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Archive for Topic: 'Uncategorized'

Coalition Fights Youth Substance Abuse

The West Des Moines Substance Abuse Prevention Community Coalition (SAPCC) works to promote cooperative community efforts related to the prevention of substance abuse. It has initiated and supports numerous substance abuse prevention activities.

If you are interested in contributing to a healthier community and working against youth perceptions like the ones below, visit the SAPCC on Facebook at and on Twitter @BeAwareWDMCS.

Iowa Youth Survey Dashboard-croppedPercentages from WDMCS student responses on the 2014 Iowa Youth Survey.


Topics: Community Education, Uncategorized, Website

Valley Graduate Tanner Stine Stars on Nickelodeon

When Tanner Stine was eight years old, he told his mom he wanted to be a movie star. jc_TannerStine_1

The 2013 Valley High School graduate is on his way to reaching his goal. This fall he is starring as “Oyster” in Nickelodeon’s “The Thundermans.”

  • Click here to see Tanner Stine as “Oyster” in Nickelodeon’s “The Thundermans.” The show airs Saturdays at 8 p.m.
  • See his return to Valley High School here.

Now living in Los Angeles, the 19-year-old Stine recently returned home to watch the premiere of his appearance in the TV show, and to stop by Jordan Creek Elementary to have lunch with his younger brother Dawson. He also visited his friend Abbie Kliegl at Valley High School and younger brother Chase, who is a senior at Valley.

Coming back to school was nostalgic for Stine.  “The biggest thing I noticed is how much smaller it is,” Stine said of Jordan Creek Elementary compared to when he was younger.

Although Stine knew early on he wanted to be an actor, it was not his only interest. After being in plays at the Des Moines Playhouse in fifth and sixth grade, he changed his focus in seventh grade and started to play football.

jc_TannerStine_lunch2“I love football and I still watch it today and wonder if I should have played football instead of coming out to L.A.,” Stine said. He was a junior when Valley High School won the state championship in 2011. Stine said he has great memories of playing football, but it wasn’t easy. He worked hard to improve while playing second string for most of high school.

Things changed his senior year. He become a starter for the Valley football team and competed in the IMTA (International Modeling and Talent Association) in Los Angeles, where he won Junior Male Actor of the Year and Junior Male Model of the Year.

Stine was signed right away with an agent. He moved to California and started attending Santa Monica College. He also started auditioning and got a part for one episode on Nickelodeon’s “The Haunted Hathaways.” He later auditioned for the “The Thundermans.”

“It was like a one audition deal,” Stine explained of his audition for “The Thundermans.” “They filmed it and the casting directors in the room liked what I did. A few days later they called and said you booked it. I said, ‘No call back?'”

He was initially hired for only two episodes, but the show kept calling him back. He ended up filming eight episodes.jc_TannerStine_teacher

In addition to acting, Stine attends Santa Monica College. Looking back on his education, Stine said what has helped him the most is learning that hard work leads to success.

“I think that was the biggest lesson for me in school was learning that the effort you choose to put into things is what you are going to get out,” he said. “I believe that you can do whatever you want to do — it’s just a matter of how hard you work to get it.”


Topics: Student Achievements, Uncategorized

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Back-To-School Pre-Service Schedule

August 11-19, 2014

Friday, August 15 – Classroom Prep and/or Principal Meetings


Monday, August 18 – Welcome Back at Valley Southwoods

Shuttle Buses Leave From:

  • VHS, Indian Hills at 7:15 & 7:30  a.m.
  • Operations 7:15 a.m.

7:15 – 8 a.m. – Breakfast

8 – 9 a.m. – Welcome Back Program

9 – 11 a.m. – Emergency Preparedness Drill

Shuttle Buses Leave from VSW at  11:15 a.m.


Tuesday, August 19 – Classroom Prep and/or Principal Meetings

New Teachers

Monday 8/11

7:45 a.m. – Welcome/Breakfast at Valley Southwoods Media Center
(Lunch On Your Own)
Elementary: Technology Training (a.m. & p.m.) and  Benefits Meeting
Secondary:  Common Core AM & EEI Intro (Learning  Targets) PM (w/ 45minutes for SpEd & ESL)

Tuesday 8/12

Elementary:  Common Core  AM (Assessment Training) & EEI Intro (Learning Targets) PM (w/ 45minutes for SpEd & ESL)
Secondary:  Technology Training (a.m. & p.m.) and Benefits Meeting

Wednesday 8/13

Elementary: a.m. – Benchmark Literacy Training & Every Day Math (EDM) p.m.
Secondary:  Authentic Intellectual Work (AIW)

Thursday 8/14

AM – Elementary & Secondary:
Handbooks/Agreements; Social Media; Instructional Management & Motivation and Meet WDMEA Officers
Noon-1 – Lunch for All @ Valley Southwoods
1:30-4 p.m. Lesson Plans @ Mentors’ Rooms


Wednesday  8/13

Mentors of 1st Year Teachers Training 8 AM – 4 p.m. (at VSW)

Thursday 8/14

Mentors of 1st Year Teachers Lunch @ VSW (Noon-1)
1-4 p.m. Work with New Teachers in Classrooms

Mentors of 2nd Year Teachers Training 1-3 p.m. (at VSW)


Topics: Uncategorized

New Roles for Leaders in Education

There will be familiar faces in new positions at the West Des Moines Community Schools this upcoming school year as several principals and administrators take on new roles.


Tim Miller HeadshotTim Miller to Be New Valley High School Principal

Tim Miller will be the new principal of Valley High School.

“Tim is an extraordinary leader,” Superintendent Dr. Lisa Remy said. “He is well respected, knowledgeable and a proven leader.  I am very excited to have him serve as the next principal of Valley High School.”

Miller previously served as principal of Stilwell Junior High in the West Des Moines Community School District and has served in this role since July 1999. He began his career in education 1976 as a special education teacher at Cedar Rapids Prairie Junior High. He taught special education at Waterloo Columbus High School from 1978-1983, at Waterloo East High School from 1983-1986 and Des Moines Lincoln High School from 1986-1992. He served as vice principal of Des Moines Brody Middle School from 1998-1999. He has also been a head varsity coach in baseball and football and served as athletic director at Des Moines Lincoln High School.

While at West Des Moines Community Schools, Miller has been part of several key and sustaining initiatives. He was involved in the development of the district’s Essentials of Effective Instruction (EEI), which provides teachers a framework for effective instructional practices. In addition, he has been involved in the district’s professional development committee.

Miller received his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Luther College, his master’s degree in special education from the University of Iowa and his secondary school administrator certification from Drake University.

Previous Valley High School Principal Jim Mollison announced his resignation on April 24 to pursue a career opportunity in real estate.


BoyleE_1Eric Boyle to be Stilwell Junior High Principal

Eric Boyle will serve as Stilwell Junior High.

Boyle previously served as as assistant principal and activities director at Stilwell. He began his career in 1999 as a special education teacher at Valley Southwoods and then transitioned to Valley High School as a special needs teacher. In 2008, he became a behavior interventionist at Valley. In 2011, he served as associate principal/team leader at Valley Southwoods, a position he held until coming to Stilwell in July 2013.

He received his bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Northern Iowa and his master’s degree in education from Drake University.

During his career in the West Des Moines Community Schools, Boyle has served on several district committees. He has served on the district Board policy committee and the bullying prevention committee. He participated in negotiations with West Des Moines Educational Support Personnel and serves on the DINA transition committees and the special education delivery service committee.


piercebPierce to be Fairmeadows Principal

Brandon Pierce will be the next principal of Fairmeadows Elementary.

Pierce previously served as the principal of Clive Elementary in the West Des Moines Community School District and has served in this role since 2006.

He began his career in education in 2000 teaching fourth and fifth grades at Howe Elementary in Des Moines. While at Howe, he also served as assessment specialist and literacy leader. In 2003, he became assistant principal of Howe. In 2004, he was assistant principal at Pleasant Hill Elementary. He joined the West Des Moines Community School District in 2005, serving as assistant principal at both Westridge Elementary and Jordan Creek Elementary. While in the district, Pierce has also been involved in the district’s Teacher Quality, Professional Development, Preschool Advisory, Professional Development Advisory and School Community Network committees.

Pierce received his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Iowa and his master’s degree in educational administration from Iowa State University.


boydaDrea Bocook to Serve as Principal of Clive Elementary

Drea Bocook will be the next principal of Clive Elementary.

Bocook has served in the WDMCS as the principal of Phenix Elementary since 2007 and Phenix/Hillside Elementary since 2011.  She began teaching elementary students in the Des Moines Public Schools in 2002.  She taught Reading Recovery and served as assistant principal at Park Avenue Elementary School from 2004 to 2006 before serving as assistant principal at Walnut Street School in Des Moines from 2006 to 2007.  While in the WDMCS, Bocook has been involved with the district at-risk, Title I, preschool advisory and administrative professional development committees.

Bocook received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Grandview College, master of education degree from Graceland University and principal certification from Vitterbo.


sinramzSinram Named Assistant Principal of Indian Hills

Zac Sinram has been named assistant principal at Indian Hills. He served in the position this year on an interim basis after previous associate principal Kerry Ketcham was hired as interim special education director.

Sinram received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa in 2006 in history and social studies and his master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Iowa in 2012. He began teaching at Valley Southwoods as a special education teacher in 2006 and then moved to teaching social studies at VSW in 2008. Sinram has also been involved in both building- and district-level professional development work, including serving as an Authentic Intellectual Work (AIW) anchor and serving on the Professional Learning Communities committee. He has also participated in principles training through the West Des Moines Police Department’s Youth Justice Initiative (YJI).


SeidCSeid Serves as Associate Superintendent of HR

Carol Seid will be associate superintendent of human resources. Seid has served in the position on an interim basis this school year after Dr. Lisa Remy was appointed interim superintendent and then hired as superintendent.

Seid served as principal of Fairmeadows Elementary since 2006. She started her career in education in 1987 as an elementary special education teacher in the Des Moines Public School District. She later became an elementary vice principal in the Des Moines district in 2001 and a principal in 2002.

Seid has her bachelor’s degree in elementary education, master’s degree in special education and is currently working on her doctorate in educational leadership. She recently received the Drake University School of Education Outstanding Alumni Award.


KetchamkKetcham Named Director of Special Education

Kerry Ketcham will serve as director of special education. He served as interim director this year after previous director Angie Calhoun took a job at Heartland Area Education Agency.

Ketcham had been associate principal/activities director at Indian Hills Junior High, a position he held since 2006. He started his career in education in 1985 as a secondary social studies teacher in the Des Moines Public School District. He became a dean of students in the Des Moines district in 2005 and joined the WDMCS administrative team in 2006.

Ketcham has his bachelor’s degree in history, master’s degree in educational leadership and his English as a Second Language leadership endorsement.


Topics: School Board News, Uncategorized

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My Journey Through the WDMCS

Written By: Maddie Hamborg

maddie_hamborg_graduationI have been in the WDMCS district my entire school career.  I attended Jordan Creek Elementary from kindergarten through sixth grade, and then transitioned to Stilwell, Valley Southwoods, and, ultimately, Valley High School.

I had great experiences at each of these schools.  My fondest memories of Jordan Creek revolve around it’s traditions–from a field trip to the Omaha Zoo to the sixth grade bike ride and clap-out.  At Stilwell, I participated in the school plays and in the mime shows.  While I am far from a brilliant actor/mime, these experiences allowed me to meet many new people and to try something completely out of my comfort zone.  I also began to run cross-country, which I continued throughout Valley Southwoods and Valley High School.  My fondest memories of Southwoods and Valley are cross-country and orchestra events, such as “Frisky Friday and pasta dinners,” and the many orchestra concerts and trips.

I believe that the West Des Moines schools, and Valley in particular, provided me with a strong educational background, which will help me be very competitive when I enter the College of William and Mary, in Williamsburg, Va., this fall.  Beginning in eighth grade, I took advanced level classes, which prepared me to enter the Valley Honors Program.  The classes I took as part of this program were very challenging. They forced me to develop a strong work ethic and time management skills that will prove invaluable in college. One of the unique things about Valley is that it is not uncommon for students to have a teacher for more than one year.  Some of my favorite teachers are those I had throughout my high school career.  Mrs. Karen Downing was my ELP /honors seminar teacher, and she inspired me to accomplish things I never would have imagined I could do as a mere freshman.  In addition, my orchestra teacher, Mr. Phil Peters, and cross-country coach, Mr. Bob Hardin, pushed everyone to work toward “personal bests,” and to be the best musician or runner he or she could be.

Additionally, Mrs. Downing and others at Valley encouraged me to seek balance in my life, and to find a few activities outside of the academic world that not only filled my time but also made me happy.  If I could offer any advice to underclassmen, I would tell them to do just that:  Instead of loading your schedule with a variety of clubs and activities, focus on something you could see yourself having a passion for or expanding on in the future.  For me, it was working with special needs students.  During my sophomore year, I began volunteering in the special needs department at Jordan Creek Elementary. Ultimately, I was able to create an extracurricular program in which 30 special needs students now participate, which is designed to increase their physical activity in a comfortable social environment.  WDMCS gave me the necessary training and confidence to begin this program, and I know I will take this experience with me throughout my life.

Topics: Uncategorized

Thank You WDMCS Teachers! – A Message From Dr. Remy

staff_lrc_RemyLMay 5-9 is teacher appreciation week. A great big thank you to our West Des Moines Community School District teachers for their continued dedication to excellence and our students.

Thank you for giving of your talents and expertise. There are few other professionals who touch as many lives as teachers do. Teachers are role models for young people. Teaching is a very satisfying profession that brings with it a lot of responsibility. As Horace Mann said, “Teachers teach because they care. Teaching young people is what they do best. It requires long hours, patience and care.”

Teachers collaborate with many others to make schools the best they can be for our students. They work with students, parents, administrators, other teachers, community members and so many more. Teachers make it a point to share highlights of learning with those involved.

Teachers are advocates for students. They set high standards for students. They bring resources into the classroom to make learning come to life. Teachers are evaluating student work and preparing students for their next step. Dan Rather once said, “The dream begins, most of the time, with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you on to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth.”

Teachers show us each day what it means to turn passion into life’s work. To charge each student with the task of making tomorrow better without having the right answers. Teachers never stop looking for new ways to connect with students and inspire motivation. All students need a champion and a teacher can be that person for students.

Thank you once again for giving of your talents to prepare students for their life’s journey.

Join Us! Annual Staff Recognition Reception May 8

This is a reminder that the Annual Staff Recognition Reception is Thursday, May 8 from 4:30-6 p.m. at the Hy-Vee Conference Center, 5820 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines.



Topics: Uncategorized

State Selects WDMCS to Launch Teacher Leadership System

Teacher Leader Update




The West Des Moines Community Schools is one of 39 school districts selected to be the first in the state to launch a teacher leadership system in the 2014-15 school year.

Iowa Department of Education Announcement

 “This is exciting news for our district and for our teachers, who will now have increased opportunities for professional growth and leadership within the district,” said WDMCS Superintendent Dr. Lisa Remy. “Those who will benefit the most will be our students, as our teacher leaders help us move toward even greater student success.”

Remy thanked the members of the Teacher Leadership & Compensation Committee for their outstanding work to develop the leadership system and for securing $2.8 million annually specifically designated for the system. “The teachers, administrators and community members on the committee were truly collaborative and innovative,” she said.

The district will start work to implement the system within the month, said WDMCS Interim Associate Superintendent of Human Resources Carol Seid. “The outstanding efforts of our committee have set the framework and structure for the system, which we can now start to put in place. We are excited to move forward,” she added.

The Teacher Leadership & Compensation system offers our teachers the opportunity to take on leadership roles in the area of instruction and receive compensation for the increased responsibilities. The leadership roles include:

  • Building Leadership Team: Assists in identifying needs and plans for building professional development. Works with the principal, district teacher leaders and teh central office to move improvement plans forward.
  • District Leadership Team: Assists in identifying needs & plans for district professional development.
  • Professional Development/Curriculum Facilitator: Serves on District Leadership Team and other district teams; assists with professional development planning and implementation
  • Instructional Coaches: Works with teachers to use evidenced-based instructional practices and strategies to increase student achievement.
  • Demonstration Teacher/Coordinator: Opens his/her door for observations of lessons, lesson planning, etc.
  • Mentor Teachers: Supports new teachers as they enter the profession, observe, meet and work together for two or more years
  • Mentor Coordinator: Observes, provides training opportunities and feedback to new teachers and mentors
  • Learning Supports/Coordinator/Family School Engagement Coordinator: Supports teacher to identify needs of at-risk students and families; collaboratively implements strategies for increased student achievement; provides strategies to teachers to effectively engage families for increased student growth.

 Teacher Leadership & Compensation Updates

Teacher Leadership & Compensation Committee Webpage


Topics: Uncategorized

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Two-Hour Delay – Wednesday, February 5 – No Early Release

Because of severe winter weather conditions, all schools will start two hours late Wednesday, February 5, 2014. There will be no early dismissal per Wednesday collaboration schedule.

  • There will be no morning preschool.
  • No Westridge half-day kindergarten.
  • Full-day kindergarten will start two-hours late district wide.
  • No morning activities or early bird classes.
  • Kids West will open at 8:30 a.m.
  • Busses will pick up students two hours after their normal pick-up time.
  • Walnut Creek Campus: Full-Day Students report at 11:20 a.m.; P.M. Students report at 11:46 a.m.; A.M. Students no school

Valley Southwoods Schedule

1st hour:               10:20am-10:53am  (33 minutes)
2nd hour:              10:56am-11:25am  (29 minutes)
5th hour:

  • A 11:25am-11:51am  (26 minutes + 4 minute passing period)
  • B 11:50am-12:16pm  (26 minutes + 4 minute passing period)
  • C 12:15pm-12:45pm  (26 minutes + 4 minute passing period)

3rd hour:               12:45pm-1:14pm  (29 minutes)
4th hour:               1:17pm-1:46pm  (29 minutes)
6th hour:               1:49pm-2:18pm  (29 minutes)
7th hour:               2:19pm-2:48pm  (29 minutes)
8th hour:               2:51pm-3:20pm  (29 minutes)

Valley High School Schedule

2st period 10:20-11:22
1L11:27-11:57 4P:12:02-1:06
4P:11:27-11:58 2L12:01-12:31 4P12:35-1:06
4P:11:27-12:31 3L12:36-1:06
6th period 1:11-2:13
8th period 2:18-3:20

Topics: Uncategorized

Schools Dismissing Two Hours Early – Tuesday, February 4

Because of deteriorating weather conditions, schools will dismiss two hours early today, Tuesday, February 4, 2014

  • The Junior Highs will dismiss at 12:35
  • Valley High School and Valley Southwoods will dismiss at 1:20
  • Walnut Creek and Crestview Elementary will dismiss at 1:10
  • All other elementaries will dismiss at 1:55
  • No afternoon preschool. AM preschool will dismiss at the normal time.
  • Buses will run according to the adjusted schedule.
  • Kids West will open immediately following school dismissal. Kids West will close at 5 p.m.
  • If you are a preschool parent in a non-district building, please contact that facility.
  • Indian Hill’s sixth and seventh grade parent night is rescheduled for Thursday, February 6.

All after-school and evening activities and classes are cancelled.

Topics: Uncategorized

Teacher Leadership Application Endorsed, Submitted Jan. 31

Teacher Leader Update




On Monday, Jan. 27, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education unanimously voted to formally endorse and support the district’s application for the state’s Teacher Leadership & Compensation grant.

School Board members and district administrators expressed their appreciation for the work of the district committee that developed the proposed teacher leadership and compensation structure and the application for state funding. The district could receive approximately $2.8 million annually.

The committee’s work included visiting other schools with teacher leader systems, reviewing research and gathering input from teachers, administrators and parents through focus groups, building-level meetings and an online form.

Members of the committee reviewed key elements of the application with the Board during a public workshop held on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

In addition to the School Board, the teacher’s union and a district parent group have also expressed support.

The district will submit its application to the state tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 31. The Iowa Department of Education will announce in early March which school districts have been approved to implement their Teacher Leadership and Compensation plans in the 2014-2015 school year.

Topics: Uncategorized

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