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Life in the WDMCS 12/17/12

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

Valley Southwoods
Starting on January 5, the Valley Southwoods staff will roll out the VSW anti-bullying message. Teachers will be sporting t-shirts that will go on sale for students the next day. Rubber bracelets will also be for sale. T-shirts are $5 and bracelets will be $1 each. Keep an eye out for positive shout-outs on social media!

Valley High School
Valley debaters were among 160 Lincoln-Douglas competitors from 26 states who competed at the Edie Holiday Debate Tournament at The Blake School in Minneapolis recently. Senior Lucy Korsakov placed second overall, followed by junior Jason Smith in third while senior Megan Nubel finished in the top eight. All three received bids to the National Debate Tournament of Champions, which will take place in Lexington, Ky., in the spring. They are now among the 75 debaters nationwide who will be fully qualified to attend that event.

Clive Elementary
Clive artists have been hard at work! Recently, the first grade students have taken the roles of architects and city planners to develop their paint card cities. Second grade students challenged themselves to draw a self-portrait with only one line (not lifting up their pencils) and are now getting a taste of Wayne Thiebaud’s delicious dessert art. The third grade students have been perfecting their drawing skills by completing a photograph to make a realistic self-portrait and are now creating repetitive drawings of pop cans inspired by Andy Warhol and the Pop Art era. Fourth grade students have gotten to know the color wheel very well in order to create a bouquet of balloons inspired by the movie “Up.” The fifth grade students dabbled in optical illusions before pursuing their Sugar Skulls both two-dimensionally and three-dimensionally, concentrating on symmetrical and asymmetrical designs. The sixth grade students have been hard at work constructing their three-dimensional Cube Selves in both paper and Model Magic. Be sure to mark your calendars for the Impact of Art Show, January 24 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Des Moines Art Center to see some of these works featured!

Crestview Elementary
Crestview sixth grader Maya Shay, fifth grader Delfina Mihura and sixth grader Sukhman Virdi recently finished reading all 21 Iowa Children’s Choice Award books. Maya’s favorite this year is “The Candymakers” by Wendy Maas on account of its use of descriptive words and twists in the story. Delfina chose “Born to Fly” by Michael Ferrari as her favorite in the collection on account of the twists and turns throughout the book. Suki’s favorite is “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon” by Grace Lin because it is a cool adventure. Congratulations to you all!

This month you will find Crestview first graders giving their bodies and brains a boost through physical activity in the form of dance as part of the Get Fit Crestview initiative. Research shows that exercise breaks are beneficial to students. So, for the month of December, Crestview first graders will be participating in a school-wide program called Dance December. All Crestview classrooms will be looking for opportunities to squeeze in dance every single day during the month of December. First graders have been enjoying dance in the classroom, at specials and at recess! Some of their favorite dances are The Chicken Dance, The Hokey Pokey, The Monster Boogie and March of the Dinosaurs.

It’s that time of year again, colds, flu and stomach viruses. The health office at Crestview Elementary reminds you to cover your cough, wash your hands and most importantly, stay home if you’re sick. The common cold is a virus easily passed from one person to another through coughing, sneezing and touching eyes, nose and mouth. There may be a low grade temperature. The symptoms usually include stuffy or runny nose, sore throat and a cough. A cold generally lasts 3-7 days. Stay home if the symptoms make concentration difficult or the child is just miserable. The flu is actually a respiratory illness not a stomach bug. Fever greater than 102 is common and the illness can last 3-4 days. Sore throat and cough are common as are aches, pain and fatigue. Please remember to keep your child out of school for 24 hours after their fever is gone without the use of Tylenol or ibuprofen. This helps assure they are no longer contagious to others. An annual flu shot can give you good protection. The stomach ‘flu’ is always present in schools. This is not really the flu but is a virus easily passed from one person to another. Sometimes there is a low grade temperature but usually the symptoms are stomach ache, nausea and vomiting, and diarrhea.

Crossroads Park Elementary
Congratulations to Crossroads Park band students Carrie Abeling, Grace Johnson and Maddie Pautvein for being chosen to participate in a metro sixth grade band hosted by St. Francis of Assisi school. They spent an afternoon rehearsing their concert music and performed in an evening concert along with students from many other schools in the metro area.

The Crossroads Park sixth grade band students have been working extremely hard in lessons and band rehearsals. They performed in the Northside 6th Grade Band winter concert on December 13 and 18. It was a wonderful concert full of a variety of music. Congratulations on a job well done! Band members are Grace Johnson, Danielle Cropp, Tyler Utter, Carrie Abeling, Everett Mullican, Greta Stewart, Maddie Pautvein, john Lim, Evan Paine, Payton Chapman, Hannah Ross, Olivia Allard, Julia Tighe, Emily Anders, Nik Kemp, Kate Anderson, Sam Onsrud, Lucas Bryant, Fernando Buentello, Liz Dunagan, Samantha Morris and Ronin Welch.

Hillside Elementary
Hillside Elementary third graders have been learning about mummies, King Tut and Ancient Egypt. While exploring the content, students have learned about nonfiction text features and how these help readers understand a text. This week, third graders are extending their learning into the reading strategy of asking questions before, during and after reading. On Monday, students generated a list of questions they still had about mummies, King Tut and Ancient Egypt. Throughout the week, students will be researching during independent reading and recording their answers on sticky notes to share their learning with others in the class.

Hillside staff and students are working diligently to get Kids Bank up and running for the 2012-13 school year. Kids Bank’s opening was delayed due to Hillside’s relocation to Lutheran Church of Hope this fall. Last week, the Kids Bank committee collected applications for students who are interested in becoming bank tellers, board members or part of the marketing committee. We then conducted interviews to find the best fit for each applicant. After assigning each applicant to their position, we conducted a two day training session to familiarize students with how to best complete their assigned position with the bank. The students and staff are very excited to continue this tradition and business partnership with First Bank. Hillside students and staff are eagerly awaiting the grand opening of Kids Bank on January 9!

Jordan Creek Elementary
After hearing about the Jump rope for Heart program at Jordan Creek Elementary, Vicky Arias from the Iowa Events Center contacted PE teacher Luis Suarez and offered to bring in Kata Banhegyi, the jump rope acrobat from Cirque du Soleil, to do a demonstration and a small clinic with students at Jordan Creek. Jessica Leboeuf, PR manager for Cirque du Soleil from Quebec, Canada, and Kata, who is Hungarian, brought some high level skills and culture from around the world and shared it with the students of Jordan Creek. For over 15 years the students of Jordan Creek Elementary have participated in the Jump Rope for Heart/Hoops for Heart event and have generously raised more than $75,000 to help in the fight against heart disease. This year our students will have a few new tricks to try as they prepare for this year’s event in February.

This year the Jordan Creek Archery club, run by PE teacher Luis Suarez, has expanded from about 50 members last year to 94 students this year. The club is so big that it is split into two practice nights. The popularity has spread into all levels of the WDMCS with about 80 participants at Stilwell Junior High and another 22 at Valley Southwoods that Suarez is also teaching. It is our hope that it will continue to expand into the high school and other metro area schools.

Phenix Elementary
Third graders from Phenix Elementary work with the West Des Moines Optimists throughout the year. In November they made baskets filled with goodies to take to Fountain West Care Center. The students helped deliver them, sang songs to the residents and then were treated by the Optimists to lunch at McDonalds. They will also work on a craft in December to take to Blank Children’s hospital. This community service project helps students realize the joy of giving to others.

Students at Phenix Elementary had a surprise visitor for their Wellness Wednesday as Power Panther from the State Department of Education came to work out with the students and staff and see what happens on Wellness Wednesdays. The students loved exercising with him. Power Panther received lots of high fives and took pictures with our Tiger Paw weekly winners. He also stuck around after the workout for lunch to see what the kids were eating, encouraging everyone to eat those fruits and vegetables.

Western Hills Elementary
Western Hills sixth graders celebrated their completion of the Code 411 program with a graduation on December 17. Officer Weatherall had the students share power points that they had created with their parents and relatives at the ceremony.

Western Hills has lots of excitement planned for students before they leave for winter break. Sixth graders have just completed their Food and Nutrition unit in Karla Snodgrass’s science class. The students created their own restaurants, menus with healthy alternatives and a commercial to advertise their restaurant. The students enjoyed watching each other’s commercials. They are beginning the Astronomy unit which includes StarLab…a highlight for every sixth grader in the district! The sixth graders will continue the tradition of starting winter break with a bowling party at Val Lanes. Much thanks to the parents for driving, donations of food and supervision on that day. Third grade celebrated Grandparents Day December 14. Grandparents and students look forward to this fun and exciting day each year. The school participated in Winter Wishes, collecting money for gifts to the community. Many of the students went out shopping for the gifts as well as helping to wrap the gifts.

Indian Hills Junior High
One team from Indian Hills made it to State Mock Trial competition. Congratulations to Walt Beuse, TJ Foley, Trent Gilbert, Evan McKinney, Madison Stoaks, Madison VanSickel, Meta Miller, Rajat Kumar, Cayden Codel and Katy Green. These students worked very hard to bring home a ninth-place trophy for the State Mock Trial competition. A total of 170 teams participated all over the state. These students worked very hard and did a fantastic job with a very difficult case.

Stilwell Junior High
The Stilwell Junior High Drama Club and drama classes adopted several families to support this holiday season from Children and Families of Iowa. The students brought in requested items from families in need, including new winter clothing, shoes, hygiene items, cleaning supplies, books and toys. The students then held a wrap/rap party where they wrapped the donated gifts, listened to rap music and had pizza. The gifts were donated to the families December 10 at Children and Families of Iowa in Des Moines.

Cheyenne Raney, eighth grader at Stilwell Junior High, entered the annual VFW Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest. Her piece entitled “What I Would Tell American Founding Fathers” won second place in the local auxiliary and she was awarded a cash prize. Congratulations to Cheyenne for her excellent writing skills and her willingness to participate!