District News

2017-18 Calendar Approved

The WDMCS Board of Education approved a calendar for the 2017-18 school year at its Dec. 19 meeting, setting Wednesday, Aug. 23, as the first day of school.

Here are the highlights:

  • First Student Day: Wednesday, Aug. 23
  • Winter Break: Dec. 21–Jan. 1
  • End Semester 1: Friday, Jan. 12 (90 days)
  • Flex Days: Nov. 22 and Mar. 9
  • No School for Students: Oct. 9, Jan. 15, Feb. 19, April 27
  • Spring Break: March 12–16
  • Last Student Day: Friday, June 1 (90 days)–early dismissal

The full calendar is available at bit.ly/2hH7eWX. The calendar at a glance will be coming soon on the district website!

Life in the WDMCS—Dec. 14, 2016

Life in the WDMCS is a weekly feature that highlights what is happening at each of our buildings.



WDMCS Superintendent, Board Members Honored for Excellence

West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) Superintendent Lisa Remy, Ed.D., and three WDMCS Board of Education members received awards at the Iowa Association of School Boards’ (IASB) 71st Annual Convention on Nov. 17.


WDMCS Celebrates Computer Science Education Week

Western Hills Elementary students Kate Songer, Adout Deng, and Jenna Henry discuss the directions during the Hour of Code in Kevin Graham's fifth-grade class.

Western Hills Elementary students Kate Songer, Adout Deng, and Jenna Henry discuss the directions during an Hour of Code session in Kevin Graham’s fifth-grade class.

When students see what they can create with computer science, they are excited and empowered to keep going. Join the West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) as we inspire our students with Computer Science Education Week, Dec. 5-11!

There are opportunities for students of all ages to explore computer science throughout the week. Read about some of the activities below, and contact your child’s teacher to find out if their class will be participating.


Learn Computer Science at School

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Western Hills fifth-graders Trey Weite and Ramez Naba share earbuds while learning to code.

Elementary students across the district will be completing Hour of Code activities. The Hour of Code is organized by Code.org, “a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding access to computer science….” Students will complete tutorials and continue expanding their knowledge of computer science. Find out more at code.org, and by following #HourofCode on social media.

Several courses at Valley High School offer secondary students an opportunity to investigate computer science. The classes are open to all students who want to develop computer and problem-solving skills that will help them become more college- and career-ready.

These college preparation-oriented classes cover programming and web page design, with an Advanced Placement offering for juniors and seniors. Starting in 2017-18, Valley High School will also offer the Project Lead the Way class Computer Science Principles, which “helps students develop programming expertise and explore the workings of the Internet.”

Explore Computer Science at Home

Jordan Creek Elementary students work with robotics.

Jordan Creek Elementary students work with robotics.

We invite family members to help students continue learning at home! Visit code.org/learn to get started. The tutorials are designed for all ages, from “pre-readers” to ninth grade and older.

Family members can assist younger children by helping them select a tutorial. The tutorials are family-friendly and entertaining, featuring characters from Disney’s “Moana,” “Star Wars,” “Minecraft,” and more. Any device with internet access can be used to complete the tutorials, which are available for all ages and in over 40 languages.

Use Computer Science in the Future

Computing jobs are the No. 1 source of new wages in the U.S. These jobs are in every field and all over the country. No matter what each student wants to pursue, understanding how technology works will be an important factor in their ability to succeed.

Computer Science Education Week and other computer programming activities in the district are part of our ongoing efforts to provide STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) opportunities that help prepare our students for successful futures. Join us as we celebrate computer science and STEM this week and throughout the rest of the year!

Enjoy Winter Break!

Winter break begins after school this Wednesday, Dec. 21. There will be no school Dec. 22–Jan. 2. All district offices are closed Dec. 23-26, and Jan. 2. Classes will resume Jan. 3. Enjoy your winter break!

We also want to remind district families about our weather closings procedure. To prepare for potential winter weather, please visit our “Weather Closings” webpage.

If school is canceled, delayed, or dismissed early because of weather conditions, announcements will be provided:

  • through the district weather hotline at 515-633-5555
  • through the Infinite Campus notification system
  • on the district website (www.wdmcs.org)
  • on the district’s Facebook page and Twitter account
  • through local TV and radio stations

Remember, you can choose to be notified by phone, text message, and email. Please make sure your preferred contact information and methods are entered into Infinite Campus. Directions can be found online.

Brad Rose Named Athletic Director of the Year

West Des Moines Community Schools Athletics & Activities Department Director Brad Rose was named the Iowa High School Athletic Directors Association (IHSADA) 2017 Athletic Director of the Year for the State of Iowa, as well as the 2017 Central District Athletic Director of the Year. Rose will be honored at the IHSADA State Convention in late March and at Valley High School.


Life in the WDMCS — Nov. 30, 2016

Life in the WDMCS is a weekly feature that highlights what is happening at each of our buildings.

*All photos of Westridge Elementary’s production of Disney’s “High School Musical Jr.” taken by Joe Tragresser.

Public Hearing on 2017-18 Calendar Nov. 28

The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education will hold a public hearing on the 2017-18

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Calendar icon. Blue frame design. Vector illustration.

school year calendar on Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, in the Community Room at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines.

The public hearing will be held during the Board’s regularly scheduled meeting, which starts at 7:00 p.m. It will provide a time when interested individuals can express their views, both orally and in writing, on the proposed school year calendars.

2017-18 District Calendar A

2017-18 District Calendar A – Additional Information

2017-18 District Calendar B

2017-18 District Calendar B – Additional Information

Clive Learning Academy Builds Partnerships Through Selfie Scavenger Hunt

Clive Learning Academy staff members connected with businesses and organizations in their school community through a photo scavenger hunt in October. Working in teams, the facilitators met with representatives from several businesses and organizations to teach their community about New Tech and Clive Learning Academy.

To document their budding partnerships, facilitators used a scavenger hunt app and snapped photos of every “mission.” The missions included meetings at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa, the Windsor Heights Hy-Vee, departments and offices from the cities of Clive and Windsor Heights, and other local businesses. The business representatives all gamely posed for selfies during their meetings.

“When you can make those community connections, it’s really powerful,” Shive-Hattery civil engineer Kelsey Reisberg said. “It helps build strong communities and businesses.”

Clive facilitators educate Windsor Heights city officials about New Tech in their school.

Clive facilitators educate city officials about New Tech.

Part of the connection came from teaching each organization about Clive Learning Academy’s New Tech learning model. The facilitators and representatives also brainstormed partnership opportunities for Clive students and the school. Ideas included website projects with WebSpec Design, creating disaster preparedness kits with Iowa Homeland Security, and a tour of Shive-Hattery Architecture and Engineering focused on its collaborative spaces.

“The community partnerships are so important, being a New Tech school,” Clive facilitator Mara Phillips said. “A lot of our projects include collaborating with community members to make the learning truly authentic.”

The Clive facilitators also asked what skills the businesses and organizations were looking for in future employees. Some representatives mentioned specific skills like financial awareness and interviewing ability. Many emphasized so-called “soft skills” like communication and teamwork, which are taught and evaluated in the New Tech model. Like many New Tech students, the representatives seemed excited about the hands-on aspect of the learning model.

Clive facilitators discuss the scavenger hunt.

Clive facilitators discuss the scavenger hunt.

“It’s interesting and exciting to have opportunities to share engineering with more students,” said Adam Puls, a mechanical engineer at Shive-Hattery. “In high school, I didn’t know about that many opportunities for engineers. It’s cool that younger kids are getting exposed to the idea of engineering.”

In an afternoon reflection session, the scavenger hunt teams shared project ideas and discussed ways to continue building students’ soft skills in their classrooms.

“By having teachers make connections with new businesses and community members, we have established relationships and will hopefully be able to partner with them in the future for student projects,” Phillips said.

Learn more about New Tech in the WDMCS

Special thanks to all the new community partners that participated in Clive Learning Academy’s photo scavenger hunt! See more photos of the Clive facilitators below.

  • 5 Borough Bagels
  • Bankers Trust
  • Big Brothers/Big Sisters
  • Capital Orthopedic & Sports Medicine
  • City of Clive
  • City of Windsor Heights
  • Clive Community Services
  • Cumulus Media
  • FIT
  • Hy-Vee
  • Iowa Homeland Security
  • New Leaf Wellness
  • Shive-Hattery Architecture and Engineering
  • Walnut Creek YMCA
  • WebSpec Design
  • Windsor Heights Police Department
  • Windsor Heights Fire Department

District and Valley Announce Equity Team Members

Two new groups began working with the district and Valley High School on education equity in our schools. The district and Valley High School equity teams met for the first time on Thursday, Nov. 10. The membership of each team includes students, parents, community members, and employees.