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Des Moines Public Schools
A FoodCorps seed classroom project at a Des Moines Public School.

Des Moines Public Schools

The Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS) district is comprised of 10 pre-K/Head Start, 39 Elementary, 11 Middle, and 5 High Schools and has a total enrollment of approximately 33,000 students. DMPS mission statement is one that wants graduates to possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities to be successful at the next stage of their lives. FoodCorps mission of being together with communities, FoodCorps serves to connect kids to healthy food in school. Together, these mission statements align, as we know that students who are healthier and understand where their food comes from results in students who can be successful at the next stage of life. Therefore, DMPS utilizes Pick a Better Snack nutrition education and social marketing in K-3rd grade classrooms, after school programs, and summer programs. DMPS works very hard at farm to school efforts and featuring local food when able.

The District’s goal for food education is to see an expansion in nutrition and farm to school education at more schools. They would like to graduate service members out of buildings after fostering sustainable change, in order to move those positions to additional qualifying and interested schools. Two of the eight schools currently show signs of being ready to graduate service members out of those buildings in the next 1-2 years. The district would also like to get a better grasp on which schools have active gardens to then bolster participation in those gardens.

Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS) is the largest and one of the most diverse school districts in Iowa. More than 50% of DMPS students come from racial and ethnic minority populations while 26% of DMPS students live in poverty. The schools that FoodCorps members will serve in are all CEP schools, which means 100% of the students there get free breakfast and lunch every day. Students and communities in service schools are at risk for food insecurity, poverty, and educational deficits.

Each service member will serve in 2 elementary schools that qualify for Community Eligibility Program. The service member will use the Pick a better snack curriculum developed by the Iowa Department of Public Health to increase fruit and vegetable consumption with Kindergarten through third grade students. Each FoodCorps member will build upon and support school wellness teams, gardens, and after school and summer garden/nutrition programs for students and the community. FoodCorps members will be able to help with the district Wellness policy team and Farm to School efforts. Through these efforts, service members build strong relationships with school communities, which allow them to facilitate conversations around successes and challenges from food education programming. This feedback can then be passed to the district, to learn how best to support schools in their programming. In addition, as the district moves back towards scratch cooking, service members could play an important role in encouraging students to try the menu items.

Des Moines is the capital and the most populous city in Iowa. In addition, it serves as the county seat for Polk County. The city’s population was 214,133 as of the 2020 census. Greater Des Moines is a four-season destination, with something for everyone. The warmer months can be spent biking more than 800 miles of trails, or at an Iowa Cubs game. We’re all about catching some rays and rides at Adventureland Park, the tradition of the Iowa State Fair and attending internationally recognized festivals. When the colors change and the pumpkin patches open you can dig in to the seasonal flavors of local vendors at the Downtown Farmers Market or sip the latest creation from one of 17 local breweries. Experience our emerging music scene and discover the latest public art installation.

FoodCorps service members with Des Moines Public Schools are part of an Iowa cohort that includes 9 service members in 3 communities across the state. Momentum for Farm to School is growing, with over two-dozen active chapters, and state initiatives like Iowa Department of Public Health’s Pick a Better Snack program. FoodCorps service members will have opportunities to engage with students, farmers, teachers, and community leaders to help build capacity to sustain programs for years to come. In Iowa we serve with heart to make lasting change within our food system.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Des Moines Public Schools is a very diverse district. Therefore, service members need to understand cultural diversity and be comfortable supporting different cultures while doing programming at our schools.
  • Each of our sites has a school garden, so feeling comfortable and having knowledge and passion for working in the garden is needed.
  • Our sites also have cooking clubs, so feeling comfortable with understanding basic preparation for food and cooking would be helpful.

The Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS) district is comprised of 10 pre-K/Head Start, 39 Elementary, 11 Middle, and 5 High Schools and has a total enrollment of approximately 33,000 students. DMPS mission statement is one that wants graduates to possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities to be successful at the next stage of their lives. FoodCorps mission of being together with communities, FoodCorps serves to connect kids to healthy food in school. Together, these mission statements align, as we know that students who are healthier and understand where their food comes from results in students who can be successful at the next stage of life. Therefore, DMPS utilizes Pick a Better Snack nutrition education and social marketing in K-3rd grade classrooms, after school programs, and summer programs. DMPS works very hard at farm to school efforts and featuring local food when able.

The District’s goal for food education is to see an expansion in nutrition and farm to school education at more schools. They would like to graduate service members out of buildings after fostering sustainable change, in order to move those positions to additional qualifying and interested schools. Two of the eight schools currently show signs of being ready to graduate service members out of those buildings in the next 1-2 years. The district would also like to get a better grasp on which schools have active gardens to then bolster participation in those gardens.

Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS) is the largest and one of the most diverse school districts in Iowa. More than 50% of DMPS students come from racial and ethnic minority populations while 26% of DMPS students live in poverty. The schools that FoodCorps members will serve in are all CEP schools, which means 100% of the students there get free breakfast and lunch every day. Students and communities in service schools are at risk for food insecurity, poverty, and educational deficits.

Each service member will serve in 2 elementary schools that qualify for Community Eligibility Program. The service member will use the Pick a better snack curriculum developed by the Iowa Department of Public Health to increase fruit and vegetable consumption with Kindergarten through third grade students. Each FoodCorps member will build upon and support school wellness teams, gardens, and after school and summer garden/nutrition programs for students and the community. FoodCorps members will be able to help with the district Wellness policy team and Farm to School efforts. Through these efforts, service members build strong relationships with school communities, which allow them to facilitate conversations around successes and challenges from food education programming. This feedback can then be passed to the district, to learn how best to support schools in their programming. In addition, as the district moves back towards scratch cooking, service members could play an important role in encouraging students to try the menu items.

Des Moines is the capital and the most populous city in Iowa. In addition, it serves as the county seat for Polk County. The city’s population was 214,133 as of the 2020 census. Greater Des Moines is a four-season destination, with something for everyone. The warmer months can be spent biking more than 800 miles of trails, or at an Iowa Cubs game. We’re all about catching some rays and rides at Adventureland Park, the tradition of the Iowa State Fair and attending internationally recognized festivals. When the colors change and the pumpkin patches open you can dig in to the seasonal flavors of local vendors at the Downtown Farmers Market or sip the latest creation from one of 17 local breweries. Experience our emerging music scene and discover the latest public art installation.

FoodCorps service members with Des Moines Public Schools are part of an Iowa cohort that includes 9 service members in 3 communities across the state. Momentum for Farm to School is growing, with over two-dozen active chapters, and state initiatives like Iowa Department of Public Health’s Pick a Better Snack program. FoodCorps service members will have opportunities to engage with students, farmers, teachers, and community leaders to help build capacity to sustain programs for years to come. In Iowa we serve with heart to make lasting change within our food system.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Des Moines Public Schools is a very diverse district. Therefore, service members need to understand cultural diversity and be comfortable supporting different cultures while doing programming at our schools.
  • Each of our sites has a school garden, so feeling comfortable and having knowledge and passion for working in the garden is needed.
  • Our sites also have cooking clubs, so feeling comfortable with understanding basic preparation for food and cooking would be helpful.