to consider this question: “Shall the City of Urbandale, Iowa, issue its General Obligation Bonds or Capital Loan Notes in an amount not exceeding the amount of $43,000,000 for the purpose of designing, constructing, equipping, and furnishing a new community recreation complex, with related recreational site improvements?” Learn more about the project at www.Urbandale.org/uplex

6th-12th English Language Arts Curriculum Review

Beginning in the Fall of 2022 the Teaching and Learning Department began the curriculum review 6th-12th grade English Language Arts. This review is evaluating current and future practices in the area of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The English Language Arts Teachers 6-12 have engaged in learning and an ELA leadership team representing grade levels will field test instructional materials to support ELA instruction. During spring conferences, all ELA staff and parents/guardians will have the opportunity to provide feedback as part of the curriculum review process. Materials will be available for review at Urbandale Middle School and High School. Following field testing and our learning communities' feedback, the ELA leadership team will evaluate and make a recommendation for the adoption of new instructional materials. The following materials will be field tested in select 6-11 English Language Arts classrooms.

6-8 Amplify

6-12 myperspectives

9-12 Springboard

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6th-8th Social Studies Curriculum Review

Beginning in the Fall of 2022 the Teaching and Learning Department began the curriculum review of 6th-8th grade Social Studies. This review began with learning for all social studies educators around the inquiry design model along with observation of a fifth-grade classroom within the district to ensure K-8 alignment in instructional experiences for our students. The 6th-8th grade teachers then used existing materials to implement instructional shifts to align with the inquiry model. In the next phase, teachers will field test instructional materials for 6th-8th grade materials. During spring conferences, materials will be available for review at Urbandale Middle School Following field testing and our learning communities' feedback, the team will evaluate and make a recommendation for the adoption of new instructional materials. The following materials will be field tested in select 6-8 social studies classrooms.

TCI Social Studies

McGraw-Hill Social Studies

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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: Creating A Bright Future

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: General Maintenance 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.