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Archive for December, 2012

Connecticut Elementary School Tragedy

Superintendent’s Message Monday, Dec. 17, 2012
Dear West Des Moines Community Schools Families:

My heart remains sad with the continuing news from the Connecticut tragedy. Given the Holiday Season, I was able to spend  time with family and friends, and I hope you were able to do so as well. Life is truly precious. The victims and their families continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

I want to assure you that we are doing all we can to make sure our schools are a safe place to work and learn. Here are actions we are taking:

  1. Reviewing Emergency Protocols: We are asking all district staff to review emergency protocols, which are posted in every room of our buildings. The protocols include lockdown procedures.
  2. Reviewing the Crisis Management Plan: All building administrators will be reviewing the district Crisis Management Plan to ensure all emergency preparation steps outlined are being followed. This includes conducting drills for several emergencies, including lockdowns. General information about our plan is available here:
  3. Full Review of Crisis Management Plan: This fall, the district began a full review of the Crisis Management Plan and protocols. We will continue this work, which will involve local law enforcement agencies, fire departments and other crisis experts throughout the process.

Please also know that resources about how to talk with your children about such incidents are available here: We will continue to update this page with resources. Also know that our school counselors are here during school hours to help students, if needed.

We are also listening to feedback, concerns, ideas and more that are being provided to us about crisis preparedness, crisis response, safety, and communications. We are doing our best to gather resources, answer questions, and more. Please feel free to contact me or your principal if you have any questions or concerns.

Dr. Peter Ansingh,
WDMCS Superintendent


Superintendent’s Message Friday, Dec. 14, 2012
Dear West Des Moines Community Schools Families;

Today, my thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims of the Connecticut elementary school tragedy. As we hear such news we are reminded how important it is for our schools to provide the safest possible learning and working environments for our students and staff.

Please know that the West Des Moines Community Schools has safety and crisis protocols for such situations in place that were developed with input from law enforcement.  We will continue to be vigilant in our efforts to keep our students and schools safe.

In addition, we know such news can be confusing and difficult for children. If you are seeking information about how to help children at home deal with tragic news, please feel to reference the resources below. Also know that our school counselors are here during school hours to help students.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can help in any way.

Dr. Peter Ansingh,
WDMCS Superintendent

Resources for Parents

WDMCS Crisis Plan Information

Topics: Superintendent

How can I keep my student focused during winter break?

Bethene Songer, Kindergarten Teacher at Western Hills Elementary
Congrats!  You’ve made it to winter break!  A well-deserved break from home work and school obligations.  To help prepare for a smooth transition back, you can help your child stay mentally active over break with these fun family activities;  READ for pleasure, WRITE thank you notes, JOURNAL your travels or activities, COOK together, GAME nights, CRAFT for fun and most of all….ENJOY your time and MAKE wonderful new memories!

Jackie Scieszinski, Math Teacher at Indian Hills Junior High
Take advantage of daily routines to include a little mental math…for example…it is 8:57.  You have an appointment at 10:15.  How many minutes before your appointment?  It takes 10 minutes to get there. What time should we leave? (more…)

Topics: Uncategorized

Board Recognition 12/10/12

The Board of Education of the West Des Moines Community School District is pleased to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of district students and staff.

Congratulations to Kerrigan Owens who advanced to the state level for the Voice of Democracy contest sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Her speech “Is the constitution still relevant?” won at both the local and district levels. Also competing well at the local level were seniors Dylan DeClerck and Hannah Beuse.

The Crestview First Lego League team won the High Quality Team Performance award at a regional competition. Team members are Cael Elmore, Mark Breiner, Jerry Breiner, Sukhman Virdi, Grant Rieker, Gwyn Chilcoat, Lindsay Wirta, Chloe Thorn and Hans Bunn. (more…)

Topics: Uncategorized