District News

Nine Valley Students Named National Merit Scholarship Finalists

All nine of the National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists from Valley High School were upgraded to National Merit Scholarship Finalists this week. Seniors Chloe Goodman, Grant Gustafson, Catherine Leafstedt, Ashwin Madhan, Alicia Meng, Neeve Sivagurunathan, Jason Smith, Corrine Smolen and Jeffrey Swegle will be notified in June if they have been selected as a National Merit Scholar.

These students will be among 15,000 nationwide in competition to become a National Merit Scholar, earning a $2,500 scholarship. National Merit Scholars are chosen based on abilities, skills and accomplishments. Academic records, school curriculum, test scores, an administrative recommendation, information about activities and leadership as well as an essay are used in the judging process.

Olympian Karlos Kirby Visits Phenix

ph-kirby5Valley alum and two-time Olympic bobsledder Karlos Kirby visited Phenix Elementary during its Wellness Wednesday activities Feb. 12.

You could see the surprise on the face of students as Kirby, wearing his Olympic hat and jacket, informed them that he grew up in West Des Moines and went to school not far away from Phenix. Excitement grew as he spoke about his days at playing sports at Rex Mathes and Valley High School.

Kirby gave many examples to students about not giving up and working hard to accomplish their goals. Kirby worked hard at football to become one of the first sophomore to earn a spot on the varsity football team at Valley. People told him he wasn’t big enough, strong enough or fast enough to play in college, but he was able to earn a scholarship on the New Mexico squad.

After graduating college, in his quest to become an NFL player, he heard about the sport of bobsledding.

“I wanted to bobsled really bad,” he told the students. “That’s the key. You can do just about anything. But you gotta enjoy it and you gotta really want to do it.”

Even his mom told him no, but he persevered and she finally agreed to purchase a bus ticket for him to Lake Placid, N.Y. He went to tryouts and after the first day of training was over, the coach told him he could go home. Kirby didn’t want to give up so soon.ph-kirby2

“I might not make the team, but I’m not going to quit until I at least try,” he said. “I ended up finishing third the next day. They invited me back to compete against the best they had in the United States. I actually won.”

“I want you to realize that just because you may not succeed in the beginning, doesn’t mean that you may not get where you want to be.”

He also shared some Olympic secrets with the students, explaining how the Olympic flag has five rings to represent the five continents that Olympic athletes come from. Also, the colors of the rings were selected because they are all represented in the colors of flags around the world.

The students’ favorite secret was the reason why the bobsledders don’t take of their helmets in front of the cameras after a race. Ask a Phenix student what he told them and then you will have to watch the games and see if this is true!

Record Number of Entries Advance to IHSSA All-State

IHSSAValley High School and Walnut Creek Campus will be sending a record 21 performances to the Iowa High School Speech Association’s All-State Festival Saturday, February 22 at Iowa State University. This is the first time a WCC entry has advanced to all-state competition.

Entries receiving a I rating at districts advance to the state competition where three judges critique the performance. Performances that receive at least two all-state nominations and are in the upper percentages of point ratings advance to all-state.

Valley’s 20 all-state entries set not only a school record, but a state record as well. Each school in the state is allowed to enter up to 23 performances into competition. Valley set a record earlier this year by having all 23 of its district entries advance to state competition.

“I am honored to work alongside such an incredible, dedicated team and family of directors, students and parents,” said Valley drama director Stacy Hansen. “The IHSSA offers opportunities for all students, and we strongly believe in that philosophy. Everyone is truly on the same team.”

Walnut Creek Campus junior Gabe Mason, coached by WCC teacher Ted Vandeventer, also advanced to all-state in the solo mime category. While Valley Southwoods did not have any acts advance to all-state, a record was set for the school with all nine of its entries receiving a I rating at state contest.

Valley/WCC All-State Entries

Directed by Stacy Hansen
Stage Managers: Kathryn Catellier, Haley Melz
Sarah Clarke, Liz Cleven, Sam Cohrs, Keaton Denker, Brandon Devine, Lucy Gee, Annie Howard, Matthew Hrdlicka, Michael Keay, Claire Maly, Savannah Mendenhall, Chris Ortiz, Ryan Voggesser, Annie Weinberg and Daniel Williams

“Bring Him Home” 
Directed by Adrian McLain
Sammie Binns

Gabe Mason (Walnut Creek)

Directed by Joe Van Haecke
Malique Drees and Danny Williams

Mason McCoy and JJ MIcka

Hira Mustafa and Grady Stein

“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”
Directed by Stacy Hansen
Stage Managers: Katherine Smoldt, Allison Streck
Sam Cacciatore, Jared Freiburg, Chloe Goodman, Andy Han, Grace Harper, Jessica Martens, Abbie Martin, Anna Mockricky, Elise Ramaekers, Emma Stier, Daniel Soto, Melanie Taylor, Nick Wang, Will Ward and Jake Wheeler

“Dallas, 1963: A Conspiracy Theory?”
Directed by Derek Clausssen
Jared Freiburg, Kenzie Hamlett, Micala Johnson, Jake Leiberton, Mason McCoy and Ryan Voggesser

“The Water Goblin”
Directed by Derek Claussen
Hannah Anderson, Julia Anderson, Lily DeTaeye, Abbie Martin, Melanie Taylor and Nick Wang

“Berlin: A Family Divided”
Directed by Adrian McLain
Chiara Guggiari, Connor McCarville, Daniel Miller, Nico Mulhern, Angelina Mullican and Sarah Phillips

“Young Frankenstein”
Directed by Brianne Magel & Megan Helmers
Stage Manager: Kathryn Smoldt
Sam Cacciatore, Sammy Jordan, Maria Lind, Jessica Martens, Daniel Soto and Will Ward

Stage Manager: Allison Streck
Sam Cohrs, Brandon Devine, Abby Hudson, Kara Masteller, Nicole Miller and Emma Stier

Stage Manager: Marisa Potts
Keaton Denker, Chloe Goodman, Andy Han, Michael Keay, Dani Lipman and Lauren Pfeil

“Of Mice and Men”
Directed by Angela Vogel
Malique Drees and Chris Ortiz

“To Burn a Witch”
Directed by Allison Krois
Lucy Gee, Abby Hudson and Kara Masteller and Jaclyn Warden

Directed by Glen Biermann
Tanner Barkley, Kyra Cooper, Rachel Ehrecke, Alex Johnson, Haley Melz, Hira Mustafa, Elizabeth Reed, Katherine Smoldt, Sidd Somayajyk, Chase Stine, Grady Stein, Sam Throm, Lejla Avdic, Emily Carr, Bailey Cook, Rebekah Conard, Natalie Dean, Sam Dayton, Reid Epstein, Josh Farmer, Cheyenne Hensley, Alison Isenhoff, Elle Little, Sarahi Lopez, Olivia McDermott, Alyson O’Hara, Brianne Tuttle, Megan Vratsinas and Matt Yeates
CREW: Isabella Hake, Erin McCauley and Cheyenne Vanlandingham

“A Touch of Love”
Directed by Allison Krois
Student directed by Alex Fell and Chase Stine
Tanner Barkley, Cooper Christensen, Katie Daft, Dylan Davis, Baldeep Dhingra, Benjamin Galiano, Lea Gouvenou, Lisa Jacobsen, Gabe Klein, Alex McNunn, Zacharias Miller, Blake Porter, Alyssa Tainter, Thanat Wangsiripaisam and Alejandro Wurts

RADIO NEWS (two teams)
“UWN: The Splash”
Directed by Glen Biermann
Cooper Christensen, Rachel Ehrecke, Grace Harper, Annie Howard, Matthew Hrdlicka, Anna Mockricky, Elizabeth Reed, Chase Stine, Jaclyn Warden and Jake Wheeler

ENSEMBLE ACTING – Special Recognition
“The Universal Language”
Directed by Charlie Reese
Liz Cleven and Jake Leiberton

1-ACT PLAY – Special Recognition
Directed by Kim Van Haecke
Technical Directed by Juri Depena
Assisted by Grace Sullivan and Bryan Gamboaa
Stage Manager: Maggie Clausman
Andrew Axman, Sammie Benson, Emily Bergez, Cooper Christensen, Susannah Crichton, Taylor Denman, Emma Erhard, Sarah Estes, Caroline Fidler, Isabelle Fidler, Molly Farrell, David Forney, Lauren Frederick, Ashley Gettinger, Zach Graves, Melissa Grinvalds, Grant Hillenbrand, Katelynn Janssen, Allison Kacer, Emily Kacer, Bre Katcher, Ian Ksiazak, Philippe Lombet, Derek Lutt, Carlo Maina, Klever Miranda, Rudy Munoz, Tori Muto, Lauren Nielsen, Nicole Nucaro, Sharissa Patanapanich, Marisa Potts, Kyle Rasmussen, Colten Redford, Anthony Reno, Sydney Sheffield, Masha Smirnova, Megan Smith, Madison Stegman, Leah Stroh, Natalia Tinoco, Abby Tobin, Sarah Wickencamp, Maggie Wildermuth and DaVuntae Williams
CREW: Jenny Bryant, Cheyenne Hensley, Emma Kazeze, Tessa Miksch, Liz Remus, Ashley Ridgway, Brianne Tuttle and Claire Wright

Life in the WDMCS 2/10/14

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.

Clive Elementary

Students at Clive Elementary are on a roll! To celebrate positive behaviors displayed by students during the first semester, students, staff and parent volunteers laced up their skates and hit the roller rink. Students were bused to Skate South and treated to an hour and a half of skating fun for the school-wide celebration. Great music set the tone for a fun-filled day of skating. “It was fun and they played really good songs,” said fifth grader Aaron Stockham. He added, “The best song was ‘What Does the Fox Say?’” The Clive Elementary staff would like thank the parent volunteers and the helpful staff at Skate West for all their assistance in making the school-wide celebration a success.

Crestview Elementary

Crestview students and staff are enjoying the Book of the Month program. Each month, students read and talk about a featured book with their class. Classroom teachers then add the book to their classroom library, and students eagerly re-read the titles during independent and partner reading. Related arts classes often connect their learning to the Book of the Month. The February Book of the Month is “Journey” by Aaron Becker, recipient of a 2014 Caldecott Honor. Modeled after All Iowa Reads, the purpose of the Book of the Month program is to promote a love of reading and foster a sense of community through reading. A big thank you to the Crestview PTC for their continued support and Instructional Coach Annie Orsini for helping to make this possible!

Fairmeadows Elementary

The fifth and sixth grade students in Deb Augspurger’s music class at Fairmeadows Elementary are wrapping up a unit on guitars. Each student plays one of the 28 acoustic guitars, learning both familiar and new tunes based primarily on D, G and A major chords along with a variety of strumming patterns. Opportunity is given for those with prior skill to perform for the class. A perennial favorite is “Smoke on the Water.”

Hillside Elementary

Hillside First Graders have been studying culture in their Artful Learning unit. They are discussing how culture defines a community and are learning about the different cultures in their own classrooms at Hillside. Students shared artifacts from the traditions and celebrations they have in their families. They tied these into some African cultures with presentations from African dancers, drummers and storytellers. They also had some parents share their own African culture and traditions. The students are designing a quilt representing some of their own family traditions, with help from media specialist Melodee Grefe. The students also made drums and shakers, and learned dances to show that music has been a very important part of the African culture for communication and celebrations. The students made Khamsa Hands, a symbol of good luck. They colored a Kente Cloth, which is an ancient form of weaved material created by the Ashanti people. Students also learned the history behind African animal masks and made their own out of torn paper sacks. They took a field trip to the Des Moines Art Center to see the work of the artist El Anatsui. His large-scale metallic tapestries made from recycled materials has become some of the most beloved and best recognized works of art by any living artist. After returning to Hillside, students began making their own tapestry from recycled materials. They have enjoyed learning and discovering that culture is shared beliefs, values and traditions in a community.

Jordan Creek Elementary

Kindergartners at Jordan Creek Elementary celebrated their 100th day of school last week. The children had a lot of fun with the many activities they participated in to celebrated the special day. Their center activities were all in the spirit of the special three digit day. They counted by ones, fives and tens to 100; made 100 day hats; filled in a 100’s chart; disguised pictures with the number 100; wrote about what they would buy with $100; and ate snacks of 100 items.

Westridge Elementary

Each year, Westridge Elementary School participates in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Pennies for Patients campaign. The campaign kick-off will take place on February 20 with a school-wide assembly, and the fund-raising will take place February 24-28. Every student can participate by donating or taking part in a week of fun dress-up days. The Westridge Conflict Managers, who are always willing to offer service to their school community, will help collect the coins from the classrooms each morning. Pennies for Patients week is always an exciting one for Westridge students, as they collect money for this important cause. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society supports research that seeks to find cures for leukemia and lymphoma.

Valley High School

There will be a parent information meeting at 8:30 p.m. at Fairmeadows Elementary on Monday, February 17 for those interested in lacrosse. Parents of current and new players are encouraged to attend this meeting. Coaches will go over the registration process, since this is a club sport, as well as other information about the team and season. The Lacrosse Club consists of a boys middle school team, a boys high school JV team, a boys high school varsity team and a girls high school varsity team. Boys in grades 6-12 and girls in grades 9-12 are eligible for these teams. Indoor practices for the high school teams are currently underway. Outdoor practices for all teams will begin in March. The high school boys varsity team is coming off its best season to date, competing in the state (Nebraska) championship game for the first time in team history and finishing as the runner-up. For more information visit www.wdmlacrosse.com.

Valley juniors Sam Basler and Nolan Dahm won the varsity policy debate at the Iowa City City High debate tournament. In public forum, the team of seniors Mackenzie Copley and Ashton Woiwood placed second. The teams of senior Carolyn Hoemann and sophomore Manuel Smith, as well as juniors Lexy Takla and Grady Stein, were quarterfinalists. In varsity Lincoln-Douglas, the final round was closed out by co-champions, freshmen Trent Gilbert and TJ Foley. Third place was taken by Stilwell 7th grader Conal Thomas-McGinnis, and fourth place was freshman Evan McKinney. In novice LD, freshman Siena Cabbage placed second, while Jordan Creek sixth grader Animesh Joshi was a semifinalist. In novice policy, the team of freshmen Nora Raine and Katy Green placed second.

Board Reviews Draft Budget-Reducing Options Feb. 10

Calendar Public Hearing Feb. 10

news_calendar_photoThe West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education will hold a public hearing on the proposed 2014-15 school calendar on Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 in the Community Room, Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines. The public hearing will take place during the board’s regular meeting, which starts at 7 p.m.

The hearing will be the time when interested individuals can express their views, both orally and in writing, on the proposed 2014-15 school year calendar, which is based on instructional hours instead of days and sets an early start date of August 20, 2014.

Please note these key features of the proposed calendar:

  • The August 20 start date accommodates all that the district wants to accomplish within the parameters of The Code of Iowa, The Iowa Administrative Code, the agreements with the WDMEA and WDMESP, and the feedback from parents and staff.  The proposed calendar is based on instructional hours.
  • The November 26 and March 13 flex days are again part of the calendar.  (There is no school for students and staff because certified staff held parent-teacher conferences after contract hours.)
  • Winter break is 10 school days.
  • Spring break is 5 school days.
  • September 15, October 13, January 19, February 20, and April 24 are designated as teacher professional development days.
  • Certified staff finish the school year before university summer courses begin.

 District Calendar Recommendation

  • First Student Day: Wednesday, August 20
  • Winter Break: December 22-January 2
  • End Semester 1: Friday, January 14 (90 days)
  • Flex Days: November 26 and March 13
  • Staff Work Days (No Students): September 15, October 13, January 19, February 20, April 24
  • Spring Break: March 16-20
  • Last Student Day: Wednesday, June 3 (90 days)

A survey listing the top four calendar options developed by the district calendar committee was open through February 6, 2014.  The survey results are summarized as follows:

A total of 3,076 responses were noted.  Seventy five percent of responses were from parents, twenty five percent were from school district employees (with most of the staff represented by teachers).

The priorities ranked most important when choosing a calendar were ending first semester at winter break and a full two week winter break.

Four calendar options were presented.

Calendar Start Date Winter Break Features End Date
1-34.3% August 13 Dec 22-Jan 2
Early out Wed,
1st semester end
Dec. 19
May 22
2-7.6% August 14 Dec 24-Jan 2
Early out Wed,
1st semester end
Dec. 23
May 22
3-37.3% August 20 Dec 22-Jan 2
(students & staff)
Early out Wed
1st semester end
Jan. 14
June 3
4-20.8% August 13 Dec 22-Jan 2
1st semester end
Dec. 19
May 22


Our calendar committee met multiple times and has a recommendation for a calendar based on instructional hours beginning school year 2014-2015.

We recommend Calendar 3, which is based on instructional hours with an early start date of August 20, 2014, be adopted for the 2014-2015 school year and a calendar reflecting the identified priorities of survey responses and secondary students be developed for the 2015-2016 school year.

We plan to continue committee work to determine the concepts of a tentative calendar for 2015-2016 to be shared with the board before the end of the 2013-14 school year.

In the future, we would recommend that the board adopt a 2 year tentative calendar.

We will move towards a calendar with finals at winter break.  This was indicated to be a priority on surveys of community and a priority for secondary students. We have concerns about starting school August 13th for the 2014-2015 school year, as this would be too quick a change for families and our district.


Proposed Calendar (No. 3) Month-by-Month View



Dr. Remy Hired as District Superintendent

staff_lrc_RemyLAt a special meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 5, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education unanimously approved hiring Dr. Lisa Remy as district Superintendent effectively immediately.


“I want to thank you for this opportunity,” Remy said. “I am truly honored to serve our district. I look forward to our working together as we have done in the past and as we continue to move forward to serve our students to prepare them for their journey after West Des Moines Community Schools.”


Remy earned her bachelor’s degree in education, master’s degree in Spanish teaching, Superintendent’s certification and doctorate degree in educational administration from the University of Northern Iowa. She began her career in education as a Spanish teacher at Hudson Community Schools in Hudson, Iowa. She later served as high school Principal at Hudson. She came to the WDMCS in 2000, serving as Associate Principal at Valley High School. She served as Principal of Indian Hills Junior High for four years before taking her current position as Associate Superintendent of Human Resources in 2006. She began her term as Interim Superintendent in May 2013.

Superintendent Dr. Remy Contract

National Signing Day at Valley

Congratulations to the 36 student-athletes from Valley High School who participated in National Signing Day and will continue their education and athletic careers after high school!

Rachel Bakey


University of Dubuque

Jeff Swegle


Stanford University

Daniel Marcus


George Washington Uni.
or Central College

Mackenzie Main


Augustana College, South Dakota

Haley Morris


Drake University

Jake Koethe


Grand View University
or Uni. Of Northern IA

Ben Grotnes


Luther College

Madi Agey


Minnesota State University -Mankato

Alex Dornacker



Jay Hrdlicka


Northwest Mo. St. Uni.

Connor Sorge


Heartland Comm. College/Illinois

Parker Johnson


Uni. Of Arkansas/Little Rock

Nick Nelsen


Iowa Western Comm. College

Noah Reddig


Hope Uni./Washington Uni./
Calvin College

Mason Whitham


Luther College or Briar Cliff

Sam Wiese


Taylor University

Tyus Mason


Iowa Western Comm. College

Adam Harris


University of South Dakota

Anthony Holmes


Missouri Western University

Dakota Miller


Grand View University

Nate Spacek


Drake University

Joshua Brunk


Central College

Reese Garver


Wartburg College

Sam Hartman


St. Cloud St. University, Minn.

Michael Christiansen


Central College

Aaron Howard


Iowa Western Comm. College

Torey Brown


University of Iowa

Mandi Brown


Simpson College

Briana Woods


Grand View University

Morgan Rafferty


University of Iowa

Zack Butters


Central College or Wartburg

Jake Sprecher


Augsburg College, Minneapolis

Cristopher Forrest


Luther College or Wartburg College

Adam Morse


Vincennes Univ., Indiana
or St. Ambrose, Davenport

Nick Dolan Cross Country Univ. of Dubuque


Public Meetings Set for Feedback on Budget-Cutting Options

Life in the WDMCS 2/3/14

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.

Clive Elementary

Clive’s yearbook design takes on a new look each year, as there is a group of very creative sixth graders taking on the role of photographers, sales managers and designers. This year’s photographers (Nailah Cortez, Sarah Beslagic, Melissa Nakyeyune, Hira Bhujel, Maddy Shumaker, Kaitlyn Clarke, Mariel Castillo, Melisa Huskic, Quade Keenan, Maggie Hurley-Boyd, Lydia McClure, Dante Manuel, Lindsey DeLeon, Sierra Webster, Medina Sivac and Sarah Amro) have been busy since October hunting down the best shots during every day school routines as well as at special events, such as Fun Night. The sales managers (Edna Harris, Amy Huynh and Dante Garcia) help to advertise the yearbook and keep track of orders. The design team (Saige Clayton, Sarah Amro, Sarah Beslagic, Elea Cooper, Medina Sivac, Edna Harris and Kaitlyn Clarke) has been diligently meeting each week after school to create unique pages to make this book an original. We can’t wait to see the final results in May!

Crestview Elementary

First graders celebrated their 100th day of school at Crestview Elementary by doing many fun activities. They made cereal necklaces and wrote newspaper articles with facts about 100. Students reflected on what being 100 years old might be like. They got to experiment with different ways to count and make the number 100.

Crossroads Park Elementary

Crossroads Park PTA held an Innisbrook fundraiser. The Innisbrook Company offers a selection of gift wrap, paper, supplies, bags, ribbons and bows. Crossroads Park students sold a total of $5,897. The PTA rewarded our top selling students an opportunity to be principal for the day. The top selling salesmen were Alison McDonnell, Nicholas Edgar and Alec DePhillips. Sarah Sadler’s fourth grade class was the top selling classroom and were rewarded an ice cream party.

A few talented Crossroads Park students recently had the opportunity to share their art work at various locations in the metro area. Art Work at Farm Bureau: third graders Drew Sueppel, Tatum Bartlett, Alexa Norton, Elliot Baughman, Christina Yu, Logan Maanum; fifth graders Alec DePhillips, Oliver Parizek, Star Mendez, Ashwin Dervesh, Ellie Penick, Isabelle Hancock, Danielle Socarras, Callie Kreps, Haley Kreps, Grace Zimmerman, Luke Johnson, Erin Baedke, Joe Templeton; Art Work at the Des Moines Art Center during January: Aiden Maanum, Jacob Agnew, Fatma Tawr, Angelica Haase, Emily Lindner, Emily Spears, Anna Rader, Katie Richards, and Mary Thomas.

Fairmeadows Elementary

First graders at Fairmeadows have been learning about the continent of Africa. Students have studied the different vegetation zones in Africa including the four different layers of the rain forest, animals that live on the savannah and the Sahara desert. They have also learned about different customs and have compared and contrasted their lives to the lives of children in different African countries. Students enjoyed listening to a Fairmeadows parent present about what it was like to grow up in Kenya. The first graders especially enjoyed seeing a handmade galimoto! Finally, students completed a report on the African animal of their choice. They researched their animal, used a graphic organizer to collect their information, wrote their report and added a detailed illustration.

Staff and students at Fairmeadows are focusing on being people of good character. The staff at Fairmeadows chose students they felt were showing the pillars of character in all parts of the school day. These students showed the staff they are responsible, respectful, trustworthy, fair, caring and good citizens. Students received a special certificate and pencil, and have their picture taken for display. Students included for the month of February are: Loren Maxwell, Kellen Parizek, Andrew Revas, Ariana Romero, Raegan Reuter, Brooklyn Peterson, Brandon Weaver, Makenna Paul, Kaia Redford, Laney Schultz, Conrad Yates, Izzie Carr, Diego Tapia, Cecelia Stegh, Tiana Tolson, Lauren Sander, Sam Lechtenberg, Piper Harris, Brian Bevington, Tiffany Sheets, Adalyn Offerman, Anh Ky Pham, Kevin Quito, Jannika Rydje, Briana Carenza, Brayden Messerschmidt, Kierstin Larson, Tommy Chapman, Gia Blazer, Oliver Strauss, Abbie Welbes, Diana Aguirre, Kenneth Yanque, Xander Harlow, Chaim Moore, Jake Duve, Mia Wells, Joe Maxwell, Chris Tu, Brayden Hart, Sydney Tu, Drew Danner, Logan Kha, Ayden Johnson, Katie Newman, Sarah Dorn and Jimmy Alba. Congratulations!

Jordan Creek Elementary

All of Jordan Creek first grade classes enjoyed spending part of the 100th Day of First Grade doing fun learning activities in each of the four classrooms. Each student was able to demonstrate a color or shape pattern on a special pair of 100 Day glasses; make the number 100 on a number grid using clues of how many tens and how many ones; sing a 100th Day song/poem and write or draw on a pennant some things each student has learned; and exercise by doing different movements, including their January Jumping Jacks…100 at a time.

Phenix Elementary

Students in Physical Education classes are learning about balance, strength and flexibility through the gymnastics and tumbling unit. Students have had the opportunity to explore a wide variety of movements through the use of the balance beam, parallel bars and vault. During February and March classes will be trying to raise money for the American Heart association by learning how to jump rope and developing new jump rope skills. They will be learning jumps with short and long ropes. They will be strengthening their own hearts and lungs by doing a variety of cardiovascular activities.

Westridge Elementary

Second graders at Westridge are completing their Native American unit in social studies with a home project. Students have been learning that Native American culture was largely dictated by the region in which they lived. Students designed a pet rock for this activity. They have been using their imaginations to create a home suitable for their rock. Students were asked to use only the resources they currently have at home to create this environment. The goal of this activity is for the students to understand how available resources affect the style of home the Native Americans made in each region.

Westridge Elementary will be hosting Your Pre-Teen and Social Media, a series for parents starting on February 20 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. This series will be held at the school’s media center and is open to all parents in the WDMCS district. This FREE event will focus on the use of social media by elementary-aged students. Speaker Raylee Melton, a Westridge parent and expert on social media, will design future sessions in this series based on the needs of her audience. This is a free event, but we will be accepting donations to support the Booster Pak Program (cash or boxes of cereal). For free tips and event details visit http://moth-media.com/preteen-socialmedia.

Valley High School

Valley’s Design Studio students will be hosting a model clinic Feb. 15 for elementary aged girls. Participants in the clinic will be pampered by Design Studio students by having their hair styled and makeup done and will learn to walk like a professional model. They will then put on a fashion show at 11 a.m. in the VHS cafeteria. All family members are encouraged to come and cheer on their little model. Cost is $20, which includes a photograph of your model, a certificate of completion and a T-shirt commemorating the day. Registration must be received by February 7.

Congratulations to our Competition Cheer Squad for placing fifth NATIONALLY at the National Cheerleaders Association Jr. and Sr. High School Nationals in Dallas, Texas! We are very proud of how they competed with teams from all over the nation! Team members are Sammie Bullington, Leah Carlson, Carter Forrest, Ashley Freeman, Taylor Glade, Bri Hagar, Jenna Hanson, Kaitlyn Harrington, Ashley Joos, Carissa Just, Maggie Laws, Natalie Lawyer, Makenna Lloyd, Haley Melz, Amanda Merck, Mackenzie Moran, Kayla Phalen, Meenu Raja, Bre Reeves, Megan Renkel, Megan Schnoebelen, Kaylee Shelton, Claudia Stewart, Jessica Studer, Sara Wetzel and Taylor White. Coach – Beth Ferguson.

Congratulations to Tej Akavaram and Isabelle Pierotti-May, who were recognized Youth of the Year by the Chinese Association of Iowa. Both of them have been in the VHS Chinese Lion and Dragon team for the past three years and participated in community performances and Mid-West Competition, where the team won second prize. They are currently in Chinese III and Tej has won the study abroad scholarship in 2013 summer to spend 6 weeks intensive study over China. Youth of the Year recognizes the young people who serve and make a difference in our community and they will be honored for their selfless acts and character development.