Urbandale is home to Amy Brown-Luke. Not only do her children attend school in Urbandale, but she was once a student in the district who has since returned, this time as a teacher at Urbandale High School.
Now teaching a variety of social studies courses, including Advanced Placement (AP) Psychology, AP US History, sociology, and psychology, it wasn’t always her first choice to teach secondary education.
“I actually didn’t want to be a high school teacher,” says Brown-Luke. “I knew in the second grade that I wanted to be a teacher, and, until I went to college, I had planned to be an elementary teacher. Then I had my first practicum experience and came to realize that it wasn’t where I belonged.” At the encouragement of her supervisor, she switched directions and focused on secondary education.
Brown-Luke earned a Bachelor of Arts in secondary education from Grand View University, followed by a Masters Degree from the University of Northern Iowa. “I have not regretted it one bit,” she says of her decision to focus on middle and high school education.
Teaching high school students has been a great fit for Brown-Luke. “I like to have high school students because it’s the end of their education before going out into the world. They are old enough to be independent but they still turn to you for answers about what’s to come.”
One area students get to explore in social studies is post-secondary education. As an AP Social Studies teacher, Brown-Luke guides students during this process. “The AP path in social studies is rigorous and gives students the opportunity to see what college courses might be like,” she says. Furthermore, students have the opportunity through AP coursework to earn college credits while still in high school.
A goal of the social studies department is for students to become involved with their community while still in high school. Student Senate provides that opportunity. Brown-Luke is one of two sponsors for the program, overseeing student activities. Activities include homecoming, prom, and graduation. Students also support philanthropic efforts, including the Winter Warmth Drive, a program run by students with the goal to gather warm clothes to be given to those in need.
“We want students to know who they are, where they come from, and where the future might be.”
Quotes from students – what they like about Mrs. Brown-Luke’s class:
Logan Vance “Fun to be with. Taught in a fun way. Fun activities to do.”
Emily Mefford “Fun environment. Let’s us discuss things rather than talk to us.”
Keegan Perez “She’s really organized and plans a lot of activities for us.”
Trevor Reinhold “Everybody gets involved in the learning. It isn’t her talking for 45 minutes.”