Skip to content
Blog

Archive for September, 2014

Working Committee on Boundary Study to Meet

The West Des Moines Community Schools Boundary Committee will begin studying the district’s enrollment and boundaries on September 30.

Boundary Committee Meeting Dates

The committee will review data and develop possible options to changes in current district attendance areas for its elementary and junior high schools. These meetings are open to observers.

The committee is made up of parent representatives from each elementary and junior high school. Teachers, administrators, and city representatives are also on the committee. Parents may contact committee members with questions or to provide input.

Boundary Committee Members

In addition, the district will several public forums later this fall to gather feedback and input on possible options. The dates for these forums will announced as soon as they are scheduled. An online feedback tool will also be provided.

Topics: Boundary Study

Informaline – Sept. 29

VIEW IN PDF

informaline
boundary_icon_colorBOUNDARY STUDY UPDATE: SCHOOL BOARD SETS BOUNDARY CRITERIAOn September 22, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education set criteria for determining possible changes to school attendance boundaries in the district. The criteria will be used by a committee made up of parents, teachers, administrators and community members charged with studying enrollment projections and recommending boundary adjustments for the district’s eight elementary and two junior high schools.

>>View the criteria<<

HUMAN GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT PARENT PREVIEWS OCT. 6Human Growth and Development curriculum, per senate file 2094, is required in the K-12 curriculum of Iowa schools. WDMCS students in grades four, five and six are shown videos as part of this curriculum that address topics such as puberty, body changes, adolescence, hygiene and healthy living. Parents are invited to a video previewing October 6 at Valley Southwoods (times in above link). Any parent who cannot make the Oct. 6 previews are welcome to watch the videos at any time at the Learning Resource Center. Please call 633-5050 to set up an appointment.
BOARD HIGHLIGHTS FROM Sept. 22
Board Elects Brown as President, Lipman as Vice PresidentOn Monday, Sept. 22, the West Des Moines Board of Education elected David J. Brown as its president and Andi Lipman as its vice president.
STUDENTS TEACH EDUCATORS ON PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT DAYWDMCS students Quinn Kelly, Lauren Dettbarn and Abigail Bishop were supposed to have Monday, Sept. 15 off from school because it was a professional development day for teachers in the district. The three girls were in class instead. In fact, the Jordan Creek Elementary sixth graders were teaching a class to educators from across the district.
SAVE THE DATE! PRESCHOOL PALOOZA IS NOV. 8Mark your calendar for the second Preschool Palooza on Saturday, Nov. 8 from 9:30 a.m. to noon at Hillside Elementary. Children ages two to six will enjoy fun and educational activities while their grown-ups gather information about early childhood opportunities. All activities and snacks are free.
virtual-backpackVIRTUAL BACKPACK
Valley boys basketball clinic, Valley cheer clinic, Move Against Bullying, basketball competitions and leagues, nature programs and MORE!
Remember to

Topics: Informaline

5 Tips for Tweeting Your Way to the Top

What would the world be like without social media? Your parents could tell you, but Generations Y and Z have grown up in an era of sharing online. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine – it’s just what you do.

But where exactly are all of your thoughts and photos going? Just to your friends and followers? Not quite. Most of your parents follow you, but so are the local TV, radio and print media. Case in point: Local radio personality Trent Condon tagging VHS football players on game night.

news-tweet-sample

Tweets can follow you after the big game, too. Recently, the Iowa State basketball team took a break from Twitter because of the attention players were receiving.

More and more colleges and universities are looking to students’ social media profiles as part of their entrance criteria – and denying student applications because of what they find.

But you can just delete it, right? Sure, but can you contact all of your followers who re-Tweeted and favorited to delete it as well? Do you think the Library of Congress will go through its archives for you? Probably not.

We’ve come up with five tips for students to make sure your social media profiles will get you where you want to be.

  • news-social-media-on-benchThink before you post. If you wouldn’t say it out loud in front of your parents, think twice about posting it.
  • Be yourself. Don’t let others antagonize you into posting things you know are wrong and go against your character.
  • Use your power for good. Let the world know all of the great things you come across on a daily basis. If you see negativity, check them on it.
  • Brag. Get a good grade? Got a part in the play? Let the world know about it!
  • Network. Think about where your life will go after high school and interact with colleges, businesses or community leaders you admire. But remember…they’ll be following you back!

Topics: Students

Tags: , , ,

School Board Sets 5 Boundary Criteria

On September 22, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education set criteria for determining School Boardpossible changes to school attendance boundaries in the district.

The criteria will be used by a committee made up of parents, teachers, administrators and community members charged with studying enrollment projections and recommending boundary adjustments for the district’s eight elementary and two junior high schools.

The criteria selected are:

  1. Neighborhoods Intact: Where possible, boundaries should be structured to maintain a neighborhood within one school’s attendance area. Neighborhoods should not be split between two schools. A neighborhood is defined as the smallest division of a residential planning area that can be subdivided by a natural line of demarcation, such as a stream or major traffic way. There should be logical limits to define a neighborhood.
  2. Contiguous Attendance Areas: When it is possible, attendance areas should share a common border or have borders that are touching. Compact grouping of residential subdivisions — or planning areas — should be maintained.
  3. Duration of Boundaries: Attendance areas should remain the same for as long as possible. This factor addresses the ability of an attendance area to accommodate the anticipated enrollments for a projected period of time. Where possible, attendance areas should be stabilized to limit the number of boundary changes experienced by students. In established areas with little or no demographic change projected, boundaries should be planned to last for a period of time.
  4. Projected Enrollment/Building Utilization: Attendance boundaries should have balanced, logical enrollment that works within the confines of the assigned school capacity. This factor considers building utilization, student enrollment, staffing needs and the educational program(s). Where possible, attendance boundaries should be created to anticipate the projected enrollment and the program/current capacity of the building. Efficient building utilization should attempt to maximize student population without exceeding capacity long-term.
  5. Impact: The retention and recruitment of district students should be considered when developing attendance boundaries.

 

The district is reviewing attendance boundaries because:

    • The cities it serves — West Des Moines and parts of Clive, Urbandale and Winsdor Heights — have continued to age and populations have changed.
    • Some schools have seen growing student enrollment, causing more students to be placed at buildings other than their neighborhood school in order to keep class sizes at 26-28 students.
    • Phenix Early Childhood Center was closed, which necessitates boundary adjustments to accommodate all resident Phenix students to be able to attend Hillside.

The boundary committee will hold its first meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 30.

 

Topics: Boundary Study

Tags: , , , ,

Board to Consider Boundary Criteria Sept. 22

The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education will hold a workshop and its annual and organizational meetings on Monday, Sept. 22 at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines. The workshop begins at 5:15 p.m., the annual meeting begins at 7:00 p.m., and the organizational meeting immediately follows. These meetings are open to the public.

At the workshop, the Board will consider criteria to be used by the district’s boundary study committee as it reviews the current attendance boundaries of each of the district’s elementary and junior high schools. The last boundary/enrollment study was completed by the district in 2007.

Links to the agendas, full board packet, materials and information on the School Board follow.

Workshop, Annual & Organizational Agendas

Board Packet & Materials

Board Information

Topics: Boundary Study

Boundary Review

This year, the West Des Moines Community Schools will study trends in student enrollment and review the location of school boundaries.

In July, the Board of Education approved a contract with RSP & Associates, a firm that specializes in enrollment analysis and forecasting. RSP is currently compiling data and completing an enrollment report.

The district will use this information in its review of the attendance boundaries of each elementary and junior high school. We are doing this work because some of our schools have growing student enrollment, causing more students to be placed at buildings other than their neighborhood school in order to keep class sizes at 26 to 28 students. In addition, boundary adjustments are needed due to the recent closure of Phenix Early Childhood Center.

The boundary study will take place this fall and involve parents, teachers and administrators from each elementary and junior high school.

To stay informed about the boundary study, watch for information and updates:

  • in your email inbox,
  • in the district’s newsletter the Informaline,
  • at parent meetings,
  • on the district’s website,
  • on the district’s Facebook page and
  • on Twitter.

For questions, please contact the School/Community Relations Office at 633-5023.

Current District Boundary Map

Topics: Boundary Study

Informaline – Sept. 15

VIEW IN PDF

informaline
NOTE MENU CHANGE: Please note that the menu for Sept. 23 has been changed from fiestada pizza to double stuffed cheese pizza.
CALLING ALL 2015-16 KINDERGARTNERS!
The WDMCS is currently taking names for the 2015-16 kindergarten class. Any child who will be five years old by Sept. 15, 2015, will be eligible for kindergarten next school year. If you have a child that will be starting kindergarten next year, follow the steps listed to get your child’s name placed on our list.If you are not sure which building attendance area you live in, please call 633-5101. Please also share this with any families you know who has an incoming kindergartner.
INFORMATION ON VIRUS CAUSING ILLNESS IN IOWA
You may have seen news stories about cases of a respiratory virus called Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) being reported in some Midwest states, including Iowa. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, Enteroviruses are common viruses that can cause mild to severe respiratory illness, usually in the summer and fall.To help keep our students healthy, we are encouraging students to:

  • Wash their hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.

The West Des Moines Community Schools will continue to clean classrooms and disinfect doorknobs and light switches daily. In addition, some staff are regularly disinfecting toys, desks and chairs.

MEET OUR LEARNING SUPPORTS AND FAMILY ENGAGEMENT COORDINATORS
Randy Dohmen and Danette Rieper are filling new positions in the Teacher Leadership and Compensation program: learning supports and family engagement coordinators. Dohmen and Rieper are eager to learn exactly how they can help teachers, parents and students in the district through their new positions.
SCHOOL BOARD HIGHLIGHTS FROM SEPT. 8
School Board Approves Settlement Agreement for Hillside Construction
On Monday, Sept. 8, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education approved a $2 million settlement agreement with certain contractors regarding the Hillside Elementary renovation project. Funds from the settlement will recoup a portion of the repair costs and will be placed in the district’s building fund per Iowa code. The district alleged that the building as originally completed had unanticipated thermal issues, air and water intrusion and related mold issues. The school’s staff and students were temporarily relocated in the fall of 2012 to complete a window system redesign and replacement, roof repair and environmental abatement project.
REGISTER FOR LEARNWEST FALL CLASSES
LEARNwest offers a wide range of classes for adults who want to expand their skills or try something new. LEARNwest classes are offered evenings and weekends. View the catalog and register online.
LOOKING FOR SOMETHING FUN FOR YOUR STUDENT?The Community Education Adventures program has fun classes, fun teachers and fun enriching experiences for K-8 students after school, in the evenings, and on the weekends. Adventures provides a way for students to expand their knowledge or skills in an area of interest and try something beyond the classes that they have during the school day. Registration is now open for fall classes. View the catalog and register online.
VIRTUAL BACKPACK
Valley boys basketball clinic, Valley cheer clinic, Community Education classes, 4-H, YMCA Basketball League and MORE!
Remember to

Topics: Informaline

Meet the Learning Supports and Family Engagement Coordinators

Written by Alexandra Wade

Randy Dohmen and Danette Rieper are filling new positions in the Teacher Leadership and Compensation program: learning supports and family engagement coordinators. Both were excited to see a position in the new system that looked like a perfect fit for them. Dohmen and Rieper are eager to figure out exactly how they can help teachers, parents and students in the district through their new positions.

As the first learning supports and family engagement coordinators for the WDMCS, Dohmen and Rieper are working to develop the position. They see it as a way to work with and connect the schools, families and the community. Their focus this year will be improving mental health to support student learning. Part of that is making sure teachers and families know about all the resources available to them.

“You really want to show the community the supports that are out there and get them connected with what they need,” Dohmen said. “It’s all about student success.”

Strong initiatives are already in place, so Dohmen and Rieper will be expanding those programs and services, while also working with individual families and teachers. One goal is to define their role and position in the Teacher Leadership and Compensation program and figure out how to articulate that so people know they are available to help.

“We want to support, educate and build upon the wonderful things we already have in the district,” Rieper said, “from the district level, school level and classroom level.”

Any families who have questions or concerns about their student’s success can contact Dohmen and Rieper by phone or email.

Meet Randy Dohmendohmenr

Randy has worked in special education for the past 10 years. His background has prepared him for his new position by connecting him with many different community resources and organizations.

“My first year as a special ed teacher, I got asked a lot of questions about services people needed, and I didn’t know the answers,” Dohmen said. “I researched it and figured a lot of it out.”

He started participating in programs such as Best Buddies, while still teaching special education classes. His favorite part of his leadership position is being present in every school in the district, instead of just one.

“I like getting to see the passion for education and getting to meet everyone in the district,” he said.

email: dohmenr@wdmcs.org
phone: 515-633-5011

rieperdMeet Danette Rieper

Danette has experience working at the pre-school and junior high levels, and as a training coordinator. She has also worked with the Youth Justice Initiative (YJI), mentoring at-risk youth and helping to get them back on track. Throughout her 20 years working with families to support success, she has found relationships to be the most important to her line of work.

”One of my passions, and one of the things I think I succeed in is developing relationships and getting to know the individual,” Rieper said. “And I think that’s going to be crucial in the development of the program.”

Her favorite part of her new position so far has been getting to see excitement about the new school year and the new program throughout the district.

email: rieperd@wdmcs.org
phone: 515-633-5068

Topics: Teacher Leadership

Tags:

WDMCS Employees – Sign Up For Wellness Program

Sign Up for Our Wellness Program Today!

We realize that many of you are searching for ways to improve your health, whether it’s to exercise more, lose weight, eat healthier, or stop smoking. These healthy steps not only give you energy and relieve stress, but they also help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as, provide other health benefits.

If that is of interest to you, then we want to help. Last spring, WDMCS partnered with beBetter Health to launch a new Wellness Program. The partnership continues during the 2014-15 school year, but with more programs, challenges, and incentives!

During the 2014-15 program year, full-time employees on the WDMCS health plan will have the opportunity to earn up to a $275 gift card. The more you participate — the more you earn!

If you participated in the Wellness Program last spring, log in to your wellness portal at www.bebetterhealth.net beginning today to start earning points. For assistance with login, please contact beBetter Health Customer Service at support@bebetter.net or (866) 900-5325, ext. 3507. If you didn’t participate last school year, you can still join in on the fun in 2014-15.

Here is more assistance:

The program begins today and consists of three wellness steps:

  1. Complete the Health Survey. Beginning today, log in to the wellness portal and complete the online Health Survey. It will ask about your current level of exercise, eating habits, weight goals, stress levels, and tobacco status. At the completion of the survey, you’ll receive a report that summarizes your overall results. In addition, you’ll be assigned two personalized wellness goals to assist you in improving or maintaining your healthy lifestyle. These goals will change throughout the year, so the sooner you complete your survey, the sooner you can beginning tracking towards your personal wellness goals to earn points.
  2. Get Screened. WDMCS will offer onsite Health Screenings again in January 2015 to check your body measurements, blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood glucose levels. These are very important numbers that everyone should know. When you become healthier and more active, these numbers should improve. That makes these screening numbers a good benchmark of your overall health. More details on how you can participate will be available in December.
  3. Participate. Log in to the Wellness portal at www.bebetterhealth.net to learn more about the exciting challenges and programs the Wellness Program has to offer. By participating in programs offered on the Wellness portal, you’ll earn Wellness Points toward the gift card. WDMCS is kicking off the year with the moveMore Challenge! Register today for the challenge that begins on September 15. By tracking your physical activity for six weeks, you can earn 100 Wellness Points. Log in and get movin’ today!

(Health Screening and Health Survey results are confidential. WDMCS will not have access to your individual health or survey information.)

By participating in the Wellness Program and earning points by April 30, 2015, you can earn a $100, $125, $175, or even $275 gift card, so be sure to get started right away! (Note: Gift cards are available to full-time employees on the WDMCS health plan and will be distributed May 2015).

Contact: beBetter Customer Support, 1-866-900-5325, ext. 3507.

Join the moveMore Challenge!

Ready to jumpstart your physical activity? WDMCS is excited to kick off the moveMore Challenge!

During this six-week challenge, you can be eligible for prizes for getting more active by walking, running, biking, or any physical activity that makes you moveMore!

Here are more program details:

  • The challenge will begin on September 15 and end on October 24 at 6 p.m. CT.
  • Each participant will participate as an individual.
  • You will earn 100 Wellness Points if you log at least 540 minutes (nine hours) of physical activity during the six weeks — that’s only 90 minutes of activity per week.

Getting Started:

You can register for this challenge from September 3-15 at 6 p.m. CT.

Topics: Staff

Informaline – Sept. 2

VIEW IN PDF

informaline
SEEKING FEEDBACK ON BUDGET COMMUNICATIONSLast year, the WDMCS Board of Education approved reducing $2.7 million from the district’s operating budget to help align our ongoing expenses with annual revenue. To help make this decision, district leadership gathered input from parents, community members and employees. We also worked to provide information about this process.

DISTRICT TO REVIEW ATTENDANCE BOUNDARIESThis year, the West Des Moines Community Schools will study trends in student enrollment and review the location of school boundaries. In July, the Board of Education approved a contract with RSP & Associates, a firm that specializes in enrollment analysis and forecasting. RSP is currently compiling data and completing an enrollment report. The boundary study will take place this fall and involve parents, teachers and administrators from each elementary and junior high school.
WDMCS AWARDED FOR EXCELLENCE IN FINANACIAL REPORTINGThe West Des Moines Community Schools has received the Association of School Business Officials International’s (ASBO) Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting award for having met or exceeded the program’s high standards for financial reporting and accountability. The award, which is the 29th consecutive the district has received, was awarded for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013. For more information on WDMCS Finance and Facilities, visit http://www.wdmcs.org/departments/facilities-and-finance.
BOARD APPROVES SALE OF PHENIX ELEMENTARY BUILDINGThe WDMCS Board of Education approved the sale of the Phenix Elementary building for $535,000 to the City of West Des Moines during a special meeting on August 29.
BOARD HIGHLIGHTS FROM AUG. 25
School Board Reviews Early Budget Forecast
At a workshop on August 25, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education reviewed a preliminary budget and forecasting tool recently purchased by the district. Early estimates show the district will need to continue budget reductions. Leaders need key pieces of information to determine the final amount and will update the template after fiscal year 2014 financial information is filed with the Iowa Department of Education on September 15.
SEVERE WEATHER CONDITIONS AND BUS SAFETY
This is the time of year when severe weather can come up quickly. The WDMCS Transportation Department wants to remind you of the safety procedures it follows to make sure students remain safe while riding and getting on and off the bus.
VIRTUAL BACKPACK
Learn about Booster Pak and Courage League Sports or sign up for Des Moines Playhouse classes and Polk County Nature Programs!
Remember to

Topics: Informaline