Life in the WDMCS 1/7/13

Life in the WDMCS is a new 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.

Valley High School
For the first time since 2008, the Valley debate team won the IHSSA State Debate Tournament. The tournament featured competition in policy, Lincoln-Douglas, Public Forum and Congressional debate. Valley students excelled in all four events and won the overall team sweepstakes by 15 points. In Lincoln-Douglas debate, senior Lucy Korsakov placed second, senior Nanticha Lutt and junior Jason Smith placed third and fourth, while sophomores Grady Stein and Gina Scorpiniti placed fifth and sixth. In Public Forum debate, the team of junior Carolyn Hoemann and sophomore Lexy Takla were in quarterfinals. In student congress, freshman John Anthony Danos, at his first congressional debate ever, advanced to the consolation round and won Valley’s first Student Congress state medal in five years. Congratulations to all!

Clive Elementary
The Surgeon General’s report on physical activity and health has some key findings. Most importantly, it found that people of all ages can improve the quality of their lives through a lifelong practice of moderate physical activity. You don’t have to be training for the Boston Marathon to derive real health benefits from physical activity. A regular, preferably daily regimen of at least 30-45 minutes of brisk walking, bicycling or even working around the house or yard will reduce your risks of developing heart disease, hypertension, colon cancer and diabetes. If you are already physically active, you will benefit even more by increasing the intensity or duration of your activity.

Crestview Elementary
Crestview Elementary has started a wellness initiative for its students called, Get Fit Crestview:  Fit Bodies Make Fit Minds.  Children are invited to join the STEPS Club, a walking club that meets from 7:55-8:15 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  During the month of November, classes began taking five minute exercise breaks.  The theme of the breaks was yoga and the school as a whole logged 1,355 minutes!

Crestview sixth grader Alison Whitaker read and reported on all 21 Iowa Children’s Choice books this year.  Of all the books, she enjoyed “Mockingbird” by Kathryn Erskine the most.  She’s read it several times and loves talking about the characters and life lessons from the book.  Congratulations Alison!

It’s that time of year again, colds, flu and stomach viruses.  The health office at Crestview Elementary reminds you to cover your cough, wash your hands and most importantly, stay home if you’re sick.  The common cold is a virus easily passed from one person to another through coughing, sneezing and touching eyes, nose and mouth.  There may be a low grade temperature.  The symptoms usually include stuffy or runny nose, sore throat and a cough.  A cold generally lasts 3-7 days.  Stay home if the symptoms make concentration difficult or the child is just miserable.  The flu is actually a respiratory illness not a stomach bug.  Fever greater than 102 is common and the illness can last 3-4 days.  Sore throat and cough are common as are aches, pain and fatigue.  Please remember to keep your child out of school for 24 hours after their fever is gone without the use of Tylenol or ibuprofen.  This helps assure they are no longer contagious to others.  An annual flu shot can give you good protection. The stomach ‘flu’ is always present in schools.  This is not really the flu but is a virus easily passed from one person to another.   Sometimes there is a low grade temperature but usually the symptoms are stomach ache, nausea and vomiting, and diarrhea.

Crossroads Park Elementary
First graders at Crossroads Park Elementary have been reading multiple versions of “The Gingerbread Man,” including Jan Brett’s “Gingerbread Baby,” and discussing how folk tales vary.  This also correlates with their social studies unit titled From Wagon Wheels to Automobiles, Changes in Time.  It teaches students how folk tales can change over time and from author to author.  As an extension, each student made his or her own gingerbread house.  Parents and family members were invited to help students create their gingerbread houses and students were able to take their houses home.  First grade teachers at Crossroads are Christy Smith, Carol Brase, and Anne Apland.

Hillside Elementary
Kindergartners at Hillside Elementary were excited to get back to school after winter break.  The start of a new year and many changes on the calendar present a great time to further student understanding of numbers into the double digits, using the calendar and the hundreds chart.  They will also extend their exploration of number to the clock, reinforcing numbers to 12, counting by 5s and beginning concepts of telling time. The long days of January and February are always months of great growth in academic understanding for kindergartners.  With routines established and behaviors developed, young children are open to new challenges and eagerly make connections across the curriculum.  Everyone is excited to move into the next phase of the school year and anticipates a very productive 2013.

Phenix Elementary
Phenix third graders recently enjoyed a Book Tasting in the Phenix Media Center.  Students were able to spend a few minutes getting a taste of a new book before passing that book on to another person at their table.  Students had a chance to sample, or taste-test, 10 or more books over the course of the Book Tasting. Most students found some new titles they would like to check out from the library to read.  Each student had a menu in which they noted each book’s title and author, as well as call number for finding the book in the media center.  Teacher librarian Kristy Skoglund planned the Book Tasting, which began with discussing with students the ways that they can preview a book to see if they might enjoy checking it out to take home to read.

Western Hills Elementary
Western Hills first grade teacher Laura Axman had a special guest visit her class last month. Kaitlyn Weiser, a sophomore at Iowa State, is a former student of Axman’s and visited the class to help encourage student interest in science, technology, engineering and math. The visit was part of Weiser’s work as a Student Role Model Assistant at Iowa State for the Program for Women in Science and Engineering. The lesson she did with the first graders in Axman’s class was “The Reason for the Seasons.” The first graders had just completed one of their Breakthrough to Literacy books titled “Time for Bed, Little Bear” the week before and had discussed seasons and the characteristics of each.

Kindergartners at Western Hills will begin investigating water at the end of January.  This hands-on water unit is full of experiments and activities.  The students will investigate water by the bucket-full and by the individual droplet while learning the three states of water. Some of the experiments and activities include properties of water, float and sink, water drops, what shape is water, what dissolves in water, making bubbles, water as ice and where does water go.

Indian Hills Junior High
Is it better to give or receive? This was the question and message of the month for all Indian Hills Students.  On December 18 the students responded in busloads, shopping at Target for Toys for Tots.  All of the toys were put on display at the school before being given to the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program. This was the fifth annual event at Indian Hills which is an official collection center each year.

Stilwell Junior High
Stilwell’s Team I raised more than $1,400 with its annual Winter Walk-a-thon for Toys for Tots.  The Iowa Events Center West gave a matching donation.  Along with the cash donation, new toys were also collected.  After the walk-a-thon, the top pledge-getters got to go shopping at Toys R Us.

Valley Southwoods
New Year’s Resolution! The Anti-Bullying campaign started full force in 2013. Staff wore the I am Part of the Solution t-shirts which students can also purchase. All students have an opportunity to sign a pledge and post their name on a Tiger Paw in the Forum to visually show their commitment to being a part of the solution! Keep an eye on the Valley Southwoods Facebook page for positive shout outs!

Congratulations to the following students for being nominated as Valley Southwoods’ December Tigers of The Month: Tara Aldrich, Sara Clark, Brandon Roman, Tom Smith, Sarah Timmerman and Tyler VanArkel. Thank you for your modeling compassion, empathy courage, humility, love, tolerance and gratitude. Each of these students displayed one or more of the virtues the school has been talking about in its daily announcements. Thank you for being part of the solution at Valley Southwoods!