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Informaline May 31, 2016

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Virtual Backpack/La Mochila Virtual

Get a Jump Start on the New School Year!
West Des Moines Community Schools families can get a head start on the upcoming school year by paying fees and placing money in student lunch accounts this summer.

Read more about how paying this summer can help you, fees you can pay, how to make a payment, and more at www.wdmcs.org/news/get-jump-new-school-year/.

Eat with Us this Summer!
WDMCS is working with West Des Moines Parks and Recreation and West Des Moines Human Services to offer the Summer Food Service Program from June 6 to Aug. 12, 2016. Meals will be provided Monday-Friday, without charge, on a first come, first served basis. All sites will be closed on July 4. Meals will be provided to all children without charge and are the same for all children regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service. View all the meal sites and times here.

Register for WDMCS Community Education’s Summer of Learning
Are you ready for a change of seasons? The WDMCS Community Education Summer of Learning Catalog is now available online at www.wdmcs.org/commed/programs/youth/summer-of-learning/. Please see the catalog for class descriptions and a listing of all classes by grade level and time period.

Learn more and register for great WDMCS Community Education Summer of Learning opportunities at www.wdmcs.org/commed/take-a-class.   

summer-graphicsummer-graphic-S

Topics: Informaline

Summer Food Service Program Information

The West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) Nutrition Services Department is working with West Des Moines Parks and Recreation and West Des Moines Human Services to offer a Summer Food Service Program from June 6 to Aug. 12, 2016. Meals will be provided to all children 18 years old or younger without charge; adults may pay $2 for breakfast or $3.50 for lunch. The meals will be provided Monday through Friday, on a first come, first served basis. All sites will be closed on July 4.

Two types of Summer Food Service Program sites are available: open and enrolled. Open sites are available to all children and families. Enrolled sites are available only to children who are enrolled in certain site-specific programs and meet the income guidelines for reduced-price meals in the National School Lunch Program.

Seven open sites will provide meals at the following times:

Open Sites

Crestview School of Inquiry. 8355 Franklin Ave., Clive Breakfast 7:45-9 a.m.
Lunch 11:15-12:15 a.m.
Meals served in the school cafeteria.
Hillside Elementary, 713 Eighth St., West Des Moines Breakfast: 7:45-8:45 a.m.
Lunch: 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Meals served in the school cafeteria.
Indian Hills Junior High, 9401 Indian Hills Drive, Clive Breakfast 9-9:30 a.m.
Lunch: 11-11:30 a.m.
Meals served in the school cafeteria.
Legion Park, corner of 4th Street and Vine Street, West Des Moines Lunch: noon to 1 p.m. Meals served under the park shelter.
Rex Mathes, 1401 Vine St., West Des Moines (June 6-July 15) Breakfast: 8-8:30 a.m.
Lunch: 11:15-11:30 a.m.
Meals served in the school cafeteria.
Stilwell Junior High, 1601 Vine St., West Des Moines (July 18-August 11) Breakfast: 8-8:30 a.m.
Lunch: 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Meals served in the school cafeteria.
Valley High School, 3650 Woodland Ave., West Des Moines, IA 50266 (closed August 12) Breakfast: 8-10:30 a.m.
Lunch: 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Meals served in the school cafeteria.

Two enrolled sites will provide meals at the following times:

Enrolled Sites

Champs/Mini Champs Program, Clive Learning Academy, 1600 73rd St., Windsor Heights (June 6-17, July 11-26) Lunch: 11-11:30 a.m. Meals will be served in the school cafeteria.
Chapel Ridge West Residents, Office at Chapel Ridge West, 210 S. 41st St., West Des Moines (June 6-August 12) Lunch: 11-11:30 a.m. Meals will be served in the school cafeteria.

At both open and enrolled sites, meals will be provided to all children without charge and are the same for all children regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. There will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call 866-632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

  1. mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
  2. fax: 202-690-7442; or
  3. email:  program.intake@usda.gov.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Iowa Non-Discrimination Statement:
“It is the policy of this CNP provider not to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or religion in its programs, activities, or employment practices as required by the Iowa Code section 216.6, 216.7, and 216.9.  If you have questions or grievances related to compliance with this policy by this CNP Provider, please contact the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, Grimes State Office building, 400 E. 14th St. Des Moines, IA 50319-1004; phone number 515-281-4121, 800-457-4416; website: https://icrc.iowa.gov/.”

 

Topics: Informaline, Nutrition

Informaline May 16, 2016

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Virtual Backpack/La Mochila Virtual

Grading Practices Under Review
The West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) Board of Education appointed a 51-member task force to review the district’s grading practices.

The task force of parents, community members, teachers, administrators, and School Board members will complete its work during the 2016-17 school year and provide a recommendation in the spring of 2017. The committee meetings will be open to the public.

Read the task force membership list and learn more about its mission on the district website at www.wdmcs.org/2016/05/grading-practices-review/.

The task force will hold its first meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, May 16, at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines. This meeting is open to the public.

District to Unveil New Brand
Get ready! A new district brand — including an academic logo and brand platform — will be unveiled at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year.

Learn more about the branding process on the district website at www.wdmcs.org/2016/05/district-unveil-new-brand-marketing-efforts.

No School Memorial Day
There will be no school for students on Monday, May 30, as it is Memorial Day.

New Last Day of School
School was not in session Feb. 2, 2016, due to adverse winter weather conditions. The last day of school is now set for Thursday, June 2.

Celebrating Our Graduates
The West Des Moines Community Schools proudly announces that 681 students will graduate from the district this year. Valley High School will graduate 593 seniors with traditional diplomas, plus 8 with Certificates of Attendance (foreign exchange students). Walnut Creek Campus will graduate 88 students. Sixty students will graduate with traditional diplomas, and 28 will graduate with core diplomas.

Who are the WDMCS graduates? Leaders: 17 Student Government members Volunteers: 121 Silver Cord Awards, 9 Presidential Volunteer Awards, 4 Teal Cord Awards AP Students: 32 took 5+ AP Exams, 71 AP Scholars, 1 National AP Scholar Scholars: 4 Honors Students, 10 Scholars of Distinction National Honor Society Members: 49 members National Merit Finalists: Andrew Austin, Joseph Brennan, Haley Gion, Alexa Kort, Quinn Nolin, and Samuel Throm

Walnut Creek Campus Commencement
Thursday, May 26, at 7 p.m.
Staplin Performing Arts Center at Valley High School (3650 Woodland Ave, West Des Moines)

Valley High School Commencement
Sunday, May 29, at 12:30 p.m.
Drake Knapp Center (2601 Forest Ave., Des Moines)

SchoolBoardRec-graphic

District Expands New Tech Model to High School
On May 9, the WDMCS Board of Education approved a district committee’s recommendation to expand the New Tech instructional model to ninth grade at Valley Southwoods Freshman High School in 2017-18. The district will expand the model to 10th grade at Valley High School in 2018-19, then to 11th grade in 2019-20, and to 12th grade in 2020-21. The New Tech Advisory Committee recommended using a “school-within-a-school” model, which establishes a smaller team of teachers and students within the larger school. The committee agreed that the school-within-a-school model should be reviewed in five years by a representative stakeholder group.

Learn more on the district website at www.wdmcs.org/2016/05/district-expands-new-tech-model-high-school/.

Congratulations to Valley High School junior Arjun Ganga for earning a perfect composite score of 36 on the ACT!

Valley Named to “Best High Schools” List
Valley High School was ranked the third best high school in Iowa on the “2016 Best High Schools” list, released by the U.S. News and World Report on April 19, 2016.

The rankings were based on college readiness, average proficiency in math and reading, and graduation rates.

Valley was one of 119 Iowa schools named to the list, and one of only 11 Iowa schools eligible for a national ranking.

Tiger Field Project Bids Approved, Facilities Plan to be Reviewed
On a 4-2 vote with one abstention, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education approved the bids for the renovation of Valley High School’s Tiger Field.

The project includes a new track surface, press box, long jump and shot put/discus area, sound system, sidewalks, increased seating at the field with new bleachers, additional lighting to extend the hours of operation, and more. Construction will begin this summer, with substantial completion of the project scheduled for August.

Operations Director Eric Smith reported that this summer the administration would like to review the district’s 10-year facilities plan, current space needs in the district’s buildings, and bring a recommendation regarding the plan to the Board this fall.

Learn more about the Tiger Field project at www.wdmcs.org/2016/05/tiger-field-project-bids-approved-facilities-plan-reviewed/.

Topics: Informaline

Thank You to Our School Board!

Please join the district in thanking our School Board members during Iowa’s School Board Member Recognition Month in May.

 

 

Topics: School Board News

District to Unveil New Brand and Marketing Efforts

Get ready! A new district brand – including an academic logo and brand platform – will be unveiled at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year.

The district has worked with students, parents, staff, and local branding and graphic design experts to develop a full brand platform of which our community can be proud.

district_branding_Slide1In 2013, the West Des Moines Community Schools conducted a communications audit with the National School Public Relations Association. One recommendation from the audit was to incorporate marketing and branding strategies to build the district’s reputation as a leading school district.

Subsequently, the School/Community Relations Office developed a comprehensive communications plan, which included conducting and implementing a branding process and marketing plan by 2016-2017.

district_branding_Slide2In 2014, the School/Community Relations Office began a branding process with assistance from Share Marketing. The process launched in November with a 22-question branding and positioning survey of parents and employees. Student’s of Valley High School Business Teacher Sarah Bird’s marketing class were also involved in the branding process and participated in the survey.
In January 2015, three four-hour branding work sessions were held with nearly 30 parent, teacher, administrator, and support staff representatives. Through the committee’s work, a brand platform was developed for the district.

Based on this foundational work, the process moved to the district’s visual identity suite and tagline.

district_branding_Slide3The district hired (c)3 Marketing, a service of Love Scott & Associates, Inc. (c)3 Marketing President Andrea Love and Vice President/Creative Director Adam Jensen have an understanding of and history with the district as the firm worked with staff, parents, and students to develop the district activities logo. In addition, Love is a graduate of Valley High School.  The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education approved the logo and tagline in August 2015.

The School/Community Relations Office will continue its work during the summer to create new materials for our district. Stay tuned!

Topics: Informaline

Tiger Field Project Bids Approved, Facilities Plan to be Reviewed

On a 4-2 vote with one abstention, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education approved the bids for the renovation of Valley High School’s Tiger Field.

The project includes a new track surface, press box, long jump and shot put/discus area, sound system, sidewalks, increased seating at the field with new bleachers, additional lighting to extend the hours of operation, and more. Construction will begin this summer, with substantial completion of the project scheduled for August.

New field turf will be considerably wider at 225 feet than the current grass field, which is 180 feet, and will allow more physical education classes to be held outside even when the ground is wet, which currently is not possible according to Valley High School Athletics Director Brad Rose.

The Board awarded the construction contract to Elder Corporation of Des Moines, Iowa on the basis of its low total bid of $3,309,500. Revenue from the state sales tax will pay for the project. According to Iowa law, these funds can only be used for construction projects and can not be used for general operating costs, including salaries.

Board member Liz Cox voted against awarding the bid stating that she felt the bids were high and the district could get better prices bidding in December with construction starting next summer.  Board member Melinda Dunnwald also voted against awarding the bids. Board member Jill Caton Johnson abstained stating that she did not have enough information about the bidding process.

During the School Board meeting, teachers from Westridge Elementary expressed concern with the field project and noted that kindergarten classrooms at their school have inadequate instructional space. Operations Director Eric Smith, who has met with staff members at the school, acknowledged these concerns and reported that this summer the administration would like to review the district’s 10-year facilities plan, current space needs in the district’s buildings, and bring a recommendation regarding the plan to the Board this fall.

Topics: School Board News

Grading Practices Under Review

The West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) Board of Education has appointed a task force to review the district’s grading practices.

On May 9th, the School Board approved a 51-member task force that will look at the district’s current grading practices, study national research on effective practices, and possibly recommend changes to how students are graded.

Drake University Associate Professor of Education Dr. Thomas Buckmiller and Solon High School Principal Nathan Wear will facilitate the task force of parents, community members, teachers, administrators, and School Board members. Both facilitators have an extensive background in effective grading practices and have worked with schools in Iowa and across the nation in this area.

The task force will complete its work during the 2016-17 school year and provide a recommendation in the spring of 2017.

The committee meetings will be open to the public.

Effective Grading Practices Task Force Membership List

 

Topics: Grading Practices, Informaline, School Board News

District Expands New Tech Model to High School

NTN_Columbus_Stilwell3High school students in the  West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) will soon be able to attend a
New Tech school, where project-based learning is the primary method of instruction.

On May 9th, the WDMCS Board of Education approved a district committee’s recommendation to expand the New Tech instructional model to ninth grade at Valley Southwoods Freshman High School in 2017-18. The district will expand the model to 10th grade at Valley High School in 2018-19, then to 11th grade in 2019-2020, and to 12th grade in 2020-21.

The New Tech Advisory Committee recommended using a “school-within-a-school” model, which establishes a smaller team of teachers and students within the larger school. For example, a portion of Valley Southwoods students and teachers would be organized around the New Tech model while the rest would remain using the traditional educational model.

This structure allows families to choose the model that best matches their student’s learning style. It also provides students who currently attend a New Tech school to continue with the model. Crestview School of Inquiry and Clive Learning Academy are full New Tech schools in the district and there is one seventh-grade team at each junior high school. Next year, there will also be one eighth-grade New Tech team at each junior high.

The committee agreed that the school-within-a-school model should be reviewed in five years by a representative stakeholder group.

 

Learn More About New Tech

Watch the WDMCS New Tech Video

New Tech FAQs

Submit a Question about New Tech

Topics: Informaline, New Tech, School Board News

Informaline May 2, 2016

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Virtual Backpack/La Mochila Virtual

Reminder: Early Out on May 4
This is a reminder that all schools will dismiss 45 minutes early this Wednesday, May 4. We are providing this reminder because a “C”—which signifies a collaboration date—was inadvertently omitted on April 13, April 27, May 4, and June 1 on the printed district calendar. All WDMCS schools dismiss early every Wednesday to allow for collaboration time. Please remember that every Wednesday is a collaboration day.

For more information about collaboration and each school’s schedule, please see the ‘Collaboration Days’ web page.

Board Approves New Stadium Scoreboard, Revised Discipline Policies
The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education approved a new Valley stadium scoreboard and several revised disciple-related policies at its April 25, 2016, meeting.

  • Read more about the new video board here.
  • Learn more about the updated policies here.

Reminder! New Online Payment System
This is a reminder that the new WDMCS Online Payment system is now available for families. The new online system is designed to provide a safe, convenient way to pay school fees, transportation fees, and add money to your child’s nutrition account.

A convenience fee will be charged when you make an online payment. As with other online payment systems, you will see a detailed receipt of your transactions for each session, including any convenience fees, prior to “checking out” and confirming the payment.

Families may avoid the convenience fee by making cash, check, or debit/credit card payments in the school’s main office or at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines.

Learn more about the new online payment system at www.wdmcs.org/online-payments/.

Preregister for a 2016-17 Bus Pass Today!
You can register:

  • Online — Go to the ‘Transportation’ tab on www.wdmcs.org.
  • By Mail or Fax — Download a form at www.wdmcs.org/departments/registration/ and sent to 2102 Delavan Drive, West Des Moines, IA 50265 OR 515-633-4999
  • By Phone — 515-633-4990 (English) | 515-633-4989 (en español)

Register for a bus pass on the WDMCS district website at www.wdmcs.org/departments/transportation/registration/.

Committee Plans Expansion of New Tech at WDMCS
An advisory team has been meeting since January to plan the district’s expansion of the district’s New Tech learning model to the high school level.

Specifically, the team is working to answer questions including the following:

  • Should New Tech at the high school level be a school-within-a-school model OR should it be a separate New Tech high school?
  • Will students be able to passport out to take classes through the traditional high school such as AP or foreign language courses

Learn more about the advisory team and its goals.

WDMCS is the first school district in the state to offer New Tech schools, where students learn through real-world community-based projects and all children are assigned a personal digital device.

To learn more about New Tech, visit www.wdmcs.org/academics/new-tech/.

Helping Students Finish Strong
Spring can be a stressful time for students as they prepare for end-of-year exams, projects, and presentations. Parents and guardians can help their children finish the year on a high note by consistently reviewing
Infinite Campus with them and encouraging them to practice healthy self-care.

We compiled tips on these topics from Danette Rieper, WDMCS learning support and family engagement coordinator, and Dr. Kristine Milburn, professional development/curriculum facilitator for gifted/talented programming and English teacher. Read the tips at www.wdmcs.org/news/helping-students-finish-strong/.

Topics: Informaline