November 4, 2016 
Good morning from TheWeek@DMPS. This week our hearts are heavy as the community mourns the killing of two police officers, including one who was recently an SRO at DMPS. Be sure to read Superintendent Ahart's letter to families and staff. Also, a reminder may not be necessary but just in case: next Tuesday is Election Day. Be sure to exercise your right to vote. Read on for those stories and more.
"Des Moines Public Schools is proud to have a close relationship with the Des Moines Police Department. From School Resource Officers in our schools to support of our criminal justice program at Central Campus to many officers being parents and volunteers in our schools, the men and women of DMPD are our friends and family, our neighbors and colleagues.  I hope you will join me in keeping the family, friends and colleagues of both fallen officers in your thoughts during this difficult time. Our heartfelt condolences go out to everyone whose lives were touched by these two officers."  Read Superintendent Ahart's letter to all DMPS families and staff about the deaths of two police officers, including a former SRO.
Last Saturday was a colorful day on the campus of Drake University, inside and out. Outdoors, autumn was everywhere in all its splendor. And indoors at the Olmstead Center the first annual Young Men of Color Conference pulsed with a positive energy, most of it coming from some 200 DMPS middle school and high school students who came to pick the brains of a host of positive examples and role models.  Click here to read and see more.
Next June, two dozen DMPS students will travel to Kofu, Japan on a 12-day trip. Applications for the annual Kofu/Des Moines Student Exchange, which began in 1982, will be accepted through November 29. The trip is open to students in grades 6-9 and takes place June 1-12, 2017. The cost is estimated at $3,500 per student with a limited number of scholarships. Visit our Kofu Exchange web site   for more information and to complete an application.
Great job of buckling up by students on Monday, the first day of operations for our new school bus equipped with seat belts. The bus is part of a test DMPS is doing in conjunction with the Iowa Department of Education. The bus will be on routes serving students who attend Callanan, Cattell, Central Campus, Findley, Hiatt, Hoover, Madison, McCombs, Meredith, Monroe and Oak Park schools. We rode along to share some photos of everyone clicking in for the ride to school.
Think DMPS hasn't made a big difference in the lives of our grads? Consider this: Feng Zhang holds appointments at both MIT and Harvard, is one of the world's leading brain researchers, and last year was named one of the top 10 up-and-coming scientists by a panel of 30 Nobel Prize winners. So when he was presented with the prestigious Gairdner Award for biomedical research in Toronto last week, who did he invite as his guest of honor? Ed Pilkington, our gifted and talented consultant at DMPS who was Feng's science fair sponsor back when he was a student at Roosevelt High School and Central Academy. Congratulations to both!
With all of the news coverage, TV ads, yard signs and more, a reminder is probably not necessary but just in case: next Tuesday is Election Day. If you haven't already voted early, the polls in Iowa will be open from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM. Unsure where you vote? Visit the Iowa Secretary of State's web site and simply enter your address.
Cornucopia of Fun at Hillis
Hillis Elementary welcomed families to school for a harvest festival last week. Teachers and staff got to know parents better, there were treats for students, and community partners came with resources for the whole family. You can see the event earned staff a "high five"!  Click here to see more photos from the Hillis event.
Pleasant Hill Stands Up to Drugs
As part of a week full of events to raise awareness about the devastation caused by drugs, students wore red for a schoolwide photo. Red Ribbon Week was established in 1980 by the National Family Partnership to support nurturing the full potential of healthy, drug-free youth.  See more photos on our Flickr page.
November 8
ELECTION DAYPolls are open in Iowa from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM   

November 15
School Board Meeting  -  Central Campus (6:30 PM)

November 23
No ClassesAll Schools 

November 24-25
Thanksgiving Holiday - No Classes/Offices Closed  

Winter Sports
Basketball/Bowling/Swimming/Wrestling | Visit for schedules 
Recent items in the news or online about or of interest for students, teachers and parents at Des Moines Public Schools:
  • What is it like to leave a war torn country and find yourself in Des Moines, not knowing the language or the culture? TIME Magazine visited with the first Syrian family to be resettled by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants in our city, and our schools, including Edmunds, Monroe, Meredith and Hoover High School. Click here to read the news magazine's story online.
  • Before we lost a beloved former SRO, two students passed away. The Des Moines Register and WHO-TV looked at how the district's grief counseling teams have been dispatched to three schools to help students and staff work their way through this difficult time. Read the Register's story hereand watch WHO-TV's story here.
  • Des Moines Public Schools is considering a change in one of its retirement programs. The Des Moines Register shared a story about a possible merger between the Des Moines Teachers Retirement System and IPERS. Read the Register's story here.
TheWeek@DMPS is a recipient of the 2016 Award of Merit 
from the National School Public Relations Association.
It is the policy of the Des Moines Community School District not to illegally discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, creed, age (for employment), marital status (for programs), sexual orientation, gender identity and socioeconomic status (for programs) in its educational programs and its employment practices. There is a grievance procedure for processing complaints of discrimination. If you believe you have (or your child) has been discriminated against or treated unjustly at school, please contact the Equity Coordinator, Isaiah McGee at 2323 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50312 or 515-242-7662 or