Schools Profile

Our Elementary Schools

Each of the nine elementary school buildings, like each of the more than 4,800 children who attend them, has a unique personality. However, the elementary schools share these characteristics:

  • Emphasis upon mastery of the basic skills
  • Coordinated curriculum
  • Reading support provided by a reading specialist in each school
  • Enrichment and remedial activities to meet the needs of individual students
  • Well-rounded programs in art, vocal music, orchestra, band and physical education
  • Integrated reading and writing in a balanced literacy program
  • Spanish language instruction beginning in first grade
  • Activity-based programs in math, science and social studies
  • Expanded use of technology as a way of learning
  • Active, involved parent support groups
  • Frequent communication to parents through newsletters, emails and social media


Our Junior High Schools

Included in the school district are two excellent junior high schools. Each is a community different from the other, but they share common traits:

  • Selection as model schools in the state and/or nation in the United States Department of Education Secondary School Recognition Program
  • A program of studies that emphasizes and builds basic skills and provides exploratory learning in the areas of family and consumer sciences, technology education, fine arts and consumer economics and career education
  • An educational philosophy focusing on student-teacher learning teams
  • Course offerings in eighth grade that include advanced English, social studies and science as well as high school level algebra and Spanish
  • Special education programs for students with learning, emotional or mental disabilities
  • Intramurals, band, chorus, student council, drama and various activities open to all students
  • Interscholastic athletics for eighth grade students
  • Regular home-school communication through email, telephone calls, progress reports, parent conferences, newsletters, the school website and social media
  • Supportive parent advisory councils


Our High Schools

Valley Southwoods Freshman High School serves ninth grade students in the West Des Moines Community School District. The school is organized into multi-discipline learning teams that provide:

  • A nurturing environment (student-centered, personalized learning)
  • An integrated, student-centered, rich and challenging curriculum
  • Innovative instructional techniques
  • An inclusive, collaborative approach to meet the special needs of all students
  • Technology integration
  • Community-based learning experiences
  • Enrichment and remedial activities to meet the diverse needs of students
  • A wide variety of athletic and activity programs
  • Parent and community involvement and communication through phone calls, daily announcements, emails, a website and social media.

Valley High School serves students in grades 10-12 of the West Des Moines Community School District. Valley offers exemplary programs in each of the 4 A’s: Academics, Activities, Arts and Athletics:

  • Valley is accredited by the North Central Association
  • Valley is a place with something for everyone. More than 1,900 students find others with like interests. More than 76 percent of Valley students are involved in one or more activities.
  • Personalization is emphasized through assignment to three Smaller Learning Communities based upon advisories. Each student has an advisory group (approximately 18 students in each) for the duration of their Valley experience.
  • 48 credits are required for graduation
  • More than 190 courses are available for student selection
  • More than 32 opportunities exist to earn college credit through dual enrollment with Des Moines Area Community College at no expense to our students
  • 20 Advanced Placement courses
  • An Honors Diploma is available for students accelerating in four core areas
  • Scholar recognition is available in seven academic areas
  • A Senior Plus program is available for transitioning special education students
  • More than 90 percent of all graduates continue their education in post-secondary opportunities
  • More than 80 clubs and activities exist to meet the interests of students. Others are created continually at student request.
  • More than 20 intramural programs are offered to students
  • Award-winning fine arts programs are attractive to hundreds of students
  • 21 varsity athletic programs offer opportunities for interscholastic competition. Valley Tigers have earned 41 state championships since 2000.
  • Active athletic, music, debate, theater and drama booster clubs and a Parent-Teacher Organization support our students
  • A Student Government provides student representation and voice to all students
  • Infinite Campus Portal provides parents and students real-time access to their personal grades and attendance
  • Infinite Campus is used daily for communication of the Valley Vibes (daily announcements)
  • Facilities include a new two-story addition, new media center, new student services, new counseling center, new student commons, new safety features throughout, a 3,200-seat field-house, a 1,400-seat performing arts center, a fully equipped weight room, an aerobics room, an all-weather metric track, an 8,000-seat stadium, and complete vocal and instrumental music facilities
  • A renovation project started in 2011 included a new auditorium, updated performing arts practice space, and a three-story addition with a FEMA-approved storm shelter. The renovation also included updates to the weight and aerobics rooms, science labs, family-consumer science classrooms, and cafeteria.

Walnut Creek Campus, the alternative high school in the West Des Moines Community School District, serves students in grades 9-12. Walnut Creek offers a personalized learning environment where students who have struggled at their comprehensive high school can meet with great success. This unique school provides:

  • A caring and nurturing environment in which students and staff work in partnership to develop skills for lifelong learning
  • A flexible school environment and course schedule options
  • Smaller student/teacher ratios
  • Case workers who provide support and guidance for each student and his/her family
  • A daily advisory program
  • Opportunities for families to be an integral part of their student’s high school educational experience
  • Innovative instructional practices that strive to meet the needs of all students
  • Numerous opportunities for student empowerment
  • A culture where restorative practices are utilized to assist students behaviorally and academically
  • A newly renovated building featuring updated technology, learning spaces and more