District News

Art Inspires Thought at Indian Hills

 

Indian Hills teacher Scott Tudor created this artwork displayed in the school's media center.

Indian Hills teacher Scott Tudor created this artwork displayed in the school’s media center.

A new piece of artwork at Indian Hills not only encourages students to remember the tragedy that happened on Sept. 11, 2001, but to get up close and really think about what it means to them.

The artwork was created by teacher Scott Tudor after the school’s teacher librarian, Ann Van Treeck, asked him if he could create a 9/11 commemorative painting.

“The students here were only a year old when 9/11 happened,” said Van Treeck. “They only really remember their parents talking about it.”

Tudor stayed at the school until 3 a.m. for two nights getting the artwork ready. He wanted something that students would not just walk by and glance at. Book bindings of actual titles in the Indian Hills library make up the Twin Towers, a quote from George Bush lines the bottom and cutouts of people are scattered at the buildings’ feet.

“I didn’t make it dark to make people sad,” said Tudor. “I wanted to make students have to get up close read the titles of the books and see the small details to make them think.”

news-IH-911-towersIn a contrast to the memories of students currently attending the school, an eight-foot tall memorial of the World Trade Center stands in the entryway of the school, created by eighth graders attending Indian Hills in the 2001-02 school year. An explanation of the towers reads:

“Each cube on the sculpture stands for 100 pages of reading done by an individual. In all, over 1.2 million pages were read to complete the commitment for building these towers. Students wanted a visual representation of the commitment they have to reading and, at the same time, they wanted to do something to honor those whose lives were lost on September 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center. Working on this project all year helped our students deal with their feelings about the tragedy of 9-11. The sculpture stands as a tribute to their commitment to reaching goals they set for themselves, and as a refection of the teamwork necessary to bring this project to its conclusion.”

news-IH-911-artwork4 news-IH-911-artwork3

Life in the WDMCS 9/9/13

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.

Crestview Elementary
It’s that time of year again! Returning to school. Filling out forms. Providing information. One place that collects a lot of your child’s information is the nurse’s office. Each school in the WDMCS has one. Two of the most important pieces of information collected are your child’s immunization record and a yearly health update. The immunization record is required for school and helps keep your child up to date with their immunizations. If your child is new to the district, if your child has received new immunizations over the summer or does so in the next few weeks, please provide your school nurse with a copy of their record. The health update form informs your school’s nurse of important updates to your child’s health such as recent surgery, new allergies, new medications and more. If you haven’t filled one out this year, please ask for one or find it under Forms on the WDMCS Back to School Toolkit – http://toolkit.wdmcs.org. Your school nurse is brought to you by the WDMCS and we’re here for you! Please stop in and get to know us!

Fairmeadows Elementary
The Fairmeadows Elementary Music Room has really been rockin’ to the beat with a unit on African drumming circles. This is a hands-on activity made possible by the WDMCS’ purchase of 17 African drums plus additional auxiliary percussion instruments. These drums are being used for approximately three weeks at Fairmeadows Elementary and then travel throughout the district for use by each of our elementary schools. The students experience playing polyrhythms as well as demonstrating rhythmic knowledge and abilities while having a great cooperative musical experience.

Hillside Elementary
Registration is now available for the Belin-Blank Exceptional Student Talent Search (BESTS) test. BESTS students in grades 4-6 take Explore®, which is designed for eighth graders. It is recommended that students have at least one score in the 95th percentile or above on a core subject of a grade-level test, such as the Iowa Assessments. Each of the four sections (English, math, reading and science) takes 30 minutes to complete. The total testing time is approximately two hours. Students in grades 4-9 are eligible for BESTS if they score at the 95th percentile or above on any subtest of a grade-level standardized test such as the Iowa Assessments. To register online, visit: http://www2.education.uiowa.edu/belinblank/students/bests/

Jordan Creek Elementary

Jordan Creek third graders Ayden Price, Jack Nyberg, Zack Bessman, Reece Cooley, Rachel Heinen, Ryan Foust, Brynne Katcher and Reese Harty work in an assembly line to package food for Meals from the Heartland.

Jordan Creek third graders Ayden Price, Jack Nyberg, Zack Bessman, Reece Cooley, Rachel Heinen, Ryan Foust, Brynne Katcher and Reese Harty work in an assembly line to package food for Meals from the Heartland.

Jordan Creek third graders volunteered to help package food for Meals From the Heartland at the downtown Hy-Vee Hall. Students had to watch a training video about how to package before putting a vitamin into the bag. Then they had to put the correct amount of rice, soy and vegetables on top. The bag was then weighed and rice was either removed or added to make it the correct weight. Then the bag was sealed and packaged. Students had a great time working in an assembly line and working as a team. It was a wonderful experience for all.

Jordan Creek third graders Camryn Dilla and Camryn Bahe box up packages of food to help others in need.

Jordan Creek third graders Camryn Dilla and Camryn Bahe box up packages of food to help others in need.

Jordan Creek fifth grader Jonah Cutler runs around the track while Neal Marlett jumps rope and teammate Sejal Jain puts letters together to spell the words for the ABC Cardio game. In the background Ellie Burke, who was unable to run or jump because of an injury, was provided with an Air Dyne back where she could use her arms and still be part of her team.

Jordan Creek fifth grader Jonah Cutler runs around the track while Neal Marlett jumps rope and teammate Sejal Jain puts letters together to spell the words for the ABC Cardio game. In the background Ellie Burke, who was unable to run or jump because of an injury, was provided with an Air Dyne back where she could use her arms and still be part of her team.

For years now it has been shown through scientific research that we cannot maximize brain function without physical activity. Researchers at the University of Iowa indicated many years ago that the only way to build brain cells (axons, dendrites and the myelination of motor pathways) was the combination of activity and active thinking. At Jordan Creek Elementary, Lu Suarez’s physical education students play a game called ABC Cardio where students are given a word list relating to the unit of study and then accumulate letters to spell the words by choosing a type of activity. Students were learning about muscles in the body and had a list of 18 different muscles to try to spell. Fifth grade students will also study muscles in science to go deeper into the knowledge of how the body works. ABC Cardio was invented and copyrighted by Rob Chapman, Westridge Elementary physical education teacher and Valley girls soccer coach, and is now played in all WDMCS elementary schools as well as all across the country. Today’s physical education students will learn about muscles, bones and some basic physiology along with motor skills.

Phenix Elementary
Students in physical education classes at Phenix Elementary will begin assessing their fitness levels during the month of September, along with learning how to set goals for themselves for the school year. The assessments included: cardiovascular endurance, speed, agility, upper body strength, abdominal strength and flexibility. They will be learning about the components of fitness while taking turns leading their classmates through various exercises and activities to develop these fitness components. The students have just completed the Tiger Paw jog in which students can earn tiger coupons for each “heart work” lap completed. Students can jog or power walk during the class period. Phenix kids are on the road to healthy bodies and healthy choices!

Phenix Early Childhood Center uses a system called PBIS, which stands for Positive Behavior Intervention Supports. The PBIS mission for Phenix is to develop an environment of dignity and respect in which students will succeed academically and socially. The PBIS philosophy for Phenix will focus on celebrating positive behaviors using corrective teaching when students make inappropriate choices. We believe our purpose is to help students positively fulfill their needs and develop into happy and productive adults. We strive to be consistent in dealing with all children. All adults will teach, model, and reinforce good choices and social skills. Last week, all students rotated through centers in which behavior expectations were taught for common areas of the building. Expectations may be rewarded by giving a student a paper Tiger Paw which is deposited in a bucket in the area. Every Wednesday there is a drawing from each bucket with a list of activities for the winners to chose. 

Westridge Elementary
Third graders at Westridge Elementary are busy learning the routines of reading workshop. They are learning how to “turn and talk” about books they listen to during read-aloud. In addition, they are learning the procedures for independent reading, partner reading, reading response, word study, and listen to reading. Some read-aloud book favorites include “The Day the Crayons Quit;” “Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon;” and “A Bad Case of Stripes.”

Indian Hills Junior High
The Indian Hills Magazine Fundraiser is almost here. Magazine sales begin Sept. 18 and run through Oct. 1. All seventh and eighth grade students will be involved. This is the school’s one and only fundraiser for the year with proceeds going to support clubs, activities, student entry fees, band, orchestra, vocal, the weight room, the gym area, the library, drama, school play, mimes, field trips and other special projects such as art murals and after the bell throughout the year. The fundraiser also totally supports the athletic program including uniforms, officials, workers, supplies, equipment, and transportation. Please support our students by purchasing a magazine, electronic magazine, or CD. You may also order or have a friend or family member order any time throughout the year at the Indian Hills website. Prices are the same but 45 percent of the cost goes to Indian Hills. If you would rather, you may also make a straight donation. We will count every $10 donation as a magazine order. Thank you for your support! 

Valley High School
The Valley High School Club and Activity Fair will be Friday, Sept. 13 from 10:45 a.m.-1 p.m. in the VHS cafeteria commons. Representatives from the wide range of clubs and activities at Valley will be providing students information and recruiting new members. Students are encouraged to join in the fun and join a club! VHS club and activity representatives will be showcasing themselves at the Homecoming Carnival Thursday Sept. 19 at 6 p.m. at Valley Stadium. The public is invited to see what the clubs and activities at Valley have to offer!

School Board Elections Sept. 10

School board elections will be held Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013 across the state.

For information about voting, please see the resources below:

2013 Polk County School Election Information

Locate Your Polling Site

Life in the WDMCS 9/3/13

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.

The Tiger Archery Club came home with a lot of gold after a great competition at the Summer Iowa Games. District
The Tiger Archery Club came home with a lot of gold after a great competition at the Summer Iowa Games. Robby Weissinger and Alina Husain brought home gold medals in the high school division. Weissinger scored a 285 out of 300 and Husain scored 278 out of 300. In the middle school division, Riley Weissinger scored 292 and Sarah Kuhlman scored 277 to earn gold medals. Ella Bishop received the bronze medal in the female division with a score of 266. In the elementary division, Jack Roush took home the bronze medal in the male division with a score of 233. In the female division, Nyah Rieckoff received the silver medal with a score of 233 and Tishara Slater took home the bronze medal with a score of 210.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mVvWSaMfLg

Clive Elementary had a great turnout at its annual back to school ice cream social.

Clive Elementary had a great turnout at its annual back to school ice cream social.

Clive Elementary
Clive Elementary had a great turnout at its annual back to school ice cream social. The teachers and staff were happy to see all of the excited, smiling faces of new and returning students and many of their family members. They welcomed close to 85% of the pre-k through sixth grade students and families. Clive’s ice cream social is a great time for students and parents to meet teachers, bring in school supplies and see school friends again. Thank you to Hy-Vee and Dairy Queen for providing the treats for all who attended. The ice cream social has been a long-standing tradition at Clive, and with such great success it will continue into the future.  Welcome back everyone!

Crestview sixth grader Isabella Nadel began last spring with her personal challenge to be the first to finish all this year’s Iowa Children’s Choice books.

Crestview sixth grader Isabella Nadel began last spring with her personal challenge to be the first to finish all this year’s Iowa Children’s Choice books.

Crestview Elementary
Crestview sixth grader Isabella Nadel began last spring with her personal challenge to be the first to finish all this year’s Iowa Children’s Choice books.  She chose “The Unwanteds” by Lisa McMann as her favorite.  An avid reader, Isabella regularly reads up to five books at a time, picking up on the themes, subthemes and making connections to discuss with friends and family.  Congratulations, Isabella!

Fairmeadows Elementary
Fairmeadows third grader Tyler Anderson participated in the Iowa State Fair Youth Spelling Bee. Tyler studied and prepared for the spelling bee during the summer. He enjoyed the challenge and the experience of being associated with the spelling contest. We congratulate Tyler on his efforts!

Welcome back to a brand new school year! Kindergartners are all smiles and getting used to coming through the doors of Fairmeadows Elementary like the ‘big kids.’  The first few days were filled with many emotions, some tears, a lot of excitement and nerves!  They have read many stories about going to school and talked about what they did to get ready for kindergarten.  The class has been to the library, practiced their letters, read stories, worked on iPads and the computers, sang songs, worked on art projects, counted and practiced numbers – all in just the first week of school!

Hillside Elementary
Welcome to the 2013-14 school year! Students at Hillside Elementary are getting into the routine. Teachers want them to understand what it is to be a student that is a good listener, responsible, respectful and safe.  These expectations are practiced throughout Hillside the first month of school for the PBIS expectations.  When they understand how to model what good character is, they are able to do their best in and out of the classroom.

Hillside students are extending their understanding the characteristics of a community of learners during Reader’s Workshop. One of those characteristics is being an independent reader.  Students should have the opportunity to respond independently to text and practice certain strategies as they become skillful readers.  A typical fourth grader should be reading each night, minimum of 20 minutes. We want to instill the love of reading, this should not be forced on them.  Please support your child in being a productive member of our learning community this year.

Phenix Elementary
Did you know?   Phenix Elementary is the only school in the West Des Moines School district, where every teacher has home visits with the families.  Every year, the teachers, prekindergarten through third grade, will go into the homes of the students and spend some time getting to know them and their families.  The visits generally last about 30 minutes each.   During this time the parents can ask questions about the school and the classroom and give the teacher any information they feel will help their child succeed in school.   This process forms a partnership between the families and the school that aids in the success of the student.  Communication between school and home is an extremely important aspect of a child’s education.  This communication between parents and teachers helps create the unique, caring and nurturing environment in Phenix Elementary.

Western Hills Elementary
Kindergarten at Western Hills is rocking in their “school shoes” with Pete the Cat.  Do we worry, “Goodness No!” We keep walking along and singing our song.

Riley Weissinger won a gold medal in archery at the Summer Iowa Games.

Riley Weissinger won a gold medal in archery at the Summer Iowa Games.

Sarah Kuhlman won a gold medal in archery at the Summer Iowa Games.

Sarah Kuhlman won a gold medal in archery at the Summer Iowa Games.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stilwell Junior High
The Tiger Archery Club participated in the Iowa Summer Games and once again brought home the gold medal for the second year in a row for the middle school team competition. Riley Weissinger won the gold medal, Sarah Kuhlman won the gold medal and Ella Bishop won the bronze. The Tiger Archery Club will begin practice in November. 

Valley High School
The office of Governor Terry Branstad released a list of appointments to the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. Among the 15 appointments is Valley senior Annie Howard. She is the first student to be appointed to this group. Her term began Sept. 1 and will run through August 2014. The Governor’s STEM Advisory Council is a partnership of business, policy and education leaders from across the state convening to bolster STEM education and innovation and better position Iowa’s young people and the state’s economy for the future. See the website for more information.

Howard First Student Named to Governor’s Council

news-annie-howardThe office of Governor Terry Branstad released a list of appointments to the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. Among the 15 appointments is Valley senior Annie Howard. She is the first student to be appointed to this group. Her term began Sept. 1 and will run through August 2014.

The Governor’s STEM Advisory Council is a partnership of business, policy and education leaders from across the state convening to bolster STEM education and innovation and better position Iowa’s young people and the state’s economy for the future.

See the website for more information.