- April 30, 2015
- March 1, 2015
Sixth-grade students have had the opportunity to participate in an afterschool Math Challenge Club this winter. The club’s objective is to provide an educational enrichment opportunity for students who are highly interested in mathematics and enjoy solving problems. The culminating activity is a chance to participate in the Iowa Engineering Society’s Mathcounts contest as a representative of Crossroads Elementary School. The Central Iowa chapter of the engineering society will hold its Mathcounts contest Tuesday, Feb. 10 at the FFA Enrichment Center on the Ankeny DMACC Campus. Students who perform well at the chapter level have an opportunity to advance to the Mathcounts state contest, where they will have a chance to earn a full-expense paid trip to the Mathcounts national competition in Boston. The students competed to earn one of the 12 spots on the Crossroads’ team for the Central Iowa chapter’s Mathcounts competition. Team participants are Alex Chambers, Quinn Emison-Clair, Isabella Dobrinov, and Sarah Blank; individual participants, Ashwin Dervesh, Shreya Gaddi, Kaylee Davis, Joel Graham, Malany Theisen, and Nate Bell; and alternates, Logan Bell and Logan Keller. Two Valley High School volunteers, Michael Stevens and Alina Husain, collaborated with teachers Tamara Tjeerdsma and Felicia Twit to provide this enriched opportunity for the sixth-graders.
- February 9, 2015
Reports of the flu are on the rise statewide as West Des Moines Community School District students return to class this week. Parents and caregivers are being reminded of the warning signs of influenza in children and precautions that will help keep the virus from spreading at school and also at home.
The Iowa Department of Public Health reports that the number of cases in Iowa has increased since students left for winter break. The flu season typically peaks in February and can last as late as May.
Our school nurses are staying updated about this season’s illness and are monitoring reports. They are available to help your child if he or she becomes ill at school. Nurses will notify you if your child needs to be released from school.
Teachers and staff members also help prevent the spread of illness by teaching and reminding students about good hand-washing and cough-hygiene practices. You can help us by reinforcing these practices at home. These include:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
In addition, our custodial staff disinfects phones, doorknobs and light switches daily.
Knowing the signs of the flu – or influenza – is important. Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- Fever of 100 degrees or higher* or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
* It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
If your child does become ill, the Iowa Department of Public Health recommends that you should consult your child’s doctor and children should stay home from school. Children should be fever-free for 24 hours WITHOUT the help of fever-reducing medicines before returning to school.
Most healthy people recover from the flu without complications. However, some cases may become severe. Emergency warning signs that children need urgent medical attention include:
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Bluish skin color
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Not waking up or not interacting
- Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
- Fever with a rash
Working together, we can help keep students healthy and ready to learn. Below is additional information and resources about the flu that may be helpful.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your school nurse or building principals.
- January 6, 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 fourth graders attended their annual art field trip to the Pappajohn Sculpture Park and Des Moines Art Center with art teacher Alecia Eggers. It was a beautiful day to learn about color and movement in art! Students were extremely excited to learn about our local art, and have the amazing opportunity to see some of Andy Warhol’s artwork, in person, at the latest exhibit: Silver and Suede: Halston & Warhol.
Sixth Grade students at Clive Elementary have been meeting with Officer Woods of the Windsor Heights Police Department for Code 411. Each week Officer Woods talks to the students about a variety of topics including drugs, alcohol, stealing, harassment, and law enforcement. During each class, sixth graders were expected to take notes about what they learned. The final week culminated with the students creating PowerPoint presentations about their learning. Clive students enjoyed every week when Officer Woods was in the school. They really liked the detailed question and answer opportunity she gave them each week.
Clive Elementary would like you to consider helping a child in your neighborhood, by granting a holiday wish. Clive Family Outreach is a program designed to help our children in need. Currently there are 120 students in our program. We have a Giving Tree in the entry way of our school with student wishes attached. If you would like to help, simply take a leaf from our bulletin board and return it attached to the item you are donating. We will be collecting holiday items in the school office located at 1600 73rd Street in Windsor Heights. Please drop off your donation by Dec. 12.If you would like further information on how you can help please contact Clive Elementary 633-5800. Thank you for making the holidays a special occasion for our students.
Crestview fifth grader Grace Derouin, recently completed reading all 17 of this year’s Iowa Children’s Choice Award Nominees. An avid reader, Grace has a life-long love of dogs, so it’s no surprise she’d choose “Saving Zasha” by Randi Barrow (a WW2 story about a German Shepard) as her personal favorite. Grace plans to read the sequel, “Finding Zasha,” as soon as she can.
Three more fifth graders have finished reading all 17 of the Iowa Children’s Choice award nominees. Jasmyn Tran, Anna VanWyngarden and Natalie Thomas each chose different titles as their favorites. Jasmyn liked “Ninth Ward” by Jewell Parker Rhodes, while Anna picked “Hold Fast” by Bue Balliett and Natalie selected “Eight Keys” by Suzanne LaFluer. In March, all students who’ve read at least two ICCA’s may vote with students from across the state for their favorite. Natalie, Anna and Jasmyn will be able to recommend titles to their friends since they’ve read them all now.
Crestview fifth grader Marina Mihura recently finished reading (and reporting on) all the Iowa Children’s Choice books. She chose “Athlete vs. Mathlete” by W.C. Mack as her personal favorite. Congratulations to you Marina, we’re proud of you!
November is a busy month in PE for students at Crestview Elementary. The sixth grade is preparing for the district wide sixth grade volleyball tournament at Valley High School. Crestview’s boys and girls will compete against all the other schools in the district. The kids are very excited and hope to bring the sportsmanship trophies back to Crestview!
Also, the running club has had a fantastic start. In just over two months, second through sixth grade students have run more than 1,200 miles and five students – third grader Avery Davenport, second grader Piper Broderick, fourth grader Elle Peterson, third grader Gaby Lombardi and third grader Ireland Broderic – have joined the 50 mile club. Good work Crestview!
Crossroads Park Elementary
Crossroads Park sixth graders performed at the Des Moines Art Center for the annual Day of the Dead Celebration. Omar Moreno, Blake Tighe, Margret Rachuy, Ellie Penink, and Annalyce Click told about cultural traditions of the holiday (all in Spanish!) and shared the calacas they created. They rehearsed with Spanish teacher, Allyson Day, for about 6 weeks prior to the performance. The students served as excellent representatives of our school. Crossroads fifth graders created beautiful skull masks under the guidance of art teacher, Christie Engelbert, which were on display in the performance area. They were most popular with the Art Center patrons.
Fourth grade students from Fairmeadows Elementary performed at the Des Moines Art Center for a Day of the Dead celebration. They sang a song and talked about their paper skeletons all in Spanish. The students that participated included Haley Munoz, Sage Boyt, Allison Honz, Katelyn Rose, Isabel Serio, Emerson Drake, Allyson Hoffa, Addyson Kastli, Gunner Schmidt, Jake White
Fifth graders at Fairmeadows Elementary honored our veterans on Veteran’s Day by putting on their annual Veteran’s Day assembly. The scouts of pack 280 did the flag ceremony and led the pledge for the school. The program started with essay readings about why we honor our veterans. Students in fifth grade wrote essays and three were chosen to be read at the program. The essay readers were Isaac Bartusek, Kelsey Erickson and Jackson Tharp. The fifth grade then sang a patriotic song directed by music teacher, Mrs. Augspurger. Guest speaker, Dan Gannon from the Iowa Commission of Veteran Affairs, told the school how much he appreciated all of the cards the Fairmeadows students made for Veteran’s Day. Over 500 cards were delivered around Iowa to various veteran hospitals and homes. The program ended with a slide show, which included pictures that had been submitted by Fairmeadows students of their veteran family members.
The Hillside Girls Club meets every Monday after school and is open to all sixth grade girls at Hillside Elementary. In addition to attending meetings, members volunteer for Girl Club projects at school and in the community. The Club’s goals are to increase the girls’ self confidence and self esteem, encourage them to work toward goals, and accept diversity.
Hillside’s Student Council’s focus this year is helping others and making a difference in the community they are a part of. Each month the group concentrations on one organization that they would like Hillside to help. Students at all grade levels rallied to support the causes. In October students collected $2,247.68 during a Penny Harvest for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Currently Hillside is supporting Food Bank of Iowa’s Combat Hunger Campaign. More than one-thousand items have been collected in the past two weeks. Students get to vote for their favorite Iowa college football team by placing the items they bring in the team’s collection box. Each item is a vote of support for their team. “Student Council really wants to help the students understand that giving back is an important part of who Hillside is,” said Kayla Woodke, student council sponsor. “We want them to feel good about helping others and know that when we work together as a school we can help our community.”
Jordan Creek Elementary
The Jordan Creek Kids Care Club was named Club of the Month by its national sponsoring organization, generationOn Kids Care Clubs for its activities during Ani-Bullying Month. In October, the club participated in National Bullying Prevention Month in a variety of ways. On World Day of Bullying Prevention, they wore blue shirts in solidarity with bullying victims. In addition, club advisor Melinda Dunnwald led a discussion about respect during which club members were asked to reflect upon the meaning and importance of respectful behavior. A high school community service club was invited to participate in the discussion as well, sharing their experiences with bullying and teaching the younger students how to be caring classmates. The club then watched a video together about making a positive impact on a school through respectful words and actions. The students decided to “leave a positive footprint” on their school by painting footprints on the sidewalk that leads to the front door of the school and writing positive messages on them. They also traced their own feet on construction paper, wrote uplifting comments on them, and continued the path of positivity by hanging the footprints throughout the school building. Through their anti-bullying initiatives, the Jordan Creek Elementary KCC created partnerships with a nearby high school, and their local Home Depot donated $50 worth of project supplies. This Club’s efforts involved over 100 students and 20 adult volunteers.
Jordan Creek second grade students recently completed a unit called We the Kids. The purpose of this unit was to understand what the U.S. Constitution is and why it is important, to understand the concept of rights and responsibilities, to understand the role of the U.S. President, and to be able to describe rights and responsibilities of a citizen. Recently, the class took a field trip to the Iowa Capitol. They took a guided tour of the inside of the capitol, and some students were able to spend some time with Governor Branstad. Students learned that our state has a constitution, and we learned about our state government while there.
Circle of Friends is up and running again this year at Jordan Creek. This year we have close to 100 students and have had activities at the pumpkin patch and Science Center, along with our monthly lunch bunches. The kids have enjoyed their time together building friendships!
Westridge second graders kicked off their Native American unit with a presentation from Mike Havlic, Naturalist, from the Boone Y Camp.The students learned what materials Native Americans use, the importance of the directions the Tee Pee faced, how nature and people work together as one, and how to actually build the Tee Pee from materials the Native Americans would find on the land. Each student was responsible for a part of the construction of the Tee Pee. Mike helped the 2nd graders learn the importance of respecting different cultures, and how we can learn from each other even though we are all the same, people of the land.
Fourth graders at Westridge Elementary had the opportunity to listen to an owl speaker from Polk County Conservation. Students learned about different types of owls and their calls. They also learned about the seven adaptations that owls possess and how these adaptations allow them to survive. Aden Artzer from 4A commented, “I learned barn owls are rare and snowy owls aren’t.” Ryta-Marie Foshier from 4B expressed “Owls are really unique because they have different patterns in their fur.” Fourth graders are currently learning about the skeletal system of the human body, as well as bones and muscles. Students enjoyed comparing human bones and owl bones.
Through the mists of time, Napoleon Bonaparte has arrived at Valley Southwoods to proclaim “Vive la France!” After a disastrous stop in Waterloo, Napoleon has made his way to West Des Moines. Students in Wade Petersen’s French I class have thus been challenged to conquer Napoleon’s beloved country of France. During a two-week unit on France, students took part in a fun team competition that allowed them to review and reinforce all the information they were learning about France. Students learned about the geography, government, culture, and economy of France and its important role in the global society. As a creative way of motivation, students competed as teams to capture as many regions of France as possible; they did this by competing group tasks and challenges against other teams based on the information they were learning. There were also hidden treasures, battle flags, and secret alliances that formed during this heated battle. At the end of the competition, the secret values of the regions were revealed, and the team with the most points won!
- November 25, 2014
At its Monday, Nov. 17 meeting, the Boundary Committee voted to recommend Map C5 to the superintendency.
Based on feedback from three public forums and an online survey, the superintendency developed two additional options – C4 and C5 – for the committee to review.
The committee also recommended maintaining the current timeline to bring a proposal to the School Board on Monday, Nov. 24 and a final decision on Monday, Dec. 8.
- November 18, 2014
- October 19, 2014
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.
The Polk County Health Department is sponsoring a flu clinic at Hillside on Monday, Nov. 3 from 4-7 p.m. This clinic is open to the students, faculty, and families of West Des Moines Community Schools. It is also open to all of the community, so feel free to invite family, friends and neighbors!Most insurances are accepted and some students may qualify for a free vaccine.
Fifth graders in Julie Pargeon’s class at Clive Elementary are practicing their reading pace and expression with Reader’s Theater. The kids enjoy acting out a part in a play and performing it for their classmates. They also focus on how to present effectively by speaking clearly, with appropriate volume, and making eye contact with the audience. Props and costumes are optional and give the students a chance to make the play come alive. They will do skits throughout the year, allowing students to develop fluency and presentation skills while having so much fun!
Clive Elementary had 14 students participate in the Native-Speaker Spanish Quiz Bowl at the Learning Resource Center. This quiz bowl is for students in fourth and fifth grades who already know how to speak Spanish. These students played games against other WDMCS schools, all in Spanish, and enjoyed the traditional Mexican dessert of churros for a snack. Congratulations to the following Clive Elementary students for representing their school: fourth graders Julisa Hernandez, Rogelio Barron-Madrid, Gary Grijalva, Hannia Ruiz-Ugalde, Derek Corona, Melina Reverol, Simon Mulford, Briggette Escarino; fifth graders Janet Bustos, Madvin Grijalva, Alexandra Lopez, Karina Suarez, Cesar Martinez, Citlaly Lopez.
First graders at Clive Elementary have been studying insects over the past couple of weeks. They have learned many things including the characteristics of insects, the life cycle of a butterfly, and how insects and humans are alike and different. During this unit, the students learned that insects have three body parts: the head, thorax, and abdomen. They also learned that they have six legs and two antennae. One of the most exciting parts of this unit was watching our real, live caterpillars form chrysalises and come out as butterflies. It was a great learning experience to watch the life cycle happen!
Crestview fourth graders have been working on Lego Self Portraits in art class. They studied Lego mini figures to identify which geometric shapes could be used to draw a Lego style portrait. Students chose their expression and hairstyle, then designed a background that represented either a favorite place or a goal for the future.
Crossroads Park Elementary
The fourth and fifth grade Native Spanish Speakers across the District were invited to attend the Native Speakers Quiz Bowl. Attendees from Crossroads Park were Ben Lepe-Guerero, Obed Masungu, Alan Chavez, Brian Ruiz-Patino, Kenya Gomez-Rodriguez, Jasmine Villanueva, Evelin Alvarado, Abisai Garcia, Marcelo Carreras, Karime Salamanca and German Sanchez. The students learned a new dance and were treated to games and refreshments to celebrate their culture and language. Grandview University personnel and students were on hand to facilitate the activities. It was a great time to appreciate the Latino culture, learn new things, and make new friends.
On October 17, Crossroads will host its First Annual RACE Day Run/Walk! This event is one of three fundraisers the school’s PTA will sponsor this year. Instead of sales fundraisers, the PTA will be focused on fitness or education for its fundraising, as in the math and reading challenges to follow in February and April. As a result, all proceeds go directly to our school! Students will spend 30-60 minutes running and walking around the designated course. In case of inclement weather, RACE Day will be held on Monday, Oct. 20.
Crossroads Park staff and students are determined to help Iowa become the healthiest state. PE Teacher Chad Barnes mowed a 1K track behind the school. During the Healthiest State Walk on Oct. 8, 455 students and teachers took a turn walking the track.
To promote anti-bullying and a sense of community at Crossroads Park, staff have involved every student in a Cool CREW (Crossroads Respects, Everyone Welcome)! Every faculty member at Crossroads Park has a CREW of about 12 children made up of students from every grade. Each month staff spend time with their CREW participating in activities. The Cool CREW activity for the month of October will revolve around Red Ribbon Week and also talking about the character trait of trustworthiness. We plan on hanging the posters in the hallways and the classrooms with doors will have large paper posters hung on their doors.
Deb Augspurger’s general music class at Fairmeadows Elementary recently hosted Johnny Koenig, a young star accordion player who specializes in polka music. Third grade students were excited to learn how an accordion works and to see Koenig perform. A special treat was when Stephanie Wilson, WDMCS director of curriculum, showed students how to dance the polka. The students enjoyed giving it a try.
Sixth graders from Fairmeadows Elementary had the opportunity to explore the Engeldinger Marsh. At the marsh, they looked for microorganisms found in pools of water. They also did an ecology study where they found numerous crayfish and frogs. The sixth graders came back to school with muddy shoes and clothes but with a higher level of appreciation for the wetland.
Fairmeadows Elementary had 12 students participate in the Native-Speaker Spanish Quiz Bowl at the Learning Resource Center. This quiz bowl is for students in fourth and fifth grades who already know how to speak Spanish. These students played games against other WDMCS elementary schools, all in Spanish, and enjoyed the traditional Mexican dessert of churros for a snack. Congratulations to the following students for representing Fairmeadows: fourth graders Ernesto Jurado, Leslie Perez, Raquel Paz, Luca Santana, Santi Tapia; fifth graders Arturo Perez, Anjel Tapia, Alex Bacilio, Adolfo Jurado, Louis Lara, Oscar Lara, Kenneth Yanqui.
Fairmeadows Elementary fourth graders went to the Red Feather Prairie to learn about the prairie habitat – the animals, plants, and grasses – that used to live in Iowa. Students built tipis, caught and released insects and played a game to learn about how the ecosystem stays in balance. We also had the opportunity to see and touch a variety of animal pelts, as well as learn how the pelt was tanned. Many were surprised to learn that the animal’s brain was used to tan the hide and that every part of the bison served a purpose.
Kindergartners at Hillside recently met with their new Tiger Pals. Each kindergartner was paired with a sixth grade buddy who will be their Tiger Pal for the remainder of the school year. Tiger Pals meet once a month for 30 minutes and complete special activities the kindergartners might not be able to otherwise complete independently. Tiger Pal activities give kindergarten and sixth grade students an opportunity to develop caring and respectful relationships and demonstrate good citizenship skills at school…and who doesn’t love making a new friend!
First graders at Hillside are finding connections to each other, music, art and the world around them. On a recent field trip to Raccoon River they explored the world of insects and how many bugs live in communities just like us. Students spent time outdoors using their senses to connect to nature. The listened, looked, smelled, and felt many living things. Once they returned to Hillside they used what they had experienced to build an environmental soundscape– adding art and music to connect to the sights and sounds of nature.
Jordan Creek Elementary
Jordan Creek third graders have been studying the rainforest as their first science unit this year. They were extremely fortunate to have two culminating activities that brought the world of the rainforest to life. A zookeeper from Blank Park Zoo visited Jordan Creek and brought some of her zoo friends along. The kids were very excited to touch the animals and hear the wealth of information the zookeeper had to share. The entire school also participated in a cell phone recycling drive for the Blank Park Zoo. The zoo will take the old cell phones and recycle the materials. This will benefit the Orangutan Conservation Program to help with deforestation.
Third graders also recently travelled to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha. Chaperoned by many wonderful parent volunteers and the third grade teaching team, the 3rd graders enjoyed a guided tour of the Lied Rainforest exhibit where everything they had been learning in the classroom came to life. The kids got to see real examples of many of the plants and animals they had been learning about. It was a wonderful learning experience!
Learning to make a tipi, listening to Native American stories, canoeing, and building a shelter were a few of the activities fifth graders from Jordan Creek participated in during their overnight field trip to the YMCA camp near Boone. In correlation with their woodlands unit in science and their Native American studies students were able to participate in activities to reinforce their learning. Naturalist Mike organized the activities with the assistance of fifth grade teachers. Students learned about ecology and taking care of our environment. They were divided into groups and rotated to different stations where they learned the history of the tipi and set one up. They were all able to sit inside and hear how the Native Americans adapted to the world around them. Stream ecology was another area of learning where students found and identified critters in the stream. Wilderness survival had the students creating their own survival hut from lots, limbs, and leaves around them. A discovery hike and canoeing rounded out the stations and kept the students busy during their time. The fifth graders, teachers, and chaperones also participated in a night hike.
Western Hills Elementary
First grade is busy learning about insects! The class went on an insect hunt with its buddy class and found grasshoppers, butterflies, dragonflies and lots of bees. Working with a buddy class gives younger students the opportunity to learn from older students who are also studying insects. It gives the older students the chance to be “experts” and mentors to the younger students. Students then took their insects back to the room to observe them.
Sixth grade students from Westridge Elementary spent two days at Springbrook Conservation Education Center learning about the environment. Students participated in activities focusing on conservation, survival, team building and appreciation of the environment. Students studied the pond at Springbrook finding and identifying many different organisms as well as testing the health of the pond. One of the favorite activates was building survival shelters. The sixth graders also learned about how our daily lives affect the water supply as well as the effects of erosion. The final activity taught the students how to appreciate the trees and to take time to enjoy the beauty around us. Other activities that the students participated in included an Earthwalk, scavenger hunt, deer hike and campfire. Students enjoyed the hands-on learning outside of the school walls. Community and relationship building was a huge objective that was well received by all participants including students, parents, and teachers. This field trip is unique in the sense that the students spend one night away from home with parent volunteers and teachers. They enjoy the time working on academics as well as team building and building character.
Valley High School
Valley social studies teachers Dan Kelly and Kevin Neal recently presented at the Iowa Council for the Social Studies (ICSS) state conference. Their presentation was titled Back Channel, Eash Tech and Devouring Documents. It focused on using stimulus based materials and accessing interactive web sites to increase student engagement. VHS social studies teacher Kelsey Hudson presented as part of a Primarily Teaching grant from the Library of Congress. Following a summer institute on using primary documents cosponsored by the Iowa Historical Society, Kelsey’s group prepared model lesson plans that are document intensive. Kelsey’s session was titled Library of Congress of Workshop.
- October 13, 2014
- October 10, 2014