Welcome to the 2016-17 school year. I hope you enjoyed the summer months and were able to spend time with friends and family. I am looking forward to another year filled with outstanding learning experiences and opportunities for all of our students.
One of our values in the West Des Moines Community Schools is growth. I want every child in our district to grow each year to expand their individual abilities and interests. To help our students, we, as adults, must grow as well. We must continue to learn, innovate, and enhance our abilities in an ever-changing world. I have worked with our Board of Education to define goals that will guide our district and my work for this year. I invite you to learn more about these goals, which are available at bit.ly/2bR5FUs.
Thank you for joining us for the 2016-17 school year. We will work every day to inspire each student to achieve his or her greatest potential. I wish you a year filled with happiness, learning, and success!
Welcome to the 2016-17 school year,
Superintendent Lisa Remy, Ed.D.
The full 2016-17 district calendar is now available online at www.wdmcs.org/calendar. You can find a link to the district calendar webpage at the top of any page on the district website.
On the district calendar webpage, two calendars will be available: the Calendar at a Glance and the Interactive Online Calendar. Continue reading to learn how to use the new interactive online district calendar.
Our at-a-glance calendar PDF is a printable academic calendar. It includes breaks, no school days, and other main districtwide dates. The Calendar at a Glance is located at the top of the district calendar webpage. Click the “THIS YEAR” button to view a PDF of the current academic calendar. The “NEXT YEAR” button leads to an academic calendar for the upcoming academic year, which is posted in late January each school year.
Complete with a new, user-friendly design, the interactive online district calendar is fully customizable through filtering. You can personalize your online calendar view by choosing the event categories and schools relevant to your needs.
Step One: Filter by Event Category This is the main filter and helps you select which type of event you want to see. You should use this filter first.
Activities — debate, science bowl, etc.
Arts — band, jazz band, vocal music, and orchestra
Districtwide — all districtwide events (no school days, holidays, school board meetings, testing, etc.)
Schoolwide — all building-level events (school pictures, conferences, meet the teacher night)
Step Two: Filter by School This is a secondary filter. Use this filter to break down your categorized events by school building.
All Schools — events at every district school building that are in your chosen category/categories
Elementary — events at every elementary school building
To view events occurring at your specific elementary school, check the box next to the school’s name:
Junior High — events at both junior high school buildings
To view events occurring at your specific junior high school, check the box next to the school’s name:
High School — events at every high school building
To view events occurring at your specific high school, check the box next to the school’s name:
Day, Week, Month, Range Another way to customize your calendar view is to select a range of event dates. Built-in ranges include “DAY,” “WEEK,” and “MONTH.” You can also create your own range by clicking on the “RANGE” button. Select a “START DATE” and “END DATE,” then click “APPLY.” Before you start a new event date search, click “CLEAR.”
NEW! Printable Customized Calendar
Once you have personalized your online calendar view to your interests, you can print a customized list of dates with our new on-demand print feature. Click the “PRINT” button near the top of the calendar to print an easy-to-read PDF. (Preprinted yearly calendars are no longer available due to budget reductions.)
Additional Calendar Resources
A listing of main districtwide dates in each issue of the “Informaline” newsletter
The black/orange day P.E. schedule for Valley High School and Valley Southwoods Freshman High School
Today, the West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) is excited to launch our new brand, which celebrates our district as a place where students can belong, connect, learn, and launch their future.
Our revitalized brand represents who we are as a district today and our vision for the future.
As a highly-ranked district, we offer one of the largest selections of excellent academic courses and programs in the state, allowing students a customized learning experience. As our world and the needs of our students change, learning experiences must change as well to prepare our students for their future. This is why we recently introduced new online courses at Valley High School and are expanding our first-in-Iowa New Tech schools.
This innovative spirit will continue as our experienced educators meet with families to review grading practices and continue to collaboratively analyze teaching strategies to best meet students’ needs.
Part of the district brand is a new academic logo, which signifies the opportunities we provide our students:
academic achievement, innovative leadership, and unique learning pathways. It represents the district’s future-forward thinking and heralds the innovative possibilities of tomorrow.
The design integrates references to our district’s history by using a “W” and a “V.” The colors were also inspired by our history and represent energy, sophistication, and quiet strength.
Reminiscent of a person with arms outstretched in welcome and triumph, the logo reflects our focus on the people in our district. The three blocks stand for the families, employees, and community members who support each student’s success.
During the next several months, we will introduce the new logo in several areas, including an updated website with new user-friendly features, revised materials, and much more.
More importantly, we will continue to work in partnership with families and the community to educate responsible lifelong learners who possess the skills, knowledge, creativity, sense of self-worth, and values necessary to thrive in and contribute to a diverse and changing world.
We will continue to use our athletics and activities logos—the tiger and the paw—as well as the WDMCS Community Education identity suite. We will also introduce a new identity suite for the Staplin Performing Arts Center. This strategy is based on a typical college or university identity structure.
You may also see the old blue and white district logo around the district. To be conscientious of our resources, we are using up the materials we have instead of just throwing them away.
Our Branding Journey
The district’s brand was developed in our district community by our community members.
In 2013, the West Des Moines Community Schools conducted a communications audit with the National School Public Relations Association. One recommendation of the audit was to incorporate marketing and branding strategies to share the district’s story as a leading school district. Subsequently, the School/Community Relations Office developed a comprehensive communications plan, which included conducting and implementing a branding process by 2016.
The School/Community Relations Office began the branding process in 2014 with assistance from Share Marketing. The process launched in November with a 22-question branding and positioning survey of parents/guardians and employees. Students of Valley High School’s marketing class were also involved in the branding process and participated in the survey. In January, two four-hour branding work sessions were held with nearly 30 parent/guardian, teacher, administrator, and support staff representatives. Through the committee’s work, a brand platform was developed for the district.
The district’s visual identity suite is based on the brand platform. The School/Community Relations Office worked with Love Scott & Associates, Inc., an Iowa agency with 40 years of experience in branding and marketing, to develop the brand identity. Love Scott & Associates President Andrea Love and former Vice President/Creative Director Adam Jensen have a deep understanding of the district through their previous work with staff, students and families on the district activities logo. In addition, Love is a graduate of Valley High School.
The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education approved the logos and brand identity in 2015.
Welcome to a reimagined WDMCS. Share the new district brand and our student-inspired district video with your friends and family using #WelcometoWDMCS on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest!
Almost 200 students, family members, district staff, volunteers, and community members contributed their time, energy, and talents to a new video for the West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS).
Featuring an original song composed and performed by Valley High School musicians, the video focuses on the most important people in our district: the students.
See someone you know? Let them know by sharing the video using #WelcometoWDMCS on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!
The Story Behind Our Video Our students were a creative force behind the video, assisting with all aspects of production, from the script to the original song. Often using their own words, they talked about their experiences in the district, from working together in class to designing a fashion line and programming a computer.
Valley High School graduate and 2015-16 Valley Student Council President Thomas Bonus speaks in the video.
Valley High School graduate and 2015-16 Valley Student Council President Thomas Bonus provided the video’s theme in an interview a few weeks before his graduation. With a senior student’s perspective, he talked about changes in learning brought about by new technology and the dawn of the Information Age. He emphasized the importance of interactive learning, collaboration, and the ability of education to prepare students for their futures. To show those opportunities in action, we searched for students who wanted to tell their stories and would represent the district as a whole.
Eighth-grader Joseph Maxwell helped adapt his lines in the video from a statement he had submitted to the website using the “Share Your Story” button. Alayna Meeks and Susanne Schemmel, both 2016 Valley graduates, talked about their respective authentic learning experiences in Valley’s Culinary Arts and Design Studio classes. Sixth-grade Hillside Elementary students and English Learners Oscar Ivan Aldana Barrera, Jesus Berber, and Juan Soto-Silva helped write and translate their own lines so their story could be told in both English and Spanish. Walnut Creek Campus graduate Chloe Christensen tried on a cap and gown for the video just a few weeks before her real graduation. Many other students shared their unique stories, interests, and goals with us as we explored the district through their eyes.
Recent Valley High School graduate Olympia Manning, left, composed the district theme.
Students also created the original song heard at the beginning and end of the video. Olympia Manning, a 2016 Valley High School graduate interested in film score composition, composed the song herself and worked with videographer Ryan Buck on the lyrics. Manning and seven other students from the Valley band, choir, and orchestra learned and recorded the song with help from Buck. The students developed their own parts, performed the song for a demo and the final recording, and participated in the opening shot of the district video.
Part of the West Des Moines Community Schools promise to students is that they will have a voice. Each students’ journey is part of our district story, and the goal of this video was providing students the opportunity to tell their own stories. We feel privileged to have worked with so many students who helped us tell our story with authenticity.
We would like to extend a special thank you to everyone who was part of the video, especially the many students and teachers who donated their time and energy and Ryan Paul Buck Productions. A full list of credits can be seen below.
Produced by Ryan Paul Buck Productions with additional footage provided by Wil Abeling
“District Theme” Composed by Olympia Manning Lyrics by Ryan Buck and Olympia Manning Guitar: Liam Carroll Bass Guitar: Matt Christensen Drums: Jakhari Durham Vocals: Derek Lutt, Nicole Miller, and Caroline Stump Violin: Olympia Manning Keyboard: Curtis Craven, Nicole Miller, and Caroline Stump Choir: Abisai Garcia, Quinn Kelly, Maya Knudsen, Azure Peterson, Maren Stegh, Justin Toth, Crystal Westberg
Students Oscar Ivan Aldana Barrera Jesus Berber Ben Berry Cohen Bialas Thomas Bonus Mariana Castro Dominguez Chloe Christensen Medardo Constanza Carson Copple Farrah Ganske Sawyer Haskin Eddie Hybels Drake Larson Joseph Maxwell Alayna Meeks Layne Slater Juan Soto-Silva Susanne Schemmel Rachel Werner Blaise Wittern Zoe Young Jordan Creek Kids Care Club Valley Girls Basketball Team
District Staff and Community Members Chris Amundson Pam Ballard Pete Bissinger Lucas Brandt Anna Brown Carmen Clark Melissa Clayton Kim Davis Ryan Deignan Kim Dunbar Haley Gibbons Stacy Hansen David Maxwell Janell Mikels Adam Nidey Laura Pals Phil Peters Amanda Pichler Laura Roberts Joe Sigrist Gregory Simmons Alisha Stewart Barb Tigges Josh Waymire Joe Wiltgen Aaron Witt Helena Young
Special thanks to all the students who participated in the opening shot of the video:
Group Leaders Catherine Christian, Jared Fisher, Olivia Hope, Nic Lovan, Carter Oakley,
Theresia Reineke, Jacie Stewart, Justine Williamson
Kailee St. John
Ceira White (Current)
Paula Vivian Youbor
Welcome to the 2016-17 school year! We look forward to seeing you in our hallways again, starting Wednesday, Aug. 24. The first day of school this year will follow the collaboration schedule and be an early out day. Please contact your school if you have any questions about the first day of school.
Here are several links that will help your family have a great year in the West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS).
Back-to-School Toolkit, School Supply Lists & More
See Something Different? As you get ready for the 2016-17 school year, you will see the new district logo on our forms, handbooks, and more. Watch the district website and your email inbox for more information as we get closer to the first day of school. We are excited to share the story of our district with you!
It may be summertime, but the show must go on! As summer gets into full swing, here are some tips from WDMCS teacher and Community Education instructor Angie Loney to keep your child’s music skills polished.
The West Des Moines Community Schools is pleased to announce that Barb Goetschel is the next assistant principal of Stilwell Junior High School with a start date of July 1. Valley Southwoods will be seeking to fill two new counseling positions and will not fill the administrative position.
Goetschel was previously associate principal at Valley Southwoods Freshman High School, a position she held since she began her career in the district in 2007-08. Prior to this, she was the student services coordinator, activities/athletics coordinator, and gifted and talented coordinator for Platteville Public Schools in Wisconsin. She later served as an elementary counselor for grades K-8 for the Cuba City Public Schools in Wisconsin. She received her bachelor’s degree in traffic and occupational safety and a master’s degree in counseling and education administration from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
Former Stilwell Junior High School Assistant Principal Brady Weber accepted a new position as associate principal of Waverly-Shell Rock High School beginning in July.
Valley Southwoods will not fill the assistant principal position, but will add two new full-time counseling positions. Principal Mitch Kuhnert and Assistant Principal Bryan Stearns will continue to serve as the building’s administration.
Please join the district in congratulating Ms. Goetschel on her new position and in wishing Mr. Weber all the best in his new high school role.