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School News

Valley Design Studio Class Presents 2016 Fashion Show

The Valley High School Design Studio class presented its end-of-year fashion show in the Staplin Performing Arts Center in May. The students designed lines that were modeled by their fellow students. The design students also modeled designs they had created for the Bubble Ball. Each design studio student was featured in a video before their line discussing the inspiration behind their collection and what they learned from the experience.


Valley High School Student Earns Perfect ACT Score

Valley High School junior Arjun Ganga, son of Keka and Prabhakar Ganga of West Des Moines, earned a top composite score of 36 on the ACT test, according to ACT, Inc. This is the highest score possible on the college readiness exam. The national number of students earning a composite score of 36 varies from year to year, but only about one-tenth of one percent of students receive a top score.

The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science. Each test is scored on a scale of 1-36, and a student’s composite score is the average of the four test scores.

Based on 2015 data, Valley High School’s average composite score of 24.2 exceeds both state and national averages. With an average composite score of 22.2, Iowa has the second-highest average ACT composite score in the nation among states that test a majority of their graduating seniors. The national average is 21.0.

Ganga is the co-founder and co-director of the Des Moines Student-to-Student STEM Speaker Series, which provides students with monthly lectures given by STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) professionals. Ganga is a member of the Valley High School science bowl and tennis teams and the Principal’s Advisory Council. He is also involved in National Honor Society, student government, National Council of Youth Leadership, the Silver Cord volunteer program and private piano lessons.


Safety of Valley High School Students and Staff


As reported earlier, Valley High School received a phoned-in bomb threat early this afternoon. We immediately contacted the West Des Moines Emergency Services and evacuated students. Those who had their own transportation were allowed to leave school and were advised to go home. Students who ride the bus or did not have transportation were relocated to the West Towers. Buses picked up students or transportation arrangements were made. Staff remained with students at the West Towers throughout this time.

Emergency services searched the building, found nothing suspicious, and determined our building is safe for occupancy. The Valley High School administration and West Des Moines Police Department (WDMPD) are working cooperatively to identify the source of the phone call. We are aware that multiple schools throughout the country received bomb threats today, and the WDMPD has informed us that the FBI is aware and is assisting in the investigation of our incident. Anyone with information about the threat is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 515-223-1400 or visit

A special thank you to the West Des Moines Emergency Services for their quick action in ensuring the safety of our students. We would also like to thank the West Towers for their hospitality. Our Valley High School students and our staff also deserve special recognition for their swift action and cooperation in following our safety plans.

We look forward to school resuming tomorrow as usual


This afternoon, May 23, Valley High School received a phoned-in bomb threat to the school. The West Des Moines Police Department is on site investigating the situation. To ensure the safety of our students, we are implementing the following plan:

  • Students who have their own transportation will be allowed to leave school and are advised to go home.
  • Students who ride the bus are being relocated to the West Towers, 1200 Valley West Drive, West Des Moines. Buses will transport bus riders according to the normal bus route schedule.
  • Students who do not have a way home at this time are also being relocated to the West Towers, 1200 Valley West Drive, West Des Moines. Student needing a ride home can be picked up by their families in the West Tower’s parking lot.

More updates on the situation will be provided shortly.


WDMCS Graduation and Commencement 2016

Celebrating Our Graduates

The West Des Moines Community Schools proudly announces that 681 students will graduate from the district this year. Valley High School will graduate 593 seniors with traditional diplomas, plus 8 with Certificates of Attendance (foreign exchange students). Walnut Creek Campus will graduate 88 students. Sixty students will graduate with traditional diplomas, and 28 will graduate with core diplomas.

Who are the WDMCS graduates? Leaders: 17 Student Government members Volunteers: 121 Silver Cord Awards, 9 Presidential Volunteer Awards, 4 Teal Cord Awards AP Students: 32 took 5+ AP Exams, 71 AP Scholars, 1 National AP Scholar Scholars: 4 Honors Students, 10 Scholars of Distinction National Honor Society Members: 49 members National Merit Finalists: Andrew Austin, Joseph Brennan, Haley Gion, Alexa Kort, Quinn Nolin, and Samuel Throm

en español

Graduation and Commencement Information

Walnut Creek Campus Graduation
Thursday, May 26, at 7 p.m.
Staplin Performing Arts Center at Valley High School (3650 Woodland Ave, West Des Moines)

Valley High School Commencement
Sunday, May 29, at 12:30 p.m.
Drake Knapp Center (2601 Forest Ave., Des Moines)
Livestream (The video will also be available to view at this link after the ceremony.)



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Valley Named to “Best High Schools” List

Valley High School was ranked the third best high school in Iowa on the “2016 Best High Schools” list, released by the U.S. News and World Report on April 19, 2016.

The rankings were based on college readiness, average proficiency in math and reading, and graduation rates.

Valley was one of 119 Iowa schools named to the list, and one of only 11 Iowa schools eligible for a national ranking.


Dick Bittner Sixth-Grade Memorial Track Meet

The Dick Bittner Sixth-Grade Memorial Track Meet will be held from (;30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday, May 10, at the Valley High School track, 3650 Woodland Ave., West Des Moines.

The 100-, 200-, and 800-meter races and the 4×200 relay will be held in the morning, along with the field events. The track meet will continue with three relays, the sprint medley, the 4×70 shuttle, and the 4×100 after lunch.

Nutrition Services will provide lunches to the students. Students, staff, and parents may use a school ID number or cash to pay for lunches.

See the menu 2016 Sixth-Grade Track Meet Menu

The West Des Moines Police Department would also like to remind attendees not to park in front of the mailboxes on 39th Street.

The track meet is the culmination of a physical education unit. Students have the opportunity to enter as many as four events. The West Des Moines Community Schools elementary physical education staff is proud to sponsor the event and invites parents and staff to attend the annual Dick Bittner Sixth-Grade Memorial Track Meet.

UPDATE May 10, 2016: After observing the radar and news, the track meet will proceed this Tuesday, May 10, as long as there is no lightning sighted.

Approximate Schedule of Events
9:30-10:15 a.m. 200M Dash 14 heats (7 girls, 7 boys)
10:15-10:40 a.m. 800M Run 4 heats (2 girls, 2 boys)
10:40-11:15 a.m. 100M Dash 14 heats (7 girls, 7 boys)
11:15-11:45 a.m. 4x200M Dash 8 heats (4 girls, 4 boys)
11:45 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. Shuttle Relay 16 heats (8 girls, 8 boys)
12:20-1 p.m. Sprint Medley 8 heats (4 girls, 4 boys)
1-1:40 p.m. 4x100M Relay 8 heats (4 girls, 4 boys)
1:45-2 p.m. Awards

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Valley National Honor Society Chapter Serves Community

written by Arjun Ganga

The National Honor Society was founded in 1921 with the following goals: to create enthusiasm for scholarship, to stimulate a desire to render service, to promote leadership, and to develop character in the students of secondary schools. Now, the NHS has chapters in every state. It is estimated that over 1 million students have participated in a National Honor Society program. Valley High School’s NHS chapter has been around for many years, but incoming juniors could apply to participate for the first time in 2014-15.

Since last May’s induction of 75 members, Valley’s NHS chapter has not looked back. It is dedicated to the betterment of the community through leadership initiative and service projects. The group has been meeting once a month and held its first 2015-16 meeting in September 2015. The officer cabinet consists of President Emma Avdic (senior), Vice President Jack Ohringer (senior), Secretary Haley Gion (senior), Treasurer Abby McCullough (junior), Reporter/Public Relations Officer Arjun Ganga (junior), and Historian Melissa Grinvalds (senior).

Over the course of the year, NHS has organized many projects including a peer tutoring service, available in all subjects during study hall and Saturday morning resource, and a reading buddies program in which NHS members read with younger children. The group also assisted with the Booster Pak program by making holiday cookies and collecting donations for West Des Moines families in need, and began a Valley beautification project that is currently working to construct a mural outside of Valley to add aesthetic appeal to the building.

In the future, the group plans to complete the mural project (which is in its final planning stages) and make sure that all of its current programs are established thoroughly for future participation.