District News

Board Approves Phenix Sale

phenix2The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education approved the sale of the Phenix Elementary building to the City of West Des Moines during a special meeting on August 29.

The City of West Des Moines approached the district to purchase the school with a plan to renovate the building into mixed-income apartments for the Valley Junction neighborhood. The city plans to work with a company that specializesin renovating school buildings for this purpose. The sale was approved for $535,000 with the funds set to be deposited into the Physical Plant & Equipment Levy (PPEL) fund.

A public hearing was also held on August 29, but there were no participants. Notice of the public hearing was published in the Des Moines Register, posted on the district website, and posted on the district and Phenix Facebook pages.

Phenix was closed at the end of the 2013-14 school year, saving the district more than $1 million in operating costs. Students who attended Phenix now attend other elementary schools in the district, including Westridge and nearby Hillside.



The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education will hold a public hearing and special meeting on Friday, Aug. 29 at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines. The public hearing and meeting begin at 12:00 p.m. noon. The hearing and meeting are open to the public.

Links to the agenda  and information on the School Board follow.

Hearing/Meeting Agenda

Public Notice of Hearing

Board Information

Outstanding Accomplishments in the WDMCS

Periodically throughout the school year, we compile a list of special honors and awards received by our students and staff. These outstanding accomplishments are presented to the School Board as Board Recognition. Check out all the great things our students and staff have accomplished!



Junior Ben Wiese won the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLY) scholarship and studied in China for six weeks this summer. He is the fifth recipient of NSLY at Valley after senior Suryatej Akavaram (Tej) and 2012 graduates Jasmine Au, Jessica Au and Elaine Mou.

2014 graduate Kyra Cooper was selected to receive a NSLI Youth Scholarship to study Arabic abroad this summer. Her program took place in Muscat, Oman, through the America-Mideast Educational and Training Services, Inc. The program emphasizes rapid language acquisition in a language immersion environment by combining in-class language instruction, a comprehensive cultural program and homestays. The NSLI Youth Scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Government through the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.


Please Note: The following musical honors are from the end of the 2013-14 school year and the students’ grade levels are reflected as such.

Valley’s varsity jazz choir, Vocalese, took home first place honors for the second year in a row at the Iowa Vocal Jazz Championships, also known as Best of Iowa.  Valley’s prep jazz choir, Vocal Point, placed fifth. Iowa All-State Jazz Choir auditions were held the same day and the following Valley students were selected to perform in this prestigious 20-person vocal jazz choir:  Jared Freiburg, Abby Hudson, Lauren Pfeil and Caroline StumpNicole Miller and Linda Tong were chosen as first alternates.  Also, Stephanie Hansen was chosen for the All-State Jazz Choir for the third consecutive year and was chosen as the competition’s Best Female Vocalist. Vocalese is directed by Haley Gibbons and Vocal Point is directed by Ryan Deignan.  Pianist Julian Castillo, bassist Lauren Johnson and drummer Zane Gedler accompany both choirs and Brandon Devine and Melanie Taylor are the sound technicians.

The Valley and Valley Southwoods had 123 vocal music entries in the State Solo and Ensemble Music Festival. The students earned 56 Division I ratings, 54 Division II ratings and 13 Division III ratings.  In addition, the following Valley students were chosen as the best performers in their audition center: senior Sammie Binns for her soprano solo as well as a member of the madrigal group consisting of junior Jillian Belieu, junior Keaton Denker, senior Brandon Devine, senior Annie Howard, senior Michael Keay, senior Ben Klooster, junior Lauren Pfeil, sophomore Bridget Shoemaker, senior Emma Stier and senior Justin Umthun.

The Valley orchestra earned a gold rating and the Adjudicator’s Award at the Heritage Festival in Chicago. The orchestra has received an invitation to participate in a future Festival of Gold competitions. In addition, Bailey Cook was named Queen of Love and Beauty at Medieval Times.

The Valley symphony band, concert band and Southwoods band gave outstanding performances at the Adventureland/Drake University Festival of Bands.  Special recognition was given to the symphony band, which, in addition to receiving a Division I rating, was awarded the Don Marcouiller Best of Class Trophy.


The boys and girls soccer teams each finished in the state tournament quarterfinals in the spring. The boys track team was a state meet qualifier, while girls tennis finished fifth at the state meet and boys tennis placed third in the state. The girls golf team was the runner-up at the state tournament.

Over the summer, the softball team finished in fourth place at the state tournament and the baseball team reached the state tournament quarterfinals.

Conference/District/State Honors

Name Sport Honor(s)
Mandi Roemmich Softball First-team all-state, all-district, first-team all-conference, first-team all-division
Mack Jones Softball Second-team all-state, all-district, second-team all-division
Anna Gernant Softball Second-team all-state, second-team all-conference, first-team all-division
Brooke O’Hollearn Softball Third-team all-state, honorable mention all-division
Lexi Merritt Softball Second-team all-conference, first-team all-division
Megan Rushing Softball Second-team all-division
Kasey Feldt Softball Second-team all-division
Rachel Bakey Softball Honorable mention all-division
Connor Sorge Baseball First-team all-state, first-team all-district, first-team all-conference, first-team all-division
Nick Nelsen Baseball Second-team all-state, first-team all-district, second-team all-conference, first-team all-division
Jay Hrdlicka Baseball First-team all-district, first-team all-conference, first-team all-division
Drew Denkiner Baseball Second-team all-district
Jacob Rojohn Baseball First-team all-division
Drew Denkinger Baseball First-team all-division
Jack Brandsgaard Baseball Second-team all-division
Keller Prien Baseball Second-team all-division
Chloe Jeffries Tennis Singles state champion, regional champion
Chloe Jeffries /
Andres Jensen
Tennis Co-ed doubles state champion
Lauren Hoffart /
Delaney Parman
Tennis State Qualifier, second place at regionals
Tommy Maigaard /Nicholas Fifield Tennis 8th-place at state meet
Mackenzie Main Girls Soccer First-team all-state, first-team all-state, first-team all-division
Haley Morris Girls Soccer Second-team all-state, first-team all-conference
Brooke Swain Girls Soccer Honorable mention all-state, honorable mention all-division
Morgan Schlee Girls Soccer Honorable mention all-state, first-team all-conference, first-team all-division
Anja Schepp Girls Soccer Honorable mention all-state, first-team all-division
Greta Hingl Girls Soccer Second-team all-division
Torey Brown Girls Soccer Second-team all-division
Kylee Metzger Girls Soccer Honorable mention all-division
Maddy Smithey Girls Soccer Honorable mention all-division
Kendall Bryant Girls Soccer Honorable mention all-division
Jordan Lucas Boys Soccer All-Star Team, First-team all-state, first-team all-conference, first-team all-division
Addison Parrish Boys Soccer Second-team all-state, first-team all-conference, first-team all-division
Zack Butters Boys Soccer Academic all-state, second-team all-division
Mark Broderick Boys Soccer First-team all-conference, first-team all-division
Jake Sprecher Boys Soccer Second-team all-conference, first-team all-division
Nic Gorham Boys Soccer Second-team all-division
Ramon Gonzalez Boys Soccer Second-team all-division
Almedin Plvulij Boys Soccer Second-team all-division
Britton Hiskey Boys Soccer Honorable mention all-division
Aaron Williams Boys Soccer Honorable mention all-division
Ryan Johnston Boys Soccer Honorable mention all-division


WDMCS Chief Financial Officer Paul Bobek presented on Communicating School Finance to the Public at the July 16 Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) Fiscal Management Conference.

Valley social studies teacher Kevin Neal was selected as an NEH Summer Scholar and attended an NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshop this summer. His workshop was held in Springfield, Ill., and explored Abraham Lincolns’ life in Springfield and New Salem Village, Ill., as well as the political challenges Lincoln faced as President.


Indian Hills and Fairmeadows Dismissing Early Aug. 25

Indian Hills Junior High will dismiss early today, Monday, August 25, at 12:35 p.m. due to the air conditioning not working in the building and today’s high heat and humidity levels. Buses will be running according to an adjusted schedule. After-school and evening activities are as follows:

  • Football from 12:45-3 p.m.
  • Cross Country from 12;45-2 p.m.
  • Volleyball is cancelled.
  • No After the Bell

Fairmeadows Elementary will also dismiss early today, Monday, August 25, at 1:15 p.m. due to the main air-conditioning unit not working in the building and today’s high heat and humidity levels. Buses will be running according to an adjusted schedule. Kids West will open immediately following dismissal, operating in the Media Center and Gym, where a separate air-conditioning unit is working. Kids West will close at 5 p.m. All after-school and evening activities will be held.

We apologize for the inconveniences this may cause you and your family.

If you have any questions, please call Fairmeadows Elementary at 633-6500, Indian Hills at 4700 or the district offices at 633-5000.

Third Graders ‘Own’ the Classroom

new_wh_beranek_constructionOn the first day of school at Western Hills Elementary, an orange construction sign stood outside Mike Beranek’s third grade classroom.

The sign was a hint to the activity inside.

Students sat on the carpet in the room with clipboards, floor plans and pencils in hand. Desks and chairs were stacked neatly nearby.

The students were working on their first assignment of the year – to design their room. Each student marked where he or she wanted the desks, a whiteboard, a rocking chair and other items placed. Next, students reported their design idea to the group. Beranek took notes and tallied each student’s suggested design to gather consensus for the room’s setup.

“Though this activity, students take ownership of their classroom,” Beranek explained.

He projected the results on a screen in the front of the room. The 2014-15 class chose to arrange its desks in groups, with the rocking chair at the front of the class and the whiteboard close by.

Then, the hard work began. Students were divided into four groups to make the afternoon snack, get books from the library and design the bulletin boards around the room. One group unstacked chairs and desks and placed them in the agreed upon layout.

When they were finished, third-grader Mitchell surveyed the room and said the layout looked pretty good.

The classroom set-up was all done, but the work to learn and impact their world is just beginning for these third graders.



Connect With Us

Welcome back! We hope you had a great summer! It was a busy one in the district and our staff is excited to welcome back students. A special welcome to those families new to our district this year.

As we start out the school year, we want to give you an overview of all the ways to stay informed — whether it be from your school or the district.

Each school in the district has a school newsletter. Keep an eye on your email to receive notices of newsletters and daily announcements. To ensure you are getting these newsletters, you must submit your email address to your building to be entered into Infinite Campus. Printed copies of school newsletters are sent home at most elementary schools. If you do not get a printed copy and would like one sent home with your elementary student, please contact your school office.

This newsletter, the Informaline, is emailed to all parents in the district the Monday after each school board meeting. A printed version is also sent home at the elementary buildings that do printed newsletters. In each issue you will find:

  • Board Highlights from the most recent school board meeting
  • A list of new community flyers that have been added to the Virtual Backpack
  • A feature article that has been In the News that recaps a recent news story

The district, as well as each school in the district, has its own Facebook page. Like us at www.facebook.com/wdmcs or do a quick search to find your school’s Facebook page. You can also find Community Education on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wdmced.

Follow the district on Twitter @WDMCS and get scores and game updates from @VHSTigers. Updates on technology in the district from @WDMTech and Community Education highlights from @WDMCSComEd. Check with your teacher, because they may be on Twitter, too!

Keep an eye on the district website! Find quick links and information that you want on the student, parent and staff tabs. We are continually posting new and exciting content, including:

  • News and district announcements
  • Feature stories for students, parents and staff

WDMCS Honored for Excellence in Financial Reporting

The West Des Moines Community Schools has received the Association of School Business Officials International’s (ASBO) Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting award for having met or exceeded the program’s high standards for financial reporting and accountability. The award, which is the 29th consecutive the district has received, was awarded for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013.

The WDMCS Business Services Department oversees a $154 million budget, working with representatives of the community and staff to ensure our funding supports student learning. The Certificate of Excellence award confirms the district’s commitment to financial accountability and transparency.

“The staff in the business services department works diligently each day to ensure the highest quality standards in the management of taxpayer funds,” said WDMCS Chief Financial Officer Paul Bobek. “We are honored to be recognized for our efforts.”

For more information on WDMCS Finance and Facilities, visit http://www.wdmcs.org/departments/facilities-and-finance/.  Information on the Certificate of Excellence award can be found on ASBO’s website at www.asbointl.org/COE.

Apply for Free or Reduced Lunch Online

news-lunchApplying for free or reduced meals just got easier!

You can now apply for free or reduced meals online!  Simply visit the nutrition page on our website and click Apply Online.  Applying online is easy, secure, confidential and quicker than filling out multiple pages of information by hand.

If you would also like to be eligible for free or reduced busing and book fees, please make sure to click on the box under Other Benefits marked Signed Fee Waiver on File.

Once you click submit, the information is sent to our nutrition department.  Overall processing time is faster which means you’ll find out your eligibility sooner.

If you’d like to know if you’re eligible for free or reduced priced meals, apply online today!


District Researches New Tech School Concept

During the upcoming school year, the parents, teachers, city representatives, business leaders and school board members will research a new way to structure classrooms and support learning in the district.

The district is studying the New Tech school design, which provides an instructional approach centered on project-based learning, a culture that empowers students and teachers, and integrates technology in the classroom.

If implemented, the WDMCS would be the first district in the state of Iowa to use the New Tech model.

At the school board’s July 14 workshop, WDMCS Superintendent Dr. Lisa Remy said four key areas of the district’s strategic plan are addressed in the New Tech design.

These include:

  • personalized learning,
  • flexible/differentiated learning,
  • community outreach,
  • technology infusion and
  • partnerships.

During visits she has made during the past year to New Tech schools in the Midwest, she saw students genuinely engaged in learning and working on hands-on projects affecting their communities.

“The New Tech model connects to our mission and shared vision of students thriving in a diverse and changing world,” Remy said.

No decisions have been made at this time regarding where or at what grade level the New Tech model would be implemented. If the district moves forward, it would sign a four-year $465,000 contract with New Tech for professional development and other startup costs.

New Tech Network

New Tech Network Student Outcomes Report Infograph

New Tech Network Student Outcomes Report – Full Report

School Registration Dates