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Nearly 500 student-musicians from DMPS high schools shared their talents in Florida.

Spring Break is officially over, although students don’t return to class until Wednesday as teachers and staff have a couple of days of professional development ahead of them.

While Spring Break is a time to relax and recharge for the final stretch of the school year, for many it’s also a time for new travels and adventures, whether close to home or around the world.

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Spanish students from East High School took a trip to Costa Rica.

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Hoover students studying Chinese visit with their counterparts in Beijing.

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Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland were on the itinerary for German students from Central Academy.

Here are just a few examples of some Spring Break activities involving DMPS:

  • Nearly 500 student-musicians from all five DMPS high schools hit the road for Florida and an opportunity to participate in the You’re Instrumental! Program at Disney World. Planning for the trip began nearly four years ago, which provided band, choir and orchestra students an opportunity to perform at various Disney sites along with a chance to be tourists. Read more about their trip.
  • East High School Spanish teacher Ruby Herrara led a group of her students on a trip to Costa Rica. It was an opportunity for students to further their language skills as well as experience the culture of the Central American nation.
  • It was a similar language and cultural immersion for a group of Hoover High School students, whose teacher Chris Dusek led them on a visit to China. The 8-day trip was based in Beijing, and students had a chance to visit a school, enjoy meals in private homes, and see a number of attractions.
  • For students studying German at Central Academy it was a trip to Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland. Teacher Kim Glandorf accompanied eight students on a 10-day visit that included stops in Munich, Frankfort, Cologne, Salzburg and more. Visit the Central Academy German blog to see more of the trip.
  • Closer to home, students from North High School spent time thinking about their next level of education. Seven students travelled to Arkansas and Louisiana to see Historically Black Colleges and Universities, including Dillard, Grambling State, Southern, and Xavier. Meanwhere, the Gear Up program organized a trip to the University of Central Missouri for 30 North students (the school offers in-state tuition for Iowa students).
  • It was a trip of a little over 30 miles north for several student-athletes to compete at the Iowa State High School Classic, which bills itself as the largest indoor track and field meet in the country. Members of the North track and field team took part in the girls’ meet on Tuesday while the Lincoln team competed in the boys’ meet on Wednesday. See photos from the meet on the DMPS Flickr page.
  • Washington, D.C. was the destination for 45 eighth-grade students from six different middle schools headed to Close Up Washington and Philadelphia to learn the essentials of democracy. Students spent the week in workshops and touring historical sites with students from all over the country to solidify their citizenship experience.  This was the eighth year DMPS sent students to the Close Up program.
  • Finally, Spring Break isn’t just a time to grow for students. Six teachers and staff members from Cowles attended the American Montessori Society’s annual conference in Washington, DC. They toured and collaborated with a local Montessori school, and attended sessions on topics ranging from adolescent learning to social-emotional development to networking with other Montessori teachers and staff.

With nearly 33,000 students and 5,000 employees, there is rarely such a thing as a “day off” at Des Moines Public Schools, and Spring Break was no exception. For those of you counting, there are just 67 days until the end of the school year.

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