THE RAPTOR | Issue 9-10
A NEWSLETTER FOR THE NORTH FAYETTE VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL COMMUNITY
Student Leadership: It’s Coming!
Leadership: the action of leading a group of people or an organization; the state or position of being a leader; the leaders of an organization, country, etc. Student leadership is critical for the success of any high school, particularly when it comes having an effective way for students to have a voice in the various aspects of school.
Formal student leadership opportunities at NFVHS are plentiful, due in large part to the number of clubs, teams and organizations that exist in the school. For many years students could serve in an official capacity as an officer in FFA or other club, or as a captain on the basketball team. Generally those individuals had specific tasks and responsibilities within the organization that were replicated year after year. To an extent, a lot of these leadership roles ended up being designed to maintaining the status quo, and they tended to be contained within the group.
A goal of Principal Wolverton over the past few years has been to see student leaders empowered to impact the whole school, not just the the group or team. From his perspective, student voice should not be limited to the social activities at school, but also in the management and operations as well. At this point in time, the NFVHS Student Council has grown into a strong, student directed organization that is having an impact on the school. They have succeeded in raising a number of the social events to a new level, and they continue to initiate new efforts to engage students at school and improve the climate.
The Leader in Me program that is in its initial phase of implementation will provide additional leadership opportunity and instruction. All students have the capacity to lead, and when it comes to moving forward at NFVHS, they are the ones that can truly make meaningful change. Leaders are coming to make that change!
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
Of American Teens in 2018 - rate their favorite way to communicate with friends as “in person.” This is down from 49% in 2012.
Of American Teens - feel compelled to immediately respond to texts, social posts, and notifications.
by Todd F. Wolverton
Last Wednesday, the last day of school prior to the break for the Thanksgiving holiday, if you were to have walked into the high school building between about 7:45 and 8:15 in the morning, you would have had an experience a little different than a lot of high schools. The Java Hawks Coffee Shop was open for business right inside the front entrance, and the Friday Morning Band was singing and playing some songs on the other side of lobby. In addition, a number of teachers were in the area, welcoming students to school. A number of years ago we set out to welcome students to school each morning with the goal of getting their day off to a good start. It has grown from there.
We recognize that when kids come through the doors to start each day, there are hundreds of things that could have happened to them. Certainly some of those things could have been good, and others, not so much. I don’t think we can under-estimate how important a kind word can be, or acknowledging someone by saying “Good morning!” We want to build a culture where everyone feels valued, one in which every student knows that they have at least one adult in the building that cares about them. Yes, it takes more than a smile and a few words in the morning, but for us, it starts there. From there it continues by developing positive relationships and understanding one another.
One of the things that confuses me is some of the survey data we get back is contradictory, and honestly, frustrating to us. One example is that in the last year one data source strongly suggests our students do not respect one another; that they treat each other poorly. We have seen the way that some kids treat others, and certainly there is a lot of nasty back and forth on social media. I guess those words my mother spoke to me on more than one occasion — “If you don’t have something good to say, don’t say anything” — are not as common as they once were. Certainly, it is a lot easier to say horrible things to another person when you don't have to look them in the face, as is the case with social media, but that has not eliminated the fact that we still have kids who make negative comments to others the old-fashioned way: behind their back or through a go-between.
There has been a lack of civility between teenagers for years, usually the result of jealously or because of a sense of entitlement. I do not think what is being said today between high school kids is any worse or more vulgar than it was when I was in high school. I really don’t!. But what has changed is that is happens more often, and more people are aware of what is being said.
Building respect is a challenge, and one that I am convinced we cannot do alone at school. We live in a country right now where disrespectful dialogue flows daily. The way many of our leaders talk or tweet to one another is horrible. All lack of common decency has disappeared. I have seen adults behave the same way our kids behave, in person and online. Some think nothing of berating other people, regardless of who else may be in the room. For some, this kind of behavior has become acceptable. So, why should we expect anything less from our students? Well, we do. And, we need to figure out how we are going to do it. What we can do is establish our expectations and hold everyone accountable, recognizing that in any successful organization there are various level of respect, and that it is imperative that everyone involved recognize and adhere to it.
Switching gears a little bit, I want to make mention of the upcoming winter sports season. We have sent a few things out in different formats about the shortage that exists for officials, and the primary reason for that: fan behavior. The two sports that draw a lot of negative fan behavior are basketball and wrestling, both taking place right now. In our part of Iowa, we do not have a problem finding wrestling officials, but it is a bit of a different story with basketball referees. We actually subscribe to a business that assigns officials for basketball, and those of you who attend games know that many of them are getting up there in age. In reality, it is not the veteran officials that concern me as most of them are “battle tested” and have stuck with it for quite a few years. What concerns me is that a very high percentage of officials quit in the first couple of years, and again, the number one stated reason is because of the verbal abuse they take from fans.
We have not had to reschedule games because we couldn’t find officials . . . yet. We have had a couple of instances where we could not make up a game on a certain date because we couldn’t find any. However, I have been told that in some places in Iowa, they have run into this with regular season games. From what I understand, some schools have had to move games to Thursday or Saturday in order to play. We all need to be good fans, even when it is tough!
Finally, I want to encourage you to check out my blog. I’ve put in a number of articles about the German Exchange, but am moving on to some other topics for the remainder of the year. You can check it out at: http://northfayettehighschool.blogspot.com
Hey, Mr. Clark!
by Bill Clark, School Counselor
TALKING TO YOUR FAMILY ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH (Rubina Kapil from BDF November 2019 Newsletter)
Mental health can be hard to talk about, and sometimes it’s hardest to talk about with the people we’re closest to, like family members. In the United States, almost half of all adults will experience a mental illness during their lifetime. That means you or someone in your family member may face a mental health challenge. And because of stigma, they might feel ashamed to discuss mental health problems with you and you might not know how to respond.
Even though it can be difficult and uncomfortable, it’s important to talk to your family about mental health. You are the person closest to them and may even see them every day. By breaking down barriers and having uncomfortable conversations when you perceive problems, you can be their resource to mental health support and treatment.
When talking about mental health, try to talk to your family member at a time when you won’t be rushed in a quiet, comfortable space. If you’re not sure how to start the conversation or what to say, the best thing you can do is be honest and ask if they’re okay. Let them know that you care about them and their safety, and that you are concerned.
Your family member might not want to talk right away, and that’s okay. Don’t pressure them to discuss their mental health. Instead, remind them that you’ll be there to support them whenever they are ready.
If they do want to talk about it, continue the conversation and do your best to listen to their concerns and needs in a nonjudgmental way. Provide emotional support and offer information on self-help strategies and professional help. But most importantly, be there for your loved one. This is a difficult conversation to have, and it might be the first time they are acknowledging their mental health challenges. Show them love, compassion and patience.
This video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fV1CQaTTvzE&t= from Mental Health First Aid provides additional insight on how to navigate awkward conversations about mental health. If you’re still not sure what to do, take Mental Health First Aid https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/take-a-course/. The course will teach you a concrete action plan for starting or continuing a conversation about mental health or substance use, and steps to help your loved ones find appropriate support.
Having an initial conversation about mental health is hard. But with every uncomfortable conversation, we can address stigma, break down barriers and help those closest to us when they need it most.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your child, you can always contact Mr. Clark at the high school!
PROUD TO BE NFV!
These sophomores were presented their Academic Letters last month. Congratulations!
Congratulations to our juniors who earned an Academic Letter! Hard work has paid off!
A number of seniors earned their Academic Letter, many of them for the third time. Good job!
NFV Cares: A Spirit of Giving
For a number of years, staff and students at NFVHS have engaged in a number of activities of giving back to the community, including community service projects as part of scheduled homecoming activities, participating in two annual blood drives, and a number of efforts during the holiday season. Most recently, a number of staff and students collaborated together to make sure that families had a Thanksgiving dinner. This has been going on for a handful of years, this year serving 132 meals to families in our school community. In addition, students have recently engaged in letter writing to soldiers who will not be home for the holidays, with 176 letters being written and mailed, and with Operation Christmas Child, advisor groups got together to provide 43 shoebox gifts that will be sent around the world to make the holiday a bit brighter for kids as part of international relief efforts.
Moving into December and the Christmas season, students and staff will be engaged in more efforts to help make it a brighter holiday season for others. Throughout the years staff and students have collaborated in a number of different activities to bring about a little joy in the lives of others. From our vocal students caroling out in the community to various gift giving efforts, our students have many opportunities to give back to the community.
While we have a number of plans in place, if there is something going on this holiday season where you need some assistance, please be sure to reach out to us at the high school as we may be able to help.
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
Debbie Ruroden - Associate
Julie Kopsa - Associate
Neal Bentley, Garrett Crandall, Megan DeBack, Stephanie Ellis, Darcy Einck, Tim Feldman, Cassie Gruman, Kathy Hageman, Elaine Hanson, Kyle Harms, Justin Heins, Cyndy Hinton, Molly Holthaus, Ryan Holthaus, Dan Hovden, Amy Ihde, Kelli Kovarik, Matt Krambeer, Jon Kullen, Brooke Lodge, Julianne Meyer, Tracy Nuss, Sarah Pisney, Kayla Pollock, David Riemer, Ted Schacherer, Molli Steffens, Kari Straube, Rachael Strong, Rick Taylor, Denice Vandersee
Bobbi Jo Koch