District News

Ready, Set, Go! Five Tips to Help You Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten

Smiling parents reading with young child.

Our kindergarten teachers welcome young learners to school each fall and share with parents the belief that every child can flourish. Here are their five tips, along with some fun activities, that can help make the kindergarten transition a success.


1. Develop a child’s spirit of independence. 

Independence leads to success in kindergarten and beyond.

Let your child solve a simple problem, such as assembling a toy or putting together a puzzle. If you see your child struggling a bit, pause before you help and give her a moment to work on a solution herself.

2. Work on those fine motor skills.

Kindergarten is learning new things. Fine motor skills can help. Get them in shape with arts and crafts.

Ask your child what ideas he has about going to kindergarten. Write down some of your child’s answers. Then ask him to draw a picture of what kindergarten will be like.

3. Make playing with others a priority.

Working together and listening make kindergarten fun for everyone. Practice by creating a story together. Start a story, then pause at a pivotal point in the tale to let your child complete the tale.

You can also read aloud with your child every day. Your reading time doesn’t have to be long—5-10 minutes each day will make this a regular activity.

4. Practice simple self-care habits. 

Kindergarten will teach your child about safety and responsibility. You can start the lesson by introducing some basics.

Sing a phone number or address song. Take a song your child knows well and change the lyrics to your phone number and address.

5. Be their first teacher.

In the WDMCS, we believe parents and guardians are the first and most important teachers for children. Help your children begin their learning by practicing word and number skills.

Play “store.” Put price tags for 20 cents or less on toys and let your child use pennies, nickels, and dimes to pay for them.

Look for shapes together by playing “I Spy.” You might say, “I spy a blue square. Can you find it?” Once your child finds the shape, your child can ask you to find the next item.

Learn more about kindergarten in the WDMCS at www.wdmcs.org/district/our-schools/registration/kindergarten/.

Register for Kindergarten

Support Staff Contract Negotiations Continues

Negotiations regarding the 2016-17 West Des Moines Educational Support Personnel (WDMESP) contract will continue at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines. This meeting is open to the public.

West Des Moines Community School District chief negotiators CFO Paul Bobek and Associate Superintendent of Human Resources Carol Seid will present the district’s 2017-18 initial proposal to the WDMESP. Chief negotiator for the WDMESP is Becky Duchesneau. She presented the WDMESP’s initial proposal on Jan. 24, 2017.


Agreement between WDMCS district and WDM Educational Support Personnel (PDF)

Board Continues Facilities Study

Support Staff Contract Negotiations to Begin

Negotiations for the 2016-17 education support staff contract will begin January 24, 2017, in the West Des Moines Community School District.

West Des Moines Educational Support Personnel (WDMESP) will present their 2017-18 initial proposal to the school district on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, at 4:30 p.m. at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines.

Chief negotiators are Becky Duchesneau for the West Des Moines Educational Support Personnel and Paul Bobek and Carol Seid for the West Des Moines Community School District.

The negotiations meetings on January 24, 2017, are open to the public.

Agreement between WDMCS district and WDM Educational Support Personnel (PDF)

Find Your Kindergarten Roundup & Storytime!

Find your school’s kindergarten roundup and storytime dates and times.

All District Offices & Schools Closed Jan. 16, 2017

UPDATED: 5:20 a.m., Monday, Jan. 16, 2017 

Due to weather conditions, all WDMCS district offices and schools are closed Monday, Jan. 16, 2017.

All activities are canceled.

Kids West child care, the Homeschool Assistance Program, and the teacher work day/professional development day are also canceled.


Due to the forecast for adverse weather conditions, Kids West child care and the Homeschool Assistance Program have been canceled in the West Des Moines Community Schools for tomorrowJanuary 16, 2017.

These were the only programs planning to have students in attendance as January 16, 2017, is a scheduled no-school day for students in grades Pk-12.

Monday is a work day for employees. Certified staff members will be participating in professional development. Any change to the professional development schedule will be determined early Monday morning. Employees will be notified through the district’s normal emergency notification process.

Belin-Blank Center Honors 17 WDMCS Students, Teachers

The Belin-Blank Center recognized eleven West Des Moines Community Schools students and six teachers at The University of Iowa Belin-Blank Center’s Recognition Ceremony in September.

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

  • Carsen Codel, ninth grade
  • Kyle Juist, 10th grade
  • Katherine Snodgrass, 10th grade
  • Radha Velamuri, 10th grade
  • Kathryn Wittrock, ninth grade
  • Elliot Baughman, sixth grade
  • Andrew Hedrick, seventh grade

Belin-Blank also recognized ninth-grader Ella Henricksen and junior Owen Smith for their participation in the Blank Summer Institute, as well as junior Aarushi Dervesh and senior Brian Gu for their participation in the Secondary Student Training Program, a five-week residential summer research program at the University of Iowa.

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

  • Amy Jenkins (Crestview School of Inquiry),
  • Julie Kaufman (Westridge Elementary),
  • Dean Myers (Indian Hills Junior High),
  • Lynda Niffenegger (Crossroads Park Elementary),
  • Lisa Sobotka (Valley Southwoods Freshman High School),
  • Tom Beckman (retired, formerly Valley Southwoods Freshman High School and Walnut Creek Campus), and
  • Donald Rasko (retired, formerly Indian Hills Junior High).

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 ninth, was among the Top 10 of the Iowa AP Index for the eighth consecutive year. It offers more than 20 Advanced Placement courses. Enrollment in these courses continues to increase, with 640 students taking 1,306 AP Exams during the 2015-16 school year.

Three Tips to Make Online Learning Work for Your Child

Support your child’s learning in a blended environment with tips from the third part of our blended learning series, “Three Tips to Make Online Learning Work for Your Child.”

This is the final part of our blended learning series.