Frequently Asked Questions 

Here is a list of frequently asked questions and their 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 Catholic School was recognized as a Blue Ribbon School in 2004 by the U.S. 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 Catholic School!

What are Blue and Gold Days?

Blue and Gold Days are generally the last Friday of the month. On designated Blue and Gold Days, students may wear jeans and a school uniform shirt or a St. Augustin spirit wear t-shirt (which can be purchased through the school store). If your child wears jeans, he/she 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 metro area, the United States, and the world.

When are the school masses?

School masses are twice a month on a Tuesday or on a designated Holy Day of Obligation. Masses alternate between the school gym or at the church. Students participate at all the school masses. Each class plans at least one mass 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 8:45 a.m., and church masses at 8:50 a.m.

When does my child receive the sacraments?

Religious Education takes place at school. When your child is in 2nd grade, he/she will receive the sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Communion. The 1st-grade class assists with the 2nd-grade sacraments, usually by hosting a luncheon or post-mass reception.

What is May Crowning?

The school May Crowning Mass is held every May at the church. Students in 8th-grade plan the mass and 2nd-grade students who recently received First Communion wear their First Communion attire and process in with the 8th-grade students. Three 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! 

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 Catholic 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 Catholic School.

What are Kindergarten buddies?

Each year, 8th-grade students are matched with Kindergarten students of the same gender, if possible. Often, there may be two 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 Catholic School usually celebrates with a week of special activities for the students, culminating in a Family Fun Night.  An open house is also held for the community during that week.  Look for specific details on the January calendar.

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. The first bell at 8:15 signals that students may go to their lockers.  All students are expected to be in their seats by 8:25 a.m. Anyone not in their seats by 8:25 a.m. will be counted tardy.

How may I contact my child’s teacher?

Teachers can be reached most easily by email. (Please allow a 24 window for teachers to respond.) If a matter is pressing, call the school office and ask the teacher to call you back at their earliest convenience. Notes can also be sent to school with your student or left in the teacher mailbox located in the school office. The school office is open from 7:45 a.m. -3:45 p.m. during the school year. 

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 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. Students who are absent three or more days are asked to have a doctor's note upon return.

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. All first-time visitors and parents are required to submit a driver's license to register in our security system. After the first-time, you will be in the system and can sign in automatically.

If you are removing your 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 Catholic School have an extended care program?

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

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

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

How do I navigate drop off and pick up at the school?

Please always enter the driveway with patience and caution; we want to keep our children safe! Navigating “car line” can seem tricky, but if you keep a few rules in mind, it usually doesn’t take more than 15 minutes to get through.

  • First of all, never leave your car unattended in any lane of the drive.
  • The 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!
  • PM Preschool and Optional Kindergarten students are dismissed at 3:00pm before the K-8 students. These parents/guardians drive directly to the front of the school to pick up their students.  All other parents/drivers should wait until these students are picked up before driving/waiting in front of the school. 
  • 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.
  • If you have children 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 can be picked up on “Snake Drive” (45th Street west of school) or 43rd Street.

Does St. Augustin Catholic School have a hot lunch program?

Yes, lunch options include hot lunch, cold select and an a-la carte selection. Students are also allowed to bring lunches from home.

What is the lunchroom procedure at school?

Students can bring their lunch to school or purchase school lunches on their student lunch account. There are three lunch times, and students eat together grouped by grades. Grades K-2, grades 3-5, and grades 6-8 eat together and have a short recess after their lunch. Students are often assigned lunch tables. Parents are asked to volunteer in the lunchroom for grades K-2. It is about a 40-minute time commitment to volunteer, and parents can come as many times as they want. To sign up for lunch volunteer hours, please contact the Home & School Lunch Room Coordinator. This is a great way for parents and guardians to see their children at school and get to know the other students in the class.

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

You may deposit money into your child’s lunch account by check, delivered to the school 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. If your lunch account balance is negative, you will receive an email alert reminding you to put more money into the lunch account. Students who go below a certain amount will not be able to receive hot lunch until their account becomes positive again.  My School Bucks online lunch accounting program allows parents/guardians to deposit funds online directly into their student's lunch account.  

May I eat lunch with my child?

Parents and siblings are invited to each lunch with their student at any time. Please call the office by 9am in the morning to inform the lunchroom that you will be joining your student. 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 Catholic School?

The school uniform code is available online, in the office, and is also outlined in the Student Handbook. Uniform pants can be purchased wherever you like. Uniform shirts must be purchased through Land’s End. Search for St. Augustin School on www.landsend.com to be connected to the approved uniform options for students. When purchasing your uniforms at Lands End, don’t forget to use Scrip (see Scrip entry for details).

What are out-of-uniform days?

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

What are other special dress days?

Throughout the school year, all students are invited to participate in fun special dress days such as crazy sock day, red shirt day (usually for Drug-Free Week), favorite Iowa team shirt day, wear green for St. Patrick’s Day, etc. These days fall during Catholic Schools Week in January or for other designated times throughout the year.

When may my student wear shorts?

Shorts (for boys and girls), capri pants, and skorts (for girls) may 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. No skinny shorts for girls are allowed.

Where can I get the class supply lists?

Class supply lists are available in the school office and on the school website.

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

The St. Augustin Catholic School store carries all clothing apparel for Blue and Gold days and many fun school spirit items. The St. Augustin Catholic School store is online which makes ordering and paying convenient. Choose from a variety of items with the school logo including Spirit wear, water bottles, and more.

What may I do for my child’s birthday?

Birthdays are a special time, and there are many ways to celebrate your student’s big day; however, no birthday treats – either store-bought or homemade – are allowed at school. Instead, we recommend bringing bookmarks, donating a book to the library in your child’s name, or bringing a pencil for each classmate, etc. It is best to email your child’s teacher to determine what will work best in each classroom. 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 guidelines in the school handbook. For children with summer birthdays, they may be out of uniform on the day chosen to celebrate. 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?”

Students in grades Kindergarten through 5th grade may spend part of their recess time against the brick wall on the playground. Teachers assign “minutes on the wall” as a disciplinary consequence for students who have trouble following classroom or school rules.

What is early-morning detention?

Early-morning detention slips are given to 6th-8th grade students who have turned in late assignments (refer to handbook). A parent must sign an early-morning detention slip. Students are assigned a date to report to early detention on the slip. The student should return the slip to the teacher and arrive at 7:30 a.m. to the assigned teacher and complete assignments, if necessary. If the work is not completed, the student must return the next morning etc. until all the late assignments are caught up.

What is afternoon detention?

Students in grades 3-8 receive after-school detentions for a variety of reasons (see handbook). The student will bring home a slip of paper to be signed by a parent and returned to the teacher. The date for the student’s assigned after-school detention is on the slip. A teacher may not assign an after-school detention on the same day it was issued. If the child cannot make the assigned detention time, another time must be worked out between the parents and teacher. Failure to report to the assigned after-school detention time results in two additional after-school detention times.

When are parent- teacher conferences held at St. Augustin?

Parent-Teacher conferences take place in October and February. Sign-up is done online and families receive information regarding conference sign-up near each conference session. Conference times vary by grade level. Following the instructions on the online conference site makes it easy to arrange the conference times that work for you.  ALL middle-school students are required to attend conferences with their parent/s. No conference will be held without the student present.

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 Catholic School is closed due to bad weather?

St. Augustin Catholic School generally follows the Des Moines Public School closings; however, you may want to watch KCCI or WHO TV stations beginning at 5 a.m. on bad weather days. Families are alerted to early dismissal days due to bad weather through the automated school communications system. Parents will receive either a phone call or text message (depending on their communication preferences established at the beginning of the year), in addition to an email alerting them to the early dismissal. Late starts due to weather will be announced on KCCI or WHO TV.

What are Early-Out days?

Early-out days are occasional early dismissal days when teachers have professional development, meetings, planning sessions, etc. Check the school calendar for early-out days.

What are “specials”?

“Specials” are classes such as Physical Education, Spanish, Music, Art, Library, and Technology 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 periodically throughout the year for grades K-5. Parent volunteers are always appreciated for this educational program.

Does St. Augustin Catholic School offer foreign language study?

Yes, foreign language study begins for all students in Kindergarten. St. Augustin Catholic School currently offers Spanish one day a week.

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

Students participate in the Christmas program, Spring Program, the middle school musical, 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 Des Moines Art Center. K-6 grade art is held at school

What is Mock Trial?

Students in 7th and 8th grade can participate in the Mock Trial competition which is coached by attorney parent volunteers. This extra-curricular activity begins in September and concludes in November. It is a great opportunity for students to learn problem solving and to practice public speaking.

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

Girls and boys can get involved with Scouts beginning in Kindergarten (girls) and the first grade (boys). Troop Leaders are school parent volunteers.

What is D.A.R.E.?

Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program is taught in our 5th grade class by a police officer each year. The Home and School Association provides funding for the D.A.R.E. program. Our 5th-grade students enjoy this educational program. There is a graduation at the end of the program, and parents are invited to attend.

Does St. Augustin Catholic School have sports teams?

There are many athletic opportunities for students grades 5-8 at St. Augustin Catholic School. Both Parochial League and Maroon Athletic Club (MAC) sports are available for boys and girls. There are also other ways students can get involved with sports. Visit the Athletics and Activities page for more information.

Although there are no formal sports teams for students in Kindergarten through 4th grades at St. Augustin Catholic School, parents often get students together by class to play on supervised teams in the school gym, or to play on YMCA/recreational teams around Des Moines.

Call Dr. Dowdle if you are interested in coaching any of these teams. Only St. Augustin Catholic School teams may use the St. Augustin gym unless you get permission from Dr. Dowdle.  All students participating in Diocesan sports must have the required grades (see handbook) to be eligible to participate. Dr. Dowdle will alert coaches and parents if an athlete is ineligible.

What are middle-school dances?

MIddle-school dances take place once a month for 7th and 8th grade students. Catholic schools around Des Moines area take turns hosting this event. The dances are usually held on Friday nights from 7-9:30 .(Call the school office if you would like to chaperone.) Dance admission is $7  per student and a student ID. Each dance is chaperoned by the principal, teachers, and parents of that particular school. Soft drinks are available at each dance for a small cost. 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. Also, 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 Catholic School?

There are many ways to get involved at St. Augustin Catholic School. The Home and School Association offers many different committees and opportunities to interact with other parents and students at the school. From helping with the annual fundraisers to volunteering in the cafeteria, there’s a volunteer position for everyone. Check out the Home and School Association page on this website to find out what may be the best fit for you.