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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.

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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.

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