District News

Focused on Student Wellness in the WDMCS

The West Des Moines Community Schools is making student health and wellness a top priority. To help guide the district in this effort, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education recently approved revisions to the district’s wellness policy (Policy 608.1).

These changes focus on districtwide health initiatives, including:

  • providing access to healthy nutritional food and beverage options for all activities within the school day.
  • fostering daily physical activity that embraces a healthy lifestyle.

Classroom Events

Choose snack items from one of the district snack lists for activities during the school day and up to 30 minutes after the last bell.

  • The snack lists are available below to download or as a flyer in your school.
  • Meals at school events must include a fruit or vegetable to align with the district’s wellness policy.

Support Physical Activity

Teachers and staff will support an active,healthy school environment for students.

  • Teachers will seek out physical activity options in place of candy or food rewards.
  • Teachers will not withhold physical activity as a punishment.

Fun Alternatives

Teachers and families can seek creative options when planning classroom events, including
non-food celebrations for birthdays and achievement parties.

  • Start a birthday library where families donate books on their child’s birthday and they get to choose a book to read.
  • Create a list of games involving physical activity that birthday students can choose to play.


Please contact your building principal or email Willow Dye, Nutrition Services Director.

Nutrition Classroom Snack Menu PDF

Nutrition Classroom Snack Order Form PDF


Back to School 2017-18

Welcome to the 2017-18 school year! We look forward to seeing you in our hallways again, starting Wednesday, Aug. 23. The first day of school this year will follow the collaboration schedule and be an early out day. Please contact your school if you have any questions about the first day of school.

Here are several links that will help your family have a great year in the West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS).

Back-to-School Toolkit, School Supply Lists & More

Make Lunch Payments and Pay Fees Online

Check Your Calendar! Upcoming Events & Important Dates

  • Elementary Back-to-School Dates: Find your elementary school’s open house date and time here.
  • Secondary Back-to-School Dates: Find registration dates and times for high school and junior high here.
  • Calendar At A Glance: The WDMCS online at-a-glance calendar is available as an easy-to-print document with the important 2017-18 dates.
  • School-Year Calendar: The full 2017-18 calendar of events is now online.  
    • Customize Your Calendar: Personalize your online calendar view by choosing the categories relevant to you.
    • On-Demand Print Feature: Our full online events calendar will allow you to print a customized list of dates. 

For information about the first day of preschool and preschool programs in our district, visit the Tiger Cubs Preschool webpage.

Reminder! Meningitis Vaccine Required 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 (A,C,W,Y) vaccination.

Seventh- and 12th-grade students must submit documentation of the vaccine before the first day of school to start school on Aug. 23. There will be no grace/extension period for these requirements. Your school must have documentation for your child, or they will not be able to start school until documentation is submitted.

Find out more.

WDMCS Welcomes New District Administrators

West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) welcomes several new district administrators for the 2017-18 school year. New leaders will join the district as the Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Services, Teaching and Learning Services Executive Director, Elementary Curriculum Director, and Data Management Director.

Some of these positions are part of the Learning Resource Center reorganization approved by the Board of Education in February. The Executive Director and Data Management Director positions are new, and the district’s curriculum director positions were restructured.

Michelle Lettington is the new Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Services.
Administrator head shot photo of Michelle Lettington.
Lettington previously served as the Director of Elementary Schools for the Des Moines Public Schools. She began her career as a fifth-grade teacher in the Waukee Community School District. She later served as the Dean of Students at James B. Morris Elementary in the Des Moines Public Schools. Lettington has served as Assistant Principal at Northeast Elementary and Westwood Elementary and Principal of Terrace Elementary in the Ankeny Community School District. In addition, she was Principal of Maple Grove Elementary, Principal of South Middle School, and then Executive Director of Curriculum and Professional Learning in the Waukee Community School District. Lettington earned her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood/Elementary Education from the University of Northern Iowa, her master’s degree in Elementary Education and PK-12 Principal and Evaluator License from Viterbo University, and her Superintendent License from Iowa State University.

Joseph Libby, Ed.D., is the new Teaching and Learning Services Executive Director.
Libby formerly served as the Assistant Director of Inclusive Education for the Kent School District in Kent, Washington. He began his career in education as a sixth-grade science teacher at Ruby Reed Intermediate School in Houston, Texas. He later served as the Assistant Principal/Athletic Director for the Albert Lea High School in Albert Lea, Minnesota and Assistant Principal/Athletic Director for the Thornton High School in Thornton, Colorado. He then served as a principal in the Brighton 27J School District in Brighton, Colorado; the 5-6 and 7-8 Schools Principal in Fort Dodge, Iowa; and the 6-8 Principal in the Moffat County School District in Craig, Colorado. Libby earned his bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Coaching from Iowa State University, his master’s degree in Education Administration and Leadership from St. Cloud University in Minnesota, and his doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from Saint Mary’s University in Minnesota.

Beth Brewer is the new Elementary Curriculum Director.
Administrator head shot photo of Beth Brewer.
Brewer previously served as an Instructional Coach for the Waukee Community School District and an Adjunct Professor at Drake University. She began her career in education as a kindergarten teacher at Kreft Primary in Council Bluffs. She then served as a kindergarten teacher in the Ankeny Community School District. She taught first, third, and sixth grade in the Waukee Community School District before becoming an instructional coach at the elementary and middle school level in the Waukee district. Brewer earned her bachelor’s degree in Early/Elementary Education from the University of Northern Iowa and her master’s degree in Elementary Education and PK-12 Principal and Evaluator License from Viterbo University.

Mike Sherman is the new Data Management Director.
Administrator head shot photo of Mike Sherman.
Sherman formerly served as an Instructional Technology Coordinator for Des Moines Public Schools. He began his career as a Behavior Disorder teacher in the Focus Program at Cowles School in Des Moines. He later taught Digital Communication and served as an Instructional Coach at Brody Middle School in Des Moines. He has also served Des Moines Public as a Special Education Support Teacher and Assessment Coordinator. Sherman earned his bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Simpson College, his Special Education Certificate from Grand View University, Master’s degree in Education from Graceland and an CAS in Educational Leadership from the University of Northern Iowa.

District Veterans in New Roles
Two familiar faces will return to the district in new roles for the 2017-18 year. Former Curriculum Director Shane Scott, Ed.S., is the Secondary Curriculum Director, and former English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Professional Development/Curriculum Facilitator Natalie French is the ESOL Director, starting July 1, 2017.

Administrator head shot photo of Shane Scott.Shane Scott is the new Secondary Curriculum Director.
Scott was previously a West Des Moines Community Schools curriculum director, overseeing curriculum and instruction in the areas of K-12 math, science, career and technical education, and more. He has held this position since 2011. He started his career in education as a science teacher in the Freeport School District in Freeport, Illinois. He came to the West Des Moines Community Schools in 1998 as a science teacher at Valley Southwoods Freshman High School. He later became an Associate Principal/Team Leader at the district’s ninth-grade school. Shane earned his bachelor’s degree in Earth Science Education from the University of Northern Iowa and his master’s degree and his educational specialist degree in Educational Leadership from Drake University.

Administrator head shot photo of Natalie French.Natalie French is the new English for Speakers of Other Languages Director.
French was previously as the West Des Moines Community Schools’ K-12 ESOL Professional Development/Curriculum Facilitator, creating and facilitating district and building professional development and guiding ESOL professional learning communities at the district and building levels. She began her career in education as a Spanish teacher at Indian Hills Junior High. She became an ESOL teacher at the school in 2013 before becoming the ESOL Professional Development/Curriculum Facilitator. Natalie earned her bachelor’s degree in Education and her master’s degree in Education Leadership from Drake University.

Please join us as we welcome these administrators to their new positions.

WDMCS Earns Seven National Communication Awards

news-NSPRA-logoThe West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) earned seven national communication awards in the 2017 National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) National School Communication Awards Contest. The district earned four Golden Achievement Awards and three Publications and Electronic Media Awards for its branding and marketing materials. WDMCS was one of just two Iowa educational organizations to earn Golden Achievement Awards this year.

The four Golden Achievement Awards were earned for the the district’s new branding and imaging package, its brand development work and materials for kindergarten enrollment and the 2016 Career and Apprenticeship Showcase. Golden Achievement Awards are earned for exemplary public relations activities, programs, and projects.

The district’s brand development work and kindergarten marketing publications also earned Publications and Electronic Media Awards, along with the district video. Publications and Electronic Media Awards recognize outstanding education publications, marketing materials, videos, social media, and more.

Recognized as a leader in school communication, NSPRA has honored the best work in school communication for more than 50 years. Districts across the United States submit their work to the NSPRA National School Communication Awards Contest each year, with more than 980 entries submitted to this year’s contest. Each award is judged again a set of criteria depending on the type or category of the award.

A full list of this year’s winners can be found on the NSPRA website at www.nspra.org/nspra-recognizes-2017-national-school-communication-award-winners.

Made in the Shade: Helping Kids Keep Cool This Summer

People in swimming poolAs temperatures rise this summer, make sure you know the best ways to keep your children safe. A child’s body will not cool down as quickly as an adult’s, and children may not recognize that they are getting too hot or be able to explain it to an adult. WDMCS shared some tips from the Polk County Health Department’s 2017 Extreme Heat Toolkit that families and caregivers can use to help keeps kids safe during summer. Read the tips on the WDMCS Community Education blog.

Provide Feedback on Iowa’s ESSA Plan

Adapted from information provided by the Iowa Department of Education.

The second draft of Iowa’s state plan for meeting the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is now available for public review and comment.

Read a snapshot of the plan.

Iowans are invited to give feedback on the second draft in an online feedback survey, which is open through July 18. Feedback also can be submitted via email at ESSA@iowa.gov or by mail: Iowa Department of Education, Attn: Deputy Director David Tilly/ESSA Feedback, Grimes State Office Building, 400 E. 14th St., Des Moines, IA 50319-0146.

Department leaders will collect additional input on the second draft plan at a July 25 meeting of the ESSA Advisory Committee. The meeting, which is open to the public, will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Room B100 of the Grimes State Office Building.

About Iowa’s ESSA Plan
ESSA is a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. This update replaces the No Child Left Behind Act and will be fully implemented in the 2017-18 school year. Under ESSA, Iowa and other states must develop state plans that address assessments, school and district accountability, funding, and support for struggling schools.

The plan released June 16, 2017, represents the second of three drafts of Iowa’s ESSA plan. Although the content is similar to the first draft, the second draft is organized differently to reflect a new template that U.S. Department of Education officials requested states use for their plans.

Other changes from Iowa’s first draft include a new postsecondary readiness measure and long-term goals based on Iowa’s current statewide assessments, as required by the U.S. Department of Education. Iowa is on track to select a new statewide assessment for the 2018-19 school year through a competitive-bidding process.

In developing this draft plan, Wise and other department leaders sought input through 18 public forums statewide, an advisory committee, focus groups, education work teams, and written comments.

A third draft of Iowa’s ESSA plan will be released in August, and a final plan will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education by Sept. 18.

For more information on the Every Student Succeeds Act in Iowa, visit the Iowa Department of Education’s website.

Two WDMCS Archers Qualify for International Competition

Tiger Archery Club logomark. Text: Valley Archery." Valley High School sophomore Kyle Westhoff and fifth-grade Jordan Creek Elementary student Jack Rogers qualified for the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) 2017 World Tournament. Both qualified with scores from the National Tournament, which took place May 11-13. Westhoff finished 26th in the nation in the Individual High School Division with a score of 293. Rogers finished in seventh place in the Individual Elementary Division with a score of 287.

West Des Moines Community Schools teams from Valley and Stilwell Junior High also scored well at the National Tournament. The Valley team finished in the top 11 percent, earning 26th place out of 248 teams and qualifying for Tier Two at the World Tournament. It was also the highest-scoring Iowa team in the high school division, with a season-high score of 3,384.

Stilwell’s bullseye team finished 34th in the country out of 242 teams and was the highest scoring middle school team from Iowa. Stilwell also placed 22nd out of 89 teams in the 3D competition.

Tiger Archery Club was formed in 2009 by Jordan Creek Elementary physical education teacher Lu Suarez. Stilwell Junior High physical education teacher Cheryl McConnell joined as club co-director in 2010. In just eight years, the club has grown to include more than 300 students in elementary, middle and high school. There are five instructors, all West Des Moines Community Schools teachers certified as Basic Archery Instructors by the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP). Each school’s team meets multiple times per week and teaches Olympic-style indoor archery. Team members learn archery skills as well as discipline, focus and perseverance. The teams compete at local, regional and national tournaments throughout the year. This is the second year Valley High School and Stilwell Junior High have competed at the National Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky.

Watch WHO’s Tiger Archery Club story featuring Westhoff, Rogers, and Suarez.

See archery photos on the district Flickr account.

Life in the WDMCS—May 31, 2017

Life in the WDMCS is a feature that highlights what is happening at each of our buildings.

Eat with Us this Summer!

Three elementary students smile for the camera while picking up their lunch trays.WDMCS is working with West Des Moines Parks and Recreation, West Des Moines Human Services, and the Walnut Creek YMCA to offer the Summer Food Service Program from June 6 to Aug. 11, 2017. Meals will be provided Monday through Friday, without charge, on a first come, first served basis. All sites will be closed on July 4. Meals will be provided to all children* at the sites and times below. You can also text “Food” or “Comida” to 877-877 to get a list of summer meal sites sent to your phone.

Learn more at www.wdmcs.org/departments/nutrition/summer-food-service.

*USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.