District News

Sing and Dance Your Summer Away with Community Education!

Community Education is offering two sessions beginner and experienced show choir camps for students entering grades 5-6. Students will have fun making music with others who enjoy singing and dancing.

Give Your Student a ‘Sneak Peek’ into Kindergarten

This week-long program gives our youngest students an opportunity to experience what it will be like to be a kindergartner and will give them an extra boost of confidence for their first day of school.

WDMCS Invite Businesses to Learn about New Tech

feature_new_techThe West Des Moines Community Schools is re-imagining learning for students. With technology-integrated classrooms and a classroom culture promoting trust, respect, and responsibility, we are partnering with local businesses and organizations to solve real-world problems, complete projects in our community, and prepare our students for successful careers right here at home.

Local business leaders are invited to a Lunch & Learn Thursday, Jun 18 from 11:30-1 p.m. at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines. Lunch will be provided.

For more information, please contact Dr. Lisa Remy at remyl@wdmcs.org.

To learn more about West Des Moines New Tech, visit www.wdmcs.org/academics/new-tech.

Tips for Summertime Safety

One of the best things about summer is enjoying time outside with family. Warm weather and long days provide plenty of opportunities for playing, hiking, going on picnics or bike rides, and exploring. The season also brings up summer-specific health issues, like stronger sun and certain insects. Here is a quick guide to staying safe this summer from the West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS).

Sun Safety Tips: UVA and UVB Rays

sunglassesFind shade. This tip seems obvious, but is still important and often ignored. Keep this in mind especially when the sun is strongest, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., or when your shadow is shorter than you are.

Protect your skin. There are many ways to do this, including covering up with clothing and hats and wearing sunscreen. Make sure sunscreen is an appropriate SPF, and that you can’t see sunlight through clothing. If you can, the rays can also get through to your skin.

Wear the right sunglasses. Wearing sunglasses is common, but wearing sunglasses that truly protect eyes is not. Many people wear fashion sunglasses or sunglasses that do not wrap around far enough. Find glasses that cover the whole eye area and that block both UVA and UVB rays. The best sunglasses will block 99-100 percent of the rays.

Insect Safety Tips: Ticks and Mosquitoes

Wear protective clothing when going outside. Hats, long-sleeve shirts, long pants, and socks are a good idea, though it may be too hot for this in summer. Find lightweight clothing, or protect your skin in other ways, and always remember to stay hydrated. Hair should be covered, and long hair should be tied back.

Young children pose outside of tentMosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, so limit outdoor activity at these times. Ticks like humid environments, so avoid wooded areas, and even area with higher amounts of shrubs, plant litter, and tall grass. Walk in the center of trails. Always apply insect repellent before going outside. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends various repellents for ticks and mosquitoes and provides a tool that helps select the right repellent for the circumstances.

An important part of treating insect bites is doing it right after coming inside. Any mosquito bites should be treated promptly. The bites can be itchy, but will go away in time. Try to avoid scratching. For itch relief, use hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion. An ice or cold pack might also help. Mosquitoes can pass on West Nile virus, which has a variety of symptoms. See a healthcare professional if symptoms manifest.

Tick bites are not as immediately apparent as mosquito bites. To prevent them:

  • Kill ticks left on clothing by tumbling clothes in a dryer on high heat for one hour.
  • Shower or bathe within two hours of coming inside. This is a good chance to perform a full-body tick check. Pay special attention to hair, under arms, belly button, behind the knees, around the waist, the groin area, and in and around ears.
  • Check pets and any gear. Ticks can enter the house on animals or equipment, then attach to people later.
Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Remove attached ticks as soon as possible. Grasp the tick with tweezers, getting as close to the skin as possible, and pull it straight out. Clean the bite and wash hands with soap and water, rubbing alcohol, or an iodine scrub.

In the weeks following a tick bite, watch for signs of illness like a rash or fever. See a healthcare professional if they develop. Knowing information like the bite location, where the tick was picked up, and how long the tick was attached may be helpful.

These tips can help keep families stay safe during the summer months. Parents or guardians can help younger children follow them and encourage older children to form healthy habits early on. With the first official day of summer coming up on Sunday, June 21, families have the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors in a fun, safe way.


Many thanks to WDMCS Community Education, which first compiled these tips.



CDC: Don’t Get Burned!
American Cancer Society
CDC:  Stop Mosquitos
CDC: West Nile virus site
Mayo Clinic: Treating Mosquito Bites
CDC: Stop Ticks
CDC: Tick Removal

Register Your Incoming Kindergartner for Safety Town 2015

Safety Town is for children entering kindergarten in the fall of 2015.

Life in the WDMCS 6/8/15

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

Crestview Elementary students are wild about reading, especially the Iowa Children’s Choice Award (ICCA) books. Students in grades 4-6 who read at least two ICCA books this year got to attend an end-of-year celebration honoring their achievements and encouraging them to read next year’s ICCA book choices.

Jordan Creek Elementary

Jordan Creek Elementary students participated in the annual field day on Thursday, May 28. Over 700 students rotated through various stations like problem-solving, fitness challenges, and teamwork  games. They got use a 100-foot water slide and the giant parachute, do ABC Cardio and the Fitness Fury Challenge, play sponge tag and tug-of-war, bean bag toss, memory games, and more. Physical education teacher Lu Suarez, parents, and students organized and ran the fourteen stations.

Valley High School

Jessica Martens, a 2015 Valley High School graduate, will be representing Iowa at the National High School Theater Awards from June 24-30 in New York. Martens won the trip as part of the Triple Threat Award at the Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards. The award is the program’s top honor and recognizes students for their acting, singing and dancing abilities.

Valley Musicians Perform “Providence” at Carnegie Hall


Photo credit: Deb Lind

UPDATED June 22, 2015 — The Valley High School orchestra and vocal music departments enjoyed a successful  Carnegie Hall performance and trip to New York City. They performed “Providence” by Ola Gjielo, a contemporary Norwegian composer. The piece was commissioned to honor the opening of the Valley Performing Arts Center. The Carnegie Hall performance on June 15 was part of an event that also featured the Masterworks Festival Chorus, the New York City Chamber Orchestra, the National Festival Chorus, the National Children’s Festival Chorus, and the Cantabile Singers of Silicon Valley. When they were not rehearsing or performing, students got the chance to explore New York City and see some Broadway shows.


PAC2015-sign2June 8, 2015 — ‘World Premiere of “Providence” Honors Valley Performing Arts Center’ — The Valley High School vocal music and orchestra departments are combining to perform the world premiere of “Providence” by Ola Gjeilo at 7 p.m. on June 9 in the Valley Performing Arts Center, 3650 Woodland Ave., West Des Moines. The piece was commissioned by the Valley High School vocal and orchestral music departments and Manhattan Concert Productions to honor the opening of the Valley Performing Arts Center.

“Providence” is a 15-minute choral-orchestral piece by Gjeilo, a renowned contemporary composer from Norway, with text from the 1633 poem of the same name by George Herbert, an English poet and priest. The chorus and orchestra will also be performing “Providence” at Carnegie Hall in New York City on June 15. The free performance will be at 7 p.m. on June 9 in the Valley Performing Arts Center. Other choral selections include “The Ground” by Gjeilo, “Hallelujah” (from “Christ on the Mount of Olives”) by Ludwig van Beethoven and “A Bronze Triptych” by Dan Forrest. The orchestra will perform Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, No. 4 by Arcangelo Corelli, “Dance” (from “Brooke Green Suite”) by Gustav Holst and “Pavane” by Maurice Ravel.

“Valley Commission Premiere Concert” Facebook Event

Valley Graduate to Attend National High School Theater Awards

Jessica Martens, a 2015 Valley High School graduate, will be representing Iowa at the National High School Theater Awards from June 24-30 in New York.

Back-to-School Information for 2015-16

The Back-to-School Information for 2015-16 is now available. Registration dates, 2015-16 fees, immunization and health requirements, and the different school schedules are included.

2015-16 Back-to-School Informaline

en español


Life in the WDMCS 6/1/15

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 special education students took a field trip to Adventureland on May 22. The students worked on a variety of activities and skills to make the trip fun and meaningful. During the trip, they got to experience the rides at Adventureland and also use the skills they learned, including patience, cooperation, safety and teamwork.

Valley High School

The Valley High School Varsity Girls Golf team competed at the regional tournament on May 27. They qualified to compete in the state tournament, held June 1-2. Seniors Annie Edelman, Sonya Shah, Emily Steinmetz and Bailey Zoss, junior Megan Cushing and sophomore Cassidy Beamer will be competing in the state tournament.

The Valley High School Varsity Boys Soccer team beat Ames 4-3 in the sub-state final game on Saturday, May 30. The win secured their spot at the Boys’ State Soccer Tournament, June 4-6 at Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines.