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Archive for August, 2016

Informaline Aug. 29, 2016

PDF | en espanolVirtual Backpack/La Mochila Virtual

Important Calendar Dates

  • Sept. 5: Labor Day—No School
  • Sept. 11: School Board Special Workshop Session
  • Sept. 12: School Board Workshop Session
  • Sept. 12: School Board Regular (Business) Meeting
  • Sept. 12: Eid al-Adha Begins (Sept. 12-13)
  • Sept. 20: School Community Network Meeting

Welcome Back! A Message from the Superintendent
Welcome to the 2016-17 school year. I hope you enjoyed the summer months and were able to spend time with friends and family. I am looking forward to another year filled with outstanding learning experiences and opportunities for all of our students.

One of our values in the West Des Moines Community Schools is growth. I want every child in our district to grow each year to expand their individual abilities and interests. To help our students, we, as adults, must grow as well. We must continue to learn, innovate, and enhance our abilities in an ever-changing world. I have worked with our Board of Education to define goals that will guide our district and my work for this year. I invite you to learn more about these goals, which are available at bit.ly/2bR5FUs.

Thank you for joining us for the 2016-17 school year. We will work every day to inspire each student to achieve his or her greatest potential. I wish you a year filled with happiness, learning, and success!

Welcome to the 2016-17 school year,
Superintendent Lisa Remy, Ed.D.

WDMCS Introduces a New Brand Identity
Our new district brand was officially revealed at the staff welcome back event on Monday, Aug. 22. The revitalized brand celebrates our district as a place where students can belong, connect, learn, and launch their futures. You can learn more about our new brand, the new logo, and our brand journey at bit.ly/WDMCS_Brand.

WDMCS Activities Calendar Now Fully Online!
The full 2016-17 calendar of events is now available online at www.wdmcs.org/calendar/.

You can personalize your online calendar view by choosing the categories and
schools relevant to your family and print a customized list of dates with our
new on-demand print feature. Watch your inbox and this website post for a
calendar how-to and other calendar updates, coming soon!

Familiar Faces in New District Video
Almost 200 district students, staff, family members, volunteers, and other community members contributed their time, energy, and talents to a new district video. You can watch the full video on our district website and on YouTube.

We would like to extend a special thank you to everyone who was part of the video, especially the many students and staff who participated. See a full list of credits and learn the story behind the video at bit.ly/WDMCS_OurVideo.

WDMCS Reviewing Upgrades to School Buildings
WDMCS is working with Shive-Hattery Architecture and Engineering of West Des Moines to see if our elementary buildings enhance or encumber instruction. This summer, Shive-Hattery architects interviewed principals and teachers in our eight elementary schools to understand how they use building space for instruction. The architects learned some of our buildings need space that is more flexible or can support collaboration.

The architects presented their study to the Board of Education during a workshop session on Aug. 8, 2016. Some of their preliminary suggestions are:

  • reallocation of computer labs, media centers, and common areas
  • special consideration at Westridge Elementary and Crestview School of Inquiry
  • Kids West component of study
  • reallocation of space at Hillside Elementary
  • a preschool center
  • sixth-grade addition to Indian Hills/Stilwell junior high schools to combine to a grade 6-7 academy and creation of a grade 8-9 academy at Valley Southwoods Freshman High School.
  • relocated preschool and sixth-grade addition to existing buildings
  • building additions at each elementary school

Read more about the study online.

Topics: Informaline

WDMCS Reviewing Upgrades to School Buildings

Your student may spend up to seven hours each day in one of our school buildings. So it’s likely no surprise that a school’s “brick and mortar” can affect a child’s learning.

Buildings can create a sense of community and give students space to explore and collaborate.

The West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) is working with Shive-Hattery Architecture and Engineering of West Des Moines to see if our elementary buildings enhance or encumber instruction.  

This summer, Shive-Hattery architects interviewed principals and teachers in our eight elementary schools to understand how they use building space for instruction.

“Looking at the amount of square footage each building has per student is not an accurate measurement,” said Joseph Benesh, senior architect at Shive-Hattery. “How a space is used and its layout are more important.”

The architects learned some of our buildings need space that is more flexible or can support collaboration.

According to Shive-Hattery Architect Michelle Huggins, some of our buildings were designed decades ago primarily for “core instruction,” which is instruction with all students in a general education setting. Today, more students need “core-plus” instruction, such as English language instruction. In some buildings, the space is not designed for this shift, and teachers are meeting with students in hallways or former storage areas.

The architects presented their study to the Board of Education during a workshop session on August 8, 2016. Some of their preliminary suggestions are:

  • reallocation of computer labs, media centers, and common areas
  • special consideration at Westridge Elementary and Crestview School of Inquiry
  • Kids West component of study
  • reallocation of space at Hillside Elementary
  • a preschool center
  • sixth-grade addition to Indian Hills/Stilwell Junior High schools to combine to a grade 6-7 academy and creation of a grade 8-9 academy at Valley Southwoods Freshman High School.
  • relocated preschool and sixth-grade addition to existing buildings
  • building additions at each elementary school

A summary of their findings is available in the workshop meeting minutes. Click on the “10-Year Facilities Plan—Update” agenda item for the full minutes.

The School Board with meet again to discuss the recommendations at a special workshop at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11.

Schools across Iowa make long-term plans for building maintenance and upgrades due to state funding set aside specifically for building renovations. The money primarily comes from our state’s sales tax. One cent of every dollar collected by the state through  the sales tax goes toward school building maintenance, renovations, or new construction. We can not use these funds for the general costs to operate our schools as they are primarily intended for buildings.

Topics: Facilities