Informaline May 4, 2015


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Thank You, School Board Members Please join the district in saying “thank you” to our School Board members during Iowa’s School Board Member Recognition Month in May. We recognize the contributions made by the members of the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education, who are chosen through elections by you, the members of our community. These volunteer leaders are responsible for school system policy, approving curricula, maintaining school facilities, and adhering to state and federal education law.

We salute these public servants whose commitment and civic responsibility make local control of public schools in our community possible: Board President David J. Brown, Vice President Andi Lipman, Elizabeth Brennan, Dr. Kevin Carroll, H. Milton Cole, Tali Greenspon, and Dr. Vicky Poole.

To learn more about our School Board and its members, please visit:

Teacher Appreciation Week Did you know that there are 850 teachers and teacher/student assistants employed by the West Des Moines Community Schools? Of those teachers, 54.1 percent have earned a master’s degree, and four teachers have earned their doctorate degrees. As teachers, they pass on that knowledge to their students every day in the classroom. Thank your teachers for their commitment to providing students with an excellent education during this year’s National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 4-8.

Valley Nurse Named Iowa School Nurse Of The YeaValley High School Nurse Melanie Hicklin was named the Iowa School Nurse Organization’s 2015 School Nurse of the Year. She has been a school nurse in the WDMCS for more than 20 years. She was nominated by Valley associate principal Dr. Erika Cook. Hicklin serves more than 2,000 students and families at Valley, and was recognized at the ISNO School Nurse Conference on April 10, 2015.

For School Nurse Appreciation Week this year, May 6-12, the district would like to thank Melanie Hicklin and the rest of our school nurses for the work that they do to keep students healthy.

School Lunch Heroes Many thanks to our school nutrition employees during School Nutrition Employee Week, May 4-8. They were honored for School Lunch Hero Day, on Friday, May 1.

Valley Senior Named To All-State Academic Team Valley High School senior Ojas Pradhan was named to The Des Moines Register’s All-State Academic Team on April 26. Schools nominate graduating seniors who stand out for “achievements in academics, community involvement, and leadership.” Editors from The Des Moines Register then identify students for statewide or regional recognition. Pradhan was one of 10 “outstanding students” recognized for Academic All-State recognition.

“I hope to get to a place in life where I can be happy with the decisions I’ve made,” Pradhan told the Register about his goals. “I want to feel like I accomplished everything that was within my reach.”

Youth Classes Survey WDMCS Community Education would like your input to help us better plan our future Adventures classes. These youth classes are offered after school, in the evenings, or on the weekends during the school year. Your input is very valuable to us, so please take a few moments to offer your suggestions.

The survey should take less than five minutes to complete and can be found online:

Walnut Creek Campus Celebrates Earth and Arbor Days Walnut Creek Campus participated in an all-school Day of Service on April 22, 2015. Staff and students spent the day in conjunction with the City of Clive cleaning-up green spaces and planting trees and wildflowers in celebration of both Earth and Arbor Day. Students and staff worked along the Clive Greenbelt Trail and around the Clive little free library they constructed for a previous service learning experience.

Shelley Clayton is the service learning coordinator for Walnut Creek Campus and coordinates the Day of Service. Service Learning is a program of WDMCS Community Education.

Jordan Creek Kids Care Club Earns National Recognition The Jordan Creek Elementary Kids Care Club was recognized by the National Kids Care Club and the American Advertising Federation (AAF) in November 2014. The club has since collaborated with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign AAF chapter to develop a campaign promoting kindness and respect.

Inspired by a TeacherTube video, the club and the ninth-grade guests wrote positive messages in colorful footprints on the sidewalk outside the school in October 2014. The group also wrote on cut-out paper footprints, which they posted in the school hallways. Students now walk on the outdoor footprints every day, and many of the indoor footprints have stayed up as well. Tigges’ door is still covered in footprints.

“The whole idea was making a positive footprint,” she said. “You never know who might read your message.”

That positive focus attracted the attention of the National KCC. It was looking to support a student group as part of a partnership with the AAF. Students from Urbana-Champaign’s AAF chapter and their adviser, Steve Hall, visited Jordan Creek to learn more about the club and its impact. The AAF students observed the Jordan Creek KCC and interviewed Jordan Creek students, staff, and parents. The 500-person chapter, the largest in the country, brainstormed ways to support the Jordan Creek KCC. They envisioned using Jordan Creek to pilot a campaign, before spreading it to larger audiences.

“This is a huge opportunity for our district,” Dunnwald said. “Yes, this is a starting point, but they wanted to take it even further, to the district and the city.”

WDMCS Students Earn Top Ratings at Solo/Small Ensemble Festival Students in band, orchestra and vocal music at Valley High School and Valley Southwoods Freshman High School participated in the Iowa High School Music Association Solo/Small Ensemble Festival on April 18-19.

There were 15 entries from the Valley and Valley Southwoods band students. Ten of the entries were awarded the top rating of ‘Superior,’ and three received an ‘Excellent’ rating. Senior Derek Pham was recognized as the Center Nine Outstanding Performer for his performance of Keiko Abe’s “Frogs” on marimba.

More than 100 Valley vocal music students participated in the festival. Fifty performances received the top ‘Superior’ rating, and 25 performances received ‘Excellent’ ratings. Twelve performances received ‘Good’ ratings.

Thirty-six Southwoods vocal music students also participated in 28 events. Eight received ‘Superior’ ratings, 17 received ‘Excellent’ ratings, and two received ‘Good’ ratings.

There were 24 orchestra entries from Valley High School and Valley Southwoods, with 15 soloists and nine ensembles. The students performed a variety of music from notable composers, including Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Mendelssohn.

All nine ensembles and 12 soloists received the top rating of ‘Outstanding.’ The three remaining soloists received ‘Excellent’ ratings. Senior violinist Hannah Willard also received ‘Best of Center’ recognition for her performance of the Saint-Saens Violin Concerto.

No School On May 25 There will be no school for students on Monday, May 25, as it is Memorial Day.

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.

Virtual Backpack Flyers on community and district events, activities and programs from Blank Children’s Hospital, the West Des Moines Public Library, and more!

Virtual Backpack