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.