“On Demand” Academy Orientation

Dear Central Academy students and families,

I met with the Academy staff this morning. They have been relentlessly preparing for our virtual semester.  They have been researching, exploring, vetting, and testing the virtual tools we will be using for our classes this fall. Still, the first question in the meeting was, “What do I do on the first day if something goes wrong and I can’t log in?”  Even though we were meeting virtually, I could almost feel the air leave the room as we held our collective breath.

All of us have been humbled by technology as we have worked to learn how to use the system as it continues to be updated and refined for our virtual launch.  But with every update, the system has become more robust. I have been so impressed with our responsive IT department.  I have been so grateful to see teachers in our building and across our district, step in and step up to help each other, teach each other, and support each other.

And, my friends, that’s exactly what we are going to do for you, too.

If you have technical problems on the first day of school, the first thing you must do is take a deep breath. You cannot think clearly without oxygen to the brain. Pause, relax, look around at the resources you have available.  Often a solution presents itself if you can just take a breath and look around– “broaden your gaze” as they say.

Seek assistance if you can’t resolve it.

  • DMPS’ helpline number is 515-242-8221.  It will have tech support for students starting September 8. The Helpline is active now but the tech support component will begin on Sept. 8.
  • Email your teacher– all of us knows what it feels like to have technical problems.  Your teacher may not be able to email you back immediately but they can help you get caught up and connect you with solutions. Also, your teacher may reach out to you through your DMPS email if they have problems.

Finally, spend some time this week or weekend testing out the tools you need.  The Academy teachers are (have been) reaching out with messages in your DMPS email. You’ll find notifications that you have been added to Teams and invitations to classes for your calendar.  Some teachers are creating optional ‘practice’ sessions for you to try out meeting them online. Try out these short videos in our “On Demand” virtual orientation to help you learn about the upcoming semester:

Gogerty created tutorials, specific to Academy:




Professionally created tutorials on the Virtual tools you’ll need:



ADVANCED PLACEMENT REGISTRATION (for AP classes– not 8th grade or Prep Academy)


I am very excited to announce the Grand Opening of a Virtual Academy built in MineCraft by senior, Cael Fitch and his programmers Anthony Prosperi, Mitchell Walsmith, Spencer Jones, and Sophie Johnson. For those of you who have the MineCraft Game, come and explore Academy, find your classes, teachers, and hidden easter eggs, and meet up with your Academy friends.  This Friday at 3:00 I will send you the server information so you can log in to Academy in the MineCraft world. This game is the MineCraft Bedrock version and has safety settings to make it fun for everyone.

If you don’t have MineCraft, you can still tour the virtual Academy.  We’ll send out a video of the game also on Friday at 3:00.


We will be hosting drive-thru material distribution events tomorrow, Thursday, September 3 from 10 AM – 2 PM and 5 – 7 PM, and Friday, September 4 from 10- 2.   Watch this FUN video to see how to participate in material distribution: https://youtu.be/DIMjylL5R1M

Of course the pandemic has impacted some of our supply chain for our materials distribution.  We have the bags ready and we’ve loaded them up with everything that has been delivered.  However, some of our English novels and some of our math workbooks will arrive next week. We are planning smaller pick up events to distribute those materials that are arriving late.Please take this SURVEY to help us design the distribution procedure that would work for your family.

We have been over and over our class lists and double and triple checked the materials prepared for each of our 1692 students.  However, there have been a few schedule changes, adds, drops, etc. So students, if you get something in your bag that you don’t need anymore or by mistake, or if you are missing something, please fill out this ERROR REPORT.  We’ll work out a plan to make it right as soon as possible.  (Students must use their log in credentials to complete the error report so we can sync with our library system.)

If you don’t have any Academy classes until Term 2, you can always come and get your bag in October.



I modified the district calendar to add in some specifics for Academy. It includes the class times, the dates for each term, and parent conference times and dates that classes are in session.

The district has also published an updated Virtual Learning Handbook for students and families.


Des Moines Public Schools provides a wealth of support and resources for families.  Check out the link:  https://www.dmschools.org/familyresources/

You can find information on disaster relief, child care, domestic violence, English Language Learner Community, Employment assistance, Financial assistance, Food assistance, Health, Housing/homelessness, Legal, Mental Health, Personal hygiene items & cleaning supplies, Technology, and Free online community partner programs.


Every year, students enrolled in English at Academy (8th – 12th grades) need a set of novels or texts that they can annotate (so it cannot be a library book). We use a bulk supplier that allows us to purchase these books at a reduced price. You may choose to order one or more of these books from us or you can supply your own. Use this FORM to order books from us. Learn more on our website:  https://ca.dmschools.org/2020/08/english-book-orders/

The Academy office is open Monday through Friday from 8 – 4.

  • NEED TO HAVE A FACE TO FACE APPOINTMENT?    Please call Kim Kinney, office manager at 515-242-7888 to make an appointment.
  • QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR COURSE SELECTION?  If you have questions about the Academy courses you requested, please email our scheduling specialist, Jami Powers at jami.powers@dmschools.org.

You’ve got this!

Dr. Gogerty

Director of Advanced Learning and Central Academy

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