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Archive for March, 2014

School Board Addresses Budget Reductions March 10

Budget Logo




The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education will address the final budget reduction proposal on Monday, March 10 at 7:00 p.m. The Board will also hold a work session at 5:15 p.m. during which they will review the 2014-15 certified budget.

Some of the items being proposed include closing Phenix Early Childhood Center, eliminating the district’s half-day kindergarten program, eliminating first grade assistants and reducing Level 1 special education program assistants.

The full proposal is available here: Final Budget Reduction Proposal

The proposal is being submitted after a four-month process, which included gathering reduction ideas and feedback from parents, community members and employees. This included holding several public meetings to provide information on the budget, the process being used to determine reductions and to gather feedback on possible reductions.


When will the School Board vote on the budget reductions?

The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education will address the final budget reduction proposal on Monday, March 10 at 7:00 p.m. in the Community Room at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines.

School Board Meeting Agenda

School Board Meeting Information Packet


Where can I find the final list of items being proposed to cut?

The final budget reduction proposal being submitted to the School Board is available here:

Final Budget Reduction Proposal


Where can I find information about the district’s budget situation?



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State Selects WDMCS to Launch Teacher Leadership System

Teacher Leader Update




The West Des Moines Community Schools is one of 39 school districts selected to be the first in the state to launch a teacher leadership system in the 2014-15 school year.

Iowa Department of Education Announcement

 “This is exciting news for our district and for our teachers, who will now have increased opportunities for professional growth and leadership within the district,” said WDMCS Superintendent Dr. Lisa Remy. “Those who will benefit the most will be our students, as our teacher leaders help us move toward even greater student success.”

Remy thanked the members of the Teacher Leadership & Compensation Committee for their outstanding work to develop the leadership system and for securing $2.8 million annually specifically designated for the system. “The teachers, administrators and community members on the committee were truly collaborative and innovative,” she said.

The district will start work to implement the system within the month, said WDMCS Interim Associate Superintendent of Human Resources Carol Seid. “The outstanding efforts of our committee have set the framework and structure for the system, which we can now start to put in place. We are excited to move forward,” she added.

The Teacher Leadership & Compensation system offers our teachers the opportunity to take on leadership roles in the area of instruction and receive compensation for the increased responsibilities. The leadership roles include:

  • Building Leadership Team: Assists in identifying needs and plans for building professional development. Works with the principal, district teacher leaders and teh central office to move improvement plans forward.
  • District Leadership Team: Assists in identifying needs & plans for district professional development.
  • Professional Development/Curriculum Facilitator: Serves on District Leadership Team and other district teams; assists with professional development planning and implementation
  • Instructional Coaches: Works with teachers to use evidenced-based instructional practices and strategies to increase student achievement.
  • Demonstration Teacher/Coordinator: Opens his/her door for observations of lessons, lesson planning, etc.
  • Mentor Teachers: Supports new teachers as they enter the profession, observe, meet and work together for two or more years
  • Mentor Coordinator: Observes, provides training opportunities and feedback to new teachers and mentors
  • Learning Supports/Coordinator/Family School Engagement Coordinator: Supports teacher to identify needs of at-risk students and families; collaboratively implements strategies for increased student achievement; provides strategies to teachers to effectively engage families for increased student growth.

 Teacher Leadership & Compensation Updates

Teacher Leadership & Compensation Committee Webpage


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Board Highlights from Feb. 24

More WDMCS Students Proficient on State Test
According to a report released Monday, Feb. 24, students attending the WDMCS performed better in reading, math and science on the Iowa Assessments in 2013 than in 2012.

The Iowa Assessments are tests the state requires students to take in grades 3-8 and grade 11. In WDMCS, students take the tests in the fall.

“I am very optimistic about the data,” said Dr. Laurene Lanich, associate superintendent of Teaching and Learning for the district. In fact, the district met 16 out of its 17 annual improvement goals. “This is a significant achievement for our district and the students attending our schools.”

The data also shows:

  • 5 out of 8 grade levels saw an increase in the percentage of proficient students in math
  • 5 out of 8 grade levels saw an increase in the percentage of proficient students in reading

In comparison to students across the state, the WDMCS has a greater percentage of proficient students in mathematics, reading, and science in grades 3-11. The exception of in science for grade 11.

Lanich said while there are many variables that determine student performance on standardized tests, the district has implemented several strategies to improve instruction and student proficiency. These include district-wide professional development focused on:

  • Learning Targets: Written statements that provide clarity about what a student is supposed to know or be able to do.
  • Differentiation: A way of teaching; it’s not a program or package of worksheets. It asks teachers to know their students well so they can provide each one with experiences and tasks that will improve learning.
  • Professional Learning Communities (PLCs): Groups of educators that meets regularly, share expertise and work collaboratively to improve instruction. Our PLCs work on answering the following essential questions to achieving effective instruction –
    • What is it we want our students to learn?
    • How will we know if each student has learned it?
    • How will we respond when some students don’t learn it?
    • How can we extend and enrich the learning for students who have demonstrated proficiency?

For more information, please see the “West Des Moines Community School District Student Achievement Report 2013-14” on the district website.

Topics: Education, School Board News, Student Achievements