We are ALL WDMCS
West Des Moines Community Schools | Aug. 21, 2020
Watch Video of Staff, Parent, Student Visions for 2020-21
Who’s Teaching My Student's Class?
We already know this school year will be unlike any other, but we’re confident that whether your student is learning online this semester or attending class at school, your student will get to know their teachers.
Online Teacher Information
Because over 25% of our elementary families have chosen to participate online, students from more than one school will learn together in a shared online class experience. Your student will get to connect with students from across the district who are also learning online, but will all have the same “online teacher.” Elementary families should receive an email Friday, Aug. 21, with the name of their student’s teacher.
When a teacher is ill or on leave, your student will have a substitute teacher to support continued instruction.
On-Site Teacher Information
We know that based on the COVID-19 positivity rate and/or cases specifically in your student’s building or class, your student may need to transition between online and on-site instruction. When a teacher is ill or on leave, your student will have a substitute teacher. However, if the teacher is quarantined but able to teach, they may provide instruction remotely while students remain in the classroom. A staff member or substitute will be present to provide additional on-site support and supervision.
Regardless of where your student learns this fall, please be reassured that your student’s teachers are eager to connect and build positive relationships. They miss seeing your student’s smile each day and can’t wait for the first day of school!
Bus Info for WDMCS Elementary Students
With the option of online instruction for the 2020-21 school year at WDMCS, placements at our elementary schools have been a top priority. As a result, it has caused a delay in the WDMCS Transportation Department's process of sending ridership materials for your student.
We wanted to provide an updated timeline for when families can expect to receive this information. Here is what you need to know:
Our intention is to mail your student’s bus pass, bus stop details, and pick-up/drop-off information by Friday, August 21.
Families should receive these materials by Wednesday, August 26.
If families do not receive their student’s materials by then, please call 515-633-4902 between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Aug. 26 to speak with a WDMCS Transportation representative who will provide you with your student’s ridership information. Your student will be allowed to ride the bus to and from school without their pass until it is received.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about our district’s transportation services for the upcoming school year, please do not hesitate to contact the WDMCS Transportation Department at 515-633-4902.
FASTEST Updates on WDMCS App
We send important updates to families through email, phone, text, and smartphone app posts. Because of the volume of recipients, some email and text notifications are delayed.
The WDMCS app is the FASTEST way to get the most up-to-date communication about the coronavirus and any other relevant information for families from WDMCS.
Questions? Email email@example.com.
New Illness and Medication Guidelines
All WDMCS Students to Use Canvas
Canvas is West Des Moines Community Schools’ official learning management system. A learning management system is a software that helps provide, track, and report on classes and assignments. Canvas provides parents and students with greater access to their curriculum and learning by housing important student curricular expectations and information. This could include their online textbook, links to resources, homework, videos, assessments, online discussions, and so much more.
To better support students, both in our classroom and learning online during this pandemic, all WDMCS students will be using Canvas to access and submit work, important resources, receive feedback, communicate with teachers, collaborate with peers, and take more ownership of their learning.
Your students' teachers will communicate more details about how they are utilizing Canvas in their course and how you can connect with your student.
WHO TV 13 Interviews Valley Students: Racial Equity in Schools
WHO 13’s Jodi Long spoke with two minority students, Cynthia Gonazalez and Gracy Paye, of Valley High School in West Des Moines about their school life and what they witness with their peers.
Important Nutrition Updates
On-Site Meal Ordering
Elementary students will place lunch orders with their homeroom teachers in the morning.
They will still have three meal choices each day.
Meals will be delivered to the classrooms at lunch time.
Teachers will receive training on meal ordering, meal delivery, cleaning and sanitizing desks and trays, and managing food allergies during meals.
Breakfasts will be available for students in their classrooms at the beginning of the day.
Junior high and high school students will order meals daily using a Google form or app to streamline meal preparation and pick-up.
Until the app is available in mid-September, a link to an order form customized with the day’s meals will be emailed to students each morning.
School staff will receive instructions for supporting students who did not place orders for the day.
To keep meal lines as short as possible, there will be multiple stations and times for meal pick-up assigned by either homeroom or alphabetically by last name. Then, students will eat in classrooms or other designated areas where they can safely observe social distancing.
Please note: WDMCS Nutrition Services is not able to accept cash payments in the line at this time. This is to support the district’s current health and safety protocol and decrease the chance of exposure by keeping meal service efficient. Payments can be taken to the school office, brought to the Learning Resource Center (3550 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines), or made online.
Meal Pick-Up for Online Learners
Online learners will have the opportunity to order meals for pick-up at their choice of four locations.
Meal boxes will include: five breakfast and five lunch entrees, 10 half-cup servings each of fruit and vegetables, 10 4 oz. juice cups, and two half-gallons of milk (choice of chocolate, skim, and 1%).
Weekly cost: $25 ($3.50 reduced price or free for qualified families)
Pick-Up Locations: Each family will pick-up from one location of their choice.
- Valley High School - Pick-Up Times: Monday, 8:30-9 a.m. OR Friday, 2-2:30 p.m.
- Valley Southwoods Freshman High School - Pick-Up Times: Monday, 7-7:30 a.m. OR Friday, 2-2:30 p.m.
- Stilwell Junior High - Pick-Up Times: Monday, 8-8:30 a.m. OR Friday, 12:30-1 p.m.
- Indian Hills Junior High - Pick-Up Times: Monday, 8-8:30 a.m. OR Friday, 12:30-1 p.m.
To request a sign-up form, please contact:
Willow Dye, Nutrition Services Director, 515-633-5086
Lynnae Gilmore, Nutrition Secretary, 515-633-5088
Introducing Titan (Replacing SchoolCafe and Nutrislice)
Meet Titan Family Portal, a new tool that is replacing both SchoolCafé and Nutrislice. This means menu and meal information will be in one place for WDMCS families, instead of two apps or sites. Families can check student lunch accounts and see the details of their purchases on Titan. You can also view balances and purchases and set up restrictions.
Meal payments will still be made through TouchBase, our online payment processing system. Making a payment online is easy and free of charge. You can access a student account simply by typing in the student’s ID number in the username field and the student’s last name, with first letter capitalized, as the password.
No Classroom Snacks for Safety Reasons
Student health and wellness is a top priority for the West Des Moines Community Schools. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, classroom snacks will not be allowed this year, including homemade and store-bought items and items ordered from WDMCS Nutrition Services.
Q. Can I bring homemade treats from home for a classroom party? What about pre-packed treats from a store?
A. No. WDMCS is currently not allowing classroom snacks as a COVID-19 precaution.
Q. Do I have to purchase a snack for my student that is on the approved snack list?
A. No. Students can bring their own individual snack, and it does not have to be on the list of approved snacks. The approved snack list is for snacks that will be shared with other students, such as classroom parties, birthday treats, or other events. WDMCS is currently not allowing shared classroom snacks as a COVID-19 precaution.
West Des Moines Library Closed 10 Days for Next Phase of Renovation
The West Des Moines Public Library, 4000 Mills Civic Parkway, will be closed from Monday, Aug. 31, through Wednesday, Sept. 9. The library will reopen on Thursday, Sept. 10. Due to the disruption, the library will not be offering curbside services during the closure.
Library construction has been underway since late October, and the project is slated to be complete in the spring of 2021. Learn more at www.wdmlibrary.org/renovation.
Need A Refresher? View Previous Newsletters
- Friday, Aug. 14: WDMCS Hires new executive director of equity, inclusion, and diversity, transitioning between online and at-school, COVID-19 exposure guidance for students, staff.
- Friday, Aug. 7: video that answers Return-to-Learn questions, percentages of families choosing online versus on-site, Board of Education vote on delay to start date.
- Friday, July 30: How WDMCS can safely reopen, updated guidance from Iowa health, education experts, Return-to-Learn percentages.