District News

Life in the WDMCS 03/02/15

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

Jordan Creek Elementary’s third-graders and Clive Elementary’s third through fifth grade English language learners both took field trips to the Civic Center to see “Sofrito! A Latin Funk Experience” on Thursday, Feb. 19. “Sofrito!” combines storytelling, classic mambo, and new funk to tell stories and share music from Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Bronx. The students got to experience Latin culture and imagery from “master storyteller” David Gonzalez and the Latin Legends Band. They enjoyed hearing the stories, dancing to the music, and practicing their Spanish.

Clive Elementary

Third grader students in Ms. Shell’s room are working in small groups to explore magnets and electricity during science. Students will learn what words like “repel” and “attract” mean as they use magnets to test mystery objects. The class will also complete experiments to test magnet strength, make a motor run using a circuit board, and create electromagnets. The students are enjoying being scientists and working in teams.

Clive Elementary sixth-graders successfully completed their Junior Achievement BizTown unit. Students learned about the economy through hands-on activities that required their participation in a simulated community for five weeks. They learned about financial literacy, community and economy, word readiness, job applications and interviews, and business management. The unit’s culminating activity was a day-long trip to Junior Achievement’s simulated city, BizTown. Students acted as business leaders and employees offering public and private goods and services. This valuable experience was made even more special this year, as the Valley High School boys basketball team assisted the students during the event.

Clive students celebrated their improved reading stamina at the end of the month. Clive students have been reading at home and at school each day, working to increase the amount of time they read. Reading teachers have talked to students and parents about the future academic benefits students can gain from reading every day. Students record their daily reading minutes on a special calendar and celebrate their success at the end of each month with refreshments and Swap It!, a popular reading card game.

Crestview Elementary

Second grade students at Crestview Elementary have been learning about the seven continents and five oceans. They have learned about landforms found on each continent and completed research projects on animals of their choice, which they presented to their classmates.

Jordan Creek Elementary

Jordan Creek Elementary’s Circle of Friends program had a strong turnout at the January Val Lanes bowling event. They also held a Lunch Bunch at school and had a gathering at the Urbandale Pool in February. Their March events will include visits to Pump It Up for third and fourth grade students and Sky Zone for fifth and sixth grade students.

First-graders at Jordan Creek have been singing snow songs, Valentine songs, and presidential songs. They also learned to move to music about exercising, penguins, and Groundhog Day. Students were also introduced to solfege through the Music Street stories. They will listen to “Peter and the Wolf” in March, and learn about and sing African songs.

The second grade music students have been ice skating in the music room while singing the ice skating song, using paper plate skates as indoor skates. They enjoyed singing a Valentine song to their classroom teachers, played non-pitched percussion instruments, and reviewed different types of music notes. They will next learn about the rondo form.

The third grade musicians experienced a lesson about program music, part of the West Des Moines Community Schools music curriculum. They listened to “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and learned the different characters’ themes, such as the bassoon melody for the brooms. They got to act out the parts after becoming more familiar with the piece.

Westridge Elementary

Kindergarten students at Westridge Elementary enjoyed playing outside in the snow each day. They kept busy making snow angels and snowmen and building forts and castles. They have worked together and synergized well to enjoy the winter but are ready for the snow to melt and bring spring.

Valley High School

The International Journal of Case Reports and Images (IJCRI) accepted Valley student Ojas Pradhan’s manuscript, “Treatment of renal fibromuscular dysplasia in an adolescent male: A case report” for publication. IJCRI “is an international, peer reviewed, monthly, open access, online journal, publishing high-quality, peer reviewed articles in all areas of basic medical sciences and clinical specialties.” The journal’s goal is publishing new information and providing a platform for sharing unique cases to increase scientific understanding.

 

Board Reviews Student Assessment Data

On Monday. Feb. 23, the School Board reviewed the district’s 2014-15 Student Achievement Report, which is a compilation of the results of multiple measures of student achievement in the West Des Moines Community School District. This is the fourth year in which the district has participated in the Iowa Assessments. The Iowa Assessments replaced the ITBS/ITED assessments in the 2011-12 school year.

The percent of students receiving free and reduced meals districtwide continue to increase, and it is currently at 31 percent. The district’s English Learners (EL) population also continues to grow with most of the growth occurring at the elementary level. Eleven percent of students who attend West Des Moines Community Schools are English language learners. This number continues to increase by approximately 100 students each year. Ten percent of district students receive special education services, and this continues to remain steady.

The district met eight of the 17 Annual Student Improvement Goals, which are set by the district. The district met the reading goals for students in grades 3-6 and increased the percent of students in the advanced levels in grades 7–11 in reading. Additionally, the district increased the percent of students in the advanced proficient level in grades 7–11 in mathematics. Science results were similar to last year’s with an increase in the percent of students proficient in grades 5 and 8 but a decrease in the percent of students proficient in science in grade 11.

UPDATED March 13: Two Possible Calendars for 2015-16

UPDATED March 13 2015 — The West Des Moines Community School District will ask its Board of Education to act on a final 2015-16 school year calendar and start date in the upcoming weeks. The goal was have a final calendar by March 13. However, as of spring break there were several factors pending at the state level that may affect when the district can start school next year.

The Iowa Department of Education (DE) recently notified the district that it will not respond to the district’s start date waiver request until after spring break. The district requested permission from the state to start school on Aug. 12, 2015, which was approved by the School Board last year. Current law requires schools to start classes during the week of Sept. 1, but the state has approved waivers to this law in the past. School districts across the state were notified in December that the DE would stop routinely granting waivers, and a new process has been implemented.

In addition, the state legislature is still considering several bills that address school start dates. While district administration seeks timely action, these pending factors are significant to finalizing the school calendar.

We thank you for your continued patience and apologize for the inconveniences this delay may cause. Please watch for updates here  on the district website and in the Informaline newsletter.

 

March 2, 2015 — The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education held two public hearings on Monday, Feb. 23 on two alternate calendars for the 2015-16 school year.

One proposed calendar has a start date of Aug. 24, 2015, which reflects a legislative bill currently under consideration. Key features of the proposed calendar include:

  • First Student Day: Monday, Aug. 24
  • Winter Break:  Dec. 23 – Jan. 3
  • End Semester 1:  Friday, Jan. 13 (90 days)
  • Flex Days: Nov. 25, March 11
  • Staff Work Days (No students): October 12, January 18, February 26, April 29
  • Spring Break: March 14-18
  • Last Student Day: Wednesday, June 1 (90 days)

More information is here: http://bit.ly/August24StartDate

The other alternate calendar proposes a start date of Aug. 31, 2015, which is in line with current state law. Key features of the proposed calendar include:

  • First Student Day: Monday, Aug. 31
  • Winter Break: Dec. 23 – Jan. 3
  • End Semester 1: Friday, Jan. 21 (90 days)
  • Flex Days: Nov. 25, March 11
  • Staff Work Days (No students): October 12, January 18, February 26, April 29
  • Spring Break: March 14-18
  • Last Student Day: Wednesday, June 8 (90 days)

More information is here: http://bit.ly/August31StartDate

These two alternate calendars are being proposed after school districts across the state were notified in December that the Iowa Department of Education would stop granting routine waivers to the law requiring schools to start classes during the week of Sept. 1. A new waiver submission process has been implemented. The district has submitted a waiver request for a calendar with a start date of Aug. 12, 2015, which was approved by the School Board last year. Information on this calendar is available here: http://www.wdmcs.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/calendar_at_a_glance_next_year.pdf. The two speakers at Monday’s public hearing asked questions about the Aug. 12 calendar.

The district was recently notified that it will not have a response on its waiver request until after spring break. District administration will be determining next steps and provide updates as they become available.

March Menu

Click March Menu and then choose your child’s school to view breakfast and lunch menus.

National School Breakfast Week Contest

West Des Moines Nutrition Department will be holding a contest to celebrate National School Breakfast Week, March 2 through March 6.

District House for Sale

news_fairmeadowshouseThe West Des Moines Community School District is asking for Sealed Bids on its property at 2017 Prospect Ave., West Des Moines, IA 50265 with bids due on April 1st and a MINIMUM asking price of $126,500. Information packets describing the bid process and bid forms are available at the document holder at front yard of the house or by calling 515-633-4964.

Photos and Zillow Listing

 

OPEN HOUSE

  • March 8 12 p.m.-3 p.m.

FACTS

  • 4 beds 1.75 baths 1,152 sq. ft.
  • Lot: 9,100 sq. ft.
  • Single Family
  • Built in 1954
  • Cooling: Central
  • Heating: Forced air
  • Last sold: Oct 2013 for $160,000
  • Last sale price/sq. ft: $139

FEATURES

  • Cable Ready
  • Ceiling Fan
  • Fenced Yard
  • Flooring: Carpet, Hardwood, Linoleum / Vinyl
  • Parking: Garage – Detached, 484 sq. ft.
  • Partial basement, 1152 sq. ft.
  • Porch

ADDITIONAL FEATURES

  • Screened-in porch
  • Movable shed

APPLIANCES INCLUDED

  • Dishwasher
  • Garbage disposal

ROOM TYPES

  • Dining room

CONSTRUCTION

  • Exterior material: Wood
  • Roof type: Asphalt
  • Room count: 7
  • Stories: 1
  • Structure type: Ranch
  • Unit count: 1

OTHER

  • Floor size: 1,152 sq. ft.
  • Heating: Gas
  • Lot depth: 130
  • Lot width: 70
  • Parcel #: 32001520000000

Public Hearings Monday, Feb. 23 on Two Proposed School Calendars

The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education will hold its next workshop and regular news_calendar_photomeeting on Monday, Feb. 23 at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines. The workshop begins at 5:15 p.m., followed by the regular business meeting at 7:00 p.m. The agendas follow. These meetings are open to the public.

During the regular meeting, the School Board will hold public hearings on two alternate calendars for the 2015-16 school year. One proposed calendar has a start date of August 24, 2015, which reflects a legislative bill currently under consideration. The other alternate calendar proposes a start date of August 31, 2015, which is in line with current state law.

These two alternate calendars are being proposed after school districts across the state were notified in December that the Iowa Department of Education would stop granting routine waivers to the law requiring schools to start classes during the week of Sept. 1. A new waiver submission process has been implemented. The district has submitted a waiver request for a calendar with a start date of Aug. 12, 2015, which was approved by the School Board last year. The district is waiting for a response on its waiver request.

The alternate calendars are being proposed in the event the district’s waiver request is not approved or no action is taken before spring break. Districts are required by law to hold public hearings on proposed school calendars.

 

Workshop Agenda

I.             Call to Order

II.            Roll Call

III.           Annual Student Achievement Report

IV.          Adjournment

 

Regular Meeting Agenda

I.             Call to Order

II.            Roll Call

III.           Open Forum

IV.          Consent Agenda

A.            Consent – Minutes

B.            Consent – Personnel

C.            Consent – Bills for Payment

D.            Consent – Student Trip Request(s)

E.            Consent – Facilities Projects

                1.            Valley High School – Waste Management Compactor Lease

V.            Superintendent’s Report

VI.          Board Members’ Reports

VII.         Open Enrollment

VIII.        Facilities Projects

IX.           Hearings

A.            Clive Elementary Flooring Replacement

B.            2015-16 School District Calendar (August 24 start date)

C.            2015-16 School District Calendar (August 31 start date)

X.            Contracts

A.            Clive Elementary Flooring Replacement

B.            Bohnsack & Frommelt LLP – Agreed Upon Procedures Engagement

C.            Y Camp – Jordan Creek

D.            Iowa Home Care

E.            Morningside College Student Teacher/Practicum

F.            R & R Realty

XI.           2014-15 Early Retirement Re-opening

XII.         Financial Report – January 2015

XIII.        Request for Closed Session: Student Discipline [Iowa Code 21.5 (1) (e)]

XIV.        Request to Reconvene Open Session

XV.         Request Motion for Item Discussed in Closed Session

XVI.        Request for Closed Session: Personnel Matter [21.5(1)i]

XVII.      Request to Reconvene Open Session

XVIII.     Request Motion for Item Discussed in Closed Session

XIX.        Adjournment

 

Workshop & Regular Meeting Materials

Board Information

 

New Tech Learner Applications for Junior Highs Now Available!

NTN logoNew Tech is coming to our junior high schools next year and our current sixth graders are invited to join us!

Applications Now Available!

  • Online: The Learner Applications for both Indian Hills and Stilwell are available in a PDF format online. To complete, please download and print either the Indian Hills or Stilwell application, depending on which school your current sixth-grade student will attend next year.

New Tech - Indian Hills Learner Application

New Tech -  Stilwell  Learner Application

  • At Each Elementary School: Printed copies of the Learner Applications are also available at each elementary school in the district starting today.


Submit Your Application

  • Applications will be accepted in person starting at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 23 through Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 3 p.m.
  • For Indian Hills Junior High, the first 110 learners to turn in an application will be immediately enrolled. The 111th learner and thereafter will be selected for enrollment through a stratified lottery.
  • For Stilwell Junior High, the first 130 learners to turn in an application will be immediately enrolled. The 131st learner and thereafter will be selected for enrollment through a stratified lottery.
  • Applications will be accepted in person at each junior high. Please submit your completed form in person to Stilwell Junior High, 1601 Vine Street, West Des Moines, or to Indian Hills Junior High, 9401 Indian Hills Drive, Clive, depending on which junior high your student will be attending next year.


Have Questions?

If you have a question about the application or process, please contact either Indian Hills Junior High at 633-4700 or Stilwell Junior High at 633-6000.

If you have a general question about New Tech at the West Des Moines Community Schools, please see the information below or submit your question here.


Information about New Tech

Next year, the West Des Moines Community Schools will be the first district in the state of Iowa to offer New Tech schools, where students learn through real-world projects and students are assigned a personal digital device.

Both Indian Hills and Stilwell junior high schools will offer a “school-within-a-school” model, with one team of seventh-grade students learning in a New Tech environment. Incoming seventh-graders have the opportunity to apply to the New Tech team at their junior high or choose to be assigned to a team using the traditional teaching model.

The New Tech model embraces three key elements.

  • Project-based learning that provides engaging and rigorous instruction.
  • Collaborative culture that promotes trust, respect, and responsibility.
  • Technology fully applied to allow for innovative approaches to instruction.

For information about New Tech at the West Des Moines Community Schools, visit www.wdmcs.org/academics/new-tech/

Life in the WDMCS 02/17/15

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

The Iowa World Language Association has named West Des Moines Community Schools teacher Amy Murphy as their educator of the year. Murphy, a teacher at Fairmeadows and Crossroads Park elementary schools, currently serves as chair for the World Languages Department in the district. She co-led a FLES study group on implementing iPads in the FLES classroom, according to the association’s website. Murphy also works with educators from around the state to help develop FLES programs in other districts.

Crestview Elementary

Kindergarten music class is a time to explore, hear and develop the beginning knowledge and skill to listen and be able to talk about what students have heard and what they are learning.  Students have been learning about rhythm and steady beat this week. They have been learning how to read rhythm notation and different ways to show their learning. One day, they played an echo game with Crestview music teacher William Bird where each student used rhythm sticks to play each rhythm as an echo and then from written music notation.

Jordan Creek Elementary

Students in Luis Suarez’s physical education classes had the opportunity to enjoy the Iowa winter with some awesome sledding the week of Feb. 2.  The hill behind the school has few obstructions and students are instructed where they can and cannot go. Suarez uses the activity for some great character lessons about sharing, taking turns and getting great exercise in the snow. Students have done a great job overall in observing safety rules to keep it a fun experience. When students learn to watch out for others, they become more aware of their fellow students and less focused on themselves.

Start Date Expected by Spring Break

Administrators have submitted a waiver request to the state for the district’s proposed 2015-16 calendar, which has a start date of Aug. 12, 2015.

The Iowa Department of Education notified districts in December that it would stop granting routine waivers to the law requiring schools to start classes during the week of Sept. 1.

If the state denies the district’s request or does not take action on it by Spring Break, which begins March 13, the district will hold a hearing and ask the School Board to approve an alternate calendar with a start date closer to Sept. 1.