Skip to content

School News

Principal Jones has Gone Pink

jc-jones-pinkIt’s official! Our principal has gone PINK!  Congratulations to all of our students for getting more than 80 percent of their words spelled correctly on their recent Spelling Challenge test. True to his word, Mr. Jones allowed the students to dye his hair pink today for meeting this goal!

Be sure to stay tuned to Channel 5 news tonight to see our JC students in action dying their principal’s hair today. (Thanks Graham for being such a good sport!)

School:

Life in the WDMCS 12/16/13

Life in the WDMCS is a weekly feature that highlights what is happening at each of our buildings. If a school is not listed, there was no submission from that building this week.

Clive Elementary Clive’s student council is up and running and the council members are ready to represent their peers! Every year, Clive forms a student council under the direction of teachers Nic Hoover and Cari Rothfus. Second through sixth grade students go through an application process, and this year approximately 60 students were selected to form two groups, one that will serve from September-January and one that will serve January-May. Sixth grader Hazel Johnson and fifth grader Lizzie Sweeney were voted student council president and vice president, respectively. The council meets monthly and does a variety of things like count box tops, bring up school issues and work to problem-solve them, and raise money for different causes. Already, the student council organized Backwards Day, where students and teachers could pay $1 to wear their clothes backwards with the goal to raise money to purchase games for indoor recess. Student Council is a great opportunity for students to take pride in and represent Clive Elementary. They also get to learn leadership skills and have fun with their peers.  Thank you to the student council members representing Clive, and a special thanks to Mr. Hoover and Miss Rothfus for providing this opportunity for our kids!

Fourth graders at Clive Elementary are learning how to name and identify the bones of the human skeleton through hands on experience dissecting owl pellets, building skeletal models, and interactive learning on the computer and iPad.  Students will be able to identify the importance of the skeletal structure and categorize purposes for each human body system by the end of the unit.  Students enjoy seeing and experiencing learning through pictures, activities, and movement to learn about how the systems interact together.

Crestview Elementary Crestview Elementary welcomed artists Pam Dennis and Ryk Weiss this fall to create a collaborative outdoor sculpture.  This monumental project included the artwork of each of Crestview’s 563 students.  Preschool through sixth grade students, as well as some staff members, made small clay pieces related to nature and the core curriculum.  Students created leaves, insects, spiders, snails, prairie flowers, pebbles and even small animals.  The residency began in September with students forming their pieces out of terra cotta clay and tooling metal under the instruction of Pam and Ryk during their art class.   Each of the 1500+ pieces were fired in the kiln and posts were set in preparation for the assembly and installation step of the project.   This week fourth through sixth graders came back into the art room to help Pam and Ryk wire the clay pieces onto the tree form.  On Wednesday, the sculpture was finally installed!  This sculpture is a shining example of what can be accomplished by working together as a team, it’s a piece that students and the community will take pride in for years to come.

Crestview Elementary sixth graders won the sportsmanship awards at the WDMCS Volleyball Tournament. This is an annual event for sixth graders throughout the district. Both boys and girls won the sportsmanship trophies for the second year! We are so proud of this recognition for our sixth graders. In addition, the boys took third place.

Crestview sixth grader Gywn Chilcoat recently finished reading and reporting on all 25 Iowa Children’s Choice nominees for the 2013-14 school year.  She had several favorites – The Unwanteds, A Long Walk to Water and Because of Mr. Terupt.  An active member of the Roaring Readers Book Club, Gwyn enjoys reading and discussing what she’s read with others.  Congratulations to you Gywn, you RocK!

Crossroads Park Elementary The Crossroads Park band students participated in the Northside sixth grade band winter concert tour. They performed two morning concerts for Crossroads Park and Westridge students and teachers as well as an evening concert at Crossroads Park. A variety of music was shared with the audience including some holiday songs, an armed forces medley, a song about storms and a traditional rock song. The Crossroads Park fifth and sixth grade teachers added to the enthusiasm by playing some auxiliary percussion instruments on a couple of the songs. There were also several Crossroads Park staff members who dusted off their band instruments and joined in on “Jingle Bell Rock.” The Crossroads Park band students look forward to beginning new songs in January to prepare for the  spring concert.

Fairmeadows Elementary Fourth graders from Fairmeadows Elementary went to the Iowa Dance Theater’s performance of The Nutcracker Ballet at the Des Moines Civic Center.  Fourth graders study Russia, its customs, geography and culture, with special emphasis in music on Peter Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet, The Nutcracker.  The students learned many ballet terms and tried out some moves in class to understand just how difficult and physical ballet dancing can be.  They were thrilled to see a Fairmeadows friend on stage when Sarah Dorn appeared as a soldier dressed in white.  We give special thanks to Connecting Kids to Culture for funding the admission and transportation to this amazing event.

Hillside Elementary Hillside first graders are just beginning a Science unit on matter.  They are learning about solids, liquids and gasses through fun hands on experiments.  Last week they gathered a variety of objects to place in a large tub of water to determine what kinds of things sink or float.  This week they will continue to learn about matter through a “liquid race” in which they will see what kinds of liquids move faster.  Hillside first grade students are excited to learn more about what “matters.”

Third grade Hillside students have been learning new concepts and academic vocabulary related to the concept of transformation through a variety of experiences in a multitude of content areas. The unit on transformation that students have been encountering is a part of the researched-based Artful Learning model that Hillside embraces in order to provide students with deep understandings and rich experiences to aide in their learning.  Third graders have studied and explored the masterwork “Sun Set Sail” by Rob Gonsalves, in addition to researching and learning about the artist himself.  Musical compositions that included a variety of dramatic changes have been listened to, analyzed, and evaluated critically by students.  The children then created their own piece of art by responding to changes in music by demonstrating change of color and line style in their work.  During this transformation unit, the solar system has also been explored with students creating a written piece that explains the transformation from day to night.  Students will also be creating a three-dimensional piece of art to represent a planet based on their own research.

Jordan Creek Elementary Jordan Creek sixth graders visited JA BizTown where students were all interviewed and placed in jobs at the Junior Achievement city.   Elections were held in the days before students went to the city.  The first group’s mayor was Landon Denker and the district attorney was Blake Morrow.  The second day’s mayor was Maggie Hall and the district attorney was Braden Wallace. There were 11 CEO’s and CFO’s running the stores each day.  Students learned what it is like to be in the real world with a real job.  They had to budget their time and money while balancing their checkbooks with each entry.  Employees had to be paid and business loans repaid.  Students have to advertise to get customers in their shops.  They had to practice excellent social skills to demonstrate excellent customer service.  Students were able to publish a magazine each day with events of the day, articles about the world, letters to the editor, advertisements and more. All in all, the days were both very successful with many lessons learned.

Phenix Elementary Third graders from Phenix Elementary work with the West Des Moines Optimists throughout the year.  In November they made baskets filled with “goodies” to take to Fountain West Care Center.  The students helped deliver them, sang songs to the residents, and then were treated by the Optimists to lunch at McDonalds.  They will also work on a craft in December to take to Blank Children’s hospital.  This community service project helps students realize the joy of giving to others.

Western Hills Elementary The Western Hills Kids Care Club, a volunteer club of more than 120 kindergarten through sixth graders, was chosen to be a GenerationOn Joy Ambassador.  This honor is given to 100 organizations and individuals (two from each state) each year by GenerationOn and Hasbro.  The Western Hills Kids Care Club was selected based off of “the amazing things they have been doing to make a mark on the world through volunteer action.”  As Joy Ambassadors, the club was given 100 brand new toys from Hasbro and a $100 gift card to use towards a special holiday service project.  Kids Care used the toys and money towards their annual Winter Wishes project.  For five years, Western Hills has organized a holiday gift giving project that buys presents, gifts, and necessities for families in need.  Last year they raised over $2,000 and were able to purchase gifts for more than 40 children.  This year their goal is to give the donated Hasbro toys, as well as other gifts, to 15 families.  The Western Hills Kids Care Club meets every Friday morning before school to help local organizations by giving their time, talents, and passion to meet the community’s needs.

Stilwell Junior High Stilwell’s Team I students took a day to learn about and celebrate Iowa.  Students toured the Hall of Pride and participated in a lot of fun-filled and informative activities.  The students then walked the downtown Skywalk system and journeyed to Kaleidoscope at the Hub for lunch.  The students headed back to Stilwell to watch the movie Field of Dreams, filmed in Iowa.  The day ended with celebrations of Team I’s own success stories by focusing on those with outstanding participation in school activities and applauding those students who made the team A and B Honor Rolls. Students receiving Academic Recognition for their school work on the Team I were Rachel Aksamit, Viridiana Alba, Vivian Alba, Maria Barbosa, Maggie Baughman, Colton Bauman, Jedeh Bohn, David Bone, Tyler Bruinekool, Michael Bryan, Angela Cary,  Logan Castle, Natalie Cela-Quito, Emma Cochran, Kaleb Dale, Chas Dekovic, Preston Doerrfeld, Chloe Dreyer,  Charlie Ebensberger, Cooper Earle, Alisson Espinoza, Bethany Evans, Will Fajen, Drew Falco, Ashley Farwell. Sydney Fisher, Ruby Fultz,  Adamarys Gamboa,  Austin Graff, J. LeAnn Grandia, Isabella Giudicessi, Kelcie Hale, Troy Hall, Tyler Hammen,  Emma Haupert,  Deja Haynes, Kade Hatcher, Matthew Hsieh,  Sam Ingoli,  Rula Issa,  Kameron Jilak, Nick Johnson, Jared Jones, J. J. Kapur, Mia Klaric, Kyle Koeller, Brenna Kokichi-Williamson, Kayla Laufenberg, Spencer Laufenberg, Grayson Leaders, Grace Lincoln, Joey McNunn, Luke Matney, Sarah Miksch, Jackson Miller,  Susanna Moore,  Hannah Olson, Alex Peterson, Riley Plummer, Sarah Ramsey,  Katie Reha, Katherine Reza, Marissa Rethman, McKenna Roche, Ali Rudolf,  Connor Russo, Noah Samples, Devin Sams, Abigail Scott, Bret Sorensen, Ryan Starner, Hannah Taylor, Devon Tedder, Jack Tellner, Diane Thompson, Elliot Thornton,  Kevin Travis, Nash Willham, Carly Wyble, Jennifer Yanqui and Eloysa Zarate

“Don’t throw in the towel, use it to wipe the sweat off of your face!” This quote truly signifies the season for the girls’ basketball  A-team at Stilwell Junior High.  Reflecting back, the wins and losses have nothing to do with the true outcome of this season.  The amount of hard work, effort and positive attitude this group of student-athletes demonstrated on a regular basis is reflected in the tremendous growth and improvement that transpired.  The upshot was a team that improved both academically and athletically.  Along with these new skills and sense of accomplishment, new friendships evolved.  I cannot fully express in words how proud I am of the great season these young ladies had.  Best of luck in everything you do for years to come!  ~Coach Davis

Valley Southwoods At the Millard West debate tournament in Omaha, Neb., the team as a whole placed second in the Team Sweepstakes. Individual accomplishments were many, topped off by ninth-graders Alex Carther and Meta Miller, who won the novice policy debate. In varsity policy, two Valley teams were in quarterfinals. They were team of junior Rishi Shah and sophomore Danielle Reyes, as well as the team of juniors Sam Basler and Nolan Dahm. Rishi Shah was also the top speaker in varsity policy, while Alex Carther was the top speaker in novice policy. In Public Forum debate, all five Valley teams advanced to elimination rounds. Finishing in octofinals (top 16) were the teams of juniors Lexi Takla and Tanner Barkley; sophomore Angelina Mullican and junior Erin Nubel Gabe Butler-Klein and Ashton Woiwood; and sophomores Manuel Smith and Alec Frazier. And the team of junior Grady Stein and senior Carolyn Hoemann was in quarterfinals. In varsity LD, freshman Evan McKinney advanced to semifinals. And in novice LD debate, freshman Brian Gu advanced to quarterfinals while freshman Siena Cabbage was in octofinals (top 16).

Saturday was the Iowa Grades Chess Championship. Valley Southwoods’ students took both first and second place among the state’s ninth graders at the Iowa Grades Chess Championship. Sam Cole went undefeated in 4 games to secure the state title and Danielle Roth earned 2nd place. Go Tigers!

Valley High School Bon voyage!  Valley High School French students traveled to Chicago in September to participate in French language and cultural activities at the Alliance Francaise.  They also visited the Chicago Art Institute’s collection of Impressionist art and the Field Museum of Natural History’s traveling exhibit on the Lascaux Cave Paintings of southern France.

Valley High School crowned its Chili Champions during the meat unit in the Foods 1 classes. In groups of four, the students decide what recipe they want to use for the cookoff and bring their own ingredients. They get one block period to make their chili. Valley staff volunteer to sample and judge the chili and crown a champion for each of the eight class sections. Judges determine the winner based on appearance, arouma and flavor. Winners were Courtney Mottet’s first hour class – Matt Guske, Ronnie Hockensmith, Jenna Olander and Nick Marshall; Carmen Clark’s first hour class – Lola Phillips, Megan Cushing, Bryant Ramirez and Basma Hashim; Carmen Clark’s second hour class – Tina Eldridge, Anissa Valladares, Baishali Bhatia and Hannah Slusinski; Carmen Clark’s fifth hour class – Sammie Bullington, Kendra Siebenahler, Lauren Hendrix and Amanda Daley; Carmen Clark’s sixth hour class – Natalie Markham, Madison Kramer, Breanna Nickell and Jayda Simmons; Carmen Clark’s eighth hour class – Isaaca Carter, Celeste Meyer and Adel Jelacic; Kelli King’s third hour class had a tie – Cassandra Rudolf, Jessi Landskron-Farrington, Emily Wright and Ariadna Morales, and  Anna Marie McAuliff, Mira Metelman, Rylee Davenport and Carlo Maina; Kelli King’s fourth hour class – Dominic Williams, Zain Dickinson, Michael McIntosh and Chiara Guggiari.

School: , , , , ,

Counselor’s Corner: “Didn’t I Tell You To Take Out the Trash?!”

Below is a part of an article written by Jim and his son Charles Fay who are well known parenting experts. They are co-founders of the Love and Logic Institute in Colorado.  This article helps support the concept of how much children learn through doing chores at home. While children may complain about the chores; chores give children a since of value within the family.  Chores help teach responsibility and lets children see the value of cooperation and teamwork.  Even small tasks are important teaching moments.

Following our recent snow storm, the service and product providers known as fathers were out trying to clear the walks and driveways. There was not a kid to be seen anywhere.

I commented to a neighbor that in the past, kids would be out with their shovels helping clear the snow. After that they would be off shoveling walks to earn money.

“Is that where your kids are?” I asked.

“No,” he answered. “Kids today aren’t that motivated.”

He blames today’s kids. Little does he know that parents are the ones who train kids to believe they are honored guests in the home, rather than contributing members of a family team.

Many tasks, like snow removal, yard work, are family jobs where kids can and should become part of the team. Kids should be helping in any way that is appropriate for their age. Even small kids can help prepare drinks or snacks to serve the ones who are doing the hard work. The last thing I want to see is a kid sleeping in or playing video games while their parents do these jobs alone.

To learn more about how to get your kids to do family contributions without complaining, listen to the audio “Didn’t I Tell You To Take Out the Trash?!”  by Jim Fay.

More information from Jim and Charles Fay can be found on their website www.loveandlogic.com or contact Karen Hanson, Fairmeadows School Counselor at 633-6544 or hansonk@wdcs.org

School:

Life in the WDMCS 12/9/13

School: , , , , ,

Life in the WDMCS 12/2/13

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 School has established a group called Clive Family Outreach. The group works together to provide our students in need of assistance with a holiday gift bag in December. Volunteers are needed to help support our children by taking a gift wish from the Giving Tree. Your special gift will be giving to a specific child to open over the holidays. The  Giving Tree is located in the lobby as you walk in the front doors of our school. You may drop off your gift at the school office on or before December 13. Thank you for making the holidays a special occasion for our Clive children.

As more and more standards and objectives begin to incorporate the use of technology, the art room at Clive Elementary has also begun to integrate technology in the facilitation and creation of projects aligning with the curriculum. Sixth grade students are rendering three-dimensional self-portraits in the iPad app Foldify.  These will be printed two-dimensionally, then folded and cut to become three-dimensional sculptures.  This project is paired with a self-portrait assemblage made of Model Magic, yarn, fabric and other assorted materials.  Sixth grade will also create stop-motion animations as they think through process, planning, movement, sequence, and audience. Fifth grade students have been creating self-portraits in the style of Roy Lichtenstein – primary colors and comic book-esque effects – in the ProCreate app.  This is facilitating their understanding of building artwork in layers, which applies to all art creation, not just that created digitally. The lower grades will explore photography basics and editing, and have been using exploratory art apps for understanding color theory, art concepts, elements and principles, and games interacting with art history.  The integration of iPads and other technology helps to supplement the art curriculum and challenge the young artists to think more critically and create in ways that weren’t possible only ten years ago.

Crestview Elementary Students in second grade at Crestview Elementary went on an imaginary trip through the landforms with Señora Tammy Dann.  They walked through the hallways looking for the landforms and animals they had been studying during their unit in Spanish class.  They described the landforms, sang songs, read books, retold a story learned the previous year and talked about the animals they saw.  They took many “pictures” with their paper cameras.  The next day they labeled their “pictures” and reviewed what they had seen on their trip through the landforms.

Crossroads Park Elementary The special education students at Crossroads Park has been busy tracing hands along with some mainstream classrooms.  A tree was then made in the hallway and their hands were used as the leaves for the tree.  They wanted to show how much they enjoy being read to by Melodee Grefe and picking library books every week.  The theme of the art work was “Fall Into Reading.” Students also decorated the tree with torn red, yellow and green construction paper apples.

Fifth grade social studies students at Crossroads Park have been learning through interactive simulations. In October, students pretended to cross the Atlantic Ocean as a 16th century explorer following the route of Christopher Columbus. They dealt with chance which allowed students to face challenges encountered by European explorers. Situations they faced included bugs in biscuits, rancid meat, getting off course and a ship running aground. Through simulations students use the vocabulary of the unit and develop a working understanding of the time period. The explorers simulation is the first of five simulations students will participate in throughout the year.  Currently, students are involved with Colonization in which they learning challenges faced when establishing a colony in the 1600s.Next, the American Revolution simulation will take place in which they take on the role of Patriots and Loyalists and look at primary source documents outlining the events of April 16, 1775, when the first shot of the revolution was fired. They will deal with the frustration that the colonists felt over taxation without representation and reenact the ratification of the Declaration of Independence. Later in the year, they  will simulate traveling west in a covered wagon and finally take sides in the Civil War, hoping to stay healthy and safe as they march to battle to bring the Union back together. The value of simulation is high engagement and it forces the students to think critically about situations faced by people in history. They have to make some of the same decisions that people from the past had to make. This type of learning is very motivational to the students and gives them a great base of background knowledge in understanding America’s past.

Jordan Creek Elementary Jordan Creek Tiger Cubs preschoolers toured the Hy-Vee on Mills Civic Parkway recently.  Both morning and afternoon classes participated.  Highlights of the tour included touching a lobster, seeing the bakery use frosting to write and the floral shop.  This tied into the preschoolers’ study of foods and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

Grayson Ehrle, a third grader at Jordan Creek Elementary, and Olivia Roush, a sixth grader at Jordan Creek, were recently chosen as Kids of Character at the all school Character Counts assembly that focused on the character pillar of citizenship.  Kelly McQueen of State Savings Bank presented Grayson and Olivia with a Kid of Character award and a savings certificate to State Savings Bank.

Westridge Elementary Fourth grade students at Westridge Elementary are constructing a Body in a Box.  The students are learning about the human body and have selected an organ or body system that sparks their interest.  Students are learning how to take notes, use the internet for research, write an informational piece and will be constructing their body and putting it in a box.  Jacob McGreen is learning about the brain.  He commented, “I can’t wait to start researching!  This is the coolest thing I have EVER done.” When constructing their Body in a Box, they may use common household items, play-dough, modeling clay, model magic or anything else that they can find.  After completing their project, they will put it in a box for display.  Projects will be displayed around Westridge and students will showcase their hard work. Michael Neumann from 4A added, “It’s a lot of fun because you learn about something you never knew about.”  He is also learning about the brain.  Madison Miller from 4C is learning about the liver for her project.  She feels, “It was very interesting and fun to learn about body parts.  I didn’t know anything about the liver, but it was very fun to find out about the liver.”

Valley High School You can advertise your business while helping to provide scholarships to Valley and Walnut Creek students by being a sponsor for a home Valley basketball game or wrestling meet.  When Valley scores a three-pointer or gets a pin, your name or business will be announced in exchange for a $25 tax deductible donation to the WDMCS Student Scholarship Fund (maximum donation is $200 per game/meet).  Please complete the online form at  http://adobe.ly/RTlyK7 or contact Andrea Masteller at andreamasteller@msn.com as soon as possible if you would like your name/business to appear in the winter sports program; otherwise, the deadline to be a  sponsor is December 4.

School: , , , , ,

Life in the WDMCS 11/12/13

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
Fifth graders at Clive Elementary just finished a woodlands unit in science.  In this unit, students learned about the parts of the seed – seed coat, stored food and embryo.  The class got to make their own model of a seed using a raw egg as the embryo, dropping the seed model to see if the seed coat protected the embryo well enough. Students also planted seeds inside a clear CD case and watched the seed grow inside the dirt and into a real plant.  The unit also focused on parts of a flower, reading tree rings, food chains, and layers of a forest.

Every year the community gathers to celebrate the Day of the Dead at the Des Moines Art Center. This year, a representation of third, fourth and fifth grade students from Clive Elementary contributed to this community celebration. Art from several third and fifth graders provided a colorful backdrop of calaveras and monarchs. A group of fourth grade students performed a Day of the Dead song in Spanish. Singers included Madison Snyder, Libby White, Geni Williams, Suné Van Bosch, Julia Young, Elayna Klinkefus, Megan Wainwright, and Payten Neswold. It was a fun and memorable day for all!

Crestview Elementary
One way Crestview Elementary celebrated Hispanic Heritage month was to have different displays in the glass case next to the library.  The first week featured clothing worn in Spanish speaking countries.  The second week was music instruments from Spanish speaking countries.  The third week was art and Spanish speaking artists.  The last week was Hispanics and sports.

Crestview fourth graders culminated their study of the prairie with a trip to the Red Feather Prairie, which is a tall grass prairie located at Jester Park.  This field trip was sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources and specially designed for 4th grade students.  While on this field trip students were able to construct a Native American teepee that would have been found on the prairie, learn about plants and animals found on the prairie, experience Native American and prairie games, and take a nature walk. What a fun way to learn about the prairie firsthand.

Fairmeadows Elementary
Kindergarten students at Fairmeadows Elementary are busy learning how to read and apply skills that will strengthen their comprehension.  They are currently learning the importance of recalling the correct sequence of a story.  The teachers use language of what came first, next and last.  New readers often work so hard at learning new words they forget the ultimate goal of reading is to comprehend.  Stories are often retold through pictures and puppet play to encourage this comprehension skill.

RJ Hernandez recently visited Deb Augspurger’s fourth grade general music classes at Fairmeadows.  He spoke with the students about music of Mexico and demonstrated many instruments including the guitarron, vihuela, guiro and claves.  The students were excited to listen to and perform together with Mr. Hernandez.

Hillside Elementary
Sixth graders at Hillside are studying how independence and interdependence create a successful community by preparing for an exciting experience at J.A. Biztown.  The students learn to write a resume, apply for a job and interview for the position.  A mayor and judge are elected to run the town.  The businesses and everyday workings of the town are the run by the students.  The students create a name for their businesses, develop a financial budget, and write commercials to prepare for their simulation.    It is an amazing experience!

First graders at Hillside Elementary performed “Bugz: The Musical” for families and other students in early November. The students sang, danced, buzzed, stung, flapped, crawled and flew as they took the audience on a journey to a picnic where all the insects are sure they’ve been invited. Although the poor stink bugs cause a bit of a disruption, the bugs learn to work together so all the insects can dive into the feast with their mandibles. The performance was the culmination of the connections unit in which they use the Artful Learning model to gain a deeper understanding about the world around them. Artful Learning is unique approach designed to engage students through inquiry and provide a deeper understanding than can be achieved with standard educational approaches.  It links the arts and the artistic process to the daily classroom experience. Hillside Elementary is in it’s10th year of being selected as a legacy school for Artful Learning by the Leonard Bernstein Foundation.

Jordan Creek Elementary
Sixth graders from Jordan Creek Elementary traveled to Iowa State University to attend the Taking the Road Less Traveled career exploration conference.  This conference is organized by The Program for Women in Science & Engineering and is open to female students grades 6-12.  The presentations increase student awareness and understanding of career opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  The sixth grade boys spent the day participating in a variety of science related workshops as well.  On campus, they learned about DNA, concrete, and meat science.  Team PrISUm also spoke with the boys about their most recent solar car, Hyperion.  The boys learned about athletic training and turf management on their tour at Jack Trice Stadium.

Lynn Hunt’s first grade students at Jordan Creek compiled their first published written work – a joke book.  The steps in publishing a book were the real focus of this project. Each student wrote a draft; edited each joke focusing on capitalization, spelling, finger-spaces and punctuation; and finally rewrote (published) the joke into his/her own book. Next they will be working on a new social studies unit, Red, White and Blue for Me and You. In this unit they will focus on the diversity of our country in the land and the people and learn about some of the symbols that represent this great land. They will also learn about freedom of choice…like parents voting in November.

Phenix Elementary
Phenix students were excited to bring their costumes to school last week for the annual Fall Parade and parties.  Students and staff alike dressed up as their favorite characters, with many of the staff dressing as matching Minions from the popular animated movie Despicable Me.  Students enjoyed seeing their teachers play along!  Many parents and siblings watched the parade, with some even participating.  After the parade, students and teachers retired to their classrooms for a healthy treat.  Phenix staff loves to incorporate wellness into everyday life at the school, so everything from the parade down to the snacks in the classroom tried to support a healthy lifestyle example for the students.

Westridge Elementary
Second graders at Westridge Elementary will begin studying Native Americans, exploring four Native American cultures from different parts of the United States. As an introductory activity they had Mike Havlik from the Des Moines YMCA come to Westridge to build a teepee and learn about Native American culture and traditions.

Indian Hills Junior High Congressman Tom Latham recently presented a tribute to Colby Cook that he read on the floor of the United States Congress about Colby and his actions to save another student from choking.  The Congressman visited Colby’s science classto present the award.

Valley Southwoods
The Valley debate team won the sweepstakes championship at the Minneapple debate tournament in Apple Valley, Minn. The Minneapple tournament is one of eight major national tournaments held  each year, drawing students from across the nation. In Novice Lincoln-Douglas debate, freshman Brian Gu was the tournament champion, while freshman Xandra French finished as a quarterfinalist. In JV LD debate, seventh grader Conal Thomas-McGinnis finished in quarterfinals while freshmen TJ Foley, Trent Gilbert and Evan McKinney all placed in the top 16. In varsity Lincoln-Douglas debate, senior Jason Smith finished as a quarterfinalist, receiving his second bid to the national debate Tournament of Champions, which is held each spring at the University of Kentucky. He is now fully qualified to attend that event.

Valley High School
Valley sophomore Danielle Reyes was chosen to be one of the speakers at the Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit at Hy-Vee Hall.  She was the youngest member of the State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council and has represented the youth in Polk County for the past two years.

Congratulations to Colin Timmerman who placed third in the local VFW Voice of Democracy speech contest. He entered this year with the theme “Why I’m Optimistic About our Nation’s Future.” Colin presented a fine speech describing how we all can contribute to serving our country.

Valley High School contributes 345 items to the recent Winter Warmth Drive – five pairs of boots, five blankets, 12 pairs of snow pants, 45 scarves, 50 hats, 68 gloves and 160 coats. All items donated will be delivered to Des Moines area non-profit agencies and schools and distributed to the homeless or near homeless and students in need.  Thank you for everyone’s support in making the Winter Warmth Drive a success!

School: , , , ,

Life in the WDMCS 11/4/13

Clive Elementary
Allie Kirk’s second graders at Clive Elementary have been talking about author’s purpose. As they continue to study different genres of text, they have recognized that authors always have a purpose when writing a story. Students have been studying text as a class, as a small guided reading group and independently and are always able to share out their findings on authors purpose. To celebrate success, they voted on a classroom favorite fiction book “Spiderman” and determined that the author wrote this text to entertain his audience. Spiderman himself came in to read this book to our class last week.

Crestview Elementary
Third graders at Crestview have been learning about correct pausing while reading. They learned that paying attention to the punctuation the author uses helps them read a text fluently. This past week, students were assigned a role in a Reader’s Theater script, and then they presented part of it to their classmates.

Crestview fourth graders sang a song about the Day of the Dead at the Des Moines Art Center’s Day of the Dead celebration. The Crestview Dance Club also performed during the celebration. Art from third graders was displayed in the room during the performance. The performers practiced with Señora Tammy Dann. The dancers practiced with Gumaro DeAvila and Maria Lopez DeAvila. The art was created during art class with Sarah Petersen.

Fairmeadows Elementary
Each year fourth and fifth grade students who already know Spanish are invited to participate in the Native Speaker Spanish Quiz Bowl. This year 12 students attended from Fairmeadows. They played games against other elementary schools and spoke only in Spanish. They also ate churros, a delicious authentic dessert. The students who attended this year were fourth graders Adolfo Jurado, Alex Bacilio, Oscar Lara, Louis Lara, Diana Aguirre, Kenneth Yanqui and Anjel Tapia; and fifth graders Benjamin Díaz, Juan Jurado, Jonathan Rojas, James Beaty and Luis Cruz-Vallejo.

Hillside Elementary
How do the parts impact the whole? This is the question fifth grade students at Hillside Elementary are inquiring about while in the middle of their first Artful Learning unit of the school year. Students are studying the woodlands. In order to inquire about and answer this question students have studied the sculpture Tanktotem II by David Smith and how events in his life impacted him as an artist, dissected both a seed and a flower to learn about how the parts impact the whole, and studied the parts of the trunk and their impact on the tree’s life. Most recently, students visited Thomas Mitchell Park and worked with naturalists while learning more about how the parts of the forest impact the entire forest.

Hillside first graders just completed an Artful Learning unit on connections and insects. Students explored how they are connected to the world around them and how they are connected to other living things. Students also learned through different inquiry centers how insects live and connect to their own world. They visited Raccoon River Park and used their senses to explore and learn more about the insect world. Students took what they experienced back to Hillside and created an environmental soundscape that showed what they learned through art and music.

Hillside kindergarten classes celebrated Character Counts week with many fun activities. They read books about good character, drew pictures and role played about how to be the best good Character Counts students they could be at school. They had fun each day celebrating by wearing colored shirts, slippers and hats to go with the Character Counts pillars. Their favorite thing to do each day was dancing the Character Counts Shuffle!

WDMCS students performed various songs and skits about the Day of the Dead at the Des Moines Art Center. Nine fifth grade students from Hillside Elementary did a retelling of the traditional story “Chumba.” They dressed up as skeletons, the main characters of the story, and acted out the plot of the story as the story was recited by each student. Please help me in congratulating the following students for their job well done: Aurora Salcido, José Valdivia, Kassie Freeman, Alondra Berber, Mariah Beaty-Martens, Maya Williams, Mason Liddle, Hannah Yule and Maisy O’Hern.

Jordan Creek Elementary
Jordan Creek fourth graders have been practicing multiplication facts and are exploring the relationship between multiplication and division in math class. They also practiced using a map scale to calculate distance. They worked on story problems and on using parentheses in number sentences. Everyday Math Online has lots of fun games to help with fact practice and there’s always good old fashioned flashcards!

The guided reading groups enjoyed reading “My Trip to the Galapagos Islands” and “Making Great Greeting Cards and Gifts.” As they read, students worked on the strategies of Identifying sequence of events and determining text importance. They will continue to work on fluency by reading the Reader’s Theater production “Across a Stream.” During Word Study, they worked with words that have the following patterns: long a and short a, long e and short e, and long i and short i.

In language arts during writer’s workshop, fourth graders are in the process of revising the first draft of their writing piece. They have been adding sensory details and interesting words to their stories. Next, they will edit the piece and then publish it. They will be sharing our newly published books during an author’s party. The next unit will be on personal narrative. Studetns have also been writing different types of poetry, including acrostics and diamantes. The cinquain poem is next. By the end of the year, there will be a collection of poems which will be published in a poetry book or Powerpoint presentation.

In science and social studies fourth graders have finished learning about the Northeast region of the U.S. Each student researched one of the states and presented his/her information in a flip book. The next science unit will be on bones. Students will learn that there are 24 main bones of the body.

Phenix Elementary
At Phenix, students and staff have been practicing keeping their bodies active and healthy. Phenix kids know that a big part of staying healthy is eating good food! Starting this week , Phenix will begin monthly Wellness Wednesday Tastings. Students will spend one Wednesday morning each month learning about a new, healthy food. Before they taste the new food, students discuss the food and how it helps their body stay healthy. This week, the kids will talk about butternut squash and will get to taste spaghetti squash.

Westridge Elementary
During the Giving Season, we hope to enrich the lives of others. Westridge is participating in a Giving Tree campaign once again this year. We will be adopting Westridge families in an effort to make their holiday season a happy one. Our Giving Tree, located in the Westridge lobby, will be decorated with cards describing items needed by our adopted families during the Giving Season. If you would like to purchase something for one of our adopted family members, please take a card, and return the item, unwrapped, with the card attached. The campaign will run from November 18 through December 6.

Fifth graders at Westridge enjoyed a beautiful autumn day on their field trip to the Raccoon River Nature Lodge. The trip was part of the students’ study of forests and woodlands in science. The fifth graders were able to increase their understanding of animals’ adaptations by making plaster prints of animal tracks. Students had the chance to explore in the woods, searching for rotten logs and the decomposers that caused the breakdown of the wood. Melanie Perry, the naturalist at the Nature Lodge, taught the fifth graders how to use compasses to find their way if they were ever lost. Many students’ favorite activity was fishing, which was a new experience for some! The many fish that were caught were photographed with a proud fisher and released back into the lake. Over thirty parents volunteered their time to drive fifth graders to the Nature Lodge and to help with the activities.

Valley Southwoods
The WDMCS and the City of West Des Moines co-hosted 23 teams from around the state in the first Iowa FTC Regional Qualifier this weekend at Valley Southwoods. All robots successfully passed hardware and software inspections. Five teams from the WDMCS competed, with four advancing to the semifinals. Valley’s Beta 3550 team advanced to the finals and was awarded PTC Design Award. This judged award recognizes design elements of the robot that are both functional and aesthetic. All successful robots have innovative design aspects, however, the PTC Design Award is presented to teams that incorporate industrial design elements into their solution. These design elements could simplify the robot’s appearance by giving it a clean look, be decorative in nature, or otherwise express the creativity of the team. Teams 6691 Borderline Obsessed Technicians and 7617 Elemental Fusion from Valley and team ^^\/\/<><>BA 6775 (up up down down left right left right BA) from Valley Southwoods all advanced to the semi-finals. Thank you to the more than 70 volunteers who helped make this event possible.

Valley High School
Adam Carroll, co-author of “Winning the Money Game,” visited the Valley economics classes to discuss his book and talk to the students about how they can “win the money game!” His entertaining presentation was packed with good tips that the students can use to help them avoid debt and grow their money. With college debt skyrocketing, teaching students how to make good decisions with their money is critical. WDMCS Student Scholarship Fund is not only proud to present scholarships to Valley students but to also help them learn how to handle their money.

Walnut Creek
Staff and students at Walnut Creek Campus spooked the hallways during the recent holiday. Witch-Principal Kim Davis, Day of the Dead-Student Kaley Baldwin, Batman-Student Justin Christensen, Mask-case worker Sean Hubner

School: , , , , ,

Life in the WDMCS 10/28/13

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 is in its fifth year of iSPIN. This committee of parents, teachers and the principal meets twice weekly to reflect, discuss and plan ways and efforts to increase parent involvement at the school. Based on national research, the iSPIN model encourages parental engagement as a strategy to increase student achievement. This year, iSPIN has spent time reflecting on what has been accomplished at Clive. Ice Cream Socials to welcome families back from summer vacation, Welcome Kits for families new to Clive, ESL (English Language Learners) Family Potlucks, Curriculum Nights, a Home Visit Project, Compacts and Homework policies, and the very popular Summers Rock at Clive are some of the bigger projects this committee has accomplished. Plans for this year include making our school a friendlier-to-navigate place by mapping Clive School and including signage with easy to understand symbols to help our families that speak many languages. The iSPIN committee at Clive meets twice a month and includes an equal combination of teachers and parents. Motivation is high for a great year!

Native Spanish-speaking fourth and fifth graders from Clive Elementary joined other Spanish-speaking students in the district to celebrate Hispanic culture and language at the annual Native Speakers Quiz Bowl October 22. They played games, danced a popular line dance (El tiburon) and enjoyed warm churros while speaking Spanish and making new friends. Participants from Clive included Kelsi Rodriguez, Christian Juarez, Ricardo Moreno, Justin Yanqui, Juan Cardenos, Jonathan Giles, Nathalia Pizarro, Melvin Calvillo, Esmeralda Tolentino, Citlaly Lopez, Janet Bustos, Saul Orendain, Karina Suarez and Danna Quintara.

Crestview Elementary
The Native Spanish Speaker Quiz Bowl was held October 22. Crestview students participating in the event were fourth graders Alexandra Garcia, Litzy Perez Rivas, Regina Galaviz-Cortez, Pilar Martinez, Jasmine Reyes, Emma Calzada, Daisy Delgado, Anahi Perez, Daniel Sanchez-Barrientos and Vanessa Soto-Reyes; and fifth graders Oscar DeAvila, Yanet Hernandez, Raul Jimenez, Ana Katrina Tamriz-Israel, Alexandra Hernandez-Ponce, Esmeralda Herrera, Tadeo Perez-Lopez, Kassandra Vite, Kevin Alvarado, Erick Garcia-Quiroz, Erikberto Perez, Karina Sanchez, Fernanda Santana and Jonathan Morales.

Crestview second graders helped construct a teepee on October 17 with the assistance of Mike Havlik.  Havlik is from the Y Camp in Boone.  Students also learned how to play a traditional Native American game.  Students will begin a Native American unit this winter.

Crossroads Park Elementary
Second graders at Crossroads Park have been studying about Native Americans in social studies class  to help students develop an understanding of four Native American cultures from different parts of the United States.  The four tribes they study are Plains-Sioux, Northeast-Iroquois, Northwest-Tlingit and the Southwest-Navajo.  They will compare and contrast these tribes and their regions to their own lives and region. Through this study students can better understand how geography impacts life and how resources impact people’s movements. Mike Havlik, a naturalist and Outdoor Education Program Director  from the Des Moines YMCA is coming to Crossroads Park to work with the second graders in setting up a 14 foot Plains-style tipi. Students will discuss materials used in tipi construction, physics behind its structure and history of the people who use this dwelling. Havlik will also show the children some Native American games and teach them how to play these games. Students also read the book “Brother Eagle Sister Sky” by Chief Seattle, illustrated by Susan Jeffers, in which a Suquamish Indian chief describes his people’s respect and love for the earth and concern for its destruction. Students then talked about what our part is in keeping our earth for future generations.

Fairmeadows Elementary
The sixth graders from Fairmeadows spent the first few months of the school year learning about wetlands.  They know what a wetland is, how they function and the importance they have on our environment.  In September, the students had the opportunity to explore a wetland first hand.  They spent the day at the Engeldinger Marsh wadding through the marsh and catching water wildlife.  They had a chance to do some geo-caching while doing some tree identification, and exploring their way through a field maze.  The students came back to school nice and muddy.  They had a great time getting dirty while learning.

Hillside Elementary
The WDMCS elementary schools celebrated the culture and language of their native Spanish-speakers on October 22 by participating in the annual Native Speaker Quiz Bowl.  Games were played, smiles were seen, Spanish was heard and spoken, churros were eaten, fun was had and memories were made.  Hillside students participating in this special event were fourth graders Juve Castro, America de la Cruz, Pahola Gutierrez, Alexandra Lopez, Jesus Tello Jurado, Nicole Candelario-Trejo, Alex Owens, Cody Stubbs, Erick Castro, Maura Castro, Mariana Castro-Dominguiez, Alan Nava, Lizbeth Nava Becerril, Jorge Rubio, Samantha Umana-Suarez and Ronny Vellejo; and fifth graders Stephanie Berber, Leslie Dominguez, Michelle Gonzalez, Nina Meza, Aurora Salcido, José Valdivia, Korina Valles, Alondra Berber, Maria Morquecho-Ruiz, Jennifer Berber, Noemy Berber, Flor Echeverria, Victor Lara Espinoza, Gabe Pruneda and Brandon Stubbs

Jordan Creek Elementary
Kindergarten students at Jordan Creek Elementary went on their annual field trip to Howell’s Pumpkin Patch last week.  The trip coincided with the current unit study of fall. The students rode wagons to the pumpkin patch, where they were able to cut pumpkins from the vine.  They also were given the opportunity to feed animals and explore the farm playground.  Once at school, they compared their pumpkins by color, shape, and size and wrote about their favorite part of the trip.

Valley football players and former Jordan Creek students Tyus Mason and Keller Prien visited fifth graders in Jeri Daniels’ classroom last week.  The Valley students talked with the fifth graders about their memories from fifth grade, advice for junior high and high school and future goals and plans.   Tyus and Keller encouraged the students to work hard at school and to get involved in school activities.  They also encouraged the fifth graders to attend and support Valley sports.

Western Hills Elementary
Second graders in Susan Buising’s class are working on analyzing characters and nouns during their literacy time.  After reading a variety of books about different monsters, the students have created their own monster by using oil pastels. They are currently writing about where their monster lives, what it eats, what it likes to do, how it moves, and what it looks like, etc. Once the final drafts are completed, they will share their stories with their sixth grade buddies.

Eleven native Spanish speaking students from Western Hills and Westridge met together to compete on two different teams with other WDMCS elementary schools in the annual Spanish Quiz Bowl. Team Gris was Melanie, Erick, Rachelys and Brittany the fourth graders from Western Hills and they rocked at clothing items and sports. Team Tiburones was Sophie, Catalina and Edilson from Westridge along with Jaden, Lorena, Christian and Samantha from Western Hills. This fifth grade team excelled in the numbers/math category.

Westridge Elementary
Kindergartners from Westridge Elementary visited Howell’s Tree Farm and Pumpkin Patch in Cumming, Iowa. The students were treated to a hayride out to the pumpkin patch where they each got to pick their very own pumpkin to take home, fresh off the vine! More time was spent at Howell’s feeding the goats, playing in their large outdoor recreation area, and enjoying a picnic lunch.

Westridge Elementary is once again participating in the Annual Winter Warmth Drive, a collaboration of students collecting new or gently worn winter items (coats, jackets, hats, gloves, snow boots and snow pants) for those in need. The Winter Warmth Drive drop-off box will be in the Westridge lobby through November 7.

During the Giving Season, we hope to enrich the lives of others. Westridge is participating in a Giving Tree campaign once again this year. We will be adopting Westridge families in an effort to make their holiday season a happy one. Our Giving Tree, located in the Westridge lobby, will be decorated with cards describing items needed by our adopted families during the Giving Season. If you would like to purchase something for one of our adopted family members, please take a card, and return the item, unwrapped, with the card attached. The campaign will run from November 18  through December 6.

Stilwell Junior High
The public is invited to Stilwell’s play, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, being performed November 8 and 9 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, November 10 at 1 p.m. Tickets are available by calling the Stilwell office at 633-6000.

Valley High School
Please join the Valley Drama Family on November 1 and 2 at 7 p.m. and November 3 at 2 p.m. as they present ROBIN HOOD.  The performances will take place at the Waukee Theatre Arts Center in Prairieview School, next to Waukee High School.  Tickets are $7/$8 and can be purchased directly at the door on the day of the performances.  No reservations needed. Thanks for your support of all the arts in our schools.

The Valley Competition Cheer Squad is hosting a FREE dress rehearsal performance Oct. 31 at 6 p.m. in the North Gym at Valley. The squad will defend its 4A large squad state title Nov. 2 at the Jacobsen Building at the Iowa State Fairgrounds at 5:39 p.m. There will be a limited number of cheer t-shirts and cheer merchandise for sale at the Oct. 31 event, as well as a donation basket for the squad. All funds raised will be put toward expenses for the squad’s national competition with takes place in January in Dallas, Texas.

Tiger Pause is a PBIS program created by Associate Principal Dr. Erika Cook to award students for positive behavior. Each quarter, Tiger Pause takes time to award students for displaying noble acts of character. A letter is mailed home to the parents of each honoree, given to them with a certificate and pen. Valley has a celebratory bulletin board where students are honored as well as scrolling their pictures and reasons for the award on the school announcement tv monitors. Tiger Pause award winners for first quarter are Ann Braverman, Kyra Farrell, Nick Friess, Jacob Geletta, Gabe Jacobs, Aquilah Johnson, Emma Kazeze, Jay Lorts, Jacob Reimers-Sihavong and Maria Schwartz.

School: , , , , ,

Life in the WDMCS 10/21/13

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
The 3rd Annual ESL Family Potluck was held recently at Clive Elementary. Visitors enjoyed that represented the different cultures of our students as well as the opportunity to learn about resources and supports that are available in the community.  All children attending were able to choose books to take home.  The event was attended by ESL families, Clive staff members, WDMCS administrators, Heartland AEA representatives and various community resource representatives.

Kindergarten through second grade ESL students from Clive Elementary attended the production The Little Red Hen at the Des Moines Community Playhouse.  Afterward they enjoyed a picnic at Colby Park and were able to taste different breads from around the world and chart their favorite.  For the past five years fieldtrips for ESL students have been made possible through funding provided by Connecting Kids with Culture.  These trips help to build backgrounds and to provide opportunities that many of the children would not otherwise be able to experience.

Crestview Elementary
Have you ever thought about how difficult it would be to learn English if you were not a native speaker?  If you’ve ever looked up as you come in the front entrance of Crestview Elementary, you may have noticed several clocks showing the times of countries around the world.  These are countries from which Crestview families originate.  They include the United States, Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador, Ecuador, Argentina, Ghana, Bosnia, Germany, Italy, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Kenya, Russia, Sudan, Uganda, India, Pakistan, Myranmar, Vietnam and Korea.  We have numerous students from these areas at Crestview successfully learning the English language even though it can be so confusing at times! Here are a few examples:

  • He could lead if he would get the lead out.
  • The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
  • Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

Crossroads Park Elementary
Crossroads Park fifth graders recently visited Jester Park on a field trip  to show students many of the things they had been learning about in their Woodlands science unit. The students, some parents and teachers were met by two park rangers. One of them led the students on a nature hike where they were able to observe the layers of the forest, gather leaves for a leaf collection project, identify animal homes in the woodlands, and in general, see more of nature. The other ranger led the students on a pond study. They were given nets, buckets and instructions and then sent off under the careful eyes of the adults to collect frogs, bugs, snails and whatever else they could find. They then brought their “catch” back to the ranger to identify what they had collected. Parents and teachers then took the children to an area to play The Thicket Game where they learned how easy it was to disappear in a field of thickets. They then were able to see how prey in the woodlands could escape the eyes of the predators. No lost children were reported in the thickets. The fifth graders represented Crossroads Park Elementary and their parents extremely well.

Painted Lady Butterflies have been seen in abundance on the Crossroads Park playground because first grade students recently released the butterflies that they had carefully raised this fall. Tiny caterpillars arrived from California at the beginning of their Insect unit earlier this fall. As scientists, students readied the caterpillars’ individual homes with nutrient in a vile. First graders then carefully observed them as they grew and changed. After 7-10 days, the chrysalides were formed. Then students transferred them to a large classroom butterfly pavilion. Butterflies hatched 7-10 days later. It was fascinating to watch as they emerged from their chrysalides. First graders provided these butterflies with a feast of “nectar” from flowers and orange slices. First graders enjoyed the butterflies fluttering in their classroom home for a few days before they were released behind Crossroads Park. With the cool weather, these butterflies could be laying eggs for the cycle to begin again.

Hillside Elementary
Students in Physical Education classes at Hillside Elementary have finished fitness assessments and goal setting. Fitness assessments included mile run, sit ups, sit and reach, pull ups, bent arm hang and pacer.  Students will continue to work and develop higher levels of fitness and improve those areas.  Students are now working on the skills of throwing and catching during the month of October.  They are demonstrating their knowledge and abilities regarding target, opposition, dominant, and non-dominate hand and foot.  Be sure to take time and ask your child what they are doing in physical education and have some play time together!

Jordan Creek fourth graders harvesting soybeans –Sean McBroom, Kaleb Sander, Nathan Steimel, Hanna Castillo, Emma Fetters, Aleyah Paxton.

Jordan Creek fourth graders harvesting soybeans –Sean McBroom, Kaleb Sander, Nathan Steimel, Hanna Castillo, Emma Fetters, Aleyah Paxton.

Jordan Creek Elementary
Jordan Creek fourth graders have been harvesting their corn and soybean crops.  Last spring, the fourth graders, with the help of Cindy Hall from the Farm Bureau, planted six rows of soybeans and six rows of field corn.  This project coordinates with our study of the Midwest Region and Iowa.   All the students and their teachers picked and shelled the field corn and soybeans.  They also learned what products are made from corn and soybeans and how Iowa agriculture impacts the nation.

Madison Chng, Nathan Steimel, Katie Bonus, Michael Swaim get ready to harvest a corn crop at Jordan Creek.

Madison Chng, Nathan Steimel, Katie Bonus, Michael Swaim get ready to harvest a corn crop at Jordan Creek.

Phenix Elementary
First graders at Phenix took advantage of the beautiful fall weather by going on an Insect Safari in Legion Park.  Naturalists from Polk County were the safari guides.  They helped the first graders identify the insects they found and explained about the different insect characteristics.  They also brought along some insect specimens examine.  The first graders played insect games, ate lunch, and enjoyed the new equipment at Legion Park as well.

Western Hills Elementary
Western Hills second graders are learning a lot about the world around them, beginning with the world itself. They are reviewing all of the continents and oceans and learning more details about them. They are also exploring the different landforms that are found on earth and practicing with counting money, and telling time.  In reading, they are working at being able to analyze the characters in a story through their actions, words, thoughts and feelings, while visualizing to better under the characters in stories. Second graders are looking forward to continuing to learn about the world around them!

Indian Hills Junior High
Indian Hills chorus students Anthony Alvarado, Lizzie Napier, Olivia Ramaekers and Erik Skoog were selected for participation in the 28th Annual Opus Honor Choir Festival. More than 3,300 students were nominated by their directors for 720 positions in the four Opus Honor Choirs. Selections were made by means of a recorded audition. The 2013 Opus Honor Choirs will perform at 4 p.m. Nov. 21 at C.Y. Stephens Auditorium in the Iowa State Center in Ames. The Opus Honor Choir Festival is under the auspices of the Iowa Choral Directors Association, Inc.

Stilwell Junior High
Stilwell chorus students Grace Axman, David Bone, Lizzie Brackett, Matthew Christensen, Dominic Cravero, and Ethan Glenn were selected for participation in the 28th Annual Opus Honor Choir Festival. More than 3,300 students were nominated by their directors for 720 positions in the four Opus Honor Choirs. Selections were made by means of a recorded audition. The 2013 Opus Honor Choirs will perform at 4 p.m. Nov. 21 at C.Y. Stephens Auditorium in the Iowa State Center in Ames. The Opus Honor Choir Festival is under the auspices of the Iowa Choral Directors Association, Inc.

Valley High School
The Valley Winter Warmth Drive begins Oct. 28! Please donate gently-used or new winter clothing and give the gift of a warm winter to a child or adult in need. Items needed include coats, hats, mittens and scarfs. You can drop off items in the boxes located at all entrances to Valley as well as the front office. Donations will benefit 13 schools in the Des Moines metro area as well as Freedom for Youth, Hawthorn Hill and Ruth Harbor. Donations will be accepted through Nov. 7.

School: , , , ,

Life in the WDMCS 9/17/13

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
First through third grade families were treated to a Family literacy Night a Clive Elementary. A free dinner was provided by WDMCS Nutritional Services.  A representative from Benchmark presented on Questioning and Making Connection strategies.  Family take-home kits will be made available throughout the year for families to read together and work on vocabulary activities at home.   This evening and materials were funded from an Early Literacy Grant from United Way of Central Iowa.   The grant’s two focuses are increase the percentage of students in grades 1-3 who are proficient in reading and therefore increase the likelihood for graduation from high school; and to expand the parent involvement and partnership that focus on reading achievement.   Families and staff enjoyed an evening of food and learning!

“Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” is read to the students to help launch positive interactions throughout the school day by children and adults. Those who understand bucket filling and make a daily habit of genuinely and specifically filling other’s buckets, truly make a positive difference.

“Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” is read to the students to help launch positive interactions throughout the school day by children and adults. Those who understand bucket filling and make a daily habit of genuinely and specifically filling other’s buckets, truly make a positive difference.

Crestview Elementary
Have you filled a bucket today? This is a question asked at the beginning of the year of Crestview students. It is also a book by Carol McCloud. “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” is read to the students to help launch positive interactions throughout the school day by children and adults. Those who understand bucket filling and make a daily habit of genuinely and specifically filling other’s buckets, truly make a positive difference. It’s difficult to really know the impact we have on the lives of others, but helping others feel good about who they are is a wonderful thing. Bucket filling is contagious! Catch it!

Morgan Moore tells the story “Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes” to her family during Kindergarten Open House at Fairmeadows.

Morgan Moore tells the story “Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes” to her family during Kindergarten Open House at Fairmeadows.

Fairmeadows Elementary
Kindergarten Open House was held on at Fairmeadows Elementary.  The kindergarten students were very excited to show their family around the classroom.  The students shared what they have been learning and introduced their families to some of their new friends. It was a fun evening for all who attended.

Amelia Bylund shares her cut-up sentence with her mom during the Kindergarten Open House at Fairmeadows.

Amelia Bylund shares her cut-up sentence with her mom during the Kindergarten Open House at Fairmeadows.

Hillside Elementary
Kindergarten teachers recently presented Curriculum Night to parents, which began with a walk-through of a typical day in kindergarten.  The teachers shared information about reading, writing, math and artful learning in their presentations.  To reinforce learning at home, a booklet was prepared for the families that would help their children succeed in their learning.  The Classroom Management Plan shared the components for providing a productive learning environment.   To help the children become readers and writers, the “ABC’s of Reading to and with Your Child” were included in the book.  A sample of a kindergarten report card provided information about the expectations for students during each trimester.   Parents and relatives also had the opportunity to communicate with their children’s teachers during this special event for kindergarten.

With the strong interest shown by the community towards Hillside Elementary, it seemed natural for the students, teachers and support staff to begin developing relationships with each other. The teachers have begun modeling and facilitating class meetings for the students providing opportunities for them to participate in learning the process of sharing and developing ideas.  As the students learn about belonging to the class and sharing a voice, they will feel a sense of connection which is personal, has meaning and is relevant to their world.  It will be rewarding for the Hillside staff and parents to observe the initial steps of building relationships as the students mature in their learning communities.

The docent for students in Mrs. Anderson’s class challenged them to mimic a dancing pose in the sculpture by Keith Haring, Untitled but nicknamed by the students as “Primary Colored Dancing People.”

The docent for students in Mrs. Anderson’s class challenged them to mimic a dancing pose in the sculpture by Keith Haring, Untitled but nicknamed by the students as “Primary Colored Dancing People.”

Jordan Creek Elementary
Jordan Creek fourth graders visited the downtown Pappajohn Sculpture Park and the Des Moines Art Center. Students were guided by their docent, a person trained by the Art Center to tell the students about the artists and stories behind the artwork that they are seeing. The field trip is a yearly trip by all WDMCS fourth graders and is sponsored by a joint effort between the WDMCS and the Des Moines Art Center and it’s benefactors.  It offers students the opportunity to visit the Art Center and sculpture park in a guided setting and learn more about the artwork and the stories behind the art, hopefully sparking students to bring their families and friends and continue to explore some of the free resources that the arts have to offer in Des Moines and the surrounding areas.  Admissions to the Art Center and the sculpture park are FREE!

Western Hills Elementary
Kindergartners at Western Hills have just started the full day schedule this week.  Thank you to the Western Hills kindergarten parents for taking time to meet your child’s teacher and associate during home visits.   It has been an amazing experience and all the teachers have loved getting to know each child and family on a personal level.  Now that we are full days, we are enjoying our extra time together learning and growing.

Scarlett Aeschliman and Moriah Denhart are encouraging and coaching each other as they are involved with Read to Someone.

Scarlett Aeschliman and Moriah Denhart are encouraging and coaching each other as they are involved with Read to Someone.

First graders in Laura Axman’s room at Western Hills Elementary are working hard on establishing routines for our daily literacy time. They are learning the importance of Read to Self as they engage in quiet independent reading time. They are also learning the importance of Read to Someone as they share books with a partner. Teachers and students alike encourage and coach reading partners on the way to becoming better readers. The class has also have reviewed what good readers do and are having wonderful discussions during whole class reading.

Valley High School
The Valley High School Club and Activity Fair gave representatives from the wide range of clubs and activities at Valley a chance to provide students information and recruiting new members. Students are encouraged to join in the fun and join a club! VHS club and activity representatives will be showcasing themselves at the Homecoming Carnival Thursday Sept. 19 at 6 p.m. at Valley Stadium. The public is invited to see what the clubs and activities at Valley have to offer!

 

School: , , , ,