Southeast Polk Community School District
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|Southeast Polk Junior High|
|Location||8031 NE University Av.,
Pleasant Hill, Iowa, USA
|Colors||Black and Gold|
|Southeast Polk Senior High|
|Principal||Charles W. Bredlow|
|Location||7945 NE University Av.,
Pleasant Hill, Iowa, USA
|Colors||Black and Gold|
Southeast Polk Community School District is located 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, Bondurant, Des Moines and surrounding rural areas. The district also stretches into small portions of Jasper and Marion Counties.
The district was formed by a consolidation of several districts (most notably Runnells, Altoona, and Mitchellville; several smaller districts also merged) in 1962. The district operates a high school, a junior high school, a sixth grade center, and eight elementary schools.
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
Seniors are required to give a presentation to fellow students before they graduate to show they meet these 8 outcomes.
Board of education
The district is overseen by a seven-member Board of Education.
The superintendent of the school district is Craig Menozzi. The high school principal is Steve Pettit.
Southeast Polk's grade schools consist of eight elementary schools: Altoona, Centennial, Delaware, Four Mile, Mitchellville, Runnells, Willowbrook and Clay Elementary.
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 as of 2009, was the 12th largest in the state for student enrollment.
Opportunities continue for students to attend local area colleges and Des Moines Central Campus for expanded learning classes.
Central Place Family Resource Center 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.
The school mascot, the Rams, is an acronym for Runnells, Altoona, Mitchellville, and surrounding areas. Later, the district modified the "s" to represent the word " schools," but the original intent was for the mascot to represent the entire area covered by the school district. 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. The school's yearbook is entitled "The RAM" and the previous school year's edition comes out in September or October of each year.
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.
Southeast Polk is a member of the Central Iowa Metropolitan League. The league is divided into three 6-team conferences as shown below:
|Indianola||Ft. Dodge||DM Hoover|
|Southeast Polk||Mason City||DM North|
|WDM Dowling||WDM Valley||Ottumwa|
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. Southeast Polk made the playoffs again in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.
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 fall sports
In the fall of 2008, the Boys Cross Country Team qualified for the state cross country meet for the first time in school history after placing 3rd at districts. Junior team captain Tyler O'Connor finished 15th overall as an individual.
The girl's swimming team has continuously sent a team to the state swimming meet each year for the last several years. The school's volleyball team has had several girls mentioned to all-state teams over the course of the last several seasons.
In 2007, the Boys Golf team qualified for state. They sent individual qualifiers in 2008. An additional fall sport is Girl's Cross Country.
Other winter sports
Winter sports include Boys and Girls Basketball and Wrestling. The Boy's Basketball team finished 2nd at the State Tournament in 2010 and made the state tournament in 2008, losing in the first round on a controversial foul call. Coach B.J. Windhorst was named the 2008-09 CIML Central Coach of the Year. The 1976 Girls Basketball team currently holds the distinct honor of being the only team champion in school history so far.
During the 2008-2009 wrestling season, under the leadership of CIML Coach of the Year Jason Christenson, Freshman Cory Clark won the state tournament at 103 lbs. Seniors Ethan Bass & Jake Crawford each finished 2nd in their weight classes, with 5 others qualifying for state. The team finished 4th overall.
The school's girls bowling team made it to state in 2009. Coach Jeff Hart was named CIML Coach of the Year. Girls bowling was sanctioned by the Iowa High School Athletic Association for the first time in 2009 and boys bowling will be sanctioned beginning in 2010.
Track, Tennis, Soccer, and Girls Golf are spring sports, with Baseball and Softball occurring in the summer.
The Southeast Polk Boys Track team has been district and conference champions for three years running. The softball team has qualified for state the last two seasons, finishing 4th in 2007. The baseball team made the state tournament in 2008 for the first time.
The Southeast Polk Senior High presents two full-length productions each year in November and March or April. There are many opportunities for students to get involved either by trying out for the play or by working on set crew. Every other spring (odd-numbered years), a musical is performed. Formerly, the a musical was performed every other fall, but due to changes in show choir, it has been moved to the spring to allow more to participate.
Another 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 2009 speech season sent Evan Hay and Aaron Albright to State.
The Southeast Polk band program has three bands: Concert Band, Symphonic Band (marching band, and the Wind Ensemble. The marching band is unique in the fact it does not require its members to participate in marching band, although most choose to do so.
The Southeast Polk Marching Rams is directed by Jacqui Meunier and Jayson Gerth. The band has consistently received superior ratings at the State Marching Contest and finished 4th in 4A and overall and received best marching honors at the 2009 ValleyFest competition.
After marching, the above group forms the Symphonic Band, an "advanced concert band" directed by Jacqui Meunier. Many Wind Ensemble members wish to also be members of marching band, so many schedule both Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble for first semester. Symphonic (marching) Band meets during first period, and credit is earned by taking (and passing) it. The Symphonic Band won the Adventureland/Drake University Festival of Bands each year from 2005–2008 and finished 2nd in open class held annually in Waukee, IA.
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. No instrument has more than two players on a part. 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 (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:
- Performed as 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, 2008.
- Received 1st place in class 4A at the Adventureland/Drake University Festival of Bands on April 25, 2008.
- 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 3, 2008.
- 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 9, 2008.
Although Iowa Bandmasters' Convention rules limit each band to a performance at the Iowa Bandmaster's Convention to once every four years, the Wind Ensemble did receive the distinct honor of being a demonstration band for the 2009 conference. Wind Ensemble also won the Adventureland/Drake University Festival of Bands for the second consecutive year in class 4A.
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 6th period every day, and credit is earned by taking (and passing) it. Jazz I took 3rd place at two competitions in 2009. 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 Tuesday 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. Approximately 100 students try to earn entry into Pep Band, 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 one of the two Show Choir bands (see vocal music for more information). 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 fundraising opportunities, the majority of students managed to fundraise at least half the cost, with about 50 fundraising 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.
The vocal music program's most prestigious choir is Chamber Singers, 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 Chorale are directed by Rebecca Young. Treble Clef and Bass Clef are directed by Jamie Logan.
Southeast Polk has two Show Choirs: RAMification and Vocal Gold. RAMification is the varsity mixed show choir and selection is done by audition. In 2009, soloists Pa Cha Vang and Justin Hike each won Outstanding Soloist Awards at the Muscatine River City Showcase and the Indianola Show Choir Encounter respectively. Vocal Gold is a show choir prep group is open to men and women by audition. Vocal Gold recently finished 2nd place at the Muscatine and Keokuk competition, where they also qualified for finals. RAMification also finished 1st at the Indianola Show Choir Encounter in Class 4A. Both RAMification and Vocal Gold competed this past season at Muscatine, Keokuk, and State while RAMification also competed at Indianola. 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. The 2009 Dinner Theatre theme was Disco Fever. Starting in 2010, Dinner Theatre will be moved from April to January.
In fall 2006, Chad Garrels founded the jazz choir also known as "Ramapella". This is a select ensemble of 16-20 singers. Laura Engels has since taken over the choir. They perform at Dinner Theatre and hope to compete with other jazz choirs in the future.
Auditions for all of the select ensembles occur in May for the next school year.
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 provides the means to accomplish those goals, including software, tools, books and other materials. They also give 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.
French Club 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. If students need information about it, contact Miss. Cox, Mme Raasch, or Mrs. Drabek.
'Spanish Club' The Spanish Club is an active organization with many options for students interested in Spanish Culture, service, and fun! Sra. Jensen is the sponsor of this active club.
In June 2010 French and Spanish students traveled to England, France, and Spain for 15 days, visiting London, Paris, the Dune of Pilat, Barcelona, Madrid and many other cities. Future trips in this department are anticipated for 2012 to Costa Rica for the Spanish program and 2012 to Paris and other areas within France.
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.
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.