Informaline March 2, 2015

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Start Date Update The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education held two public hearings on Monday, Feb. 23, on two alternate calendars for the 2015-16 school year.

One proposed calendar has a start date of Aug. 24, 2015, which reflects a legislative bill currently under consideration. Key features of the proposed can be found here:

The other alternate calendar proposes a start date of Aug. 31, 2015, which is in line with current state law. Key features of the proposed calendar can be found here:

These two alternate calendars are being proposed after school districts across the state were notified in December that the Iowa Department of Education would stop granting routine waivers to the law requiring schools to start classes during the week of Sept. 1. A new waiver submission process has been implemented. The district has submitted a waiver request for a calendar with a start date of Aug. 12, 2015, which was approved by the School Board last year. Information on this calendar is available here: The two speakers at Monday’s public hearing asked questions about the Aug. 12 calendar.

The district was recently notified that it will not have a response on its waiver request until after spring break. District administration will be determining next steps and provide updates as they become available.

Board Reviews Student Assessment Data On Monday. Feb. 23, the School Board reviewed the district’s 2014-15 Student Achievement Report, which is a compilation of the results of multiple measures of student achievement in the West Des Moines Community School District. This is the fourth year in which the district has participated in the Iowa Assessments. The Iowa Assessments replaced the ITBS/ITED assessments in the 2011-12 school year.

The percent of students receiving free and reduced meals districtwide continue to increase, and it is currently at 31 percent. The district’s English Learners (EL) population also continues to grow with most of the growth occurring at the elementary level. Eleven percent of students who attend West Des Moines Community Schools are English language learners. This number continues to increase by approximately 100 students each year. Ten percent of district students receive special education services, and this continues to remain steady.

The district met eight of the 17 Annual Student Improvement Goals, which are set by the district. The district met the reading goals for students in grades 3-6 and increased the percent of students in the advanced levels in grades 7–11 in reading. Additionally, the district increased the percent of students in the advanced proficient level in grades 7–11 in mathematics. Science results were similar to last year’s with an increase in the percent of students proficient in grades 5 and 8 but a decrease in the percent of students proficient in science in grade 11.

Junior High School New Tech Learner Applications Available New Tech is coming to our junior high schools next year, and our current sixth graders are invited to join us! The Learner Applications for both Indian Hills and Stilwell are available in a PDF format online. To complete, please download and print either the Indian Hills or Stilwell application, depending on which school your current sixth-grade student will attend next year. Printed copies of the Learner Applications are also available at each elementary school in the district.

Applications will be accepted in person through Thursday, March 12, 2015, at 3 p.m. For Indian Hills Junior High, the first 110 learners to turn in an application will be immediately enrolled. The 111th learner and thereafter will be selected for enrollment through a stratified lottery. For Stilwell Junior High, the first 130 learners to turn in an application will be immediately enrolled. The 131st learner and thereafter will be selected for enrollment through a stratified lottery.

Applications will be accepted in person at each junior high. Please submit your completed form in person to Stilwell Junior High, 1601 Vine Street, West Des Moines, or to Indian Hills Junior High, 9401 Indian Hills Drive, Clive, depending on which junior high your student will be attending next year.

If you have a question about New Tech, the application, or the process, please contact either Indian Hills Junior High at 633-4700 or Stilwell Junior High at 633-6000.

National School Breakfast Week Contest West Des Moines Nutrition Department will be holding a contest to celebrate National School Breakfast Week, March 2 through March 6. Prizes include iPad Minis, Nintendo DSs, special treats, having their submission displayed in our cafeterias, and credit toward the student’s breakfast/lunch account! Contest rules and activities vary based on student’s grade level:

  • K-2: Share your creativity with us by coloring this page for our breakfast program!
  •  3-6: Show off you artistic abilities by coloring this page for our breakfast program!
  •  7-8: Get creative and draw, color, paint, or take a food-art photograph of your favorite breakfast foods!
  •  9-12: Design a logo for the Nutrition Department’s breakfast program. Logo will be featured on our breakfast menus!

If you are not able to print the coloring page from home, please see the office at your student’s school for a copy. Three student winners from grades K-2, 3-6, 7-8, and 9-12 will be selected to receive a prize. Entries will be accepted through midnight on Wednesday, March 11 2015. Submissions can be scanned or emailed to Brianna Metzel at Submissions may also be dropped off at the Learning Resource Center to the nutrition department, or at the cafeteria in your student’s school during breakfast or lunch.

Valley Musician Attends Grammys A Valley senior was in the midst of the glitz and glamour of the Grammy Awards when he participated in concerts and instructional sessions through an elite program for young jazz musicians.

Jared Freiburg was the only Iowa teen selected for this year’s Grammy Camp —¬ Jazz Session, which drew 32 students from across the country to Los Angeles the first week of February. Freiburg, one of two tenors in the camp’s jazz choir, completed a series of vocal performances and transcription exercises over two months to audition for the program.

Freiburg decided it would be a great challenge to try out for the camp. “I thought, well, it’s a longshot, but if I don’t try, I’ll never know,” he said.

Freiburg learned of his selection in November, and then a package arrived full of sheet music and other material to master before he arrived in Los Angeles Jan. 30. He was required to submit vocal tracks for critique every week until he left for camp.

The young musicians performed at several venues, including a pre-Grammys celebration for the nominees and the award show’s after-party. Freiburg and the other teens were also in the audience at the Feb. 8 award show at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

LEARNwest Spring 2015 Catalog Available The new spring 2015 LEARNwest catalog will be mailed out during the first part of March, but online registration is already open. Register for classes at least two weeks prior to the class start date to receive a $5 discount. The discount is automatically applied when registering online. A few exclusions to the discount include all ACT classes, College Planning, online classes, and parent/child classes.

Heart Connection Collection Thank you to all the WDMCS students, families, and staff that participated in the Heart Connection Collection. You donated more than 3,200 full-sized personal care items that will be distributed back to the WDMCS students in need. Thank you for making the Heart Connection a huge success and being a caring community.

Spring Break Spring Break is coming! There will be no school March 16-20. There is also no school March 13, the Friday before Spring Break begins. Classes will resume March 23. Have a wonderful Spring Break!

Virtual Backpack Fliers on community and district events, activities, and programs from Courage League Sports, Junior Achievement, and more!

Virtual Backpack