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Archive for January, 2014

Teacher Leadership Application Endorsed, Submitted Jan. 31

Teacher Leader Update

 

 

 

On Monday, Jan. 27, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education unanimously voted to formally endorse and support the district’s application for the state’s Teacher Leadership & Compensation grant.

School Board members and district administrators expressed their appreciation for the work of the district committee that developed the proposed teacher leadership and compensation structure and the application for state funding. The district could receive approximately $2.8 million annually.

The committee’s work included visiting other schools with teacher leader systems, reviewing research and gathering input from teachers, administrators and parents through focus groups, building-level meetings and an online form.

Members of the committee reviewed key elements of the application with the Board during a public workshop held on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

In addition to the School Board, the teacher’s union and a district parent group have also expressed support.

The district will submit its application to the state tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 31. The Iowa Department of Education will announce in early March which school districts have been approved to implement their Teacher Leadership and Compensation plans in the 2014-2015 school year.

Topics: Uncategorized

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Preliminary Budget-Cutting Proposal to Go to School Board in February

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The district’s preliminary budget-cutting package is currently scheduled to be reviewed by the School Board at its February 10 meeting.

The goal was originally to have the School Board review the draft package in January.

However, due to the large number of cost-cutting ideas submitted by staff, administrators, parents and community members, the Business Services and Human Resources departments are still working to document the costs associated with each option.

More than 150 total cost-saving suggestions were submitted by staff, parents and community members January 2-14 through an online submission form as part of the district’s budgeting process.

In addition, building principals, district administrators, the employee unions and the Superintendent Advisory Committees, which include School Board members, generated more than a total of 200 cost-saving suggestions.

The district is working on scheduling meetings in February for staff, parents and the community to provide feedback on the proposed cost-cutting package before the administration submits a final package recommendation to the School Board in March. The dates and times of the staff and community meetings will be announced once they are finalized.

The district plans to reduce approximately $3 million each year for the next two years based on preliminary budget estimates. The district is using a decision-making process call Tregoe to determine ways to reduce spending.

 

Want More Information? Have a Question?

For more information on the budget and the process being used to make reduction decisions, please see the resources below:

Budget Articles

Budget Information

Tregoe Decision-Making Process

Timeline

  • Have a question about the district’s budget? Please email WDMCS Superintendent Dr. Lisa Remy at remyl@wdmcs.org.

Topics: School Board News

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Parents & Community Submit Over 150 Cost-Saving Ideas

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More than 150 cost-saving suggestions were submitted by parents and community members Jan. 2-14 through an online submission form as part of the district budgeting process. The WDMCS plans to reduce approximately $3 million each year for the next two years based on preliminary budget estimates. The district is using a decision-making process call Tregoe to determine ways to reduce spending.

On Jan. 16, building principals and department directors scored the submitted items against a set of 13 evaluation criteria. Prior to this, the district and building leaders also submitted ideas and scored the additional suggestions along with those submitted by the employee unions.

The School Board will review the suggested cost-cutting items in January. In February/March, parents and community members will be invited to provide feedback on the proposed cost-cutting package before it is submitted to the School Board in March for approval.

Budget Myth Buster No. 2
Myth
 The district can raise taxes to cover the projected deficit and cuts are not needed.

Fact
The Iowa Code through the school funding formula places limits on each of the property tax rate components. The district is currently at the statutory maximum and is not able to increase the general fund property tax rate any further.

Topics: School Board News

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Relational Aggression

Bullying in elementary school

Submitted by Elementary School Counselors

Bullying is a subject that our school district has focused heavily on during recent years.  Sometimes this subject can be overwhelming.  Research shows that one of the best ways to significantly reduce the rate of these incidents is for adults to reach a consensus on what bullying is.

Bullying can take many forms.  The most typical forms of bullying would be either physical or verbal aggression. The third form is referred to as relational aggression.

According to the National Association of School Psychologists, relational aggression is “harm within relationships that is caused by covert bullying or manipulating behavior.”

Covert bullying:

  • Not allowing someone to join a group
  • Refusing to share friends
  • Embarrassing someone in front of friends

Manipulating Behaviors:

  • Giving someone the silent treatment
  • Trying to stop two people from becoming friends
  • Relaying gossip or rumors to the target of the gossip

Because it is less obvious than physical or verbal bullying, it requires careful observation.  Parents may be unclear about how to help their children handle these situations.  The Ophelia Project outlines “The Essential Seven”, which are tips for parents to deal with relational aggression.

  1. Do listen attentively to your child’s stories and ask questions.  Don’t rush the conversation or make light of the situation.
  2. Do teach kindness and try to model it in your home.  Don’t teach your child to get even or take revenge.
  3. Do focus on empathy by asking questions like ‘how would you feel?’  Try role-playing.  Don’t allow your child to believe that his or her feelings are the only ones that matter.
  4. Do talk to your child about relational aggression.  Name it.  Don’t hesitate to confront your child about his or her behavior.
  5. Do model positive interpersonal relationships in your home.  Don’t inadvertently model relational aggression in your own friendship circle.
  6. Do everything possible to make sure your child has friends outside the school’s social scene.  Encourage outside activities.  Don’t make popularity the goal in your family
  7. Do talk daily with your child.  Encourage discussion; ask open ended questions about friends and social interactions.  Don’t ask yes/no or general questions like ‘did you have a good day?’

Awareness is the key.  If parents and children speak with each other openly and honestly about friendship issues and concerns, situations such as relational aggression can be recognized  and be handled in a proactive and effective manner.

www.opheliaproject.org

www.stopbullyingnow.com

www.awaythrough.com

www.thebullyproject.com

www.olweus.org

www.cyberbullying.us/

Topics: Counseling

Budget News: Help Us Brainstorm Cost-Cutting Ideas

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The West Des Moines Community School District is seeking suggestions from parents and community members on ways to reduce district expenses.

As reported earlier, financial estimates show the district must reduce approximately $3 million from the general fund each year for the next two years. The district is using a process called Tregoe to make cost-cutting decisions.

 

Submit Your Idea!

  • Click here for the Submission Form THIS FORM IS NOW CLOSED. Thank you to all those who submitted an idea. We had over 200 entries!
  • Online form open from January 2 to January 14.

 

What’s Next?

In addition to your ideas, building principals and district administrators have begun developing options. The employee unions—West Des Moines Education Association and the West Des Moines Educational Support Personnel Association—were also asked to provide ideas. Suggested options will also be requested from Superintendent Advisory Committees, which include School Board members.

The suggested ideas will be submitted to the district’s Business Services Department to document costs associated to the proposed options.

Beginning January 16, the building principals and district administrators will then score each option against a set of evaluation criteria.

In February/March, parents will be invited to provide feedback on the proposed cost-cutting package before it is submitted to the School Board in March.

 

Want More Information?

For more information on the budget and the process being used to make reduction decisions, please see the resources below:

Budget Articles

Budget Information

Tregoe Decision-Making Process

Timeline

Topics: School Board News

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Budget News: Budget Cutting Criteria Selected

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As recently reported, early financial estimates show the district must reduce approximately $3 million from the general fund each year for the next two years. The district is using a process called Tregoe to make cost-cutting decisions.

The process uses a step-by-step approach to set objectives, organize and prioritize information, evaluate options and understand the impact of possible choices.

The first step was to identify how much money needs to be cut.

The second step was to develop the criteria to be used to evaluate suggested cost cutting ideas. The district administration has developed the criteria with input from several groups, including:

  • Parent representatives from each school who are members of the School Community Network
  • Teacher representatives who are members of the West Des Moines Education Association
  • Staff representatives who are members of the West Des Moines Educational Support Personnel Association
  • Building principals
  • District administrators
  • School Board

The final criteria is available here:

Evaluation Criteria

To learn more about the Tregoe process and budget reduction timeline, please see the resources below.

Timeline

Tregoe Process

Topics: School Board News

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