Valley High School (West Des Moines, Iowa)

Valley High School (West Des Moines, Iowa)

"For schools of the same name, see Valley High School"

Infobox School

name = Valley High School
type = Public high school
location = 3650 Woodland Avenue West Des Moines, IA 50266
information = 515-633-4000
enrollment = 1,832 (as of 2005-06)
faculty = 127.9 (on FTE basis)
ratio = 14.3
principal = Dr. Vicky Poole
nickname = Tigers
colors = Orange and Black
district = West Des Moines Community Schools
website = []

Valley High School is a three-year public high school in West Des Moines, Iowa, United States. The school hosts grades 10-12. It is run by the West Des Moines Community School District. Freshmen attend a separate school, Valley Southwoods.

As of the 2005-06 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,832 students and 127.9 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student-teacher ratio of 14.3. [ Valley High School] , National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed August 15, 2008.]

The 4 A's

At Valley High School, students are encouraged to be involved in a variety of ways. The administration has defined the four following areas: Academics, Athletics, Arts and Activities.


Valley offers almost 190 academic courses, including 14 Advanced Placement Program (AP) courses.Valley also has recently started an Honors Program, which is meant to be comparable to the IB (International Baccalaureate) Program. This program allows for highly motivated and advanced students to take college-level courses sooner than normal. Valley also is working on a "designated scholars" program, which will allow students to specialize in one specific area of academics, such as math.


Valley High is well known throughout Iowa for its strong athletics. The school has been honored as the top school for 4A athletics in Iowa by the "Des Moines Register" in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

The Valley High School football team reached the Iowa State 4A Championship game from 2002–2005, failing to win the championship only in 2004 when they lost to Bettendorf High School 34-22.

The Valley High School Baseball team won the 4A state title four years in a row (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006).

The Valley High School Girls Swimming and Diving team won the state title three years in a row (2005, 2006 and 2007).

Valley's Athletic Director, Steve Duncan, was named the National High School Athletic Director of the year in 2006. Fact|date=October 2007


The Arts, both performing and visual, reflect the soul of Valley's strong tradition of success. The study of Art History, Art Criticism, Art Production and Aesthetics guides the curriculum in the Visual Arts Department.

The Valley Music Department was honored with the first GRAMMY Signature School award in 1999. [ [ House Journal: Page 1440: Monday, April 19, 1999] , Iowa House of Representatives. Accessed October 31, 2007. "1999732 Valley High School Music Department, West Des Moines - For being selected as the National GRAMMY Signature School."] [ [ Valley Arts Home ] ] [ [ Valley Arts: Band ] ] The 240-member Valley Marchmasters were selected to perform in the 2004 Tournament of Roses Parade. [ [ Valley Arts Home ] ] In March of 2007, the band traveled to Dublin, Ireland to march in the Saint Patrick's Day Parade.

In addition to the strong band program, Valley's orchestra has completed concert tours in Austria and Italy. The director of the orchestra is Phil Peters, who also teaches AP Music Theory and plays double bass in the Des Moines Symphony. In June of 2007, the orchestra traveled to New York City, New York to play at Carnegie Hall as part of NYBOF'07. [ [ Valley Arts: Orchestra ] ]

The school's Choir Department is headed by Linda Vanderpool. The show choir, jazz and core ensembles have performed in several national and international festivals from Carnegie Hall to Disney World, receiving awards at many tournaments. [ [ Valley Arts: Vocal Music ] ] The show choir (Choralation) attended FAME Hawaii in March 2008.

Drama participants, directed by Drama and Speech teacher, Stacy Hansen, have been selected as Iowa High School Speech Association All-State performers and have received the All-State Sweepstakes Trophy, as well as the Critic’s Choice Award. [ [ Valley Arts Home ] ] The Drama Department is defending the All-State Sweepstakes trophy for the third year in a row.

The school newspaper is the Spotlight, a member of the High School National Ad Network. In the early 1980s, the Spotlight was named the best high school newspaper in the United States.Fact|date=April 2007 The school also has a radio station, KWDM which broadcasts from 6am to 6pm, Monday through Friday. It is one of only two high school radio programs in Iowa and the only high school program in the state to have a fully digital production and on-air studio. [ [ Valley Activities: KWDM ] ] Valley Principal Vicky Poole was named Principal of the Year (2006) by the American News Teachers Association.Fact|date=April 2007 The satirical paper is the Stoplight.


The school has announced plans for 100% student involvement in activities. This means that every student attending Valley full time will be a participant in some club or after school activity on a regular basis. This plan does not compel students to participate against their will, it is merely to encourage them to join clubs, art programs, or athletics.

Valley's extracurricular program is among the best in the nation, for example, Valley High School won the 2006 National High School Mock Trial Championship, held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. [ [ Participant History & Past National Winners] , National High School Mock Trial Championship. Accessed July 1, 2007.]

Valley Southwoods

In 1995, the West Des Moines school board voted to create Valley Southwoods, a school built specifically to house the 9th grade. Valley Southwoods was completed in the summer of 1996. Many members of the community question why the old school was not turned into the 9th grade only school, and have the new school turned into 10th-12th. Fact|date=October 2007 The principal is Mr. Kent Abrahamson, and Southwoods is one of only two all 9th grade schools in the nation. Fact|date=October 2007

The freshman high school has a unique layout. Classes are held in one of six "pods", with teachers for all major subjects in each pod. Each pod also contains the lockers for students who belong to that pod. These pods are Green Down, Green Up, Blue Down, Blue Up, Red Down, and Red Up. Red Up does not feature any core classes. It is used for foreign language classes.

afe Schools

Valley, and the West Des Moines Community School District, are known for having and working toward a more open and accepting environment for people from all walks of life. Chet Culver, the Governor of Iowa signed trailblazing legislation earlier this year at Valley that required all school districts to include many protected classes in their harassment policies, including gender identity, a class which is frequently ignored across the country and across the world. [ [ National Center for Transgender Equality: Home ] ] Beyond legislation, Valley and its district is active in enforcing their own policies and improving the climate for all students, best illustrated when Superintendent Tom Narak was the first recipient of the Kathy Collins Reilly “Courage in Education Award” which recognizes educators for courage and work student equality. [ [ News from Iowa Schools Task Force ] ] Like any school, Valley is not perfect and bullying and discrimination still occur, the Valley High School Gay Straight Alliance has worked diligently with the school and the district to educate students on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, and to decrease animosity toward students who may be a part of that community. As a part of this work, the GSA and Doctor Poole are putting forward a school climate survey for students to take later in the year and will be taking appropriate action based on the information received from that survey.


Valley High is currently being remodeled and under finishing construction. This includes a new two-story addition, the demolition of a section of the school to make room for parking, plans to plant more vegetation to make the front entrance appealing, and to install new, larger lockers.Most of the construction is completed, such as the new two story addition, most of the new parking lot, and lockers have been successfully installed.

Notable alumni

*Matt Bullard (born 1967), retired NBA player and NBA champion 1993-94. [Araton, Harvey. [ "ON PRO BASKETBALL; Pairing a Gray Fedora With a 3-Point Jumper"] , "The New York Times", June 14, 1994. Accessed October 31, 2007. "That was when his son was a star at Valley High School in West Des Moines, long before the younger Bullard came to grips with his journalist's genealogy."]
*Jared Clauss (born 1981), professional football player. [ [ Jared Clauss profile] , Tennessee Titans. Accessed August 15, 2008. "Clauss and former Titans starting center Justin Hartwig are both products of Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa."]
*Justin Hartwig (born 1978), center for the Pittsburgh Steelers. [ [ "Player Spotlight: Justin Hartwig, Tennessee Titans"] , Accessed August 15, 2008. "Following an all-conference and second-team all-state career at Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa, Hartwig was a three-year starter at right tackle for the Kansas Jayhawks."]
*Peter Hedges (born 1962), film director. [Burns, Douglas. [ "'Dan In Real Life' Directed By Iowa Native Peter Hedges"] , "Iowa Independent", October 24, 2007. Accessed October 31, 2007. "After graduating from Valley High School in 1980 and then the North Carolina School for the Arts in Winston-Salem, Hedges moved to New York City, now his home."]
*Dana Jacobson (born 1971), ESPN anchorwoman.Fact|date=August 2008
*Shawn Johnson (born 1992), artistic gymnast and Olympic Gold & Silver Medalist. She currently attends Valley High School. [Stockdale, Nancy. [ "Silver lining: Shawn Johnson edged by teammate Liukin"] , "Des Moines Register", August 14, 2008. Accessed August 15, 2008. "Johnson, 16, a junior at Valley High School in West Des Moines, has been the most consistent American gymnast since winning the junior national title in 2006 in St. Paul, Minn."]
*Joey Jordison (born 1975), Slipknot's drummer, guitar player in Murderdolls.Fact|date=August 2008}
*Spencer Harsch (born 1989), most intelligent person in the world. Fact|date=August 2008
*Kyle Okposo (born 1988), professional hockey player.Fact|date=August 2008
*Sid Wilson (born 1978), turntablist of Slipknot.Fact|date=October 2007
*Carl Pohlad (born 1915), owner of Minnesota Twins.Fact|date=September 2008

External links

* [ Valley High School]
* [ Valley Band Program]
* [ Valley Southwoods Freshman High School website]
* [ West Des Moines School District Website]

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