SOUTHWOODS' HIGH KEY
We hope these stories make you smile and offer an opportunity for you to encourage your student to share their own positive Valley Southwoods stories.
Mitch Kuhnert, principal
Haley Hockensmith, assistant principal
At Valley Southwoods, we believe that behaviors that receive positive reinforcement will be repeated. Valley Southwoods utilizes the PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) framework to reward and reinforce positive behavior, while using data and intervention to support students.
We want our students to learn the importance of what it means to be a TIGER:
This month, we asked students, "What does INTEGRITY mean to you?" Here are some of their answers.
"Doing the right thing the first time. Doing the right thing for the right reason (not because of an award). Doing the right thing even when no one's watching. Being a good person."
"Taking responsibility over mistakes, and working towards fixing them timely and accurately."
"Integrity means doing the right thing 100% of the time no matter who you're with, who’s watching, and who’s not watching. Integrity is also being honest no matter what."
"Doing the right thing even when no one is watching, even though someone is always watching."
"To me, integrity means doing the right thing to help the most you can because you genuinely want to help. Doing it without the need for recognition, regardless of how difficult it is. Even if it’s not what others may expect or want you to do, still doing it because you believe it’s right is important."
"Integrity means doing the right thing when no one is watching. This might mean I have to do what my friends aren’t doing or be uncool to do the right thing. In the end I know I did what’s right and not what’s cool."
"Integrity means being truthful to yourself and those around you, which is doing the right thing when authorities are not watching. It also means that you value the importance of trustworthiness, humbleness, and honesty."
"Integrity is doing what is right, when no one is looking. It is choosing the harder path when the easy path is right in front of you; choosing things based on good values rather than choosing for one's self gain."
"The biggest thing obviously is doing the right thing when no one is watching. If you see your friends taking part in something bad at school, then you need to be the bigger person and realize it's not okay and just walk away."
Staff Profile: Megan Szalo
Meet Richman Amful: Fixing Challenges and Finding a Voice
Valley Southwoods Freshman High School student Richman Amful makes sure his voice is heard. Richman has been part of the West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) since kindergarten. He attended Jordan Creek Elementary and Stilwell Junior High before coming to Southwoods in August 2021.
When he first attended Southwoods, he knew he wanted to get involved and find a place. He found that voice as a member of the school’s equity team. He is a big advocate for the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) group.
“We get to meet with people, express how we are feeling, and find ways to fix the problems our students face,” he said. “If we have a problem, we are there to address it.”
The Southwoods equity team is student-based and a place where students can speak about their challenges and difficulties they believe the school is facing. The team meets every other Thursday.
In addition, equity teams from other secondary schools gather monthly to learn from each other and share ideas. Richman said he likes how he and his team members can talk with other schools' teams. They also listen to what the district leadership has to say about issues and how they plan to address them districtwide.
“Richman is great to work with on the equity team, and he wants to bring a positive change to the school environment for his peers,” said Ann Miles, Southwoods’ equity lead. Along with other groups across the district, she helps guide and discuss issues with the students involved.
Richman said he believes that their voices have been heard, and that there has been so much change by getting involved with this team.
“Usually it is up to us to say what we think is a problem, or what we think we can do to make our school more equitable.” Richman says. The Southwoods equity team has helped him build relationships, and guided education on true equity through the WDMCS community.
As he looks to next year, Richman is excited to move on to Valley so he can be involved with their equity team. He said he also looks forward to returning to Southwoods to meet with incoming members for their team.
We look forward to seeing Richman continue to use his leadership skills to be a voice for students and equity.
ISASP Testing Information
ISASP Tests April 18-19
Students in grade 9 will take the annual Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) Monday, April 18, and Tuesday, April 19, at Valley Southwoods. This is REQUIRED testing for all ninth-grade students.
- Monday, April 18
Reading and Math
- Tuesday, April 19
Language and Writing
If you have additional questions, please contact your student’s guidance counselor.
ISASP General Information
Testing will take place at the beginning of each day and last approximately two hours.
Students will follow a shortened schedule for the remainder of the day (similar to a weather-related two-hour late start).
Students who also take classes at Valley High School will still be transported on these two days.
To have the best testing experience, it is important to get a good night’s sleep and eat a balanced breakfast in the morning.
Students must bring their fully-charged Chromebook and headphones on testing dates.
Students should also bring a non-electronic independent activity, like a free reading book, in case they complete an assessment before time is up.