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Informaline February 16, 2015

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Leaders Review Budget Plans for Next Year The West Des Moines Community Schools is looking to reduce its general fund spending authority for 2015-16. Depending on the amount of funding the legislature approves for education, the district may need to reduce spending by $1 million. Last year, the administration reported the district would need to reduce spending by approximately $3 million each year for two years. After conducting a budget reduction process last year that included gathering more than 200 cost-saving suggestions, the School Board approved a $2.7 million budget reduction package for the 2014-15 school year. Due to this action and efforts to obtain a one-time additional spending authority allocation from the School Budget Review committee, the district is projected to have a balanced budget for the 2015 fiscal year.

Start Date Expected by Spring Break Administrators have submitted a waiver request to the state for the district’s proposed 2015-16 calendar, which has a start date of Aug. 12, 2015. The Iowa Department of Education notified districts in December that it would stop granting routine waivers to the law requiring schools to start classes during the week of Sept. 1. If the state denies the district’s request or does not take action on it by Spring Break, which begins March 13, the district will hold a hearing and ask the School Board to approve an alternate calendar with a start date closer to Sept. 1.

Forums Set About New Tech Schools Plan New Tech schools, where students learn through real-world projects and all children are assigned a personal digital device. Next year, Clive and Crestview elementary schools will become New Tech schools. Both Indian Hills and Stilwell junior high schools will offer a “school-within-a-school” model, with one team of seventh-grade students learning in a New Tech environment. Incoming seventh-graders will have the opportunity to apply to the New Tech team at their junior high or choose to be assigned to a team using the traditional teaching model. Informational meetings for parents and guardians will be held in the next few weeks:

  • A sixth-grade parent meeting will be held Thursday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center at Valley High School, 3650 Woodland Ave.
  • A Clive Elementary parent meeting will be held Tuesday, March 10, at 6:30 p.m.; dinner at 5:30 p.m.
  • A Crestview Elementary parent meeting will be held Wednesday, March 11, at 5:30 p.m.; dinner at 5 p.m.

Counselors Offer Support to Students With a counselor at each elementary building, two at each of the junior high schools, and seven at Valley High School, there’s always support available to help students and their parents meet a challenge. Counselors at the elementary level help children take their first steps toward self-worth, personal safety, and more. We asked Westridge counselor Pattie Klein to share some highlights offered by elementary-building counselors during a recent staff-development meeting.

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. Last year, because of your generosity, we collected more than 7,000 items for our WDMCS school buildings and students. It is now time to restock our shelves! 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.

Students, Parents Learn About College at Forum Valley High School is hosting a college planning seminar and college fair Monday, March 2. The seminar will start at 5 p.m. in the Media Center, and the fair will start at 6 p.m. in the VHS cafeteria and commons area. Students are encouraged to sign up at gotocollegefairs.com in advance of attending the event. VHS counselors Karla Hardy and Eric Traynor plan the event each year with the help of Polly Maly, VHS Counseling Center secretary. Hardy and Maly organize the fair, while Traynor works with the Iowa College Access Network (ICAN) to plan the seminar.

Virtual Backpack Flyers on community and district events, activities, and programs from the Animal Rescue League, West Des Moines Public Library, and more!

Virtual Backpack

Topics: Informaline