THE RAPTOR | Issue 9-10
A NEWSLETTER FOR THE NORTH FAYETTE VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL COMMUNITY
Future Ready NFV?
Future Ready Iowa is a statewide initiative to build Iowa’s talent pipeline to meet the needs of business and industry. It is has strong support from the Governor’s office and is being implemented through a partnership of the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Workforce Development, Iowa College Aid and Iowa Economic Development. Over the course of the last six months, meetings have been held throughout the state that have attracted large numbers of business and industry leaders, as well as educators from PK-12 systems, colleges and universities. The focus has been to share information about programs designed to meet the goal established by former Governor Terry Branstad to have 70% of Iowa’s workforce educated or trained beyond high school by 2025.
As far as education is concerned, accompanying goals are to reduce socioeconomic, ethnic, and racial achievement gaps K-12; increase the percentage of traditional-age and adult learners who earn postsecondary degrees, certificates, or other quality credentials; and align educational programs at all levels with high-demand job needs and job placement rates.
The reality is that Iowa has a very low unemployment rate right now, but the number of retirees in the next five to ten years is going to dramatically shrink the labor pool. At NFVHS we have made changes in our program to better prepare our students, and more changes will come. More important, there must be a shift in belief that education beyond high school is a must, four-year programs are not necessarily the only route to good paying jobs, students must complete training, and that employability skills, attendance, and other things not currently grades are very important.
IN THIS ISSUE
Each month NFVHS Principal Todd Wolverton shares his thoughts on a variety of topics, most of them having to do with school!
Hey Mr. Clark!
School counselor Bill Clark shares pertinent information relative to the academic, social, and emotional needs of our students.
WHAT’S GOING ON AT NFVHS
Teachers leaving the profession44%
Nationally, 44% of teachers leave the profession within the first five years.
Teachers finishing college program30%
In Iowa, of those who started training to become a teacher, only 30% finish.
by Todd F. Wolverton
Let’s talk a little bit about vaping. The quick and dirty, it has exploded among our students here at NFVHS as well as nationwide. Over the course of the past few weeks we have become aware of quite a bit of use, particularly among students in the 9th and 10th grade classes. Of course, there are older students using them as well, but the information we have received suggests that it is quite popular right now with our younger students.
In an article published in April 2018 by Johns Hopkins Medicine, over 2 million middle and high school students had used e-cigarettes in the past thirty days. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that use among high school students has increased by 80% in the last year and 50% among middle schoolers, bumping total teenager users up to 3.6 million. According to Dr. Jasmine Reese, MD, this is not safe and parents need to be more aware. Vaping is done by using what are referred to as electronic nicotine delivery systems or ENDS. Students in our school are using JUULs, e-cigarettes, and other devices.
A bit of irony is that just as this was coming to the surface in our building, the FDA announced that they are going to develop and propose stronger regulations that will more limit access by teenagers. Recent data collected in the past thirty days indicates that use is spiking among teens who are attracted to the flavored products that are loaded with nicotine. While vaping may not result in some of the health problems caused by smoking tobacco, they are highly addictive because of the presence of nicotine. According to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, the flavors are why kids are using these products. Mango, bubble gum, cotton candy and apple-strawberry are examples. As teenagers are vaping because they like the flavor, they are getting hooked because of the nicotine
Long-standing cigarette companies are invested in the vape business, primarily because they have seen their sales drop dramatically in their domestic markets. Many of same strategies used in the days of Joe Camel that made cigarettes attractive to teens are being used today to get them to want to vape. Their hope is that once hooked to the nicotine they will continue to purchase their vaping products, or move on to cigarettes.
In the State of Iowa it is illegal for people under the age of 18 to purchase vaping devices, use them, or have them in their possession. Our policies at NFV are in line with State Code. For those who are 18, possession and use on school property is also prohibited according to our district policies. The fundamental difference is that we do not report 18-year olds to law enforcement, whereas since it is illegal for young students, we do.
Of course, what ups the stakes is the fact that young people are vaping cannabis, or marijuana as well. And, this is not your parent’s weed smoked back in the day. While that stuff used to have about 20% THC, the chemical that makes you high, todays concentrations are much higher, up to 80%. This stuff can be dangerous. Toss in the fact that drug dealers in our area are adding the opioid fentanyl to the cannabis and you have what can be a deadly concoction that many kids think is safe because “it’s just vaping.”
In conversations with local law enforcement to better understand vaping, we were informed that when young people ingest THC that is this pure, they can experience an almost immediate physical response that without immediate medical attention could cause death. In fact, in the past month we had a young person in our community hospitalized who nearly died from vaping cannabis.
This is not a scare tactic, nor do I believe it is an over response to something that is not that big of a deal. We have identified and issued consequences to students who were vaping at the high school, and we are taking steps to make it more difficult to do it. At our middle school administration came across a student that was vaping cannabis, and obviously involved law enforcement. We have heard rumors of students selling JUULs — devices that are very similar in appearance to a computer flash drive — to other students and have turned that information over to law enforcement.
I did see this coming and shared information with the staff prior to the start of the school year. Give credit to the entrepreneur that came up with the concept of the JUUL because in a way a vape could be hiding in plain sight as one could quickly dismiss it as a flash drive, though in reality, few of our kids use flash drives any longer. In addition, unlike cigarettes and marijuana there is no odor. The biggest deterrent to smoking in school was the smell. However, with vapes, there is not odor. Is is water vapor and we could have a room full of kids vaping, walk right past there door and not smell anything at all.
Vaping is just the next challenge that we face, but unfortunately it will take some of us away from things that are a lot more important. Do a little research online and keep your eyes open around the house.
Hey, Mr. Clark!
by Bill Clark, School Counselor
This is the third of a three part series of articles on why our kids are so anxious. This comes from the Linda Stade Educaton Blog.
Part I and II of this series started off by discussing seven reasons why our kids today are so anxious. These seven reasons are anxiety, social media, body image, being raised on praise, play, attachment, and a culture of doom. Today we look at how to help our kids cope with issues rather than become anxious.
SO HOW CAN WE CONTRIBUTE TO CREATING A CULTURE OF COPING, INSTEAD OF ANXIETY?
Jane Carmignani suggests the following:
1. Accept that we are hard-wired for a certain amount of anxiety. It is a biological imperative that keeps us safe from threat. That said, recognize it, name it and develop coping skills to keep anxiety at manageable levels.
2. Empower your children with an ‘I can’ attitude. Talk openly about emotions and guide them through problem-solving.
3. Teach the body-mind connection. Some children have a negative stream of self-talk which is driving their anxiety. Helping them to change this script can help them manage their anxiety.
4. Mindfulness training. Anxiety is all about what might happen. In most cases, it is an irrational fear. Mindfulness brings us to the present moment rather than allowing our minds to drift and overthink. It is scientifically proven. Apps and strategies here.
5. Play. We need children to fall if they are going to learn to bounce. Nature play, in particular, gives children a sense of connectedness and safety. Less scheduled activities, more amusing themselves is required.
6. Disconnect from devices. Often. Use a social media contract to promote discussion with your kids.
7. Prepare children for stress. Give them coping mechanisms. Exercise, in particular, is a healthy stress release for kids. It also makes them sleep well…another protective factor against anxiety.
8. Develop in your children an internal locus of control. That means understanding that there are things we can control and some things we can’t, but we can always impact our situation. This understanding has been linked to less stress, less depression and greater happiness.
9. Give kids chores and make them responsible. It shows them they belong and contribute. It helps give them their niche, with that comes safety.
10. Finally, let’s all just slow down a bit. It simply isn’t necessary to be so busy. Kids don’t have to go to every party or take part in every activity…neither do we. Take a moment. Breathe. Hold your children in safe, loving arms. It’s 100% research-based and 100% wonderful.
There is no doubt that over the years more of our students at NFV are expressing anxiety or similar issues. Hopefully from this series you can identify some of the things that may be causing anxiety in your child’s life, as well as possible steps you can take to help them. Anxiety is not a new problem, and as you have read, something that is actually a necessity in our lives for survival. A take-home is that for most is is connected to something unknown that does not have a high likelihood of coming true. Based on that, as parents we do have tools that we can use to help out kids.
PROUD TO BE NFV!
The winning pumpkin in Student Council’s October Advisory Challenge from Mrs. Kovarik’s advisor group!
A strong contingent of bowlers represented NFV Special Olympics at regional bowling.
Students from Uberlingen Gymnasium perform on stage during Volksfest.
Students Need to Score Better Than a 1
One of the significant changes made at the start of this school year has to do with the Standard Score of 1 that a student may have at the end of a semester. This change was included in the Student and Parent Handbook under the Grading Guidelines, and articulated to both parents and students at the start of the year in large group meetings, as well in smaller class level meetings. Like a lot of things explained at the start of the year, some of the things explained early on are forgotten before they actually come into play. Thus, a reminder and an explanation of what will happen if students have a Standard Score of 1 at the end of the semester.
First of all, remember that all students who complete an assessment on time have a chance for a retake. If a student does not take that opportunity, that is on them. Also, note that this is a standard score not an assessment score. All standards that are assessed should have at least two assessments if they are going to factor into a students grade.
At the end of the semester, regardless of what the student’s grade is, if they have one standard score of 1 they will be given an Incomplete and have two weeks to improve the standard score to at least a 2. If they have more than one standard score of 1, regardless of their grade, they will receive a grade of F. Why? In a standards based program students are expected to be proficient in all of the standards. A score less than 2 means that they are not at grade level, or proficient with the content. If they are not proficient with all of the standards they are not proficient in the class. Our focus is on learning and students being able to demonstrate the content knowledge and skills that have been taught. “Getting by” with a low grade is not good enough any longer.
North Fayette Valley High School Staff
Administration and Guidance
Todd Wolverton - Principal
Bill Clark - School Counselor
Ron Imoehl - Liaison
Robin Albert - Secretary
Barb Schroeder - Secretary
Stephanie Wagner - Nurse
Cassie Peterson - Interventionist
Brent Kuker - Teacher
Jacob Pedersen - Interventionist
Antwyan Cullar - Associate
Debbie Ruroden - Associate
Neal Bentley, Garrett Crandall, Megan DeBack, Stephanie Ellis, Darcy Einck, Tim Feldman, Cassie Gruman, Kathy Hageman, Elaine Hanson, Kyle Harms, Cyndy Hinton, Molly Holthaus, Ryan Holthaus, Dan Hovden, Amy Ihde, Kelli Kovarik, Matt Krambeer, Jon Kullen, Bob Lape, Brooke Lodge, Julianne Meyer, Tracy Nuss, Sarah Pisney, Kayla Pollock, Ted Schacherer, Molli Steffens, Kari Straube, Rachael Strong, Denice Vandersee
Bobbi Jo Koch