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Life in the WDMCS 10/27/14

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.

District Wide

The Polk County Health Department is sponsoring a flu clinic at Hillside on Monday, Nov. 3 from 4-7 p.m. This clinic is open to the students, faculty, and families of West Des Moines Community Schools. It is also open to all of the community, so feel free to invite family, friends and neighbors!Most insurances are accepted and some students may qualify for a free vaccine.

Clive Elementary

Fourth graders from Clive Elementary visited the Jester Park Blazing Star Prairie near Saylorville Lake to tie into their learning about the history of Iowa and its landforms. Students enjoyed hands-on learning about different plants, animals, people and types of shelter found in the prairie. The visit included opportunities to learn and practice games played by Native Americans and pioneers, understanding about the necessity of bison and other animals found in the prairies, and tool making. Additionally, students learned about the traditions and use for tipis, participated in a nature walk, and became investigators of the prairie through an insect hunt, using nets and books to reference the names for what they found. The day concluded with a picnic lunch, presentations from Naturalists from Jester Park, and student reflections.

Fifth graders at Clive Elementary have been working hard on reading aloud fluently, or making reading sound as smooth as speaking. Over the past few weeks, the class has focused its fluency work on reading with appropriate speed and pacing. They practiced this skill by performing a fun readers theater script in small groups, reading with partners, and choral reading as a whole class. They even practiced with some of the Drake University football players! The football players came to visit the class and listened to each student read individually. We had a lot of fun practicing our fluency skills with the football players!

Crestview Elementary

Crestview Elementary recently participated in Live Healthy Iowa’s Fall Fitness Day and the Healthiest State Walk by walking a one-kilometer path during lunch recess. The students enjoyed walking and playing with visiting parents and our Clive business partners. Thank you to the parents, firefighters, police officers, and Clive civil servant workers for supporting our efforts in adopting a healthier lifestyle through increased physical activity here at Crestview!

Crestview second graders are learning about balance and motion through projects and experiments. Students have been building various structures and objects to demonstrate balance and motion. These experiments also reinforce critical thinking skills and team work.

Crossroads Park Elementary

With the generous support of the PTA, Crossroads Park sixth graders were blessed with having the opportunity to learn in an outdoor classroom. To enhance their wetlands unit in science class, students participated in activities/learning experiences including stream table, enviroscape, shelter building, pond study, watershed observation hike, survival film, animal tall-tales, kayaking, fishing and even a campfire! These hands on learning opportunities not only provided rich education, but the trip also provided lasting memories and community building. This trip would not have been possible without the PTA and also the tremendous assistance of several parents that came along on the trip.

Fairmeadows Elementary

This week Fairmeadows Elementary was rockin’ to Rock in Prevention, a high energy music filled assembly. The focus was on Bully Prevention and feeling good about oneself. During the week, students also focused on the pillars of character by wearing special colors or clothing each day to represent the pillars of character. Students discussed in their classrooms and during weekly guidance classes ways to show responsibility and ways to help our bodies stay healthy and safe. The Fairmeadows PFC purchased small gifts for all students to help celebrate Character Counts and Red Ribbon Week.

 Hillside Elementary

Hillside sixth grade band students participated in the All-District Band Spectacular, part of the annual ValleyFest marching band competition. Band students in grades 6-12 prepared and memorized music for this unique and memorable performance. The event was a huge success, and it was a perfect fall day with beautiful weather!

Character Counts week is happening at Hillside! Students and teachers throughout Hillside demonstrate the six pillars of character each and every day, and Character Counts week allows the school to acknowledge and celebrate all of the great characters in the Hillside community. To help display the greatest super power pillar, each student will get to design their own emblem telling about what pillar of character they feel is their super power.

Jordan Creek Elementary

The Jordan Creek Chorus will soon start rehearsing! The fifth and sixth grade singing group will rehearse once a week (Monday OR Friday) from late October through mid -January; twice a week rehearsals on Monday AND Friday from mid-January through March; and performing two March chorus concerts. The community is invited to attend the concert on Tuesday, March 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the Jordan Creek gymnasium. Chorus will end for the year after the two March performances. If your student has not yet enrolled in chorus, please contact chorus director Amy Hachmann for more information.

Third grader Theron Castle and first grader Lexie Johnson were chosen as this month’s Jordan Creek Kids of Character. They will each get to choose a friend to have a special Principal’s Lunch Bunch with Principal Graham Jones and Assistant Principal Brian Vaughan.

Jordan Creek reading teacher Susan Healy was awarded the Banker’s Trust ABC5 One Classroom at a Time Education Grant. Healy received $1,000 as part of the award, which she plans to use towards books for her classes.

The Jordan Creek Media Center is celebrating fall with pumpkins this year! Students were asked to bring in a pumpkin decorated as a book character. Some very clever Jordan Creek students and families have been celebrating the love of reading with their pumpkin decorating skills. Throughout the media center you can see Clifford, the Fly Guy, Fancy Nancy, Pete the Cat, Harry Potter, the Lorax, the Pigeon and more.

Western Hills Elementary

First graders from Western Hills Elementary took a trip to Jester Park to complement their insect unit. Polk County Conservation met students to do hands on discovery projects as students explored the woodlands to identify a variety of insects native to the area.

Westridge Elementary

It was an exciting day when 11 Westridge Elementary students took part in the District Special Olympic Bowling Tournament in Des Moines. The students practiced over a period of six weeks. The culmination of hours of practice resulted in four students including Danica Westerhold, Anna Bylund, Brock Berg, and Lauren Simpson earning first place! They will continue on to the State Bowling Tournament in November.

Valley High School

Do you love fresh fruit? Are you looking for a holiday gift that’s unique? The Valley Band is selling fresh, Florida fruit including oranges, grapefruits, pears, tangelos and more! Dates to purchase run from October 20 to November 7 with delivery of the fruit scheduled for the week of December 15. The money raised is used to support band students and activities including buying sheet music, paying entrance fees to competitions and more. If you are interested in placing an order, please contact a member of the Valley Band or send an e-mail to fruit@valleybands.org.

Valley students presented their projects using the autonomous learner model during the annual Iowa Talent and Gifted Conference. The WDMCS had many teachers attend the conference to learn how to best serve our student population. WDMCS teachers also led sessions, with Felicia Twit presenting on math enrichment while Karen Downing and Alena Treat led the Valley students as they presented their projects.