Skip to content
Blog

Archive for Author: wadea

See Project-Based Learning in Action!

This is your chance to see West Des Moines Community Schools’ New Tech program!
Tours include classroom visits, project exploration, and student/teacher interview panels.

Print the Invitation

April 24, 2017
9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Indian Hills Junior High School (grades 7-8)
9401 Indian Hills Drive
Clive, IA 50325

noon to 3:25 p.m.

Clive Learning Academy (grades K-6)
1600 73rd St.
Windsor Heights, IA 50324

May 1, 2017
9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Crestview School of Inquiry (grades K-6)
8355 Franklin Ave.
Clive, IA 50325

noon to 3:25 p.m.

Stilwell Junior High School (grades 7-8)
1601 Vine St.
West Des Moines, IA 50265

We welcome the chance to showcase what project-based learning can do to move students towards college and career readiness. If you would like to attend more than one tour, please do! If you

If you are not a district employee, please bring an official photo ID so you can check in at the schools for the tour. Thank you for helping us keep our school safe places to collaborate and innovate!

 

Questions?

Justin Miller, New Tech Thought Partner & Business Liaison
millerju@wdmcs.org
515-633-5117

Sheila Hudson, New Tech Professional Learning Development Coach
hudsons@wdmcs.og
515-707-2993

 

Topics: New Tech

Informaline—March 27, 2017 Issue

PDF* | en español* | Virtual Backpack/La Mochila Virtual

Important Dates
March 27: School Board Workshop Session, 5:15 p.m.
March 27: Special School Board Meeting, 6:30 p.m.
March 29: End of Third Quarter
March 29: Grading Practices Task Force Meeting, 5:30 p.m.
March 31: World of Choices*
April 3: School Board Workshop Session, 5:15 p.m.
April 3: School Board Regular (Business) Meeting, 7 p.m.
April 4: School Improvement Advisory Committee, 6:30 p.m.
April 5: Indian Hills Career Day
April 11: Stilwell Career Day*

(*Please note: This page and the PDFS on this page have been updated to reflect new dates for World of Choices and Stilwell’s Career Day.)

New Meningococcal Vaccine Requirement for Grades 7 & 12
The State of Iowa has passed a new law, requiring the meningococcal (specifically A,C,W,Y) vaccine for students entering grades seven and 12, beginning with the 2017-18 school year. All incoming seventh- and 12th-grade students will need to submit a completed Certificate of Immunization with the Meningococcal (ACWY) vaccination. Get the details at http://bit.ly/vaccine2017.

Start Your Child’s Kindergarten Adventure
If your child will be 5 years old on or before September 15, 2017, he or she will be eligible to start kindergarten in the fall of 2017. Parents and guardians of 2017-18 kindergartners are invited to Kindergarten Roundup at each elementary school. Please visit www.wdmcs.org/district/our-schools/registration/kindergarten/kindergarten-roundup/ or call your school for more information.

Iowa Assessments: Smart Testing Tips
WDMCS students in grades 3-8 and 11 will be taking the Iowa Assessments in late March and early April. Get three expert tips that will help your child do his or her best on testing days at http://bit.ly/IA_2017.

Transportation Fees Reminder
Fourth-quarter transportation fees were due Tuesday, March 21, 2017. You can still 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 if needed. Please submit the “Make Change to Current Ridership” form at www.wdmcs.org/departments/transportation or contact the Transportation Department at 515-633-4902.

Summer Fun with WDMCS Community Education
Whether your children want to refresh their skills or expand their knowledge this summer, WDMCS Community Education provides a wide variety of activities to choose from! With many fun, enriching, and affordable learning opportunities available, you and your child will be able to find a program that sounds interesting, fun, and rewarding. Information about this year’s Summer of Learning programs is available at http://www.wdmcs.org/commed-news/summer-learning-2017/.

Topics: Informaline

Clive Learners Help Fund Celebration with Vendor Fair

Sixth-grade learners at Clive Learning Academy are hosting a vendor fair that will raise funds for a celebration on the last day of school. Students are working as entrepreneurs to create goods and services to sell at the fair on Thursday, April 6.

Find out more about their businesses at www.wdmcs.org/school-news/clive-vendor-fair.

Topics: New Tech

Informaline—Feb. 20, 2017 Issue

PDF | en español | Virtual Backpack/La Mochila Virtual

Important Dates
Feb. 20-23: Personal Care Collection
Feb. 21: School Community Network Meeting
Feb. 23: End of Second Trimester (Walnut Creek Campus and Elementary)
Feb. 24: Professional Development Day—No School
Feb. 27: School Board Workshop Session, 5:15 p.m.
Feb. 27: School Board Regular (Business) Meeting, 7 p.m.
March 6-10: National School Breakfast Week
March 6: School Board Workshop Session, 5:15 p.m.
March 6: School Board Regular (Business) Meeting, 7 p.m.
March 10: No School
March 13: Spring Break Begins
March 20: Classes Resume

WDMCS Becomes 1:1 District
Next year, the WDMCS will provide a Chromebook for every student in grades 3-12.
On Feb. 13, 2017, the WDMCS Board of Education unanimously approved a proposal to reallocate the district’s current Chromebook inventory of more than 5,000 devices from carts directly to students. Learn more at bit.ly/2llL5Dc.

Equity Committee Selects Framework
A team of students, parents, community members, and West Des Moines Community Schools employees selected a guiding structure for the district’s work to ensure equity for students at its meeting on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017. The recommendation will be presented to the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education for approval. Learn more about the framework at bit.ly/EquityFramework.

Have You Heard? 2017-18 Calendar at a Glance Available to View
The 2017-18 Calendar at a Glance is now posted to the district website and available to view. Visit bit.ly/CalAAG-1718 to get a printable list of next school year’s important dates, in English and Spanish.

WDMCS Personal Care Collection This Week
Staff, families, and students are invited to participate in the WDMCS Personal Care Collection to help restock the Booster Pak pantries. Please bring your items to your building and place in the designated box. The most needed items are regular-sized shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, body wash, lotion, toothpaste, and lip balm. Thank you for your support for this very worthy cause!

WDMCS Presents Guest Speaker Paul Zientarski
The West Des Moines Community Schools Physical Education Department is excited to present Paul Zientarski, P.E. consultant and retired P.E. teacher from Naperville, Illinois. To learn more about how good health can support student success, please join us from 7-8 p.m. on Feb. 23 in the Community Room at the Learning Resource Center.

Ready, Set, Go! Five Kindergarten Readiness Tips
It’s time to start thinking about kindergarten! Experienced, professional WDMCS teachers have put together five tips to help you prepare your child. See all five tips, with activities, at bit.ly/WDMCS_K-tips.

Valley Cultural Awareness Week
Valley High School will be celebrating diversity with Cultural Awareness Week, Feb. 20-23. The week of cultural celebration, recognition, and awareness will include music, art, and food throughout the week, as well as special events like International Night. Please join us as we celebrate the many cultures represented at Valley High School! See a full schedule at bit.ly/2kx3nle.

Reminder: No School Feb. 24
There will be no school for WDMCS students on Friday, Feb. 24. It is a professional development day for staff. District offices will be open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For other important dates throughout the school year, please see our Calendar at a Glance: bit.ly/CalAAG-1617.

Topics: Informaline

Informaline—Jan. 30, 2017 Issue

PDF | en español | Virtual Backpack/La Mochila Virtual

Important Dates
Feb. 9: Native Speaker Quiz Bowl, 9 a.m.
Feb. 13: School Board Workshop Session, 5:15 p.m.
Feb. 13: School Board Regular (Business) Meeting, 7 p.m.
Feb. 21: School Community Network Meeting
Feb. 23: End of Second Trimester
Feb. 24: Professional Development Day—No School

Schools Proposed for Renovation, Planning Continues
Clive Learning Academy, Crestview School of Inquiry, Western Hills Elementary, and Westridge Elementary may receive renovations next year as the district continues to study how it can improve facilities to meet the changing learning needs of students. Learn more about the facilities plan at bit.ly/2ktYhWt.

Provide Feedback on Iowa’s Every Student Succeeds Plan
Iowans are invited to give feedback on the first draft of Iowa’s Every Student Succeeds Act plan in an online survey, open through Feb. 15. Provide your input through the survey, or send an email to ESSA@iowa.gov. You can also mail your feedback to Iowa Department of Education, Attn: Deputy Director David Tilly/ESSA Feedback, Grimes State Office Building, 400 E. 14th St., Des Moines, IA 50319-0146.

Heather Nail Recipient of National Music Educators Award
Congratulations to Valley Southwoods Freshman High School Vocal Music Director Heather Nail, who has earned the Barbershop Harmony Society/NAfME Music Educator Award. The award honors educators “who give students the opportunity to learn and participate in the joy and power that music education brings in uplifting the human spirit and fostering the wellbeing of society.”

WDMCS Personal Care Collection Feb. 20-23
Staff, families, and students are invited to participate in the WDMCS Personal Care Collection to help restock the Booster Pak pantries. Please bring your items to school the week of Feb. 20-23 and place in the designated box.

The most needed items are regular-sized shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, body wash, lotion, toothpaste, and lip balm. Items will be collected and then distributed to WDMCS students through the Booster Pak Program.

Kindergarten Enrollment Open Today!
Kindergarten is a big adventure in life’s journey. We will be right beside your family every step of the way. WDMCS kindergarten offers experienced and professional certified teachers, full-time assistants in every kindergarten classroom, and healthy lunches and door-to-door transportation. We serve children in West Des Moines, Urbandale, Clive, Des Moines, and Windsor Heights. Learn more at bit.ly/WDMCS_K.

Elementary Conferences Coming Up!
Conferences are coming up at WDMCS elementary schools. These meetings are a great way to plan with your child’s teacher and help your child learn and succeed. Elementary conferences will take place on the following dates:

  • Clive Learning Academy: March 2, March 6
  • Crestview School of Inquiry: Feb. 10, Feb. 14-16
  • Crossroads Park Elementary: Feb. 28, March 2
  • Fairmeadows Elementary: Feb. 28, March 2
  • Hillside Elementary: March 2, March 6
  • Jordan Creek Elementary: Feb. 28, March 2, March 4
  • Western Hills Elementary: Feb. 28, March 2
  • Westridge Elementary: March 2, March 7

Join Us for the 2017 Sweetheart Show!
The Valley High School Vocal Music Department presents the 2017 Sweetheart Show! Performances are 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7, and Thursday, Feb. 9, with a silent auction/raffle at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors; children 4 and younger get in free.

Encourage Your Child to Read with First Page Friday
Fifth-grade students at Jordan Creek Elementary and Fairmeadows Elementary have been meeting with their teachers and teacher librarians for “First Page Friday.” The students read the first page of several books, then choose one of the books to finish and share with their classmates.

“It’s all about reading for enjoyment and becoming a lifelong reader,” said Jordan Creek Elementary teacher librarian Kristy Skoglund said. Get three tips to try First Page Friday at home on our district website.

What Do You Think? Informaline Survey
The School/Community Relations Office wants your input! Please let us know if the Informaline district newsletter is helpful for you and your family by taking this short survey: bit.ly/IL_Survey.

Transportation Fees Due Jan. 10
Third-quarter transportation fees were due Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017. You can still 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 if needed. Please submit the “Make Change to Current Ridership” form at www.wdmcs.org/departments/transportation or contact the Transportation Department at 515-633-4902.

Topics: Informaline

Informaline—Jan. 17, 2017 Issue

PDF | en español | Virtual Backpack/La Mochila Virtual

What Do You Think? Informaline Survey
The School/Community Relations Office wants your input! Please let us know if the Informaline district newsletter is helpful for you and your family by taking this short survey: bit.ly/IL_Survey.

Important Dates
Jan. 17: School Community Network Meeting, 9:15 a.m.
Jan. 17: School Improvement Advisory Committee Meeting, 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 19: SAPCC Meeting, 7:30 a.m.
Jan. 22: School Board Special Workshop Session, 1 p.m.
Jan. 23: School Board Workshop Session, 5:15 p.m.
Jan. 23: School Board Regular (Business) Meeting, 7 p.m.
Jan. 25: Grading Practices Task Force Meeting, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 26: Impact of Art, 6:30 p.m.

District Equity Team to Select a Guiding Structure for Equity Work
A team of students, parents, community members, and West Des Moines Community Schools employees are close to selecting a guiding structure for the district’s work to ensure equity for students. Learn more at bit.ly/equity-jan17.

Transportation Fees Due Jan. 10
Third-quarter transportation fees were due Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017. You can still 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 if needed. Please complete and submit the “Make Change to Current Ridership” form at www.wdmcs.org/departments/transportation or contact the Transportation Department at 515-633-4902.

School Board Reviews Second Phase of Facilities Study
At a special meeting in December, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education reviewed the findings of the second phase of an elementary school space utilization study by architects at Shive-Hattery. Find out more about each option at bit.ly/facilities-jan17.

Kindergarten Enrollment Open Today!
Kindergarten is a big adventure in life’s journey. We will be right beside your family every step of the way. Start your child’s kindergarten adventure with the WDMCS at bit.ly/WDMCS_K!

Stay Warm with WDMCS Activities This Winter
Avoid the chilly winter weather with family-friendly indoor activity options from the West Des Moines Community Schools! Keep an eye on the online calendar at bit.ly/WDMCS_Cal to stay up-to-date with districtwide and school activities. Upcoming events include opportunities to cheer on the Tigers, experience the arts, and be true to your school.

Students, Staff Recognized by Board for Outstanding Achievements
The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education recognized the outstanding achievements of district students and staff at its meeting on Monday, Jan. 9. Read the full Student and Staff Recognition report at bit.ly/2idykJO.

Try Something New: WDMCS Community Ed. Registration Open!
The new LEARNwest and Adventure catalogs are here! Try something new in 2017!

  • LEARNwest offers a wide range of classes for adults who want to expand their skills, make everyday life better, and try something new. LEARNwest classes are offered evenings and weekends. Learn about class options at bit.ly/LEARNwest-jan17.
  • Adventures provides a way for students in grades K-9 to expand their knowledge or skills in an area of interest and try something beyond the classes they have during the school day. Classes take place after school, in the evenings, and on the weekends. Find Adventures opportunities at bit.ly/Adventures-jan17.

Valley Students Perform in Second Annual “Opera Project DSM” Production, “Cavalleria rusticana”
The Valley High School Performing Arts Department is partnering with The Opera Project DSM for the second year in a row for a production of Pietro Mascagni’s “Cavalleria rusticana.” The West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) will host the performances in the Staplin Performing Arts Center, 3650 Woodland Ave., West Des Moines. There will be performances at 8 p.m. on Jan. 21 and 3 p.m. on Jan. 22. Both performances are open to the public and free of charge. Learn more about Valley students’ involvement in the production at bit.ly/Opera17.

Topics: Informaline

School Board Reviews Second Phase of Facilities Study

At a special meeting in December, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education reviewed the findings of the second phase of an elementary school space utilization study by architects at Shive-Hattery.

The architects further studied how the possible removal of sixth grade and preschool from the elementary schools would affect building space availability and usage. The study also focused on the viability of removing media centers and computer labs, contingent on providing computer devices for each student.

Based on interviews with the leadership teams, teaching staff, and parents from each of the elementary schools, as well as junior high administrators, the architects presented a brief summary of the findings for each school. Those findings included information on the redistribution of areas at each building.

Estimated construction and operational costs were also provided for three different options:

  • Option 1—Relocate Sixth Grade: Provide for Core Plus space, provide secure entrances for elementary and junior high schools, sixth grade moves out of elementary, new 8/9 grade site with shop/makerspace and field house would be $83.8 million with $1.15 million ongoing operational costs.
  • Option 2—Sixth Grade Remains: Secure entries, flex spaces, and renovations would be $53.5 million with $389,015 ongoing operational costs
  • Option 3—Add Flex Space to Existing Elementaries: additional square footage for flex space would be $82.4 million with $650,645 ongoing operational costs.

It was also noted that a new preschool center would be an estimated $9.34 million in construction costs and $1.0 million in operational costs.

The next step is to compare these estimates with the district’s 10-Year Facilities Plan budget. For more information and background on the district’s facilities plan, please visit www.wdmcs.org/category/facilities/.

Topics: Facilities

District Equity Team to Select a Guiding Structure for Equity Work

A team of students, parents, community members, and West Des Moines Community Schools employees are close to selecting a guiding structure for the district’s work to ensure equity for students.

Since November, the West Des Moines Community Schools Equity Team has studied five frameworks that will guide the district as it addresses equity through professional development, leadership development, student relations, and curriculum. The selected framework will also help the district evaluate the effectiveness of its work.

“The most important work we have this year is to select a framework because it will guide all subsequent decisions [regarding equity],” said WDMCS Superintendent Lisa Remy, Ed.D., at a School Board workshop in September.

The team is studying the Anti-Racist Education, Culturally Relevant Pedagogy, Cross-Cultural Competence, Deep Equity, and Equity Pedagogy frameworks. Articles about each framework are available below.

Four of the frameworks were recommended by Iowa State University in its equity audit of Valley High School.

According to the district’s “Race & Equity in Our Schools: Action Steps for Positive Change,” the team will select a framework by Feb. 28, 2017.

For more information and background on the district’s equity work, please visit www.wdmcs.org/category/equity/.

Topics: Equity

District’s Operating Budget Outlook Solid for 2017-18

West Des Moines Community Schools CFO Paul Bobek reported to the School Board in December that the district ended its 2016 fiscal year with increases in its general fund and unspent spending-authority balance.

Given these two conditions, the administration will not recommend a formal budget reduction process for the 2018 fiscal year.

In March, the district administration will conduct its regular staffing process for the 2017-18 school year. This annual administrative process may result in either adding or reducing staff based on student enrollment in programs, courses, or grade levels. The Administrative Services department will also continue meeting with administrators with budgetary responsibilities to review individual budgets.

The fund balance and unspent balance are two key indicators of budget health. The general fund balance increased by $4.7 million and the unspent balance increased by $2.9 million. The unspent balance relates to a district’s legal authority to spend money measured in dollars. The unspent balance is the leftover spending authority at the end of the fiscal year.

Bobek said the increases were the result of the district spending fewer state categorical fund dollars. Categorical funding comes from the state and is targeted for particular categories of students, special programs, or special purposes and has restrictions on its use. Another factor was the reallocation of property tax levy money from the district’s management fund to its general fund.

School Board Workshop Agenda (12-12-2016): Audit and Budget Report

Topics: Budget

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