Welcome Message from Mrs. Sigrist, Elementary Principal
My name is Jen Sigrist and I'm the elementary principal. I have been in the district since 2009 when I was hired to be the Director of Teaching and Learning. Van Meter is a wonderful place to be and I couldn't be more excited about my dual role leading the district curriculum work and leading the elementary.
Van Meter is a small, progressive school district about 15 miles west of West Des Moines and just south of Interstate 80 off of exit 113. Though the District is housed on one campus, the elementary section of the building is the west wing of the facility comprised of classes for kindergarten through 5th grade. We have 22 staff members that serve about 280 students. Our small class sizes allow us to personalize learning while offering guidance, music, art, library, integrated technology, and daily PE in addition to our core curriculum. There are after school clubs and cross-curricular units that allow us to take advantage of our district being on one campus.
Our student-centered classrooms have high levels of student engagement. Various activities are happening at the same time; learners are exploring, working in differentiated small groups, collaborating with partners, reading and writing. Teachers utilize large group and small group formats to meet the needs of each student. In upper elementary grades 3-5, science and social studies classes start emerging. This allows teachers to specialize in a content area while supporting the integration of literacy throughout the day.
We are implementing a Response to Intervention (RtI) framework to ensure each student who needs additional supports (either for enrichment or for reteaching) has the instruction they need to be proficient readers and mathematicians. Our grade level teams, our instructional strategists and our Talented and Gifted Teacher are all collaborating around the best ways to deliver instruction based on what our data say students need. This team approach to instruction is more efficient and helps us see the progress of each child as the responsibility of us all.
We care about educating the whole child and to meet our goals for developing well-rounded children, we are implementing Positive Behaviors Interventions and Supports (PBIS). The tenets of PBIS call for direct teaching of expectations in a proactive and positive way. This allows us to gain instructional time that might otherwise be lost when dealing with problem behaviors. Our Bulldog Beliefs teach students to Be Respectful, Be Responsible, and Be Safe.
Van Meter is fortunate to have technology support the learning of our students. While our secondary students are in a 1:1 environment (each student has a laptop), the elementary boasts similar high levels of technology access. Our 4th and 5th graders each have an iPad Mini assigned to use during the school day and each grade level has a cart of laptops to use as well. Each classroom has a projector and document camera and K-3 students also have an iPad cart to share. Technology is just one tool we use to teach for learner differences. You'd be hard pressed to find an elementary with more technology integration than Van Meter Elementary!
Please explore the district website for more information about our building and district and see examples of student learning taking place. Be sure to check out the weekly administrator updates for relevant information. We welcome your input on ways we can improve communication and to set up a visit of our building to see what is taking place. We take the responsibility of educating collaborative, global citizens very seriously. Our personalized attention to each child is just one way we make sure we are meeting our own high expectations.We are personalizing learning for each student's success, today and tomorrow.