Life in the WDMCS 1/21/14

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.

District Valley Archery took home first place in the elementary and middle school divisions, while placing second in the high school division at the Des Moines Metro Challenge at Johnston High School. In the elementary division, the Jordan Creek girls swept the top three slots with Tessa Morgan placing fist with 228 out of 300, Cynnava McAvoy placing second with 213 and Kaci Kopf placing third with 193. Jordan Creek’s Kaleb Sander placed first in the boys division with a 222 score. In the middle school division, Stilwell’s Mitchell O’Meara placed first with a score of 278 and Joe Adamson was second with 272. Stilwell’s Katherine Van Arnum was the top finisher for the girls, placing fourth with a 256. Valley’s top finishers were Ella Bishop in third with a score of 266 and Ryan Johnston placing third with a 281.

Clive Elementary Clive Elementary students participated in a Rock In Prevention assembly Friday, January 10.  Rock In Prevention teaches children to live happy healthy drug free lives and prevent bullying.  During the assembly students enjoyed singing and dancing to the rockin’ music.  All students acted out different scenarios to demonstrate how to stop bullying.  Sixth grade students from Clive were selected to be leaders and help out during all of the assemblies.  Follow-up guides and CD’s were sent home with every student to continue to encourage students to make healthy decisions in all life areas.

Crossroads Park Elementary An adult English class is being offered to Crossroads Park Elementary parents who want to increase their English skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing.  This class is offered through West Des Moines Community Education and is held at Crossroads Park Elementary on Tuesday evenings from 6-7:30 p.m. during the months of January and February.    Former second grade teacher, Jana Foley, is instructing the class.

Fairmeadows Elementary Fairmeadows Elementary students in Rhonda DeRocher’s first grade class recently enjoyed stories read by Carol Engelmann’s Valley High School advanced speech class.

Hillside Elementary Fifth grade band students at Hillside Elementary are working very hard this month in preparation for the annual All-District Band Spectacular held at Valley Southwoods on Tuesday February 11 at 6:30 p.m. Students from across the district have been preparing a wide variety of short pieces, showcasing their development in musicianship and playing technique since beginning their instruments in September. The 57-member Hillside fifth grade band, led by director Jake Strachan, also meets for weekly small-group lessons, allowing students to focus on instrument-specific technique development, fingerings, and other playing skills. This lesson time is crucial in fulfilling the individual needs of young instrumentalists in their first few years of playing. WDMCS band directors hope to continue and further improve the district’s strong band program traditions through large annual collaborations like the All-District Fifth Grade Band Spectacular, the 6-12 grade All-District Marching Band performance at Valleyfest, and our Sixth Grade Honor Band, which will perform with the other Sixth Grade Honor ensembles in May.

Robbie Robinson’s class, and the rest of the third grade at Hillside Elementary, is just finishing a unit on transformation.  This theme has guided the students through several exploratory projects that included the creation of painted tissue paper art inspired by Eric Carle and the construction of a PowerPoint and model planet the students have been studying independently.  This unit has been very exciting and educational for the students and has encompassed a wide range of learning modalities. In addition to some excellent class projects, the third graders will soon be resuming their hip-hop classes with Robinson.  The dance classes have been an excellent way for students to learn a contemporary form of movement that is both fun and a treat for the cardiovascular system.  The class has been exposed to traditional top rock and six-step movements that hark back to the foundations of breakdancing.  With almost 60 students, the hip-hop class has been an exciting and invigorating addition to the multitude of Hillside Elementary extracurricular activities.

Jordan Creek Elementary The Jordan Creek Chorus is busy preparing for their upcoming March concerts.  The chorus is an extracurricular ensemble that rehearses before school on Monday and Friday mornings.  Currently 118 fifth and sixth graders are in the chorus; music teacher Amy Hachmann is the director.  The students are singing literature from a variety of genres for their performances.  Families, neighbors, friends and community members are invited to attend the evening concert on Tuesday, March 11 at 7 p.m. in the Jordan Creek gymnasium.

Students at Jordan Creek elementary are enjoying the opportunity to read more in Spanish.  Thanks to the district leadership, schools were provided money in the fall for Hispanic Heritage month.  Candace Sherwood, Spanish teacher, along with the help of Kristy Skoglund, media center staff, selected bilingual and Spanish books to add to the collection.  We are excited that students will have more choices in their selections at the media center. Since students only have Spanish class for an hour a week, this is an excellent opportunity to provide additional practice. During class, students love hearing and reading in another language.  How can you beat a story about Froggy or Curious George in Spanish?  Students DO understand even if they don’t know every word!  Students who read in Spanish develop a richer vocabulary. Studies have shown that reading in both languages enhances language proficiency in both Spanish and English. Another reading opportunity is provided through a new Scholastic program called Club Leo.  Jordan Creek students in third grade are able to purchase books and develop their own libraries at home.  Due to the success of this program, other grade levels will probably be added in the future.  What a delight to see students excited about reading outside of class.  Through books we are able to extend the FLES (Foreign Language in the Elementary Schools) into the community.Reading is just one reason that the FLES program has been very successful.  We incorporate reading, writing, listening, speaking, and culture into our curriculum.  Recently, a team of Cedar Falls teachers requested a visit to Jordan Creek to observe and find out more about our program.  Their district is implementing a similar program and they chose our school as an exemplary model.  They were impressed with the language proficiency of the students at all grade levels.  Indeed, students in West Des Moines are fortunate to benefit from learning another language.  At Jordan Creek the students will now be learning even more with the addition of reading materials.

Valley High School Pasta for Prom Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser will be held Friday, January 24 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in Valley’s north gym. Meal includes caesar salad, pasta (marinara or alfredo sauce), breadsticks and beverage.  Desserts will also be available for purchase.  Tickets are $7 in advance (recommended) or $8 at the door and $6 for children ages six and under. Contact Kelli King at or 633-4258, if you have questions. All proceeds will go to help fund the Valley prom April 12.

All juniors in an Iowa high school or a home-school program are eligible to apply for this award honoring the 31st U.S. President and his accomplishments. Approximately 15 Iowa high school juniors who propose, and then accomplish, projects of their own design will receive $1,000 awards, with three students going on to receive $5,000 scholarships. Full details are available in the Counseling Center, and online at The application deadline is March 31, 2014.

Congrats to Choralation on being named Grand Champion of the Waukee Star Struck Show Choir Invitational Jan. 18. Other honors included Best Vocals, Best Show Band and Best Female Soloist to Emma Stier. Ignition also had a great showing, placing second out of 10 choirs in the prep division. Choralation is coached by Ryan Deignan and Ignition is coached by Haley Gibbons.