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Help Our Kids Care Club by Volunteering at Dam to Dam

wh-damtodam1Kids Care Club is sponsoring a water station at the 2014 Dam to Dam on May 31!  Our commitment will be from 6:15-10 a.m.  If you can fill cups with water and hand them to runners, you are qualified!  It is a great way to help support your friends and family that may be running the race!

Parents – we need you to help fill a minimum of 30 volunteers (adults and children – at least a 1:5 ratio) to make the event a success.  Each volunteer to will need to complete the waiver ( by April 30 to be guaranteed a t-shirt.  Parents will need to provide and coordinate transportation.  Feel free to carpool!

In addition to volunteering at the water stop, KCC will have a Dam to Dam participant come to talk about the event on Friday, May 16th and will make signs to decorate the tables at the water station following.

Below are directions to complete the waiver:
Click on the Company/Organization Sponsored Water Station on the Course box, and then click the drop down select 4-Western Hills Kids Care Club  for your Company/Organization water station. (This helps to ensure we sort the correct # of t-shirts for each water station.)


Complete the waiver section and enter “submit.”

No Computer Access? If you have a volunteer that does not have computer access, please print a paper form from the web site, complete the waiver and return to Jennifer Hochberger or Alicia Feldman.

Dam to Dam is loading the course with music this year to celebrate 35 years and are planning more bands than ever before.  We will be planning a “music” theme for our water station.  More information to come.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact Alicia Feldman at 515-689-2928 or  OR Jennifer Hochberger  515-491-1140 or



Bone Marrow Donor Drive

Sam LeMar, a sixth grader at Westridge Elementary, has been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia.  He is currently at the University of MN awaiting a Bone Marrow Transplant.  Sam’s friends and family are holding a Bone Marrow Donor drive in his honor on Saturday, May 10 from 9 to 3 in the Westridge Community Room at 5500 E.P. True Parkway in West Des Moines.

It only takes a few moments to have your cheek swabbed to be added to a national registry of bone marrow donors. If you are a match for someone, you will have the opportunity to donate your bone marrow and save a life.

Team Sam t-shirts will be available at the drive as well as opportunities to donate to the family.

Questions?  Call Nancy Foley at 225-0962 or email


Life in the WDMCS 4/28/14

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

Clive Elementary

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

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

Crestview Elementary

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

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

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

Crossroads Park Elementary

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

Fairmeadows Elementary

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

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

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

Jordan Creek Elementary

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

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

Valley High School

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

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Board Meets at Crossroads Park April 28


Life in the WDMCS 4/21/14

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

Fairmeadows Elementary

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

Hillside Elementary

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

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

Jordan Creek Elementary

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

Phenix Elementary

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

Westridge Elementary

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

Indian Hills Junior High

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

Valley Southwoods

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

Valley High School

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

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

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Western Hills PTA Receives Award

western-hillsThe Western Hills PTA/Fine Arts Committee has been awarded the inaugural Creativity Champion AWE (Art Within Everything) Award by the Metro Arts Alliance Board of Directors. The award is given by the Metro Arts Alliance as a way to honor and celebrate artistic and creative excellence in Iowa.

The award was presented April 5 at the John Deere Financial Worldwide Headquarters during the A Taste of Spring celebration.

The PTA’s Fine Arts Committee plans an annual Fine Arts Day, a full day of hands-on fine arts activities for the students of Western Hills. Professional artists are invited to the school to conduct those activities. Students travel between classrooms to experience various forms of art that they may not be exposed to in a general classroom setting. Last year’s event brought 18 artists to the school and encouraged students to explore the arts in a multitude of mediums.


Thank you to our PTA for all of your hard work . Our school is a better place because of your efforts!


Jordan Creek PE Teacher is Feeling Ducky

jc-duck3Jordan Creek physical education teacher Luis Suarez does a lot to make his classes fun for students. One thing he never though he would do? Dress up as a duck.

For the past three weeks students in Suarez classes have been working on rope jumping skills to raise money for the American Heart Association in the school’s annual Jump Rope for Heart/Hoops for Heart service project.  Students participated in challenges like 100, 250 or 500 jumps without a miss, long rope challenges and partner tricks.  Students in fifth and sixth grade also played 3-on-3 basketball to raise money in the Hoops for Heart program.

The idea to dress up as a duck for a day came about when one of the incentives students could earn through the fundraiser were various rubber duckies. Suarez set a fundraising goal of $10,000 and told students if they hit that goal, he would show up to school quacking. Students not only hit the goal, but surpassed it and sent Suarez on the hunt for a duck suit.

The Jump Rope for Heart program is special to Jordan Creek because, in the past, students at the school have received support from the American Heart Association.

The program is a perfect way for students to directly help those with heart disease as well as work to strengthen their own hearts.  With obesity and health concerns on the rise, combining movement with learning improves cardiovascular fitness as well as brain function.