Intercultural Engagement

  • The purpose of Intercultural Outreach is to ensure equitable access to information and opportunities for our multilingual students and their families. This takes the form of program creation, building support, and staff education.

  • Contact Us

    Gianna Pugliese, MSEd
    Intercultural Outreach Coordinator

    Gianna Pugliese


    WDMCS Community Education

    Learning Resource Center
    3550 Mills Civic Parkway
    West Des Moines, IA 50265



  • Within WDMCS

    • The Intercultural Outreach Coordinator organizes programming for multilingual students and families to enhance learning and academic engagement. Additionally, Intercultural Outreach works directly with teachers and administration to ensure practices are culturally responsive, trauma-informed, and equitable for all of WDMCS’s forgein-born populations. In practice, this takes the forms of:

      • Extended learning opportunities for our ESOL students and their families

      • Planning and organizing WDMCS participation in Welcoming Week

      • Sponsoring multilingual student groups to lift their voices

      • Internal Professional Development

      • Internal consulting on various culturally responsive, equity-driven projects

      • Partnerships with Iowa State University to provide annual Noche de Ciencias and Salir Adelante programs

      • Partnerships with the City of West Des Moines to lift up traditionally underserved voices

      • Partnerships with local ECBOs to enhance services in our school buildings

    In the Community

    The Intercultural Engagement team also promotes cross-cultural learning through community events and activities throughout the year. 

  • Rise

    Valley’s Refugee and Immigrant Student Embassy was founded in January 2022 by VHS’s multilingual student leaders who wanted to lift up the voices of their fellow refugee, immigrant, and first generation students. This student-led group focuses on topics they identify as being in high-demand:

    • Planning college visits specific to refugee, immigrant, and first generation student questions and concerns

    • Bringing in community members who are representative of the RISE members to mentor and give advice for success

    • Bridge the experiential gap and build community by going on field trips and planning community service projects that give back to the refugee and immigrant community
    • Representation of diverse backgrounds and stories at VHS
    • Visit the VHS Activities page for more information
    • RISE Instagram account @risevhs


    Rise Mural at Valley High School

Last Modified on December 6, 2022