District Staff Monthly E-Newsletter

Wednesday, Nov. 20 , 2019

Big picture

The Valley High School varsity football team will take on Dowling Catholic on Friday, Nov. 22, in a battle for the championship title in the Class 4A Iowa high school state football playoffs. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls. Read more in advance of the big game!

Use the promotional code ValleyTigers to remove the service charge for online ticket sales. Please note that the promotional code to wave fees is void once the first state championship game starts on Thursday.

Visit WDMCS Official Online Store

Order by Dec. 9 to ensure delivery by Dec. 23.

WDMCS Teacher Awarded Prestigious Recognition

Learn how putting relationships first earned Valley Southwoods Freshman High School's Ryan Penning the Iowa Safe Schools Educator of the Year Award.

Read now >

PODCAST: Effective Grading Practices - A High School Teacher's Perspective

Listen as Brant Reif, a science teacher at Valley High School, shares his perspective on implementing Effective Grading Practices with his students and families.

West Des Moines Community Schools

Effective Grading Practices - A High School Teacher's Perspective by West Des Moines Community Schools

Speak Up! Encouraging Words for K-12 Professionals

The following is an excerpt from the National SAM Innovation Project.

"You are in an amazing profession. Schools in the United States have made the country exceptional. Our action as educational leaders to focus on improvement fits with our philosophy of making sure educational services are not only available but effective for all.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen some use data inappropriately and paint schools as failing. In fact, our silence has allowed many to think that schools are ineffective. Would you be surprised to know that schools today outperform schools in each of the last five decades?

'…Americans have increasingly said in national surveys that current students are getting a worse education than they themselves did, and they have been wrong. Scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, “the nation’s report card,” have risen steadily since the 1970’s. unquestionably, students today have mastery of basic skills that is superior to students of the past. School has not gotten worse. The goals of education have just become loftier.' - science journalist and best-selling author David Epstein, Range, Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

"We are careful that feedback and conversations with teachers are thoughtful, specific and done with positive intention. Maybe we should be sure to practice a bit of celebratory feedback about our overall work and success. We should focus on how to be better. This doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate our wins. And the fact is, schools are great and getting even better every year.

"Want another fact to share? Kids today are smarter that we are. IQ tests in the US and 30 other countries show an increase in every generation in the 20th century.

'The gains are startling: three points every ten years. To put that in perspective, if an adult who scored average today were compared to adults a century ago, she would be in the 98th percentile.' - Range, Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World"

SafeSchools Training Open Lab

You can complete your SafeSchools training at any of our open labs at the Learning Resource Center.


Join us 1-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 26.

SafeSchools training must be completed by the end of day Friday, Nov. 29.

Des Moines Performing Arts Discounted Tickets

West Des Moines Community Schools employees will now receive 10% discounts to select performances of Willis Broadway Series touring shows. Other discounts are also available on other events. Visit www.dmpa.org/etix, select our school district from the dropdown, and use promo code EGROUPS1920 to obtain these savings. This season’s Broadway tours include "Jesus Christ Superstar," "Come From Away," "Anastasia," and "Wicked."
We are WDMCS Newsletters

Check out previous editions of We are WDMCS.

School/Community Relations

Laine Mendenhall-Buck


Alexandra Wade



Aaron Young