CE Highlight: Heart Connection Collection

ced_blog_heart-connectionWDMCS staff, families, and students are invited again this year to participate in the Heart Connection to help restock the Booster Pak personal care pantries.

The most needed items are regular-sized shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, body wash, lotion, toothpaste, and ​lip balm. Please bring your items to school the week of February 22-25 and place in the Heart Connection ​donation ​box. ​Items will be collected and then distributed to WDMCS students through the Booster Pak Program.

Thank you for your support for this very worthy cause!​ ​​The Heart Connection is coordinated by WDMCS Community Education’s Service Learning Program.

Tweeting? Tag us using #heartconnection16 and/or #IheartWDMCS.

Instructor Tips: Diane Browne — D.I.Y Repurposing and Restoring

ced_blog_tips-jan2016The January instructor tips come from LEARNwest instructor Diane Browne, who will be teaching the “Rescue, Restore, and Redecorate Your Furnishings” class. Browne grew up in a family of antique lovers, auctioneers, appraisers, and furniture restorers. She now works in the paint department at Johnston Ace Hardware and enjoys helping people pick out colors to enhance their homes and teaching chalk painting and furniture restoring classes. She is always on the lookout for a garage sale or curbside find just waiting
to be repurposed!

Six Repurposing Tips for the D.I.Y. Enthusiast

  1. Use your imagination! If you have a piece of furniture that is outdated, scratched, or does not fit in, try to visualize what it could become or what you could use it for in another area of your home.
  2. Go to consignment or antique stores for inspiration. They are a great place to find repurposing ideas. Then use those ideas to create new pieces out of your own furniture.
  3. Always look for curbside items. Keep an eye out when you are driving down the street — you might see something unique you can repurpose for your home.
  4. Go to garage/estate sales with an open mind. Something that you never would have pictured in your home might just jump out at you as perfect for repurposing.
  5. Always make sure that the pieces you want to work with have good “bones.”  As long as the basic structure of the piece is sturdy, the sky is the limit as to what it can become.
  6. Think of all the possibilities, not just the first one. An old headboard does not have to be repurposed as a headboard; it can be turned into a unique bench.

Once you start the process of repurposing things, you will never see “junk” again! Every piece is full of possibilities. Check out Diane Browne’s upcoming class to start seeing those possibilities for yourself.

Check Out Session 1
Check Out Session 2

Mythbusting Monday: National Thesaurus Day

Education in dictionary.Jan. 18 is National Thesaurus Day, and to
celebrate the day, we decided to bust some myths about words. English is a flexible and ever-changing language, but it’s always a good idea to brush up on your language skills.

We chose three words from Harvard cognitive scientist and linguist Steven Pinker’s latest book, “The Sense of Style,” which addresses several misunderstood words.

This is an easy one to mix up, due to another word: uninterested.

  • What people think it means: bored or indifferent (synonyms for uninterested)
  • What it actually means: impartial or unbiased

How to use it: “The dispute should be resolved by a disinterested judge.”

People often miss some letters in the middle of this word and think it’s “homogenous.”

  • How people often say it: huh-MAHjenus
  • How it should be said: homo-genius

Homogenous actually isn’t a word at all, but a “corruption of homogenized.”

  • How to use homogeneous correctly: “The population was not homogeneous; it was a melting pot.”


  • What people think it is: a synonym for simple
  • What it really is: basically, a slam

Simplistic truly means naively or overly simple, so if someone’s answer or explanation is simplistic, it means they may not have a full understanding of the topic.

Urban Legend
Who or what counts as an urban legend? Pinker’s definitions make it clear: urban legends are stories, not legendary people.

  • What people think it means: someone who is legendary in a city
  • What it actually means: an intriguing and widely circulated but false story

Word myths, busted. To wrap up this Mythbusting Monday, we’ll leave you with this quote:
A synonym is a word you use when you can’t spell the word you first thought of.
— Burt Bacharach

Brighter Beginnings Registration Open

ced_brighter_beginnings_thumbnailAll families can now register for Brighter Beginnings, the West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) Community Education program that aims to make the world brighter for parents and children by providing fun early childhood family learning. The upcoming session of Brighter Beginnings will take place from Feb. 2–May 6.

Brighter Beginnings classes invite parents and children to attend together. Weekly classes are divided into time for parent/child education activities and parent time. During parent time, parents discuss various topics with professional educators and other parents. Quality child care is provided during this time, and children will enjoy socialization and activities.

The registration process was updated this year, to allow WDMCS Community Education to serve as many families as possible. Registration is open to in-district and out-of-district families, with registration limited to one class time per family per session. Separate registrations cards are necessary for each session. Families can contact Brighter Beginnings Program Coordinator Sonja LeSher at 515-633-5009 to receive a card or download a card from the Community Education website (www.wdmcs.org/commed/).

To register, families should complete a registration card and return the card, along with $75 if out-of-district, to WDMCS Community Education, Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines, IA 50265-5556.

For more information, visit the Brighter Beginnings webpage at commed.wdmcs.org/programs/early-childhood/brighter_beginnings/ or contact WDMCS Community Education at 515-633-5001.