District News

Support Staff Contract Negotiations to Begin

Negotiations for the 2016-17 education support staff contract will begin January 24, 2017, in the West Des Moines Community School District.

West Des Moines Educational Support Personnel (WDMESP) will present their 2017-18 initial proposal to the school district on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, at 4:30 p.m. at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines.

Chief negotiators are Becky Duchesneau for the West Des Moines Educational Support Personnel and Paul Bobek and Carol Seid for the West Des Moines Community School District.

The negotiations meetings on January 24, 2017, are open to the public.

Agreement between WDMCS district and WDM Educational Support Personnel (PDF)

Start Your Kindergarten Adventure Today

Register for 2017-18 kindergarten in the WDMCS!

All District Offices & Schools Closed Jan. 16, 2017

UPDATED: 5:20 a.m., Monday, Jan. 16, 2017 

Due to weather conditions, all WDMCS district offices and schools are closed Monday, Jan. 16, 2017.

All activities are canceled.

Kids West child care, the Homeschool Assistance Program, and the teacher work day/professional development day are also canceled.


Due to the forecast for adverse weather conditions, Kids West child care and the Homeschool Assistance Program have been canceled in the West Des Moines Community Schools for tomorrowJanuary 16, 2017.

These were the only programs planning to have students in attendance as January 16, 2017, is a scheduled no-school day for students in grades Pk-12.

Monday is a work day for employees. Certified staff members will be participating in professional development. Any change to the professional development schedule will be determined early Monday morning. Employees will be notified through the district’s normal emergency notification process.

Belin-Blank Center Honors 17 WDMCS Students, Teachers

The Belin-Blank Center recognized eleven West Des Moines Community Schools students and six teachers at The University of Iowa Belin-Blank Center’s Recognition Ceremony in September.

The following students were recognized by the Belin-Blank Center for outstanding performance in the Belin-Blank Exceptional Student Talent Search:

  • Carsen Codel, ninth grade
  • Kyle Juist, 10th grade
  • Katherine Snodgrass, 10th grade
  • Radha Velamuri, 10th grade
  • Kathryn Wittrock, ninth grade
  • Elliot Baughman, sixth grade
  • Andrew Hedrick, seventh grade

Belin-Blank also recognized ninth-grader Ella Henricksen and junior Owen Smith for their participation in the Blank Summer Institute, as well as junior Aarushi Dervesh and senior Brian Gu for their participation in the Secondary Student Training Program, a five-week residential summer research program at the University of Iowa.

The recognized students could honor a teacher who had a profound influence on their life and education. The WDMCS educators honored at the event were:

  • Amy Jenkins (Crestview School of Inquiry),
  • Julie Kaufman (Westridge Elementary),
  • Dean Myers (Indian Hills Junior High),
  • Lynda Niffenegger (Crossroads Park Elementary),
  • Lisa Sobotka (Valley Southwoods Freshman High School),
  • Tom Beckman (retired, formerly Valley Southwoods Freshman High School and Walnut Creek Campus), and
  • Donald Rasko (retired, formerly Indian Hills Junior High).

Valley High School was also recognized at this year’s ceremony as one of the Iowa schools ranked among the Top 25 of the Iowa AP Index. The index rating is calculated by dividing the number of AP exams taken by the number of students in the school’s graduating class. Valley High School, ranked ninth, was among the Top 10 of the Iowa AP Index for the eighth consecutive year. It offers more than 20 Advanced Placement courses. Enrollment in these courses continues to increase, with 640 students taking 1,306 AP Exams during the 2015-16 school year.


Three Tips to Make Online Learning Work for Your Child

Support your child’s learning in a blended environment with tips from the third part of our blended learning series, “Three Tips to Make Online Learning Work for Your Child.”

This is the final part of our blended learning series.

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.

Here are the highlights:

  • First Student Day: Wednesday, Aug. 23
  • Winter Break: Dec. 21–Jan. 1
  • End Semester 1: Friday, Jan. 12 (90 days)
  • Flex Days: Nov. 22 and Mar. 9
  • No School for Students: Oct. 9, Jan. 15, Feb. 19, April 27
  • Spring Break: March 12–16
  • Last Student Day: Friday, June 1 (90 days)–early dismissal

The full calendar is available at bit.ly/2hH7eWX. The calendar at a glance will be coming soon on the district website!

Life in the WDMCS—Dec. 14, 2016

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



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.


WDMCS Celebrates Computer Science Education Week

Western Hills Elementary students Kate Songer, Adout Deng, and Jenna Henry discuss the directions during the Hour of Code in Kevin Graham's fifth-grade class.

Western Hills Elementary students Kate Songer, Adout Deng, and Jenna Henry discuss the directions during an Hour of Code session in Kevin Graham’s fifth-grade class.

When students see what they can create with computer science, they are excited and empowered to keep going. Join the West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) as we inspire our students with Computer Science Education Week, Dec. 5-11!

There are opportunities for students of all ages to explore computer science throughout the week. Read about some of the activities below, and contact your child’s teacher to find out if their class will be participating.


Learn Computer Science at School

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Western Hills fifth-graders Trey Weite and Ramez Naba share earbuds while learning to code.

Elementary students across the district will be completing Hour of Code activities. The Hour of Code is organized by Code.org, “a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding access to computer science….” Students will complete tutorials and continue expanding their knowledge of computer science. Find out more at code.org, and by following #HourofCode on social media.

Several courses at Valley High School offer secondary students an opportunity to investigate computer science. The classes are open to all students who want to develop computer and problem-solving skills that will help them become more college- and career-ready.

These college preparation-oriented classes cover programming and web page design, with an Advanced Placement offering for juniors and seniors. Starting in 2017-18, Valley High School will also offer the Project Lead the Way class Computer Science Principles, which “helps students develop programming expertise and explore the workings of the Internet.”

Explore Computer Science at Home

Jordan Creek Elementary students work with robotics.

Jordan Creek Elementary students work with robotics.

We invite family members to help students continue learning at home! Visit code.org/learn to get started. The tutorials are designed for all ages, from “pre-readers” to ninth grade and older.

Family members can assist younger children by helping them select a tutorial. The tutorials are family-friendly and entertaining, featuring characters from Disney’s “Moana,” “Star Wars,” “Minecraft,” and more. Any device with internet access can be used to complete the tutorials, which are available for all ages and in over 40 languages.

Use Computer Science in the Future

Computing jobs are the No. 1 source of new wages in the U.S. These jobs are in every field and all over the country. No matter what each student wants to pursue, understanding how technology works will be an important factor in their ability to succeed.

Computer Science Education Week and other computer programming activities in the district are part of our ongoing efforts to provide STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) opportunities that help prepare our students for successful futures. Join us as we celebrate computer science and STEM this week and throughout the rest of the year!

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!

We also want to remind district families about our weather closings procedure. To prepare for potential winter weather, please visit our “Weather Closings” webpage.

If school is canceled, delayed, or dismissed early because of weather conditions, announcements will be provided:

  • through the district weather hotline at 515-633-5555
  • through the Infinite Campus notification system
  • on the district website (www.wdmcs.org)
  • on the district’s Facebook page and Twitter account
  • through local TV and radio stations

Remember, you can choose to be notified by phone, text message, and email. Please make sure your preferred contact information and methods are entered into Infinite Campus. Directions can be found online.