District News

Learn How to Use the New Lunch Account Systems

The West Des Moines Community Schools has launched a new way for families to pay for and manage student lunch accounts and purchases.

See what’s new…

Paying for My Child’s Lunch

You now have one location to make school-related payments. You will be able to add money to your child’s lunch account through the same online application used to pay for bus and other school fees.

Powered by RevTrak, the online payment system offers faster updates.

Here’s how to get started..

  1. Go to www.wdmcs.org
  2. Click on the “Parents” tab
  3. Click on “Make a Payment” in the blue Quicklinks for Parents box
  4. Click on “Pay for Lunch/Breakfast”
  5. Once in the payment portal, click on the salad icon to Food Service Payments.
  6. You will need your Infinite Campus Portal e-mail address and child’s student ID number to make a payment.  If you do not know your Infinite Campus Portal e-mail or your child’s student ID number, please contact: Lynnae Gilmore in the Nutrition Office at gilmorel@wdmcs.org or 515-633-5085.

More information is available here:

Detailed Instructions with Visuals 

See What My Child Is Eating

The district is also providing a new online tool to check your child’s lunch account and see details of their purchases.

The new online application – called ParentOnline – allow you to set limits on the number of à la carte items your child purchases. For example, you may want your child to have one à la carte item a day or maybe only two on Fridays – you choose!  Restrictions based on a dollar amount will no longer be offered.

Here’s  how to get started…

You will need to know your student’s ID number to set up an account. If you do not know this number, you can contact your school or Nutrition Services at (515) 633-5088.

  1. Go to www.wdmcs.org
  2. Click on the “Parents” tab
  3. Click on “Check Account Balance” under “Links for Parents”
  4. Once in the portal, follow these directions.

 

 

Teacher Leader Council Candidates Up For Approval

The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education will hold a special meeting on Monday, March 31 at 5:15 p.m. This meeting is open to the public.

 

The agenda item for the meeting is a request to approve the pool of candidates for the Teacher Leadership and Compensation Site Review Councils. The membership of the councils will be selected from the Board‐approved candidate pool. These councils will serve as interview teams for the selection of teacher leaders. In March, the West Des Moines Community Schools was one of 39 school districts selected to be the first in the state to launch a teacher leadership system next year.

 

Event: West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education Special Meeting
Date: Monday, March 31, 2014
Time: 5:15 p.m.
Location: Fairmeadows Room, Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines

 

Agenda

Board Packet

Board Information

 

 

WDMCS Recognized Nationally for Music Education Efforts

logo-best-music-educationThe National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation recognized the West Des Moines Community Schools for its outstanding commitment to music education with a Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) designation. The WDMCS joins 376 districts across the country and only six in the state of Iowa to receive the prestigious distinction in 2014.

In its 15th year, Best Communities for Music Education affirms school districts that have demonstrated exceptional efforts toward maintaining music education as part of the schools’ core curriculum.

In the WDMCS, students in grades K-6 participate in general music class 90 minutes per week.  Students can also continue their music experiences by joining orchestra beginning in fourth grade, band in fifth grade and extra-curricular chorus in sixth grade.  Our secondary students also have the opportunity to participate in chorus, jazz band, marching band and other musical ensembles along with theory and music classes at the high school level.  Students in music in the WDMCS participate in solo/ensemble contests, various music events and trips, and other competitions throughout the year.

During the 2013-14 school year, WDMCS music:

  • had a student selected to the prestigious GRAMMY Camp – Jazz Session as a vocalist, perfomring wit the top 32 jazz instrumentalists and vocalists in the nation in conjuction with the GRAMMY Awards in late January.
  • had 10 junior high students named to the 28th annual Opus Honor Choir.
  • had 45 students named to all-state band, choir and orchestra, performing in the Iowa All-State Music Festival at Hilton Coliseum.
  • students on Valley’s varsity show choir, Choralation, were named Grand Champion at the Waukee Star Struck Show Choir Invitational and the Emmetsburg Show Choir Invitational.

The BCME survey requires districts to answer detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Institute for Educational Research and Public Service of Lawrence, Kansas, an affiliate of the University of Kansas.

Five from WDMCS to Compete in State Geographic Bee

logo-national-geographic-bee

Crestview fourth grader Finn Nadel and Jordan Creek sixth grader Jay Chevuru finished fifth in the state in their grade level  and Stilwell eighth grader JJ Kapur placed 12th at the 2014 Iowa State Geographic Bee April 4. Westridge sixth grader Eric Schwartzbauer and Indian Hills seventh grader Andrew Behrens each finished in top half of their grade level, with each level hosting a field of 100 students.

This is the second level of the National Geographic Bee competition, which is now in its 26th year. Bees were held at WDMCS elementary and junior high schools in November and January to determine each school’s Bee winner. School-level winners from across the state then took a qualifying test, which they submitted to the National Geographic Society. The National Geographic Society invited the students with the top 100 scores in each of the 50 states, District of Columbia, Department of Defense Dependents Schools and U.S. territories to compete at the state level.

The state winner will receive $100, the Complete National Geographic on DVD and a trip to Washington, D.C., to represent Iowa in the National Geographic Bee finals to be held at National Geographic Society headquarters, May 19-21. National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD will air the final round of the 2014 National Geographic Bee, moderated by new host Soledad O’Brien, on Thursday, May 22 at 7 p.m. ET (to be followed on public television stations). Visit www.nationalgeographic.com/geobee for more information on the National Geographic Bee.

The West Des Moines Community Schools social studies curriculum offers students the opportunity to study a different geographic region and culture in depth each year in the lower elementary grades. In fourth grade students do a geography unit concentrated on geography concepts, then focus on U.S. history in fifth grade and civics in sixth grade. Ancient civilizations are explored in seventh grade, focusing on geography and culture.

To learn more about the West Des Moines Community Schools social studies curriculum, call 515-633-5055.

How would you fare as a Bee contestant? At the school-level Bee this year, students had to answer such questions as:

  • From its source in Minnesota, the Mississippi River flows south about 2,300 miles before emptying into what large gulf? Gulf of Mexico
  • A subspecies of brown bear known as the Kodiak bear takes its common name from an island that lies off the southern coast of what state? Alaska
  • The Danakil Depression, located in part of the Great Rift Valley, is one of the lowest points on which continent? Africa
  • What is the term for the triangular deposit of sediment sometimes found at the mouth of a river – moraine or delta? Delta

Phenix Transition Update

Dear Phenix Early Childhood Center Families:

I hope you all enjoyed Spring Break! I know so many of us are looking forward to the warmer days of spring.

I want to update you on the arrangements we are making for your child’s transition next year to another school in our district.

Here is what you can expect in the next few days:

  • On Monday, March 31, I will be calling you to let you know where your child will be attending next year.
  • Later next week, you will also receive a welcome call from the principal of your child’s new school. I have met with all the principals and they are very excited to have your child in their school.
  • On Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. at Phenix, there will be an informational meeting for parents. There will be a variety of information available at the meeting, including transportation, district curriculum, district class sizes, and more.

 

Don’t forget! I want to make sure we are addressing your questions and concerns. We have a form to submit comments. By knowing your questions or concerns, we can better plan for a smooth and successful transition for your child next year.

 

As always, please feel free to contact me as well if you have any questions or concerns.

 

Sincerely,
Drea Bocook
Principal

Phenix Transition: Submit Your Question or Concern

To make sure the West Des Moines Community Schools are addressing parent questions and concerns about your child’s transition to another school in our district next year, we are providing a form to
submit comments and questions.

By knowing your questions or concerns, we can better plan for a smooth and successful transition for your child.

You may start submitting your questions today by clicking on the link below. Thank you for our input!

Phenix Transition Question Form

Phenix Transition Meeting for Parents April 8

Current Phenix families are invited to an informational parent meeting on Tuesday, April 8 at 7:00 p.m. at Phenix.

During the meeting, district administration and Phenix Principal Drea Bocock will provide parents an update on the planning process for transitioning students to other school homes in our district next year.

Specifically, there will be information on transportation, district curriculum, class sizes and more. There will also be questions to frequently asked questions.

We look forward to seeing you on April 8!

 

 

New Lunch Account Systems Launch April 1

Jordan Creek fourth graders enjoy a feast lunch and celebration inspired by the Southwest region.

Starting April 1, the West Des Moines Community Schools will offer a new way for families to pay for and manage student lunch accounts and purchases. Here’s how…

Paying for My Child’s Lunch

You will have one location to make school-related payments. You will be able to add money to your child’s lunch account through the same online application used to pay for bus and other school fees.

Powered by RevTrak, the online payment system provides quicker account updates.
A link to the online payments system, instructions to set up an account and an FAQ will be available at www.wdmcs.org on April 1.

  • Prepare Today! You can prepare for April 1 by locating your Infinite Campus Portal User Name. You will need your Infinite Campus Portal User Name and child’s birth date to make a payment. If you do not know your Infinite Campus Portal User Name, please contact your school office.
  • Use the Current System Through March 30! The current online payment system will be active through Sunday, March 30. The new system will be available Tuesday, April 1.

 

See What My Child Is Eating

The district will also provide a new online tool to check your child’s lunch account and see details of their purchases.

The new online application – called ParentOnline – will allow you to set limits on the number of a la carte items your child purchases. For example, you may want your child to have one a la carte item a day or maybe only two on Fridays – you choose! Restrictions based on dollar amounts will no longer be offered.

A link to the new lunch account tracking tool and instructions to set up an account will be available at www.wdmcs.org on April 1.

  • Prepare Today! You can prepare for April 1 by locating your student’s ID number, which you will need to set up an account. If you do not know this number, you can contact your school or Nutrition Services at 515-633-5088.

Health Screenings

WDMCS will once again be hosting onsite Health Screenings for employees. Space is limited and appointments fill up quickly! You must sign up for a screening appointment online by Friday, March 28.

As a reminder, the onsite screenings will take place in April at the following sites. 

Screening Site

Screening Location

Screening Date

Indian Hills Library

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Jordan Creek Community Room

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Phenix Media Center

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fairmeadows Media Center

Friday, April 11, 2014

Valley Southwoods Media Center

Friday, April 11, 2014

Valley High School Media Center

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Walnut Creek Media Center

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Crestview 3 Year Old Preschool Room

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Operations Transportation Break Room

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Westridge Community Room

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Crossroads Band/Orchestra Room

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Western Hills Media Center

Friday, April 18, 2014

Clive Media Center

Friday, April 18, 2014

Hillside Hearth Room

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Stilwell Media Center

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Learning Resource Center (LRC) Stilwell/Indian Hills Room

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

You must complete a district-provided screening and online Health Survey (available May 7 – 16) to be eligible for the $100 Valley West Mall gift card.*

Visit the Wellness Portal by logging into your personal account at www.bebetterhealth.net.  If you have never logged in before, click on ‘Account Setup’ to get started.  Your Organizational ID is 2206.  You will use your first name (all uppercase letters) plus your last four digits of your SSN as your Member ID.  (i.e. Susan Smith with SSN of XXX-XX-1234:  Member ID is SUSAN1234)

For further assistance with login, please call 866-900-5325, ext. 3507 Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm CT or email support@bebetter.net.

*This amount is subject to payroll taxes and will be deducted from your check dated June 20, 2014.

beBetter System Quick Start Guide

Life in the WDMCS 3/17/14

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.

District Wide

If your child will be five years old on or before September 15, 2014, he/she will be eligible to start kindergarten in the fall. In April, parents of 2014-15 kindergartners are invited to Kindergarten Roundup at each elementary school. Check the district website or call your school for times. If you have not yet signed up your 2014-15 kindergartner, please visit www.wdmcs.org, click on the Newcomers tab and then on the Kindergarten link under Registration Information. Follow the steps listed to get your child’s name placed on our list. If you are not sure which building attendance area you live in, please call 633-5101.

Clive Elementary

The more that you read the more things you will know the more that you learn the places you’ll go!  –  Dr. Seuss
The students at Clive Elementary celebrated Dr. Seuss March 3-7.  Each morning started with school wide trivia.  All students had a chance to participate and there was a winner from each grade level every day.  Next, we dressed up like our favorite Dr. Seuss book character and celebrated his birthday will cupcakes and cookies!  Lastly, each teacher and classroom participated in a Seuss themed door decorating contest.  The classrooms were each assigned a different book and then their imaginations created amazing designs.

Crestview Elementary

Crestview sixth grade band students recently participated in the annual sixth grade band solo and ensemble festival. Students prepared a solo and performed it for a judge who gave them a rating of I+, I, II or III. The following students participated: Nathan Willcockson, Caleb Macias, Jordyn Hayes, Hailee Jorgensen, Gwyn Chilcoat, Kenia Flores, Jackie Martinez, Hailey Etzel, Katie Calzada, Yajaira Triana, Grace Hoepker, Laney Peters, Zoey Wieck, Isabella Nadel, Kyle Elmore, Tommy Weissenburger, Ethan Tuttle, Eric Paniagua, Cesilia Guzman and Katelyn Rieger. Students will receive a medal and certificate for their participation.

Fairmeadows Elementary

Congratulations to the following students who were selected to represent Fairmeadows Elementary in the 2014 All-District Sixth Grade Honor Choir – Claire Wiarda, Abigail Bylund, Gracie Coleman, Bella Zarling, Garrett Helm, Kaitlyn Bebensee, Aidan Drake, Kaitlyn Miller, Emma Slusinski, Jacque Truitt, Eliza Terranova-Tweedy, Gracie Hughes, Nick Feingold, Sarah Dorn, Grace Murphy, Hailey Carenza, Aliece Fox, Annalyn Poulsen and Keaton Parizek. These fine young musicians begin rehearsals March 28 and will be performing as part of the Honors Festival at Lutheran Church of Hope on Tuesday, May 6 at 7 p.m. Also performing in this Honors Festival will be the Honor Handbell representatives Gracie Hughes, Anthony Murdoch and Kaitlyn Bebensee.

Jordan Creek Elementary

Members of the Iowa State gymnastic team and their coaches helped students at Jordan Creek Elementary celebrate Dr. Seuss week by reading to several classes.  The team also visited Jeri Daniels’ fifth grade class and talked with the students about their workout schedules, class schedules, and their backgrounds.  The gymnasts shared with the students about their majors and what they plan to do after college.  Fifth grade students participated in a questions and answer time with the team.  Also present with the team were assistant coaches Kristen Maloney and Katie Minasola and Director of Gymnastics Operations Mary Ronayne. Assistant coach Kristen Maloney shared with the students about her trip to the Olympics in 2000 where she was part of the team that won a bronze medal.

Valley High School

For the sixth consecutive year, Valley debate has won the state championship in Lincoln-Douglas debate. Valley senior Jason Smith closed out the final round with junior Gina Scorpiniti, and the two were declared co-champions. The team of juniors Nolan Dahm and Sam Basler were semifinalists in policy debate. Valley also won the team sweepstakes award in Lincoln-Douglas debate and placed second in the overall sweepstakes. Other elimination round participants included Rishi Shah, Brody Diehn, Trent Gilbert, TJ Foley, Evan McKinney, Jackie Chu, Conal Thomas-McGinnis, Manuel Smith, Lexy Takla, Grady Stein, Brian Gu, Alissa Smith and Ashton Woiwood.

Written by Emma Sink BB President – February’s Buddy Pair of the Month, Cory Schneider and Will Lounsbury from Valley Best Buddies, were announced at the Best Buddies Iowa prom this past Saturday and awarded with Best Buddies bags and sunglasses! This buddy pair has a standing time each Sunday night when they go out to eat. Cory also likes to challenge Will to games of bowling frequently. Cory proudly shares with everyone that he wins every time. Valley’s Chapter President, Emma Sink, states, “Will and Cory spend a whole lot of time together each day. They are truly the best of friends and encourage each other. It’s fun to see them hanging out in the hallway together. There is usually a group of guys standing around talking with Cory. It’s great to see how much they are a part of each other’s day.”

The Valley and Valley Southwoods speech team had three students advance to All-State competition after receiving 16 overall I rankings at the state contest.. Senior Dani Lipman, junior Alex Johnson and freshman Grace Barker were selected to perform at All-State. Seven students received straight Is at the state competition – Taylor Mankle in Spontaneous Speaking, Hannah Kate Fox in Acting, Dani Lipman in Solo Musical Theater, Bre Katcher in Expository Speaking, Kenzie Hamlett in Oratory, Henry Parizek in Radio News Announcing, and Alex Johnson in Review. The rest of the team presenting quality speaking includes Maggie Wildermuth, Allison Moore, Mandy Brown and from VSW, Grace Barker and Lilly Seltz.

Walnut Creek Campus

Walnut Creek senior Kyle Shepherd performed at the IHSSA individual speech contest and received a I rating for his performance. Congratulations, Kyle!