Downtown School Falcon File

August 4, 2023

August Update

The days leading up to the first day of school (Wednesday, August 23rd) will be busy. As a community we value the need to stay connected and informed on all that is happening within the school and school community. Knowing this, a couple of additional Falcon Files will be sent out in preparation. Below you will find two staff introductions, an update on our after-school programming, along with multiple reminders and notes to keep us all organized.

Staff Update

Welcome Catarina Hathaway to the Downtown School Community!

As a building we engaged in the hiring process for our open Office Manager position with the Downtown School. Through this process we interviewed multiple candidates and was pleased to find a wonderful addition to our school community. The OM position was offered, and I am happy to report Catarina Hathaway has accepted. Catarina officially begins serving with the Downtown School this coming Monday, August 7, 2023. She will undergo serval days of training and will conclude her first week on the job with Deb on Friday, August 11th. While this is a bittersweet transition, we are in good hands with Catarina following in Deb’s footsteps. Here is a brief introduction to Catarina:

Hello! My name is Catarina Hathaway, and I will be the new Office Manager for the Downtown School. I am joining you from Hanawalt Elementary, where I served as the Enrichment Leader for the after-school care program Metro Kids for the last 2 years. I have been with the Des Moines Public Schools since 2014 after graduating from East High School, here in Des Moines and have worked within Metro Kids at several different elementary schools including Cowles, Walnut Street and Cattell. I am excited to have this new opportunity to be a part of the Downtown School community!

My family consists of myself and my husband, Colton. I love to spend my free time reading, biking, and I am an avid movie fan. I am passionate about supporting families in the Des Moines School District, and love working with the elementary level kids and their families. I look forward to getting to know you all in the new school year!

Welcome SUCCESS Case Manager, Tiffany Taylor

My name is Tiffany Taylor, and I will be your new SUCCESS Case Manager. I am so excited to be joining the Downtown School team! I started with SUCCESS in 2018 at Riverwoods Elementary. In 2020 I moved to a Hanawalt/Greenwood split, and this year I will continue to be split, between DTS and Greenwood. I’m looking forward to explaining in more detail what my role will be, but in a nutshell: SUCCESS is a Drop Out Prevention program, with case managers in every school in our district. In elementary our primary focus is supporting chronically absent students and their families. In addition, I serve any student/family who has DHS or juvenile court involvement or is experiencing homelessness. Plus, any other student or family that might need some extra support to attend and be successful in school.

I live in the Callanan neighborhood and have two sons – Oliver is a freshman at Roosevelt/Central Campus, and Finn is in 8th grade at Callanan. In my free time, I love to ride my bike, go on walks with my dog, hike, camp with my family, and have movie marathons with my kids.

I am really looking forward to meeting you all – I have heard such great things about the DTS community!

After School Programming Update

After school programming at the Downtown School has been a task as the 2022-23 school year wrapped up and into the summer. We had high hopes to be able to offer an option for families such as Metro Kids Care. Even though we had a large response to the needs survey, we as a district are in a hiring crisis and unable (at this point) to open a program at the Downtown School location. While this is not the result I was hoping for, I am pleased to share an opportunity for the students as we enter into the 2023-2024 school year. Similar to last school year, the Downtown School will host an after-school program one night a week. This program will very much mirror the after-school program that was piloted so successfully last year. Mr. DeLaFuente will serve as the site coordinator. As he returns from his summer break and his contract begins in a few weeks, we will work through the details and more information will come in the near future regarding this opportunity. Until then, please begin brainstorming community partners we may want to approach to join us in this work.

Stay Connected, Become Involved - Join the DTS PTA

The Downtown School has a wonderful partnership between parents/guardians and staff who strive to enhance student learning and enrich the lives of the students within the school community. Overall the purpose of the PTA is to:
  • Encourage and facilitate parental involvement in school activities and decision-making processes.
  • Serve as a channel of communication between parents, teachers, administrators and the school community.
  • Raise much-needed money for the school.
  • Strengthen school-community relationships.
  • Provide volunteer support.
  • Provide educational enrichment.
  • Create a sense of community.

Throughout the school year parents/guardians are invited to attend and become involved in the Parent Teacher Association. As a large community, the PTA will meet every other month with the off months set for the PTA board. Specific times and dates are still being set and will be share with you in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, please also check out the PTA website. This site will be updated and will be a landing place for our community to access information specific to the Parent and Teacher Association.

Downtown School PTA

Click here to access the PTA website

Join us for our Back-To-School Bash

Big picture

DTS School Supply List

Big picture

First Day of School

Wednesday, Aug. 23rd, 7:45am

1800 Grand Avenue

Des Moines, IA

Big picture
Big picture
2023-2024 Downtown School Calendar

click here to access the DTS Calendar

PLEASE NOTE a coding error was discovered on the 2023-2024 DTS calendar. Friday, June 14th is labeled as Conference Celebration. While the day is accurate, the color coding is off. This is a contracted day for staff and students (and families) are expected to attend.

The Conference Celebration is a day where we celebrate the culmination of the school year. Staff schedule times throughout the day for students to come in and share their portfolios with families. It is set up to be a time of reflection and celebration.

Stay up-to-date with the Downtown School Community

Click here to access past Falcon Files