Informaline Feb. 1, 2016


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Virtual Backpack/La Mochila Virtual

Your School to Host Caucuses Feb. 1
The Iowa caucuses are being held today, Monday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m. The district is proud to support this democratic process and our community by hosting caucus sites for both political parties at nearly every building. For more information about the caucus process or to find your caucus location, please contact the Secretary of State’s Office at 515-281-5204 or

WDMCS Board of Education Studies “Rethinking Grading”
The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education will be holding a book study of Dr. Cathy Vatterott’s “Rethinking Grading” during two special workshop meetings on Feb. 15 and 29. The book examines traditional grading practices and offers a new paradigm for grading that focuses on student mastery of content and authentically reflecting student progress and learning.

Researching and studying effective grading practices is part of the district’s strategic plan. For more information about the plan, visit

New Family Social Media Resources
Social media is always changing, but there are resources that can help families navigate it successfully. The district has compiled tips, app cheat sheets and screenshots, and other resources on the district website at

Resources the Youth Justice Initiative presented at a Valley/Southwoods Parent Teacher Organization meeting have been added to the page, along with other new tips. Keep an eye on the page to see the latest social media resources for families.

A Brand New Look Coming Soon!
In August, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education approved a new logo and tagline for the district and schools. Work is currently underway to prepare for the launch of the new “look” next school year.

The School/Community Relations Office is developing new materials, from letterhead to marketing brochures, to unveil next school year as resources allow. You may see the new logo and elements yet this year, and throughout the summer, as part of our “soft launch,” so be on the lookout for a “sneak peek” of the new look.

Sweetheart Show to Feature Original Student Compositions
More than 140 Valley High School musicians will perform at the annual Sweetheart Show, at 7 p.m. on Feb. 9 and Feb. 11, in the Staplin Performing Arts Center. The Valley show choirs, men’s group A Cappella Reign, and selected soloists will perform original compositions by Valley students, as well as covers of songs by Elvis Presley, Sara Bareilles, Justin Timberlake, Shawn Mendes, Chance the Rapper, and more.

Tickets are $8 for students and $10 for adults and can be purchased at the door or online at There will also be a silent auction and raffle, starting at 6 p.m. both nights. For a preview performance, tune in to Channel 5 at noon on Feb. 3.

Kickstarter Campaign Promotes Classroom Leadership
Jordan Creek Elementary teacher Aaron Witt had the chance to contribute to the Kickstarter campaign for C.H.I.P., the world’s first nine-dollar computer. Now, the tiny computer is just one of the many technology projects his sixth-grade students are exploring. They are learning computer coding, having fun with Google Cardboard, and inventing with Makey-Makey, an interactive keyboard kit. Some students have taken on roles as “technology leaders.” They are responsible for classroom technology and recently led Hour of Code programming sessions with younger students. Read more about these budding computer whizzes in our upcoming article about their exploration of technology at

Heart Connection Collection
WDMCS staff, families, and students are invited again this year to participate in the Heart Connection to help restock the Booster Pak personal care pantries.

The most needed items are regular-sized shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, body wash, lotion, toothpaste, and ​lip balm. Please bring your items to school the week of Feb. 22-25 and place in the Heart Connection ​donation ​box. ​Items will be collected and then distributed to WDMCS students through the Booster Pak Program.

Thank you for your support for this very worthy cause!​ ​​The Heart Connection is coordinated by WDMCS Community Education’s Service Learning Program.

WDMCS Reads: Bookplates and Discussion Questions Now Available
Join the Valley High School boys’ and girls’ basketball teams, as well as other district students and staff, in reading “The Crossover” by Kwame Alexander, the inaugural book choice for WDMCS Reads: One district, many communities, one book.

You can start a “pass it forward” community by purchasing and reading “The Crossover,” then using the special WDMCS Reads bookplates.

  1. Write your name on the first line of the bookplate.
  2. After you read the book, write your name on the next line of the bookplate, and pass the book to someone else to enjoy.
  3. If you are the last person to write your name on the bookplate, consider donating the book to a local public or school library.

The free bookplates are now available at the Learning Resource Center and Barnes & Noble on University Ave. in West Des Moines. Discussion questions for “The Crossover” are now available on the WDMCS Reads website.

WDMCS Reads also invites district students, families, and staff to enter an upcoming poetry contest, planned in partnership with the West Des Moines Public Library. Watch for more information coming soon!

Find out more about WDMCS Reads at

Print the discussion questions at

Is Your Child Ready for Life’s Big Adventures?

Let us help them explore and excel. Register for kindergarten at WDMCS today!

Step 1. Fill out the Kindergarten Registration Form

Step 2. Provide Proof of Residency

Step 3. Provide Proof of Child’s Age

Step 4. Take the Language Survey

Step 5. Turn in the documents to the Learning Resource Center

Visit or the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines, for the required forms and registration details.

A child must be 5 years old on or before Sept. 15, 2016, to be eligible for the 2016-17 kindergarten program. Our school district serves parts of West Des Moines, Urbandale, Clive, Des Moines, and Windsor Heights.