Check out photos from the last day of school across the West Des Moines Community Schools on Friday, May 31, 2019.
- May 31, 2019
Due to deteriorating weather, West Des Moines Community Schools buses taking high school and elementary students home will be delayed by approximately 20 minutes, Tuesday, May 28. Schools will also hold any students planning to walk home for the same amount of time. Parent/guardians can pick up their children at any time.
WDMCS Transportation Services will be communicating with the families of affected bus riders directly. If the weather does not clear within 20 minutes, as predicted by the National Weather Service, we will communicate any further schedule changes as needed.
- May 28, 2019
Everything you need to know about enrolling your students for the 2019-20 school year.
- May 24, 2019
Valley High School seniors return to their roots—their elementary schools— as part of each school’s “Seniors Come Home” event on Wednesday, May 22, 2019.
- May 24, 2019
Registration has opened for many camps and programs throughout the West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS). Check out all of the offerings the district is providing students this summer:
Summer of Learning
WDMCS Community Education provides a wide variety of activities to choose from in the summer months through its Summer of Learning program. From Art Adventures to Cycling and Science Exploration, there are plenty of options for students to enjoy.
Help your child find a program that sounds interesting, fun, or rewarding, and register today! For additional information or assistance, please contact WDMCS Community Education at 515-633-5001.
Summer Enrichment Adventures (SEA)
Summer Enrichment Adventures (SEA) is a two-week summer program for high-achieving, motivated students who will enter grades 1-8 in the fall.
This year’s camp runs from 9 a.m. to noon, June 10-21. Classes will include Mindset and Mindfulness, Ancient Rome: Veni, Vidi, Vici, Mission: Problem Solving and Design, Digital Illustration, Macro/Micro Lego building, and Elementary Spanish, plus many more fun and challenging classes.
Enrollment for this year’s camp is currently closed. To enroll for the camp next year, students must either be identified for a gifted program or score at or above the 90th percentile on their Iowa Assessment Core Total. For more information about SEA, please contact Kristine Milburn, Ed.D, at email@example.com or 515-633-4052.
In the Virtual Backpack, you will find information about activities from the WDMCS, WDMCS Community Education, district- or school-affiliated groups, and nonprofit community organizations. Please enjoy exploring these district and community opportunities for learning, enrichment, engagement, and fun!
The flyers and events presented here are not school publications, nor are they in any way endorsed or sponsored by any school district. The Virtual Backpack is being provided only to inform WDMCS students, families, and staff of other available community activities and opportunities.
Valley High School Sports Camps
Coaches at Valley High School are offering more than a dozen sports camps for students this summer. Learn more about each camp from the provided list below.
Online payment and registration is available for all Valley sports camps. To pay online: Log in to WDMCS Online Payments, then select student name. Select “Items at Student’s School,” then “Summer Camps” to pick the correct camp.
|Name of Camp||Grades||Dates||Times||Location||Cost||More Info|
|Valley High School Boys’ Basketball Camp||Grades 9-12||June 1, 3-4, 7||10-noon on June 1
4-6 p.m. on June 3-4 12-2 p.m. June 7
|Valley High School Girls’ Basketball Camp||Grades 9-12||Tuesdays and Thursdays in June||8-10 a.m.||Valley Fieldhouse||$100||Flyer|
|Valley High School Youth Track and Field Summer Camp||Grades K-7||June 4-7||Grades K-3: 5:45-6:45 p.m.
Grades 4-7: 7-8 p.m.
|Valley High School Wrestling Camp||Grades 2-12||June 3-6||Grades 8-12: 8-10 a.m. Grades 2-7: 10:30-noon||Valley
|Gary Swenson Tiger Football Camp—Elementary and Junior High||Grades 4-8||June 10-13||10-noon||Tiger Field||$90||Flyer|
|Valley High School Girls’ Basketball Youth Camps||Grades 3-8||June 10-13||Grades 3-6: 8-9:45 a.m.
Grades 7-8: 10 a.m.-noon
|Valley Tigers Girls’ Tennis Camp||Grades 1-8||June 10-July 12||Grades 1-8: 8:30-9:30 a.m. M-W-F;
Returning Varsity Players: 9:30-11 a.m. M-W-F;
Incoming 9th Grade and JV Players: 11-noon M-W-F
|Valley Southwoods Tennis Courts||$175||Flyer|
|Tiger Tough Strength and Conditioning Summer Camp||Grades 7-8||June 17-July 25; Session 1: Mondays, Wednesdays; Session 2: Tuesdays, Thursdays||10-11 a.m.||Tiger Field||$60||Flyer|
|Valley High School Volleyball Skills Camps||Grades 3-12||June 17-20||Times vary for different camp offerings||Valley Southwoods||$120 and $150||Flyer|
|Valley Tigers Boys’ Soccer Camp||Ages 6-16||Session I: June 17-21; Session 2: July 8-12||Ages 6-8: 9-10:30 a.m. Ages 9-16: 9-noon||Tiger Field||$75 for ages 6-8
$90 for ages 9-16
|2019 Junior Tiger Distance Running Camp||Grades 3-8||Session 1: June 17-20 and 24-27; Session 2: July 8-12 and 15-18||Grades 7-8: 8-9 a.m. Grades 3-6: 9-10 a.m.||Indian Hills||$50||Flyer|
|Valley High School Boys’ Tennis Summer Camp *** THIS CAMP IS FULL AS OF JUNE 18, 2019 ***||Grades PK-8||Session I: June 24-27||Grades 1-4: 9-10 a.m. Grades 5-8: 10-11:30 a.m.; PK: 11:30-noon||Valley Southwoods Tennis Courts||Below 1st grade: $30 Grades 1-4: 60;
Grades 5-8: $90
|Valley High School Girls’ Soccer Camp||Grades K-12||July 15-18||Grades K-5: 8-9 a.m. Grades 6-12: 9-11 a.m.||Tiger Field||$65 for K-5,
$85 for 6-12
|Valley High School Volleyball Competition Camps||Grades 3-8 and 9-12||July-15-17||Grades 3-8: 9-11:30 a.m.
Grades 9-12: 12:30-3:30 p.m.
|Valley Fieldhouse||$90 and $110||Flyer|
|Valley Tigers Boys’ Basketball Grades 2-8 Summer Camp||Grades 2-8||July 29-Aug. 1||9-11 a.m.||Valley Fieldhouse||$85||Flyer|
|Gary Swenson Tiger Football Camp—High School||Grades 9-12||Aug. 5-8||4-6 p.m.||Tiger Field||$90||Flyer|
|Valley High School Cross Country Camp||Grades 9-12||Aug. 5-8||8-11 a.m.||Tiger Field||$50||Flyer|
- May 23, 2019
Friday, May 31, is the last day of school at all West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) buildings for the 2018-19 school year.
Every WDMCS school will dismiss three hours early that day. The list below outlines when each building will let out:
WDMCS Elementary Schools
- Clive Learning Academy: 12:55 p.m.
- Crestview School of Inquiry: 12:10 p.m.
- Crossroads Park Elementary: 12:55 p.m.
- Fairmeadows Elementary: 12:55 p.m.
- Hillside Elementary: 12:55 p.m.
- Jordan Creek Elementary: 12:55 p.m.
- Western Hills Elementary: 12:55 p.m.
- Westridge Elementary: 12:55 p.m.
WDMCS Junior High Schools
- Indian Hills Junior High: 11:35 a.m.
- Stilwell Junior High: 11:35 a.m.
WDMCS High Schools
- Valley Southwoods Freshman High School: 12:20 p.m.
- Valley High School: 12:20 p.m.
- Walnut Creek Campus: 12:10 p.m.
Have a fun and safe summer break! And remember: The first day back for the 2019-20 school year is Friday, Aug. 23.
- May 23, 2019
There will be no school on Monday, May 27, due to Memorial Day. Classes will resume Tuesday, May 28, on schools’ usual operating schedules.
The last day of school for all WDMCS students is Friday, May 31. All schools will have a three-hour early dismissal.
- May 23, 2019
Emily Gonzalez Blacio’s educational and life journey consists of numerous “trials and errors,” as she put it.
Having been at Walnut Creek Campus for a year-and-a-half, though, the 20-year-old senior has grown to love the school for setting her up for success—something she felt early on that she couldn’t reach.
“I feel like you get to have a close connection with each of your teachers. I can ask them anything,” Emily explained. “I’ve never felt pressure from any of my teachers. They’re like, ‘If you want to get something done, then we’re going to help you.’ That’s how I’ve gotten through all of my stuff, because they have always been there to help me.
She didn’t care about school when she was younger. Her father, Angel, was deported to his home country of Ecuador when Emily was just 7 years old.
“That had really manifested into a depression,” she said. “I didn’t care to have many friends or to be part of activities after school. I just wasn’t involved with my schoolwork. I either stayed home or I went to work.”
Emily first attended a Des Moines high school but had to drop out at age 17.
“My whole high school career, my grades were really bad,” Emily said. “I got all Fs and Ds.”
Before dropping out, she gave birth to her first son, Mateo. When he was about 3 months old, Emily attended Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) in pursuit of a General Education Diploma, also known as a GED.
“That was really hard, and no one talks about how hard it is to get a GED,” she said. “I ended up having to leave (DMACC) because I also had to work.”
In August 2017, Emily enrolled at Valley High School. Her second son, Roman, was about 3 weeks old when she started classes. Gonzalez Blacio was doing well until her child care fell through, causing turmoil in her daily schedule.
“I missed all of my finals except for one, and I didn’t get any of my credits,” she explained. “I was 18, and I needed 22 credits to graduate high school.”
Guidance counselors at Valley recommended that Emily attend Walnut Creek Campus, West Des Moines Community Schools’ alternative high school. She admits that she was hesitant when the route was first presented.
“I didn’t want to come here because I thought that this was like all of the other alternative schools, where everyone is bad,” Emily said. “But I felt that it was my only option because I was 18 and running out of time.”
Today, Emily and other Walnut Creek Campus seniors are set to graduate May 23. A day before commencement, Emily will turn 21. She credits her sons, Mateo, now 3, and Roman, 1, as her inspiration in accomplishing this long-awaited goal.
“I think my children have humbled me more, and I have more respect for people,” Emily explained.
Her husband, Cesar, the father of their two boys, deserves the most credit, though. He has played a huge role in making sure Emily earned her high school diploma.
“I don’t think I would have gotten through school if he wasn’t my financial supporter through all of this,” she said. “He’s always been really hardworking; he works two jobs. It’s day and night for him. He didn’t get the opportunity to finish school since we had our kids so young. Now that I’ve finished, this is an opportunity for him to continue and to finish his diploma because he deserves it, too. He just put himself on hold for me.”
Lots of emotions will run through Emily’s mind when she walks across the stage and has her diploma in hand. She’ll even have a large cheering section in attendance.
“I’m going to be happy, and I know I’m going to be sad. I’m sure I’ll cry because it took me a long time to get here, and I’m just happy that I did get here,” she said. “I want to go to college. I want to have a better life.
“I don’t think a lot of people thought I would finish high school, but I did.”
Emily wants to enroll as a part-time student at DMACC and study to become a neonatal nurse practitioner. She acknowledges how Walnut Creek Campus has made her a better student and a better person than she was when she first arrived.
Her words of advice for those who have the option to attend Walnut Creek Campus in the future?
“I would tell them to come here. You can get things done very fast, you just have to have determination,” Emily said. “Coming from someone who once had zero determination, that’s why I am graduating now. I’m graduating really late, but it’s better late than never.
“I really do like school now more than before. I’ve gotten this far—why not take it even further? I know now what needs to be done in my life in order to reach my goals.”
- May 20, 2019
The West Des Moines Community Schools proudly announces that 686 students will graduate from the district this year. Valley High School will graduate 596 seniors with regular diplomas and 6 with Certificates of Attendance (foreign exchange students). Walnut Creek Campus will graduate 84 students.
Graduation Dates and Times
Walnut Creek Campus Commencement
Thursday, May 23, at 7 p.m.
Staplin Performing Arts Center at Valley High School
3650 Woodland Ave., West Des Moines
Valley High School Commencement
Sunday, May 26, at 12:30 p.m.
Drake Knapp Center
2601 Forest Ave., Des Moines
Can’t make it to the Knapp Center?
Watch the graduation live stream
Last Day of School
Thursday, May 23, will be the last day of school for seniors at Valley High School and Walnut Creek Campus.
Seniors Come Home
Students who attended a West Des Moines Community Schools elementary are invited back for Seniors Come Home on Wednesday, May 22. Here are the start times of events at each school:
- Clive Learning Academy: 2:45 p.m.
- Crestview School of Inquiry: 3:15 p.m.
- Crossroads Park: 3 p.m.
- Fairmeadows: 3 p.m.
- Hillside: 2:45 p.m.
- Jordan Creek: 2:20 p.m.
- Western Hills: 2:20 p.m.
- Westridge: 3:15 p.m.
- May 16, 2019