Clive Elementary first graders were recently treated to the musical “Spirit of Uganda.”

Life in the WDMCS 2/24/14

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.

Clive Elementary

Clive Elementary first graders recently hopped on the school bus to the Des Moines Civic Center where they were treated to the musical “Spirit of Uganda.” First grader Roshan Kumar said, “It was a musical program…with lots of singing and dancing. Well, they tried to raise money for [Ugandans] that don’t go to school every day, and they tried to raise money for people in college.” Linna Vo remarked, “We stand up and dance with them.” Jacob Greene summed up the experience when he said, “I learned about their dances…and their singing. I thought it was good.”

Crestview Elementary

Crestview second graders are currently learning about concepts of balance, counterweights and stable positions through science exploration.

Crossroads Park Elementary

The new Art 101 afterschool club is open to third through sixth grade students, with 15 students so far enjoying the after school sessions at Crossroads Park Elementary. At each session, students get an opportunity to learn about new artists, explore new mediums, and best of all, make art! The students have gotten to explore techniques with paint, oil pastels, and ink, and will get to use charcoal and watercolors as well. Interested participants can find more information at the Community Education webpage at or by calling 633-5001. Illustration Inspiration is also in full swing. This club is offered to kindergarten and first grade students. The club takes time to study different illustrators and the various styles they use within their illustrations. They then create fun artwork inspired from what they studied. So far students in the club have used watercolors, tempera paint, crayons, colored pencils, created tissue paper collages and practiced the art of sketching. The sketches represented in the picture were created after we studied illustrations by Ray Cruz from “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”

Fairmeadows Elementary

UPDATE – this performance has been rescheduled from Feb. 20 to March 6: Fourth graders at Fairmeadows are putting together a garage band. In their upcoming show entitled, “Making the Band,” the class is looking for percussionists, guitar players, bass guitar players, keyboard players and a lead singer. Why not come on out and see! There will be one performance at 3 p.m. for the Fairmeadows students and then another at 6:30 p.m. for family and friends.

On Monday, March 3, the 23rd Street Singers, a lively chorus of 114 fifth and sixth graders who enjoy singing and choreography, will hit the road with performances at the West Des Moines Public Library (9:30 a.m.) and Edgewater Retirement Community (10 a.m.). Then on Tuesday, March 4, the 23rd Street Singers will perform for Fairmeadows students at 3 p.m. and again for the community at 6:30 p.m. in the Fairmeadows gym. The program includes a variety of musical styles and dance choreography including “We Sing Gloria,” Katy Perry’s “Roar,” “Africa,” a ballad called “When I am Silent,” and even a Maori proverb entitled “Tama Tu.” Director Deb Augspurger would like to thank the chorus students and families for making beautiful music and making music beautiful at Fairmeadows!

Hillside Elementary

The first grade Professional Learning Communities (PLC) at Hillside Elementary have been working on Artful Learning models. Journey maps have been a school-wide focus at Hillside this school year, and the first grade PLC completed its work in addition to the SINA requirements. See more here:

Over the past few weeks, Hillside second graders have been busy learning about the ocean. Through inquiry centers, they have explored ocean zones and ocean pollution. Second graders are currently researching an ocean animal. Students are reading ocean animal books and searching websites to find out fascinating facts about their animals. Students will organize their research using a graphic organizer and will write a nonfiction piece about their animals. Students will prepare an oral presentation and share their findings with their class. Classes will compile the final products into a class book titled, “Ocean Animals.” Students are very excited about discovering facts about their animals and are working very hard on their reports.

Jordan Creek Elementary

Francis Chan taught Jordan Creek first graders about growing up in Southern Sudan in an African family during the school’s Cultural Day. Wesley Fergus got to dress as the King of Sudan and Carli Hemmingson dressed as the Queen of Sudan. This particular session fit in nicely with the unit on Africa the first graders are presently studying.

Phenix Elementary

First graders have recently begun studying nutrition in Spanish class at Phenix Elementary. They are learning the names of the food groups and several foods. Second graders are studying the Mayans in conjunction with the Native American unit they studied with their regular classroom teacher. They have been intrigued to learn about this wonderfully interesting tribe and can tell you all about the Mayan ball game of Pok-a-tok, as well as how the Mayans counted. Third graders are studying the rainforest, which ties to the third grade social studies curriculum. They have learned about rainforest animals, including a very special tree frog, called coqui, that lives in the Puerto Rican rainforest. They have learned about the levels of the rainforest, rainforest preservation, and products that come from the rainforest…all in Spanish!

Westridge Elementary

Westridge Elementary had 23 students enter the AMC 8 Worldwide Math Contest, with final statistics released in January. Kudos to the following students for top school honors: Carsen Codel and Brogan Kirkpatrick (gold); Justin Toth and Michael Thomsen (silver); and Zachary Schmalz, Eli Jaskolka and Bevan Fogdall (bronze). The team of sixth graders Codel and Kirkpatrick along with fifth grader Toth, placed seventh in the state out of 18 older middle school teams. Codel and Kirkpatrick were awarded special merit certificates for scoring exceptionally high worldwide against older students. All of Westridge’s gold, silver and bronze winners, along with classmates Mari Wharff and Andrew Simpson, outscored the worldwide average for their grade levels. School winner Codel placed in the top 9% of the world of all age-groups. This is the fifth year Westridge has participated in the contest under the coaching of parent Tracy Codel.

Valley High School

xperience new cultures, foods and support a good cause! Come to One World, One Heart International Night on Friday, February 28 from 5-8:30 p.m. in the Valley cafeteria. Tickets are $3 each or two for $5, so bring a friend. There will be cultural exhibits, ethnic food vendors, cultural performance show and fashion show. All proceeds go to the Helping Hands Fund to provide relief for victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

The Central Iowa High School College Fair will be held at Valley High School Monday, March 3 from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Student Commons. Approximately 90 colleges and universities will be in attendance. All students are encouraged to attend, as well as parents. Students are required to register prior to the event at: For more information, contact Karla Hardy (633-4128, or Polly Maly (633-4210, in the Counseling Center.