Crestview’s Nidey Named ITEC K-12 Educator of the Year

Crestview Elementary third grade teacher Adam Nidey was named the Iowa Technology and Education Connection’s K-12 Educator of the Year at its annual conference Oct. 14-16. The K-12 Educator of the Year Award recognizes an innovative classroom teacher who uses technology to improve instruction and student achievement.

”I am fortunate to be in a technology-rich district,” said Nidey. “Our tech department is top notch and consistently works to remove hurdles for teachers that are trying to grow professionally and do what is best for the learning of all of its students. Teaching in a building that has over 100 iPads has also allowed me to be challenged in the area of technology.”

ITEC promotes the use of technology in education by demonstrating to its members, other educators and the public, developments in educational technology and how its appropriate use supports teaching and learning. The group annually seeks nominations for excellence in four categories: educator, administrator and local and state technology leadership. Continue reading


Throm Receives Award; Valley Ranks in Top 10 of Iowa AP Index

Sam Throm with his teacher from Westridge Elementary, Nancy Foley, at the Belin-Blank Awards.

Valley Southwoods freshman Sam Throm was among the 490 students from Iowa and throughout the nation who were recently invited to be honored at The University of Iowa Belin-Blank Center’s Recognition Ceremony Oct. 7. Additionally, recognized students were given the opportunity to honor a teacher they credited for having a profound influence on their lives. Throm selected Nancy Foley, his teacher at Westridge Elementary, for this honor.

Also honored at this year’s ceremony were the Iowa schools that were ranked among the Top 25 of the Iowa AP Index. The index rating was calculated by dividing the number of AP exams taken by the number of students in the school’s graduating class. Valley High School, ranked ninth, was among the Top 10 of the Iowa AP Index for the fourth consecutive year. Continue reading

Bowling Strikes an Interest with Caroline

Thanks to her teacher, Caroline Overstreet has found a newfound love of bowling and her mother is looking foward to taking Caroline and her sister, Lily, to the lanes this winter.

Special education teacher Jennifer Kopp finds much joy in seeing the progress her students at Westridge Elementary make in the classroom and out in the community. A recent bowling outing made her especially proud, seeing one of her fourth grade students with Autism enjoy a sport she previously found challenging to participating in.

Caroline Overstreet has been a student at Westridge since kindergarten. Kopp often takes her students on field trips into the community for them to practice the social skills they have been learning in class, but these field trips have been difficult for Caroline in the past.

“Caroline fares better in the community when she has a chance to become familiar with her environment,” explained her mom, Kristin Littlejohn. “The bowling outings have enabled her to expand her horizons and get comfortable with a new place that would typically be overwhelming to her.” Continue reading

Life in the WDMCS 10/8/12

Life in the WDMCS is a new weekly feature that will highlight what is happening at each of our buildings. If a school is not listed, there was no submission from that building this week.

Fairmeadows Elementary
Fairmeadows Elementary had eight students participate in the district’s annual Spanish Quiz Bowl at the Learning Resource Center. This quiz bowl is for students who speak Spanish at home, giving them a chance to celebrate their culture by playing authentic and academic games in Spanish.  They competed against teams from other schools around the district. The Fairmeadows teams were fourth graders Juan Jurado, Jonathan Rojas, Benjamin Díaz and James Beaty; and fifth graders Jimmy Alba, Neidy Penate-Estrada, Lily Garcia and Stephen Cruz.

 Hillside Elementary
Sixth graders at Hillside Elementary are working on pop profile self-portraits inspired by the artist Peter Max. The background of the drawings are filled with graphic lettering, symbols and patterns which represent each artist’s interests and personality. Students are mixing translucent watercolors for unique colors and areas of emphasis within original compositions. Pam Ballard has emailed the artist and will send photos of completed projects. The class is delighted to be working with a student teacher, Sarah Hutchinson, from Drake University. She is a practicing artist herself in the area of painting and printmaking. Hutchinson is introducing fourth grade classes to a narrative based perspective unit. The second grade classes have been printing colorful abstract compositions based upon the work of Wassily Kandinsky. Meanwhile, Hutchinson and the first grade classes have been creating patterned self-portraits inspired by the artist Gustav Klimt. Continue reading

Life in the WDMCS 10/1/12

Life in the WDMCS is a new weekly feature that will highlight what is happening at each of our buildings. If a school is not listed, there was no submission from that building this week.

Clive Elementary
Analyzing data…fun?  It is in one fifth grade classroom at Clive Elementary! Students used the Grab-It Gauge from the Everyday Mathematics curriculum and collected data on their reaction times.  Before starting the activity, they predicted which hand would have a quicker reaction time.  Then they experimented and recorded results in their journals. The class learned how to analyze data using median, mode and mean. They also found the class average reaction time for their left and right hands and concluded that this is a quick group of kids!  Fifth grade looks forward to using statistical landmarks again to help make sense of data in the world around us.

Crossroads Park Elementary
One of the units fourth graders at Crossroads Park Elementary study is the Midwest region of the United States.  As an enhancement of that unit, students went on a field trip to Jester Park for a day of Native American and pioneer experiences.  The event is called Life on the Prairie and is sponsored by Polk County Conservation.  During the field trip, students learned what life was like on the prairie years ago when tall grass covered 85 percent of Iowa’s landscape.  Through various games and hands-on experiences, fourth graders also learned about Iowa’s natural history and the Native American cultures who once lived here. Continue reading

Life in the WDMCS 9/24/12

Life in the WDMCS is a new weekly feature that will highlight what is happening at each of our buildings. If a school is not listed, there was no submission from that building this week.

Clive Elementary
The kindergarteners at Clive Elementary are off and running to a great school year! They have learned about being safe, respectful, responsible, and caring at school. There have been many opportunities for hands on learning experiences and activities. Students have really enjoyed using white boards to practice writing, pointers to read big books and lots of fun manipulatives like buttons and pattern blocks for math. Congratulations on the beginning of an awesome school year!

Crossroads Park Elementary
Crossroads Park Cougar Council and the Crossroads Park student body celebrated homecoming week with fun activities. The high light of the week was the student council decorating a float for the homecoming parade. The theme was Valleywood: A Premier at the Big Screen. Cougar Council always likes to include all of the students in building the float. This year the council voted to have each class make a star with all of the students’ and the teachers’ names on it. The Student Council and their parents also sold spirit wear to help students and families get into the mood of supporting the Valley Tigers. Continue reading

Valley Students Named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists

Valley High School seniors Erica Becker, Eric Chen, Emma Lind, Michelle Rose, Tricia Shi and Alexander Zhou have been named National Merit Scholar Semifinalists.

These students will be in competition with students nationwide to become a National Merit Scholar, earning a $2,500 scholarship. National Merit Scholars are chosen based on abilities, skills and accomplishments. Academic records, school curriculum, test scores, an administrative recommendation, information about activities and leadership as well as an essay are used in the judging process.

Finalists will be announced in February and students will be notified in June if they have been selected as a National Merit Scholar.

Life in the WDMCS 9/17/12

Life in the WDMCS is a new weekly feature that will highlight what is happening at each of our buildings. If a school is not listed, there was no submission from that building this week.

Clive Elementary
What’s new in the library at Clive Elementary? There are so many new and wonderful things in the Clive library this year. Along with a new teacher librarian, Morgan Miller, the school’s library has new furniture, a new reading carpet, new shelving and many more things to come this year. Clive students will be coming once every other week for instructional time in the library. Signage will soon be posted in the library to make it easier to locate favorite books or subjects.

Crossroads Park Elementary
Crossroads Park Cougar Council has a few fun activities planned for Homecoming Week. The week will begin with sales of Valley attire. Crossroads Cougar Council will sell the gear to staff/students Monday thru Wednesday inside the front doors of Crossroads Park from 8:40-9 a.m. Each day of the week they will also celebrate with a dress-up day that follows the homecoming theme Valleywood: A Premiere at the Big Screen. The days are as follows: Monday – Dress like a Movie Star (boas, tiaras, etc.); Tuesday – Wear Sunglasses Day; Wednesday – Dress like a Rock Star/ Singer (jacket, necklace, microphone, etc.); Thursday – Dress like a character from Harry Potter, Twilight or Hunger Games; Friday – a Spirit Day, wear black and orange for the Tigers! Continue reading

Life in the WDMCS 9/10/12

Life in the WDMCS is a new weekly feature that will highlight what is happening at each of our buildings. If a school is not listed, there was no submission from that building this week.

Clive Elementary

Clive Elementary hosted a potluck dinner for students and families that are a part of the English as a Second Language program. ESL teachers hosted the event which was attended by families that spoke more than eight different languages other than English. Ethnic foods complimented traditional American fare. In addition to being able to network with other families from the school, several community organizations were available to share information about some of the many resources that are available to them.

 Hillside Elementary

Hillside Elementary has had a great welcome from the staff at Lutheran Church of Hope. The staff and students are very appreciative of what the people at Hope have given them. Without their support, Hillside staff would have a difficult time making the students feel like they are in a school environment. The parents, staff and students have been very supportive of the temporary home at Hope. Hillisde thanks everyone who has made this temporary move safe and comfortable. Continue reading

Jordan Creek PE Teacher Recognized by American Heart Association

Luis Suarez pictured with a class of Jordan Creek fifth graders who helped him win the award last year.

Luis Suarez is fantastic at motivating his students in physical education class at Jordan Creek Elementary. He even has an award to prove it. Suarez received the Best Jump and Hoops in the Des Moines Metro 2011-12 award from the American Heart Association for the school’s participation in Jump Rope for Heart and Hoops for Heart.

Beth Peck, youth marketing director for the AHA, credits Suarez for saving 65 lives last year.

“The success of his program is a clear indication of how effective he is at reaching students,” said Peck. “4,600 people will have a heart attack or stroke today and only half of them will survive. He is truly making a difference in the fight against cardiovascular disease and in the health of students.” Continue reading