Senior Recognition

As you know, we are not allowed to have a traditional graduation ceremony on Sunday, May 17. We appreciate how grateful and supportive our seniors and their parents have been in allowing us to find a variety of ways to celebrate their achievements. Though they have been robbed of normal events on our traditional graduation weekend, we want to do all that we can to make this weekend something our seniors can cherish for years.

To recognize our seniors this weekend, we are planning a graduate walk and a vehicle processional through town so all of our Van Meter citizens can let our seniors know how much they mean to them. We hope that Mr. Tibbetts and our elementary team can get as many of our elementary Bulldogs in their yards and driveways with signs ready to wave to our graduates as they drive by. Information about the processional is below:

Date: Sunday, May 17 (weather pending)

Location: Van Meter School

Seniors/Parents Arrive: 1:30 PM

Start Time: 2:00 PM

Our ceremony will consist of 2 parts.

  1. A senior walk with the stairs and the entrance serving as the "stage" where seniors will receive their diploma.
  2. A car processional led by Van Meter Police Chief Bill Daggett

Ceremony Expectations/Guidelines:

  • At this time, one vehicle per senior permitted on school grounds - we understand some parents are separated, please contact Mr. Lamoureux to discuss options for a second parent vehicle.
  • A family member will drive the vehicle and as many as can legally fit in the vehicle can attend.
  • Seniors wear cap and gown - Please take out of the package, try on, and hang up
  • Seniors will receive their diploma and other awards - Service Hours Chord, Seal of Biliteracy Medal, etc...
  • A professional photographer will be taking pictures
  • There will be a designated location for parents/other family members from the one family vehicle to take pictures
  • Parents will hand their diploma to their graduate and have a photo opportunity
  • We will live stream the senior walk at the school on Facebook
  • VM Police Cheif Dagget will lead vehicle processional - Image Below

Later this summer we will also have a:

  • Virtual Graduation Ceremony to be aired on Fox17 on a date TBD in June
  • Traditional Ceremony planned for Sunday, June 14, or Sunday, July 12 (pending Executive Orders from Governor Reynolds.)

This weekend is just a way to celebrate and recognize our 2020 graduates in the event we are unable to have a ceremony this summer that all community members will be able to attend.

Senior Vehicle Processional Through Town

The vehicle processional should begin around 3:00 PM. but we will start early if the event at the school is completed. Please be ready to show your appreciation by 2:45.

  • Vehicles will proceed north on R16 out of the parking lot and onto Elm Street and go west towards Hazel Street.
  • The route will go south on Hazel Street to Arlington Street and then go to Johnson Park.
  • From Johnson Park, the vehicles will head back south towards F90 on R Avenue.
  • Once to F-90 they will head east and turn south on R16 and will drive through Crestview and then back to the school on R16
Big picture

20-21 School Year Registration

As we close the 19-20 school year, we continue to prepare for the 20-21 school year. We have attached the online registration procedures. We ask that parents complete student registration by Monday, May 18. Registrations are very important in helping us prepare for the upcoming school year. Please take the time to complete it. If you have any questions, email Sandy at sandy.coffin@vmbulldogs.com. She will be able to help you out or to get you connected with the appropriate person.

Thanks for getting your children registered for the next school year by Monday, May 18.

End of the 19-20 School Year Reminders

As we move into the month of May, we wanted to make you aware of some things to consider for the remainder of the school year as well as things to be thinking about for the 20-21 school year:

  • We have plans for recognizing our seniors on the weekend of Sunday, May 17 as noted above. We will be having a procession for the seniors that will be very similar to a parade with a social distancing appropriate event to honor our graduates. Once we get the time and details worked out, we will share the information. As we have discussed with the seniors and senior parents, we will have a date reserved in June and in July as possible dates to hold the traditional graduation ceremony.
  • Personal items at school- Several students have items in their desks or lockers. We have bagged those items and will have a process for their return next week. Look for emails later this week from the building principals for how that will work.
  • Grab and Go Lunches- unless guidance changes from the federal government, we are planning on providing grab and go lunches through June 30. If the federal emergency is lifted or if nutrition funds run out, we may have to end the program earlier. We will let you know ASAP but until then the grab and go lunches are available for all students in the Van Meter CSD.
  • School Issued Devices- Students in grades K-11 can keep their devices until further notice. We plan to have learning opportunities available all summer and strongly encourage students to continue developing their skills prior to the next school year. Seniors will be notified of when and how their devices are to be returned.
  • Prom- If social distancing restrictions are lifted, we will do all that we can to find a date for prom. If the restrictions are still in place through the month of July, we will more than likely not have the event.
  • Limited School Facility Access- The closure means Van Meter School buildings and the playground are closed until further notice. We are allowing people to use the track, practice areas on the East Campus, and the batting cages. IGHSAU and IHSAA will give guidance on summer sports by June 1, but all spring sports have been canceled.
  • May 22nd is the last day of school- Feedback or Grades will be reported out soon after the last day of school.
  • Summer Learning Opportunities- The district strongly recommends students take advantage of any and all virtual summer learning opportunities to better prepare students for the 20-21 school year.

Guidance has been given from the IDPH and CDC that asks people to maintain social distancing practices through at least May 15. Please do your part to adhere to those recommendations from public health officials. As we all know, this is a fluid situation as guidance changes, we will adapt our practices and procedures accordingly.

Let us know if you have any questions.

20-21 School Calendar

Also, we wanted to remind you again, that it is very possible that we start the school year prior to Monday, August 24. It may be close to July before we are able to make a final decision on the start date and any changes that may be occurring to the 20-21 school calendar. Of course, any modifications we make are subject to further changes later in the summer and into the next school year. We realize this isn't convenient for families, but do understand we will do all that we can to notify families as soon as possible.

Thanks for your patience as we work to develop a calendar that most benefits student learning.

Continuous Learning Reminders

Our teachers, along with the help of parents, have been awesome in not only supporting students' growth and in meeting course and grade-level academic standards, but in keeping them connected with their classmates and teachers during this time of social distancing.

As you know, our online learning classes are required for students in grades 9-12. Students are expected to meet the standards outlined for the course to receive full credit. Teachers are planning on using a P/F or Incomplete format for grading purposes. This change is being made to ensure the credit students would be earning for the course is as close to the normal level of standards met as possible.

Grades for the 2nd semester will be due on May 22. If students meet the standards prior to that date, they will be given full credit and will no longer have to continue the course.

If your child is taking an online DMACC course or a concurrent DMACC course through Van Meter, the work for those courses needs to be completed as if nothing has changed.

For students in grades K-8, online learning supports are strongly encouraged. The learning that takes place now for students in grades K-8 will better prepare them for their next grade level. We will continue to provide feedback to help students and parents know what standards students are meeting and which ones they need more time and support to meet.

So far, our continuous learning plan seems to be going as well as it can during this unusual time. We appreciate all of the positive feedback we have received. No one knows how long exactly the shut down will last and if it will continue into the next school year, but we are prepared to provide a high-quality education for our students online for as long as needed.

With that said and though no decisions have been made for next year, there is the possibility that we may start the school year earlier than August 24 if it is deemed necessary by the District and the Board of Directors and if it is within the guidelines established by the CDC and the IDPH. We wanted to make you aware that starting earlier is being considered, but we are far from making a final decision. We are in the process of developing our return to school plan and the mitigation steps necessary to open back up our building. We are considering all possible solutions needed to best support student learning academically, socially, and emotionally. As we continue to develop our plans, we will keep you informed.

Our focus has been on supporting students where they are not just academically, but more importantly socially and emotionally. We know it is challenging to work from home and to support your kids' learning. Just keep the focus on what works best for your child and family. There is no pressure to get to a certain goal. We will support them and help them grow no matter where they are academically for the rest of this school year and when they return next school year.

Building principals and teachers have sent out information to help describe what learning supports are available for students at all grade levels. Most of that information can be found on the Van Meter Website, but there is a lot of information teachers are sharing via email as well. Please remind students to be checking their emails throughout the day.

If you have questions, please don't hesitate to contact your child's building principal at cody.tibbetts@vmbulldogs.com, adam.lamoureux@vmbulldogs.com or their teachers. If you have technology specific questions, contact Mr. Linde at mike.linde@vmbulldogs.com

Mental Health Support

We know and understand that these are challenging times. Everyone's lives have been altered and it is challenging for all of us. If what is being asked of students is requiring too much time, let us know and we will find ways to provide more support or make adjustments to what we are asking kids to do. We just really want to put them in the best position to be successful academically, but we ultimately want to make sure our students are healthy.

Please reach out if your kids are struggling mentally. We have a great team of counselors and they would be glad to provide support if needed.

Jayci Kuhns- Social Worker, jayci.kuhns@vmbulldogs.com

Sara Cook- Elem. Counselor, sara.cook@vmbulldogs.com

Melanie Hopkins- Sec. Counselor, melanie.hopkins@vmbulldogs.com

COVID-19 Information

The primary goal of this communication and any future communication is to inform you our plans moving forward and to limit the spread of COVID-19.

We have a Crisis Response Plan in place for Van Meter Community School District. You can view the plan by clicking the link. We have followed the guidance of the Governor's Office to close school through Sunday, April 30. You can view the plan by clicking the link above.

Please be mindful and use best practices for remaining healthy and try to do all you can to prevent the spread of illness upon your return. Here is a link to CDC guidance to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Please know that we continue to monitor the situation by working closely with the Dallas County Health Department, Iowa Department of Public Health, and the Centers for Disease Control. This is a very fluid situation and could change daily.

Stay informed and look for information on this virus and situation from reliable and trusted sources:

Thank you for your support and partnership as we work together to maintain a healthy learning environment.

Athletic Website and Schedules