District News

School Board Approves Cost-Saving Measures, District Remains Leader in World Language Offerings

Tonight, Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education approved reducing district spending by $530,114 from its $150 million operating budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year, as state funding for education continues to lag behind the actual cost of providing services and programming for students.

District Offers Free Holiday Meal for Children

The West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) Nutrition Services department is offering a free holiday meal for children on Tuesday, Dec. 22. The photo opportunity for this event is from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Dec. 22, at Crestview School of Inquiry, 8355 Franklin Ave. in Clive.

The meal is free for children 18 and younger and children aged 19 who are still in school. Adult meals will be offered for $3.50 per person. The holiday menu is roast turkey with gravy and mashed potatoes, a dinner roll, green beans, and other fruits and vegetables, along with milk and a cupcake.

To promote family meal time and healthy living habits, the WDMCS Nutrition Services Department is continuing to offer evening meals from 5:30–6 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday night during the school year, excluding school breaks. An optional educational or enriching activity will be offered after each meal, from 6–6:30 p.m.

These meals are being offered through federals funds as part of the At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program. The program is part of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CAFCP) through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service. All At-Risk Afterschool Meals programs must follow certain menu guidelines to ensure children are getting necessary nutrients.

Families with questions about the holiday meal and the At-Risk Afterschools Meals Program can contact WDMCS Director of Nutrition Services Willow Dye at 515-633-5086 or Crestview School of Inquiry at 515-633-5700.

Non-discrimination Statement: The U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)

If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call (866)632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C., 20250-9410, by fax 202-690-7442 or email at program.intake@usda.gov. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339; or 800-845-6136 (Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Iowa Non-discrimination Notice: It is the policy of this CNP provider not to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or religion in its programs, activities, or employment practices as required by the Iowa Code section 216.6, 216.7, and 216.9. If you have questions or grievances related to compliance with this policy by this CNP Provider, please contact the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, Grimes State Office Building, 400 E. 14th St., Des Moines, IA 50319-1004; phone number 515-281-4121, 800-457-4416; website: https://icrc.iowa.gov/.

Life in the WDMCS 12/21/2015

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
Mrs. Brown’s Tiger Cubs Preschool class celebrated the culmination of their Trees study by inviting parents to share in their learning on Dec. 8,

The Westridge Tiger Cubs Preschool four-year-old class visited the Hy-Vee on Mills Civic Parkway for a fun tour and snack-making adventure. This event wrapped up their healthy food and exercise unit.

Crestview School of Inquiry
Sixth-grade learners at Crestview School of Inquiry graduated from Code 411 on Friday, Dec. 11. During the class, Clive police officer Joe Nielsen visited once a week to educate students on subjects like bullying, drugs and alcohol, and Internet safety. Students presented PowerPoint presentations to show friends and family what they learned during the graduation ceremony, which was also attended by the Clive mayor, city manager, and police chief.

Jordan Creek Elementary
Jordan Creek Elementary second-grade students finished their “Exploring Earth” unit. They learned about the geographical makeup of the Earth and the continent and oceans. They used a globe to locate many geographical elements, like the continents, poles, oceans, and equator. They also learned about different landforms and waterforms, natural resources, and compared and contrasted North America with other continents.

School Board to Review Revised Cost-Saving Package Dec. 21

The district administration will present a revised budget-reduction package totaling $559,214 to the School Board at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 21, in the Community Room of the Learning Resource Center.

Join Us! WDMCS Reads

"The Crossover" by Kwame Alexander (Image source: www.bookinaday.org/)

“The Crossover” by Kwame Alexander (Image source: www.bookinaday.org/)

The WDMCS is excited to announce the launch of WDMCS Reads: One district, many communities, one book.

This new initiative celebrates the “community” in West Des Moines Community Schools. Spanning portions of West Des Moines, Clive, Urbandale, and Windsor Heights, the district invites people from all of our communities to come together to read and discuss the same book.

Our inaugural book selection is “The Crossover” by Kwame Alexander, winner of the 2015 Newbery Medal and 2015 Coretta Scott King Honor Award.

“The Crossover,” a novel in verse, shares the story of seventh-grade basketball phenomenon Josh Bell, but the book is far more than a “sports book.” At its core, “The Crossover” is about family and growing up and the challenges and rewards that come with both. Readers will find themselves somewhere in this book, whether they be siblings, parents, family members, friends, teenagers, team members, fans, music lovers, or poets.

Watch for more information coming soon about the book, tips on how to create communities through reading, discussion questions, and more.

Registration for Brighter Beginnings Session 2 is Now Open

Brighter Beginnings is a program of WDMCS Community Education designed for parents or primary caregivers who are looking to expand their parenting skills. Registration begins December 14 for in-district families and January 11 for out-of-district families.

Iowa School Report Card Released

The Iowa Department of Education today released the Iowa School Report Card, a new web-based data system that provides information about a school’s performance on a required set of measures, such as student attendance and graduation rates.

The system meets a legislative requirement to provide Iowans easier access to meaningful education statistics and to support local efforts to improve schools.

The report card is one piece of information that parents and guardians can use in gathering information about our schools. The WDMCS district encourages parents and community members to connect with us to understand the context and to learn more about our buildings’ goals and the work we are doing to achieve those goals for our students.

You can locate the results of our schools, as well as more information about the Iowa School Report Card, on the following website: www.educateiowa.gov/schoolreportcard

Life in the WDMCS 12/15/2015

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
Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds kicked off Iowa’s Computer Science Education Week with a press conference held at Jordan Creek Elementary on Dec. 7. The conference was just one element of the district’s Hour of Code participation this year. Many WDMCS schools held Hour of Code events, and the district hosted an Hour of Code event at the Learning Resource Center on Dec. 10. Students and their families completed the one-hour coding tutorials provided on code.org. Information about furthering students’ learning and study of computer science was available from district curriculum directors.

Additional photos available on the district website and the district Flickr.

Crestview School of Inquiry
Fifth-grade learners at Crestview School of Inquiry competed to build the tallest free-standing tower using only spaghetti noodles, string, and tape. They also used a rubber band contraption to stack cups in a pyramid. These team-building activities help the learners to develop collaboration, communication, and critical thinking skills, key components of the New Tech Network model. Learners reflected on the strategies used, teamwork, and the idea of failure after each activity.

Hillside Elementary
The Hillside Elementary School Girls Club prepared breakfast casseroles for the Salvation Army’s Feeding Program. They worked with volunteers to make 12 casseroles.

Jordan Creek Elementary
Jordan Creek Elementary dedicated Computer Science Education Week, Dec. 7-13, to the Hour of Code this year. Students of all grade levels took part in the Hour of Code by completing hour-long tutorials from code.org that teach the fundamentals of computer coding.

WDMCS Does Hour of Code

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Students with Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds.

Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds kicked off Iowa’s Computer Science Education Week with a press conference held at Jordan Creek Elementary on Dec. 7.

Branstad officially proclaimed Dec. 7–13 Computer Science Education Week in Iowa at the conference. He was invited by Jordan Creek teacher Aaron Witt, whose students spoke at the conference and were able to meet Branstad and Reynolds.

The conference was just one element of the district’s Hour of Code participation this year. Many WDMCS schools held Hour of Code events, and the district hosted an Hour of Code event at the Learning Resource Center on Dec. 10. Students and their families completed the one-hour coding tutorials provided on code.org. Information about furthering students’ learning and study of computer science was available from district curriculum directors.

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Students and families code together at the district Hour of Code event.

The Hour of Code is organized by Code.org, “a non-profit dedicated to expanding access to computer science….” Participants complete the provided tutorials during Computer Science Education Week. The tutorials are family-friendly and entertaining, featuring characters from Disney’s “Frozen,” “Star Wars,” and more.

Previous coding knowledge or experience is not needed, as the tutorials help students explore and learn coding fundamentals. The tutorials are available in 40 languages for participants across the globe. Bill Gates, Malala Yousafzai, President Barack Obama, and many other individuals and companies are Hour of Code supporters and participants.

Participation in the Hour of Code and Computer Science Education Week is part of continuous district efforts to increase students’ technology skills. The ability to succeed increasingly hinges on the understanding of technology.

Find out more at code.org, and by following #HourofCode on social media.

Life in the WDMCS 12/07/2015

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.

Clive Learning Academy
Third-grade learners at Clive Learning Academy have created a Clive Museum to preserve and maintain the school’s history. They have applied for jobs, worked on writing letters for donations, and created a questionnaire to send to former Clive staff members and students. They are still working on a school timeline, designing a website, and adding photographs with descriptions to the museum.

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The Clive Learning Academy school history museum.