Safety Town 2015 Press Release

safety_town_t-shirt_designSafety Town is for children entering kindergarten in the fall of 2015. Safety Town (a WDMCS Community Education Summer of Learning program) is a comprehensive safety education program for young children from all districts that covers safety around strangers, fire, water, traffic, buses and poison. Children will have an opportunity to learn through experiences in the Safety Town village, a field trip to the police and fire stations and various classroom activities. A West Des Moines police officer, certified teacher and teacher assistant will lead the activities for the week.

Sessions include:

FULL – June 8-12:  Session 1         9-11:30 a.m. and Session 2 12:30-3 p.m. 

June 15-19: Session 3 from 9-11:30 a.m.   FULL Session 4         12:30-3 p.m.

June 22-26: Session 5 from 9-11:30 a.m.  and Session 6 from 12:30-3 p.m.

July 6-10: Session 7 from 9-11:30 a.m. and Session 8 from 12:30-3 p.m.

Safety Town will be held at Hillside Elementary, 713 8th St., West Des Moines. The $50 fee includes a T-shirt. For more information or to register, call 515-633-5001 or Click Here

CE Today: June 3 — A U.S. Astronaut Walks in Space


Edward White during NASA’s Gemini 4 mission. (Photo credit: Commander James McDivitt. Source:

Edward H. White II became the first U.S. astronaut to walk in space on this day in 1965. White was chosen to join James A. McDivitt on the four-day orbital flight of Gemini 4. White was often called the most physically fit astronaut and showed his prowess on June 3, during the third orbit, “walking” through space for 21 minutes with the assistance of a maneuvering unit. White so enjoyed his space-walk that when McDivitt called him to come back in, he replied, “I’m coming back in…and it’s the saddest moment of my life.”




Life Magazine: “America’s First Space Walk”
NASA Biography: Edward H. White II
Encyclopedia Britannica: Edward H. White II (American astronaut)

CE Today: May 6 — Roger Bannister Runs the First Four-Minute Mile

Roger Bannister became the first person to run a four-minute mile on May 6, 1954. Bannister was a medical student and prepared for the race by studying the mechanics of running and developing new training regimens. He completed the now-famous mile in 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds at the Iffley Road track in Oxford for the annual match between the Amateur Athletic Association and Oxford University, Bannister’s alma mater.

Before Bannister’s May 6 run, the four-minute mile was considered an impossible feat. The world record for a mile at the time was 4 minutes and 1.3 seconds, and had been set in 1945, nearly ten years before. Completing a four-minute mile became a goal for many runners in the early 1950s. Bannister did not hold the record for long, and retired for athletics at the end of 1954. He published a book about his accomplishment in 1955, became a neurologist, and was knighted in 1975 by Queen Elizabeth II.

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. Use Roger Bannister as inspiration or look for more modern motivation by following the #LetsMove and #MoveInMay hashtags on social media.


This Day in History
Get Moving in May for National Physical Fitness and Sports Month
First Four Minute Mile-HQ(Roger Bannister:1954)

Summer of Learning 2015 – Press Release

ced_summer_of_learning_catalog_coverWEST DES MOINES, IOWA – WDMCS Community Education is offering several classes as part of its Summer of Learning. Programs are for various ages and provide a way to expand knowledge and have fun during the summer.

Programs offered include refresher courses and enrichment classes for grades 1-12. Incoming kindergarten students can take part in classes that will introduce them to different aspects of the school experience, from safety to a typical school day.

There are also a variety of programs that will help students develop skills in the fine arts and in science and technology, as well as classes for students with more unique interests, like baking and constructing with LEGO® bricks. There are volunteer opportunities for students grades 9-12 with four different summer programs, and for students grades 6-7 with Safety Town.

Registration is now open for all programs. More information can be found online at the WDMCS Community Education website,, or by calling 515-633-5001. Information on specific classes can be found in the Summer of Learning catalog, available online or at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines.

CE Today: March 4, 1933 – Frances Perkins Becomes the First Woman to Serve in the Presidential Cabinet

written by Alexandra Wade

Frances PerkinsFrances Perkins took over as secretary of labor on this day in 1933, making her the first woman to hold a position in the U.S. presidential cabinet. Trained as a social worker, she was involved in the reform following the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. As the secretary of labor, she was influential in writing the New Deal legislation and developing the Social Security Act of 1935. She continued to work as a teacher and lecturer after her career in government.


Social Security Administration, Pioneers: “Frances Perkins”
U.S. Department of Labor, Hall of Secretaries: “Frances Perkins” “Frances Perkins”
Women’s History Month

CE Today: December 3, 1967—The first human heart transplant takes place

written by Alexandra Wade

The first human heart transplant was performed by Dr. Christiaan Barnard at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, on Dec. 3, 1967. He had been trained at University of Cape Town and Stanford University in California. Lewis Washansky, a grocer dying from chronic heart disease, received the heart from Denise Darvall, who was fatally injured in a car crash.

Washansky’s heart functioned normally until his death, which came only 18 days later. He died of double pneumonia, which he contracted due to the drugs used to suppress his immune system so his body would not reject the heart. Heart transplants are more successful today, but it is still difficult to find acceptable donors. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has more information about organ donation.

For more interesting history, watch the CE blog the first week of every month!

Jump Start Press Release

comed_jump_start_2013WDMCS Community Education is offering the Summer of Learning program, Jump Start, a week-long program for students who are entering first through fifth grade. This program prepares students for the upcoming school year with themed learning opportunities. Students have the option to attend mornings, afternoons, or both sessions. Morning sessions are spent refreshing student’s math, reading, and writing skills while the afternoon sessions include various activities such as art, computers, science and physical education.

Jump Start is from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., August 4-8 at Western Hills Elementary School, 600 39th Street, West Des Moines, IA. The registration fee is $150 per student. Need-based scholarships are available through WDMCS Community Education. To register for Jump Start, call WDMCS Community Education at (515) 633-5001 or click here.

Science Exploration Press Release

comed_summer_science_2013cWDMCS Community Education’s Summer of Learning is offering Science Exploration for students entering grades one through seven at Westridge Elementary School 5500 E.P. True Parkway.  The students will explore many different areas of science in a fun and exciting environment. The program is July 28-August 1 and is offered in the mornings, afternoons, or full days.

Students entering grades first through third have the opportunity to “Blast off to Space” or go on a “Dinosaur Dig” during the morning sessions. Students will be able to explore the planets by traveling through the wonders of outer space, or become a dinosaur expert as they uncover facts about the prehistoric creatures.  The afternoon holds a chance to participate in classes on “The Amazing Human Body” and “Electricity, Energy, and Power.”

Students in grades four through seven can spend the morning “Exploring Rocketry” or learning about “Magnets and Electricity.” The afternoon holds more fun and excitement with “Crazy Chemistry” where students are able to explore the world of chemistry by creating colorful chemical reactions and mixing cool solutions, and with “Machines that Move” where students will learn about mechanics and how to make things move.

Registration is still open and can be found here or call (515) 633-5001 for more information.

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

Art Adventures Press Release

written by Caroline Havekost, Community Relations Intern

IMG_4998WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – WDMCS Community Education’s Summer of Learning is offering Art Adventures for students entering grades one through three, and grades four through seven.  Students will get creative while exploring a variety of materials, techniques, and artists. The program is offered in the mornings, afternoons, or full days.

Students entering grades first through third have the opportunity to learn from a variety of art mediums and inspiration from a multitude of famous artists. Each day a new art adventure awaits the students, whether it is underwater, in space, at the “zoo”, or at a farm.  The students have the opportunity to create different projects in the morning and afternoon sessions. This program is taught by Karen Kehoe at Fairmeadows Elementary. This session is full.

Students in grades four through seven have the opportunity to get inspired by famous artists and their artwork.  The class will start by looking at a famous artist and studying their work. Then the students will use what they have learned to create artwork of their own. Students will have a chance to explore with different types of media and work in different techniques for each lesson. Multiple projects will be created at each session and students will explore different projects in the morning and afternoon sessions. This program is taught by Erica Jaramillo at Crossroads Park Elementary.

Registration for grades four through seven is still open and can be found at or call (515) 633- 5001 for more information.