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We Are Ankeny
Ankeny Community School District
Let's talk about... Ankeny Community School District! Superintendent, Dr. Erick Pruitt is your host as he talks about all things Ankeny Schools with staff, students and community members.
Oct 5, 2023
Let's talk about... Renewal Vote for Physical Plant & Equipment Levy
On November 7, 2023, Ankeny residents will vote on the renewal of the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy. This renewal happens every 10 years, and the funds are used by Ankeny Community Schools to make building repairs, purchase new equipment, and increase security systems. Listen and learn about PPEL and it's relationship to the Ankeny Community through Ankeny Schools.
May 9, 2023
Let's Talk About... Stepping into 6th Grade
Podcast Guests: Northeast Elementary 5th grade teacher Kristen Recher, Parkview Middle School Counselor Nate Tobey, and Parkview Principal Ben Huebsch. Ankeny 5th graders have a big transition in the fall when they move from an elementary building to a middle school building. Our guests today are here to let you know what conversations our 5th-grade teachers are having in the classroom and how the middle schools are preparing for their arrival.
May 1, 2023
Let's Talk About... The Superintendent's Life
What's it like being a school district superintendent? What challenges does education face in the next few years? Our guests answered these questions and more. Host and Ankeny Superintendent Dr. Erick Pruitt asked Des Moines area colleagues Dr. Rosalie Daca from Urbandale Community School District, Dr. D.T. Magee from Norwalk Community School District, and Dr. Dirk Halupnik from Southeast Polk Community Schools to pull up a microphone and talk about what it's like to be a superintendent.
Apr 24, 2023
Let's Talk About... Middle to High School Transitions
New environments can mean excitement to one student, but anxiety to another. This podcast is "almost" everything you need to know about moving into 8th-grade and 10th-grade. Southview Middle School counselor Nicole Wee, Ankeny Centennial High School counselor Ashley Wilson, and Executive Director for Ankeny Secondary Schools Bev Kuehn have advice, reassurance, and encouragement for parents anticipating a building change next fall or in the near future.
Apr 17, 2023
Let's Talk About... Filling. Up. Every. Learner. (FUEL)
Fill The Fund is an annual event focused on supporting the 'Filling Up Every Learner' (F.U.E.L.) fund. Pull up a seat to the table with our guests, IMPACT Community Action Partnership CEO- Anne Bacon, Wiedenman Family Foundation President - Barb Wiedenman, and Scott Litchfield the Director of Nutrition Services for Ankeny Schools as they deep dive into the topics of food insecurity, ACSD's proactive program to support students, and how community advocacy continues to inspire us all.
Apr 10, 2023
Let's Talk About... Ankeny HS's The Talon News
Ankeny High School is producing the next generation of journalists. Award-winning news source, The Talon, is produced for and by students. Joining Dr. Pruitt to talk about what makes The Talon a great elective choice are editors Ava, Vivian, and Julien.
Apr 4, 2023
Let's Talk About... Ankeny Area Historical Society
Explore the history of Ankeny in this episode with Ankeny Area Historical Society co-Chairs Jois Thorson ODonnell, JoAnn Kocheiser Adamson, and intern Avan Albaugh. It's a trip down memory lane with a peek into current exhibits and summer events.
Mar 27, 2023
Let's Talk About... Social Emotional Learning
Today, we are discussing the concept and integration of Social and Emotional Learning in the classroom, also referred to as SEL. Join Ankeny Schools staff members Shawn Bierman, Social Emotional Learning Specialist; Jason Aker, Principal at Prairie Ridge Middle School and Whitney Longtin, Assistant Principal at Southeast Elementary School as they define social-emotional learning and what it looks like in their classrooms and throughout the district.
Mar 21, 2023
Let's Talk About... Employee & Family Services' Student Assistance Program
Our guest, Steve Arneson, is from Employee and Family Resources Center. He is a partner with Ankeny Schools for the Student Assistance Program available in our schools and to families. Health and especially mental health are topics that school districts find themselves talking about more and more. Ankeny Community School District believes the health of our students and their families affects their ability to excel in the classroom and we've partnered with EFR to provide resources in and outside of our school buildings.
Feb 27, 2023
Let's Talk About... Student Teaching
Student teachers are the future of our Ankeny Schools. It's a critical phase in the development, and we are committed to providing a unique and rich experience to all placed in our district. It's our goal that every student teacher placed here, wants to stay here. Sit down with a former and current student teacher and hear about their time walking the halls and running classrooms in Ankeny. Guests: Hillary Thomae and Alex Kitterman.
Feb 20, 2023
Let's Talk About... Junior Achievement of Central Iowa
Junior Achievement of Central Iowa is expanding their partnership with Ankeny Community Schools by adding the new 6th - 12th grade program, Financial Park©. This program, compliments the 5th grade program Biz Town©. Pull up a seat at the We Are Ankeny table with guests president of JA of Central Iowa, Ryan Osborn; JA Director of Education, Shannon Gerard; Ankeny Schools' Post-secondary Readiness Specialist, Amy Steenhoek; and your host, Ankeny Schools Superintendent, Dr. Erick Pruitt.
Feb 13, 2023
Let's Talk About... Senior Year, The Road to Graduation
Graduation doesn't have to be stressful for students and parents. Let's talk about navigating senioritis, counting credits, and what to expect on commencement day with high school counselors Audrey Bell, Ashley Tatum, and Ashley Wilson. They're sharing advice with Superintendent Dr. Erick Pruitton about the road to graduation.
Feb 6, 2023
Let's Talk About... School Budgets and Property Taxes
Today's podcast guests are Randy Ripperger, Polk County Iowa's Property Assessor and Bryon Tack, Assistant Assessor. It doesn’t matter if you have children attending public school, if you own property in Polk County - click and turn up the volume. Jennifer Jamison, CFO for Ankeny Schools joins Dr. Erick Pruitt and our guests to add insight on how these taxes directly impact Ankeny Schools.
Jan 31, 2023
Let's Talk About... Innovative Secondary Schools
If you could create an innovative secondary school any way you wanted, what would it be? Today's guests are on a panel reimagining the 6th through 12th-grade experience at Ankeny Schools (ACSD). JoinDr. Erick Pruitt as he hosts ACSD parent Amy Guidry, Vice President of Human Capital at Accumold Grace Swanson, and team facilitator Ankeny Schools' Chief Officer of Legal Affairs & Strategic Initiatives Jessie Dirks.
Jan 24, 2023
Let's Talk About the... Mentors In Violence Prevention Program
The threat of school violence is everywhere, even in the Des Moines Metro and surrounding communities. The fear of violence can interfere with learning, friendships, and even how students envision and value their future. Mentors In Violence Prevention was introduced in Ankeny Schools this year to address what students are experiencing. Students pioneering the program speak to the community about the how they plan to make a difference.
Jan 16, 2023
Let's Talk About... Secondary Math and Computer Science
Dr. Erick Pruitt invites Carol Eddy, Director of Curriculum and Innovation back to the podcast to talk about the upcoming changes Ankeny Schools is making to the secondary math and computer science curriculum. The goal is to have kids understand they are all "math people" even if it looks different from one student to another. The changes for the 2023-24 academic school year to the Ankeny Schools math and computer science curriculum will provide a clear pathway for students with parent and counselor input - to navigate for successful post graduation plans.
Jan 9, 2023
Let's Talk About... Teachers & Mentors
Let's talk about teacher mentoring. Ankeny strives, and succeeds, as an innovator among school districts that surround the Des Moines Metro. The first suburb to expand to two high schools is now reinventing the traditional professional mentor structure for new and new-to-the-district teachers. District mentoring coaches and specialist Elise Jessen, Kim Haack, and Justin Herrick join Ankeny Schools Superintendent, Erick Pruitt to explain how this new strategy and approach will benefit students. As well as how Ankeny teachers are now supported, and the development mentors themselves are experiencing with the new program.
Dec 12, 2022
Let's Talk About... the City of Ankeny
We're welcoming David Jones, City of Ankeny's City Manager to our podcast. This episode explores the relationship between the district and the city from using school facilities to economic growth and plans. Join us and let's talk about the city of Ankeny.
Nov 28, 2022
Let's Talk About... The Robotics Program
Robotics. Two teams with the same mission. To win. Our episode brings Hawk and Jag competitors to the table with a common passion. Competitive teams are growing at both high schools. Learn why you don't need to know programming, engineering, or construction to participate. These teens talk no holds barred about why they showed up to their first club meeting, and what brings them back each season. Joining these students is Dr. Pruitt and Ankeny High School's robotic team coach and AHS teacher Jennifer Poole.
Nov 21, 2022
Let's Talk About... Community Partnerships
Ankeny schools values its community partnerships. This episode brings Ankeny School Foundation President, Kara Hogue, to the studio. Join us as Dr. Pruitt and Ms. Hogue are joined by Ankeny Schools Chief Officer-Jessica Dirks and Heidi Palkovic Community Engagement Manager - Heidi Palkovic as the discuss how community and public schools relationships continue to evolve, future plans and fundraising.
Nov 14, 2022
Let's Talk About... Winter Weather, Delayed Starts, and Closings
Iowa winters can bring freezing rain, snow, sub-zero temperatures, and severe winds in a matter of hours. This episode will educate our Ankeny community on what goes into making a decision to keep schools open, delaying the starts, letting students out early, and when it's best just to stay closed. Ankeny Schools pulls back the curtain to show how and why inclement weather decisions are made. Join Dr. Pruitt, Samantha Aukes, Chief of Communications, and Dr. Darin Haack, assistant superintendent of schools, and Let's Talk About... the weather.
Nov 10, 2022
Let's Talk About... Volunteers In Public Schools
This episode brings overdue attention to a great Ankeny Schools resource, our volunteers. Volunteering looks different throughout our district, from parents in the lunchroom, to community members reading in classrooms and high school students prepping materials for teachers. Jessica Dirks is the Chief of Legal Affairs and Chief of Strategic Initiatives, Heidi Palkovic is the Community Engagement Manager, and Denise Miller joins Dr. Erick Pruitt to introduce the "One-Million Minute" volunteer goal, provide a behind-the-scenes look at how volunteers help our district, and how the safety of students and staff remains a priority.
Oct 11, 2022
Let's Talk About... Ankeny Activities & Athletics
Activities, clubs and sports Oh, My! Ankeny High School and Centennial High School started the year with new leadership in the Activities and Athletic (A.D.) offices. New Hawk Director, Adam McDonnell was the former A.D. at Xavier High School in Cedar Rapids. The Jaguars' new Director arrived from Valley High School. There's a lot to talk about. For the first time since bowling in 2006 the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union is introducing a new sanctioned sport in Iowa - girls' wrestling. The directors also talked about the benefits of starting their positions together, goals of increasing student participation and much more. Join Dr. Pruitt, Adam McDonnell, Nate Lingren and Let's talk about... Ankeny Activities and Athletics.
Sep 27, 2022
Let's Talk About... The Facility Master Plan Committee
September 13, 2022, a committee made up of Ankeny parents, community members, and staff began working on the Facility Master Plan (FMP). Co-facilitated by Dr. Darin Haack, an Assistant Superintendent, and RSP & Associates, the district's demographer, the committee completed their first task by drafting financial belief statements. The next meeting is scheduled for September 27, 2022, to discuss academic programming and creating curriculum belief statements. The Ankeny schools website has a frequently asked questions document, the full presentation slide deck from the meeting, and a link to submit questions about the FMP. Questions will be answered by the FMP committee. The facilities master planning process has four desired discussions: 1. Grade-level Configuration 2. Future Facility Needs 3. Boundaries 4. Renovations & Construction
Sep 5, 2022
Let's Talk About... The High Schools
A new school year brings a new administrator, and new projects as principals Dr. Jill Urich and Dr. DJ Johnson share with the Ankeny community in this episode. Bev Kuehn, Executive Director of Secondary Schools at ACSD also joins the panel offering insight into how she and the principals work together to make the transitions from the middle schools a smooth transition.
Aug 29, 2022
Let's Talk About... The Neveln Center and New Elementary Building
Exciting changes are coming! The renovation of an original Ankeny school buildings is almost complete and scheduled to open in January 2023. It will be used as the new office for district administration. New construction has also started at the site for our newest elementary building. It's scheduled to open Fall of 2024. Here's your chance to hear how these projects are progressing and get some insight to how the district plans for big projects like these.
Aug 23, 2022
Let's Talk About... Back to School
There's just something about the first week of school. In this episode, Dr. Pruitt talks with Tara Owen, Executive Director of Elementary Schools and Bev Kuehn, Executive Director of Secondary Schools for Ankeny Community School District. These administrators have a lot to say about the preparation that has taken place by the principals and teachers for ACSD. Tune in and find out what your kids will see and experience in these first few days.
Aug 19, 2022
Let's Talk About... Safety, Security and Ankeny Schools
The topic of student safety in schools is a serious one around the nation. This episode welcomes Ankeny's Chief of Police, Darius Potts and Ankeny Schools Safety and Security Specialist, Jon Davis to address our district's readiness plans for weather, threats and emergencies.
Aug 15, 2022
Let's Talk About... Facility Maintenance 2022-23
Join Tim Simpkins as he provides details of current renovation to Ankeny school buildings, the decision for new landscaping, and how the district decides the when, where and what of scheduling these projects with Dr. Pruitt, Superintendent and Dr. Haack, Assistant Superintendent of Ankeny schools.
Aug 12, 2022
Let's Talk About... School Bus Transportation
On July 1, 2022 ACSD partnered with First Student, Inc. as the district's transporation provider. Spencer Shoemaker with First Student has a lot to say about the safety, comfort, and experience First Student brings to Ankeny students in the upcoming school year.
Aug 10, 2022
Let's Talk About... Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Let's Talk about the DEI Framework. Ken Morris Jr. the Chief Diversity Officer with Ankeny Community School District takes a deep dive into a conversation with Ankeny Superintendent Dr. Erick Pruitt about what it means to create and live a DEI Framework for the district. The conversation includes how this framework supports the Strategic Plan and how it will positively impact students.
Jul 18, 2022
Let's Talk About... New Curriculum Part 2: Computer Science
The topic is computer science in part two of a two-part series on new curriculum at Ankeny Community Schools. In this podcast, Carol Eddy, Director of Curriculum, is back and joins Dr. Erick Pruitt, superintendent of Ankeny Schools talk about the future expectations of computer science in grades K - 7.
Jul 12, 2022
Let's Talk About... New Curriculum Part 1: Math
As a parent, when your school district starts talking about a new curriculum it can make you panic. In Part one of a two-part series, Dr. Erick Pruitt chats with Ankeny Schools' Director of Curriculum, Carol Eddy. Pull up a chair to our table as Ms, Eddy explains what curriculum is vs the perceptions, the changes you as may see at home, and how you can help your student navigate it all.
Jun 28, 2022
Let's Talk About... Nutrition Services
School nutrition is more than just pizza for lunch. Scott Litchfield Ankeny Schools' Nutrition Director talks about summer plans, 2022 successes and plans for next year. Pull up to the table and let's talk about school nutrition.
Jun 14, 2022
Let's Talk About... Heritage Elementary STEAM Night
STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math has added "A" for Art to become STEAM. Ankeny school, Heritage Elementary, hosted it's first STEAM night to provide hands on fun and exploration of STEAM skills. Host, Samantha Aukes, Communications Director for Ankeny Schools sat with STEAM Night organizer Sara Sparks, Digital Technology Teacher at Heritage Elementary to discuss how building administrators are focused on increasing STEAM interests and the future of this successful event.
Jun 6, 2022
Let's Talk About... Why Ankeny?
Hiring and recruitment specialist, Michelle Allen, sits with Dr. Erick Pruitt to talk about why prospective job candidates should consider and choose Ankeny Schools to work. Join us as we discuss our mentoring program for teachers, highlight critical positions outside the classroom that keep our district running smoothly and offer candid insight on how the Covid-19 pandemic impacted the education job market.
May 30, 2022
Let's Talk About... Memorial Day
Memorial Day is a special day to honor those no longer with us who served in the U.S. military. We've invited veteran Ankeny residents to sit and talk with veteran Dr. Erick Pruitt about Memorial Day, their experience in the service and how they as well as other local veterans are having a positive impact on Ankeny students as a ACSD employees, parents, volunteers, and active reserve military. In this episode, Dr. Pruitt has a conversation with a current special education teacher in Ankeny who is a veteran of the Iowa National Guard, a current Ankeny Schools parent who is a veteran of the Iowa National Guard and currently serving in as an active guard/reserve and a long-time resident of Ankeny whose children all graduated from Ankeny Schools and is the Commander of American Legion Post #42 in uptown Ankeny.
May 27, 2022
Let's Talk About... Profile of a Graduate
In this episode our guests have a conversation from the aspects of administrators and a student about the Profile of Graduate put together by a task force of parents, staff and community members. Together the task force identified essential cognitive, personal and interpersonal competencies that every student should have by the time they graduate from high school: Knowledgeable, Authentic, Engaged, Understanding, Curious and Adaptable. Join the table discussion as we hear about Ankeny's Profile of a Graduate.
May 23, 2022
Let's Talk About the Strategic Plan
Throughout the year, planning teams worked hard to reimagine how we might improve in serving our students. Teams of parents, community members, students, and staff worked to create this document that will guide how our district will operate as we strive to achieve our goals. Our hope is that this will serve as an anchor for all the district’s work for the next five years. Our new mission statement is as follows: The Ankeny Community School District engages all students in an educational experience that equips them with the skills to flourish in and contribute to an ever-changing world. Following the Core Planning Team’s work, seven "action teams" made up of nearly 200 individuals from across the community then worked to develop specific, concrete strategies to bring the framework to life. This work resulted in a plan built on three core pillars: * The prioritization of academic rigor & relevance * A focus on maintaining a system of talented people, and * A commitment to pro…
May 16, 2022
Let's Talk About... Post High School Planning
Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) is set to make sure central Iowa high school students have every opportunity to plan the future they want. DMACC President, Rob Denson sits down with Dr. Erick Pruitt to discuss how a $50,000 grant to hire 14 College and Career Transition Counselors (CCTC) will aid students with colleges, programs/majors, apprenticeships, military service and other post-high school education plans. Recorded May 11, 2022
May 12, 2022
Let's Talk About...Ankeny's History
Ankeny started as a railroad and farming community, named after John Fletcher Ankeny. Guest Denny Presnall, a long-time Ankeny resident former teacher, and former Ankeny School Board Director joins Dr. Erick Pruitt, Superintendent of Ankeny Schools to talk about the rich history of Ankeny and Ankeny Schools. Recorded May 6, 2022
May 9, 2022
Let's Talk About... Literacy with 2021 Miss Iowa, Grace Keller
Miss Grace Lynn Keller is serious about her initiative as Miss Iowa 2021 - Read to Succeed. She visited Northwest Elementary School in Ankeny, IA to read with students and share her love of books, stories and the importance of reading everyday. Host, Dr. Erick Pruitt discusses her year as Miss Iowa, traveling the state of Iowa, and what her future holds with only a few weeks to go in her reign. You can follow Ms. Keller on Instagram @gracelynnkeller for life after the crown.
May 2, 2022
Let's Talk About... The Ankeny Experience
From Pre-K to senior year, what does the Ankeny schools experience look like? Host, Dr. Erick Pruitt is joined by Ankeny Schools administrators Dr. Jen Lindaman, Chief Officer of Academic Services and Carol Eddy, Director of Curriculum and Innovation to discuss how the Ankeny Experience for students has evolved and what we can look for in the future.
Apr 25, 2022
Let's Talk About... the district budget
Host & Ankeny Schools Superintendent Dr. Erick Pruitt welcomes Jennifer Jamison the district's Chief Financial Officer to talk about the newly certified budget for the fiscal year 2023.
Apr 18, 2022
Let's Talk About... School Enrollment
Superintendent, Dr. Erick Pruitt talks enrollment with Dr. Darin Haack, Chief Operations Officer of Ankeny Schools and Kirk Magill, Integrated Systems Administrator for the district. Key topics including emerging enrollment trends for 2022-23, challenges of school registration and projections for Ankeny School enrollment are just a few highlights from this podcast. Recorded 04/18/22.
Apr 14, 2022
Let's Talk About... the new Ankeny Schools Podcast
Ankeny Community School District Superintendent, Dr. Erick Pruitt, introduces a new podcast produced officially by Ankeny Schools.