May 26, 2017
It's Commencement Week at Des Moines Public Schools! Enjoy a report on our first Class of 2017 graduation ceremony held Wednesday for our Districtwide Programs and see the calendar for a complete schedule of commencements. We also share a heartwarming story on a collaboration between East and Ruby Van Meter schools, mark big anniversaries for Brody and Oak Park schools, and include an important reminder for parents about a new vaccination requirement for students entering grades 7 or 12 in August. Read on for these stories and much more.
Commencement Week Has Commenced at DMPS
The first official members of the Class of 2017 were presented their diplomas at a graduation ceremony for our Districtwide Programs on Wednesday afternoon. These 15 students were the  first of nearly 2,000 who will receive their high school diplomas from DMPS this week. Read and see more of Wednesday's event and check out the calendar below for a complete schedule of all of our graduation ceremonies.
Win-Win Collaboration for East, Ruby Van Meter
Gloria Gallegos is a student at Ruby Van Meter School who loves chocolate milk. Her occupational therapist wanted to find a way that she could enjoy it on her own, so he came up with an idea that found its way to a Computer Aided Design class at East. Sophomore Skyler Leonard took on the challenge of turning the idea into reality by finishing the design of a custom milk carton holder.  Read and see how one recent morning Gloria enjoyed a nice, cold chocolate milk  ... all on her own.
Oak Park Elementary Celebrates 125 Years
One of the district's oldest schools, Oak Park Elementary, serving the Oak Park and Highland Park neighborhoods, celebrated 125 years of education this school year. Among the events were a first annual neighborhood 5K run/walk and a cultural event celebrating the continuing evolution of a diverse school population.  Enjoy photos of the school's 125th celebrations.
Brody Middle School Marks the Big 5-0
Brody Middle School celebrated the big 5-0! From current students and families to former principals and teachers to alumni from across the years, the Brody community came together last week to celebrate the school's 50th anniversary. In addition to performances by the school's jazz band and choir along with an open house, the celebration included an updated time capsule to be opened at their next milestone.  Visit our Flickr page for more of the celebration.
Hiatt Students Serve School, Neighborhood
The creed for the U.S. Postal Service notes that "neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night" will prevent them from getting the job done. The same could apply to the annual Service Day at Hiatt Middle School. On a day when the temperature was cooler than normal and a light drizzle interrupted a light rain, these middle schoolers went about their rounds of improvements at their school and in the neighborhood.  Read and see more here .
Amusement Park Extravaganza at Studebaker
Studebaker Elementary School students built a miniature amusement park on Wednesday, complete with roller coasters and the ominous sounding "Wheel of Death" (OK, it's a ferris wheel, but a big one). Check out photos of this fun exercise showing off their STEM engineering skills and understanding of Newton's Laws of Motion.
A Catawampus Day at Capitol View Elementary
Things were catawampus yesterday at Capitol View Elementary School, as in "not lined up or not arranged correctly; askew, awry." Most schools have an end-of-the-year Field Day, but at Capitol View it's a Catawampus Day as students and staff put a unique twist on the day.  Read and see more of Capitol View  marking the (almost) end of another school year.
Retirees Celebrate Start of Their Next Chapter
Retiring DMPS teachers and staff hugged and shared memories at a recent luncheon in honor of their service. Many will bid goodbye after decades of service, and their collective impact on hundreds of thousands of DMPS students will continue to be felt for decades to come. Congratulations on your well-deserved retirement!  Click here to enjoy photos of the event.
The Iowa Department of Public Health has new requirements for mandatory vaccines of students enrolling in 7th and 12th grades. These rules apply to students entering those grades beginning this August. Students must show proof of having received the meningococcal vaccine, or have a legal exemption. Click here for additional information about the new vaccination requirement and view a public service announcement from local health care providers on the importance of students receiving this vaccination.
Half Pint Poets Share Wisdom
On subject ranging from racism to crime to politics to love, words of wisdom were shared by students from Capitol View, Findley, Garton, Hillis, King, Morris and Stowe elementary schools at the annual Half Pint School vs. School Spoken Word Poetry Slam Tuesday evening. Congrats to the crew from Hillis for earning the coveted Golden Boom Box!  Click here to see more .
Students Compete at State Track
Student-athletes from East, Hoover, Lincoln, North and Roosevelt competed in 31 different events at the 2017 State High School Track and Field Championship, held May 18-20 at Drake Stadium. We captured lots of photos of DMPS students in action from the first two days of competition and shared them on  our Flickr page to enjoy .
May 26
Scavo High Commencement - Hoyt Sherman Place (10:00 AM)

May 26
Ruby Van Meter Graduation - Ruby Van Meter School (6:30 PM)

May 27
East High Commencement - Knapp Center (9:00 AM)

May 27
Hoover High Commencement - Knapp Center (12:30 PM)

May 27
Lincoln High Commencement - Knapp Center (3:30 PM)

May 27
Roosevelt High Commencement - Knapp Center (7:30 PM)

May 28
North High Commencement - Knapp Center (7:30 PM)

May 29
Memorial Day - No Classes (All Schools)

May 30
Last Day of Classes - Elementary/Middle Schools (except Downtown School)

June 1
Last Day of Classes - High Schools

Summer Sports
Baseball/Softball  - Visit for schedules
Recent items in the news or online about or of interest to students, teachers and parents at Des Moines Public Schools:
  • A must-read from the Des Moines Register and columnist Daniel Finney. Students may face an array of physical and emotional traumas outside of the classroom. At Scavo High School, with support from the Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, educators are getting trained to better recognize the signs of trauma and provide resources to the students who need them. Click here for the article on the good work at Scavo.
  • Be sure to catch this report from WHO-TV and reporter Michael Admire on the Lincoln High School soccer program, and how ELL students are helping to rebuild the team's roster. Click here for Channel 13's report.
  • The rising cost of college tuition will be a challenge for many soon-to-be graduates and their families. Des Moines Register columnist Rehka Basu wrote about the issue and shared the story of East High senior Kayla Palmer, an AP student who wants to study genetics at Iowa State University but is finding out that even in-state tuition at a public university comes with a high price tag. Click here for the Register's column.
  • At a time when the phrase "fake news" is thrown around in response to stories people don't agree with, many students are pursuing opportunities to report "real news." The Des Moines Register's Carol Hunter writes about North High senior Cheyann Neades, a budding journalist, and her experiences with a journalism camp and plans to pursue the field in her studies at Drake University. Click here for the paper's story.
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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 (or your child) have been discriminated against or treated unjustly at school, please contact Anne Sullivan at 2323 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50312 or 515-242-7709 or