District News

Belin-Blank Center Honors WDMCS Students and Educators

JustinToth6Eighteen students and 12 teachers were honored at The University of Iowa Belin-Blank Center’s Recognition Ceremony on Oct. 11, 2015 in Iowa City. In addition, Valley High School was recognized as one of the top 25 schools in the state on the Advanced Placement (AP) Index.

The following students were recognized by the Belin-Blank Center for outstanding performance in the Belin-Blank Exceptional Student Talent Search:

  • Valley High School sophomores Aarushi Dervesh and Aidan Pearl
  • Indian Hills eighth-grader Kathryn Wittrock
  • Stilwell seventh-graders Veda Amalkar, Pierce Blazek, Allison Cook, Elaine Greer, Quinn Kelly, Risha Shetye and Bailey Walke
  • Indian Hills seventh-graders Gabriela Juist, Dorothy Junginger, Noah Mack, Gavin Mitchell and Justin Toth
  • Western Hills Elementary sixth-grader Andrew Hedrick
  • Jordan Creek Elementary fifth-grader Claire Gu

Indian Hill Junior High eighth-grader Mary Thomas was recognized for her participation in the Blank Summer Institute. Valley High School graduate Arun Velamuri was also recognized for participating in the Iowa Junior Science and Humanities Symposium.

The students who were recognized could honor a teacher who had a profound influence on their life and education. The WDMCS educators honored at the event were:

  • Crestview School of Inquiry teacher Adam Nidey
  • Fairmeadows Elementary teacher Karen Klinge
  • Jordan Creek Elementary teachers Deb Flagg, Jennifer McLaughlin, Kristy Skoglund and Jory Smith
  • Western Hills Elementary teacher Del Brink
  • Westridge Elementary teachers Kristi Bentz and Nancy Foley
  • Indian Hills Junior High teacher Alice Fuglsang
  • Stilwell Junior High teacher Benjamin Stein
  • Valley High School teachers Trevor Barrett and Karen Downing

Valley High School was also recognized at this year’s ceremony as one of the Iowa schools ranked among the Top 25 of the Iowa AP Index. The index rating is calculated by dividing the number of AP exams taken by the number of students in the school’s graduating class. Valley High School, ranked eighth, was among the Top 10 of the Iowa AP Index for the seventh consecutive year. It offers more than 20 Advanced Placement courses, with enrollment in these courses having grown by 50 percent in the past three years.

Life in the WDMCS 10/26/2015

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 Learning Academy
Clive Learning Academy first-grade learners have been studying butterflies and their life cycles. They observed caterpillars daily, watched them form chrysalises, and released them as butterflies. Learners also learned about other insects and their characteristics.

Crestview School of Inquiry
Crestview School of Inquiry learners took part in Iowa’s Healthiest State Walk during recess on Wednesday, Oct. 7.  Police officers from the Clive Police Department, parents, staff, and other community members joined the learners in walking one kilometer to promote health and fitness.

Busting Bus Myths for National School Bus Safety Week

WDMCS bus drivers safely transport about 3,600 students each day. Each school year, they drive more than 700,000 miles. To celebrate these drivers and National School Bus Safety Week, Oct. 19-23, WDMCS Community Education decided to bust some myths about buses and the West Des Moines Community Schools Transportation department.

2016-17 Calendar Public Hearing Oct. 26

The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education will hold a public hearing on the proposed 2016-17 school year calendar on Monday, Oct. 26 in the Community Room at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines. The public hearing will take place during the board’s regular meeting, which starts at 7 p.m.

People will have the opportunity to express their views during the public hearing on the proposed 2016-17 school year calendar, which has school starting on Wednesday, Aug. 24. This complies  with a new state law approved last year that says Iowa schools can not start the academic year earlier than August 23.


Proposed 2016-17 School Year Calendar Highlights:

  • First Student Day: Wednesday, August 24
  • Winter Break: December 22 -January 2
  • End Semester 1: January 13
  • No School for Students/Staff Flex Days: November 23 and March 10 (Revised)
  • No School for Students/Staff Professional Development Days: October 10, January 16, February 24, April 28
  • Spring Break: March 13-17 (Revised)
  • Last School Day for Students (pending snow days): Friday, June 2 (Two-hour early dismissal)

 Proposed 2016-17 School Year Calendar – Full Calendar (Revised)

Valley Students Earn Top AP Awards

Recent Valley High School graduate Ojas Pradhan was named a State AP Scholar, making him one of two top Advanced Placement Program® (AP) students in the state. The College Board also recognized 181 other Valley High School students for their high achievement through AP courses and on AP Exams taken in May 2015. The following Valley students were named AP Scholars for 2015:

Life in the WDMCS 10/19/2015

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 Learning Academy

Second-graders at Clive Learning Academy are becoming experts on the Constitution as they work on their first project using project-based learning. They are identifying rights and responsibilities that they have in the school community, and will then create public service announcements to reinforce positive, responsible behaviors in school.

Crestview School of Inquiry

Crestview fourth-graders toured Fitch Studios, walked through the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, and visited the Des Moines Art Center for a September art field trip. They watched practicing artists at work and participated in a printmaking demonstrations at Fitch Studios. They also talked about the artistic process with local artists. At the sculpture park, they learned about each sculpture and artist. They viewed and discussed artists and work in the collection at the Des Moines Art Center. Each student left with a favorite piece in mind.

Jordan Creek Elementary

Jordan Creek second-graders took a trip to the Iowa State Capitol in late September. After lunch on the capitol lawn, they toured the capitol building. They saw the Iowa Constitution, the USS Iowa replica, the first lady doll exhibit, the House of Representatives and Senate chambers, the State Law Library, and met Paul Pate, the secretary of state.

Wheels on the Bus: School Bus Drivers Say Kids Best Part of the Job

National Bus Safety Week is from Oct. 19-23 this year. Thank your bus driver and bus assistant, and stay safe on the road!

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Trick or Treat! Ten Tips for Staying Safe on Beggars’ Night

Autumn holiday - Halloween
Beggars’ Night is coming up for most WDMCS families! Whether you and your family will be trick-or-treating or not, these tips will help keep the night safe for everyone.

  1. Make sure costumes fit. This is an easy way to prevent falls.
  2. Add reflective tape to costumes and bags to increase visibility.
  3. Do not let children carve pumpkins alone. Let them design the face with a marker instead.
  4. Kids should walk with a group or an adult.
  5. If kids do go with friends, agree on a time they need to be back, plan a route, and remind them of pedestrian safety rules.
  6. Take a flashlight to light your way as you go from house to house.
  7. Keep walking paths and stairs well-lit and free of obstacles.
  8. Avoid lit candles and luminaries. Safe alternatives are flashlights, glow sticks, and electronic candles.
  9. All treats should be closely examined by an adult before eating.
  10. If you have non-food treats, join the Teal Pumpkin Project™* to let people know you have alternatives for kids with food allergies.

Beggars’ Night is from 6–8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 30, for most WDMCS families. Get more tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before going door-to-door!

*The TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT and the Teal Pumpkin Image are trademarks of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).

Snow Day! Update Your Information to Get Notifications

Winter weather is approaching! The district will be conducting a test of its emergency notification system at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27. The call will come from 515-633-5599.

This is ONLY A TEST.

Want to make sure you receive the call?

  • Have an Infinite Campus account. If you don’t have an account, call your school office.
  • Enter your preferred number into Infinite Campus.

Have questions or need assistance?

  • Your school office can answer your questions or update your information.
  • You may also follow these instructions to change your information: http://bit.ly/WDMCStestcall.

Staplin Center Dedication Nov. 12

staplinpJoin the West Des Moines Community Schools for a celebration of the arts as our community dedicates the Staplin Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12. This event is free and open to the public.

The dedication honors Dr. Phyllis Staplin, who served as a district curriculum director for 33 years and provided enduring support to every facet of the district’s fine arts program.

The evening will feature student artwork, a youth dance performance, and performances by Valley band, drama, orchestra, and vocal students.