Community Education News

ParentQuest Fall 2018 Catalog is LIVE!

PQ Flyer Fall 2018Parents, does the start of school ever make you feel a little wistful? We have a fresh batch of learning opportunities for you, too! The new ParentQuest catalog is live now, with new classes all throughout the fall months.

Online Catalog
ParentQuest provides a wide variety of free opportunities for parents and other caring adults as they navigate each child’s unique path to success in school and life.

You can help develop ParentQuest! Have a topic you want to learn more about or an idea for a class? Contact Community Education at or 515-633-5001.

Meet Your Neighbors: Raising Teenagers

Join us! This event is open to the public.Friends on bikes taking selfie before school

Tuesday, June 19, 2018 | 6-8 p.m.
West Des Moines Public Library—Community Room
4000 Mills Civic Parkway | West Des Moines


Strong communities actively include and engage people of all backgrounds. Through panel discussions and Q&A sessions, “Meet Your Neighbors” will help long-term residents and newcomers interact and communicate. Inspired by groups around the nation hosting similar events, we believe the best place to learn about your new neighbors is from your new neighbors themselves.

For our second session in the “Meet Your Neighbor’s” series, we are excited to focus on the theme,
“Raising Teenagers.” In this session, the discussion will focus on how raising a teenager varies around the world and navigating the teenage years in a new country.

The evening will be hosted in conjunction with the Youth Justice Initiative (YJI). The mission of YJI is to provide and sustain restorative processes with youth in our community that promotes healing, increases accountability, and provides support.

The evening will be facilitated by ViewPoints, an interdisciplinary team that specializes in creating
opportunities for people to learn from one another in order to find innovative solutions to the problems individuals and communities face.

2018 Staff Recognition

Congratulations to WDMCS district staff who were recognized at the 2018 Staff Recognition Reception on May 10. Community Education staff members included: Jackie Ebling-30 years, Mildred Knee-30 years, Elizabeth Bruner-20 years, Philip Hamm-20 years, Sue Otte-20 years, and Gary Larson-15 years. Retirees Jackie Ebling, Rebecca Harless, and Mary Shelhamer were also honored. Thank you for your year’s of service.

three women being honored

Community Education’s retirees, (from left to right) Mary Shelhamer, Rebecca Harless, and Jackie Ebling.

Two women standing

Twenty-year honoree, Sue Otte, with Shahna Janssen at the Staff Recognition Reception.

Four women

Kids West honorees, (from left to right) Mary Shelhamer-retiree, Elizabeth Bruner-20 years, Amy Dvorak, and Jackie Ebling-20 years and retiree.


Seniors Come Home—Class of 2018

Seniors Come Home—Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Students who attended a West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) elementary are invited back for Seniors Come Home. This special event gives high school seniors the opportunity to visit their home elementary schools so teachers and fellow students can wish them well on their upcoming graduation. Seniors Come Home has been a tradition in the WDMCS for more than 25 years.

On Wednesday, May 23, graduating seniors are invited back to their home schools at the following times:

  • Jordan Creek and Western Hills at 2:20 p.m.;
  • Clive, Fairmeadows, and Hillside at 2:45 p.m.;
  • Crossroads Park at 3 p.m.; and
  • Crestview and Westridge at 3:15 p.m.

All retired elementary teachers and staff are welcome.

Seniors Come Home is coordinated by Rosemary Brandt (515-633-5012), Service Learning Coordinator. Service Learning is a program of WDMCS Community Education.

Summer of Learning 2018

SOL 2018 Catalog Cover

Are you wondering how you’re going to keep your kids busy this summer? We have many fun, enriching, and affordable learning opportunities available! Whether your children need a little extra help in reading, writing, or math, or simply a fun way to expand their knowledge in several subjects, WDMCS Community Education provides a wide variety of activities to choose from.

Summer of Learning Catalog

List of Summer of Learning programs

Register Online


WDMCS Personal Care Collection—Feb. 12-16, 2018

WDMCS Personal Care Drive 2018

Let's Make a Difference with the WDMCS Personal Care Drive Feb. 11-16, 2018.

Posted by West Des Moines Community Education on Sunday, February 11, 2018


West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) is making a difference the week of Feb. 12-16. WDMCS staff and students can participate in a personal care collection for those in need. Items most needed are regular-size shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, body wash, lotion, toothpaste, lip balm, diapers, and baby wipes. The donated items will be collected and then distributed to Booster Pak, Clive Community Services, and West Des Moines Human Services.

WDMCS student volunteers participate by decorating collection boxes, distributing posters, and counting and organizing donations.

The personal care collection is coordinated by WDMCS Community Education’s Service Learning programs.

Tweeting? Use #donateWDMCS and #IheartWDMCS to connect with us!

Try Something New with LEARNwest

LEARNwest Catalog Cover Winter Spring 2018Welcome to the winter/spring 2018 LEARNwest catalog! We are no longer printing or mailing this catalog, but you will still find a variety of opportunities for you to experiment with a new subject area or build on a previous skill and expand your area of expertise.

Many people enjoy connecting with other people who have similar interests. It’s rewarding to meet other people who also like to keep active and live in the same neighborhood!

Our early registration discount is also being offered again! When you register at least two weeks before the class start date, you will receive a $5 discount. The online class prices automatically reflect the discount when it applies. Mail-in registrations must be postmarked at least two weeks before the class start date to qualify for the discount, or the regular rates apply. Make sure to sign up in time to receive this discount, and secure your place in the class of your choice.

Enjoy your new year by trying something new.

For information about LEARNwest please call Program Coordinator, Sue Otte at 515-633-5007.

Community Education Hosts Equity Speaker/Author Dr. Jennifer Harvey

Raising White Kids Book Jacket and Jennifer Harvey

Join us as WDMCS Community Education hosts Dr. Jennifer Harvey to speak about her new book, “Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America.”

Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018 from 7-9 p.m.
Staplin Peforming Arts Center
Valley High School | 3650 Woodland Ave. | West Des Moines

Our society is quickly becoming one of the most racially diverse in the world. The conundrums of raising healthy white children in a society like ours is tough. Should we teach them to be “colorblind” or to notice race? What is the best way to talk about white privilege and real injustices? What roles do we want to equip them to play in addressing racism when they encounter it?

Raising healthy white kids is important work and a critical investment in the well-being and futures of all of our children. Important public discussion exists in regard to the impact of race and racism on children of color. But good dialogue about and understanding the impact of race on white children is lacking. This workshop is designed to foster that dialogue.

This event is for anyone who’s been a white kid, knows a white kid, or thinks what we teach white kids about race as we envision our collective future matters.

Register Online

Dr. Jennifer Harvey is a writer, speaker, and professor at Drake University. Her work focuses on racial justice and white anti-racism. Harvey’s most recent books include “Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America” (Abingdon Press) and “Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation” (Wm. B. Eerdmans). Harvey also contributes to The New York Times and Huffington Post and is ordained in the American Baptist Churches (U.S.A.). She lives in Des Moines, Iowa.

Watch for updates on Facebook.

2017-18 Susan Asklof Enthusiasm Award Presented to Nic Hoover

A head shot of Nic HooverThe 2017-18 Susan Asklof Enthusiasm Award was presented to Nic Hoover at the West Des Moines Community School’s welcome back celebration on Monday, Aug. 21. Nic is a third-grade teacher at Clive Learning Academy.

WDMCS Community Education began giving this award in memory of Susan Asklof, the district’s wellness supervisor from 1986-91. Susan helped many students and staff understand the importance and reward of a healthy lifestyle. The recipient of this award is an employee who exemplifies her amazing qualities: Lives Life Fully, Loves Unconditionally, Learns with Joy, Laughs Heartily, and Leaves a Legacy.

Here is excerpt from Nick’s nomination form:

“When people think of Clive Learning Academy, they think of Nic. He is always willing to lend a helping hand or listening ear. He co-sponsors Student Council and Circle of Friends, is in charge of PBIS, serves as the WDMEA representative, and has served on countless other committees. Whether earning his master’s degree with coworkers or leading through the implementation of New Tech, Nic is always up for a new challenge and approaches everything with a positive attitude. He makes a lasting impact on students because of his dedication to making them feel important and like they belong to the school community.”

Congratulations, Nic!

Nick Hoover Susan Asklof Award

Welcome Phil Simmons to the Facility Use Department

Please join WDMCS Community Education as we welcome Phil Simmons, our new Facilities Use Coordinator.

PhilSimmons eAs the Facilities Use Coordinator, Phil will oversee the scheduling of district buildings that are available to community members outside of the regular school day. He will also supervise the facilities schedulers and building supervisors. The part of his job he is most looking forward to is connecting community members with accessible spaces for their activities.

Phil most recently worked with the YMCA as a program director and coordinator of the Fatherhood Initiative. Before officially joining the WDMCS Community Education team, he worked in collaboration with Community Education on the intramural program and was a member of the Substance Abuse Prevention Community Coalition and the Community Education Advisory Council. He is excited to be back in the district and working with Community Education.

Phil and his wife, Aubrey, have four children: eight-year-old Harper, six-year-old Amelia, and four-year-old twins Elam and Ezra. They enjoy outdoor activities like camping, fishing, and hiking, and are involved in their church community.

For more Community Ed. Highlights, stay up-to-date with the WDMCS Community Education blog!