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Informaline January 20, 2015

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District Seeks Guidelines for School Start Date The date for the start of the 2015-16 school year remains unknown due to the state’s recent announcement that it will no longer automatically allow districts to begin school in mid- to early August. The Iowa Department of Education notified districts in December that it will stop granting routine waivers to the law requiring schools to start classes during the week of Sept.1. The district needs an approved waiver for its currently proposed 2015-16 calendar to go into effect and is expecting the state to release new waiver submission requirements within the next few weeks. The district will provide further updates on the school start date as they develop.

Iowa Assessment Results Coming to Parents Soon This is the third year WDMCS students have taken the Iowa Assessments in the fall. You will receive information on your student’s performance in the next couple of weeks. Principals will notify you specifically about when and how the results will be provided to you. With the Iowa Assessments, we will focus on the National Standard Score (NSS). This is because the National Standard Score gives us a clearer picture of your child’s growth. We are also providing information on National Grade Equivalency (NGE), which describes academic performance in terms of grade level and month. The Iowa Assessments are just one tool to determine how your child is performing academically. Talk with your child’s teacher or teachers to gather a broader view of how your child is doing in school.

Schools Hold Events to Welcome Families Elementary schools in the district are holding events to welcome new and returning families to their building due to the new school boundaries and enrollment reset for the 2015-16 school year. Some students may attend a new school because their home will be in a different building’s attendance area. Students who reside in one school’s boundary area but have attended another building will be welcomed back to their resident school when space allows. There are some enrollment options available to families who may want their children to continue attending their current school. Eligible families will receive more information about these options after the open house events.

Heart Connection Helps the Community West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) is making a connection — a Heart Connection — the week of Feb. 16-20. WDMCS staff and students are invited again this year to participate in the Heart Connection, a collection of personal care items for students in need. The most-needed items are regular-sized shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, body wash, lotion, toothpaste, and chap stick. Please bring your items to school the week of Feb.16-20 and place them in the Heart Connection box. Items will be collected and then distributed throughout the WDMCS school buildings in partnership with the Booster Pak Program. The Heart Connection is coordinated by WDMCS Community Education’s Service Learning Program. Check for updates on Twitter at #heartconnection15 and #IheartWDMCS.

Help Stop the Spread of the Flu Virus Parents and caregivers are being reminded of the warning signs of influenza in children and precautions that will help keep the virus from spreading at school and also at home. The flu season typically peaks in February and can last as late as May. Working together, we can help keep students healthy and ready to learn. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your school nurse or building principal.

Life in the WDMCS What is daily life in the West Des Moines Community Schools like? It’s kindergartners learning double digits using the calendar. It’s high school Chinese language students vying for scholarships to study in China. Our website feature “Life in the WDMCS” gives you a glimpse of some of the many activities and events happening inside our schools. Take a look: http://www.wdmcs.org/news/life-wdmcs-011315/

Virtual Backpack Flyers on community and district events, activities, and programs on ACT Prep, athletics, Heartland Youth Choir and more!

Virtual Backpack

 

 

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Informaline December 15, 2014

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Board Approves Boundary Change On Monday, Dec. 8, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education approved changing elementary school attendance boundaries starting with the 2015–16 school year. The School Board voted 6-0 to approve the proposed boundary map (Map C5) and implementation plan. This vote comes after a four-month process that included feedback from families in our community and work by a 50-member committee representing parents, teachers, staff members, administration, and community members. Please look for more information to come in school newsletters, emails, flyers, and much more in the months ahead.

Hillside Elementary Earns State Honor Hillside Elementary has been honored with the Breaking Barriers to Teaching and Learning Award by the State Board of Education for its work to raise achievement among students who traditionally face challenges in the classroom. Each year, the award recognizes successful efforts to eliminate gaps in achievement among students. Hillside Elementary was recognized for its work with English Language Learners (ELL), noting that the proficiency rate for Hillside’s ELL students is 70 percent in reading and math. This compares to a statewide average of 49 percent for the same group of students.

Buses: Fees & Finals Fees for third-quarter transportation services are due Jan. 7, 2014. You can make payments at your school or online at www.wdmcs.org/online-payments. Did you know the WDMCS Transportation Department provides noon transportation for regular bus riders at Valley, Valley Southwoods, and Walnut Creek on Friday, Dec. 19 due to finals schedules? Contact your school for more information.

School Breakfast Survey The Iowa Department of Education and the University of Iowa need your help to make school breakfast at Iowa schools the best it can be! Below is a link to an online survey that will ask you some questions about your child’s breakfast habits and preferences. The purpose of the survey is to better understand what parents like you think about the school breakfast program. Your input will be used to help the Iowa Department of Education understand why breakfast participation is so low in Iowa schools and how schools can better meet your child’s needs at breakfast! This survey will take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

Happy Holidays! We wish all our district families a happy holiday! Remember, there will be no school during Winter Break, which runs from December 22-January 2.  Virtual Backpack Flyers on community and district events, activities and programs on wildlife, learning to skate, and more!

Virtual Backpack

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