District News

Welcome Back! A Message from the Superintendent

remylWelcome to the 2016-17 school year. I hope you enjoyed the summer months and were able to spend time with friends and family. I am looking forward to another year filled with outstanding learning experiences and opportunities for all of our students.

One of our values in the West Des Moines Community Schools is growth. I want every child in our district to grow each year to expand their individual abilities and interests. To help our students, we, as adults, must grow as well. We must continue to learn, innovate, and enhance our abilities in an ever-changing world. I have worked with our Board of Education to define goals that will guide our district and my work for this year. I invite you to learn more about these goals, which are available at bit.ly/2bR5FUs.

Thank you for joining us for the 2016-17 school year. We will work every day to inspire each student to achieve his or her greatest potential. I wish you a year filled with happiness, learning, and success!

Welcome to the 2016-17 school year,
Superintendent Lisa Remy, Ed.D.

WDMCS Reviewing Upgrades to School Buildings

Your student may spend up to seven hours each day in one of our school buildings. So it’s likely no surprise that a school’s “brick and mortar” can affect a child’s learning.

Updated! WDMCS Online Calendar Information

Print the Online Calendar Guide

The full 2016-17 district calendar is now available online at www.wdmcs.org/calendar. You can find a link to the district calendar webpage at the top of any page on the district website.

On the district calendar webpage, two calendars will be available: the Calendar at a Glance and the Interactive Online Calendar. Continue reading to learn how to use the new interactive online district calendar.

Calendar at a Glance

Our at-a-glance calendar PDF is a printable academic calendar. It includes breaks, no school days, and other main districtwide dates. The Calendar at a Glance is located at the top of the district calendar webpage. Click the “THIS YEAR” button to view a PDF of the current academic calendar. The “NEXT YEAR” button leads to an academic calendar for the upcoming academic year, which is posted in late January each school year.

Interactive Online District Calendar

Complete with a new, user-friendly design, the interactive online district calendar is fully customizable through filtering. You can personalize your online calendar view by choosing the event categories and schools relevant to your needs.

Step One: Filter by Event Category
This is the main filter and helps you select which type of event you want to see. You should use this filter first.

  • Activities — debate, science bowl, etc.
  • Arts — band, jazz band, vocal music, and orchestra
  • Athletics — 7-12 athletics (basketball, football, soccer, etc.)
  • Community Education
  • Districtwide — all districtwide events (no school days, holidays, school board meetings, testing, etc.)
  • Schoolwide — all building-level events (school pictures, conferences, meet the teacher night)

Step Two: Filter by School
This is a secondary filter. Use this filter to break down your categorized events by school building.

  • All Schools — events at every district school building that are in your chosen category/categories
  • Elementary — events at every elementary school building
    • To view events occurring at your specific elementary school, check the box next to the school’s name:
      • Clive
      • Crestview
      • Crossroads
      • Fairmeadows
      • Hillside
      • Jordan Creek
      • Western Hills
      • Westridge
  • Junior High — events at both junior high school buildings
    • To view events occurring at your specific junior high school, check the box next to the school’s name:
      • Indian Hills
      • Stilwell
  • High School — events at every high school building
    • To view events occurring at your specific high school, check the box next to the school’s name:
      • Valley
      • Valley Southwoods
      • Walnut Creek

Day, Week, Month, Range
Another way to customize your calendar view is to select a range of event dates. Built-in ranges include “DAY,” “WEEK,” and “MONTH.” You can also create your own range by clicking on the “RANGE” button. Select a “START DATE” and “END DATE,” then click “APPLY.” Before you start a new event date search, click “CLEAR.”

NEW! Printable Customized Calendar

Once you have personalized your online calendar view to your interests, you can print a customized list of dates with our new on-demand print feature. Click the “PRINT” button near the top of the calendar to print an easy-to-read PDF. (Preprinted yearly calendars are no longer available due to budget reductions.)

Additional Calendar Resources

WDMCS Introduces a New Brand Identity

Today, the West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) is excited to launch our new brand, which celebrates our district as a place where students can belong, connect, learn, and launch their future.


Our Brand

Our revitalized brand represents who we are as a district today and our vision for the future.

As a highly-ranked district, we offer one of the largest selections of excellent academic courses and programs in the state, allowing students a customized learning experience. As our world and the needs of our students change, learning experiences must change as well to prepare our students for their future. This is why we recently introduced new online courses at Valley High School and are expanding our first-in-Iowa New Tech schools.

This innovative spirit will continue as our experienced educators meet with families to review grading practices and continue to collaboratively analyze teaching strategies to best meet students’ needs.

Our brand is based on our mission, vision, and values, which were developed by our community members. You can learn more about what guides us at www.wdmcs.org/district/mission-vision-goals-actions-plans/.


Our Logo

WDMCS noTag RGBPart of the district brand is a new academic logo, which signifies the opportunities we provide our students:
academic achievement, innovative leadership, and unique learning pathways. It represents the district’s future-forward thinking and heralds the innovative possibilities of tomorrow.

The design integrates references to our district’s history by using a “W” and a “V.” The colors were also inspired by our history and represent energy, sophistication, and quiet strength.

Reminiscent of a person with arms outstretched in welcome and triumph, the logo reflects our focus on the people in our district. The three blocks stand for the families, employees, and community members who support each student’s success.

During the next several months, we will introduce the new logo in several areas, including an updated website with new user-friendly features, revised materials, and much more.

More importantly, we will continue to work in partnership with families and the community to educate responsible lifelong learners who possess the skills, knowledge, creativity, sense of self-worth, and values necessary to thrive in and contribute to a diverse and changing world.

We will continue to use our athletics and activities logos—the tiger and the paw—as well as the WDMCS Community Education identity suite. We will also introduce a new identity suite for the Staplin Performing Arts Center. This strategy is based on a typical college or university identity structure.

You may also see the old blue and white district logo around the district. To be conscientious of our resources, we are using up the materials we have instead of just throwing them away.


Our Branding Journey

The district’s brand was developed in our district community by our community members.

In 2013, the West Des Moines Community Schools conducted a communications audit with the National School Public Relations Association. One recommendation of the audit was to incorporate marketing and branding strategies to share the district’s story as a leading school district. Subsequently, the School/Community Relations Office developed a comprehensive communications plan, which included conducting and implementing a branding process by 2016.

The School/Community Relations Office began the branding process in 2014 with assistance from Share Marketing. The process launched in November with a 22-question branding and positioning survey of parents/guardians and employees. Students of Valley High School’s marketing class were also involved in the branding process and participated in the survey. In January, two four-hour branding work sessions were held with nearly 30 parent/guardian, teacher, administrator, and support staff representatives. Through the committee’s work, a brand platform was developed for the district.

The district’s visual identity suite is based on the brand platform. The School/Community Relations Office worked with Love Scott & Associates, Inc., an Iowa agency with 40 years of experience in branding and marketing, to develop the brand identity. Love Scott & Associates President Andrea Love and former Vice President/Creative Director Adam Jensen have a deep understanding of the district through their previous work with staff, students and families on the district activities logo. In addition, Love is a graduate of Valley High School.

The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education approved the logos and brand identity in 2015.

Welcome to a reimagined WDMCS. Share the new district brand and our student-inspired district video with your friends and family using #WelcometoWDMCS on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest!

195 Students, Teachers, Community Members Collaborate on District Video

Almost 200 students, family members, district staff, volunteers, and community members contributed their time, energy, and talents to a new video for the West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS).

Featuring an original song composed and performed by Valley High School musicians, the video focuses on the most important people in our district: the students.

See someone you know? Let them know by sharing the video using #WelcometoWDMCS on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!

The Story Behind Our Video
Our students were a creative force behind the video, assisting with all aspects of production, from the script to the original song. Often using their own words, they talked about their experiences in the district, from working together in class to designing a fashion line and programming a computer.

Valley High School graduate and 2015-16 Valley Student Council President Thomas Bonus speaks in the video.

Valley High School graduate and 2015-16 Valley Student Council President Thomas Bonus speaks in the video.

Valley High School graduate and 2015-16 Valley Student Council President Thomas Bonus provided the video’s theme in an interview a few weeks before his graduation. With a senior student’s perspective, he talked about changes in learning brought about by new technology and the dawn of the Information Age. He emphasized the importance of interactive learning, collaboration, and the ability of education to prepare students for their futures. To show those opportunities in action, we searched for students who wanted to tell their stories and would represent the district as a whole.

Eighth-grader Joseph Maxwell helped adapt his lines in the video from a statement he had submitted to the website using the “Share Your Story” button. Alayna Meeks and Susanne Schemmel, both 2016 Valley graduates, talked about their respective authentic learning experiences in Valley’s Culinary Arts and Design Studio classes. Sixth-grade Hillside Elementary students and English Learners Oscar Ivan Aldana Barrera, Jesus Berber, and Juan Soto-Silva helped write and translate their own lines so their story could be told in both English and Spanish. Walnut Creek Campus graduate Chloe Christensen tried on a cap and gown for the video just a few weeks before her real graduation.  Many other students shared their unique stories, interests, and goals with us as we explored the district through their eyes.

Recent Valley High School graduate Olympia Manning, left, composed the district theme.

Recent Valley High School graduate Olympia Manning, left, composed the district theme.

Students also created the original song heard at the beginning and end of the video. Olympia Manning, a 2016 Valley High School graduate interested in film score composition, composed the song herself and worked with videographer Ryan Buck on the lyrics. Manning and seven other students from the Valley band, choir, and orchestra learned and recorded the song with help from Buck. The students developed their own parts, performed the song for a demo and the final recording, and participated in the opening shot of the district video.

Part of the West Des Moines Community Schools promise to students is that they will have a voice. Each students’ journey is part of our district story, and the goal of this video was providing students the opportunity to tell their own stories. We feel privileged to have worked with so many students who helped us tell our story with authenticity.

We would like to extend a special thank you to everyone who was part of the video, especially the many students and teachers who donated their time and energy and Ryan Paul Buck Productions. A full list of credits can be seen below.


Produced by Ryan Paul Buck Productions
with additional footage provided by Wil Abeling

“District Theme”
Composed by Olympia Manning
Lyrics by Ryan Buck and Olympia Manning
Guitar: Liam Carroll
Bass Guitar: Matt Christensen
Drums: Jakhari Durham
Vocals: Derek Lutt, Nicole Miller, and Caroline Stump
Violin: Olympia Manning
Keyboard: Curtis Craven, Nicole Miller, and Caroline Stump
Choir: Abisai Garcia, Quinn Kelly, Maya Knudsen, Azure Peterson, Maren Stegh, Justin Toth, Crystal Westberg

Oscar Ivan Aldana Barrera
Jesus Berber
Ben Berry
Cohen Bialas
Thomas Bonus
Mariana Castro Dominguez
Chloe Christensen
Medardo Constanza
Carson Copple
Farrah Ganske
Sawyer Haskin
Eddie Hybels
Drake Larson
Joseph Maxwell
Alayna Meeks
Layne Slater
Juan Soto-Silva
Susanne Schemmel
Rachel Werner
Blaise Wittern
Zoe Young
Jordan Creek Kids Care Club
Valley Girls Basketball Team

District Staff and Community Members
Chris Amundson
Pam Ballard
Pete Bissinger
Lucas Brandt
Anna Brown
Carmen Clark
Melissa Clayton
Kim Davis
Ryan Deignan
Kim Dunbar
Haley Gibbons
Stacy Hansen
David Maxwell
Janell Mikels
Adam Nidey
Laura Pals
Phil Peters
Amanda Pichler
Laura Roberts
Joe Sigrist
Gregory Simmons
Alisha Stewart
Barb Tigges
Josh Waymire
Joe Wiltgen
Aaron Witt
Helena Young

Special thanks to all the students who participated in the opening shot of the video:

Group Leaders
Catherine Christian, Jared Fisher, Olivia Hope, Nic Lovan, Carter Oakley,
Theresia Reineke, Jacie Stewart, Justine Williamson

Anabel Aguilar
John Anderson
Cael Anderson
Macy Anfinson
Whisper Arbs
Christina Arbs
Brindy Arredondo
Zachria Atal
Madison Ater
Connor Bach
Jeremy Bailey
Angelika Baker
Quinton Ballou
Jaryn Barkley
Janse Barkley
Daija Bash
Karthikeyan Bashiyam
Judith Beaty
Jessica Biede
Darren Brown
Trigger Cook
Lily Custer
Lily Dahlen
Neishha Desai
Amara Dorr
Alyssa Dougherty
Dayna Dunnwald
Drew Dunnwald
Nick Edgar
Haven Eichinger
Amara Feitelson
Hannah Fry
Ryan Funck
Jasmine Gandhi
Conall Gardner
Jessica Gimba
Kathia Gonzalez
Helen Gould
Kassidy Grissom
Yaidely Guzman
Farah Hagan
Thomas Hathaway
Isabella Heiden
Riley Heil
Holly Heil
Marleigh Heil
Lillian Herteen
Tyndal Hervey
Eleanor Horak
Brianna Huisman
Melanie Isenhoff
Marina Ivanovski
Lorena Jacks
Catalina Jacks
Theo Jackson
Braylon Jenkins
Will Johnson
Kamiyah Kazeze
Damari Kazeze
Harshini Keshavamurthy
Rachel Kirby
Alexa Knight
Gavin Knudsen
Lucas Koerselman
Jacob Koerselman
Olivia Lamphere
Drake Larson
Kellan Lawson
Isabella Le
Aurora Lee
Aleena Lee
Bella Mancero
Davis Maurath
Alison McDonnell
Jordan McKechnie
Andrew McKinney
Claire Meyers
Mattea Miller
Sydney Mixon
Samuel Muru
Nithya Myneni
Lillian Nelson
Jack Nelson
Elise Nikkel
Luke Nikkel
Kadyn Olberding
Gregory Pendegraft
Saxton Press
Madilynn Publow
Jaden Qualls
Branin Quinones
Austin Reding
Jadyn Reis
Noah Samples
Langston Samples
Priscilla Saucedo
Michael Sbrocco
Isabel Serio
Tishara Slater
Talyn Slater
Kailee St. John
Cecelia Stegh
Nathan Tenney
Isabel Thomas
Jack Trevillyan
India Tuai
Lillian Tuai
Delaney Turner
Ethan Tuttle
Jacob Underwood
Norah VandeBerg
Andrew VandeBerg
Alex Walters
Brennen Westberg
Ceira White (Current)
Kelsey Whitfield
Dava Wiegel
Mary Yelick
Paula Vivian Youbor

Back to School 2016-17

Welcome to the 2016-17 school year! We look forward to seeing you in our hallways again, starting Wednesday, Aug. 24. The first day of school this year will follow the collaboration schedule and be an early out day. Please contact your school if you have any questions about the first day of school.

Here are several links that will help your family have a great year in the West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS).

Back-to-School Toolkit, School Supply Lists & More

Make Lunch Payments and Pay Fees Online

  • Make a Payment: Easily make payments for nutrition, transportation, Kids West, and more online. Payments may also be made in person. Call 515-633-5000 for more information.
  • Ride the Bus: Sign up for bus transportation here.
  • Apply Online:  The application for free and reduced-price meals is now available online! Find instructions and the application here.

Check Your Calendar! Upcoming Events & Important Dates

  • Elementary Back-to-School Dates: Find your elementary school’s open house date and time here.
  • Secondary Back-to-School Dates: Find registration dates and times for high school and junior high here.
  • Calendar-At-A-Glance: The WDMCS online at-a-glance calendar is available now. It’s an easy-to-print document with all the important 2016-17 dates.
  • School-Year Calendar: The full 2016-17 calendar of events will be available online in mid-August at www.wdmcs.org/calendar.
    • Customize Your Calendar: Personalize your online calendar view by choosing the categories relevant to you.
    • New On-Demand Print Feature: Our full online events calendar will allow you to print a customized list of dates. (Preprinted yearly calendars will no longer be available due to budget reductions.)

Our printable Back-to-School information sheet also includes most of this information:

English en español


See Something Different?
As you get ready for the 2016-17 school year, you will see the new district logo on our forms, handbooks, and more. Watch the district website and your email inbox for more information as we get closer to the first day of school. We are excited to share the story of our district with you!


For information about the first day of preschool and preschool programs in our district, visit the Tiger Cubs Preschool webpage.