Community Education News

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!

Rec’s and Reviews: Join the Community Education Book Club!

ExitWest coverThe new WDMCS Community Education book club, led by Intercultural Outreach Coordinator Jeanna Bauer, met for the first time on Tuesday, June 20. The club discussed “Little Daughter,” the memoir of Zoya Phan, a political activist from Burma of Karen descent. The discussion was followed by a discussion and Q&A with Mone Aye, co-founder and board president of EMBARC (Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center).

For this month’s Rec’s and Reviews post, WDMCS Community Education is inviting you to join us for our next book club discussion. We will be discussing “Exit West” by Mohsin Hamid. The fictional novel follows a young couple, Nadia and Saaed, as they flee violence in their homeland, passing through a magical door that drops them into a completely new and different life.

“It’s a breathtaking novel by one of the world’s most fascinating young writers, and it arrives at an urgent time,” NPR’s review of “Exit West” said. “Hamid encourages to us to put ourselves in the shoes of others, even when they’ve lived lives much harder than anything we’ve endured.”

Join us from 5:30-7:30 on Thursday, Sept. 14, for a book discussion and presentation centered around “Exit West.” Watch the West Des Moines Community Education Facebook page and ”Exit West” book club Facebook event for reminders and updates.

Have questions or want more information? Contact Intercultural Outreach Coordinator Jeanna Bauer at 515-633-5116 or


Made in the Shade: Helping Kids Keep Cool This Summer

People in swimming poolAs temperatures rise this summer, make sure you know the best ways to keep your children safe. A child’s body will not cool down as quickly as an adult’s, and children may not recognize that they are getting too hot or be able to explain it to an adult. Here are some tips from the Polk County Health Department’s 2017 Extreme Heat Toolkit that families and caregivers can use to help keeps kids safe during summer:

  Signs of Heat Exhaustion   Signs of Heat Stroke 
  • Heavy sweating
  • Feeling weak
  • Dizzy
  • Headache
  • High fever (greater than 104 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Flushed/red skin
  • Lack of sweating
  • Muscle weakness/cramps
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Skin that feels cool and moist
  • Rapid breathing/rapid heart rate

While heavy sweating is a sign of heat exhaustion, a lack of sweat is a sign of heat stroke. Heat stroke can also make a person’s skin feel cool, instead of hot.

Ways to Keep Cool
Beat the heat with light clothing, sunscreen, and fluids. Even if you are not thirsty, drinking water is a great way to stay cool. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat and light, loose clothes made of cotton will protect kids from the heat and let sweat evaporate to keep them cool. Spending just two hours a day in the air conditioning can also help prevent heat-related illnesses.

The Polk County Health Department recommends families sign up for CodeRED, an automated system that sends out notifications during emergency situations, including extreme heat. Learn more about CodeRED online.

Find more tips and information in the Polk County Health Department’s 2017 Extreme Heat Toolkit.

Read to Stay Up to Speed This Summer

Elementary school student laying on the floor and reading children's books.Summer is a time for family, friends, and fun—but it’s also important for kids to keep learning. Helping your children stay engaged during summer is a great way to make sure they retain what they learned in the past year and ease the transition back to school in the fall.

One of the best ways to keep kids thinking during summertime is reading. Here is a list of summer reading programs from libraries that serve West Des Moines Community Schools families:

Families in Windsor Heights are welcome to join programs at libraries in neighboring cities. Several area businesses are also holding summer reading challenges. Find a full list of reading challenges at

Pairing books with activities or movies is another way to encourage your children to read during summer. You can also make reading at home fun by reading outside, making up stories with your kids, or creating your own reading challenges.

Join Us for the Summer of Learning!

Summer of Learning Catalog Cover - Boy Holding Globe in front of chalk boardAre you wondering how you’re going to keep your kids busy this summer? Join us for the 2017 Summer of Learning! We have many fun, enriching, and affordable learning opportunities available—whether your children need a little extra help with schoolwork or want to expand their knowledge in a wide variety of subjects. Help your child find a program that sounds interesting, fun, or rewarding, and register today!

Check out the 2017 Summer of Learning catalog.

Register for a Summer of Learning class.