Welcome to the 2016/17 school year! It was 100 years ago, on July 29, 1916, that the vote was held to consolidate several rural school districts into what is now the Waukee Community School District.
Do you think any of 187 men who voted in that election could have imagined what Waukee Schools would look like today?
As we enter the new school year, the most important things will remain the same. We’ll continue to provide a strong educational program for students; our teachers will still be committed to our children, challenging them to be the best they can be; and we’ll still have a community that supports our schools.
However, some things will new and exciting this year. We’re welcoming two individuals to new principal positions in our district. Cary Justman, who most recently served as principal at Dallas Center-Grimes, will be taking over as principal at Waukee High School, and Katie Ferguson, who has been an assistant principal in several Waukee elementary buildings in recent years, will be taking on the role of principal at the new Grant Ragan Elementary. Also, Cindi McDonald will take the superintendent reigns in December and Kirk Johnson and Terry Hurlburt have left their principal positions to take on the roles of associate superintendents.
The new Grant Ragan Elementary is complete and ready to welcome students. It’s a beautiful, modern facility of which the community can be proud. Grant Ragan marks the fifth time we have built the same elementary facility in the district. Shuler, Maple Grove, Waukee and Woodland Hills Elementary share the same design. We’ve simply “tweaked” each building with different finishes. This has saved the district hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past eight years, both in architect fees and change orders.
We will also be opening the new Waukee Innovation and Learning Center (WILC) in early October to support our APEX programming for juniors and seniors, and a new transportation and operations facility in December or January.
In addition, we have hired 59 new teachers in the district. Thirty-four of these teaching positions are in response to the rapid student enrollment growth that we continue to experience and are new/added positions that did not exist last year.
This past May, we graduated 549 seniors. We are anticipating approximately 840 kindergarten students. We plan to break ground on another new elementary school in February on the west side of Alice’s Road, in the city of Urbandale (across from the water tower), to open in the fall of 2019. And of course, the planning process for a second high school will kick into full gear during this school year.
Look for periodic celebrations and updates around the 100-year anniversary of the district throughout this school year. You can follow these events and enjoy some historical reminiscing on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WaukeeCSD and also on our Twitter account @WaukeeCSD and the hashtag #WaukeeCSD100yrs.
Also, we will appreciate your patience during the first few weeks of school as bus routes stabilize and driving patterns develop. We are adding over 1,000 new/different students to our bus routes, as well as some completely new routes to best serve our families. There are still a lot of road construction projects and closures to navigate.
We are excited to once again fill our hallways and classrooms with students eager to learn and grow! Welcome to another great school year!
David J. Wilkerson, Ph.D., Superintendent of Schools