Des Moines Public Schools

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Des Moines Public Schools
DMPS logo.png
Think. Learn. Grow.
Type and location
Type Public
Grades PK-12
Established May 21, 1907
Region Midwest
Country United States
Location Des Moines, Iowa
District information
Superintendent Thomas Ahart
Accreditation North Central Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges
The Iowa Department of Education
Schools 65
Budget $450 Million [1]
Students and staff
Students 33,000+
Teachers 2,255
Staff 5,000+
Athletic Conference Central Iowa Metro League
Other information

The Des Moines Public Schools (The Des Moines Independent Community School District, or DMPS) is the largest public school district in Iowa. It is accredited by the North Central Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges and the Iowa Department of Education.


The district serves most of the city of Des Moines as well as parts of suburban Pleasant Hill[2] and Windsor Heights.


For over 100 years, Des Moines Public Schools has been educating the students of Iowa’s capital city. Today, it is the largest provider of public education in Iowa, with more than 32,000 students and nearly 5,000 teachers and staff at work in more than 60 schools throughout the community.

Des Moines is a vibrant, innovative, and diverse city. In fact, Parenting (magazine) ranked Des Moines #5 on the list of the best cities in the nation to raise a family, in large part due to great schools and learning opportunities.

Those traits are reflected throughout the school district in the breadth of the programs offered and the constituency that is served. The students, parents, teachers, and staff come from many different backgrounds, all of which contribute to the richness of a DMPS education. The wide range of opportunities in Des Moines meets the academic interests, abilities, and goals of every student in the district.

List of schools[edit]

High ("Secondary") schools[edit]

Special schools & programs[edit]

  • Scavo Campus — An alternative high school program, named after Vincent C. Scavo.
  • Ruby Van Meter School
  • Central Academy - A public magnet school located in downtown Des Moines nationally-recognized for its academic achievements.

Middle ("Intermediate") schools[edit]

  • Brody Middle School
  • Callanan Middle School
  • Cowles Montessori School
  • Gateway Secondary School
  • Goodrell Middle School
  • Harding Middle School
  • Hiatt Middle School
  • Hoyt Middle School
  • McCombs Middle School
  • Meredith Middle School
  • Merrill Middle School
  • Moulton Extended Learning Center
  • Weeks Middle School

Elementary ("Primary") schools[edit]

  • Brubaker Elementary School
  • Capitol View Elementary School
  • Carver Community School (est. 2007)
  • Cattell Elementary School
  • Cowles Montessori Elementary School
  • Downtown School
  • Edmunds Elementary School
  • Findley Elementary school
  • Garton Elementary School
  • Greenwood Elementary School
  • Hanawalt Elementary School
  • Hillis Elementary School
  • Howe Elementary School
  • Hubbell Elementary School
  • Jackson Elementary School
  • Jefferson Elementary Traditional School
  • King Elementary School
  • Lovejoy Elementary School
  • Madison Elementary School
  • McKinley Elementary School
  • Monroe Elementary School
  • Morris Elementary School
  • Moulton Extended Learning Center
  • Oak Park Elementary School
  • Park Avenue Elementary School
  • Perkins Elementary School
  • Phillips Elementary School
  • Pleasant Hill Elementary School
  • River Woods Elementary School
  • Samuelson Elementary School
  • Smouse Elementary School
  • South Union Elementary School
  • Stowe Elementary School
  • Studebaker Elementary School
  • Walnut Street School
  • Willard Elementary School
  • Windsor Elementary School
  • Wright Elementary School


School board elections are held every year to fill in vacant seats on the school board. The school board meets regularly at 6:00 PM Central Time on the first and third Tuesdays of every month. These meetings are held at Central Campus downtown, located at 1800 Grand Avenue in Des Moines. In addition, the School Board holds special meetings and work sessions throughout the year as needed.


# Superintendent Start of term End of term
13 Thomas Ahart 2012 Present
12 Dr. Nancy Sebring July 1, 2006 May 10, 2012
11 Dr. Eric A. Witherspoon 1998 July 1, 2006
10 Dr. Gary Wegenke 1988 1998
9 William Anderson 1980 1988
8 Dr. Dwight M. Davis 1964 1980
7 Dr. John H. Harris 1957 1964
6 Cress O. Hoyt 1956 1957
5 Newell D. McCombs 1941 1956
4 A. W. Merrill 1937 1941
3 John W. Studebaker 1920 1937
2 Z. C. Thornberg 1913 1920
1 W. O. Riddell 1907 1913


  • Channel 12 is the school district's Educational-access television cable TV channel, which is provided through Mediacom Cable Television as part of a franchise agreement with the City of Des Moines. The district televises their school board meetings through this network. Additionally, the school district operates its own social media outlets.

Facts and Figures[edit]


Year District-wide High schools Middle schools Elementary schools Other programs & adjustments
2006-2007[3] 31,221 8,808 6,405 14,369 1,639
2005-2006[4] 31,599 8,570 6,610 14,249 2,170
2004-2005[5] 31,851 8,620 6,876 14,384 1,971
2003-2004[5] 32,150 8,430 7,115 14,497 2,108
2002-2003[5] 32,464 8,696 7,103 14,733 1,932
2001-2002[6] 35,399 10,114 5,504 19,541 240
2000-2001[7] 34,776 9,773 8,116 16,699 188
  • Note: The table rows shown in red represents data that was cited directly from the Des Moines Public Schools enrollment reports. Some of this data conflicts with data from the Iowa Department of Education annual reports. This is because the underlying data is complex, and the table above is a summary of the data collected from the two sources.


High school graduation requirements are determined on a district-wide scope by the School Board. The district has been pressured to make graduation requirements more challenging, as students must be adequately prepared for higher education or competitive enough to work in today's business world.

Credits are units of measure in determining an individual student's progress through High School. For each course semester in which a student completes (with a grade of D- or better), they are awarded one-half credit unit, with the exception of Physical Education (one semester of P.E. is equal to an eighth of a credit).

The table below shows the graduation requirements for each of the graduating classes by year:

Graduating Year Total Req. Social Studies English Mathematics Science Fine/Applied Arts Physical Education
2009 23.0 3.0 3.5 3.0 3.0 1.5 1.0
2008 21.0 3.0 3.5 2.0 2.0 1.5 1.0
2007 21.0 3.0 3.5 2.0 2.0 1.5 1.0
2006 21.0 3.0 3.5 2.0 2.0 1.5 1.0

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Des Moines Public Schools (2006). Enrollment Report as of October 2, 2006. 
  4. ^ Des Moines Public Schools (2005). Enrollment Report as of September 16, 2005. 
  5. ^ a b c Des Moines Public Schools (2004). Enrollment Report as of September 17, 2004. 
  6. ^ Iowa Department of Education (2001). Certified Annual Reports for FY01-02 (Spreadsheet). 
  7. ^ Iowa Department of Education (2000). Certified Annual Reports for FY00-01 (Spreadsheet). 

External links[edit]