The Raptor – February 2019

THE RAPTOR | Issue 9-10

The Raptor




Changes in Grad Requirements

by Staff

The Iowa Legislature and Iowa Department of Education has enacted some new changes in graduation requirements that impact all students, and will have a significant impact on those students who have an IEP.  In education jargon, this is being called 4-3-3-3.  In reality, this has been in place for a few years and is something that has been in place at NFVHS for at least ten years.  It basically means that to graduate and earn a diploma students will have four years of English, and three years each of math, science, and social studies.  These are referred to as the “core” and are required for all students in all Iowa high schools.

Iowa Code allows students to vary diplomas as long as the standard diploma includes the 4-3-3-3.  Starting this year, seniors at NFVHS will be awarded either a standard diploma or one of three honors diplomas.  For a number of years, a small number of students with IEPs have earned a diploma by what is commonly referred to as “graduating via IEP.”  What this means is that rather than earning the defined credits, because of their programming some students would earn a diploma based on meeting their IEP goals.  Not only has this been done at NFVHS, but it has been the way schools throughout the country have set up graduation requirements for a small percentage of students with disabilities.  Starting with the graduating class of  2020, at least in the State of Iowa, in order to earn a standard diploma, all students must at a minimum meet the 4-3-3-3 requirement.  Schools can still opt to focus an educational program on some student’s IEP goals, but rather than earning a diploma, they can be given a certificate of completion or attendance.  And, unless a student earns a diploma, they will not be counted as a graduate in the local district’s data. 

This is a new challenge that we face and one that we will meet.


Principal’s Pen

Each month NFVHS Principal Todd Wolverton shares his thoughts on a variety of topics, most of them having to do with school!

TigerHawk Logo Trademarked

Hey Mr. Clark!

School counselor Bill Clark shares pertinent information relative to the academic, social, and emotional needs of our students.

It’s Social: Clean Up Social Media Before College

by Staff

Each year about this time, Mr. Wolverton meets with seniors to discuss what’s ahead in their final semester of high school.  One topic of discussion is Social Media Detox.  As seniors are involved with college and scholarship applications, having a clean, positive social media presence is imperative.  College admissions people will check social media!  Here are some suggestions:

Make sure your pictures say something positive.  It goes without saying that anything with partying, drinking, nudity, profanity cannot be on a student’s sites.  Rather pictures need to tell a positive story about who you are.

Watch your language. This one also goes without saying.  And it goes beyond profanity.  Racist and sexist comments, or jokes in poor taste are definite red flags.

Balance personal and professional.  Admissions counselors have tools to work around privacy settings, so make sure that your public image aligns with your private or personal.  Post highlights of your life but leave some of the details to the imagination.

Share content that is relevant to your area of study. While you may be undecided about what you want to do, it would be helpful to post about things that are relevant to the field you plan to study and to start networking.

Cut down your “Friends” list. It is not impressive to college admission counselors to have hundreds of friends.  If they are not good, close friends, delete them.

Students participating in recreational activity


It’s Social is focused different aspects of social media and the digital world that our students live in. Information shared here will come from a variety of sources, and each one will be cited so you can find out more information.


1 Junior Soup Supper

2 State Large Group Speech

2 Sectional Wrestling

4 State Jazz Choir

6 Early Dismissal for PD

6 Athletic Booster Club Meeting

9 District Wrestling

9 Regional Girls Basketball

11 District Boys Basketball

11 NFV Board Meeting

12 District Bowling

13 Early Dismissal for PD

14-16 State Wrestling Tournament

16 All-State Speech Festival

18-20 State Bowling

20 Early Dismissal for PD

21 Winter Chorus Concert

23 District Individual Speech

26&28 Parent-Teacher Conferences

Financial Literacy Requirement

by Staff

As students approach course selection for the 2019-20 school year, next year’s seniors have an additional requirement that they must include in their schedule.  Under a change in Iowa law, the Class of 2020 must complete a semester of Financial Literacy as part of their graduation requirements.  In the opinion of school officials at NFVHS, this is a good move as this has been a topic of discussion for some time, and actually, for six years juniors have been required to complete an online financial literacy program in advisory called Everfi. 

This next course will be a semester in length and will be taught opposite United States Government.  In other words, a senior student will take Financial Literacy one semester and U.S. Government the other semester.  For the purposes of scheduling, two sections of each course will be taught the first semester and two of each the second semester.  Semester graduates will have to take both courses the first semester.


Leader in Me

Teacher Learning

NFV has put together some very strong professional learning for our staff on Wednesdays.

Playing in the Snow

Playing In the Snow

Medalists at the Winter Special Olympics in Dubuque.  Proud TigerHawks!




Productivity:  A positive outlook results in a 31% increase in productivity and a 37% increase in sales.

Less Stress


Less Stress.  A positive outlook results in a 23% reduction in stress.  Stress can have a negative impact on student performance.


The three greatest predictors of success are work optimism, positive engagement, and the more you invest in the success of others.

Principal's Pen Photo

Principal’s Pen

by Todd F. Wolverton

My guess is that ever since teenagers started attending school there has been a propensity among some to fall asleep in school.  I remember as a teacher watching a student from time to time nod off, his head kind of bobbing from side to side or front to back, waking up startled.  There was a time when a student feel asleep in my class on one of those cloudy, rainy days and I was able to get the rest of the class out of the room quietly without waking him up.  I set the hands of the clock to 5:30 flipped on the lights and said, “What are you still doing here? in a loud voice.”  He looked real quick at the clock and took off running out of my classroom thinking he was an hour and a half late for work at Hy-Vee!  The rest of the class was waiting for him in the hall and we all had a good laugh!

Joking aside, we have a large percentage of our students that do not get enough sleep, nor do they realize how critically important sleep is to their health and well-being.  Whenever I mentioned that teenagers need to have at least eight-hours of sleep a night, it doesn’t matter whether I am talking to the kids, parents, or teachers, I always get either eye rolls or kind of a sarcastic smile.  I am aware of the sleeping patterns of high school students as it hasn't been that long since I had two of my own, as well as the battles that take place to get them to go to bed and get some rest. 

We have shared information with you in previous newsletters and on my blog about kids spending a lot of time on their phones after they go to bed.  As parents we think they are going to bed but in reality they are still in front of a screen.  Just as concerning is their brains are still running and they are putting off the deep sleep that is so very important to both their physical and mental health.  In my most recent blog post I included an article about adolescent boys staying up all night playing Fortnite.  We have students that are doing that, if not all night, certainly well into the early morning hours.  Teachers report that it is very obvious that we have a number of students, particularly boys, who have a very difficult time staying awake during the school day.  You can read the article that I included in my blog here:

I am concerned about what role the school plays in this.  I’ve stated before that I am an advocate of a later start to the school day.  There is a lot of data out there that says teenagers aren’t going to go to bed until 11:00 at night, and so I think we should adjust our start.  However, I am but one voice and I understand the arguments against it.  That said, I certainly believe that as parents we can keep a much closer eye on what kids do when they are at home in the evening, particularly when they go to bed.  If you want further proof of the importance of sleep college and Olympic athletes are required to get a certain amount of sleep at night, and I read recently that Tom Brady goes to bed much earlier in the evening than any of our kids!  If you want to be at your best, you need to have rest.

* * *

I want to give credit to the senior class this year with their Capstone projects.  As a group they have been outstanding!  Nearly all of the papers came in on time, many of them even early.  The four students who finished their coursework the first semester did a good job with their presentations.  I have read some of the papers and have been impressed by the quality.  In many respects this class has embraced the project and I salute them for that.  In addition, I invite any one who wants to watch the presentations to drop in on either February 26 or 28.  We have scheduled them the same time as we have parent-teacher conferences with the idea that more parents will be able to watch.  Many of the students have what we refer to has “open” presentations, which means that anyone can sit in.  When you come in for your child’s conference feel free to go down to the rooms where we are hosting the presentations and take a few of them in.  I think you will be impressed!

* * *

Speaking of Parent-Teacher Conferences, we will be opening the online scheduler soon and will notify you as soon as we do.  We place a lot of importance on these conferences as your son or daughter will be making course choices for next year and we need you to review and sign off on them.  In addition, teachers will have other information to share with you, and as always, we value the opportunity to get information from you about your child.  We do not get too many opportunities to interact with parents, and seeing how we both have a vested interest in the same person — your child — we need to have a chance to interact so we can do a better job on our end.  We look forward to seeing you at the end of the month!

* * *

This recent cold snap has thrown us for a loop!  We had just started the second semester and were in the process of finishing up the first.  You would think with all of this great technology we could have pulled things together without being in school.  Nope!  And we thank you for your patience!

TigerHawk Talk

By Todd Wolverton, Activities Director

The weather in those last two weeks of January really threw our winter sports seasons into a mess.  Unfortunately we have lost some games and matches due to the proximity of state series tournaments and the inability to find mutual dates with our opponents.  Ron Imoehl has done yeoman’s work trying to get events scheduled for our teams, and honestly, I am surprised we were able to reschedule as many as we have. 

As this is being written our wrestlers are preparing to compete in the Sectional tournament at Decorah.  We have three groups that compete at the State Speech Contest today.  Our bowlers are finally back on the lanes and our boys in particular are looking to the end the season on a high note.  The first week of February will be full of basketball games.  The girls will open tournament play at home on February 9 vs. Anamosa and the boys open against Osage in New Hampton on February 11.  There’s a lot going on in the first half of February and we hope to see you out supporting the TigerHawks!

Special Olympics


TigerHawk Talk is dedicated to providing information about the activity program at NFVHS.


Hey, Mr. Clark!

by Bill Clark, School Counselor

Empathy: The Foundation of Emotional Health

From: Building Directions for Families, February 2017 Newsletter

By Dr. Laura Markham (Aha!

I see parents and children make breakthroughs every day.  And guess what makes the most difference?  Empathy.  If we can actually see things from our child’s perspective, everything changes.  Not that we let our child do whatever he wants to.  But once we understand, we can intervene so that our child feels understood, and help him meet the needs that he was trying to meet all along, from connection to mastery to feeling valued.  Empathy is more than the foundation of emotional intelligence; it’s the foundation of effective parenting, according to John Gottman, the author of Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child.  Why?  Because it’s essential to your ability to understand your child and connect with her.  Because it will prevent you from visiting on your child all the issues from your own childhood.  And because without it, your child simply won’t feel loved, no matter how much you love her.

Empathy is often defined as seeing things from the other person’s point of view.  But empathy is actually a physical event, controlled by the insula in our right brain.  The structure of the right brain is formed during the first two years of life, before your baby becomes verbal.  Scientists suspect that the right brain is the orchestrator of intimacy.  The insula connects the brain with the heart, digestive organs, and skin.  So when our heart leaps, or our stomach turns, or our skin crawls, the insula is sending us a message.  And when we feel deep empathy, we feel it in our bodies.  That means a more accurate definition of empathy is “feeling” from the other person’s point of view.  When a parent bestows the gift of empathy on a child, that visceral connection changes everything.  Empathy strengthens the relationship bond.  Empathy helps the child to feel understood, less alone with her pain and suffering.  Empathy heals.

* * *

On another topic, students will be making their course selections for next year during the month of February.  I will be meeting with each class and going over the required courses they need to take and explain the options they have.  Parents will sign off on their selections at Parent-Teacher conferences.



Four semester graduates gave their Capstone presentations, doing a very good job on some very important topics.


There is a lot of socializing in the building in the morning before classes begin.


A little down time gaming between matches at a recent wrestling tournament.

NFVHS Position on Fundraising

by Staff

About ten years ago, then North Fayette High School, established fundraising guidelines that have since been modified a bit and adopted by NFVHS.  A fundamental premise from the perspective of the high school is that fundraising will be limited in scope.  We do quite a bit of fundraising, but we have reduced the amount that has been done in recent years.  NFVHS appreciates the giving communities that make up our district, and at the same time recognizes that we are not the only entity that is fundraising. 

When students or school groups do engage in a fundraiser, there must be a defined purpose and use for the money that is raised.  We can not fundraise just to  raise money.  It must be defined what the money will be used for.  If it is for a trip, those who contribute will be told it is for a trip.  When fundraisers are done, students are required to identify what group will benefit from the money and what it will be used to purchase.

In recent years we have moved away from using fundraising companies or middle men.  Our coaches and sponsors have been encouraged to come up with  efforts where 100% of the profit comes back to our school.  The various dinners that are held are an example of this.  It is obvious in our school community that meals are something that people value and attend. 

When we do fundraise, the money raised becomes public funds. With that comes a list of responsibilities.  One important one is that when groups fundraise, the money goes to the group, not the individual.   

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

Downtown Academy

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


Tina Bodensteiner
Bonnie Fisher
Krystal Gronowski
Michelle Hurlbut
Donna Kasel
Bobbi Jo Koch
Sarah Lerch
Shanda Miller
Christy Radloff
Melissa Schupbach
Amanda Turner
Elise Vandersee
Janeane Vorwald