Parent Newsletter March 2018

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

Dear Central Academy students and parents,

Please remember Parent conferences are Thursday, March 1, and Tuesday, March 6, from 3:30 – 7:30 PM.  It is an open house style without scheduled appointments.  If these times are inconvenient for your family, please reach out to teachers by email.

Spring break is coming up soon (March 9)!  We have three student groups going on international travel over the break to England, Italy & Greece, and Japan. Others (like me) will be enjoying a ‘stay-cation’ and soaking up the joy in Des Moines, capital city of the number 1 state to live in!  Whatever your plans, I hope they are rejuvenating!


Last year Central Academy students formed S.P.E.A.K. (Students Promoting Emotional Awareness and Kidpowerment), an organization that works to end the stigma of mental illness and promote mental health.  They host special events, such as the the guest speaker on procrastination in last week, create a monthly newsletter with stories from members of our learning community, and provide a support network for each other as they navigate life’s challenges.  They discuss strategies for helping friends and oneself handle difficult emotions. Because caring communities care for each other, SPEAK students practice the “See, Hear, Speak” approach.

  • See: Notice changes in habits, sleeping, appetite, jokes, personality.
  • Hear: Listen and validate what a person is feeling; ask questions. and
  • Speak: Recognize the kind of support that may be helpful and when to get adult help from the school counselor.

We are incredibly proud of and grateful to our student leaders in SPEAK for their efforts to create a healthy and safe environment at Central Academy.


Last year students organized demonstrations on several occasions in response to national or local events.  Empowering student voice and activism is important to developing civic engagement in our society and is part of DMPS’ mission to prepare students for the next stage of their lives. There are many ways for students to raise their voices which include letter writing campaigns, holding a forum, creating and circulating petitions, or hosting a lunch meeting.  All of these have been utilized by Academy students for different issues in the last year.

Organizing a walkout is another form of student protest.  During a walkout event, student safety is our top priority. If students walk out of classes, we ask them to keep entrances and driveways clear, stay out of traffic, and allow students who choose not participate the freedom to go about their day uninterrupted.

To be clear, a walkout protest is an act of civil disobedience, and therefore, by definition, a violation of the rules. Students who choose to walk out of classes will be counted absent and will have to make up any work they miss. The consequences are no different than if students were absent from class without permission for any other reason.  After a non-violent act of civil disobedience, students are welcome to rejoin their classes even if they are already in progress.

Finally, since student protests are not school sponsored events, there will be no additional bus service back to their home schools.  If students miss the bus, they will have to wait for the next one or call a parent for a ride.  As always, we will not leave students stranded, but they may have to wait.

I am inspired by our student leaders who proactively speak out and are changing the world.  And I appreciate their ability to also give thoughtful consideration to  logistical and safety issues when planning their demonstration protests.


Mr. Phomvisay, Director of our sister program Central Campus, has snagged an opportunity for students to meet and listen to a presentation by Astronaut and Iowan, Dr. Peggy Whitson on April 13.  He has generously included Central Academy students in the offering.  We are trying to determine how many students would like to participate.  Students interested in attending this lecture, please give your name to Kendra Williams in the Academy office.  As we decide venue and other details, we’ll keep those students who have indicated interest informed.

March 1 and 6
(Thursday and Tuesday): Academy parent teacher conferences from 3:30 – 7:30 both nights.

March 9 (Friday)– March 16 (Friday): No school: Spring Break!

March 19 (Monday): Classes resume.

March 26 (Monday): Last day to order and pay for AP Exams.

March 30 (Friday): No classes, teacher professional development

April 4 (Wednesday): Iowa Assessment day in DMPS High schools.  All students are to report to their home schools for annual testing.  It is a normal B-day for Middle School students (Tuesday, April 3 is also a B-day).  MS students take their tests over several days in the morning, so they don’t miss classes at Academy.  And since this is a scheduled school day, unlike the ACT, which is a ‘day off’ for HS students, we will have B-day HS classes for our Out of District students.

April 8 (Sunday): Central Academy Senior Recognition Ceremony, 2 PM, Temple of Performing Arts.

May 7 (Monday): AP testing begins. See the testing calendar for the date time and location of your tests.

We are now taking orders for AP exams.  (Usually students taking High School AP courses order exams.  It is unusual for 7th or 8th grade students to do so.) Attached is DMPS AP Exam information.  All DMPS high school students must register for their AP exams through their home high school.  Out of District (and middle school) students register through Central Academy.  Final payment for all AP exams must be received by March 26, 2018 in order for exams to be ordered. More information about exams for Central students can be found here: Academy AP Exam Information