Art Adventures with Erica Jaramillo

WDMCS Community Education’s Summer of Learning program, Art Adventures is a great way for children to express themselves.  It is offered in two ages groups; one for those students entering first through third grade, and two for students entering fourth through seventh grade.

Erica Jaramillo, Art Adventures program instructor and Crossroads Park Elementary teacher, is the instructor for the fourth through seventh grade students. This year Jaramillo has a lot of exciting projects planned for each session. She is excited for the students to enjoy learning about new artists, and especially the unfamiliar art materials they will get to work with.

“Many students may have not had the experience using charcoal and kneaded erasers.  That medium can be a very fun, and a little messy, one to work with,” Jaramillo said.  She is also planning a self-portrait project, and a collage for students.

The class offers some new techniques for students to learn such as using screen printing ink to create prints from foam trays, using subtractive method to lighten charcoal drawings, combining colors in oil pastels to create new shades, and much more.

If your student is signed up for both morning and afternoon sessions, no need to worry about them creating the same thing twice.  Jamarillo has two projects planned for each session to add variety and creativity amongst students.

“There’s no wrong way to make art, and everyone can do something artistic, so come and join the fun.  Just be prepared, we may get messy,” Jamarillo said.


A Sneak Peek into Kindergarten

written by Holly Burns, Preschool Programs Coordinator

The last two weeks in July mark an annual Summer of Learning program offered by WDMCS Community Education for incoming kindergartners. Sneak Peek is an opportunity to check out all the fun that happens in the kindergarten rooms in the WDMCS district a few weeks before school officially starts.

What will kindergarten be like? What is in a school building? Where will I eat lunch? Who will I meet at my school? Through songs, stories, games and art, children will gather the answers to these questions throughout the week that they attend.

Parents report that children are more comfortable beginning the school year after attending. Instead of first day jitters, kids who have been through the program look with excitement to their first day.

Students attend morning sessions for one week at one of five elementary schools in the district.  Students may attend their home school if available, or attend any other site they wish. Each student receives a t-shirt as part of the program. Sessions are led by WDMCS district kindergarten teachers who are anxious to meet each student and show them what kindergarten is all about!

Who Wants to Be the Boss?


IMG_5176Be the Boss – A Youth Entrepreneurship Camp for students entering grades 5-6 is taking place July 22-26 at Western Hills Elementary from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Students will experience hands-on entrepreneurship through a variety of highly interactive classroom activities, guest speakers and a tour of local businesses. They will learn to make money doing something they love by:

  • going through the process of planning and implementing a business idea
  • meeting and learning from successful entrepreneurs
  • designing business cards and flyers.

Some of the things they will learn about are giving a good handshake, networking, what an entrepreneur is, inventions, financial information, and how to dress for success.

Highlights of the week include:

  • Monday, July 22 students will be traveling to Valley Junction to tour different businesses including, Engler Embroidery, Historical Valley Junction Foundation, Theatrical Shop and Nan’s Nummies. At 1:45 p.m. students will have a cookie competition at Green Grounds Cafe.
  • Thursday, July 25 students will be touring US Bank and Menchies Frozen Yogurt.
  • Friday, July 26, students will be presenting their business plans with graduation and a reception from 3:15-4 p.m.

Sponsored by the Jacobson Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship, the University of Iowa, and WDMCS Community Education

Advanced Show Choir Camp

written by Caroline Havekost, Community Relations Intern

The final week of June was filled with song and dance at Indian Hills Junior High for the Show Choir Camp for experienced students. The students, entering seventh and eighth grades, learned a three-song set with dance choreography. During the week the students learned both small and large group choreography, proper vocal technique, adn singing in two-three+ harmonies. The students presented a final performance on Friday, June 28 for family and friends. The camp, directed by Courtney Copic, had a Muppets theme featuring songs from the movie.

Campers practicing new songs at the Advanced Show Choir Camp.

Campers practicing new songs at the Advanced Show Choir Camp.

A group of students in the Advanced Show Choir Camp rehersing new songs and choreography.

A group of students in the Advanced Show Choir Camp rehersing new songs and choreography.

Show Choir campers practicing new choreography.

Show Choir campers practicing new choreography.

Show Choir Camp students mid-performance.

Show Choir Camp students mid-performance.

Kids in the Kitchen

written by Caroline Havekost, Community Relations Intern

The smell of freshly baked brownies wafted in the air at Indian Hills Junior High, and it’s not only brownies.  The WDMCS Community Education’s Summer of Learning Program Kids in the Kitchen has taken over. The class taught by Peri Halma focuses on teaching students entering fifth through eighth grades how to accurately measure ingredients, follow a recipe, and to make a simple meal. Halma, a Family and Consumer Sciences teacher at Stilwell Junior High, selects different recipes each day that involve different kitchen tools. This enables the students to learn about a wide variety of cooking utensils.  Each class consists of making a meal, eating their creation, and then clean up of course.

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Beginners Show Choir Camp

written by Caroline Havekost, Community Relations Intern

A group of sixth and seventh graders learned about the basics of show choir at the WDMCS Community Education Summer of Learning program – Beginners Show Choir Camp.  The camp taught students about singing in two part harmonies, proper vocal technique, choreography, and putting it all together for performances.  The camp concluded on Friday with a performance for family members and friends.  The students showed off their three-song set and choreography they learned over the week.