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St Augustin School
4320 Grand Ave.
Des Moines, Iowa 50312 Phone: 279-5947
Fax: 279-8049

Frequently Asked Questions by Parents of St. Augustin Students

We'd like your transition to St. Augustin School to be an easy one. We've compiled a list of frequently asked Parent questions and answers. If you have a question that isn't covered below, please contact the school office at (515)-279-5947 or refer to The Student Handbook. 


What is a Blue Ribbon School?

St. Augustin School was recognized as a Blue Ribbon School in 2004 by the Department of Education. The Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private K-12 schools that are academically superior in the nation. We are proud of this achievement and we congratulate the parents, teachers and most importantly the students of St. Augustin School!

What are Blue and Gold Days?

Blue and Gold Days are generally the last Friday of the month. Every student may wear jeans (jean shorts are permissible in the months of August, September, May and June) and a school uniform shirt or a St. Augustin t-shirt (which can be purchased through the school store or the office). Dr. Dowdle will put the Blue and Gold day for each month on the school calendar. If your child wears jeans, she/he must bring $1 or more for the donation for the mission for that month. Each Blue and Gold day at St. Augustin School raises money for Catholic missions around the world and the United States.

When are the school masses?

School masses are twice a month usually on a Tuesday or Thursday. Masses are held in the school gym or the church. Students participate at all the school masses. Each class plans two masses during the school year. Teachers ask for volunteers to participate in the mass. Students may not wear shorts to the masses at church. School masses generally start at 8:45am and church masses at 8:50-9am. Character Counts assemblies often follow the school masses.

When does my child receive the sacraments?

Religious Education takes place at school. When your child is in 2nd grade they will receive their 1st reconciliation and First communion. In 8th grade your child will receive Confirmation. The 1st grade class will assist with the 2nd grade sacraments and the 7th grade class will assist with the 8th grade confirmation, usually with a luncheon or post-mass reception.

What is May Crowning?

The school May Crowning Mass is scheduled every May at the church. 8th grade students plan the mass and 2nd grade First Communion students wear their First communion clothes and process in with the 8th grade students. 8th grade students wear Confirmation dress clothing and participate in the mass. Several 8th grade girls (and their kindergarten buddies) are randomly chosen for the May crowning court to “crown” Mary. It is a very special mass during the year and should not be missed parents! Check the May calendar for the specific date.

What is the Family Mentoring Program?

The Family Mentoring Program is an initiative of the Home and School Hospitality Committee with the goal to make new families at St. Augustin School feel welcome and familiar with all school traditions, activities, etc.. New families are matched with existing families with similar aged children, and are encouraged to get to know the parents and children to ensure a smooth transition for their child and family to the community of St. Augustin School.

What are Kindergarten Buddies?

Each year, 8th grade students are matched with kindergarten students of the same gender. Often, there may be 2 kindergarten students to one 8th grade student depending upon numbers. During the school year, the 8th grade students do fun activities with their kindergarten buddies.

When is Catholic Schools week?

Catholic Schools week is the last week of January. St. Augustin usually celebrates with a spaghetti dinner for the school families after the 5 p.m. Catholic School Week mass at church. Spaghetti dinner is followed by Winter Carnival for the students at the school. Students participate in many fun activities throughout the week at school. Look for specific details on the January calendar.

Does St. Augustin School have a web site?

Yes! We are currently in the process of updating and upgrading the website for the 2016-2017 school year. Please visit us at

What is the daily schedule for St. Augustin?

School begins promptly at 8:25 a.m., and dismisses at 3:15 p.m. Students may be dropped off in the circle drive by the front door anytime after 8:05 a.m., and the first bell signaling students to go to their lockers is 8:15 a.m. All students are expected to be in their seats by 8:25 a.m.; anyone just arriving or not in their seats by that time will be counted tardy.

How do I contact my child’s teacher?

The school office is open from 7:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. during the school year. You may call or leave a note for the teacher in the school office, or send a note in with your child in the morning. Also, many teachers prefer e-mail. Your child’s teacher will advise you on the preferred way to contact them.

Do I need to call the school office and send a note if my child is absent from school?

All absences should be reported to the school office between 7:45 -9:00 a.m. A phone call to the office on the first day of an illness and a written note from the parents when a child returns to school is sufficient. Students should bring notes to their classroom teacher when they return after an absence.

Is there a sign-in/sign-out procedure for parents and students outside of the normal arrival and departure times?

If you are entering the school building after the start of the school day, you must first sign in at the office. If you are removing you child from school prior to the end of the day for a doctor’s appointment or other reason, you must sign your child out in the office.

Does St. Augustin have an extended care program?

St. Augustin offers before and after school care for students in Kindergarten through 8th grade. Morning care is offered from 7 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., and after school care is offered from 3:15 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Please register your child for this program in the school office.

Does St. Augustin offer preschool and pre-kindergarten programs?

Yes. St. Augustin offers a 4 year preschool program, as well as a 5 year pre-kindergarten program. Please contact the school office for more information.

How do I navigate the drop off and pick up of my student?

Is there a trick to this circle drive procedure? Please always enter the driveway with patience and caution-we want to keep our children safe! First of all, never leave your car unattended in any lane of the drive except on the right side by the grassy hill in the right lane only. Left lane is for cars to pass and move out of the drive. DO NOT ever pick up or drop off your children from the left lane. It is very dangerous and disrupts the flow of traffic. Keep the flow of traffic moving in the “car line”; do not cause other cars to have to go around you! If you have business in the school or with another parent, teacher or principal, please park in the upper parking lot and walk to the building. At the front of the school there is a spot clearly marked for the Family that purchases the reserved parking spot in the school auction. Please do not wait for your children in that parking spot. If you have children that are on patrol, in detention, or staying after school for any reason, please park in the upper parking lot or lower parking lot, and do not enter the car line. Only older students are supposed to be picked up on “Snake Drive” (45th Street west of school) or 43rd street.

Does St. Augustin have a hot lunch program?

Yes. Lunch options include hot lunch, cold “select” and a la carte. Students are also allowed lunches brought from home.

What is the lunchroom procedure at school?

Students can bring their lunch to school or purchase school lunches on a family lunch account. There are three lunch times: K-2 , 3-5, and 6-8 grades eat together and have a short recess after their lunch time in the cafeteria. Students are assigned lunch tables. Parents are asked to volunteer in the lunch room for grades K-5. It is about a 40 min time commitment per lunch hour and you can come as many times as you want. To sign up for lunch volunteer hours, please call the office for times available. This is a great way for moms and dads to see their children and get to know the other children in the class. If your lunch account balance becomes negative, your child will bring home a lunch slip to alert you to put more money into their lunch account. Students who go below a certain amount will not receive hot lunch until their account becomes positive again. Please do not pack things difficult to open in your child’s lunch. The students have limited time to eat and you don’t want them struggling to open their items instead of eating. The lunchroom noise level can become very loud during the lunch time so teachers attempt to keep the noise level reasonable to avoid students (and adults) from getting headaches.

How do I deposit money into my child’s lunch account?

You may deposit money into your child’s lunch account by check, and delivering the check to the office. Larger deposits are encouraged to avoid a negative balance. Hot lunch is $2.85 per day, and your child attends school for 180 days. Additional a la carte items are separately priced.

Can I eat lunch with my child?

Yes. Parents and siblings are invited to each lunch with their student at any time. Please call the office in the morning to inform the lunch room that you will be joining your student, and you may pay for your lunch at the school office upon your arrival.

Where can I get details about the uniform code at St. Augustin?

The school uniform code is available at the office, and is outlined in the Student Handbook. We anticipate also adding the code to our website. Locally, Carpenters Uniform Store carries the St. Augustin uniform, and uniform items can also be purchased through Lands End, Target, Gap and Walmart. When purchasing your uniforms at Lands End, Gap and Carpenters, don’t forget to use your “Scrip.”

What are “out of uniform” days?

“Out of uniform” days are special days when your child may wear any appropriate school attire. Students receive an “out of uniform” pass for their birthdays or other special occasions as determined by the Principal.

What are other special dress days? (i. e. crazy socks, Iowa and Iowa State game day)

Throughout the school year, students are invited to participate in crazy sock day; out of uniform red shirt day; wear your favorite Iowa team shirt day; wear green for St. Patrick’s Day; and wear your favorite Catholic school shirt. You should stock up on these items, and by all means do some shopping at the St. Augustin school store for all Blue and Gold days!

Can my child wear shorts on hot days?

Shorts (for boys and girls), capris, and “skorts “ for girls can only be worn during the months of August, September, May and June in accordance with the school dress code. Shorts and “skorts” must be knee length.

Where can I get the class supply lists?

Class supply lists are available in the school office, and are sent to all families in July. Supply lists will be added to the website in addition to all other forms.

What is the School Store and how do I order from the store?

The St. Augustin School store carries all clothing apparel for Blue and Gold days, and many fun school spirit items. Please print out an order form from the website and deliver it to the office. The school store also sells items after the Open Houses, and will be selling items after Mass on August 13-14; 20-21, 2005.

What can I do for my child’s birthday?

First of all, you should contact your child’s teacher to discuss birthday treats appropriate for their specific classroom. In wanting to be considerate of individuals with dietary/allergy situations, St. Augustin School requires that no food treats either store bought or homemade be distributed in celebration of your child’s birthday. Instead, we recommend bringing book marks, donating a book to the library in your child’s name, bring a pencil for each classmate, etc. You can easily e-mail or leave a message for your child’s teacher. If your child has a summer birthday, you may choose any school day during the year to celebrate your child’s birthday. Again, let the teacher know what day your child is choosing. Your child may be out of uniform for their birthday, as long as the clothing follows the other guidelines in the school handbook. For the summer birthday child, they may be out of uniform on the day they have chosen to celebrate their birthday. Administration requests that no balloon bouquets or other disruptive gifts be brought to your child during the school day. Please do not have your child distribute birthday party invitations in the classroom unless every student in the class is invited. We are a small school but our students have big feelings.

What does it mean when my child “Spends time on the wall?’

K-5 students who have trouble following rules may get the privilege of spending part of their recess time against the brick wall on the playground. Teachers assign “minutes on the wall” for students who have trouble remembering the rules or who have a lot to talk about during class and lunch time. Many children experience “the wall” during the school year so don’t worry too much about this experience.

What is morning detention?

Morning detention slips are handed out to 6-8th grade students who have trouble with late assignments (refer to handbook), behavior issues or excessive tardies. Students are instructed to bring the early morning detention slips home to be signed. The date the student must show up for early detention is on the slip. The student should return the slip to the teacher and show up at 7:30am to the assigned teacher and complete assignments if necessary. If the student is in the 8th grade Algebra class, she/he has to miss class and make up the work missed that morning. If the student fails to show up for early morning detention, that student must come to two early morning detentions. If those are missed, the student will have to come for a Saturday morning 4 hour detention and write the handbook for 4 hours. (This is not a pleasant experience so encourage your child to attend early morning detentions if needed).

What is afternoon detention?

Students in 3-8 grades receive after-school detentions for a variety of reasons (see handbook) Your child should bring home a slip of paper that needs to be signed by the parent and returned to the teacher. The date for the student’s assigned after-school detention will be on the slip sent home. A teacher may not assign an after-school detention on the same day. If the child cannot make the assigned detention time, another time must be worked out between the parents and teacher. Failure to be at assigned after-school detention time results in two after-school detention times. Failure to meet those may result in a Saturday morning school writing the handbook for 4 hours.

When are teacher conferences held at St. Augustin?

Teacher conferences take place in October and then also again in February. You will receive a sign up sheet to request a preferred tine for your conference which you need to return to the office. These requests are handled in the order they are received.

Are family vacations considered excused Absences?

A school calendar is published in advance of the school year so future travel plans can be made when school is not in session. Vacations that result in student’s absence from school are generally unexcused.

How will I know when St. Augustin is closed due to bad weather?

St. Augustin School generally follows the Des Moines School closings, however, you may want to watch KCCI or WHO TV stations beginning at 5a.m. for bad weather days. Early dismissal days due to bad weather are usually handled with the office phone tree to parents at work, home and cell phones. Late starts due to weather will be announced on KCCI. Please have a plan worked out with your children for bad weather days.

What are “Early Out” days?

Early out days are usually on Wednesday (occasionally on a Friday). It is time for the teachers to have meetings, planning sessions, etc. Most early out days dismiss at 1 pm. Check the monthly calendar for early out days.

What are “specials”?

“Specials” are classes such as gym, music, art, library and computers and are included in all students’ schedules.

What is the “Talking Canvas” Program?

Talking Canvas is a hands-on Art appreciation and Art History program that is offered each month at all grade levels. Parent volunteers are always appreciated for this fun program.

Does St. Augustin offer foreign language study?

Yes. Foreign language study begins for all students in Kindergarten.

What additional opportunities exist for my child in the areas of art and music at St. Augustin?

Children participate in the Christmas program, Spring Program, middle school musical, after-school piano lessons, choir and band depending on grade level. Through an arrangement with the Des Moines Art Center, middle school students take art classes at the Art Center, while lower school students take art in the Art Room.

What is the Mock Trial?

7th and 8th grade students can choose to participate in our mock trial program coached by attorney parent volunteers. This extra-curricular activity begins in September and concludes in November. This is a great opportunity for students to learn problem-solving abilities and learn public speaking abilities. Flyers will go home in the Family Friday Folders about signing your child up for mock trial.

Does St. Augustin have Girl Scout and Boy Scouting opportunities?

Girls and boys can get involved with scouting beginning in Kindergarten and the first grade. Flyers will go home in the Family Friday Folders from the leaders when the school year begins. Troop Leaders are school parent volunteers.

When can my child be on the Crossing guard patrol?

5th grade students are the crossing guard patrol. Students in the 5th grade are trained the spring of their 4th grade year. Current 5th grade students volunteer with the 5th grade teacher at the beginning of the school year. Schedules are sent home and posted in the classroom. Patrol duty begins in the morning at 8:10am and duty after school ends at 3:30pm. Please have your child let the teacher know if certain dates and times do not work for her/him. Students must find a substitute if they cannot fulfill their time and if the student is ill, the teacher will find a sub. The patrol follows strict rules from the official crossing guard.

What is D.A.R.E.?

Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program is taught in our 5th grade class by a police officer each year. Funding for the D.A.R.E. program is provided by Home and School Association. Our 5th grade students enjoy this educational program and they graduate at the end of the program and the parents are invited.

What is the Science Olympiad?

7th and 8th grade students have the opportunity to sign up for Science Olympiad in early January and compete in the state Science Olympiad in early March. Our science teacher will send home a flyer about this wonderful activity. Students work in groups and work completely independent from the teacher. Students work after school twice a week from early January until March. Students have to maintain a “C” average in every class to be able to participate in Science Olympiad. The state competition takes place in Ames, Iowa the first weekend in March all day on Saturday. Attendance is mandatory to participate.

Does St. Augustin have sports teams?

Sports opportunities for 5-8 graders include:

Fall softball for girls grades 7-8 (August-Sept season);

Fall volleyball for girls grades 6-8 (Sept-Nov.season);

Winter basketball for boys grades 6-8, and girls grades 6-8 (Nov-Feb season)

Spring Track for boys and girls grade 5-8 (March-May season).

Although there are no “formal” sports teams for K-4th grades at St. Augustin school, often parents get students together by class to play on supervised teams in the school gym, or to play on YMCA teams and have fun in leagues around Des Moines.

Call Dr. Dowdle if you are interested in coaching any of these teams. Only St. Augustin teams may use the St. Augustin gym unless you get permission from Dr. Dowdle. There is an athletic sports banquet each year in May to celebrate all the sports throughout the year. Consult your calendar in May. All student participating in sports must have the required grades (see handbook) Dr. Dowdle will let coaches and parents know if an athlete is ineligible. There is an athletic director who is also a school board member if you have a grievance with a coach. Consult your phone directory for the current athletic director.

What are Junior High Dances?

Junior high dance are once a month for 7th and 8th grade students from all the Catholic schools around Des Moines. The 7th and 8th grade junior high dances are held on Friday nights from 7-9:30pm at a different Catholic school each month. Flyers are posted in the hallways at school for the students as an invitation to the dance. The St. Augustin dance is generally the first Friday of the school year. Call Pat Hogan at school if you would like to chaperone. Each dance is $5 per student and requires a student ID to be admitted. Each dance is chaperoned by a police officer, the principal, teachers and parents of that particular school. Soft drinks are available at each dance for a small cost. Students often go in groups to the dance and carpooling is suggested. Once a student is admitted to the dance, he/she will not be allowed to leave and return back to the dance. Please remind your child that “hanging outside” the school during a dance is not allowed. Please have a specific meeting time arranged with your child prior to dropping off your child to ensure less confusion at the conclusion of the dance.

How can I get involved at St. Augustin School?

There are many ways to volunteer your time at school. While there are no required number of volunteer hours at our school, spending time at school and working on fundraising committees helps you to get to know your children’s friends and other parents, and to contribute to the community of St. Augustin school. Volunteering opportunities are listed below:

Kindergarten opportunities include: helping with “centers” (30-40minutes), reading to the class (30-40 minutes), class parties (60min. Halloween, Christmas, Valentine), lunch room (40 min. including recess duty) Talking canvas (45 minute prep; 45minute presentation) Homeroom mom/dad (hours variable) Daisy girl scouts and Auction art project.

First and Second grade: reading to the class(30-40 min) Class parties(45-50 min. Lunch room (40 min) Talking canvas(45 prep, 45 min presentation) Homeroom mom/dad (variable), Scouts (variable).

Third-Sixth grade: Chaperone field trips (1-4 hours), Talking Canvas (60 min. prep, 40 min present) Homeroom mom/dad, Auction art project, and Scouts.

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