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Grading Practices Task Force Meets April 26

The West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) Grading Practices Task Force will meet at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, in the Community Room at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines. This meeting is open to the public.

Teacher grading papers.

Close-up of teacher’s hands grading papers.

The purpose of this task force is to address the district strategic plan goal area on consistent, effective grading practices in the West Des Moines Community Schools. The task force is charged with researching and identifying effective grading practices and providing specific recommendations to the WDMCS Board of Education for grades K-12 in the district. Additionally, the task force will recommend professional learning needs for staff, communication needs to students and families, and a timeline for implementation.

For more information, please visit: www.wdmcs.org/category/grading-practices/.

 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
5:30-7:30 p.m.
Community Room
Learning Resource Center
3550 Mills Civic Parkway
West Des Moines, Iowa

Outcomes

  1. Determine 4-6 effective practices as prioritized by our forced choice
    matrix.
  2. Discuss and identify professional learning needs for each effective practice.

Agenda

  • 5:30 Welcome and review of purpose of taskforce.  What is best for students?
  • 5:35 Review data from forced choice matrix
  • 5:40 Gallery Walk Protocol
  • 6:35 Break
  • 6:40 Gallery walk
  • 7:20 Prioritization Activity

 April 26, 2017 Full Meeting Agenda

Future Meeting Dates

Wed., May 31, 2017, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Topics: Grading Practices

Learn How Businesses Can Partner with WDMCS New Tech

Sheila and JustinWDMCS New Tech Thought Partner & Business Liaison Justin Miller and New Tech Professional Learning Development Coach Sheila Hudson talk about project-based learning and partnerships with business on the Insight on Business the News Hour.  Listen in!

Insight on Business News Hour Interview about WDMCS New Tech

 

Topics: New Tech

School Fees to be Collected Starting August 1

WDMCS families will not have to pay school fees until after August 1, starting with the 2017-18 school year.

The district and its schools will collect school-related fees, transportation fees, and breakfast/lunch account payments for the upcoming school year from August 1 to October 1. Pre-payments for the upcoming year are not allowed as they cannot be assigned to a student account until after July.

The change will allow families time to complete and submit free and reduced-priced fee applications before billing occurs. The state does not provide its annual income guidelines for free and reduced-priced fee applications until July.

Families will be able to check their fee balance at any time after August 1 using their online account or by contacting the WDMCS Business Services Department at 515-633-5077.

Families may make payments online, in person, or by mail after August 1 for the new school year. Starting with the 2017-18 school year, families choosing to pay online will not be charged a convenience fee for their transactions.

Fees must be paid by October 1. The district will send an unpaid fee notice to families that have not paid fees by this time. If an account remains unpaid after November 15, the unpaid account will be turned over to a collection agency and notification of this action will be sent to the family. All notices will be sent by email to those families with an email address in Infinite Campus or mail to those that do not. For questions, please contact the West Des Moines Community Schools Business Services Department at 515-633-5077.

For questions, please contact the West Des Moines Community Schools Business Services Department at 515-633-5077.

Topics: Budget

Informaline—April 10, 2017 Issue

PDF | en español | Virtual Backpack/La Mochila Virtual 

Important Dates

  • April 18: School Community Network Meeting, 9:15 a.m.
  • April 24: School Board Workshop Session, 5:15 p.m. (at Western Hills Elementary)
  • April 24: School Board Regular (Business) Meeting, 7 p.m. (at Western Hills Elementary)
  • April 26: Grading Practices Task Force Meeting, 5:30 p.m.
  • April 28: Professional Development Day—No School

District to Eliminate Online Convenience Charge, Adjust Some Student Fees
Next year, families paying school-related fees online will no longer pay a convenience charge. All student fees will remain the same as last year, except textbook and nutrition services fees. Read more about 2017-18 student fees on our website.

Board Approves No Increase in Tax Rate
On Monday, April 3, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education adopted the district’s $198 million 2017-18 certified budget and set a steady tax rate at $13.27.

This is the same rate as last year, with no increase. The district continues to have the lowest tax rate in the metro area with the nearest rate 34 percent higher than the WDMCS.

For more information about the district’s budget, visit www.wdmcs.org/category/budget-2/.

WDMCS Teachers Test Student Prototype with NASA
Students and teachers from the West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) are helping NASA solve a problem.

They designed a prototype of a satellite deployment system, which the teachers tested in a simulated microgravity environment at NASA’s Johnson Space Center last week.

Learn more about their real-life project-based learning on our website at bit.ly/WDMCS_NASA.

What Do You Think? District Website Survey
We are in the process of updating the website to reflect our new brand. Please take a few moments to answer these questions about the district’s website, www.wdmcs.org.

Take the survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/district-website.

See Project-Based Learning in Action!
You have a chance to see West Des Moines Community Schools’ New Tech program! Tours include classroom visits, project exploration, and student/teacher interview panels at elementary and junior high schools.

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! Find tour dates and times on our website.

AnatomyOfGrayPoster

Reminder: No School April 28
There will be no school for WDMCS students on Friday, April 28. 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.

WDMCS Earns Excellence in Financial Reporting Award
The district has received its 32nd consecutive Association of School Business Officials International’s (ASBO) Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting Award for having met or exceeded the program’s high standards for financial reporting and accountability. The Certificate of Excellence was awarded for the 2015-16 fiscal year. The award confirms the district’s commitment to financial accountability, transparency, and integrity.

New Apparel and Spirit Wear Available to Order
A new web store with district apparel and athletic spirit wear is up and running! Each piece can be customized to feature the district or school logos. Choose “West Des Moines School and District Apparel” for apparel featuring the district’s new logo or “Tiger Athletics and Activities Apparel” for spirit wear with the tiger and the paw print.

Place an order at www.rokkitwear.com/landing/west-des-moines-community-schools/.

Iowa Teacher of the Year Nominations Due April 25
Thousands of talented Iowa educators lead and inspire their students, but only one is chosen as the Iowa Teacher of the Year. The annual award is an opportunity to recognize an exceptional Iowa teacher who is helping to redefine education. Anyone can nominate a teacher who is making a difference.

The deadline to nominate the 2018 Iowa Teacher of the Year is April 28. Nomination forms can be found on the Iowa Department of Education’s website.

Topics: Informaline

District to Eliminate Online Convenience Charge, Adjust Some Student Fees

Next year, families paying school-related fees online will no longer pay a convenience charge. All student fees will remain the same as last year, except textbook and nutrition services fees. Transportation fees are still under review.

Last year, the West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) offered a new online payment system as a way to pay school fees, transportation fees, and add money to a student’s nutrition account.

The district charged a two percent convenience fee, subject to a $1 minimum and $5 maximum, to help offset the nearly $80,000 in processing charges from the online payment company. The district will no longer charge the convenience fee.

Fees such as student activity passes, instrument rental, driver education, parking fines, and more will remain the same as last year.

Textbook fees will increase next year by $5 for the regular rate and by $4 for the reduced rate. This is the first textbook fee increase in three years.

The 2017-18 textbook fees will be:

  • Full-Day Kindergarten: Regular Fee $55; Reduced Fee $39
  • Grades 7-8: Regular Fee $65; Reduced Fee $46
  • Grade 9: Regular Fee $85; Reduced Fee $60
  • Grades 10-12: Regular Fee $85; Reduced Fee $60

“When we compare our fees to other metro-area school districts, we do not have the highest fees and we do not have the lowest fees,” WDMCS CFO Paul Bobek said.

School meal prices will increase 5 cents for a full-priced student lunch and 10 cents for a full-priced breakfast. The increase in meal prices is due to the rising food and personnel costs. For the 2017-18 school year, full-priced lunches will be $2.80 for elementary students and $2.90 for junior high and high school students. Full-priced breakfasts will cost $1.80 for elementary students and $1.90 for junior high and high school students. There is no increase for reduced-rate student meals.

The district proposed a $20 increase in the annual two-way bus pass. Transportation fees have not changed for five years. Bobek explained that even with the proposed increase, the district would not charge the full cost of transporting a student. As in the past, the district would only charge approximately three-fourths of the average transportation cost per student.

The School Board took no action on the transportation fee proposal, due, in part, to a request from the Superintendent’s Finance & Facilities Committee for additional information about the pay zone areas for busing.

The Transportation Department is analyzing how much it would cost to provide free transportation for K-12 students living one mile or more from school. The district currently follows the Iowa Department of Education recommendation to provide free transportation for elementary students living two miles or more from school and for high school students living three miles or more from school.

The transportation fee proposal will come back to the School Board at a later date with the additional information about the adjusted pay zone.

Topics: Budget, School Board News

Planning Continues on Renovation of Four Elementary Buildings

Planning continues for the renovation of four elementary next year with construction tentatively scheduled to occur during late spring/summer of 2018.

Shive-Hattery architects have developed preliminary timelines to renovate Clive Learning Academy, Crestview School of Inquiry, Western Hills Elementary, and Westridge Elementary.

The timeline includes creating project designs in May 2017, with construction documents developed during the summer and early fall. The project will be submitted to construction contractors for pricing in the fall.

Through its six-month facility study, Shive-Hattery architects identified these four schools as needing immediate changes to meet the learning needs of students.

In general, this renovation work includes providing more space for Core Plus instruction (English language instruction, extended learning instruction, and more). This timeline offers the best opportunity to receive competitive pricing for the construction work and to avoid disrupting instruction during the school year by scheduling interior work during the summer months.

Topics: Facilities

Board Approves No Increase in Tax Rate

On Monday, April 3, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education adopted the district’s $198 million 2017-18 certified budget and set a steady tax rate at  $13.27.

This is the same rate as last year, with no increase. The district continues to have the lowest tax rate in the metro area with the nearest rate 34 percent higher than the WDMCS.

For more information about the district’s budget, visit www.wdmcs.org/category/budget-2/.

Topics: Budget

WDMCS Earns Excellence in Financial Reporting Award

The district has received its 32nd consecutive Association of School Business Officials International’s (ASBO) Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting Award for having met or exceeded the program’s high standards for financial reporting and accountability. The Certificate of Excellence was awarded for the 2015-16 fiscal year. The award confirms the district’s commitment to financial accountability, transparency, and integrity.

Topics: Budget, Staff Achievements

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

Grading Practices Task Force Meets March 29

The West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) Grading Practices Task Force will meet at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29, 2017, in the Community Room at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines. This meeting is open to the public.

Teacher grading papers.

Close-up of teacher’s hands grading papers.

The purpose of this task force is to address the district strategic plan goal area on consistent, effective grading practices in the West Des Moines Community Schools. The task force is charged with researching and identifying effective grading practices and providing specific recommendations to the WDMCS Board of Education for grades K-12 in the district. Additionally, the task force will recommend professional learning needs for staff, communication needs to students and families, and a timeline for implementation.

For more information, please visit: www.wdmcs.org/category/grading-practices/.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 Agenda

5:30-7:30 p.m.
Community Room
Learning Resource Center
3550 Mills Civic Parkway
West Des Moines, Iowa

Outcomes

  1. Prioritize effective grading practices
  2. Learn from Dr. Ken O’Connor, Author of 15 Fixes for Grading (https://www.oconnorgrading.com)

Agenda

  • 5:30 Welcome and Review of Purpose
  • 5:40 Ken O’Connor Presentation
  • 6:30 Prioritize effective grading practices activity

Wednesday, March 29, 2017, Meeting Minutes

Future Meeting Dates

Wed., April 26, 2017, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Wed., May 31, 2017, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Topics: Grading Practices