Southeast Polk Community School District

Southeast Polk Community School District

Infobox Secondary school
name = Southeast Polk Junior High
principal = Glenn Dietzenbach
type = Public Secondary
grades = 7-8
enrollment = 860
colors = Black and Gold
address = 8031 NE University Av.
city = Pleasant Hill
state = Iowa
country = USA
campus = Suburban
Infobox Secondary school
name = Southeast Polk Senior High
principal = Chuck Bredlow
type = Public Secondary
established = 1961
grades = 9–12
enrollment = 1,650
colors = Black and Gold
address = 8325 NE University Av.
city = Pleasant Hill
state = Iowa
country = USA
campus = Suburban

Southeast Polk Community School District is centered just to the east of Des Moines, in southeastern Polk County. The high school and junior high are located in Pleasant Hill, Iowa. The district includes Runnells, Altoona, Mitchellville, parts of Pleasant Hill and Des Moines, and the surrounding rural areas.

The district was formed by a consolidation of several districts (most notably Runnells, Altoona, and Mitchellville; several smaller districts also merged) in 1962.

Famous alumni of Southeast Polk include Chicago Bears Quarterback Kyle Orton and Chris Pirillo.

District's mission

The district's mission is "to be an innovative, educational organization committed to providing learning experiences of superior quality which enable ALL students to successfully meet challenges now and in the future."

Throughout the K-12 experience, students are guided to become:

  • Self-Directed Learners
  • Collaborative Workers
  • Complex Thinkers
  • Community Contributors
  • Quality Producers
  • Wellness Practitioners
  • Global Participants
  • Effective Communicators

Board of Education

The district is overseen by a seven-member Board of Education. Members were previously elected to three-year terms every September; however, Iowa law changes will now have the elections held in September of odd-numbered years.

Current Board

Current information

The Superintendent of the school district is Thomas Downs. The High School Principal is Chuck Bredlow, and the Associate Principal is Joseph Horton.

Southeast Polk competes in the Central Iowa Metropolitan League Central Conference along with Ankeny, Indianola, Urbandale, Dowling Catholic and Johnston.

Southeast Polk's grade schools consist of eight elementary schools, Altoona, Centennial, Delaware, Four Mile, Mitchellville, Runnells, Willowbrook, and Clay Elementary.

The schools are proud of their academic and extracurricular programs, which exist to serve and challenge both the talented and gifted and the struggling students. The district tries to provide a wide variety of opportunities for student involvement. The high school offers more than thirty clubs including community service, academic and hobby clubs.

Southeast Polk is one of the fastest-growing districts in Iowa and is currently the 12th largest in the state for student enrollment. With 1650 students in the high school and 860 in the junior high, the hallways are crowded and students and staff are eagerly awaiting the opening of a new $50 million high school around mid-year of 2008-09. When the high school students relocate to the new building, the current high school will be renovated to become the new junior high.

Opportunities continue for students to attend local area colleges and Des Moines Central Campus for expanded learning classes.

Central Place Family Resource Center, located in the high school building, provides services from tutoring and parenting skills to shelter, clothing, and food for students and families in the district. All Southeast Polk families may use Central Place services.

chool pride

The school mascot, the Rams, is an acronym for Runnells, Altoona, Mitchellville Schools. The school colors are black and gold. The district prides itself on its large amount of school spirit, including both "Ram Pride" and "The Southeast Polk Way."

The school newspaper is the "Rampage," a member of the High School National Ad Network.

High school activities

Every spring break, mostly junior and some senior high school students have the opportunity to travel with other high school students from around Iowa on the United Nations Field Trip. Students visit New York City and Washington D.C.. The cost for the trip is approximately $1200 plus food, souvenirs, and subway fares.

ports and recreation

Southeast Polk is a member of the Central Iowa Metropolitan League. The league is divided into three 6-team conferences as shown below:

Varsity football

Southeast Polk's most successful football season was 2006. The Rams made it all the way to the 4A state championship football game at the UNI-Dome before losing the state title to Cedar Rapids Xavier by a score of 21-6.

During the 2007 season, Southeast Polk was noted by visiting coaches as having the largest and loudest crowd in the CIML. Newsweek magazine also took pictures of their student section at the first playoff game for use in their Iowa Caucuses issue in January 2008.

Other sports

Fall sports include Cross Country (boys & girls), Girls Swimming, and Volleyball. Winter sports include Boys and Girls Basketball, Wrestling, and Boys Swimming. Track, Tennis, Soccer, and Girls Golf are spring sports, with Baseball and Softball occurring in the summer.

The Southeast Polk Boys Track team are district and conference champions three years running. The Girls Basketball team won the State Championship in 1976. Boys Basketball finished 4th at State in 2000.

In 2007, the Boys Golf team qualified for state. In 2008, Boys Basketball qualified for the state tournament, losing in the first round to Cedar Rapids Kennedy 47-43.

Major clubs and groups



The Southeast Polk Senior High presents two full-length productions each year. Although in the past they have been in November and March, the Spring 2008 one was moved to April, and due to new scheduling conflicts, many dates both the Fall and Spring shows are being considered. There are many opportunities for students to get involved either by trying out for the play or by working on set crew. Every other fall (odd-numbered years), a musical is performed.

SpeechAnother opportunity for students interested in performing is the speech club. Students are able to participate in Large group and individual contests. They compete at Iowa High School Speech Association Events. The head coach is Emma Hantelman. The 2007-08 speech season ended with three students going to All-State.

"Individual events"Acting, Prose, Radio News, Improvisation, After-Dinner Speaking, Spontaneous Speaking, Original Oratory, Poetry, Public Address, Story Telling, Literature Program, and Book/Movie Review

"Large Group events"One-Act Play, Reader's Theatre, Choral Reading, Ensemble Acting, Mime, Group Improvisation, and Musical Theatre

Instrumental music

The Southeast Polk band program is unique in the fact it does not require its members to participate in marching band, although most choose to.

The Southeast Polk Marching Rams, consisting of 100 members for 2008, is directed by Jayson Gerth & Jacqui Meunier. The 2008 theme is West Side Story. They are performing "Maria," "America," "Mambo," "I Have a Love" and "Tonight." "Tonight" will join the school song "Onward Rams" and the popular cheer "Hey Rams" at parades. The band is looking to get their fifth consecutive "I" rating at State Marching Band Contest in October. They will also go to the Urbandale and Johnston Marching Band Contests.

After marching, the above group forms the Symphonic Band, an "advanced concert band" directed by Jacqui Meunier. Many students in other Wind Ensemble wish to be members of marching band, so many schedule both Symphonic Band, along with Wind Ensemble for first semester. Symphonic/Marching Band meets during first period, and credit is earned by taking (and passing) it. The Symphonic Band is defending champions four years running for the Adventureland/Drake University Festival of Bands in open class held annually in Waukee.

The Wind Ensemble, directed by Jacqui Meunier, is the most prestigious band of the three curricular bands at Southeast Polk. Entry to the ensemble is audition only, and only the best band students are allowed entry. It meets during third period, and credit is earned by taking (and passing) it. Students in Wind Ensemble are required to participate in the SEP Solo & Ensemble contest held in February or March (students in other bands have the option of participating for a fee). The Wind Ensemble has had their most successful year during the 2007-2008 school year. The Southeast Polk Wind Ensemble:
* Was the closer at the South Central Iowa Bandmasters' Association Concert Band Festival.
* Performed at the University of Northern Iowa in a joint performance with the UNI Symphony Orchestra on April 22.
* Received 1st place in class 4A at the Adventureland/Drake University Festival of Bands on April 25.
* Received a "I" Superior rating with a perfect score from all three judges at the Iowa High School Music Association State Large Group Festival on May 3rd.
* Was the only 4A band in Iowa, over all other 4A bands in Iowa, to perform at the Iowa Bandmasters' Convention at Hotel Fort Des Moines on May 9th.

The Concert Band, directed by Jayson Gerth, is composed of mainly freshman students and is used as a transition from the Junior High band program to the High School band level. Freshman band students can bypass Concert Band by auditioning for Symphonic Band or Wind Ensemble during the second semester of their 8th grade year. It meets during 8th period, and credit is earned by taking (and passing) it. The Concert Band finished 2nd (to the SEP Symphonic Band) at the Adventureland/Drake University Festival of Bands in 2008 in open class.

The Southeast Polk Jazz I, conducted by Jayson Gerth, meets 4th hour, and credit is earned by taking (and passing) it. Jazz I finished in 2nd place at the Indianola Jazz Encounter in 2008. Jazz II (also conducted by Gerth) meets Tuesday & Thursday mornings from the first Tuesday following State Marching Band contest (usually the third Tuesday of October) through the second to last Thursday before Spring Break. Credit is not earned by taking Jazz II (although band letter points are).

Credit is also not earned for the band many students enjoy the most, Pep Band. Pep Band is unique in allowing anyone in any curricular band the opportunity. Aproxamently 100 students wanted entry into Pep Band for the 2007-2008 school year, requiring rehearsals being held in November to function as auditions. Right before Thanksgiving Break, the final list of members is posted. Performances typically occur from late November through Early February on Tuesday and Friday nights at home basketball games (and at the semi-final, championship football games & state basketball tournaments if necessary).

In addition, a select few students support the Show Choir through Show Choir band. They won the "Best Band" award at two competitions in 2006. Band students also have the option being a part of graduation band, which provides music for senior graduation at the end of the year.

Every four years, the band takes an optional band trip outside Iowa. During Spring Break 2007, 130 band students took the $546.00 trip (plus food and souvenirs) to Florida. Through fundrasing opportunities, the majority of students managed to fundraise at least half the cost, with about 50 fundrasing the entire trip. The six day trip consisted of two travel days, three days at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida (including a performance at the EPCOT Center), a day at Cocoa Beach, and a night at Medieval Times. The next trip is scheduled for the 2010-2011 school year.

In 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the band held an all-night practice-a-thon. The evening started at 5:45 PM for marching band members, who marched a game prior to the event at 9:00 PM, when non-marching band members arrived. From 9:00 PM to 8:00 AM the next morning, band members practiced all night and ended up raising over $15,000 for the American Red Cross. The practicing continued the next morning for marching band members, as they then marched a parade. In the Spring of 2008, a second practice-a-thon was held, this time benefiting local families in need through SEP Cares. Over $5,000 was raised. As a result of these successful events, the practice-a-thon has become a bi-annual tradition.

Vocal music

The vocal music program has Chamber Singers as the most prestigious choir out of the Choirs in SE Polk it is a mixed voice choir. Entrance is only granted to the best singers at SE Polk through audition. Chorale is the highest all women choir and entry is by audition only. Concert Choir is open to anyone and Bass Clef Choir(which consists of freshmen men in choir) has been incorporated into Concert Choir. Treble Clef is an open all women's choir made primarily of freshmen. Chamber Singers and Concert Choir are directed by Laura Engels. Treble Clef and Chorale are directed by Brandi Addison.

Southeast Polk has three Show Choirs Ramification, Vocal Gold, and Southeast Celebration. Ramification is the varsity mixed show choir and selection is done by audition. This group has enjoyed success in the past years and looks forward to a great season. Vocal Gold is a show choir prep group is open to men and women by audition. Vocal Gold recently finished 2nd place of 8 prep groups for the second year at the Waukee Show Choir Invitational. Both Ramification and Vocal Gold compete at Johnston, Mt. Pleasant, and Waukee. They have additional performances throughout the year and both host and perform in the Rhythm and Music Showcase; both show choirs also perform at the Southeast Polk Dinner Theatre near the end of the year.

In fall 2006, Chad Garrels founded the jazz choir also known as "Ramapella". This is a select ensemble of 16-20 singers.

Auditions for all of the select ensembles occur in May for the next school year.

The Chorus Trip (similar to the Band Trip, see above, except held every 3 years instead of 4) was last held during Spring Break 2008. They went to Los Angeles and performed at Disneyland.

TAG and Oasis

TAG and Oasis, although much different in methods and requirements, are essentially the same concept on two levels. Both are designed to improve upon students' skills and development.

TAG is invitation-only, which requires high scores on [ The Iowa Tests] and [ CogAT] . The use of TAG for many is a mix between study hall and a specialty course. Students are to write goals and methods to reach those goals (such as learning to play guitar, or speak another language), wherein the teacher, Robert O'Brien, provides the means to accomplish those goals, including software, tools, books and other materials. He also gives students more flexibility in course selection, allowing exemption from certain prerequisites if necessary.

Oasis, on the other hand, is by recommendation. The main goal is to "help support kids in their efforts to be successful in school." Credit recovery is often a reason for students to join Oasis.

Language Clubs

French Club

The Southeast Polk French Club was created in 1979 by Diane Larson. She created the club to further the development of the French program. Inspired by this idea the Spanish club was also created years later by Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Lamb. The club has a high member to student ratio, which shows outstanding support among the French classes. The French Club has many activities throughout the year including a scavenger hunt, Mardi Gras, picnic, and Valentine's Day flower sales.

Spanish Club

The Spanish Club, on the other hand, has a fraction of Spanish students involved while still out numbering French club. The Spanish Club won the Spanish-French War for the 2007-2008 school year and hope to win it again next year.

There are currently 7 Spanish teachers: Jensen, Johnson, Lamb, Puffer, Heefner, Reisson, and Nixon. In June 2007 students traveled to Spain for 11 days, visiting Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla and many other cities. Plans for 2008 have been laid off until the summer of 2009, currently set for Arica, Chile and various Peruvian cities.

Film festivals

Since the 2006-2007 school year the student council has produced two student film festival competitions. The students enter their films to compete for numerous awards. The winner for best long film in the first film festival was "Pwnage". This film starred Justin Bulver, Trevor Zuck, and Chris Jessen in a battle against lawn gnomes. The winner for best long film in the second film festival was A.J. Schmidt's "The Vacant" starring Dusty Neshiem and Ethan Elkin in a thrilling crusade for a criminal.

Only well crafted and meticulously shot films (such as "The Vacant") win the coveted award of best long film in the festival. Of course this only happened in the second bi-annual awards cerimony. The first was a way of urging more talented and knowledgable filmmakers to participate in and submit their films.

Book Club

Since its origination in 2003 by Teacher-Librarian, Mrs. VanHook, the Book Club has focused on promoting literacy and increasing an awareness of cultures. Students are encouraged to share their voice and opinions about what they are reading. All literary genres are explored.

Book Club members read in the elementary schools, provide books of love for the needy and love to visit with school friends at the local community coffee houses. In 2007, the Book Club earned $3,000 to share with New Orleans in rebuilding their schools and communities.

External links

* [ Official site of school district]
* [ - Parent and Student resource]
* [ Southeast Polk RAMS Football]

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