DMPS Vision

Becoming the model for urban education in the United States.

DMPS Mission Statement

The Des Moines Public Schools exist so that graduates possess the knowledge, skills and abilities to be successful at the next stage of their lives.

Ruby Van Meter was established in 1973 as special school that served secondary students that have significant intellectual disabilities.  We are part of the full continuum of special education services that the Des Moines Public School offers to meet the diverse needs of all the students.  We are a self-contained program that offers many academic and extra-curricular options so all of our students can have an enriched educational experience.    

Kindergarten through 5th grade were welcomed into Van Meter for the 2018-19 school year when the District closed Smouse Opportunity School. Ruby Van Meter now serves approximately 130 students that range from kindergarten to age 21.  Our students are organized by levels; Elementary School (K-5th),  Middle School (6th-8th), High School 9th-10th, High School 11th-12th, and Transition (age 19-21).  We also have a Related Arts program that provides education in the areas of Physical Education, Music, Art, Work Experience, Home Living Skills, and Swimming. Ruby currently has about 37 certified teachers and 76 classroom associates.  The lower student-staff ratio is necessary because our students may require additional programming in behavior, adaptive behavior, academics, and communication. To meet all of those needs, we have a wide range of support staff to provide support and consultation to our classroom staff.  Our support staff include: Speech and Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, Behavior Interventionist, Behavior Support, Academic Support, Autism Specialist, Vision Itinerant Teacher, Hearing Itinerant Teacher, English Language Learner Teacher, and Assistive Technology Support.  Each student has an IEP Team that works together to determine educational planning for that student.  The IEP team consists of student, parent/guardian, teacher, and multiple support staff.  With the complex needs of our students, it is necessary to collaborate and consult with one another.

According to data from the 14-15 school year, Ruby served 156 students with 100% of our students being special education.  Of those 156 students, 40% were female and 60% were male.  Ruby is a diverse population with 49% being minority and 68% receive free and reduced lunch.  Student disabilities include: intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, emotional disabilities, behavior disabilities, dual diagnosis, Autism, students with complex health needs, and students with complex communication needs.  All of our classroom teachers must be highly qualified and certified with a Strategist II Endorsement in intellectual disabilities.

Programs and services have expanded to meet the needs of our students.  Our curriculum provides access to the Iowa Core through the Iowa Core Essential Elements.  These elements have been reduced in breath and complexity to provide access to our students with significant intellectual disabilities.  We will continue to provide specially designed instruction so each student has an educational experience that has been differentiated to meet their individual needs. Students will be assessed on their proficiency with the Essential Elements using the Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment.  The 14-15 DLM Alternate Assessment data indicated that in ELA, 19% of our students were proficient and in Math, 2% were proficient. Our IEP reading goal data indicates that  48.75% of students are proficient in reading goals based on the comprehension checklist at each individual reading level. Our IEP math goal indicates that 51.5% of students are proficient based math checklist at each individual level.  Communication data indicates that we have 18% Emergent communicators, 45% Context-Dependent communicators and 37% Independent communicators.  Data collected for Tiered Behavior Levels indicate that 54% of our students (green and yellow) have 0 behavior goals, 13% of our students (orange) have 0-1 behavior goals and require minimal behavior support, 11% of our students (red) have 1 behavior goal and require daily or weekly behavior support, 15% of our students (blue) have 2-3 behavior goals and require daily support from social worker and interventionist, 7% of our students (purple) have 2-3 behavior goals and require continues intensive support throughout their day and receive outside consultation from district wide behavior support team.

To provide access to 21st century skills, students attend six regularly scheduled Related Arts classes.  These classes have all been adapted and modified so our students can gain skills in Physical Education, Swimming, Music, Art, Home Living Skills, and Work Experience. To support the transition to post-secondary life, Ruby creates vocational experiences outside the school so students have the opportunity to develop work preferences and work behaviors in the community.  Having diverse vocational experiences, can better prepare students to be as independent as possible in their adult life and be competitively employed after they graduate.

Students also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities that promote self-esteem, social skills, school pride and a sense of belonging.  These activities include RVM Singers, cheerleading, pep squad, basketball, softball, volleyball, and swimming.  We also provide a variety of clubs to provide an opportunity for all kids to be part of a leisure group; Technology Club, Leisure Club, Gaming Club, and Intramural  Sports.  Our students are also provided the opportunity to participate in Special Olympics Bowling and Track and Field.

Ruby Van Meter Vision: 

Ruby Van Meter strives to be a leader in the field of special education.

Ruby Van Meter Mission Statement: 

Ruby Van Meter is an engaging learning environment that prepares students to be successful in living, learning and working. We do this by providing:

  • Relevant, rigorous curriculum that is differentiated for each individual learner
  • Personalized communication so our learners can actively participate in their own education and in the community
  • Variety of experiences to practice and generalize their skills to thrive and gain independence in all areas
  • Support, modeling and instruction to students to become more self-aware and develop their social skills
  • Opportunities for independence so our learners can be thriving, independent, contributing members of their community

Our team will presume competence for all learners and develop positive, meaningful relationships so they are valued members of the community.