Informaline May 16, 2016


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Virtual Backpack/La Mochila Virtual

Grading Practices Under Review
The West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) Board of Education appointed a 51-member task force to review the district’s grading practices.

The task force of parents, community members, teachers, administrators, and School Board members will complete its work during the 2016-17 school year and provide a recommendation in the spring of 2017. The committee meetings will be open to the public.

Read the task force membership list and learn more about its mission on the district website at

The task force will hold its first meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, May 16, at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines. This meeting is open to the public.

District to Unveil New Brand
Get ready! A new district brand — including an academic logo and brand platform — will be unveiled at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year.

Learn more about the branding process on the district website at

No School Memorial Day
There will be no school for students on Monday, May 30, as it is Memorial Day.

New Last Day of School
School was not in session Feb. 2, 2016, due to adverse winter weather conditions. The last day of school is now set for Thursday, June 2.

Celebrating Our Graduates
The West Des Moines Community Schools proudly announces that 681 students will graduate from the district this year. Valley High School will graduate 593 seniors with traditional diplomas, plus 8 with Certificates of Attendance (foreign exchange students). Walnut Creek Campus will graduate 88 students. Sixty students will graduate with traditional diplomas, and 28 will graduate with core diplomas.

Who are the WDMCS graduates? Leaders: 17 Student Government members Volunteers: 121 Silver Cord Awards, 9 Presidential Volunteer Awards, 4 Teal Cord Awards AP Students: 32 took 5+ AP Exams, 71 AP Scholars, 1 National AP Scholar Scholars: 4 Honors Students, 10 Scholars of Distinction National Honor Society Members: 49 members National Merit Finalists: Andrew Austin, Joseph Brennan, Haley Gion, Alexa Kort, Quinn Nolin, and Samuel Throm

Walnut Creek Campus Commencement
Thursday, May 26, at 7 p.m.
Staplin Performing Arts Center at Valley High School (3650 Woodland Ave, West Des Moines)

Valley High School Commencement
Sunday, May 29, at 12:30 p.m.
Drake Knapp Center (2601 Forest Ave., Des Moines)


District Expands New Tech Model to High School
On May 9, the WDMCS Board of Education approved a district committee’s recommendation to expand the New Tech instructional model to ninth grade at Valley Southwoods Freshman High School in 2017-18. The district will expand the model to 10th grade at Valley High School in 2018-19, then to 11th grade in 2019-20, and to 12th grade in 2020-21. The New Tech Advisory Committee recommended using a “school-within-a-school” model, which establishes a smaller team of teachers and students within the larger school. The committee agreed that the school-within-a-school model should be reviewed in five years by a representative stakeholder group.

Learn more on the district website at

Congratulations to Valley High School junior Arjun Ganga for earning a perfect composite score of 36 on the ACT!

Valley Named to “Best High Schools” List
Valley High School was ranked the third best high school in Iowa on the “2016 Best High Schools” list, released by the U.S. News and World Report on April 19, 2016.

The rankings were based on college readiness, average proficiency in math and reading, and graduation rates.

Valley was one of 119 Iowa schools named to the list, and one of only 11 Iowa schools eligible for a national ranking.

Tiger Field Project Bids Approved, Facilities Plan to be Reviewed
On a 4-2 vote with one abstention, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education approved the bids for the renovation of Valley High School’s Tiger Field.

The project includes a new track surface, press box, long jump and shot put/discus area, sound system, sidewalks, increased seating at the field with new bleachers, additional lighting to extend the hours of operation, and more. Construction will begin this summer, with substantial completion of the project scheduled for August.

Operations Director Eric Smith reported that this summer the administration would like to review the district’s 10-year facilities plan, current space needs in the district’s buildings, and bring a recommendation regarding the plan to the Board this fall.

Learn more about the Tiger Field project at