West Des Moines Community Schools serve more than 9,000 students in nine elementaries, two junior highs and three high schools (one serving grade 9, one grades 10-12 and one alternative). The school district is located in the western portion of Polk County — West Des Moines and Clive, parts of Urbandale and Windsor Heights, and nearby rural areas. Covering 36.6 square miles, the district has grown around a former railroad center, Valley Junction, and the farmland north and south of the Raccoon River. This booming suburban area directly borders Des Moines, the capitol city of Iowa, and is within a short drive to a variety of arts, entertainment, sporting and shopping venues. Nationally recognized for excellence, the district is the ninth largest in the state. Posts by School/Community Relations staff Elaine Watkins-Miller and Lauri Pyatt.