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School Board Approves Cost-Saving Measures, District Remains Leader in World Language Offerings

Tonight, Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education approved reducing district spending by $530,114 from its $150 million operating budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year, as state funding for education continues to lag behind the actual cost of providing services and programming for students.

The largest savings of $197,000 comes from adjusting Foreign Languages in the Elementary School (FLES) from a kindergarten through sixth-grade program to a fourth- through sixth-grade program. An adjustment to this program was first proposed through community feedback during the district’s budgeting process two years ago and was again proposed this year by a Budget Advisory Committee, whose members represented parents/community members, students, and employees.

The adjustment provides additional time for reading instruction, which will assist in the district’s efforts to have all students proficient in reading by the end of third grade as required by state law.

The School Board amended the administration’s recommendation to eliminate Japanese courses for the 2016-17 school year saving $38,600. Instead, the Board approved phasing out the program by not offering Japanese I in 2016-17, saving approximately $9,500 next year.

The full list of cost-saving measures and descriptions are below.

The WDMCS remains a leading district in the state in world language offerings, providing our students an edge in today’s global economy. With the exception of the Des Moines school district, the WDMCS remains the only public school district in the metro area to offer any world language instruction before sixth grade. In addition, it continues to have one of the largest selections of world language courses in the metro area.

The district will continue to work with local legislators on the School Board-approved legislative priorities, which include providing adequate funding to better reflect actual cost increases in delivering education services experienced by school districts.

For past budget-related news, please visit http://www.wdmcs.org/category/budget-2/.

 

Approved Budget Reductions for Fiscal Year 2016-17 (Dec. 21, 2015)

1. Eliminate 360 feedback

  • Estimated Savings: $10,500
  • Details: The 360 Feedback is an HR-related tool through which employees receive confidential, anonymous feedback from the people who work around them, such as peers, managers, and direct reports. Iowa law requires teachers receive some type of feedback and a less expensive feedback tool would be sought.

2. Reduce China trip expenses

  • Estimated Savings: $70,000
  • Details: The district hosts visitors from a sister-school in Shijiazhuang, China and sends students and staff to China. The budgeted costs go toward hosting activities and pays for staff travel.

3. Eliminate printed school district activity calendar.

  • Estimated Savings: $7,000
  • Details: The printed activities calendar is currently provided to district parents and staff free of charge. The estimated savings is from printing costs only. All information is available online in the district’s online calendar. Possible options are to charge for the calendar.

4. Reduce printing budgets districtwide

  • Estimated Savings: $30,000
  • Details: The estimated savings is based on reduced printing budgets across the district.

5. Eliminate Gallup Teacher Insight screening tool & replace with Teacher Fit

  • Estimated Savings: $16,700
  • Details: Gallup Teacher Insight is an online assessment used as part of the application process. Teacher Fit and Job Fit are similar application process tools.

6. Pilot holding meetings after school hours. Hourly pay in lieu of a substitute teacher

  • Estimated Savings: $2,000
  • Details: There are meetings held during the school day in the district that teachers attend. When this occurs, a substitute teacher must be hired to cover classes. This option proposes holding one of these meetings after school outside the contracted hours and paying teachers an hourly amount to attend. This would be a pilot program.

7. Eliminate Des Moines Art Center Scholarships

  • Estimated Savings: $6,707
  • Details: The district provides funds for approximately 50 students to attend classes at the Des Moines Art Center during the summer.

8. Restructure Valley High School security contract

  • Estimated Savings: $20,682
  • Details: Valley High School currently contracts with the Conley Group for four security guards. This revised proposal keeps Conley security services, but at a reduced price. The restructured contract would save the district $20,682, which is an additional savings of $282 compared to the original proposed option.

9. Reduce summer days at secondary level – Flat percentage (10% = $4,600, exclusive of Counselors, non-categorical funds)

  • Estimated Savings: $4,600
  • Details: There are approximately eight certified staff members who work additional days in the summer due to position duties and who are paid for those days.

10. Phase out Japanese language program by not offering Japanese I in 2016-17.

  • Estimated Savings: Approximately $9,500
  • Details: Valley Southwoods Freshman High School offers Japanese I and Valley High School offers Japanese I, II, III, and IV as full-year elective courses. Japanese is one of six world languages offered at Valley. With this phase out, the number of world languages offered remains one of the largest in the Des Moines-metro area.

11. Eliminate 1st through 3rd grade FLES. Keep FLES in 4th through 6th grades.

  • Estimated Savings: $197,000
  • Details: The district’s current Foreign Language in Elementary School (FLES) program provides Spanish instruction for 60 minutes each week in grades one-six. This proposal would continue to offer 60 minutes of Spanish instruction each week in grades four-six. This would allow the district to provide additional time for reading instruction, which will assist in our efforts to have all students proficient in reading by the end of third grade as required by state law. The district would remain one of the few in the state to offer a world language at the elementary level.

12. Eliminate 3-year-old general education preschool

  • Estimated Savings: $120,000
  • Details: The district currently offers 3-year-old general education preschool at a subsidized cost to parents. This option would eliminate the 3-year-old general education preschool. The proposal would allow the district to expand the number of four-year-old preschoolers served, generating state funding. This option maintains current preschool teacher positions.

13. Eliminate Hanover Research contract

  • Estimated Savings: $35,425
  • Details:  The district has contracted with Hanover Research for the past four years to assist the administration with conducting research, administering surveys, and evaluating programs to determine effectiveness.

Estimated Total Savings: $530,114

Topics: Budget, School Board News

School Board to Review Revised Cost-Saving Package Dec. 21

icon_financialThe district administration of the West Des Moines Community Schools will present a revised budget-reduction package to the School Board at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 21, in the Community Room of the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines.

The administration presented an initial package with 15 proposed cost-saving measures to the School Board for its review on Nov. 23. The measures were developed through a Budget Advisory Committee representing employees, students, and community members.

The measures were then shared during six community feedback sessions and through an online feedback form.

The Budget Advisory Committee reconvened on Dec. 16 to review community feedback and develop a modified recommendation. The modified proposal was presented at superintendent advisory committee meetings, which subsequently further refined the recommendation.

The revised recommendation includes 13 proposed cost-saving measures totaling an estimated $559,214 in savings.

The Board will also hold a workshop at 5:15 p.m. in the Fairmeadows Room at the Learning Resource Center, during which it will review the district’s audit report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015.

School Board Meeting Agenda and Materials

 

Budget Reduction Recommendation for Fiscal Year 2016-17 (Dec. 21, 2015)

Budget Reduction Recommendation for Fiscal Year 2016-17 (Dec. 21, 2015) PDF

1. Eliminate 360 feedback

  • Estimated Savings: $10,500
  • Details: The 360 Feedback is an HR-related tool through which employees receive confidential, anonymous feedback from the people who work around them, such as peers, managers, and direct reports. Iowa law requires teachers receive some type of feedback and a less expensive feedback tool would be sought.

2. Reduce China trip expenses

  • Estimated Savings: $70,000
  • Details: The district hosts visitors from a sister-school in Shijiazhuang, China and sends students and staff to China. The budgeted costs go toward hosting activities and pays for staff travel.

3. Eliminate printed school district activity calendar.

  • Estimated Savings: $7,000
  • Details: The printed activities calendar is currently provided to district parents and staff free of charge. The estimated savings is from printing costs only. All information is available online in the district’s online calendar. Possible options are to charge for the calendar.

4. Reduce printing budgets districtwide

  • Estimated Savings: $30,000
  • Details: The estimated savings is based on reduced printing budgets across the district.

5. Eliminate Gallup Teacher Insight screening tool & replace with Teacher Fit

  • Estimated Savings: $16,700
  • Details: Gallup Teacher Insight is an online assessment used as part of the application process. Teacher Fit and Job Fit are similar application process tools.

6. Pilot holding meetings after school hours. Hourly pay in lieu of a substitute teacher

  • Estimated Savings: $2,000
  • Details: There are meetings held during the school day in the district that teachers attend. When this occurs, a substitute teacher must be hired to cover classes. This option proposes holding one of these meetings after school outside the contracted hours and paying teachers an hourly amount to attend. This would be a pilot program.

7. Eliminate Des Moines Art Center Scholarships

  • Estimated Savings: $6,707
  • Details: The district provides funds for approximately 50 students to attend classes at the Des Moines Art Center during the summer.

8. Restructure Valley High School security contract

  • Estimated Savings: $20,682
  • Details: Valley High School currently contracts with the Conley Group for four security guards. This revised proposal keeps Conley security services, but at a reduced price. The restructured contract would save the district $20,682, which is an additional savings of $282 compared to the original proposed option.

9. Reduce summer days at secondary level – Flat percentage (10% = $4,600, exclusive of Counselors, non-categorical funds)

  • Estimated Savings: $4,600
  • Details: There are approximately eight certified staff members who work additional days in the summer due to position duties and who are paid for those days.

10. Eliminate Japanese language program

  • Estimated Savings: $38,600
  • Details: Valley Southwoods Freshman High School offers Japanese I and Valley High School offers Japanese I, II, III, and IV as full-year elective courses. Japanese is one of six world languages offered at Valley. Options would be provided for students currently taking Japanese to complete their studies. With this reduction, the number of world languages offered remains one of the largest in the Des Moines-metro area.

11. Eliminate 1st through 3rd grade FLES. Keep FLES in 4th through 6th grades.

  • Estimated Savings: $197,000
  • Details: The district’s current Foreign Language in Elementary School (FLES) program provides Spanish instruction for 60 minutes each week in grades one-six. This proposal would continue to offer 60 minutes of Spanish instruction each week in grades four-six. This would allow the district to provide additional time for reading instruction, which will assist in our efforts to have all students proficient in reading by the end of third grade as required by state law. The district would remain one of the few in the state to offer a world language at the elementary level.

12. Eliminate 3-year-old general education preschool

  • Estimated Savings: $120,000
  • Details: The district currently offers 3-year-old general education preschool at a subsidized cost to parents. This option would eliminate the 3-year-old general education preschool. The proposal would allow the district to expand the number of four-year-old preschoolers served, generating state funding. This option maintains current preschool teacher positions.

13. Eliminate Hanover Research contract

  • Estimated Savings: 35,425
  • Details:  The district has contracted with Hanover Research for the past four years to assist the administration with conducting research, administering surveys, and evaluating programs to determine effectiveness.

 

Estimated Total Savings: $559,214

 

Topics: Budget, School Board News

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Informaline Dec. 14 2015

PDF

en español

Virtual Backpack/La Mochila Virtual

Community Giving Feedback on Cost-Saving Measures
Parents, students, community members, teachers, and staff members are providing feedback on 15 proposed cost-saving measures developed by a budget advisory committee to address growing expenses as district revenue declines.

As of Thursday, Dec. 9, there were 188 online feedback submissions, and 88 individuals attended the first five feedback sessions. Attendance numbers for the one remaining session on Saturday, Dec. 12, were not available at the time of the “Informaline” deadline.

District administration and the budget advisory committee will review the feedback to determine if any adjustments will be made to the cost-saving measures presented to the School Board. The feedback will also be provided to the School Board to review.

Based on the current budgeting timeline, the district administration will ask the School Board to take action on the measures on Monday, Dec. 21, at 7 p.m. at the Learning Resource Center.

For more information, please visit bit.ly/WDMCSFinance.

Upcoming School Board Meetings
The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education holds regular business meetings typically at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines. Times and locations may change on occasion. Updates are available at bit.ly/WDMCSBoardCal. The Board often holds workshop sessions at 5:15 p.m. prior to its regular business meetings.

Upcoming meeting dates are:

  • Dec. 21, 2015
  • Jan. 11, 2016
  • Jan. 25, 2016
  • Feb. 8, 2016
  • Feb. 22, 2016
  • March 7, 2016
  • March 28, 2016

We also live-tweet meetings! If you can’t join us in person, join us @WDMCS.

Happy Holidays!
There is no school Dec. 23–Jan. 1. All district offices are closed Dec. 24, Dec. 25, and Jan. 1. Classes will resume Jan. 4.

Transportation Fees Due Jan. 14
Third-quarter transportation fees are due Jan. 14, 2015. You can make payments at your school or online at www.wdmcs.org/online-payments.

Join Us in Reading “The Crossover”
Be part of WDMCS Reads by reading and discussing “The Crossover” by Kwame Alexander.

Co-workers, neighbors, new residents, and others are encouraged to come together in small groups to read our inaugural book selection, “The Crossover” by Kwame Alexander, winner of the 2015 Newbery Medal and 2015 Coretta Scott King Honor Award.

“The Crossover,” a novel in verse, shares the story of seventh-grade basketball phenomenon Josh Bell, but the book is far more than a “sports book.” At its core, “The Crossover” is about family and growing up and the challenges and rewards that come with both.

Readers will find themselves somewhere in this book, whether they be siblings, parents, family members, friends, teenagers, team members, fans, music lovers, or poets.

The book is available at the following locations:

  • West Des Moines Public Library, 4000 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines
  • Urbandale Public Library, 3520 86th St., in Urbandale
  • Clive Public Library, 1900 NW 114th St., in Clive
  • Barnes & Noble, 4550 University Ave., in West Des Moines

Discussion questions, community-building ideas, and additional information will soon be available at www.wdmcs.org/wdmcs-reads.

Weather Closings Reminder
We want to remind district families about our weather closings procedure, including how decisions are made and how to stay informed. To prepare for the winter months, please visit our ‘Weather Closings’ page at bit.ly/WeatherClosings_inf.

If school is canceled, delayed, or dismissed early because of weather conditions, announcements will be provided:

  • through the district weather hotline at 515-633-5555
  • through the Infinite Campus emergency notification system
  • on the district website (www.wdmcs.org)
  • on the district’s Facebook page and Twitter account
  • through local TV and radio stations

To receive a phone call notification, please make sure your preferred numbers are entered into Infinite Campus. Directions can be found at bit.ly/CampusInfo_inf.

WDMCS Choirs Collaborate with Musicians for Winter Concerts
District vocal music ensembles will feature district musicians in concerts from Dec. 14–17. The four upcoming concerts will showcase seasonal and traditional pieces, and popular songs from Broadway and the radio. All concerts are free and open to the public, and will be held in the Staplin Performing Arts Center at Valley High School, 3650 Woodland Ave., West Des Moines.

  • Stilwell Junior High Seventh-Grade Vocal Music Concert, 6:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 14
  • Stilwell Junior High Eighth-Grade Vocal Music Concert, 8 p.m., Monday, Dec. 14
  • Valley/Valley Southwoods Vocal Music Concert, 7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 15
  • Indian Hills Winter Choir Concert, 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 17

These are only some of the great events happening before Winter Break. Please check the district calendar for information on all district events.

What Do You Think? Historic West Des Moines Survey
The City of West Des Moines is developing a new Master Plan for the Historic West Des Moines area, which includes Hillside Elementary and Stilwell Junior High. As part of that plan, the City of West Des Moines has commissioned a market/community survey that asks questions about the public’s awareness, attitude, and use of Historic West Des Moines.

Results from the online survey will be used to assist in the development of the new Master Plan. Please take a few moments to share your opinions. Help to shape the plan by taking the survey, which is open through the end of December. The survey is available at http://historicwdm.com.

WDMCS Does Hour of Code
Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds kicked off Iowa’s Computer Science Education Week with a press conference held at Jordan Creek Elementary on Dec. 7.

The conference was just one element of the district’s Hour of Code participation this year. Many WDMCS schools held Hour of Code events, and the district hosted an Hour of Code event at the Learning Resource Center on Dec. 10. Students and their families completed the one-hour coding tutorials provided on code.org. Information about furthering students’ learning and study of computer science was available from district curriculum directors.

Participation in the Hour of Code and Computer Science Education Week is part of continuous district efforts to increase students’ technology skills. The ability to succeed increasingly hinges on the understanding of technology.

Find out more at code.org, and by following #HourofCode on social media.

Topics: Informaline

Cost-Saving Measures Presented, Public Feedback Sessions Scheduled

icon_financialOn Monday, Nov. 23, district administrators presented 15 possible cost-saving measures for the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education to review to help address growing expenses as revenue declines.

Proposed Cost-Saving Measures

1. Eliminate 360 feedback.

  • Estimated Savings: $10,500
  • Details: The 360 Feedback is an HR-related tool through which employees receive confidential, anonymous feedback from the people who work around them, such as peers, managers, and direct reports. Iowa law requires teachers receive some type of feedback and a less expensive feedback tool would be sought.

2. Cut China trip expenses and visitors from China.

  • Estimated Savings: $80,000
  • Details: The district hosts visitors from a sister-school in Shijiazhuang, China and sends students and staff to China. The budgeted costs go toward hosting activities and to pay for staff travel.

3. Eliminate printed school district activity calendar.

  • Estimated Savings: $7,000
  • Details: The printed activities calendar is currently provided to district parents and staff free of charge. The estimated savings is from printing costs only. All information is available online in the district’s online calendar. Possible options are to charge for the calendar or sell ads to cover the production costs.

4. Remove all non-essential classroom printers. (Sales Tax Fund Saving for Device, General Fund for Supplies & Maintenance)

  • Estimated Savings: $30,000
  • Details: The estimated savings is based on reduced printing budgets  and removal of non-essential printers.

5. Eliminate Gallup Teacher Insight screening tool & replace with Teacher Fit and Job Fit.

  • Estimated Savings: $16,700
  • Details: Gallup Teacher Insight is an online assessment used as part of the application process. Teacher Fit and Job Fit are similar application process tools.

6. Holding meetings (grade level) after school hours. Hourly pay in lieu of a sub. (Pilot)

  • Estimated Savings: $2,000
  • Details: There are meetings held during the school day in the district that teachers attend. When this occurs, a substitute teacher must be hired to cover classes. This option proposes holding some of these meetings after school outside the contracted hours and paying teachers an hourly amount to attend. This would be a pilot program.

7. Eliminate Des Moines Art Center Scholarships.

  • Estimated Savings: $6,707
  • Details: The district provides funds for approximately 50 students to attend classes at the Des Moines Art Center during the summer.

8. Replace outsourced security with newly hired support staff.

  • Estimated Savings: $20,400
  • Details: Valley High School currently contracts with the Conley Group for four security guards. This option proposes the district hiring support staff to cover these duties.

9. Reduce summer days at secondary level – Flat percentage (10 percent = $4,600, exclusive of Counselors, non-categorical)

  • Estimated Savings: $4,600
  • Details: There are approximately eight certified staff members who work additional days in the summer due to position duties and who are paid for those days.

10. Eliminate planning period for department chairpersons at Valley High School (.125 FTE $95,000).

  • Estimated Savings: $95,000
  • Details: Subject-area or department chairpersons are selected at each building site with related duties. Certified staff members in grades 10-12 receive an additional planning period for this work. This option would require each department chairperson at Valley High School to teach an additional period.

11. Eliminate Japanese.

  • Estimated Savings: $38,600
  • Details: Valley Southwoods Freshman High School offers Japanese I and Valley High School offers Japanese I, II, III, and IV as full-year elective courses. Japanese is one of six world languages offered at Valley. Options would be provided for students currently taking Japanese to complete their studies.

12. Phase out German by not offering German I (.25 FTE).

  • Estimated Savings: $12,800
  • Details: Valley Southwoods Freshman High School offers German I and Valley High School offers German I, II, III, and IV as full-year elective courses. German is one of six world languages offered at Valley.

13. (A) Eliminate 1st & 2nd Grade FLES. Keep FLES in 3rd-6th grades.

  • Estimated Savings: $143,300
  • Details: The district’s current Foreign Language in Elementary School (FLES) program provides Spanish instruction for 60 minutes each week in grades one-six.

13. (B) Eliminate 1st-3rd Grade FLES. Keep FLES in 4th-6th grades.

  • Estimated Savings: $197,000
  • Details: Based on feedback provided by the School Board at its Nov. 23 workshop, an alternate #13 option is being reviewed. The alternate option proposes eliminating FLES in grades one-three and maintaining instruction in grades four-six.

14. Reduce the number of meeting times for general music in grades 1 – 3 from 90 to 60 minutes.

  • Estimated Savings: $123,000
  • Details: The district currently provides general music instruction in grades one- six for 90 minutes every week. This proposal reduces that amount to 60 minutes per week for grades one-three, providing the same number of instructional minutes as provided for physical education and art.

15. Eliminate 3-year-old general education preschool.

  • Estimated Savings: $120,000
  • Details: The district currently offers 3-year-old general education preschool at a subsidized cost to parents. This option would eliminate the 3-year-old general education preschool and provide openings to 4-year-olds preschoolers, for which there is state funding. This option would maintain all current preschool teacher positions.

These 15 options total an estimated $710,607 in savings. 2014 Tregoe List of Cost-Saving Options (Unimplemented) 

Learn More and Provide Your Feedback

The district is offering staff and the community several ways to learn more about these options and provide feedback. District administration will be available on the following dates to share information and listen to feedback:

  • ​​Monday, Nov. 30, at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Room at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines.
  • ​​Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 3:30 p.m. in the Staplin Center at Valley High School, 3650 Woodland Avenue, in West Des Moines.
  • ​​Tuesday, Dec. 8, at
    • 12:00 p.m. noon in the Community Room at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines.
    • 3:30 p.m. in the Community Room at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines.
    • 4:45 p.m. in the Community Room at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines.
  • ​​Saturday, Dec. 12, at 9 a.m. in the Community Room at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines.

Cost-Saving Measures Presentation (Presentation at Public Feedback Sessions)

In addition, an online feedback form is available.

  • Online Feedback Form – The form is now closed. Thank you to everyone who provided input. The feedback will be shared with the budget advisory committee and the Board of Education.

More information about the district’s finances and budget is available here: Budget & Finance

Topics: Budget

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Cost-Saving Measures Reviewed

icon_financialDuring its workshop session on Monday, Nov. 23, the district administration will present possible cost-saving measures for the 2016-17 school year to the School Board.

  • To learn more about the proposed recommendations, please click here
  • For the latest budget updates, please click here.

Topics: Budget

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Informaline Nov. 16, 2015

PDF

en español

Virtual Backpack/La Mochila Virtual

2016-17 Calendar Set
The School Board approved the 2016-17 school year calendar at its Nov. 9 meeting, setting Wednesday, Aug. 24 as the first day of school. The full calendar is available online. The Calendar At-A-Glance will be coming soon on the district website!

Dollars & Cents: The Budget in ‘General’
The West Des Moines Community Schools has a combined budget totaling approximately $150 million dollars. The budget is divided into 10 separate funds as required by Iowa law. Iowa law also directs where the revenue for each one of these funds comes from and how the money can be spent.

At $98 million, the General Fund is the largest of the district’s 10 funds and nearly all operating costs are paid from this account. Check out a graph that explains the sources of revenue for the General Fund and what that revenue purchases.

District Implements Project Lead The Way K–5
WDMCS is implementing Project Lead the Way (PLTW) elements in grades K–5 this year. The PLTW non-profit is the nation’s leading provider of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs.

Watch for more information about Project Lead The Way programming on the district website.

34 Musicians Selected for All-State

The Valley High School and Valley Southwoods Freshman High School fine arts departments will have 34 students participate in the Iowa All-State Music Festival at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21, at Hilton Coliseum in Ames.

The full list of participating students and ticket information are on the district website

Social Media and Parenting: #HelpfulTips
Kids may get hashtags, but they still need guidance when it comes to behavior, especially online. Take a look at the social media tips and resources we have for families: http://www.wdmcs.org/news/social-media-tips-for-families/.

Congratulations! Four WDMCS Educators Receive Recognition
Four WDMCS Educators have received recent recognition for their efforts in helping students succeed.

— Kristine Milburn was an Iowa Talented and Gifted Association 2015 Research Award winner.
— Lynda Niffenegger was named Living History Farms’ Teacher of the Year.
— Nicole Crawford earned WHO-HD’s monthly Golden Apple Award.
— Wade Petersen was a finalist for the Iowa Department of Education’s 2016 Teacher of the Year.

Congratulations to these WDMCS educators!

Celebrate American Education Week
American Education Week is an opportunity to celebrate public education and excellent educators everywhere. It will be observed this week, from Nov. 16-20. The National Education Association has selected special observances for each day of the week:

  • Monday: Kickoff Day
  • Tuesday: Parents Day
  • Wednesday: Education Support Professionals Day
  • Thursday: Educator for a Day
  • Friday: Substitute Educators Day

Make sure to celebrate the educators you know next week!

Topics: Informaline

Dollars & Cents: The Budget in ‘General’

The West Des Moines Community Schools has a combined budget totaling approximately $150 million dollars. The budget is divided into 10 separate funds as required by Iowa law. Iowa law also directs where the revenue for each one of these funds comes from and how the money can be spent.

At $98 million, the General Fund is the largest of the district’s 10 funds and nearly all operating costs are paid from this account.  Below is a snapshot of the sources of revenue for the General Fund and what that revenue purchases.

en español

Budget-Graphic

Topics: Budget

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Indian Hills Feeds the POD for the Food Bank of Iowa

Feed the Pod PosterIndian Hills Junior High’s fifth annual Feed the POD will take place from Nov. 17 through Nov. 23. Students are eager to collect food and toiletries for the Food Bank of Iowa.

The community can help feed the POD with non-perishable food and personal care item donations. All donations are to be dropped off at Indian Hills Junior High, 9401 Indian Hills Drive, Clive, during the school day.

The POD will be picked up at noon on Nov. 24 at Indian Hills Junior High and then transported to the Food Bank of Iowa, 2220 East 17th St., Des Moines. Students and staff will follow the POD from Indian Hills to the Food Bank of Iowa for its delivery.

Heather McKinney is the I-CARE service learning coordinator for Indian Hills Junior High and coordinates this event. Service Learning is a program of WDMCS Community Education.

Topics: Students

Board Meeting Update: 2016-17 Calendar Set

The School Board approved the 2016-17 school year calendar at its Nov. 9 meeting, setting Wednesday, Aug. 24 as the first day of school.

Here are the highlights:

  • First Student Day: Wednesday, Aug. 24
  • Winter Break: Dec. 22–Jan. 2
  • End Semester 1: Friday, Jan. 13 (90 days)
  • Flex Days: Nov. 23 and Mar. 10
  • Staff Work Days (No students): October 10, January 16, February 24, April 28
  • Spring Break: March 13–17
  • Last Student Day: Friday, June 2 (90 days) – Two-hour early dismissal

The full calendar is available online, and the Calendar At-A-Glance will be coming soon on the district website!

Topics: School Board News

Informaline Nov. 2, 2015

PDF

en español

Virtual Backpack/La Mochila Virtual

Dollars & Cents: Spending and Enrollment Down
The West Des Community School District spent less money than budgeted last year in its ongoing effort to manage expenses as education costs continue to outpace funding statewide.

This positive budget news was dampened in mid-October when the official enrollment count showed approximately 132 fewer students in the district than last year. Each WDMCS student in kindergarten through 12th grade generates $6,446 in revenue, making enrollment a significant factor.

Learn more about spending reductions and the budget committee.

School Board Meets with Senator
During a workshop held Oct. 26, the School Board met with Iowa Senator Charles Schneider (R – District 22) to discuss education funding and legislation. Each legislator representing the district was invited to attend the meeting. Schneider said he understands funding is top priority for education, but also acknowledged that state revenue may not increase as expected based on current estimates. The Board shared its legislative priorities, which are available at http://bit.ly/WDMCSlegislativepriorities16.

Calendar Hearing Held, Action on Nov. 9
At its Oct. 26 meeting, the School Board held a public hearing on the proposed 2016-17 school year calendar, with Wednesday, Aug. 24 as the first day of school. No one made comments at the public hearing.

The School Board is tentatively scheduled to take action on the calendar on Monday, Nov. 9.

Calendar Highlights and Full Proposed Calendar

Join Us! WDMCS Reads
The WDMCS is excited to announce the launch of WDMCS Reads: One district, many communities, one book.

This new initiative celebrates the “community” in West Des Moines Community Schools. Spanning portions of West Des Moines, Clive, Urbandale, and Windsor Heights, the district invites people from all of our communities to come together to read and discuss the same book.

Our inaugural book selection is “The Crossover” by Kwame Alexander, winner of the 2015 Newbery Medal and 2015 Coretta Scott King Honor Award.

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Join Us for Preschool Palooza!
WDMCS Community Education’s Preschool Palooza event will take place from 9:30 a.m. until noon on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, at Hillside Elementary School.

Find out more from WDMCS Community Education.

District Expands Healthy Buildings Effort with Radon Testing
The West Des Moines Community School District will conduct radon testing in each building this winter and early spring as part of its efforts to provide a safe and healthy environment for students and employees.

Learn more about the testing.

Valley Top 25 on AP Index, Belin-Blank Center Honors WDMCS Students and Educators
Eighteen students and 12 teachers were honored at The University of Iowa Belin-Blank Center’s Recognition Ceremony on Oct. 11.

See the full list of students and teachers recognized.

Valley High School was also recognized as one of the top 25 schools in the state on the Advanced Placement (AP) Index. The index is calculated by dividing the number of AP exams taken by the number of students in the school’s graduating class. Valley High School, ranked eighth, was among the Top 10 of the Iowa AP Index for the seventh consecutive year.

Congratulations to Valley High School junior Gabriel Mintzer, who earned a perfect composite score of 36 on the ACT!

Topics: Informaline