Informaline March 23, 2015

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Start Date Update The West Des Moines Community School District will ask its Board of Education to act on a final 2015-16 school year calendar and start date in the upcoming weeks. The goal was have a final calendar by March 13. However, as of spring break there were several factors pending at the state level that may affect when the district can start school next year.

The Iowa Department of Education (DE) recently notified the district that it will not respond to the district’s start date waiver request until after spring break. The district requested permission from the state to start school on Aug. 12, 2015, which was approved by the School Board last year. Current law requires schools to start classes during the week of Sept. 1, but the state has approved waivers to this law in the past. School districts across the state were notified in December that the DE would stop routinely granting waivers, and a new process has been implemented.

In addition, the state legislature is still considering several bills that address school start dates. While district administration seeks timely action, these pending factors are significant to finalizing the school calendar.

We thank you for your continued patience and apologize for the inconveniences this delay may cause. Please watch for updates here in the Informaline and on the district website.

School Board Holds Certified Budget Public Hearing April 13 At its meeting on March 9, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education set April 13, 2015 as the date for a public hearing on the 2015-16 certified budget. The hearing will be held at 7 p.m. in the Community Room at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines.

The certified budget is the published budget estimate, not the line-item budget. Expenditures are certified at the Functional Level, highest potential level, even though the line-item budget will be less than the maximum. The certified budget must not be exceeded. The primary purpose of the certified budget is to set the district’s property tax rate. Once the proposed certified budget is completed, it will be published in The Des Moines Register and provided on the district website along with the notice of the public hearing.

Valley Hosts Community Forum on Race Relations Valley High School will host a community forum on race relations in our schools and local community on Thursday, March 26, at 7 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria.

The evening will include a panel discussion and break-out sessions. During the break-out sessions, attendees will have the opportunity to provide ideas on how Valley High School and our community can better address and solve racism. The ideas generated will assist the school in developing long-term action steps. Valley administrators will be at the open forum to talk with community members. Members of the panel are still being finalized.

Possible follow-up meetings to be held on Thursday, April 30, and Thursday, May 28, at 7 p.m. in the Valley High School cafeteria to continue the conversation and further develop action steps.

Iowa Teacher of the Year Nominations Due April 25 Thousands of talented Iowa educators lead and inspire their students. The Iowa Department of Education recognizes teachers through its Iowa Teacher of the Year award. In fact, our district’s own Tamara Tjeerdsma was recently named a finalist for the 2015 award. The deadline to nominate the 2016 Iowa Teacher of the Year is April 25.

The award is an opportunity to recognize an exceptional Iowa teacher who is helping to redefine education. The Teacher of the Year serves as an ambassador to education and as a liaison to primary and secondary schools, higher education, and organizations across the state.

Nominations will be accepted from anyone, including students and parents. Nomination forms can be found on the Iowa Department of Education’s website or by calling 515-281-5651. The 2016 Teacher of the Year will be announced this fall.

Kindergarten Roundup The WDMCS is currently taking names for the 2015-16 kindergarten class. Any child who will be five years old on or before Sept. 15, 2015, will be eligible for kindergarten in the 2015-16 school year. If you or a family you know has a child who will be starting kindergarten next year, make sure you are registered for 2015-16 kindergarten, and remember to watch for coming updates on kindergarten roundup and story time at your new school.

Whittle to be Associate Principal at Valley The West Des Moines Community Schools announces that Erica Whittle has been approved by the School Board as associate principal of Valley High School. Whittle will begin her duties on July 1, 2015.

Whittle is currently an instructional coach for technology integration in the Dallas Center-Grimes Community School District, where she has served for five years. She has also served as an eighth- and ninth-grade math and science teacher at the junior high and high school levels in the district. She received a master’s degree in technology integration from Graceland University and a bachelor’s degree in math and science education from Northwest Missouri State University. Whittle is completing her specialist degree from Drake University in education leadership.

Current Valley High School Associate Principal Erika Cook recently announced her resignation effective in June to become bureau chief for standards and curriculum at the Iowa Department of Education.

District House for Sale The West Des Moines Community School District is asking for sealed bids on its property at 2017 Prospect Ave., West Des Moines, IA 50265 with bids due on April 1 and a MINIMUM asking price of $126,500. Information packets describing the bid process and bid forms are available at the document holder at front yard of the house or by calling 515-633-4964.

The house has four bedrooms, 1.75 bathrooms, and is 1,152 square feet on a 9,100 square foot lot. Cable-ready, it includes a dishwasher and garbage disposal, a fenced yard, and a 1,152 square foot partial basement. More information and photos can be found on the district website and on Zillow.

Boundary Update: Confirmation Letters West Des Moines Community School District elementary families affected by the boundary changes for next year and the enrollment reset will be receiving school assignment confirmation letters in the next couple of weeks.

District staff are currently processing the requests received by families eligible for the grandfather clause in our implementation plan. Staff will also be rolling forward enrollment data in Infinite Campus – our student enrollment database – aligned with the boundary changes and enrollment reset for the 2015-16 school year.

Once this is completed, staff will send assignment confirmation letter and information about the voluntary transfer request process. Families will only receive this letter if their elementary student is a voluntary transfer, capped-out, or open enrolled student, or a resident student affected by the boundary changes for 2015-16. For questions, please contact the district at 515-633-5000.

Reminder: Last Day of School June 3, 2015 School was not in session Jan. 7 due to severe cold and low wind-chill values. The last day of school is now set for Wednesday, June 3, which will follow the early-out schedule.

Every Day is an Opportunity to Read March 2 was Read Across America Day in honor of beloved author Dr. Seuss’ birthday. The day offered a special opportunity to highlight the importance of reading, but every day is a chance to celebrate reading with your child. Julie DeMicco, Professional Development/Curriculum Facilitator for literacy and social studies with the West Des Moines Community Schools, provided some family reading tips and resources on the district website.

Virtual Backpack Fliers on community and district events, activities, and programs from Courage League Sports, Junior Achievement, and more!

Virtual Backpack