District News

2013 Prom Court

Congratulations to the 2013 Valley High School Prom Court!

2013PromCourt

Front Row Left to Right: Connor Katich, Dylan DeClerck, Alex Franks, Emma Lind, Sam Farrell

Back row Left to right: Chole Matthews, Broc Everett, Ben Weinberg, Lyndsie Angus, Tanner Hinkle, Jenni Aldrich, Amber Aeilts

This year’s prom theme is Puttin’ on the Glitz. The King and Queen will be crowned at prom April 20.

Life in the WDMCS 4/15/13

Life in the WDMCS is a 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.

Indian Hills Junior High
Congratulations to Indian Hills  eighth grader TJ Foley and alum and Valley High School debate team member Savannah Kouri. At a national debate competition in Iowa city, Valley placed first in the nation as a team and with TJ taking home the national championship of the Lincoln-Douglas debates (beating out high schoolers!) and Savannah placing third in the nation in the individual competition. TJ’s win marks the first time a junior high student has won the event. Way to go!

Indian Hills and Stilwell junior highs did fantastic at the knowledge bowl, taking five of the top 10 places. Ribbons were given to the top five teams in seventh and eighth grade. Indian Hills took home second and fifth place in the eighth grade division and fourth place in the seventh grade division. Stilwell earned third place in the seventh grade division and fourth place in the eighth grade division. Congratulations to the Knowledge Bowl teams!
IH 8th Grade Team 2nd Place: Evan McKinney, Cayden Codel, Cameron Brueck and Rajat Kumar
IH 8th Grade Team 5th Place: Alex Carther, Meta Miller, Katy Green and Nora Raine
IH 7th Grade Team 4th Place: Shubham Tayal, Linh Tran and Alex Suh

Stilwell Junior High
Indian Hills and Stilwell junior highs did fantastic at the knowledge bowl, taking five of the top 10 places. Ribbons were given to the top five teams in seventh and eighth grade. Indian Hills took home second and fifth place in the eighth grade division and fourth place in the seventh grade division. Stilwell earned third place in the seventh grade division and fourth place in the eighth grade division. Congratulations to the Knowledge Bowl teams!
ST 8th Grade Team 4th Place: Luke Bonner, Madison Reed, Aidan Morrow and Gabe Mintzer
ST 7th Grade Team 3rd Place: Marcus Chew, AJ Pearl, Keegan McCullough and Jarred Gaudineer

Science students on the G team at Stilwell Junior High examined x-ray films of fractures and joint replacements to help them understand diagnosis and treatment of bone and joint problems. While examining the films, the students were to identify the bones, describe the type of joint and explain the injury and treatment shown.

Students in advanced science classes at Stilwell presented arguments for or against the resolution statement “Humans need to change their habits to slow climate change.” Students presented 12 rounds of debate during the week of April 1. The skeptic argument was that changing human habits will not slow climate change. These debates were part of their weather unit on climate and climate change.

Valley High School
Dylan DeClerck received a Prudential Spirit of Community Award for his volunteer project called Opportunity on Deck – a youth baseball league for elementary age boys and girls who come from a background where participation in organized athletics is difficult or not a possibility. He founded the program when he recognized that there are several people who do not have the same opportunities growing up that other may take for granted. He began organizing the league after his sophomore year and the inaugural season was last summer. It was a great success and the second season will begin in June.

Crestview Elementary
Students at Crestview Elementary have been working on using interactive writing to express their thoughts about stories they have read. Classroom posters showcase some examples of the first graders’ writing. Fifth graders have graphic organizers to share that they have been using to explore character traits.

Crossroads Park Elementary
Crossroads Park has a solid, reliable, long-standing and trusted partnership with Farm Bureau. Both sides celebrate this friendship and value it for what it brings to Crossroads Park as well as what is given to Farm Bureau. Every month a committee from Farm Bureau meets with a committee from Crossroads Park to plan out events. A few of these events were book fairs are held at Farm Bureau where all profits go directly to Crossroads Park; a Farm Bureau-sponsored purchase of 75 turkeys every year at Thanksgiving to be delivered to needy families by Crossroads Park sixth grade students, who are driven by Farm Bureau employees to make those deliveries; the Crossroads Park fifth and sixth grade chorus sings at the Farm Bureau offices; student art is hung in the halls of Farm Bureau; pen pals from Farm Bureau correspond with fourth grade students ; and Ag Day is celebrated every year at Crossroads Park where students learn from Farm Bureau employees that their food doesn’t come just from the local grocery store. All to say that the partnership between Crossroads Park and Farm Bureau is of great value and one that brings benefits to all involved.

Jordan Creek Elementary
Jordan Creek first graders have been studying Africa. Judy Card’s class visited the market place and purchased souvenirs at the end of their trip.

Katherine Van Arnum, a sixth 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 trustworthiness.  Kelly McQueen of State Savings Bank presented Katherine with a Kid of Character award and a savings certificate to State Savings Bank.

Phenix Elementary
With the weather changing and spring sports and activities taking up a great deal of time, remember to find time to read to your child or have your child read to you.  Many kindergarten students bring home paper books which is a quick and easy way to get some reading practice. First grade students bring home their guided reading book in a bag as part of their reading log activity for reading at home.  All students have the opportunity to check out books from our media center.  Remember the books are leveled with a letter written somewhere on the book.  Even if your child has checked out a book that is too difficult for him or her to read to you, all children love to be read to, regardless of their age.  Happy Reading!

Western Hills Elementary
Western Hills Elementary is an active school.  The students are currently involved in fitness testing for physical education class and are preparing for their fitness run.  In addition, once a month Western Hills is teaming up with the Walnut Creek YMCA for Fit Friday.  Representatives from the YMCA lead the entire school in heart pumping activities such as Zumba and Body Pump.  Lastly, the school is presenting their version of Grease.  Show times are Friday, April 19 at 7 p.m., Saturday, April 20 at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. and Sunday, April 21 at 3 p.m..  The productions are open to the public!

School Board Highlights from April 8

At its regular meeting April 8, the School Board:

  • approved the consent agenda including personnel resignations, recommendations, support staff new hires, certified staff initial contracts, a student trip requests and minutes from the  March 11 and March 25 meetings
  • approved change orders for VHS Phase 2 and 3B projects
  • approved VHS Phase 2 and 3B Agreement Amendment
  • approved final acceptance of Stilwell Phase III project
  • approved Westridge Elementary change orders
  • approved a design proposal for Jordan Creek Elementary site improvements
  • held a public hearing for the 2013-14 Certified Budget and approved the Certified Budget, maintaining the same property tax rate
  • approved the purchase of Benchmark Literacy materials
  • accepted a $4,240 donation from St. Mark Lutheran Church to pay off many negative student lunch balances for families at Hillside that fall above the free/reduced lunch fee income requirements, but do not have the funds to pay for their children’s lunches
  • waived the first reading of Board Policy Series 500 and approved the series
  • approved agreement proposals to complete the Commissioning and Test and Balance Services for the VHS improvement project
  • approved a temporary month to month lease agreement for climate storage space, while the Learning Resource Center is under construction
  • approved an agreement with the Iowa Events Center ($4668.58) for Valley Prom paid by Student Council funds
  • approved a contract with BC Productions for DJ services for Valley Prom paid by Student Council funds
  • approved a maintenance support contract with Kronos for the 2013-14 fiscal year;
  • approved a classified recruitment agreement with Des Moines Register Media
  • approved an agreement to provide uniformed security guards at the entry doors and the parking lot at Valley, for special event security, and construction site patrols
  • approved  the WDMCS applications to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the district’s activity logos system
  • approved a renewal group binder agreement with Wellmark, Inc. associated with the district’s renewal of self-funded medical insurance plans for the 2013-14 fiscal year
  • paid the bills dated April 8, 2013 in the amount of $660,168.81

Follow live informal Board highlights on Twitter @WDMCS and see a more detailed informal meeting summary on our website at

www.wdmcs.org.

Indian Hills, Stilwell Dominate Knowledge Bowl

Indian Hills and Stilwell junior highs did fantastic at the knowledge bowl, taking five of the top 10 places. Ribbons were given to the top five teams in seventh and eighth grade. Indian Hills took home second and fifth place in the eighth grade division and fourth place in the seventh grade division. Stilwell earned third place in the seventh grade division and fourth place in the eighth grade division. Congratulations to the Knowledge Bowl teams!

IH 8th Grade Team 2nd Place
Evan McKinney
Cayden Codel
Cameron Brueck
Rajat Kumar

ST 8th Grade Team 4th Place
Luke Bonner
Madison Reed
Aidan Morrow
Gabe Mintzer

IH 8th Grade Team 5th Place
Alex Carther
Meta Miller
Katy Green
Nora Raine

ST 7th Grade Team 3rd Place
Marcus Chew
AJ Pearl
Keegan McCullough
Jarred Gaudineer

IH 7th Grade Team 4th Place
Shubham Tayal
Linh Tran
Alex Suh

Students and Staff Recognized for Outstanding Achievements

Students and staff were recognized for their outstanding achievements at the April 8 school board meeting. Katelyn Cinnamon and Dylan DeClerck were presented medals from the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, while Donna Gregory, the district’s director of business services, received a plaque for her 2013 Iowa Association of School Business Officials Professional Leadership Award.

Katelyn receiving her award with Dr. Woods from Blank Children's Hospital Oncology.

Katelyn receiving her award with Dr. Woods from Blank Children’s Hospital Oncology.

Cinnamon was named an Iowa Top Youth Volunteer for 2013. She recently received a $5,000 donation from the Henry Foundation in Florida to bring her fundraising total for the Children’s Cancer Connection to $12,000 –  $2,000 more than her original fundraising goal. The money will be used to buy iPads for the hematology/oncology clinic at Blank Children’s Hospital and to send about 25 young cancer patients to the Children’s Cancer Connection camp. See more information on her award.

Dylan DeClerck receives the Prudential Spirit of Community Award.

Dylan DeClerck receives the Prudential Spirit of Community Award.

DeClerck received a Prudential Spirit of Community Award for his volunteer project call Opportunity on Deck – a youth baseball league for elementary age boys and girls who come from a background where participation in organized athletics is difficult or not a possibility. He founded the program when he recognized that there are several people who do not have the same opportunities growing up that other may take for granted. He began organizing the league after his sophomore year and the inaugural season was last summer. It was a great success and the second season will begin in June.

Donna Gregory receives the IASBO Professional Leadership Award.

Donna Gregory receives the IASBO Professional Leadership Award.

Gregory’s award is the highest honor the IASBO bestows upon its members, recognizing excellence in service to school, community and the profession. She has served as a school business official in Iowa public schools for 27 years and in the WDMCS for seven years. She has been very involved in IASBO as a past president and participant on study and research committees. She has also given presentations at the state level.

Student and Staff Recognition for April 8

 

Life in the WDMCS 4/8/13

Life in the WDMCS is a 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.

Western Hills Elementary
Each year the WDMCS presents a district-wide Sixth Grade Honors Concert, which is performed by sixth grade students in celebration of their involvement in their individual school’s music program throughout their elementary years.  The concert consists of an Honor Choir, Honor Handbell Choir, Honor Orchestra, and Honor Band. The Sixth Grade Honor Choir meets for 11 rehearsals learning and memorizing five new pieces of music for its performance.  Congratulations to the following Western Hills Elementary students chosen to participate in the 2013 Honor Choir: Elizabeth Brackett, Gunner Hawthorne, Madison Kaufman, Erin Lowe and Caitlyn Potter. The Sixth Grade Honor Concert performance is May 7 at 7 p.m. at the Valley High School Auditorium.

Indian Hills Junior High
Indian Hills eighth grader TJ Foley won the championship of the Lincoln-Douglas division at the Novice Nationals tournament at Iowa City West. This is one of two major Novice National events and it marked the first time that a junior high student has won the event.

Stilwell Junior High
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 Grace Trane, Travis Moore, Karlee Kilkenny, Ryan Clemens, David Hettmann, Bedale Naba, Todd Robinson, Sarah Wilson, Vivian Alba, Viridiana Alba, Abby Wahlig, Kelsey Boal, Emily Taylor, Garrett Wheeler and Preston Collignon Doerrfeld.

Valley High School
The Valley Jazz Orchestra tied for first place and was invited to perform at the evening concert at the Eau Claire Jazz Fest this weekend! Valley Jazz Ensemble also played extremely well and was noted for having one of the most enthusiastic performances of the day. The Valley Combo comprised of David Nicholson, Ryan Garmoe, Alec Garringer, Lauren Johnson, Zane Gedler, and Nick Behrends, who put together an amazing performance and earned second place. Finally, many of the students were awarded outstanding soloist awards, with Lauren Johnson, bassist with the Jazz Orchestra, earning a $200 scholarship toward a summer music camp.

Clive Elementary
Clive Elementary had14 students represent the school at the district’s Spanish Quiz Bowl March 29. The quiz bowl is for students who do not speak Spanish at home.  Kids who are good at Spanish, work hard in class, and demonstrate a good attitude were invited to go to the Spanish quiz bowl.  They competed against teams from other schools around the district.  The Clive teams were fourth graders Keaton Kelly, Lizzie Sweeney, Seth Croonquist and Marionna Holder; fifth graders Farah Hagan, Sarah Amro and Madeline Shumaker; and sixth graders Hailey Amro, Jacob DeGroat, Aryan Prajapati and Ben Allen. Some native speakers were also invited to help lead the activities at Quiz Bowl.  These students were Yahriel Salinas-Reyes, Rigo Gaytan and Olga Herrera-Perez.

Crestview Elementary
Señora Tammy Dann took three teams of students to represent Crestview Elementary at the Spanish Quiz Bowl March 29. This competition is for students who do not speak Spanish at home. Kids who are good at Spanish, work hard in class and demonstrate a good attitude were invited to go to the Spanish Quiz Bowl. The 2013 Crestview teams were fourth graders Jacie Davenport, Dasha Gaydayenko, Shivani Annapureddy and Eleanor Horak; fifth graders Katelyn Rieger, Parker Brueck, Lauren Donnelly and Kyle Elmore; and sixth graders Caden Davenport, Alexa Nelson, Alison Whitaker, Caroline Lankton. Sixth graders who are native Spanish speakers, work hard in class and have a good attitude were invited to help run the competition. Those students were Leslie Alvarado, Jerry Breiner, Roman Guzman, Charlie Martinez, Israel Perez, Emmanuel Hernandez, Jaime Mendez, Daniela Morales-Rodriguez, Jason Nicacio and Jorge Sanchez.

Crestview students and staff were surprised to find live animated figures in the hallway display cases on April Fool’s Day.  Clifford the dog relaxed in the morning sun as light streamed through the window and children found their way to classes first thing in the morning. Clifford appearance brought attention to the upcoming Book Fair, happening at Crestview April 8-13. In the display case next to Clifford the children and staff were equally surprised to find someone dressed in a scuba outfit with underwater decorations from several kindergarten classes studying oceans.  The diver occasionally waved and gestured to children trying to figure out if he/she was real or not and speculated as to who was inside the case.  At the end of the day students found the pair in the hallway as they high-fived and hugged kids good-bye.  All in a day’s fun!

Crossroads Park Elementary
Please join us for the Crossroads Park fourth grade concert April 25 at 2:30 p.m. in the Crossroads Park gym. (Please note the change in the date.) The students will open the concert playing songs on their recorders.  Then the students will present the singing portion of their concert entitled All American Me and You.  Join them as they sing and dance, recite the names of all 50 states and all 44 presidents and celebrate how proud we are to be Americans!

Fairmeadows Elementary
Fairmeadows Elementary had 16 students represented the school at the district’s Spanish Quiz Bowl March 29. This quiz bowl is for students who do not speak Spanish at home.  Kids who are good at Spanish, work hard in class and demonstrate a good attitude were invited to go to the Spanish quiz bowl.  They competed against teams from other schools around the district.  The Fairmeadows teams were fourth graders Preston Lee, Randy Whitfield, Alexa Noonan and Julie Gates; fifth graders Mackenzie Oleson, Regan Day, Noah Altemeier and Melos Ahmeti; and sixth graders Sidney Mays, Cali Dixon, Garrett Gallagher and Jayda Manna. Some sixth grade native speakers were also invited to help lead the activities at Quiz Bowl.  These students were Fernanda Tapia, Yesenia Tapia, Diana Palestino and Ingrid Comparan.

Hillside Elementary
Hillside Elementary had 11 students represent the school at the district’s Spanish Quiz Bowl March 29. This quiz bowl is for students who do not speak Spanish at home.  Kids who are good at Spanish, work hard in class, and demonstrate good character were invited to go to the Spanish quiz bowl.  They competed against teams from other schools around the district.  The Hillside teams were fourth graders Keeley Downey, Josh Tafta, Aubrie Chapman and Sophie Gauthier; fifth graders Liam Dale, Olivia Quick, Amani Kigen and Caleb Crawford; and sixth graders Chloe Beem, Nathan Finn and Jenna Nielsen. Some native speakers were also invited to help lead the activities at Quiz Bowl.  These students wereLupita Castro-Guzman, Clary Ramirez and Kevin Flores.

Jordan Creek Elementary
Jordan Creek Elementary had 12 students represented the school at the district’s annual Spanish Quiz Bowl. This quiz bowl is for students who do not speak Spanish at home.  Kids who work hard to learn Spanish, participate a lot, always do their best, and demonstrate a positive attitude were invited to go to the Spanish quiz bowl.  They competed against teams from other elementary schools around the district.  The students attending were fourth graders Teghan Booth, Cynnava McAvoy, Joclyn Tracy and Andy Kuster; fifth graders Andrew Voggesser, Kevin Qi, Animesh Joshi and Olivia Roush; and sixth graders Megan Decker, Hailey Mendenhall, Mekhia Hillgren and Jessica Haugen. Candace “Maestra” Sherwood would like to congratulate these FLES students for a job well done!

The Jordan Creek/Westridge Fifth Grade Band will be performing three spring concerts in April.  Rehearsals will be at Westridge at 8 a.m. on April 12 and 15. There will also be a performance at 9:15 a.m. April 15 at Westridge. Rehearsal will be at Jordan Creek April 16 at 8 a.m. with a performance at 9:15 a.m. The evening performance for parents will be April 16. Students will arrive at Jordan Creek at 6:50 p.m. for warm-up and preparation for the 7 p.m. concert. The following students from Jordan Creek will be performing: Jackson Begolka, Tristan Bocook, Madison Bowlsby, Claire Burnett, Jay Chevuru, Weston Crawford, Landon Denker, Grant DeWaay, Mikayla Dirksen, Audrey Doerrfeld, Noah Ellis, Peter Erickson, Jadann Gilbert, Sam Hall, Peyton Harryman, Drew Jirak, Angela Kinzie, Gracia Koele, Isabella Ksiazak, Henry Leaders, Tyler Lincoln, Graham Marguiles,  Halle Norton, Bella O’Connor, Brayton Olesen, Grace Plummer, Elyse Porter, Lauren Reimer, Arri Riley, Olivia Roush, Sterling Short, Alexas Teigen, Braden Wallace, Julia Warden and Megan Weis.

The Southside Sixth Grade Band will be performing concerts in April.  On April 9, there will be an 8 a.m. rehearsal at Fairmeadows prior to a 9:15 a.m. performance. On April 11, an 8 a.m. rehearsal at Hillside will prepare students for a 9:15 a.m. performance. The evening performance for parents will be April 11. Students will warm up at 6:15 p.m. for a 6:30 p.m. concert at the Hillside gym. The following students from Jordan Creek will be performing:  Christopher Altemeier, Alecia Barrueta, Brandon Block, Carrie Cassady, Payton Cooper, Dahlia Cutler, Daniel Dickerson, Jackson Froscheiser, Kathryn Grilli, Dave Head, Mekhia Hillgren, Ana Johnson, Riley Kuennen, Cameron McCawley, Sarah Mele, Natalie Morgan, Jessica Olander, Evan Porter, Jack Roush, Will Sanders, Griffin Satre, Emily Schulz, Shuvethan  Sivagurunathan, Carson Slater, Madeline Smith, Conner Smith, Rachel Steim, Radha Velamuri, Steven Vorrath and Rachel Wrenn.

Students at Jordan Creek Elementary had a special teacher during their Foreign Language in the Elementary School (FLES) classes April 5. Zvi Geffen, the village program representative for Concordia Language Villages, got students up and dancing while learning some new Spanish phrases. (See the video.) The visit was coordinated by Jordan Creek’s FLES teacher, Candace Sherwood. Geffen himself was a camper at the Concordia Language Villages, but went through the Chinese Village to get a taste for a new culture outside of what he was studying in school. He became fluent in Spanish as a result of his school studies and living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for two and a half years. He sees Spanish as a very important skill for students, helping them advance in any career while learning to be a better global citizen. While visiting Jordan Creek, he took students through a chant, a song and aline dance, teaching them new words and phrases as they went. He did not speak any English to the students for the first 20 minutes of the class, as is customary in the district’s FLES classes. The Concordia Language Villages are the premiere language and cultural immersion program in the United States. Last summer, campers came from all 50 states and even other countries to be immersed in one of 15 different cultures. The camp pursues a vision of peace and understanding by introducing learners to the languages and cultures of the world. For more information, please visit www.concordialanguagevillages.org.

Phenix Elementary
Kindergarten students in Ronna McGrann’s class at Phenix Early Childhood Center have been studying communication in science.  They recently discussed how dance can be a form of non-verbal communication through the different body movements the dancers display and the type of music they are performing too.  They discovered this through watching portions of the Ballet Swan Lake.  They recreated the body movements with tin foil.  One student said, “My dancer is showing fun because its arms are out.” Another student said, “Mine is showing fun because its arms are reaching up.”

Jordan Creek Students Learn Spanish Through Dance

Students at Jordan Creek Elementary had a special teacher during their Foreign Language in the Elementary School (FLES) classes April 5. Zvi Geffen, the village program representative for Concordia Language Villages, got students up and dancing while learning some new Spanish phrases. The visit was coordinated by Jordan Creek’s FLES teacher, Candace Sherwood.

Geffen himself was a camper at the Concordia Language Villages, but went through the Chinese Village to get a taste for a new culture outside of what he was studying in school. He became fluent in Spanish as a result of his school studies and living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for two and a half years. He sees Spanish as a very important skill for students, helping them advance in any career while learning to be a better global citizen.

While visiting Jordan Creek, he took students through a chant, a song and aline dance, teaching them new words and phrases as they went. He did not speak any English to the students for the first 20 minutes of the class, as is customary in the district’s FLES classes.

“Doing a dance or learning a song is very helpful in learning a new language,” he said. “It’s not important that the students don’t understand every word I’m saying. The dance and movements help them understand.”

The Concordia Language Villages are the premiere language and cultural immersion program in the United States. Last summer, campers came from all 50 states and even other countries to be immersed in one of 15 different cultures. The camp pursues a vision of peace and understanding by introducing learners to the languages and cultures of the world. For more information, please visit www.concordialanguagevillages.org.

What’s Your Child Reading?

WDMCS elementary students will have a few new books to read next year after a proposal by the district’s Teaching and Learning Services department was approved by the school board April 8.

After nearly eight months of research, district administrators along with a committee of 30 teachers are excited to adopt new reading materials for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. The proposal was part of the district’s regular review of curriculum to make sure materials used for learning are up to date and meet the needs of students.

The group started their work this fall by asking teachers what they need to help students become proficient readers.

Teachers from across the district said they want a variety of books readily available that target students’ needs. “Not every student in our classrooms are reading at the same level, so we have to make sure we can meet the needs of the whole span in our classroom and our grade level,” said Fairmeadow Elementary kindergarten teacher Paula Olson, who was part of the committee. For example, a fourth grade student learning the English language for the first time needs different reading materials than a fourth grader who is reading at the 10th grade level.

Olson said teachers are also looking for a balance between fiction and nonfiction books and they want a fully cohesive system of materials, not just one that focuses one area such as reading fluency.

The group went even further.

The teachers also studied the Iowa Core, which is a set of state standards that outline what Iowa students must know and be able to do in the area of literacy. Their goal was to select a collection of books and materials that would help students meet these standards.

They also researched the best practices used to teach reading. These include working with an entire class on a mini-lesson and having a strategy-based read aloud.  It also involves students working in small groups at their reading level. “It is very important especially at the elementary age that we have time to meet every day with students at their level in small group instruction,” explained Crestview Elementary third grade teacher Adam Nidey. During small group time, students can meet one on one with teachers, read or write independently or practice word skills.

The group initially looked at 11 different reading material programs. They narrowed their selection and invited teachers from across the district to review the materials and provide their input. The group then took field trips, visiting school districts using the materials being considered.

The teachers provided an update to the school board in January about their work. On Monday, April 8, the WDMCS school board will review the results of the teachers’ research and the recommended proposal for new materials during a workshop session beginning at 5:15 p.m. at the Learning Resource Center.

 

Tips to Helping Your Child Become a Better Reader

  1. READ! Like learning to swim or riding a bike, spending time reading  – or practicing the activity – is essential to improving proficiency.
  2. Get the Right Book. Selecting the right book for your child’s reading level is helpful in keeping them motivated.  If a book is too easy, a student may not be challenged and lose interest. If a book is too hard, a student may become frustrated and discouraged.
  3. Learn and practice new vocabulary words.  Vocabulary is one of the keys to reading well.

 

Life in the WDMCS 4/1/13 – The Real Version

If you missed our April Fool’s Day version of Life in the WDMCS, you can read it here. Enjoy!

Life in the WDMCS is a 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.

Phenix Elementary
Second graders at Phenix are learning about safety through Code 411, a program for students developed by the West Des Moines police department.  Officer Craig Weatherall spends 30 minutes a week for four weeks in each class.  The topics the second graders and Officer Weatherall will be discussing are internet safety, stranger safety and making good choices.  The students also enjoy learning about the tools a police officer must carry and possibly use while on duty.

Western Hills Elementary
Western Hills Elementary is proud to present GREASE! School Version. This classic 1950’s rock ‘n’roll musical edition is “squeaky clean” with a fun-loving spirit.  The music is reminiscent of early rock and roll and is sure to please all audiences. Students are having a wonderful time preparing and would love to share the fun with the community. Performances will be April 19 at 7 p.m., April 20 at 3 and 6 p.m. and April 20 at 3 p.m. Admission is a free will offering.

Indian Hills Junior High
Congratulations to the Indian Hills Math Counts team! In February,  10 students represented Indian Hills at the chapter competition with eight finishing in the top 25 percent. Three students ranked in the top 10 of all individuals – Brain Gu in eighth place, Linh Tran in seventh place and Cayden Codel in fifth place. The team, made up of Cayden Codel, Linh Tran, Brian Gu, and Shubham Tayal placed third out of about 35 schools, which qualified them for the state competition. The team alternate, Madison VanSickel, joined Brian, Linh and Shubham for the state competition over spring break. Notable individual performances went to Linh Tran, scoring 12th in the state and Shubham Tayal, scoring eighth in the state. The Indian Hills team finished in third place overall! Congratulations on a job well done!

Stilwell Junior High
Peri Halma’s eighth grade Foods students learned to make pasta from scratch.  They prepared the dough and pressed it through a pasta machine to make fettuccini noodles.  The students practiced “twirling” while enjoying their homemade noodles.

Stilwell eighth grader Gabriel Mintzer competed in the MATHCOUNTS State Competition, placing second and earning a trip to the National MATHCOUNTS competition in May. He qualified to compete at the state competition after placing first at the chapter competition in February. After taking two grueling individual tests and one team test at the state competition, Gabe came out in 1st place overall! With his top score, he was able to compete in the countdown round. This is a fast-paced, oral competition for top scoring individuals where mathletes compete against each other and the clock to solve problems. The MATHCOUNTS team is coached by Celeste Richardson.

Valley High School
Congratulations to the Valley Mock Trial Team for an outstanding performance at state competition. Only four teams from across the state made it to semifinal competition, including two teams from Valley. Team i b red up won a 3-0 victory in the semifinals and advanced to the championship, placing second in the state.Students on the second-place team were Dylan DeClerck, Caitlin Edwards , Lucy Korsakov, Ben Kruse, Joel Kruse, Emma Lind, Megan Nubel, Rishi Shah, Grady Stein  and Ben Weinberg. Students on team TNHB were Katie Apland, Brooke Beatty, Lexi Brennan, Kyra Cooper, Rae Gernent, Catherine Leafstedt, Thomas Leafstedt and Abby Pepin. Congratulations!

VOX, the all-girl jazz choir, and Vocalese, the mixed varsity jazz choir, performed at the Best of Iowa competition. Both groups had been selected to compete after submitting audition tapes earlier in the year. Vocalese won the division and so is considered “Best of Iowa” this year. VOX placed fourth in the 4A division. VOX is directed by Ryan Deignan and Vocalese is directed by Haley Gibbons.

Stacy Hansen’s drama students put on a Trashy Style Show during lunch at Valley. Students were assigned to design a costume out of “trash” that illustrates a character from a play or musical. Students designed the costume as well as explained the conception behind it. In addition, students modeled their costumes in front of a live audience outside the cafeteria. They were graded on creativity, detail and appropriateness of the costume for the production as well as on their oral explanation.

Clive Elementary
Clive Elementary recently celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday.  Students were involved in a variety of Dr. Seuss related activities.  Teachers used Dr. Seuss books for read aloud.  The students voted on their favorite Dr. Seuss book, which was The Lorax.   They kept a record of the number of minutes of reading completed each day.  Students were rewarded with Dr. Seuss prizes for their efforts.  At the end of the week, students dressed as their favorite Seuss character.

During the month of February the TigerCubs Clive Preschool did a study on jobs. They investigated different kinds of jobs people have and what they do at their work. This gives the children an opportunity to learn about various careers and dream about what they want to be when they grow up. Parents, friends and relatives were encouraged to come into the classroom to teach the students about their occupation.  One brave parent, Cory Lamphere, father of Devan and Damon Lamphere, volunteered to come teach physical fitness to the class at recess and inform students about his job as a personal trainer. He had the children form a large circle in the gym and he went through the alphabet teaching them yoga poses to match each letter. Some of our favorites included doing the “jellyfish,” the “caterpillar” and the “locomotive.” It was great to get the kids excited about physical fitness and to see what kinds of things Cory does at his job. At the end of their study when the children were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up, the most common answers were police officer, firefighter, doctor, personal trainer and hairdresser.

Crestview Elementary
Four avid readers recently reading and reporting on all 21 Iowa Children’s Choice books at Crestview. Sixth grader Claire Sattler chose “Getting Air” by Dan Guttman as her favorite. Fourth graders Hunter Groteluschen and Sara Feiz chose “Born to Fly” by Michael Ferrai as their personal favorite, while fourth grader Lauren Frost enjoyed the science fiction thriller, “Clone Codes” by Patricia C. McKissack as the one she liked best.  Congratulations to these students on their reading adventures!

Crestview kindergarteners have been learning about the ocean and fish.  The students have studied and created their own jellyfish, crabs, starfish and rainbow fish.  Each kindergarten classroom has a pet fish to study and observe.  This has been a fun and hands-on unit!

Fairmeadows Elementary
Staff and students at Fairmeadows are focusing on being people of good character.  The staff at Fairmeadows chose students they felt were showing the pillars of character in all parts of the school day.  These students showed the staff they are responsible, respectful, trustworthy, fair, caring and good citizens. Students received a special certificate, pencil, and have their picture taken for display. Students included for the month of April are Bodhi McCleeary, Maci Miller, Conrad Vates, Evan Kaduce, Tiana Tolson, Makaylee Nairn, Laiya Kha, Gabriel Rodenkirk, Tyndal Hervey, Cristian Comparan,  Evan Graham, Kaylea Oupachak, Taylor Chapman, Chance Boettger, Riley Wells, Kiefer Churchill, Kaden Derry, Hayden Fenimore, Tiffany Sheets, Zarah Worth, Taeshawn  Young, Jacob Hanson, Malia Kelly, Reagan Porter, Isabel Serio, Emily Johnson, Jillian Huffman, Charlie Knox, Trever Lamb, Diana Aguirre, Ella Janssen, Anne Judge, Zeke Kazeze, Cole Ross, dea Baftiq, Elaine Greer, Liana Reed, Jack Yencer, Alayana Horn, Chloe Weedman, Patrick Karns, Kayleigh Lewis, Jimmy Alba, Aidan Drake, Alex Ling, Lexie Falco, Garrett Gallagher, Eisha Tolson, Cindy Lu, Will Yu, Hanna Boeckenstedt and Hunter Stevens.

Hillside Elementary
Hillside Elementary hosted its annual Food, Family and Fun night March 28.  This evening is provided to families by West Des Moines School’s Title I and English Language Learners programs.  Families enjoyed free dinner followed by three stations.  At the stations parents and students learned a variety of strategies to help elementary students be successful in school in the areas of reading and math.  This night is designed to help families learn games and activities they can use at home that will support their academics.

Jordan Creek Elementary
Jordan Creek first graders are on a trip to Africa.  They are visiting the grasslands to learn about some of the interesting animals there and will then move onto the rainforest.  They will focus on the habitat and how it supports many and varied animal life, but very few African tribes call it home.  Then they will learn a little bit about ancient Egypt, camels, hieroglyphics, cartouches and the pyramids.  Finally they will complete their trip on a safari in the deserts of Africa, focusing on the great Sahara Desert.  After that they will be flying home and bringing a bag full of souvenirs that they have “purchased” at an open marketplace.  Pretending seems to be the best idea for this whole trip! In Math, first graders are beginning to talk about money values above a dollar.  They will review the coins they know and then learn about the dollar bill and how to count and write values more than one dollar using the dollar sign and the decimal point.  They are also working on telling time to the five minutes.

Life in the WDMCS 4/1/13

 Life in the WDMCS 4/1/13
Life in the WDMCS is a 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
Clive Elementary fifth grader Jack B. Stalk won the state elementary school rope climbing competition. He beat out competition from around the district before heading to the state competition at the capitol building last week. When asked how he prepared for the event, he said he had lots of climbing experience and did cardio by running from giants.

Fairmeadows Elementary
A Fairmeadows first grader, Hump T. Dumpty had a spill during recess last week. His classmates were able to help put him together as best they could and he is recovering in the nurse’s office. A benefit for his continued care will be held at the school on Friday.

Phenix Elementary
Phenix third graders Hansel and Gretel Crumb will have their award winning candy houses on display at the school this week. The elaborate displays will be auctioned off at the next school carnival.

Western Hills Elementary
Western Hills fourth grader Misty Muffet recently gave a presentation to the school on her favorite food – curds and whey. She spoke about how it is made and transported so people can buy it at their local store. The presentation had a short scare when a large spider frightened those in the front, but it was shooed outside and Misty was able to conclude her presentation.

Indian Hills Junior High
Indian Hills eighth grader Johnny A. Seed has started a new project on the school grounds with the help of his science teacher. He will be planting apple trees behind the school to track their growth rate and to test different ways of growing them to see if it affects how much fruit they will produce. He hopes he can take some of the seeds the trees will produce and pass them along to other schools in the district so they can start their own apple tree projects.

Valley High School
Valley junior Red R. Hood has been awarded a state volunteerism award. Her efforts to bring food to her elderly neighbors, including her grandmother, have brightened the spirits of many on her block. She has also been speaking to elementary students around the block about the importance of not talking to strangers.