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Archive for August, 2015

Informaline August 31, 2015

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en español

Virtual Backpack/ La Mochila Virtual

Don’t Forget to Vote!
The school board election is Tuesday, Sept. 8. There are eight candidates running for four seats on the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education. More information about each candidate is available online.

Using Infinite Campus With Your Child
All West Des Moines Community Schools students have Infinite Campus accounts, and parents/guardians can as well. >> Read the entire guide.

Valley High School Performing Arts Center Gets New Name

At its meeting on August 24, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education approved renaming the Valley High School Performing Arts Center the Staplin Performing Arts Center, honoring retired district curriculum director Dr. Phyllis Staplin.

A dedication ceremony is being planned and more information will be provided at a later date.

Six Things to Know About the School Community Network

The WDMCS is dedicated to involving our parents in what we do. We not only have active parent-teacher organizations in every school, we have several district-level groups that include parents. The School Community Network is one of those groups. Made up of parents, teachers, and administrators from across the district, the group provides an opportunity for a face-to-face exchange of ideas and information. Its members also help us share information about district with the community. Here are six things you may not know about the School Community Network.

Dollars and Cents: Committee to Identify Cost Savings

The West Des Moines Community School District anticipates reducing spending again for 2016-17, as the costs of providing educational services continues to increase at a greater rate than state funding. In her report to the School Board in April, Superintendent Dr. Lisa Remy said she would gather a committee of parents, community members, and employees help identify savings for fiscal year 2017. >> Read more.

Board Meeting Date Changed
The WDMCS Board of Education will hold its annual/organizational meeting on Monday, Sept. 21. This will be the only regularly scheduled meeting in September. During this time, the winning candidates of the school board election will be sworn into office. The school board was originally scheduled to meet on September 14 and 28.

Check Out the New NutriSlice App!
A new NutriSlice app is now available for iOS and Android, so you can access lunch and breakfast  menus on-the-go! Some pictures and descriptions are still to come. The menus are also online at www.wdmcs.nutrislice.com.

Top Six Tips for Encouraging Reading
These tips for encouraging students to read come from West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) second-grade teacher Amy Drake. This summer, she taught the WDMCS Community Education Summer Adventures in Learning Sports Spectacular class. Drake has always been a sports fan and knows how interested her students are in sports and athletics outside of school, so she decided to combine learning and sports for her fifth year teaching summer programming. >> Read the full article.

 

Topics: Informaline

Board Meeting Date Changed

The WDMCS Board of Education will hold its annual/organizational meeting on Monday, Sept. 21. This will be the only regularly scheduled meeting in September. During this time, the winning candidates of the school board election will be sworn into office. The school board was originally scheduled to meet on September 14 and 28.

Topics: School Board News

Dollars and Cents: Committee to Identify Cost Savings

The West Des Moines Community School District anticipates reducing spending again for 2016-17, as the costs of providing educational services continues to increase at a greater rate than state funding.

Based on projections last year, the district sought to reduce costs from its nearly $115 million budget. Administration identified $400,000 in reductions through hiring savings, staffing reductions from retirements and resignations, and reducing overtime.

In her report to the School Board in April, Superintendent Dr. Lisa Remy said she would gather a committee of parents, community members, and employees help identify savings for fiscal year 2017.

The committee met in June and July to review the district’s current fiscal status and the elements needed to begin developing the 2016-17 budget. Some of those factors will not be known until later this fall. The committee’s goal is to submit a cost-saving recommendations to the school board by December.

Topics: Budget

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Check Out the New NutriSlice App!

nustrislice_logo
A new NutriSlice app is now available for iOS and Android, so you can access lunch and breakfast  menus on-the-go! Some pictures and descriptions are still to come.

The menus are online. After the Bell and Kids West snack program menus are now available. Information about the menu items includes a photo, nutrition facts, and a description. NutriSlice also contains a ‘Meal Planner’ tool that allows you to select foods you have eaten or plan to eat and generates custom nutrition labels based on your meal.

Topics: Nutrition

Board Meeting Update: Valley High School Performing Arts Center Gets New Name

staplinpAt its meeting on August 24, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education approved renaming the Valley High School Performing Arts Center the Staplin Performing Arts Center, honoring retired district curriculum director Dr. Phyllis Staplin.

Staplin served the district for more than 20 years, supporting and guiding all facets of the district’s fine arts program.

“Dr. Staplin made an extraordinary impact on thousands of student’s lives,” said Valley Principal Tim Miller during his presentation to the School Board.

The name change was proposed by community members and reviewed by building administration and the Superintendent’s Finance & Facilities Advisory Committee in accordance with policy prior being submitted to the school board for approval.

A dedication ceremony is planned for Nov. 12. More information is now provided on our website.

Topics: School Board News

Informaline August 24, 2015

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en espanól

Virtual Backpack/La Mochila Virtual

Superintendent’s Welcome Back

Superintendent Dr. Lisa Remy welcomes students, families, and staff to the 2015-16 school year.

Join Us for the “Most Likely to Succeed” Movie Screening

The West Des Moines Community Schools will host a screening of the documentary film, “Most Likely to Succeed.” The event will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 27, in the Valley High School Performing Arts Center, 3650 Woodland Ave., in West Des Moines. No tickets are required for the screening. The event is free and open to the public.

Top Five Ways to Stay Informed

Welcome back! As we start the school year, we want to give you an overview of the best ways to stay informed! Check out more information about the district website, email, newsletters, and social media.

Meet Our New Administrators

Erica Whittle is the new associate principal of Valley High School, Paul Wenger is the Jordan Creek Elementary principal, Nathan Ballagh is the new Westridge Elementary principal, and George Panosh is the new principal of Western Hills Elementary.

Longtime WDMCS teacher Tamara Tjeerdsma is the new assistant principal at Jordan Creek and Westridge elementary schools. Two veteran elementary school leaders have new principal roles in the district for the 2015-16 school year. Dr. Robert Davis, former Hillside Elementary principal, is the principal of Crossroads Park Elementary. Graham Jones, former principal at Jordan Creek Elementary, is the Hillside Elementary principal.

Find out more about all the new administrators.

WDM Chamber Hosts School Board Candidate Forum August 31

The West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce invites area residents to meet the eight candidates running for four seats on the West Des Moines Community School District’s School Board at a forum scheduled from 7-9 p.m. on Monday, August 31.

Teachers Collaborate to Improve Learning

When Marc Johnson became superintendent of California’s Sanger Unified School District in 2003, the district was one of the state’s lowest performing schools. Two years later, it was exceeding state average scores on the state test and has since won both local and national honors.

The key to its success was Professional Learning Communities. There are three “big ideas” that define Professional Learning Communities, often referred to as PLCs. >> Read More

Topics: Informaline

Board Meeting Update: Teachers Collaborate to Improve Learning

When Marc Johnson became superintendent of California’s Sanger Unified School District in 2003, the district was one of the state’s lowest performing schools. Two years later, it was exceeding state average scores on the state test and has since won both local and national honors.

The key to its success was collaboration, said Johnson, who is now retired and recently spoke to the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education.

Specifically, teachers began working in Professional Learning Communities. There are three “big ideas” that define Professional Learning Communities, often referred to as PLCs.

  • Big Idea #1: Learning for All
    • PLCs operate under the principle that education is not about ensuring that students are taught, but that they learn. Every professional in a school building works together to answer the following questions:
      • What do we want our students to learn?
      • How will we know they have learned it?
      • How will we respond when learning did not take place?
      • How do we respond when learning has already occurred?
  • Big Idea #2: A Culture of Collaboration
    • Educators building a PLC work together to achieve their collective purpose of learning for all students. They create a collaborative culture in which teachers work together to analyze and improve their classroom practice.
  • Big Idea #3: Results Oriented
    • PLCs judge their effectiveness on the basis of results. Every teacher team identifies the current level of student achievement, establishes a goal to improve student learning, works together to achieve that goal, and provides evidence of progress.

Some elementary schools have been working in PLCs, but all teachers in the district began the work last year. PLCs are part of the district’s strategic plan for student achievement. In sharing his story about the power of PLCs, Johnson said, “PLCs are not what you do, but who you are as an organization.”

Topics: School Board News