When Lorraine Cruz walks into Ames Middle School each morning, she passes through metal detectors and an X-ray machine, devices that serve as a reminder of the situation she walked into when she became Ames’ principal in the summer of 2004. When her predecessor left, half of the teachers also took flight. “There was a big disconnect between the teachers and the students,” said Cruz, the fourth principal at Ames, which opened in 1998. Of the school’s nearly 400 eighth-graders, 125 were enrolled in the summer school program. Other area schools had just five or six students in summer school, she said.