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May 17, 2024

Advancing the Vision: Destination Ankeny

As we reflect on the past year, it’s evident that Ankeny Schools has been committed to becoming a district of choice and fostering growth in various aspects of education. From advancing academic programs to enhancing support for educators and planning innovative facilities, the district has embarked on a journey of continuous improvement.

The second implementation year of our Strategic Plan marked significant milestones and achievements. Under Pillar 1: Rigorous and Relevant Academics, the focus was on expanding post-secondary readiness initiatives. Notable progress includes initiatives like Career Speaker Day in middle schools, implementation of Junior Achievement Curriculum, and the introduction of a comprehensive tracking system for students’ career and academic plans. Moreover, the district’s efforts in organizing Career & College Showcases and increasing Career Exploration & Awareness Experiences underline its commitment to holistic student development.

A pivotal endeavor this year was the groundwork laid for the Innovative Hub, envisioned to be a transformative space for education. Extensive research led by the core planning team delved into shaping the future student experience. Themes of partnership, program diversity, facility flexibility, and student mobility emerged, setting the stage for a dynamic learning environment. The concept of “Destination Ankeny” encapsulates the vision of becoming a hub for educational excellence and community engagement. As we neared the end of our research and discovery, it led to the question: 

How might we design an innovative, district-wide culture that promotes curiosity and creates an interactive community impact through experiences to grow student’s creative genius in an ever-changing world?

While excitement mounts for the design phase of the Innovative Hub, the district emphasizes the primacy of academic programming. Plans to offer a comprehensive program of studies across six career and technical education service areas signify a holistic approach to student preparation for the future job market.

This draft program of studies serves as the cornerstone for designing a facility tailored to students’ evolving needs and aspirations.

In Pillar 2: Talented People, efforts to nurture and empower educators have been paramount. Initiatives such as the Educator Empowerment Conference and the Para-to-Educator Seminar showcase the district’s commitment to attracting and retaining top talent. With a retention rate exceeding 90%, Ankeny Schools stands out as a preferred employer, offering competitive benefits and fostering a culture of collaboration and support.

The district’s dedication to providing supportive environments extends beyond personnel to encompass infrastructure, through Pillar 3: Supportive Environments. Comprehensive facility audits and the implementation of a facilities master plan underscore a commitment to safety, functionality, and adaptability. Noteworthy among these efforts is the proposed grade configuration change, aimed at enhancing the middle school experience and optimizing facility utilization.

Exciting developments lie ahead, with plans to collaborate with Des Moines Area Community College for the construction of the Innovative Hub. Designed for flexibility and student-centered learning, the facility aims to foster collaboration, autonomy, and purpose among students. Check out these initial concept drawings by the district’s architect, Envision. 

The Hub Will

Hub Visual Program

Find Your Genius

These are not blueprints, but an idea of how the space will be used. The pursuit of a bond referendum in 2025 signifies the district’s commitment to realizing this vision.

In conclusion, Ankeny Schools’ journey over the past year reflects a relentless pursuit of excellence and innovation. From advancing academic programs to supporting educators and planning cutting-edge facilities, the district remains steadfast in its mission to empower students for success in a ever changing world. As stakeholders unite in shaping the future of education, the journey ahead promises to be one of transformation and growth.