District News

Clive Learning Academy Builds Partnerships Through Selfie Scavenger Hunt

Clive Learning Academy staff members connected with businesses and organizations in their school community through a photo scavenger hunt in October. Working in teams, the facilitators met with representatives from several businesses and organizations to teach their community about New Tech and Clive Learning Academy.

To document their budding partnerships, facilitators used a scavenger hunt app and snapped photos of every “mission.” The missions included meetings at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa, the Windsor Heights Hy-Vee, departments and offices from the cities of Clive and Windsor Heights, and other local businesses. The business representatives all gamely posed for selfies during their meetings.

“When you can make those community connections, it’s really powerful,” Shive-Hattery civil engineer Kelsey Reisberg said. “It helps build strong communities and businesses.”

Clive facilitators educate Windsor Heights city officials about New Tech in their school.

Clive facilitators educate city officials about New Tech.

Part of the connection came from teaching each organization about Clive Learning Academy’s New Tech learning model. The facilitators and representatives also brainstormed partnership opportunities for Clive students and the school. Ideas included website projects with WebSpec Design, creating disaster preparedness kits with Iowa Homeland Security, and a tour of Shive-Hattery Architecture and Engineering focused on its collaborative spaces.

“The community partnerships are so important, being a New Tech school,” Clive facilitator Mara Phillips said. “A lot of our projects include collaborating with community members to make the learning truly authentic.”

The Clive facilitators also asked what skills the businesses and organizations were looking for in future employees. Some representatives mentioned specific skills like financial awareness and interviewing ability. Many emphasized so-called “soft skills” like communication and teamwork, which are taught and evaluated in the New Tech model. Like many New Tech students, the representatives seemed excited about the hands-on aspect of the learning model.

Clive facilitators discuss the scavenger hunt.

Clive facilitators discuss the scavenger hunt.

“It’s interesting and exciting to have opportunities to share engineering with more students,” said Adam Puls, a mechanical engineer at Shive-Hattery. “In high school, I didn’t know about that many opportunities for engineers. It’s cool that younger kids are getting exposed to the idea of engineering.”

In an afternoon reflection session, the scavenger hunt teams shared project ideas and discussed ways to continue building students’ soft skills in their classrooms.

“By having teachers make connections with new businesses and community members, we have established relationships and will hopefully be able to partner with them in the future for student projects,” Phillips said.

Learn more about New Tech in the WDMCS

Special thanks to all the new community partners that participated in Clive Learning Academy’s photo scavenger hunt! See more photos of the Clive facilitators below.

  • 5 Borough Bagels
  • Bankers Trust
  • Big Brothers/Big Sisters
  • Capital Orthopedic & Sports Medicine
  • City of Clive
  • City of Windsor Heights
  • Clive Community Services
  • Cumulus Media
  • FIT
  • Hy-Vee
  • Iowa Homeland Security
  • New Leaf Wellness
  • Shive-Hattery Architecture and Engineering
  • Walnut Creek YMCA
  • WebSpec Design
  • Windsor Heights Police Department
  • Windsor Heights Fire Department

District and Valley Announce Equity Team Members

Two new groups began working with the district and Valley High School on education equity in our schools. The district and Valley High School equity teams met for the first time on Thursday, Nov. 10. The membership of each team includes students, parents, community members, and employees.

Life in the WDMCS — Nov. 9, 2016

Life in the WDMCS is a weekly feature that highlights what is happening at each of our buildings.

Board Continues to Study Moving Sixth Grade, Preschool

The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education will continue to study various space allocation options, including moving sixth grade and preschool out of district elementary schools.

Tiger Cubs Preschool Registration

Tiger Cubs Preschool registration for the 2017-18 school year opens on Monday, Nov. 7, 2016 at 8 a.m.

WDMCS Classes in Session Today (Nov. 2)

Our hearts go out to the Urbandale and Des Moines police departments and the families of the two officers killed overnight.

One of the tragic shootings took place near Urbandale High School and the Urbandale Community School District has canceled classes today because of the investigation currently taking place near the school’s location.

Superintendent Dr. Lisa Remy has been in contact with the West Des Moines Police Department and there is no need to cancel classes in the WDMCS. All schools in our district will be in session today. We will continue to communicate with the police departments throughout the day.

LATEST: All WDMCS schools are following normal Wednesday schedules, operations, and procedures today for the school day and after-school activities.

Preschool Palooza on Saturday, Nov. 5 from 9:30 a.m. to noon

Children ages two to six enjoy fun and educational activities while their grown-ups gather information about early childhood opportunities, such as preschool programs and kindergarten enrollment in West Des Moines Community Schools.

WDMCS Taking Action to Address Education Equity

The West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) recently released its plan to address education equity in its schools. “Race & Equity in Our Schools: Action Steps for Positive Change” outlines short- and long-term action steps the district and Valley High School will take during the 2016-17 school year and beyond.

Celebrate “Profriend Week” Oct. 17-21

The cities of West Des Moines, Clive, and Windsor Heights have proclaimed Oct. 17-21 as Profriend Week following city council meeting presentations by West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) students.

Students from Clive Learning Academy, Jordan Creek Elementary, Indian Hills Junior High, Stilwell Junior High, and Valley High School presented the Profriend campaign to the West Des Moines, Clive, and Windsor Heights city councils. Along with faculty members and WDMCS Board of Education Vice President Melinda Dunnwald, the students shared the history of the Profriend campaign and talked about the campaign’s kickoff event, when more than 1,400 students spelled out the word “friend” on Valley Stadium field. They also discussed the importance of the campaign’s main goal: to positively impact the conversation about bullying by promoting kindness and friendship in action.

The students also suggested potential ways the cities could join them as kindness ambassadors. Partnership ideas included creating positive “friendprint” artworks, identifying “friendly” public spaces and business, sponsoring walks and runs, and creating friend-themed community art events or projects.

Please join the West Des Moines Community Schools and the cities of West Des Moines, Clive, and Windsor Heights as we celebrate Profriend Week!

Learn more about Profriend on the campaign website at wdmcsprofriend.com.


Staff Weather Notification Test on Nov. 22


The West Des Moines Community Schools conducted a test of its weather notification system on Oct. 25. The School/Community Relations Office sent the message to all district families and staff, but a filter prevented district staff without children in the district from receiving the message.

We will conduct a second notification test to ensure all staff members can receive messages during school closings at 7 p.m. on Nov. 22.

If you have not done so already, update your contact information in Infinite Campus using the staff directions above.