Informaline January 20, 2015

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District Seeks Guidelines for School Start Date The date for the start of the 2015-16 school year remains unknown due to the state’s recent announcement that it will no longer automatically allow districts to begin school in mid- to early August. The Iowa Department of Education notified districts in December that it will stop granting routine waivers to the law requiring schools to start classes during the week of Sept.1. The district needs an approved waiver for its currently proposed 2015-16 calendar to go into effect and is expecting the state to release new waiver submission requirements within the next few weeks. The district will provide further updates on the school start date as they develop.

Iowa Assessment Results Coming to Parents Soon This is the third year WDMCS students have taken the Iowa Assessments in the fall. You will receive information on your student’s performance in the next couple of weeks. Principals will notify you specifically about when and how the results will be provided to you. With the Iowa Assessments, we will focus on the National Standard Score (NSS). This is because the National Standard Score gives us a clearer picture of your child’s growth. We are also providing information on National Grade Equivalency (NGE), which describes academic performance in terms of grade level and month. The Iowa Assessments are just one tool to determine how your child is performing academically. Talk with your child’s teacher or teachers to gather a broader view of how your child is doing in school.

Schools Hold Events to Welcome Families Elementary schools in the district are holding events to welcome new and returning families to their building due to the new school boundaries and enrollment reset for the 2015-16 school year. Some students may attend a new school because their home will be in a different building’s attendance area. Students who reside in one school’s boundary area but have attended another building will be welcomed back to their resident school when space allows. There are some enrollment options available to families who may want their children to continue attending their current school. Eligible families will receive more information about these options after the open house events.

Heart Connection Helps the Community West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) is making a connection — a Heart Connection — the week of Feb. 16-20. WDMCS staff and students are invited again this year to participate in the Heart Connection, a collection of personal care items for students in need. The most-needed items are regular-sized shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, body wash, lotion, toothpaste, and chap stick. Please bring your items to school the week of Feb.16-20 and place them in the Heart Connection box. Items will be collected and then distributed throughout the WDMCS school buildings in partnership with the Booster Pak Program. The Heart Connection is coordinated by WDMCS Community Education’s Service Learning Program. Check for updates on Twitter at #heartconnection15 and #IheartWDMCS.

Help Stop the Spread of the Flu Virus Parents and caregivers are being reminded of the warning signs of influenza in children and precautions that will help keep the virus from spreading at school and also at home. The flu season typically peaks in February and can last as late as May. Working together, we can help keep students healthy and ready to learn. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your school nurse or building principal.

Life in the WDMCS What is daily life in the West Des Moines Community Schools like? It’s kindergartners learning double digits using the calendar. It’s high school Chinese language students vying for scholarships to study in China. Our website feature “Life in the WDMCS” gives you a glimpse of some of the many activities and events happening inside our schools. Take a look:

Virtual Backpack Flyers on community and district events, activities, and programs on ACT Prep, athletics, Heartland Youth Choir and more!

Virtual Backpack