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Life in the WDMCS 11/24/14

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 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 Elementary

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.

Fairmeadows Elementary

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.

 Hillside Elementary

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 Elementary

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.

Valley Southwoods

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!

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Boundary Committee Recommends New Map to Superintendency

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.

Map Options

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.

 

 

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Boundary Committee Meets October 21

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Life in the WDMCS 10/13/14

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.

District Wide

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.

Clive Elementary

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 Elementary

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.

Fairmeadows Elementary

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.

 Hillside Elementary

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.

Westridge Elementary

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.

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Boundary Committee Begins Map Development

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Boundary Committee Meets October 7

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Working Committee on Boundary Study to Meet

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10 Tips for Getting Your Child to School

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Life in the WDMCS 4/28/14

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 Elementary was represented by 11 FLES students at the district’s annual Spanish Quiz Bowl for non-native Spanish speaking students. Four students were selected from fourth, fifth and sixth grades based on Spanish language achievement, citizenship and participation in class. Students competed in teams, playing Spanish vocabulary games. Clive students participating were: fourth graders Mary Hanson, Noah Goeders, Whitney Nanyonjo, Daniel Simpson; fifth graders Kail Hassoun, Lauren Huffman, Liana Sampson and Keaton Kelly; and sixth graders Hisham Nasereddin, Grace Feeken, Jake Reck and Emma Brown. Miguel Gallegos also participated as a table leader.

Kindergarten students at Clive Elementary are learning all about plants. The kindergartners began their Seed to Plant science unit and have been able to open up seeds to study the inside of a seed, as well as plant sunflower seeds. Over the next few weeks, students will keep a plant journal and record their plant observations. Kindergartners will also learn about how stems help a plant, the role of leaves and roots, and how to take care of plants.

Crestview Elementary

Fourth graders stay in touch with their friends Matteo and Tommaso Calviello who attended Crestview until last year when their family moved back to Europe. Skyping through the year at home and school have bridged their ability to stay in touch. The boys enjoyed lunch together in the library and ESL classroom this week as they are here for a visit.

Families and students may shop the Crestview Book Fair starting after school May 2 and on Saturday, May 3 from 9 a.m.- noon. Free bagels and cookies will be served Saturday courtesy of Bruegger’s and HyVee! The book fair will continue before and after school May 5-9.

Come visit the Crestview library this summer! The library will be open on Tuesdays from 5-7 p.m. throughout the summer starting June 10. This year’s theme is music: Rockin’ in My Summer Shoes!

Crossroads Park Elementary

Crossroads Park Elementary students recently enjoyed a special visit from children’s book author Coach Sloth. With his unique background as an Iowa State and Iowa Barnstormers football player, Coach Sloth offers a different look into the world of writing children’s books. His presentation included anecdotes from his experiences playing football as well as how he got started writing children’s books when he was in high school. His books about the adventures of Sammy Sloth encourage positive character traits like patience, self-acceptance, and persistence.

Fairmeadows Elementary

Each spring, fifth graders at Fairmeadows have the opportunity to complete a community service project by sharing their time and talents to help make a difference in the world.  The students have chosen many creative ways to help others in our community and surrounding communities. In addition, several students have chosen to help Fairmeadows teachers by making boxes and labeling furniture in preparation for our school’s upcoming remodel. The fifth graders are making a difference in our world, and are certainly making a difference in the lives of their teachers at Fairmeadows!

In observance of National Poetry Month, Fairmeadows fifth graders have been writing poetry. They have learned that poetry can be written about any topic from seasons to sports and inanimate objects to nature. The students worked through the writing process to draft, revise, edit and publish their poems. The fifth graders celebrated their success with poetry by reciting their poetry for others on Poem in Your Pocket Day.

Students at Fairmeadows have been learning about ways to show kindness to others. On May Day, the Fairmeadows students will be participating in an all-school wellness and character counts walk to share kindness seeds with our Fairmeadows neighbors. The flower seeds are fun to deliver, and the students have a wonderful time surprising our neighbors with a May Day act of kindness.

Jordan Creek Elementary

Jordan Creek third grade classes had a fun field trip downtown to the Iowa Hall of Pride. This activity ties in with a Notable Iowan’s Unit. During classroom lessons, students were given a list of famous Iowans to research. They picked who they wanted to know more about, researched them and presented the information to the class. During the Hall of Pride trip, students were able to share some of the famous Iowans that they were familiar with then they got to go explore different exhibits throughout the Iowa Hall of Pride. All exhibits are interactive and engaging. They challenge the students physically and mentally.

Jordan Creek students did very well at the district’s annual Spanish Quiz Bowl. Fourth grade Gwen Campbell won three out of four games, fifth grader Lauren Graff won three games and tied on a fourth and sixth grader Wyatt Eiler won three of four games. Other participants were fourth graders Thomas Knudsen, Noah Pins and Elliott Sanders; fifth graders Sarah Norwood, Alexa Cheguer and Sam Harper; and sixth graders Arun Ganga, Elizabeth Knudsen and Jadann Gilbert.

Valley High School

Congratulations to the Valley Symphony Band, Concert Band, and Southwoods band who all gave outstanding performances at the Adventureland/Drake University Festival of Bands.  Special recognition was given to the Symphony Band, which in addition to receiving a Division I rating, was awarded the Don Marcouiller Best of Class Trophy.  Congrats to all of our outstanding musicians.

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Life in the WDMCS 4/21/14

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.

Fairmeadows Elementary

Fairmeadows sixth graders have been learning about various economic concepts throughout the JA BizTown unit.  Students have been running practice businesses, in order to prepare themselves for their field trip.  The sixth graders learned concepts such as supply and demand, goods and services, and other various elements of business when they managed a simulated city. JA BizTown, part of the social studies curriculum, is part of the Junior Achievement program.

Hillside Elementary

Hillside’s Student Council has had a busy year.  The group’s motto is “We are here to serve you, our community and our world.” The theme this year was UNITY, with two arts based activities to show off unity at Hillside.  In the fall, there was a birthday party for Hillside to celebrate 10 years as a school.  Next, Student Council raised money for the Red Cross and the people of the Philippines. They held a can drive for the Food Pantry and a book drive for Festival of Trees. During the winter, students enjoyed decorating doors with various technology and movie themes.  To also help everyone through the winter, they had a Go for the Gold Olympics Reading.  Attendance Bucks contest continued this year to celebrate days when classrooms have everyone in class. When the class has 25 days, they get $25 to spend as they like. This spring, Student Council is planing the Whole School Bingo around the Unity Theme. Prizes include ways for classrooms to clean up the playground and the school’s neighborhood.  With Buddy Classrooms, students are celebrating Earth Day around the theme The Lorax. And so another year of Student Council comes to an end.  We look back and celebrate that we have been good stewards of our motto.

Second grade students at Hillside Elementary have started their final Artful Learning Unit on Adaptation.  Over the next few weeks, students will determine how the environment influences the way of life.  Students will be able to develop a deeper meaning of this concept by learning about how different plants and animals adapt to survive in their habitat, how Native Americans adapted their lives to survive in different climates, as well as how architects adapt their structures to meet the functional needs of a building.   Students will also learn about different adaptations of the classical story, Cinderella. To help students attain an understanding of the concept of adaptation, students partook in a Purposeful Walk, an Arts Based Skill.  Students were asked to adapt their movements to changing situations such as wading through sinking mug, walking through a thick forest, trudging over snakes, and strolling on a hot sidewalk.  Afterwards, students reflected on how their bodies adapted to what their minds were “pretending”.  The students were then able to make connections with how adaptation affects their own lives.  Students were very excited to apply their new learning in other adaptation investigations.

Jordan Creek Elementary

Fourth grade students at Jordan Creek Elementary participated in a Russia Day Celebration as part of their study of Russia. Students completed activities centered around Russian history, economics, culture, the arts, geography, animals and literature. As part of their study of literature students performed a series of plays based on the Russian fairy tale character, Baba Yaga.

Phenix Elementary

This year the West Des Moines Community Schools will be holding its 31st annual Math Quiz Bowl.  The competition gathers third through sixth graders from the elementary schools across the district and challenges them through a math test based on their grade level.  Only the top performing students from each grade are selected.  Phenix is proud to announce that Aisha Abdirahman, Jorie Mikels and Paige Bernard will be representing our school.  The students are very excited to show off what they have learned so far in third grade and to compete with children from other schools.  Each student participating will earn a ribbon and certificate of achievement.  Good luck to all participating!

Westridge Elementary

Should nine-year-olds be able to vote?  Should third graders have cell phones?  Should third graders read “Stick Dog Wants a Hot Dog?”   Third graders might just convince you that the answer is YES!  Currently, Westridge third graders are studying persuasive essays, learning that writers give reasons and details to support their opinions.  They have also learned that writers organize their writing in paragraphs and they use signal words. Students will publish their essays using Microsoft Office Word.  Pieces will be collected in a class book and shared.  We look forward to hearing other people’s opinions.

Indian Hills Junior High

Indian Hills students in the English Language Learners program received bikes and helmets from the West Des Moines Rotary Club.  The initiative was organized in a large part by Abdiel Quiroga, the new school liaison. Paula Bilo-Dickman, Mary Guzman and Natalie French helped find students, send home permission slips and communicate with the Rotary Club.  The Valley West Drive Target donated a gift card to purchase bike locks and Principal Shane Christensen donated money from the Indian Hills fundraising account to purchase the remaining locks.  Janna Day from Blank Children’s Hospital taught the students bike safety, including the importance of wearing a helmet, the proper way to fit a helmet and bike hand signals.

Valley Southwoods

Valley Southwoods freshmen TJ Foley, Arjun Ganga and Brian Gu along with social studies teacher Luanne Baker, were selected to attend he World Food Prize Foundation annual Iowa Youth Institute held on the campus of Iowa State University.  In order to participate, a student must research, write and submit a paper investigating a specific issue and population challenged by food insecurity of some kind.  More than 230 students from across the state of Iowa gathered for the centennial year of Dr. Norman Borlaug’s birth, the founder of the World Food Prize Foundation.  Students were required to share their insights during roundtable discussion groups led by experts from both the business and academic arenas.  After lunch with these experts and both the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Iowa, students then spent time in immersion sessions of their choice where they worked through specific issues with teachers from Iowa State University.  The purpose of the Youth Institute is to inspire and help develop the next generation of leaders who will strive to make our world a better place for all of its citizens. For more information, consult the Foundation’s website at:  www.worldfoodprize.org.

Valley High School

The Valley Mock Trial team finished in the top five in the state for the second consecutive year at the Iowa High School Mock Trial State Tournament. Mock Trial coach Scott Brennan noted that “this is a remarkable accomplishment for a bunch of students who participate in many activities in addition to Mock Trial.” Team members are Thomas Leafstedt, Brooke Beatty, Madison Tuttle, Alexandra Brennan, Rae Gernant, Catherine Leafstedt, Kyra Cooper, Mason. Congrats!

Six Valley High School students were recently selected to exhibit their photography at the CIML State Art Show in Marshalltown. The students’ work was entered in the Digital Photography – Unaltered and Digital Photography – Altered categories. Koral Glenn, Hira Mustafa and Carter White each received honorable mention honors. The students were sponsored by Tory DeVries, who teaches both photography and multimedia at Valley.

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