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Archive for October, 2015

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.

Current projections indicate the district will still need to reduce spending. District leadership may propose a reduction of $1 million or less for the 2016-17 fiscal year.

Meeting since June, a committee of parents and district employees is reviewing budget information with the goal to provide a recommendation to the School Board in late November about how the district can reduce spending.

The committee is following the Tregoe decision-making process used during the district’s budget planning two years ago, and it is starting with the list of suggested cuts created at that time by community members, parents, and district employees. The group has not made any decisions at this time and will continue to meet through November. A list of the committee members is available online.

Enrollment and past spending are two key factors in planning the 2016-17 budget. The district will not be able to finalize the budget until state funding is determined by the legislature, which begins meeting in January.


Topics: Budget

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Board Meeting Update: 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

Topics: School Board News

School Board Meets with Senator

Iowa Senator Charles Schneider

Senator Charles Schneider (Photo source:

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

Topics: Budget, School Board News

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Informaline Oct. 19, 2015


en español

Virtual Backpack/La Mochila Virtual

​Snow Day! Update Your Information to Get Notifications
Winter weather is approaching! The district will be conducting a test of its emergency notification system at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27. The call will come from 515-633-5599. Read more about the test call on the district website.

Staplin Center Dedication Nov. 12
Join the West Des Moines Community Schools for a celebration of the arts as our community dedicates the Staplin Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12. This event is free and open to the public.

The dedication honors Dr. Phyllis Staplin, who served as a district curriculum director for 33 years and provided enduring support to every facet of the district’s fine arts program.

The evening will feature student artwork, a youth dance performance, and performances by Valley band, drama, orchestra, and vocal students.

Don’t Miss the Learning, Service & Fun Community Education Offers
The WDMCS Community Education department connects people, ideas, and resources. In her annual update to the School Board on Oct. 12, Community Education Director Shahna Janssen provided program and service highlights. View the full infographic report online, or find out more at

Learn More. Learn Often. with the LEARNwest Program
LEARNwest is a program from WDMCS Community Education for adult learners who want to expand their skills and try something new. There are still openings for fall classes, offered evenings and weekends, so check out the Fall 2015 catalog and sign up today!

Wheels on the Bus: School Bus Drivers Say Kids Best Part of the Job
Did you know that WDMCS bus drivers safely transport about 3,600 students each day? In one school year, they drive more than 700,000 miles. National School Bus Safety Week, from Oct. 19-23, is a time to raise awareness of bus safety and celebrate the dedication of our bus drivers. We asked them what their favorite part of being a bus driver or assistant is. Read some of our favorite answers: English | Spanish.

Trick or Treat! Ten Tips for Staying Safe on Beggars’ Night
Beggars’ Night is from 6–8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 30, for most WDMCS families. Whether you and your family will be trick-or-treating or not, here are 10 tips will help keep the night safe for everyone. Get more tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before going door-to-door!

Valley 2015 Graduate Ojas Pradhan Top Iowa AP Scholar
Recent Valley High School graduate Ojas Pradhan was named a State AP Scholar, making him one of two top Advanced Placement Program® (AP) students in the state.

The College Board also recognized 181 other Valley students for their high achievement on the AP Exams taken in May 2015. Read the full list online.

Topics: Informaline

Board Meeting Update: Community Education’s Annual Update

ce_annual_update_graphicDon’t miss the learning, service, and fun WDMCS Community Education offers. The Community Education department connects people, ideas, and resources.

In her annual update to the School Board on Oct. 12, Community Education Director Shahna Janssen provided program and service highlights. Here are just a few:

  • If Kids West were a school, it would be the largest elementary school in the WDMCS district.
  • Silver Cord participants volunteered 45,223 service hours in 2014-15.
  • Adventures provide 75 opportunities for continued learning after school for more than 700 elementary students.

You can read the whole report on our website.

Learn more by visiting or by calling 515-633-5001.

Topics: School Board News

Informaline October 5, 2015


en español

Virtual Backpack/La Mochila Virtual

Calling All 2016-17 Kindergartners! 
The WDMCS district is now taking names for the 2016-17 kindergarten class! All children who will be 5 years old by Sept. 15, 2016, are eligible for kindergarten next school year. Start your child’s education journey with us, by entering your name on our list. Schools are assigned based on home address, so secure your place with us as soon as possible!

Human Growth and Development Video Previews
Parents are invited to an Oct. 15 human growth and development video preview event at the Learning Resource Center. The fourth-grade videos are at 6:30 p.m. (girls) and 7 p.m. (boys), the fifth-grade video is at 7:30 p.m., and the sixth-grade video is at 8 p.m.

Poole Elected School Board President
The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education elected Dr. Vicky Poole as its president and Tali Greenspon as its vice president on Sept. 21. Find out more about Poole and Greenspon, and the school board’s new committee representatives, in our ‘School Board News‘ district blog category.

You’re Invited to Preschool Palooza!
Join us for Preschool Palooza from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, at Hillside Elementary! Children ages 2-6 will enjoy fun and educational activities, while their grown-ups gather information about early childhood opportunities like preschool programs and kindergarten enrollment in the WDMCS district.

Five Tips for Keeping Kids Healthy
As we head into fall and winter, we also enter cold and flu season. Here are some tips for keeping your child healthy and ready to learn: English | en español

Eat, Compete, and Have Fun!
From Oct. 12-19, the WDMCS district will be celebrating the school lunch program with National School Lunch Week. The week will emphasize the healthy foods that are offered daily at our schools and include fun lunchtime activities for students and their families. Read about all the different activities that will be offered.

Topics: Informaline

Eat, Compete, and Have Fun!

Elementary Pupils Collecting Healthy Lunch In CafeteriaFrom Oct. 12-19, the WDMCS district will be celebrating the school lunch program with National School Lunch Week.

The week will emphasize the healthy foods that are offered daily at our schools and include fun lunchtime activities for students and their families.

Here’s how we are celebrating:

Have Lunch With Your Child! at elementary schools all week

  • Parents are encouraged to visit school and eat lunch with their elementary-aged children. Each school will also host a police officer and Valley student-athletes in their uniforms who will eat with students.

Fun Games with Food Prizes! at Indian Hills Oct. 13, Stilwell Oct. 12, and Southwoods Oct. 15

  • Nutrition employees will visit these schools with nutrition trivia and estimation games. Winner of the “How Many in the Jar?” contest will receive a la carte credit, and students who participate in trivia will get a free sample of a smoothie or mini-bagel pizza bite.Stickers will also be placed on random trays. Students with the stickered trays can collect a free a la carte item.

Special Pizza Delivery! at Valley Oct. 14 and Walnut Creek Oct. 16

  • Nutrition employees will visit Valley High School and Walnut Creek Campus with activities, and students will also get a special meal. Domino’s Pizza will deliver special Domino’s pizzas that meet school lunch guidelines! It will be served as part of a reimbursable lunch or an a la carte item.

Please join us in celebrating National School Lunch Week, Oct. 12-19!

Topics: Nutrition