Life in the WDMCS 2/18/13

Fairmeadows Elementary
On Monday, March 4, the 23rd Street Singers, under the direction of Deb Augspurger, will hit the road with performances at the West Des Moines Public Library and Fountain West Health Care Center. Then on Tuesday, March 5, the 23rd Street Singers will perform for Fairmeadows students at 3 p.m. and again for the community at 7 p.m. in the Fairmeadows gym. The program includes a variety of musical styles and dance choreography. All are welcome to attend. Thank you to the chorus students and families for helping to make beautiful music at Fairmeadows!

Jordan Creek Elementary
Third graders at Jordan Creek had the privilege of participating in a school wide Cultural Day on February 14. One of the speakers, Eric Idehen, from Nigeria, shared many cultural traditions from his country. Eric is now a resident in the Des Moines area and works for Bank of the West. He helped students learn about how the people of Nigeria respect their elders, the value of their currency, poverty in their schools, their beautiful clothing and about a Nigerian orphanage that is dear to his heart. Students were able to try on some of the jewelry and clothing that he brought to share. The presentation was only one of many fun and educational activities that the third graders experienced on Cultural Day.

The Jordan Creek chess team placed fourth in the Iowa K-6 Team Chess Championships. More than 100 K-6 players representing 16 schools from around the state took part in this competition. Jordan Creek was the only team representing the Des Moines metro area that played in a very competitive environment against many top state teams from Iowa City, Ames and Cedar Rapids. The Jordan Creek Chess Club is extremely proud of the following players who represented the school and performed amazingly well at a state level tournament: sixth graders Shuvethan Sivagurunathan and Conner Smith and fifth graders Animesh, Joshi and Jay Chevuru.

Phenix Elementary
Second graders at Phenix are very intrigued by their study of the Mayan Tribes of Mexico and Guatemala. To correlate with their study of Native Americans in the regular social studies curriculum, they learn about the Mayans during Spanish class. The have learned about how the Mayans played Pok-a-tok, a ball game with complex rules. They will soon discover how the Mayans came up with their own number system, and they will do Mayan Math with special candies denoting the base five system used by the Mayans. Classroom teacher Mary Johnson recently visited several Mayan cities in Mexico and is sharing her photos with the students as they learn with their Spanish teacher, Allyson Day.

Western Hills Elementary
The sixth graders at Western Hills are keeping busy during these cold winter months. They recently took part in an all school fieldtrip to the Iowa Energy Game at the Iowa Events Center. The students at Western Hills earned this fieldtrip as a reward for showing Tiger Pride at school by demonstrating the importance of being safe, being responsible and being respectful. All students from kindergarten to sixth grade worked to win this reward for showing good character. As a part of the 4th Annual Education Celebration the game was to entertain and educate central Iowa students and included lessons against bullying and about Black History Month. Comments following the game included the game was awesome, I loved the dancing and I am glad we went – it was really fun.

On Valentine’s Day the sixth graders at Western Hills had an especially full school day. After completing learning activities in reading and writing in the morning the students spent the afternoon on two different fieldtrips. First, students were able to attend the Sweetheart Show at Valley High School. This music fieldtrip gave the students a chance to see some of the high school choirs perform as well as talented individuals who had auditioned to be able to participate in the show. From Valley, the sixth graders traveled to Val Lanes for a Valentine’s Day party of bowling with classmates. The sixth graders are also busy in the classroom. In social studies students just finished sharing PowerPoint presentations about the rights and freedoms protected for Americans in the Bill of Rights. Each student worked with a small group to complete research about one right or freedom and then each group created a presentation to share what had been learned. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, the right to bear arms and protection against illegal search and seizure were among the topics students researched. The students learned about why these rights were important to citizens during the early days of the United States, what these rights meant during that time period, and how the meaning and interpretation of these rights has changed with a growing and changing society.

Westridge Elementary
The WDMCS hosted a solo festival February 7 at Hillside Elementary where each contestant performed a prepared solo or an ensemble in front of a judge. Each performer was judged on their tone, technique, musicianship, and appearance. The ratings are I+ – highly superior, I – excellent, II – good, and III – fair. Westridge who will participated were: Flute Solo: Jane Berg – I, Maryn Gibson – I+, Haley Losh – I+, Melanie Melton – I; Clarinet Solo: Paisley Bryant – I; Trumpet Solo: Chase Cunningham – I, Nick Ellis – I, Jared Loecke – I+, Cole Peterson – I+, Jacob Toth – I; French Horn Solo: Mary Simmons – I+; Tuba Solo: Jon Shaner – I; Snare Drum Solo: Andrew Behrens – I+; Kyle Juist – I; Nate Miller – I+.

Stilwell Junior High
The Stilwell Mime Troupe proudly presents Mime’nam Style: Mimes Skits to Dance Hits on Friday, February 22 and Saturday, February 23 at 7 p.m. Tickets are available in the main office for $3. Come watch as 130 mimes make you laugh while listening to fun music. See you there!

Students on the T team at Stilwell are using the Audacity program to edit their essays. Audacity is a free software program for recording sound. By hearing themselves read their own writing aloud, students are able to listen to the flow of their writing and make changes in grammar, spelling and punctuation. Here is some feedback from students: “Hearing myself say the sentences pointed out some errors. I shrunk a huge sentence into smaller ones, and I realized some things I had just didn’t make sense.”

“I thought it was really helpful because when you read it in your head you skip over words and only say what you meant to in your head. But when you have to read it out loud, you actually have to look at the words.”

Stilwell Junior High’s anti-bullying club Y.E.S. (Youth Empowering Students) recently celebrated a special anti-bullying week.  Y.E.S. club members Rebecca Guzman, Shelby Annett, Isabella LaMarca, Ellie Cooper, Adriana Paz, Angela Wilkening, Valerie Tamse and Cheyenne Akers.

Stilwell recently participated in the Heart Connection personal care items drive for the WDM Human Services pantry.   The Tiger Time teams competed to see which one could donate the most items.  Congratulations to Hannah Quandt’s Tiger Time for donating 691 items. They enjoyed donuts and juice as their reward. Marilee Westergaard’s Tiger Time came in second place and donated 235 items and Melissa Kelly’s Tiger Time was a close third with 221 items donated. A huge thank you to everyone that donated to the drive. Stilwell collected about 2,365 total items for the WDM Human Services care pantry.

Stilwell’s G Team traveled to downtown Des Moines to see the Civic Center performance of Warriors Don’t Cry. Students spent the morning learning background information about school integration and the Little Rock Nine. Through video clips, vocabulary exploration, and timeline visuals, students were better able to understand the memoir-based performance of Melba Patillo Beals’ experiences as one of the brave students who helped end segregation in the 1950s.

Valley Southwoods
The Valley Southwoods Jazz Choir performed for fourth graders at Crestview Elementary and answered questions about jazz choir and life at Valley Southwoods.

Valley High School
On February 12, Alissa Underfer’s and Stacy Hansen’s classes were guests to Ames High School. Students from Ames performed their IHSSA Reader’s Theatre piece entitled “The Ugly Duckling.” All students from both high schools then enjoyed a morning of theatre collaboration and unity.

The Valley Best Buddies held a fundraiser at Chick Fil A recently where 10% of all orders at the restaurant were donated to Best Buddies. Students also had games set up for people to have some fun and win more coupons. Thank you to everyone who came out to support Best Buddies!

The VHS Mime Team “Robin ‘Hood’” was selected as the Critic’s Choice at the IHSSA Large Group Festival on Saturday, February 16.  The critic, Jeff Hanson, Lampost Theatre, Cedar Falls, chose the group that, in his opinion, best exemplified the category of Group Mime.  This is the very highest honor for IHSSA performers.  Group members are seniors Sam Farrell,  Emma Schulte, Joel Snyder and juniors Sammie Binns, Jake Leiberton, and Mason McCoy.  The group is directed by Derek Claussen.  VHS will proudly display the traveling group mime banner for the next year.

Walnut Creek
Walnut Creek Campus participated in a Day of Service Feb. 20 with staff and students spending the day giving back to different organizations throughout the community. Students and staff completed projects with Habitat for Humanity, Nurses Play and Learn, Polk County Conservation at Jester Park and Diapers for Haiti.

Clive Elementary
During the month of January, Clive Elementary fifth and sixth graders had the opportunity to play hand bells. The hand bells are rotated throughout the WDMCS in the music classroom. Fun chords and songs were played by ringing brass hand bells. Three sixth grade students have been selected to play hand bells in the all district honor hand bell choir. Those students are Yahriel Salinas-Reyes, Breton Clark and Journey Berzett. They meet every Wednesday morning for rehearsals at Clive along with other sixth grade students in the district. They will be playing in the honors concert program at Valley High School in May.

On February 26, all fifth grade students from Clive and within the district will be attending the Des Moines Youth Symphony Orchestra concert program which will be held at the Civic Center. This is a neat opportunity for students to hear a live orchestra concert outside of their respective schools.

The 73rd Street Singers choir has been rehearsing for their upcoming concert program the first part of March. They will be performing some upbeat spring, jazzy, songs, as well as slower ballad songs. The choir performance will be held on Tuesday, March 12.

Crestview Elementary
Crestview sixth graders Linsday Wirta and Max Stoaks recently finished reading and reporting on all 21 Iowa Children’s Choice books. Lindsay and Max enjoyed reading this year’s nominations for the annual award. Lindsay’s favorite is “The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate “ by Jacqueline Kelly and Max chose “Getting Air”by Dan Guttman as his favorite read. Congratulations to you both!

Josh Denhart recently presented his Amazing Chemistry Show to sixth graders at Crestview. The students observed science in action! They were able to participate in intriguing science demonstrations while experiencing the “magic” of science. The Amazing Chemistry Show emphasized to students not only science concepts, but also the importance of being a student who demonstrates passion and integrity toward their schoolwork.

Crestview students often ask for recommendations in the library.  Fifth grade teacher Jessy Leighton came up with the idea of encouraging all staff members to place brightly colored bookmarks  in their favorite books.  Students enjoy reading these books and staff members report students even stop them in the hallway to talk about the books they read on account of the recommendation.