CE Question: What are you most thankful for?

written by Alexandra Wade

The WDMCS community has a lot of things to be thankful for, and the Thanksgiving season is the perfect time to focus on them. We asked Community Ed. employees to share the things that they are most thankful for this Thanksgiving, and invite you to share what you are thankful for on our Facebook page.

  • My family and our new home! —Julie Lundy
  • I’m thankful that my children are healthy and happy!—Kris Gardner
  • My family!—Jess Lieb
  • Amazing parents!—Shahna Janssen
  • Being able to spend the holidays with my extended family. This time of year always reminds me of how truly blessed I am.—KJ Yaeger
  • Since I normally host, this Thanksgiving I am thankful for no housecleaning and cooking!”—Rosemary Brandt
  • My family! And, of course, a big ol’ smoked turkey!—Michelle Campos
  • I am most thankful for my amazing family and friends. I am so blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life.—Jamie Evans
  • My grandson, Benjamin.—Rebecca Harless
  • My family.—Sonja LeSher
  • Relationships—with co-workers who are fun and dedicated to their job, not in competition with each other but cooperation; with family who want to be together and spend time; with friends who are really more like family; and with God, who makes life much more peaceful and the relationships with others so much more of a blessing.—Amy Dvorak
  • This Thanksgiving, I am most thankful for God and the amazing family and friends that He has blessed me with.—Keri Remsburg
  • I am thankful for the people in my life, and the opportunity to add more.—Nate Lingren
  • My family!—Sue Otte
  • Two healthy precious grandchildren!—Holly Burns

Rec’s and Reviews: A Book About Giving Thanks

written by Alexandra Wade

The cover for Steve Metzger's "Give Thanks for Each Day."

The cover for Steve Metzger’s “Give Thanks for Each Day.”

With Thanksgiving taking place later this week, we thought it would be a good time to recommend “Give Thanks for Each Day” by Steve Metzger. Metzger is a former teacher of young children and a bestselling children’s author who has penned “Five Little Sharks Swimming in the Sea,” “The Mixed-up Alphabet,” and the Dinofours series, among other books. “Give Thanks for Each Day” was written for preschool- and kindergarten-age children and is a great way to start a discussion about being thankful for the little things.

Metzger’s story is accompanied by colorful illustrations by Robert McPhillips, a children’s illustrator since 1994 and illustrator for the “Kingdom of Wrenly” series. The illustrations are warm, but playful, and will catch readers’ eyes.

Check out “Give Thanks for Each Day” with young readers as soon as possible to get them in the Thanksgiving spirit!


CE Highlight: Brighter Beginnings

written by Alexandra Wade


Our CE Highlight this month is Brighter Beginnings, a WDMCS Community Education program for parents who live within the WDMCS district boundaries and want to expand and develop their parenting skills. Children and infants are born learners, and parents can be their most influential teachers. Brighter Beginnings teachers parents to build on that relationship by pairing them with professional educators who offer guidance about effectively teaching and nurturing children.

Classes are divided by the age of the child, and parents and children attend together. Each class is divided into two parts: parent/child education activities and parent time. During parent time, quality childcare is provided so parents can discuss different parenting topics and issues with educators.

TODDLER I (12-24 MONTHS) Tuesdays 10:45 – 11:45 a.m.
TODDLER II (2-3 1/2 YEARS) Tuesdays 9:15 – 10:30 a.m.
Wednesdays 10:45 a.m. – noon
Wednesdays 9:15 – 10:30 a.m.

The second session of Brighter Beginnings is from Feb. 2, 2015—May 8, 2015. Registration begins on Dec. 15, 2014. Interested parents should register by filling out a registration card and returning it to WDMCS Community Education, Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines, IA 50265-5556. Separate registration cards are required for each individual session. For more information, parents can contact Sonja LeSher, the Brighter Beginnings Program Coordinator.


Instructor Tips: Jamie Evans — Using Twitter

written by Alexandra Wade

evansjWDMCS Community Education’s very own Jamie Evans, Communications Specialist and District Webmaster, offered up these Twitter tips for our third Instructor Tips post. On top of her Community Education duties, Evans teaches LEARNwest classes on social media platforms like LinkedIn, WordPress, and of course, Twitter. She likes to start her Twitter classes out with this quote from David Roberts: “If writing a blog post is like sitting in a bar with a friend, Twitter is like standing around at a cocktail party.”


Jamie Evans’ Top Ten Tips for Using Twitter

  1. Don’t be afraid to get out there and start tweeting. Twitter is a fun way to gather the news and information that’s important to you quickly.
  2. Just getting started on Twitter? Begin your journey by finding and following other interesting Twitter accounts. Look for business you love, people you know, celebrities, or news stations.
  3. One great way to find more interesting people to follow is to see who those you know or admire are following.
  4. Don’t forget to listen first. Build your voice by retweeting and replying to others.
  5. The best way to gain followers on Twitter is to regularly engage and contribute in a significant way.
  6. Start new conversations by mentioning people using their Twitter handles.
  7. Don’t use more than two hashtags per tweet—it can be annoying to see a tweet that’s only hashtags.
  8. Once you are comfortable with Twitter basics, consider using lists, direct messages and favorites.
  9. Favoriting a tweet not only lets the originator know that you liked their tweet but gives you a chance to save the tweet to read later (if it links to a longer article).
  10. Last but not least, be sure to follow Community Ed. on Twitter @wdmcscomed!

Look for more instructor tips on the WDMCS Community Ed. blog during the third week of every month!


Mythbusting Monday: LEARNwest

written by Alexandra Wade

QuestionLEARNwest classes are for adult learners who want to learn something new or build on skills and knowledge they already have. A wide range of classes are offered during evenings and weekends. To help spread the word about LEARNwest opportunities, we decided to address LEARNwest myths for our second Mythbusting Monday.

  • Myth: You don’t have to register before you go to class because there is endless space in all of the classes. They never fill up!
    • This myth is FALSE.
    • Registration is required for all classes. Students can register online, in person at the Learning Resource Center, or by phone or mail. Payment is required at the time of registration.
  • Myth: People who don’t live in West Des Moines can take LEARNwest classes.
    • This myth is TRUE.
    • LEARNwest classes are held in many different locations, including some outside of West Des Moines. Classes are open to all learners of the appropriate ages, but registration is taken on a first-come basis.
  • Myth: Classes never get canceled.
    • This myth is FALSE.
    • The main reason classes get canceled is because of lack of participation so registering early helps this. Don’t wait until the day before or the day of, because the decision to have the class or not has already been made.

For more information about LEARNwest, visit the WDMCS Community Education website!


CE in Photos: Preschool Palooza

written by Alexandra Wade

Two children work on building LEGO towers at the LEGO Land center.

Two children work on building LEGO towers at the LEGO Land center.

It was a fun day at Hillside Elementary as the second annual Preschool Palooza took place! Up-and-coming preschoolers had a chance to learn about preschool and participate in fun activities like face painting, inflatables, and exploring West Des Moines fire trucks and ambulances. For grown-ups, Preschool Palooza was a chance to find out more information about early childhood opportunities.

One child gets interested in a task involving different shapes.

One child gets interested in a task involving different shapes.

Two children learn about the WDM Fire Department and try on some safety gear.

Two children learn about the WDM Fire Department and Water Works and try on some safety gear.

A child tries out a guitar at the Music-n-Motion activity.

A child tries out a guitar at the Music-n-Motion activity.

With more than 450 attendees and completely free activities and snacks, Preschool Palooza was an enjoyable morning for everyone involved. Don’t forget to mark your calendar for next year—the third annual Preschool Palooza will take place in November 2015!

Thank you to the following people and organizations who contributed to this year’s event:

Apple Tree Children’s Centers – Ashworth and Grand
Creekside Preschool
Drake Head Start
Heartland AEA 11
The Hannah Geneser Foundation
Hillside Elementary School
Hillside Kids West Staff
Iowa Journey Photography
The Larick Early Learning Center
Lindsey McCarty – Pete the Cat
McKinlee Ritter
Sacred Heart Preschool
Safe Kids Greater Des Moines
Safe Kids Iowa
Silver Cord Volunteers
Tiger Cubs Preschools
Walnut Creek YMCA
WDMCS Community Education Staff
West Des Moines Community School District
WDMCS Nutrition Department
WDMCS Transportation Department
West Des Moines EMS
West Des Moines Fire Department
West Des Moines Public Library
West Des Moines Library Friends Foundation
West Des Moines Public Works
West Des Moines United Methodist Preschool
Windsor Heights Lions Club – KidSight

Monthly Motivation: Veterans Day

written by Alexandra Wade


VeteransDayImageWDMCS Community Education would like to thank and honor all veterans in West Des Moines, and beyond, for their service and bravery. You are an inspiration to all of us.

A specific Iowa veteran to look to for inspiration is the new Senator-elect Joni Ernst. Ernst is the first female veteran in the history of the U.S. Senate, as well as Iowa’s first female U.S. senator.

If you find yourself motivated to honor veterans on this Veterans Day, The Des Moines Register has compiled a list of events in Iowa.

CE Today: November 5, 1895—The gas-powered car is patented

written by Alexandra Wade

GeorgeSeldenGeorge Selden won U.S. Patent No. 549,160 for an “improved road engine” powered by a “liquid-hydrocarbon engine of the compression type” on November 5, 1895. His design was only a simplified copy of an engine he’d seen at the 1872 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, but the patent meant Selden was the legal inventor of the car.