Blogs, China & 2013-14 Board



What is a blog?  Here is the definition from the online Merriam Webster dictionary:  a website that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments and often hyperlinks provided by the writer.  I was contacted by Lindsey Woody last week asking if I would be willing to write an education blog for the Clive/West Des Moines Living publication. After discussing the idea with Elaine, we agreed to become bloggers. I will write once each month and Elaine’s department will submit information the other three weeks. I believe this is another vehicle for us to share the good news about the West Des Moines School District. The education blog comes out Tuesday mornings.

China Trip/Visitors

On Thursday, Sept. 12, several of our district orchestra staff, administrators, Andi Lipman, Dr. Phyllis Staplin and Matt Roesen met to discuss the visit in October and the upcoming trip. We will be hosting visitors from China Oct. 21-24. Our trip plans to China changed from traveling in June to traveling in March. We believe traveling during spring break time will be a better time for students and families. Steph Wilson will communicate with our contacts from the Shijiazhuang Foreign Language School regarding our tentative travel dates. The groups who will be traveling are our junior high orchestra students and students from our Chinese program. We are excited to have Dr. Staplin helping us plan the trip.


Photos, Reception, and Annual & Organizational Meetings Sept. 23

Monday, Sept. 23 will be a busy evening with several activities honoring our Board members elect and retiring members and making the transition to the new Board. Here is timeline of events for the evening:

  • 6:00-6:30 p.m. (Near Cafeteria) – Formal Board photos with photographer. This will include a formal Board photo, as well as individual portraits. Here is a link to the past photo to see what we will be taking: In addition, here is the link to the current Board members’ photos, if you would like to review your current portrait:
  • 6:30-7:00 p.m. (Cafeteria) – Reception for Board members elect and retiring Board members. Board members elect and retiring Board members are welcome to invite their family and friends to this reception. This reception is open to the public. There will be a short program, during which Board President Liz Brennan and Interim Superintendent Dr. Lisa Remy will say a few words and present our retiring Board members with a plaque. Current Board members are welcome to share their recognition of the newly re/elected and retiring Board members during the Board Reports portion of the Annual meeting.
  • 7:00-*8:00 p.m. (Media Center) – Annual Meeting: This will take place at 7:00 p.m. This is a regular meeting, but includes items that must be conducted every year. These items include approval of the election abstract (for years when an election is held) and approval the Annual Settlement, which is a year-end treasurer’s report. This meeting is conducted with the currently sitting Board members.
  • *8:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. (Media Center) – Organizational Meeting: This is the meeting during which Board members elect will be sworn in. In addition, the Board President and Vice President will be elected during this meeting.

Board President/Vice President Election

Per Board Policy 201.2, after the Board members elect are sworn in during the Organizational meeting the Board will “conduct separate elections for President and Vice President to hold office for one year. These elections will be by written ballot, following nominations from Board members and the Board member receiving a majority of votes cast will be declared elected.” Here is the procedure:

  1. The Board Secretary will call for nominations for the Office of President.
  2. The Board Secretary calls for a motion and a second to close the nominations. Board votes on motion to close the nominations.
  3. The Board Secretary will provide the ballots. The Board members cast their ballots for President (written with signature).
  4. The Board Secretary will gather the ballots, tally and announce the elected member and number of votes received. If it is not unanimous, each member’s vote will be read aloud.
  5. The Board Secretary will then administer the oath of office to the elected President.
  6. The Board President will then conduct the remainder of the meeting, starting with voting for the Vice President, using the procedure outlined above.

Upcoming Board Meetings

  • September 23 Photos, Reception, Annual Meeting & Organizational Meeting (WCC)
  • October 14  Workshop (5:15 p.m.) & Regular Meeting (7 p.m.) LRC
  • October 28  Workshop (5:15 p.m.) & Regular Meeting (7 p.m.) LRC
  • November 11 Workshop (5:15 p.m.) & Regular Meeting (7 p.m.) LRC
  • November 25 Workshop (5:15 p.m.) & Regular Meeting (7 p.m.) LRC


No report.




Teacher Leadership and Compensation System Committee

Our district planning committee met for the first time on September 11th. This committee is made up of teachers, parents, administrators and community members. Ryan Wise from the Iowa Department of Education was able to share an overview of the Teacher Leadership and Compensation goals and components, and address initial questions from the committee members. Our committee will submit a request for grant funding to allow for appropriate, thoughtful and visionary planning for a system of teacher leadership and compensation that is most appropriate for our district. We are in the knowledge-building phase of our work currently.  Committee members are examining research, legislation and exemplary examples of systems from other locations around the nation.


Hillside Restructuring Plan Update

The superintendency, along with Janelle Green, Steph Wilson and Jerry Gruba met with the Hillside principals on August 30 to continue developing the Hillside SINA Restructuring Plan.  A “draft” of the SINA Hillside Restructuring Plan has been shared with the Iowa Department of Education consultant responsible for review of SINA plans. We have asked that she provide feedback to us on the “draft” plan. The consultant has indicated to Associate Superintendent Dr. Laurene Lanich that the plan will be reviewed within the next two weeks and feedback will be provided.

A parent meeting with Hillside parents was held on September 12 in order to share the “draft” plan and to answer questions and gain parent input on the plan before finalizing it. Dr. Remy facilitated this meeting with parents. A meeting has also been scheduled with teachers.  This meeting will take place later this month.

Family Literacy Night at Clive and Crestview Elementary Schools

Mariann Culver, Janelle Green, Steph Wilson and Laurene Lanich facilitated the fall family literacy nights at Clive and Crestview Elementary Schools.  These literacy nights are part of the United Way Grant that was submitted and funded to focus on improving primary level literacy achievement for students attending Clive, Crestview, Hillside and Phenix Elementary Schools.  Both events were great successes with more than 100 participants attending each event.  Hillside and Phenix will have a joint family literacy night on September 24 at Hillside Elementary.  The evenings began with a family meal provided through the West Des Moines Community School District Nutrition Department.  Presenters from Benchmark Literacy shared tips to parents on how to read with their children at home as well as strategies to use with their children to encourage a love for reading.  They also shared the “Take Home Reading Kits” that the children will be able to check out from the school libraries.  These kits were purchased through the United Way grant funds. The evening ended with parents receiving additional literature on how to support their child’s literacy skill development and children receiving coloring books, crayons and stickers.


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