District News

Life in the WDMCS 2/11/13

Life in the WDMCS is a new weekly feature that highlights what is happening at each of our buildings. If a school is not listed, there was no submission from that building this week.

Crestview Elementary
Crestview students have started the dance unit in physical education. Fifth and sixth graders will be working on a social dance.  This unit consists of learning three partner dances – the foxtrot, the cha cha, and the swing.  At the end of the unit, the students will perform in a competition called Dancing with the Tigers.  Grades K-4 are working on different dances and dance games on the Wii. Students at Crestview do many fun activities throughout the school year.  You can follow Crestview physical education on Twitter @CrestviewPE.

Crossroads Park Elementary
Fifth grade students have been busy this year and particularly over the last month reading and writing poetry.  Each week students receive a focus poem in which they infer, visualize and mull over meaning and vocabulary. They add these to a journal and record their thinking about the poem. They develop understanding of the text features of glossary and table of contents by creating and adding to these in their poetry journals.  The Being a Writer program also includes a unit on poetry. Students create object poems, movement poems and scranimals modeled after the book “Scranimals” by Jack Prelutsky.  Some sections are also integrating technology into poetry. Using a website called Tagxedo, students created “Me” poems from the idea of a list poem in which they listed adjectives and words that tell about them. The words were incorporated into pictures of students creating a great image poem.  In addition to the shape poem, some students worked with theme to create a poetry video on an animation site called Animoto. Students put together production teams consisting of themselves as the poetry reader, a cameraperson and a cue card prompter.  Students chose or wrote the poem to be produced into a video. They had to select an appropriate setting to film their video, select images, style, font and music that all depict the theme of their chosen poem. They also had to read their poem fluently and with good volume in front of the camera.  The final multimedia productions were quite impressive. The genre of poetry forces a student to think deeply to get meaning out of it. They learn the importance of reading it once, reading it again and again. They learn that even the shortest poem can have a deep meaning.  They make connections between poetry and other texts. One student who once said he didn’t like poetry is coming around and saying he is becoming more “tolerant of it now and sometimes I even like some poems.” Others are discovering they are poets, and didn’t even know it.

Fairmeadows Elementary
Congratulations to Fairmeadows sixth graders Garrett Gallagher and Jack Basart-Morse for being selected to participate in the All-District Honor Handbell Choir!  These fine young musicians begin rehearsals on February 13 in order to perform at the Honors Festival on May 7 at Valley High School.  Olivia Rainey-Madonia and Jordan Andrus were selected as Fairmeadows’ alternate bell ringers.

Jordan Creek Elementary
Hillside Elementary hosted the WDMCS solo festival where contestants performed a prepared solo or an ensemble in front of a judge.  Each performer was judged on their tone, technique, musicianship, and appearance. The ratings are I+ – highly superior, I – excellent, II – good, and III – fair. Congratulations to the Jordan Creek students who participated: Flute Solo: Payton Cooper – I, Dahlia Cutler – I+, Natalie Morgan – I and Rachel Wrenn – I; Clarinet Solo: Kaylie Bocook – I, Carrie Cassidy – I, Mekhia Hillgren – I, Riley Kuennen – I+, Sarah Mele – I+, Jessica Olander – I+, Emily Schulz – I, Madeline Smith – I+ and Rachel Steim – I+; Alto Saxophone Solo: Christopher Altemeier – I+ and Will Sanders – I+; Trumpet Solo: Daniel Dickerson – I+, Jackson Froscheiser – I+, Cameron McCawley – I+ and Evan Porter – I; Trombone Solo – Dave Head – I+ and Connor Smith – I; Baritone Horn Solo: Steven Vorrath – I+; Tuba Solo: Ana Johnson – I and Shuvethan Sivagurunathan – I+; Mallet Solo – Radha Velamuri – I+.

All Jordan Creek first grade classrooms celebrated the 100th Day of School with each class enjoying healthy snacks of bananas. Students learned a song about 100 Days of School and rotated through different activities in each of the four classrooms. They made colorful glasses that had them peeking through the holes in the zeros in 100, sang and danced more than 100 steps to fun music videos, used the math number grid to make the number 100 that was as tall as the whole number grid and wrote newspaper articles that answered fun headlines like, what would you like to have 100 of? How about things you would NOT want to have 100 of? How would you spend 100 dollars? What will you look like in 100 years? What a great way to celebrate on a cold winter day!

Jordan Creek students won first place at a recent archery tournament in Diagonal with 2,785 points while sweeping first through fourth place individually. Will Golay shot 269 for first place, Austin Emans placed second with 263, Kyle Westhoff was third with 258 and Dave Head was fourth with 247. Other Jordan Creek archers who contributed to the team score were Nyah Rieckhoff with 241, Katherine Van Arnum with 221, Tishara  Slater with 220, Hailey Butterwegge with 199, Jack Roush with 224, Cooper Johnson with 216, Benji Renken with 215 and Braden Wallace with 212. Other Jordan Creek archers were Lauren Anderson 123, Angela Kinzie 185, Avery Merkley 145 , Jessica Olander 170, Sam Tooman-Hamrock 145, , Gretchen Triplett 139, Julianne  Van Arnum 128, Callie Warner 178, Kara Westhoff 158, Nathan Buzzell 192, Kade Copple 211, Hunter Edgington 198, Sam Hall 171, Kadin Jensen 145, Tyler Johnston 142, Jon Rinehart 185, Griffin Satre 149 and Shuvethan Sivagurunathan 200.

Phenix Elementary
Feet will be jumping and hearts will be pounding as students at Phenix Elementary raise money for the American Heart Association’s program Jump Rope for Heart. During their Physical Education classes students will be learning about the benefits of exercise and making healthy choices while also learning how to jump rope.  Students will have the opportunity to learn new steps and work on endurance jumping (1-3 minutes of continuous jumping).  They will also have the opportunity to learn long rope skills and jumping rhymes!  Jumping rope is an easy, inexpensive way to get fit and have fun!  If you would like any information on how to get started jumping or Jump Rope for Heart feel free to contact Martha Wilson at 633-6215 or Wilsonm@wdmcs.org.

Westridge Elementary
Kindergarten roundup at Westridge Elementary will be held on Thursday, April 4 from 6-7 p.m. for parents only. If you know anyone that needs to sign up for kindergarten for the 2013-14 school year, please ask them to call the Registrar’s office at 633-5101 as soon as possible.

Award-winning author and illustrator Eric Rohmann will be coming to Westridge February 28 and March 1.  Mr. Rohmann has been the winner of two Caldecott awards for his wonderful illustrations.  He will make grade level presentations to all students at Westridge.

Fourth grade students at Westridge Elementary have been exploring Russia during social studies.  Students have learned about Russian culture, geography, history, and economics of this region.  They also got to see what life is like living in the Russian cities and attending Russian schools.  We visited Kamchatka, a volcanic peninsula and saw the many types of animals that live in this area.  Ms. Rachel Ong spoke to us about her experiences in the Lake Baikal area.  Students got to taste borscht, a Russian beet soup, and bliny, Russian pancakes.  We have had so much fun traveling and learning about Russia!

Indian Hills Junior High
Congratulations to Lauren Johnson from the Dream team for winning the Indian Hills Spelling Bee!  Lauren will go on to compete in the state competition at Iowa State University on March 2. There was a four way tie for second between Sarah Freund, Linh Tran, Aarushi Dervesh and Brain Gu. Other team winners were:  Zephyr team – Catherine Larson, Alpha team – Nathan Conte, Legacy  team – Owen Snyder and Trent Gilbert, Fusion team – Mark Zimmerman and Endeavor team – Nic Lovan and Marcel Leger.  Congrats to all team winners and thanks for participating!

Stilwell Junior High
Students on the S team became mythological characters in social studies and English classes during the beginning of the third quarter. The Create a Character projects were a culmination of an interdisciplinary project which combined the classical Greek studies with the mythology research and reading of myths during English class. During all classes, students had time to research and explore the tales of characters and beings. They were encouraged to “become” the character; tell about their history, their legacy, and discover symbols that each represent in today’s world. With a trident, caduceus, or a thunderbolt in hand, students took the audience of their peers back to Greek times. Cherie Gold and Leslie Nedved are the English and social studies teachers for the S team.

Every month students who demonstrate the three cornerstones of Stilwell in their behavior are nominated by staff members to be featured in the Celebrating Stilwell Students program.  Students receive a coupon for a free lunch or a la carte menu item in addition to having their photo and accomplishments posted in the display case at school.  The cornerstones are: do your best, do the right thing, and treat others with respect.  Students now being honored are Maddy Heinen, Shamicka Delerme, Sam Cox, Erick Triana & Becca White, Alanna Maxwell,  Byranna Hawthorne, Austin Fest, Diane Thomas & Chase Henderson, Justice Jackson, Grace Lincoln, Kaleb Dale, Nick Cinnamon and Alisson Espinoza.

Valley Southwoods
Valley Southwoods debaters had a great showing at Iowa City. Nolan Dahm was first speaker and Danielle Reyes was second speaker in novice policy debate. In addition, Nolan and partner Sidney May placed second, losing in the finals on a 2-1 decision to Dowling. In public forum debate, Carolyn Hoemann and Lexy Takla placed in the top 16. In varsity Lincoln-Douglas, Grady Stein was the second-place overall speaker. In novice Lincoln-Douglas, TJ Foley was the top speaker. Southwoods students closed out the semifinals of novice Lincolnd-Douglas for the third time this season. Top finishers were Trent Gilbert, champion; Conal Thomas-McGinnis, second place; TJ Foley and Alec Frazier, semifinalists; and Evan McKinney, quarterfinalist.

Valley Southwoods students also competed well at the IHSSA state competition. Each group was judged by three judges giving them a ranking of 1-5 (1 being the best and 5 is a disqualification). The choral reading, readers theatre and group mime entries all received a 1 from all three judges. The choral reading group was directed by Katie Dorrell with state managers Kathryn Catellier and Grant Hildenbrand. The cast was Olivia Brock, Susannah Crichton, Matthew Hrdlicka, Lily DeTaeye, Ian Ksiazak, Paige Marshall, Nico Mulhern, Jason Nye, Caroline Stump, Jazlyn Talley, Pearl Tate, Maren Tuttle, Ramya Vemuapalli, Ben Willcockson and Jake Wheeler. The readers theatre group was directed by Caitlin Edwards and Erin Sheffield with cast members Shianne Anglin, Jenny Bryant, Sarah Estes, Caroline Fidler, Ashley Gettinger, Cami Hillsman, Samatha Ivie, Allison Isenhoff, Nicole Nucaro, Ali Tasler, Sarah Wickenkamp and Maggie Wildermuth. Group mime was directed by Katie Dorrell with cast members Emily Carr, Taylor Denman, Connor McCarville, Cody Thompson, Sydney Sheffield and Ramya Vemuapalli. Other entries performed well in ensemble acting, group improv, short film, group mime and musical theatre.

Valley High School
Valley Best Buddies co-presidents presented Fairmeadows fifth grader Audrey Hronich with a certificate for outstanding volunteering on Feb 3at the Valleytines event. Audrey volunteered for three hours and was fantastic help!

Valley High School Best Buddies Chapter hosted its annual Valleytines event Feb. 3. This annual event brings Best Buddies chapters together from across the metro. Students had many activities to choose from including drawing and playing games.

Walnut Creek
Walnut Creek Campus had entries of group mime, The Blacksmith and The Last Campaign of Price Llywellyn 128/2 receive all 1’s at the IHSSA state competition. Each group was judged by three judges giving them a ranking of 1-5 (1 being the best and 5 is a disqualification). Students in group mime were  Maddie Prine, Sam Mooreland, Deantre Kelly, Gabe Mason and Wyatt Mylan. The The entry in short film, The Accidental Hipster, received a II rating. Students involved were Connor Armstrong, Wyatt Mylan, Maddie Prine, Gabe Mason, Abi Kemp and Jarrod Wallace.

WDMCS Hosts Delegation from Shijiazhuang, China

WDMCS junior high orchestra students rehearse with junior high students from Shijiazhuang Foreign Language School, the district’s sister school in Shijiazhuang, China.

Junior high orchestra students from the West Des Moines Community Schools will be hosting fellow musicians from the Shijiazhuang Foreign Language School, the district’s sister school in  Shijiazhuang, China, February 8-11. The weekend will culminate as the students combine their talents in a concert February 11 at 6 p.m. at the Valley High School Auditorium with Iowa Governor Terry Branstad invited to attend.

Joint concerts between the 70 WDMCS students and 56 Chinese students will also be performed Monday at 7:45 a.m. at Indian Hills, 9:30 a.m. at Stilwell and 12:15 p.m. at the State Capital. Students will perform traditional music representing their cultures.

Between rehearsals throughout the weekend to prepare for the concerts, WDMCS students will share with their new friends what life is like in America and attend classes at Stilwell and Indian Hills.

This visit will help mark the 30th anniversary of the sister city relationship between West Des Moines and Shijiazhuang and the 10th anniversary of the sister school relationship between the WDMCS and the Shijiazhuang Foreign Language School.


Trip Itinerary

Saturday, February 9

10:30 a.m.         Rehearsal

Noon                Lunch

1:30 p.m.          Rehearsal


Sunday, February 10

1:30 p.m.          Rehearsal


Monday, February 11

7 a.m.               Rehearsal

7:45 a.m.          School Assembly/Performance at Indian Hills Junior High

9:30 a.m.          School Assembly/Performance at Stilwell Junior High

12:15 p.m.        Performance at Capitol Building

6 p.m.               Concert at Valley High School

7 p.m.               Celebration Dinner

Michael Brings Apprentice Turned Author to Crestview

It’s all in the name. When Michael McNamara’s mom, Stephanie, heard The Apprentice Season 3 star and local entrepreneur Tana Goertz was looking for a child named Michael to give a prize to, she immediately responded to the Facebook post.

Tana had donated a book presentation to help raise money at a charity event.  Since the woman who won the prize didn’t have any children, she told Tana that she would like her to pick what school to do the book presentation at.

Tana had recently heard a news story about Michael Garcia, a waiter who stood up for his five-year-old friend with Down’s syndrome. When people at an adjacent table made rude remarks about the boy, Michael refused to serve them and was backed up by the restaurant owner, who asked them to leave.

“I decided to put out on Facebook that I was looking for a kid named Michael or a mother or father who has a child named Michael,” said Goertz. “All of a sudden, Stephanie McNamara commented that she had a son named Michael and he is the reason I’m here.”

Rather than only doing the presentation for Michael’s class, his mother, who is a first grade teacher at Crestview, and his teacher, Sandy Thurston,  wanted to share it with the entire school.

“I was very excited, both as a mother and as a teacher, to have this opportunity for Crestview,” said McNamara. “ Meeting an author is an exciting experience for all children, and Tana’s message was wonderful.   It was extremely kind of her to extend her presentation to all of the students at Crestview.”

Students listened intently as Goertz read her book, “I’m Bigger Than This,” featuring Finny the fish. Finny is a goldfish who likes to pretend he is a shark. She then talked to the students about being their true selves and embracing what makes them different before answering questions from the kids. Her read and learns help teach students how to increase their self-esteem, self-control and self-confidence.

“It was really cool to meet a real author,” Michael said. “I liked her book a lot!”

Tana’s book made a big impression on her The Apprentice Season 3 boss, Donald Trump, too.

“When I was on the Today Show with the book, Donald Trump said, ‘it’s a self-help book for kids and there’s not a lot of self-help books for kids.’” Goertz remembers. “He said that every teaching professional should have a copy, every library should have a copy.”

“I’m just trying to get across the messages of self-esteem, self-confidence and self-love.”

For more information on Tana go to www.heytana.com or to find out more about her character in the book, Finny, or to order a copy of her book check out Finny’s Facebook page at  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Finny/105559965469?fref=ts.


Six Valley Students Named National Merit Scholarship Finalists

All six of the National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists from Valley High School were upgraded to National Merit Scholarship Finalists this week. Seniors Erica Becker, Eric Chen, Emma Lind, Michelle Rose, Tricia Shi and Alexander Zhou will be notified in June if they have been selected as a national Merit Scholar.

These students will be among 15,000 nationwide in competition to become a National Merit Scholar, earning a $2,500 scholarship. National Merit Scholars are chosen based on abilities, skills and accomplishments. Academic records, school curriculum, test scores, an administrative recommendation, information about activities and leadership as well as an essay are used in the judging process.

28 Student-Athletes Participate in National Signing Day

Congratulations to the 28 student-athletes from Valley High School who participated in National Signing Day and will continue their education and athletic careers after high school!

Ben Miller Baseball University of Nebraska
Tanner Hinkle Baseball University of Iowa
Nick Carlisle Baseball Simpson College
Peter Jok Basketball University of Iowa
Wesley Brown Basketball Morningside College
Jake Campos Football Iowa State University
Andrew Marshall Football St. Ambrose University
Tanner Stine Football  
Holden Kramer Football Iowa State University
Alex Langer Football
Nicolas Brennan Football  
Clint Boffeli Football  
Sam Raridon  Football  University of Wisconsin
Lucas Tang Football/Track U.S. Air Force Academy
Isaac Vandersee Golf Indian Hills Comm. College
Broc Everett Golf Augusta State University/Georgia
Lauren Stillman Soccer Simpson College
Grace Nichols Soccer Hamine University/St. Paul, MN
Maddie Vincent Soccer Montana University
Gabbie Risolvato Soccer St. Xavier University/Chicago
Callie Brown Softball St. Xavier University/Chicago
Alex Maxfield Softball Benedictine College
Joshua Henaman Track University of Dubuque
Tyson McQuerry Track  
Melissa Shepherd Track Northwest Missouri State Uni.
Ben Anderson XC/Track University of Iowa
Lee Scott XC/Track Wartburg College
Lydia Saggau XC/Track University of Kansas

Life in the WDMCS 2/4/13

Life in the WDMCS is a new weekly feature that highlights what is happening at each of our buildings. If a school is not listed, there was no submission from that building this week.

Clive Elementary
The kindergartners at Clive are very excited to be learning about dinosaurs! They started the unit by making a web which displayed what they already know about dinosaurs.  They are learning specifically about the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Stegosaurus, Iguanodon, Triceratops, and Brontosaurus.  They are gathering more information through literature about each dinosaur’s characteristics such as how they move, what they eat, whether they travel alone or in herds, etc. The students are also learning about how dinosaurs are extinct.

The students at Clive Elementary spent a week celebrating their school spirit and preparing themselves for Fun Night. This week was celebrated with fun activities and dress-up days for the students and staff. On Monday, students wore apparel of their favorite teams. Tuesday was celebrated by wearing pajamas, a favorite among students. Wednesday brought out some wild, fun outfits followed by crazy hair and hat day on Thursday. On Friday, students and staff wore their Clive shirts and colors to celebrate the school.  This week continued to be one of the most anticipated week of the school year!

Crestview Elementary
During Dancin’ December, students at Crestview Elementary logged 1,378 minutes dancing.  Jumpin’ January had kids doing a variety of jumping exercises to get them moving.  Both activities are part of the wellness initiative Get Fit Crestview:  Fit Bodies Make Fit Minds.

Kindergartners at Crestview Elementary are working on the I Am Special unit. During this unit students will be learning about some very important people…themselves! Through classroom guidance discussions and activities they will be discovering how special they are and how each of us is very important. One of the favorite opening activities during each weekly lesson is to look into a mirror. As they look into the mirror they smile and say hi. Many of the students have gone to saying, “hi good looking” just like the character in the Nancy Carlson book, I Like Me! They even add a finger snap or two for an even bigger smile and giggle.

Crossroads Park Elementary
Crossroads Park students have been enjoying the new Reader’s Theater Club. The afterschool club is open to third through sixth grade students. At each meeting, students get an opportunity to read scripts, select parts to perform, and best of all, perform!  The students are learning all about accuracy in reading, voice inflection to create dramatic effect, and how to include action and facial expressions to add to the performance. The first script they practiced was called “We the Planets,” a fact filled story told from the point of view of the planets in our solar system.  Skylar Root said of the play, “It was really funny because the planets were talking.”  Of the experience in general, Ella Schlueter said, “It was nice to get to know people who aren’t in your grade.”  Interested participants can find more information at the Community Education webpage at http://www.wdmcs.org/commed/ or by calling 633-5001.

Jordan Creek Elementary
Jordan Creek kindergarten students have recently studied about the oceans and fresh water. To culminate the unit, the kindergarten students celebrated their learning with a beach party. The children enjoyed exchanging their boots and mittens for flip flops, t-shirts and leis while having fun playing beach related games. They concluded the party with tasty popsicle treats.

Heather Nguyen, a fourth grader at Jordan Creek Elementary, was recently chosen as a Kid of Character at Jordan Creek’s all school Character Counts assembly that focused on the character pillar of caring.  Kelly McQueen of State Savings Bank presented Heather with a Kid of Character award, and a savings certificate to State Savings Bank.

Jordan Creek students Sam Stevens, Katie Stevens and Allison Blythe won their division at the Elk’s Hoops Shoot contest and will moved on to regional competitions. Katie and Sam each made 23 of 25 shots to go on to the State Hoop Shoot in February. Sam has won the school shoot three years in a row.  Thanks to these students for representing Jordan Creek so well. Good luck!

Jordan Creek fourth graders enjoy a feast lunch and celebration inspired by the Southwest region. The students have been learning about Southwestern history and culture through books, technology, and art. They demonstrated their knowledge of the Southwestern culture by using tear art and PowerPoint. After studying the Southwest, we will be heading to the West to learn about the Gold Rush!

The Jordan Creek Archery Club participated in a small local tournament at Johnston High School Jan. 26 with Jordan Creek students taking first through third place in both girls and boys elementary division.  This was the first shoot for many of our archers and a nice way to start their season. In the girls division Katherine Van Arnum took first with a score of 229, Nyah Rieckhoff was second with a 201 and Tishara Slater took third with a 194. For the boys, Kyle Westhoff  took first with 234, Jackson Froscheiser took second with 233 and David Head took third with 229. Congratulations to all of our students!

Phenix Elementary
Students in third grade are starting their Australia unit, looking at the various styles and unique instruments from this wonderful continent.   Included will be an in depth look at the folk songs and the didgeridoo and the bullroarer. Students in second grade are beginning a unit on the music of Japan, focusing on folk music, dance and native instruments.  They will be learning to sing several songs in Japanese as they learn about the culture of the country. Students in first grade are focused on learning to read music.  They also will be learning some silly syllable songs that help with word recognition and fluency in reading. The kindergarten students will be singing songs about animals in both in English and in Spanish.  They will also be learning about ABA form as well as dynamics in music.

Western Hills Elementary
Students in Mary Burger’s class will participate in a Read to Me event sponsored by WDMCS Community Education.  They will go to the Lodge of Ashworth to meet with residents who are part of its independent living community.  During their visit, each child will interview a resident, read books and play games with math cards and iPads.  The objectives of this service experience are to develop an awareness of similarities with elders, to recognize opportunities to make a difference and to develop confidence in building relationships.

Fourth graders at Western Hills Elementary have been busy exploring the systems of our human body. We started the unit understanding how the parts of the skeletal system work together to support and protect the body. Each student was presented with a Golden Bone Challenge of memorizing the scientific names and locations of the 22 major bones of the body. If they were successful with the quiz, they received a Golden Bone as a reward. Next, they studied the circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems. After the students realized the importance of the systems working together to keep our bodies healthy, they each became a doctor and learned about a disease or common illness that can affect the body systems. It was very entertaining watching the students diagnose their “patient” and present a treatment for the diagnosed illness. To end the six-week unit of study, they invited a guest speaker who works for the state medical examiner’s office to come and talk with all the fourth graders. The guest speaker was able to share knowledge about common possible outcomes if parts of our systems fail. The students were enthralled with her knowledge and were able to realize the importance of keeping our body systems healthy and running smoothly.

Westridge Elementary
The Sixth Grade Math Club had a great finish to their fall competitive season.  In November, 23 Westridge students sat for the AMC 8 Worldwide Math Contest.  Final statistics were released in January.  Kudos to the following students for top school honors: Connor Parnau – gold; Jan Berg and Shuchi Srivastava – silver; and Carsen Codel, Kyle Juist, Braedon Kirkpatrick and Brogan Kirkpatrick – bronze. The team of Parnau, Berg, and Srivastava placed 10th out of 21 (older) middle school teams.  Codel and Brogan Kirkpatrick had the second highest scores in the state for fifth graders.  All of Westridge’s gold, silver and bronze winners outscored the worldwide average for their grade levels along with their teammates Grace Maller, Haley Losh and Sasha Wallace. The Math Club finished their fall season with a fun Amazing Race Competition.  Congratulations to the following teams: Kyle Juist, Jon Shaner, and Connor Parnau for fastest finishing time and Brogan Kirkpatrick, Austin Letsch, and Hunter Underwood for highest score. The math club is continuing to practice and will compete in the February Mathcounts chapter competition.  Good luck mathletes!!

Indian Hills Junior High
Indian Hills I-Care students have been visiting three year old preschool students at Clive Elementary since September. They help with filling out folders and interacting with the children during their center time. Thanks to a generous donation from half price books, these junior high volunteers were able to present each child with a book to keep.

Stilwell Junior High
Advanced science students at Stilwell Junior High are devising their own experiments during their chemistry unit.  The soap study project involves research on ingredients and how soaps and detergents work.  The students then pick a group of products and devise testing to evaluate their effectiveness.  An example might be “If I test five different dish detergents on dried chocolate then Dawn dish detergent will work the best.” The students will then conduct the experiment at home, collect data, and write a formal lab report on their conclusions.

Students in Pam Herzberg’s technology education classes have been studying rollercoaster physics.  The students learned the laws of physics such as motion, different types of energy, positive and negative G forces, and Newton’s three laws of motion. For their final project the students were divided into four groups and were given the task of creating a 25-foot rollercoaster. After completion of the coaster, the students were put into two groups and created rollercoasters 50-feet long.  Through applying the laws of roller coaster physics, problem solving, and some trial and error the students succeeded at building both the coasters.

Valley Southwoods
Valley Southwoods students had a great showing at an archery tournament in Johnston. Matt Belling took 1st in the high school boys division and Lauren Wilson took third in the high school girls division.

Valley High School
Valley students competed in the I’ll Make Me a World in Iowa Black History Education day.  For several years, Valley has been represented by a group of students competing in the Black History Game Show, which requires students to compete using their knowledge and understanding of Black History.  While Valley didn’t place in this year’s event, our students performed with integrity, showed respect toward winning teams, and showed good sportsmanship when we stayed to cheer on our competitors in the finale.

The Valley robotics team competed in a qualifier at DM North, placing first in five qualifying matches and winning the semifinal round before bowing out in the finals. They were nominated for five of six awards at the end of the competition – Connect, Innovate, Think, PTC Design and the Inspire awards.  They received the Think Award at this match and had received the Inspire award at the December qualifier. They will compete at the Iowa Championships in Iowa City Feb. 22-23. Team members include Annie Howard, Chase Schweitzer, Daniel Miller, Jordan Burklund,  Saketh Undurty,  Sidd Somayajula and  Tanvi Yenna.