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Archive for December, 2016

Informaline—Dec. 19 Issue

PDF | en español | Virtual Backpack/La Mochila Virtual

Important Dates
Dec. 19: School Board Workshop Session, 5:15 p.m.
Dec. 22-Jan. 2: Winter Break
Jan. 3: Classes Resume
Jan. 10: Transportation Fees Due
Jan. 13: End of First Semester and Second Quarter
Jan. 16: Professional Development Day–No School

2017-18 Calendar Approved
The WDMCS Board of Education approved a calendar for the 2017-18 school year at its Dec. 19 meeting, setting Wednesday, Aug. 23, as the first day of school.

Find the highlights and the full calendar online, and watch for the calendar at a glance, coming soon on the district website!

Board Declares Support for Promise of Iowa Campaign
West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education is joining school boards, families, and communities across the state to rally support for public education.

The Board passed a resolution supporting the Promise of Iowa Public Education Campaign at its regular business meeting on Monday, Dec. 19. The Iowa Association of School Boards is coordinating this statewide effort to focus attention on the future of Iowa public school students and to garner support for investing in public education in Iowa.

Read the resolution at bit.ly/2gsQy7O. Find out more about the Promise of Iowa campaign at www.promiseiowa.org/.

Transportation Fees Due Jan. 10
Third-quarter transportation fees are due Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017. You can make payments at your school or online at www.wdmcs.org/online-payments.

This is also a good time to change your child’s bus ridership details. Visit www.wdmcs.org/departments/transportation if you need to make changes. You can also contact the Transportation Department at 515-633-4902.

Enjoy Winter Break!
Winter break begins after school this Wednesday, Dec. 21. There will be no school Dec. 22–Jan. 2. All district offices are closed Dec. 23-26, and Jan. 2. Classes will resume Jan. 3. Enjoy your winter break!

What’s the Purpose of Grades? Task Force Clarifies
Members of the WDMCS Effective Grading Practices Task Force have defined why students in our schools receive grades.

“The purpose of grades is to communicate the level of achievement of course standards to students and parents,” according to a statement the task force approved at its meeting on November 30.

To learn more about the purpose of grades and the task force’s work, please visit www.wdmcs.org/category/grading-practices. Meeting minutes and summaries will continue to be posted there. All meetings are open to the public.

School Board to Continue Facilities Discussion at Special Workshop
The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education will continue to study various space allocation options at a special workshop session at 5:15 p.m., Monday, Dec. 19, 2016, at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines.

For more information on the special workshop and the facilities study, please visit www.wdmcs.org/category/facilities.

Read “Blank Tales,” the Magazine Run by Valley Students
The first issue of “Blank Tales” magazine’s second edition is now available! The Valley High School student-run magazine is dedicated to increasing action towards ending homelessness. To read “Blank Tales, visit www.blanktales.org. You can also subscribe to the “Blank Tales” e-newsletter and get hard copies of the magazine at Valley High School, the West Des Moines Public Library, and local businesses.

WDMCS Superintendent & Board Members Honored for Excellence
West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) Superintendent Lisa Remy, Ed.D., and three WDMCS Board of Education members received awards at the Iowa Association of School Boards’ (IASB) 71st Annual Convention on Nov. 17.

Board Vice President Melinda Dunnwald and Board members Elizabeth Brennan and Vicky Poole, Ed.D., were honored with Individual Awards of Achievement this year. Dunnwald also received a Basics of Boardsmanship certificate. Remy received the Better Boardsmanship Superintendent’s Award of Honor.

Read more about these awards online. Find out more about the WDMCS Board of Education on our district website at www.wdmcs.org/district/our-schoolboard/.

WDMCS Expands Online Learning Opportunities
The West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) will be offering our highest number of online learning opportunities yet for the 2017-18 school year. The district offers several online courses for grades 9-12 at this time, and provides an online learning approach called “blended learning” to fully support and guide students. Learn about blended learning and the courses available for the 2017-18 school year at www.wdmcs.org/school-news/blended-learning-part-i.

Watch the “Informaline” newsletter, the West Des Moines Community Schools website, and district social media for the rest of our three-part series on blended learning.

Topics: Informaline

What’s the Purpose of Grades? Task Force Clarifies

Members of the WDMCS Effective Grading Practices Task Force have defined why students in our schools receive grades.

“The purpose of grades is to communicate the level of achievement of course standards to students and parents,” according to a statement the task force approved at its meeting on November 30.

WDMCS Superintendent Lisa Remy, Ed.D. said clarifying the purpose of grading helps the task force in its work to research, identify, and recommend effective grading practices for the district.

Members of the task force developed several versions, which were narrowed down to two. They then voted on two statements with 29 out of 31 task force members present supporting the approved purpose statement.

The next Effective Grading Practices meeting will be held on at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, in the Community Room at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines. To stay up-to-date with the task force’s work, please visit www.wdmcs.org/category/grading-practices/. Meeting minutes and summaries will continue to be posted there. All meetings are open to the public.

Topics: Grading Practices

School Board to Continue Facilities Discussion at Special Workshop

Facilities study image 2aThe West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education will continue to study various space allocation
options, including moving sixth grade and preschool out of district elementary schools, at a special workshop session at 5:15 p.m., Monday, Dec. 19, 2016, at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines.

Shive-Hattery Architecture and Engineering will present estimates for construction and ongoing operational costs associated with the space allocation options.

The meeting agenda is available at http://bit.ly/WDMCSBoardMeetings.

An additional workshop is scheduled for Jan. 22, 2017, 1-3 p.m., at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines.

For background on this study, please visit www.wdmcs.org/category/facilities.

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Topics: Facilities

Board Declares Support for Promise of Iowa Campaign

West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education is joining school boards, families, and communities across the state to rally support for public education.

The Board passed a  resolution supporting the Promise of Iowa Public Education Campaign at its regular business meeting on Monday, Dec. 19. The Iowa Association of School Boards is coordinating this statewide effort to focus attention on the future of Iowa public school students and to garner support for investing in public education in Iowa.

Read the resolution at bit.ly/2gsQy7O. Find out more about the Promise of Iowa campaign at www.promiseiowa.org/.

Topics: School Board News

WDMCS Superintendent, Board Members Honored for Excellence

West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) Superintendent Lisa Remy, Ed.D., and three WDMCS Board of Education members received awards at the Iowa Association of School Boards’ (IASB) 71st Annual Convention on Nov. 17.

Board Vice President Melinda Dunnwald and Board members Elizabeth Brennan and Vicky Poole, Ed.D., were honored with Individual Awards of Achievement this year. They earned their awards by strengthening their boardsmanship abilities through the IASB Boardsmanship Awards program. This acclaimed award was presented to 103 local school, AEA and community college board members.

“These board members have shown dedication and commitment to professional growth, to ensure they are prepared to make a difference at the board table and for students,” said IASB Board President Amy Jurrens.

Remy received the Better Boardsmanship Superintendent’s Award of Honor. Superintendents can earn this award by completing the eligibility requirements and having at least two board members in the district who have earned Individual Award of Achievement certificates.

Dunnwald also received a Basics of Boardsmanship certificate. She earned the certificate by completing four components focused on essential board learning concepts through IASB’s Basics of Boardsmanship program. This is the first year this awards program has been offered to IASB members.

The WDMCS Board of Education is made up of seven individuals elected at-large by residents of our district community. The members represent the parents and citizens of our community, set policy for the school district, determine the operational efficiency of the schools, and more. Find out more about the WDMCS Board of Education at www.wdmcs.org/district/our-school-board/.

Topics: School Board News, Staff Achievements, Superintendent

Informaline — Dec. 5 Issue

PDF | en español | Virtual Backpack/La Mochila Virtual

Important Calendar Dates
Dec. 12: School Board Workshop Session, 5:15 p.m.
Dec. 12: School Board Regular (Business) Meeting, 7 p.m.
Dec. 19: Special School Board Workshop Session, 5:15 p.m.
Dec. 22-Jan. 2: Winter Break
Jan. 3: Classes Resume

Board to Take Action on Calendar, Program of Studies Dec. 12
The West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) Board of Education will take action on two proposed 2017-18 calendars and 26 program of studies proposals at its Dec. 12 meeting.

The Board held public hearings for the proposed calendars at the regular meeting on Nov. 28. The Teaching & Learning Services Department presented the program of studies proposals at the Nov. 28 workshop meeting. Find more information about the calendars and the proposals here.

WDMCS Celebrates Computer Science Education Week
When students see what they can create with computer science, they are excited and empowered to keep going. Join the WDMCS as we inspire our students during Computer Science Education Week, Dec. 5-11!

Read about ways students and their families can learn computer science at school, explore computer science at home, and use computer science in the future on our district website at www.wdmcs.org/news/computer-science-education-week-2016.

Review the District’s 2017 Legislative Priorities
The 2017 Iowa legislative session will convene on Monday, Jan. 9, and will adjourn on Friday, April 28. The West Des Moines Community Schools prepared for the upcoming session by discussing the needs of the district and setting legislative priorities. The WDMCS Board of Education approved three legislative priorities for 2017 at its Aug. 8, 2016, regular business meeting. A PDF of the legislative priorities can be found online.

WDMCS is Ready for Winter
Winter break is almost here! This year, there will be no school Dec. 22–Jan. 2. All district offices are closed Dec. 23, Dec. 26, and Jan. 2. Classes will resume Jan. 3.

We also want to remind district families about our weather closings procedure. To prepare for potential winter weather, please visit our “Weather Closings” webpage.

Read Along with the Grading Practices Task Force
The West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) Grading Practices Task Force has been meeting regularly since Sept. 28, 2016, to focus on the district’s goal to address grading practices in the WDMCS. Learn more about the task force’s work at www.wdmcs.org/category/grading-practices/.

In addition to the items addressed at each meeting, the Grading Practices Task Force is reviewing research and literature connected to grading practices. Start reading along by visiting www.wdmcs.org/2016/12/read-along-grading-practices-task-force.

Congratulations! Brad Rose Named Athletic Director of the Year
Please join the West Des Moines Community Schools as we congratulate Athletics & Activities Department Director Brad Rose, who was named the IHSADA Athletic Director of the Year for the State of Iowa, as well as the 2017 Central District Athletic Director of the Year! Read more about his honor on the district website.

Topics: Informaline

Read Along with the Grading Practices Task Force

The West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) Grading Practices Task Force has been meeting regularly since Sept. 28, 2016, to focus on the district’s goal to address grading practices in the WDMCS. The task force will present its work to the WDMCS Board of Education on May 8, 2017.

The task force will next meet at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, in the Community Room at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines. To stay up-to-date with the task force’s work, please visit www.wdmcs.org/category/grading-practices/. Meeting minutes and summaries will continue to be posted there. All meetings are open to the public.

In addition to the items addressed at each meeting, the Grading Practices Task Force is reviewing research and literature connected to grading practices. To read along with the task force, look for the following books:

  • “On Your Mark: Challenging the Conventions of Grading and Reporting” by Thomas R. Guskey
  • “Formative Assessment and Standards-Based Grading” by Robert J. Marzano
  • “A Repair Kit for Grading: 15 Fixes for Broken Grades” by Ken O’Connor
  • “Fair Isn’t Always Equal: Assessing and Grading in the Differentiated Classroom” by Rick Wormelli

Print the Read Along Guide

en español

Topics: Grading Practices

Board to Take Action on Calendar, Program of Studies Dec. 12

The West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) Board of Education will take action on two proposed 2017-18 calendars at its Dec. 12 meeting. The Board held public hearings for the proposed calendars at the regular meeting on Nov. 28. Both hearings closed without public comments, written or in person.

Both proposed calendars have the same start and end dates. The main difference between the proposed calendars is the two additional professional development days in Calendar A. Learn about both proposed calendars in the Nov. 28 Board of Education regular meeting agenda.

The Board will also take action on the program of studies proposals it reviewed at its workshop session on Monday, Nov. 28. The Teaching & Learning Services Department presented 26 proposals, which can be seen online.

Topics: School Board News