Skip to content
Blog

Archive for April, 2016

Board Discusses Effective Grading Practices April 28

WormeliWeb

(Photo if Rick Wormeli. Source: twitter.com/rickwormeli2)

The West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) Board of Education will hold a special workshop session at 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, April 28 in the Community Room at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines. This meeting is open to the public.

National education speaker Rick Wormeli will talk with WDMCS Board of Education members about effective grading practices. One of the first Nationally Board Certified teachers in America and Disney’s American Teacher Awards 1996 Outstanding English Teacher of the Nation, Wormeli has more than 30 years of experience in education. Learn more here.

.

School Board Meeting Materials

School Board Information

School Board Meeting Calendar

Topics: Grading Practices, School Board News

School Board Approves Revised Discipline Policies

Students in the West Des Moines Community Schools who sell or attempt to sell or distribute alcohol, a controlled substance, or a look-alike may either be suspended or expelled from school under a policy change recently approved by the school board.

A revised version of Board Policy 502.8 “Alcoholic Beverages and Controlled Substances – Selling or Distributing”  and several other discipline-related policies were unanimously approved by the board on April 25, 2016.

Policy 502.8 had the most substantial change with the addition of  “long-term suspension” as a disciplinary option for students who violate the policy.

Previously, administrators could only recommend students be expelled from school for violating 502.8. The policy change allows administrators the flexibility to recommend students either be suspended from school for more than 10 days or be expelled from school.

For a long-term suspension, a student is out of school more than 10 days. Often educational services are offered and paid for by the district at a location other than a school. For example, the district provides the Four Oaks program at the Learning Resource Center. There is no set time period for an expulsion from school and the district provides no services. The school board must approve long-term suspensions and expulsions.

The Superintendent’s Board Policy Advisory Committee recommended the revised policies. The policy committee made its recommendation after surveying similar disciplinary policies from area school districts, most of which were similar to the new language.

During the open forum portion of the April 25 board meeting, parent Kelly Koch expressed concern with the number of disciplinary hearing the board has been addressing and urged members to provide mentors or other supports as opposed to suspending or expelling students.

Board members talked about holding a workshop session to further discuss student discipline policies and related research,

 

 

Topics: School Board News

Board Approves New Stadium Scoreboard

The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education approved a new Valley stadium scoreboard at its April 25, 2016, meeting.

The new LED video board will have a nameplate that reads: “In Memory of Brandon Ellingson.” A donation from Ellingson’s family will fund the video board, along with funds from the athletics booster club.

Ellingson graduated from Valley High School in 2012.  Ellingson was captain of the football team his senior year and played during the Tigers’ state title game in 2011. He died nearly two years ago while vacationing in the Lake of the Ozarks.

The scoreboard will be used to highlight video productions from activities during the week, replay current events, promote upcoming events, show student interviews, as well as advertising and fundraising.

The board also passed a resolution to donate a portion of the revenue generated from advertising on the scoreboard to substance abuse education.

Installation of the scoreboard is pending City of West Des Moines approval for signage.

Topics: Athletics, School Board News

Informaline April 18, 2016

PDF

en español

Virtual Backpack/La Mochila Virtual

 

School Board Sets District Priorities
At a recent special meeting, the West Des Moines School Board of Education identified effective grading practices, personalized learning (New Tech, online learning), community outreach, and professional learning communities (PLCs) with an overarching goal of equity and student achievement as the district’s priorities for the next 10-12 months.

These priorities were selected from the district’s strategic plan developed in 2014. A possible additional priority to align finances with the strategic plan will be discussed at a later work session.

The Board asked Superintendent Dr. Lisa Remy to write action steps under each priority area, which she will present to the Board at a later meeting.

The Board also reviewed its “What Graduates Will Know and Be Able to Do” statement developed at its March 7 meeting. The statement provides a goal for the Board aligned with the district’s mission and vision.

The statement is:

“A West Des Moines Community Schools graduate will possess the essential skills and integrity to communicate, collaborate, and solve problems as a confident citizen, embracing our diverse and changing world.”

Thank You to Our Volunteers
The West Des Moines Community Schools would like to say a special thank you to all our district volunteers this week.

April 18-22 is National Public School Volunteer Week, and a great chance to show appreciation for all the volunteers who help make our schools better places to learn and work. From assisting in classrooms to feeding teachers during conferences and helping with student activities, we could not offer all the excellent opportunities we do without the help of our many volunteers. Thank you for working with us to support learning and our amazing students and staff!

Public Hearing to be Held on Tiger Field Project
The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education will hold a public hearing on the Tiger Field renovation project on May 9.

Tiger Field is located at Valley High School and serves as a physical education and competition space for high school students during the day. Seasonal sports and local groups use the field in the evening and on weekends.

The field renovation project includes:

  • Removal and replacement of the existing track, practice field, bleachers, and press box;
  • Installation of a new synthetic turf multipurpose field;
  • New sports field lighting;
  • New bleachers and press box;
  • New long jump runways;
  • And the addition of two new shot put rings.

Renovation work is currently scheduled to take place May-October 2016. The preliminary construction base bid budget for the project was approximately $2.7 million, with the cost opinion base bid coming in at $3,261,309. There are six add alternates totaling $543,279 that could be added to the base bid if selected.

The sales tax fund, which cannot pay for general fund expenses like teacher and staff salaries or educational programming, pays for all construction projects, including the Tiger Field renovation.

The public hearing will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 9 at Crestview School of Inquiry, 8355 Franklin Ave, Clive.

Reminder: Normal Early Out on April 27
This is a reminder that all schools will dismiss at their typical Wednesday early dismissal time on Wednesday, April 27. We are providing this reminder because a “C”—which signifies a collaboration date—was inadvertently omitted on April 27, May 4, and June 1 on the printed district calendar. All WDMCS schools dismiss early every Wednesday to allow for collaboration time. More information is available here.

Third-Graders Plan Meals with WDMCS Nutrition Services Department
District elementary students will get to eat a school lunch planned by their peers on Wednesday, May 4! Ms. Snell’s Clive Learning Academy class worked with Nutrition Services Director Willow Dye to create a menu featuring cheeseburgers, seasoned broccoli, fresh spinach, cherries, and vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup.

The WDMCS Nutrition Services Department periodically partners with third-grade classes throughout the district to teach students about the Department of Agriculture’s “MyPlate” initiative and how it ties into school lunch. Teachers can invite Dye to talk to classes after completing a “Choose My Plate” unit. Dye presents on the five food groups offered in school lunches and has students sort foods into the different groups. Students often have questions about dessert and learn that it is a “sometimes” food for special occasions, not all the time.

To learn more about “MyPlate” and the other resources Nutrition Services has to offer, click here.

Nutrition Services will also be celebrating School Lunch Hero Day on May 6. The district will be honoring its Lunch Room Heroes at every school on that day. To get involved and help recognize the school lunch heroes at your school, contact Cheryl McLellan, the nutrition services human resources supervisor, at mclellanc@wdmcs.org or 515-633-5091.

Board Sets Tax Rate at $13.27
On Monday, April 11, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education adopted the district’s $198 million 2016-17 certified budget and set the tax rate at $13.27.

This is slightly higher than the current $13.24 rate, but Chief Financial Officer Paul Bobek explained during the Board meeting that the rate will likely remain at its current level once finalized by the state. For more information, please click here.

Educator Rick Wormeli to Provide Professional Development for All District Teachers April 29
There will be no school for students on Friday, April 29, 2016. It is a professional development day for teachers, who will be working with education professional Rick Wormeli.

Wormeli is an innovative educator with more than 30 years of teaching math, science, English, physical education, health, and history, as well as instructing teachers and principals. He has presented on education in all 50 states, several countries, and at the White House. He is also an education consultant for National Public Radio and USA Today and has worked with the Smithsonian Institute.

Wormeli is the author of several successful books including “Day One and Beyond,” “Summarization in Any Subject,” and the award-winning “Meet Me in the Middle.” He is also a columnist for Middle Ground magazine and a contributor to the ASCD’s (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) Educational Leadership magazine. His work has been covered by numerous media outlets, including Good Morning America, National Geographic, and The Washington Post.

To learn more about professional development in the West Des Moines Community Schools, click here.

 

 

 

Topics: Informaline

Board Sets Tax Rate at $13.27

On Monday, April 11, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education adopted the district’s $198 million 2016-17 certified budget and set the tax rate at  $13.27.

This is slightly higher than the current $13.24 rate, but district officials estimate that the rate will remain at its current level once finalized.

During the Board’s regular business meeting, Chief Financial Officer Paul Bobek explained that one of the goals in developing the 2016-17 certified budget was to maintain a constant property tax rate.

When the Board adopted and certified the 2015-16 budget, it did so at a total property tax rate of $13.27. Subsequently, the Department of Management made adjustments that resulted in a final total 2015-16 property tax rate of $13.24189. It is possible the Department of Management may still make adjustments to the 2016-17 budget after the Board adopts and certifies, lowering the tax rate.

More information about the district’s 2016-17 budget is available here.

For previous budget-related posts, please click here.

Topics: Budget, School Board News

School Board Sets District Priorities

On May 4th, the West Des Moines School Board of Education identified the following district priorities for the next 10-12 months:

  • effective grading practices,
  • personalized learning (New Tech, online learning),
  • community outreach, and
  • professional learning communities (PLCs).

These priorities are aligned with an overarching goal of equity and student achievement and were selected from the district’s strategic plan developed in 2014. A possible additional priority to align finances with the strategic plan will be discussed at a later work session.

The Board asked Superintendent Dr. Lisa Remy to write action steps under each priority area, which she will present to the Board at a later meeting.

The Board also reviewed its “What Graduates Will Know and Be Able to Do” statement developed at its March 7 meeting.

The statement is: “A West Des Moines Community Schools graduate will possess the essential skills and integrity to communicate, collaborate, and solve problems as a confident citizen, embracing our diverse and changing world.”

The statement provides a goal for the Board aligned with the district’s mission and vision. The Board will continue its to further define its role in moving the organization forward during upcoming workshop sessions.

 

Topics: School Board News

Public Hearing to Be Held on Tiger Field Project

The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education will hold a public hearing on the Tiger Field renovation project on May 9.

The Tiger Field is located at Valley High School and serves as a physical education and competition space for high school students during the day. Seasonal sports and local groups use the field in the evening and on weekends.

The field renovation project includes:

  • Removal and replacement of the existing track, practice field, bleachers, and press box;
  • Installation of a new synthetic turf multipurpose field;
  • New sports field lighting;
  • New bleachers and press box;
  • New long jump runways;
  • And the addition of two new shot put rings.

The district hired Shive-Hattery Inc. to design the project. Renovation work is currently scheduled to take place May-October 2016. The preliminary construction base bid budget for the project was approximately $2.7 million, with the cost opinion base bid coming in at $3,261,309. There are six add alternates totaling $543,279 that could be added to the base bid if selected.

The sales tax fund, which cannot pay for general fund expenses like teacher and staff salaries or educational programming, pays for all construction projects, including the Tiger Field renovation.

The public hearing will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 9 at Crestview School of Inquiry, 8355 Franklin Ave, Clive. Any persons interested may appear and file objections to the proposed plans, specifications, form of contract, or cost of such improvement. Proposed drawings, specifications, and form of contract may be examined at www.actionrepro.com.

Topics: Budget, School Board News

Third-Graders Plan Meals with Nutrition Services

District elementary students will get to eat a school lunch planned by their peers on Wednesday, May 4! Ms. Snell’s Clive Learning Academy class worked with Nutrition Services Director Willow Dye to create a menu featuring cheeseburgers, seasoned broccoli, fresh spinach, cherries, and vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup.

myplate_yellowThe WDMCS Nutrition Services Department periodically partners with third-grade classes throughout the district to teach students about the Department of Agriculture’s “MyPlate” initiative and how it ties into school lunch. Teachers can invite Dye to talk to classes after completing a “Choose My Plate” unit. Dye presents on the five food groups offered in school lunches and has students sort foods into the different groups. Students often have questions about dessert and learn that it is a “sometimes” food for special occasions, not all the time.

To learn more about “MyPlate” and the other resources Nutrition Services has to offer, visit www.wdmcs.org/departments/nutrition.

Nutrition Services will also be celebrating School Lunch Hero Day on May 6. The district will be honoring its Lunch Room Heroes at every school on that day. To get involved and help recognize the school lunch heroes in your building, contact Cheryl McLellan, the nutrition services human resources supervisor, at mclellanc@wdmcs.org or 515-633-5091.

Topics: Nutrition

Informaline April 4, 2016

PDF

en español

Virtual Backpack/La Mochila Virtual

Recent Cuts Help District Manage Expenses, Keep Tax Rate Steady
The West Des Moines Community Schools’ decision in December to trim its 2016-17 budget by $560,000 may have helped keep its tax rate relatively steady and manage what many Iowa education leaders are calling inadequate state funding.

During a School Board workshop last week, Chief Financial Officer Paul Bobek presented a proposed publish tax rate of $13.37 per $1,000 of assessed valuation for 2016-17. This is slightly higher than the current $13.24 rate, but he estimates that the rate will remain at its current level once finalized. If approved by the School Board, the rate will continue to be the lowest in the metro area. Other area districts are 32 to 53 percent higher. The WDMCS has been able to maintain its low tax rate for the past few years because of the community’s strong property values.

The district’s proposed certified budget for 2016-17 includes an additional $589,558 under the 2.25 percent funding increase recently approved by lawmakers. Bobek said the increase is for regular programming costs and will not fully cover expenses even with the recent cuts. The School Board may decide to use district reserves to cover the remaining expenses.

A hearing on the district’s proposed $198 million certified budget for 2016-17 will be held at 7 p.m. on April 11 at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines.

School Board Holds Public Hearings April 11
The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education will hold public hearings on the following topics at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 11:

Coalition Fights Youth Substance Abuse
The West Des Moines Substance Abuse Prevention Community Coalition (SAPCC) works to promote cooperative community efforts related to the prevention of substance abuse. It has initiated and supports numerous substance abuse prevention activities.

If you are interested in contributing to a healthier community, read on to find out more.

KWDM Students Give Valley a Voice
Staff members at Valley High School’s student radio station, 88.7 FM, KWDM, The Point, take on many tasks, from reading weather reports to crafting playlists that have something for everyone. The station has evolved with the student population over the years, resulting in an eclectic mix of music, talk radio, and sports coverage. Through all the station’s changes, one thing has endured: the students’ dedication. When the students cue songs or report live from sporting events, they know they are not only developing a lifelong skill but acting as the voice of their school. Read more about KWDM and the students who rock the station on our district website at bit.ly/KWDM-article.

Disinfectant Mister Keeps Students and Staff Healthy
The WDMCS Operations Department is using a new Vital Oxide mister to keep the district healthy. The mister is used every day at Valley High School and Valley Southwoods to disinfect the weight rooms and at other buildings to stop illness from spreading.

Vital Oxide kills most common viruses, including norovirus, influenza A, and MRSA. The mist is a particularly efficient disinfectant because it acts quickly and is fast to apply. Read more about the Vital Oxide mister on the website.

Discover the District’s Pinterest
You are invited to pin with us! Discover the WDMCS Pinterest and all the resources it has to offer. Our Pinterest account is all about sharing the great things that happen in WDMCS, providing parents helpful tips, and gathering inspiration to make learning even more personal and exciting. Get a sneak peek at our Pinterest on our website! With pins that highlight our students, staff, and families, we invite you to find your own inspiration on our Pinterest boards.

Topics: Informaline

Coalition Fights Youth Substance Abuse

The West Des Moines Substance Abuse Prevention Community Coalition (SAPCC) works to promote cooperative community efforts related to the prevention of substance abuse. It has initiated and supports numerous substance abuse prevention activities.

If you are interested in contributing to a healthier community and working against youth perceptions like the ones below, visit the SAPCC on Facebook at www.facebook.com/beawarewdmcs and on Twitter @BeAwareWDMCS.

Iowa Youth Survey Dashboard-croppedPercentages from WDMCS student responses on the 2014 Iowa Youth Survey.

 

Topics: Community Education, Uncategorized, Website