The Weekly

West High School's Weekly Updates: Jan. 14th-Jan. 20th

West High Becomes Amazon Future Engineering School

West High School is pleased to announce that it has been selected as an Amazon Future Engineer (AFE) school - a partnership between Amazon and Edhesive to improve access to computer science education in communities currently underrepresented in the technology field.

According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, by 2020 there will be 1.4 million computer-science-related jobs available and only 400,000 computer science graduates with the skills to apply for those jobs. Many students eager to fill that gap and obtain a high paying job in technology do not have access to computer science in their high schools. Often schools want to offer these courses to their students but do not have access to curriculum and/or teacher support materials.

Amazon and Edhesive are partnering to address this gap by sponsoring teachers and administrators who demonstrate this need and are committed to bringing computer science to their school with access to content such as Introduction to Computer Science, AP Computer Science Principles, or AP Computer Science A courses. This content also includes access to support forums for both students and educators new to learning or teaching computer science. More information is available at

Other Relevant aspects of AFE Partnership with High Schools

Amazon is supporting students studying Computer Science with $10,000 scholarships

Amazon is excited to invest in college scholarships for students pursuing computer science. Students from communities currently underrepresented in the technology field who have completed or are currently taking an AP CS course and have been accepted to an accredited four-year university can apply for a scholarship award of $10,000 per student for tuition. This award is for students who plan to pursue a CS major in college. Amazon encourages Edhesive AP CS students to apply, but it is not a requirement.
Applications are available now and the deadline to apply is January 31, 2019.

Hands-on internship opportunities for college freshmen and sophomores
The AFE Intern Program provides high-touch, hands-on learning and building opportunities for college freshmen and sophomores through a 12-week program. AFE interns partner closely with an Amazon employee technical mentor and manager, as well as their fellow AFE interns, to innovate and create on behalf of Amazon customers. AFE Interns gain experience working with new, cutting-edge technologies and tools unique to Amazon and have opportunities to learn from and network with Amazon leaders, attend great events, and create lasting bonds.
College freshman and sophomores can apply at

Parent-Teacher Conferences Held this Wednesday

West High will hold parent-teacher conferences this Wednesday, January 16 from 4:30 to 8:00 pm in the West High cafeteria. This is the only conference date for the 2nd trimester.

Parents of students in grades 9-11 who are interested in learning about Post-Secondary Enrollment and classes taught at the Kirkwood Academy are also invited to come to the Little Theater that evening at 7:00 to learn about these options.

Registration Timeline-January 2019 (for Fall 2019)

On Tuesday, January 15th all students will receive their registration forms for the 2019-2020 school year. Students will need to both complete their registration form AND register online through their PowerSchool account. Counselors will be available to meet with students during the registration period to assist them with their registration and answer questions. Students should stop by the Guidance Office or email their counselor if they would like to make an appointment. Registration ends on Friday, Jan. 25th. Students should have completed their online registration AND have turned in their completed registration form to the guidance office by 4:00 p.m on Friday, Jan. 25th. More information regarding registration can be found here:

Parents: There will be an informational meeting regarding college course offerings through the Post Secondary Enrollment Act (PSEO) and the Kirkwood Academies on Wed., Jan. 16th at 7:00 pm in the Little Theatre. This is also the night of our parent-teacher conferences.

10th-12th Grade Registration

Tuesday, January 15th

  • Registration form distribution
  • Online registration opens

Wednesday, January 16th

  • West High Parent meeting - 7:00 pm
  • PSEO & Kirkwood Academy offerings

January 15th-25th

  • Counselors available to meet with students

Friday, January 25th

  • Registration form to be returned to Guidance Office
  • Online registration closes

Students Present Two One-Act Plays

It was standing room only for Student Produced Innovative Theater on Friday night. Each year senior directors take their turn at staging and producing one-act plays. As in past years, this year featured a drama, The End of Summer, and a comedy, It's Not You, It's Me.

The drama, directed by Sidney Kout and Sam Sunderland, explored the feelings and the relationships of four to-be freshman girls on their last weekend before their first day of high school. The girls must confront what it means to be a high school student and all the peer pressures associated with it. The comedy, directed by Lucy Polyak and Lauren Upchurch, featured an ensemble cast who portrays various couples who are ending their relationships.

Congratulations to the directors and actors who participated!

Robotics Team Cleans Up at Regional Tournament

18 West High students traveled to La Porte, Iowa yesterday to compete with 22 other teams in the League Championship. After ten hours of competition, West emerged as the winner of the Think Award. They were also finalists for the Design Award and the Inspire Award. The team is now moving on to the Super-Qualifier, which will be hosted by West High on February 9th, where they will compete for the chance to move on to the Iowa State Championship.

In addition to achieving team excellence, two team members, Brenda Gao and BJ Wolf, were individually recognized as Dean's List Semi-Finalists. They will now have the opportunity to be recognized as Dean's List Finalists at the state tournament.

West Side Story Finalist for Pacemaker Award

West Side Story is one of 44 student newspapers in the nation to be considered for the award.

MINNEAPOLIS — Honoring the nation’s best, the National Scholastic Press Association has named 44 scholastic news sites as finalists in its prestigious Pacemaker competition.

While the judges have named the Pacemaker finalists, the Pacemaker winners have not been selected.

“The judging teams will now continue to study the sites named as Pacemaker finalists on a frequent basis,” said Gary Lundgren, associate director and coordinator of the Pacemaker competition. “The Pacemaker winners will be selected shortly before they are named on April 27, so for the 44 schools we are naming as finalists today, the competition is really just heating up.”

The NSPA Pacemaker award has a rich tradition and the association started presenting the award to high school newspapers a few years after the organization was founded in 1921. Throughout the years, yearbooks, magazines, online sites and broadcast programs were added to the competition.

“The Pacemaker is the association’s preeminent award,” said Laura Widmer, executive director. “NSPA is honored to recognize the best of the best.”

The 44 Pacemaker finalists represent 13 states and Taiwan. California set the pace with 13 finalists.

To select the 44 Pacemaker finalists, judges carefully studied approximately 200 sites submitted from 34 states. The online sites competed in two different categories based on school population. Two teams of three judges studied every entry, analyzing its strengths.

Written comments from the judges about each of the Pacemaker-winning sites will be posted after the winners are announced along with overall comments and observations from all six judges. The professional bios of the judges will also be included.

Pacemaker finalists will be recognized with plaques at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 25 at the Opening Ceremony of the Spring National High School Journalism Convention in Anaheim.

Pacemaker winners will be announced and will receive plaques on Saturday, April 27 at 3:30 p.m. at the convention’s closing Awards Ceremony where both NSPA and JEA honors will be presented.

PSTO To Meet Monday

The West High Parent Student Teacher Organization, the PSTO, will meet on January 14 at 5:00 in the West High Library. At the meeting, the group will finalize their programming for the year and elect leadership positions. All parents are welcome. Please join us!

West High Dance Marathon to Hold Big Event

On Sunday, January 20 from 12:00-6:00 pm, the wait will finally be over for one of West High's biggest events, the West High Dance Marathon. This event will feature food, a silent auction, programming to learn about cancer survivors, and lots and lots of dancing. The event is open to the public. Leading up to the big event will be five special spirit days noted in the accompanying graphic.

Last Friday, WHSDM started their run up to the Dance Marathon by holding a hair drive. Local hair stylists were on hand to take donations of 6 or more inches of hair to be used in the making of wigs for cancer patients.

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WHS Events This Week

This is a look at what is happening in and around West High this week. For a complete listing of all athletic events, both home and away, click on this link:

1. Boys Varsity Swimming vs City High on Tuesday, Jan. 15th at the Coralville REC at 6:00pm

2. Boys Varsity Basketball vs Waterloo East on Tuesday, Jan. 15th in the Main Gym at 7:30pm

3. Musical Audition Prep on Wednesday, Jan. 16th in Arganbright Auditorium from 4pm-7pm

4. Parent/Teacher Conferences on Wednesday, Jan. 16th in the Cafeteria from 4:15pm-8pm

5. Varsity Wrestling vs Dubuque Wahlert Catholic on Thursday, Jan. 17th in the Main Gym at 7:00pm

6. Boys Varsity Basketball vs Xavier on Friday, Jan. 18th in the Main Gym at 7:30pm

7. SEIBA Honor Band Festival on Saturday, Jan. 19th in Arganbright Auditorium

8. Girls Varsity Basketball vs WDM Valley on Saturday, Jan. 19th in the Main Gym at 3:30pm

9. Annual West High Dance Marathon--West High Cafeteria, Sunday, January 20, 2019, 12:00pm to 6:00 pm.

****SENIOR PHOTO DEADLINE-Tuesday, January 22nd-Turn in at the Main Office****

Weighted Grading Coming to ICCSD Schools in 2019

Starting with the 2019-2020 school year, all ICCSD high schools will implement weighted grading for honors and AP classes. Grade point average (GPA) is determined by assigning point values to each letter grade. Under the weighted grading system, an extra point will be given for honors and AP classes according to the table above.

When considering this change, ICCSD administratation identified three reasons for moving to weighted grades:

  • In surveying Iowa colleges and universities, it was determined that all of them offer scholarships and tuition reductions based on the incoming GPA of the students they enroll. Furthermore, when determining financial awards, more than half of them do not take into account that not all high schools have weighted grades. ICCSD students are being materially disadvantaged by not weighting grades.

  • It is the goal of the ICCSD that all students challenge themselves with the most rigorous coursework that they are capable of taking. Some students are put off from taking honors and AP classes in an effort to maintain a higher GPA. By giving an additional point for the GPA multiplier, students would not have to be concerned that a more rigorous class would negatively affect their GPA.

  • In addition, the ICCSD is working to increase the number of students of color who take honors and AP classes. For the last two years, West High has been working with Equal Opportunity Schools to analyze and correct inequalities in AP and honors courses. In short, proportionally, we have too few students of color participating in honors and AP classes. Weighting grades in AP and honors courses will provide an added incentive for students of color to take these more rigorous classes.

With only a few exceptions, classes that appear in the Iowa City Community School District course guide count toward the overall GPA of a student.

  • Courses taught through Kirkwood Regional Center do count toward overall GPA.

  • Physical Education courses do NOT count toward overall GPA. We are looking at changing this for the 2020-2021 school year.

  • Non-curricular classes such as work experience, internships, teaching assistantships, volunteer classes, tech support, success center, learning support, independent study do not count toward the overall GPA, though they can be taken for high school credit.

  • Students enrolled in post-secondary classes under the PSEO program will receive high school credit for their classes but the grades will not count toward the high school GPA.

  • Classes taken for credit/no credit do not count toward overall GPA.

  • High school classes taken by students before they enter high school do not count toward the overall high school GPA but will be reflected on the student’s transcript.

Transitioning to the new weighted grading system

Though not uniform, it has been a practice of some AP teachers to widen the grading scale in order to incentivize students to take AP classes. For example, in some AP classes it is common for students with 85% and above to get an A in the class. For this reason, weighted grades will not be changed retroactively. Rather, the grades will only be weighted for classes taken in the 2019-20 school year and after.

  • Class of 2020—One year of weighted grades

  • Class of 2021—Two years of weighted grades

  • Class of 2022—Three years of weighted grades

  • Class of 2023 and all those following—four years of weighted grades in high school

Graduation with Honors

Honor students will be designated as follows:

  • GPA 3.50--3.74--cum laude
  • 3.75--4.00--magna cum laude
  • 4.01 and higher--summa cum laude
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Workplace Learning Connection is now accepting applications for Summer Internships

This opportunity allows West High 10th and 11th grade students to explore a career in their interest area. Internships allow students the opportunity to spend 45 or 90 hours "on the job". These experiences can help students develop a more refined career plan. The application process can be found on WLC’s website at

Applications for Summer 2019: Applications need to be completed and submitted by 3:00 on February 8th.

Applications for Fall 2019: Applications must be completed and submitted by 3:00 PM, April 12, 2018. Fall Internships typically require students to have at least 1 open period to participate.

*Students must have parent approval, an outside reference, a teacher recommendation, and school approval to have a complete application.

If you have any questions please contact Rochelle Sowers at or Russ Johnson at

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Hills Bank Leadership Grant for Juniors

The Leadership Grant deadline is March 1, 2019!

The Hills Bank and Trust Company Leadership Grant is awarded to as many as 20 students each year. The recipients, who apply during their junior year in high school, attend nine hours of leadership training sponsored by Hills Bank and Trust Company during their senior year. They receive $1,000 for the fall semester of their first year of college. The scholarship may be used at any of Iowa’s accredited universities, colleges, or community colleges.

High School Juniors residing in or attending high school in the following counties:
Benton • Cedar • Iowa • Johnson • Jones • Keokuk • Linn • Louisa • Muscatine • Washington

Click here for more information.

West High family in need- Apartment fire on New Year's Eve

An apartment fire that occurred on New Year's Eve affected Jennifer Craig, a 2006 West High graduate and her 3-year-old daughter. Many if not all of their possessions were destroyed/damaged in the fire. We are reaching out to the entire West High community for your help. Please consider donating to this family in their time of need.

Any cash or gift card (local stores) donations can be dropped off to Beckie Smalley in the main office. The link to the Go Fund Me page that has already been set up for the family is included below. Jennifer is also looking to rebuild her daughter's playroom (example: toys, books, etc.). She loves anything to do with both Minions and Disney Princesses. If you have anything at home that your child isn't currently using and are willing to donate to this little one, please drop those items off in the guidance office. We are hoping to have all donations collected by the end of this month, January 31st, 2019.

Link to the news article:

Link to Go Fund Me Page:

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9th Grade Registration Schedule

9th Grade Registration

Wednesday, January 23rd

  • High school counselors present information to SEJH
  • Registration form distribution
  • Online registration opens

Friday, January 25th

  • High school counselors will present information to NWJH

Monday, January 28th

  • West High School Parent informational meeting @WHS Auditorium 6:00-7:00 pm

Wednesday, January 30th

  • High school counselors present information to NCJH
  • Registration form distribution

Thursday, January 31st

  • High school counselors return to NWJH - complete registration
  • Registration forms will be turned into HS counselors

Tuesday, February 5th

  • High School counselors return to SEJH - complete registration
  • Registration forms will be turned into HS counselors

Wednesday, February 6th

  • High School counselors return to NCJH - complete registration
  • Registration forms will be turned into HS counselors
  • Online registration closes

Elementary Boundary Changes Affect High Schools

After months of public hearings and debates, the ICCSD Board of Directors passed new elementary boundaries which will go into effect for the 2019-2020 school year. In a release to parents this week, the ICCSD administration announced that these changes will also apply to high schools and junior highs. This will change some secondary assignments for next year. Here is the full statement from the ISSCD administration:

The Iowa City Community School District Board of Directors approved new elementary attendance areas for the 2019-20 school year. The new boundaries were approved during their November 27 board meeting.

The updated maps can be found on the District website at the following link:

In addition, the District’s Attendance Area Look-Up links have been updated to reflect the approved boundary changes. The Attendance Area Look-Up links provide school information specific for your home address. The links can be found on the District website at the following link:

Junior high and high school students may also be impacted by these changes. Please be sure to check the Attendance Area Look-Up link above to determine if changes to the elementary boundaries have affected your student.

Johnson County Public Health Is Auditing Our Students' Immunization Records

The law states that 7th -- 12th grade students should NOT be allowed to attend school without meningitis vaccine. Students without this vaccine have until January 7th to receive it. If they do not provide proof of the vaccine by January 7, they will not be allowed to attend school. The school nurses and health office paras have been working diligently to obtain records and help parents access resources in the community to get the appropriate vaccines for their children. Parents also have the option of medical exemption (physician signature and explanation of exemption required) or religious exemption (must be notarized).
West Side Story Online Edition

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Welcome to The West High Weekly

The West Weekly is an on-line publication by West High School administration and staff and will be distributed on Sundays via email and popular online media sites like Twitter and Facebook. The purpose of The Weekly is to keep the West High Community informed of upcoming events and also report the news of the previous week. If you have some suggestions or ideas of things you would like to see in this publication, please email.

Non-Discrimination Statement

It is the policy of the Iowa City Community School District not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, creed, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and socioeconomic status in its educational programs, activities, or employment practices. There is a grievance procedure for processing complaints of discrimination. If you have questions or a grievance related to this policy, please contact the Director of Equity, 1725 N. Dodge St., Iowa City, IA 52245, 319-688-1000