The Raptor – January 2020

THE RAPTOR | Issue 9-10

The Raptor




A Look At the Last 10 Years

by Staff

This is the time of year that various publications review the past twelve months, or the case this year, the past decade.  Generally they focus on highlights, basically the Best Whatever for the decade.  Let’s take a look at what has transpired over the last ten years here at the high school. 

The most obvious, and most important, highlight is the creation of North Fayette Valley High School.  In the 2013-2014 school year, NFVHS was formed through a sharing agreement between the North Fayette and Valley school districts.  The first year was a true success, in large part due to the outstanding leadership provided by the Class of 2014.  That group of seniors came together and established a solid school culture that has been in place ever since.

The next big step that was taken was when the two district consolidated  on July 1, 2018, and while there were no significant changes at the high school, the fact that we were officially together as one is an important moment in the school’s history.

The establishment of the senior Capstone Project is another major addition to the educational program, with the first year it was a graduation requirement being in the spring of 2014.  This project has continued to evolve over the years and has become a highlight of each student’s educational program at NFVHS.

The size of the high school building increased dramatically when students came back to school in August of 2017.  A new gymnasium designed to provide more access to community programs was the feature of the project, in addition to new classrooms.

A number of course additions have taken place in ten years, and a number of teachers have come and gone.  There have been numerous highlights in the activity program, too many to list!


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: The Worse Social Media Sites for Mental Health

by Staff

According to a 2017 study out of the United Kingdom, conducted by researchers from the Royal Society for Public Health, Instagram is the most detrimental social media platform to young people’s mental health.  Ranking second was Snapchat and then Facebook.

Researchers surveyed 1500 young people between the ages 14 and 24 using 14 factors related to their health and well-being.  Included among those factors were emotional support, depression, body image, loneliness, sleep, self-expression, self-identity, community building, and bullying.

Social media has been described by some as more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol, and because of this, one cannot ignore it when talking about young people’s mental health issues.  One of the reasons that Instagram and Snapchat are so concerning is because both of them are very image-focused, and that often drives feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people.  Girls and women feel that their bodies are not good enough as people add filters and edit their pictures in order for them to look ‘perfect.’

Another significant problem on a different platform has also been identified as being very detrimental.  Anonymous bullying on Twitter around personal things has resulted in significant incidents of self-harm and attempted suicide.   It makes sense to learn what your children are doing online.



It’s Social is focused on 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.

January 2020

1-3 NO SCHOOL for Winter Break

6 Return to School

8 Early Dismissal for PD

10 1st Sem. Capstone Presentations

11-13 Dorian Vocal Festival

13 NFV Board Meeting

13-15 Winter Special Olympics

15 Early Dismissal for PD

17 End of First Semester

17 Early Dismissal

18 UIC Large Group Speech

19-20 Meistersinger Honor Choir

20 No School — PD and Work Day

20 Parent Advisory Meeting

21 Second Semester Begins

22 Early Dismissal for PD

22 SIAC Meeting

25 District Large Group Speech

27 State Jazz Band Festival

Leader in Me Symposium

by Staff

On January 28 and 29, a group of four teachers and principal Todd Wolverton will travel to St. Charles, MO to attend a Leader In Me Symposium to advance their knowledge of the program.  The North Fayette Valley schools adopted the Leader In Me (LIM) program two years ago as a way to developed student leadership and ownership in our schools.  This effort started in the middle school first, and this year is being put in place at the high school and elementary schools.  It begins with the adults learning and embracing Covey’s Seven Habits.

This is the first time high school staff have attended one of the symposiums, though Wolverton did attend one last year.  One of the features of the event are the presentations from other schools about how they have implemented Leader In Me.  Bringing educators together from many districts provides a melting pot of ideas and practices that can be brought back and implemented in our district.  In addition, there are not many high schools that have put Leader In Me in place, and on this trip, the NFV group will get to visit one that has. 


Teen Maze

Learning About Life!

Freshmen experienced a number of real life learning opportunities at the Teen Maze at UIU sponsored by Helping Services of NEI.

Blood Drive

Thank You for Your Donation!

The NFVHS Student Council sponsors a blood drive twice each school year.



Of 12- to 19-year-olds - are obese, according the CDC National Center for Health Statistics.


Of students in grades 9-12 - are obese, according to the CDC National Center for Health Statistics.


More than 2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight or have obesity.  About 1 in 13 have extreme obesity.

Principal's Pen Photo

Principal’s Pen

by Todd F. Wolverton

I could not even wager a guess as to how many times I have heard teachers, administrators, parents, or anyone else make a statement as to what they believe is the most important course a student takes in high school.  And, over the years I have heard innumerable comments that go along the line of “all students should be required to take (insert the name of a course here).”  It is understandable that teachers in specific contents areas are going to defend and advocate for their courses, and I certainly see why parents and students have certain beliefs as to why a specific course may be very important. 

In the State of Iowa, our leaders have defined to an extent what they believe are the most important classes students should take.  The Iowa Department of Education shares that all students in the state must complete four credits of English, three credits of mathematics, three credits of social studies and three credits of science. Additionally, students are required to take U.S. government, American history and participate in physical education.  From my perspective, I believe the last one on this list is the most important, at least for the current and long-term well-being of each individual student.  And yet, physical education is the course that has the lowest respect among the majority of students, parents, and yes, teachers.  In fact, all you have to do is mention PE in a meeting and more often than not, the response is dismissive.  And, of all of the courses that are in a student’s schedule, physical education is the one that students say they can skip to do something “more important,” parents will excuse their child from for an appointment, and other teachers will suggest that a student miss in order to take a makeup assessment. 

There is an incredible amount of research and data that shows why physical activity is important.  That goes without saying!  And when we talk about long-term benefit, if we do not have our health, we are not going to be able to function well on a day to day basis.  In other words, all of the things we learn in school in all of those other classes will not be put to use unless we are healthy.  Yet we have a significant number of students and parents who see absolutely no sense in having to take physical education. 

I understand that there was a period in time when all that happened in PE was a teacher/drill sergeant barked out a cadence to calisthenics and then threw out a ball and students played a game, generally dominated by athletes.  However, that is not what our physical education classes look like at NFVHS.  Our teachers spend quite a bit of time teaching students about developing a healthy lifestyle, including the importance of physical activity to improve cardiovascular health and reduce stress.  When we look at the fact that about 1 in 5 students are obese, and others are overweight, helping them establish healthy exercise on a daily basis is arguably more important than teaching them content from one of the core area topics.  For that matter, there is significant evidence that getting students moving each day enhances their ability to learn in other classes.  If students want to achieve at a high level in math, science, or whatever area, their learning will be enhanced by participating in physical activity each day.  To put it another way, ten, twenty, or thirty years down the road, it may not matter what a student learning in his social studies class, or her math class.  They may not use any thing they learned.  However, they are going to need to use their body, and to have one that is healthy and strong is going to pay dividends for many years. 

The State of Iowa requires that students participate in physical education.  I certainly agree that other classes that students take in high school are very important, but when you get down to it, the vast majority of those are not required.  This tells me that our leaders believe our schools have an important obligation to teach students about developing healthy lifestyles, and giving them opportunity to start practicing how to do that.  Let’s recognize how important this is, and quit bashing PE.

Shifting gears here a little bit at the end, I want to direct your attention to the last article in this newsletter.  We have provided you with information regarding the end of the semester and when students have to have work completed.  I know that those of you who have had kids in the high school for a number of years have heard me say that since we do not have many assessments in our classes, it is critical that students complete all of them in order for us to have as complete of a picture as possible to see what they have learned.  Therefore, getting work completed on timely basis is important.  It is also important that teachers have a reasonable amount of time to correct and score student work, thus we have deadlines at the end of the semester.  Do note that throughout the semester our teachers have communicated with students about work needing to be done, and I know most of you have received notifications as well.  Read that last article and have a conversation with your kid(s) to make sure there are not surprises in a couple of weeks.

Finally, I invite you to check out my blog at:

TigerHawk Talk

By Todd Wolverton, Activity Director

Once we get back to school after the Winter Break, our activity program really gears up for what may be our busiest time of the year.  Both of our boys and girls basketball teams got some games under their belt, and after some solid practices over the break, are ready to get back after it.  We are hoping that there is some good news about the health of some players so that our teams are at full strength.  The wrestling team had some early success in their season, and will get into the meat of their schedule in the next six weeks.  And, our very young bowling teams, who have shown steady improvement, look forward to continuing that trend.  Take a few minutes to check our event calendar on our website and come out and support our students.  They love playing in front of you!

NFVHS hosts the UIC Large Group Speech contest on January 18.  If you have never been to a speech contest, come on in and check it out!  These kids work just as hard as those out for sports, and do a wonderful job performing.  They too enjoy having a crowd!

Musicians also have a busy month with two honor choirs, one at Luther and the other at Wartburg, and a couple of jazz band festivals.  Our jazz band will perform at La Porte City on January 27.  Over the years, this event has become one of my personal favorites! 

We love to see people from our community supporting our program.  Come join us!

TigerHawk Talk


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


Hey, Mr. Clark!

by Bill Clark, School Counselor

The “Why Us?” College Essay Response We’d Really Love to See (Marybeth Bock in Grown and Flown)

All across our great land there are high school seniors feverishly working on their college applications. They are nervously asking for letters of recommendations. They are attempting to make their extracurricular activities seem profound and important. They are spinning their stories, wanting desperately to stand out in a unique way. And they are stressed.

Because they are being asked to prove that they are worthy; that they bring something special to the table. They feel undue pressure to provide concrete evidence that they are fully formed, well-rounded and extraordinary. That they’ve figured out life and are self-aware enough to demonstrate this to adult strangers who have never met them.

And this all needs to be wrapped up neatly and beautifully in a perfect little package at the tender age of 17.

Common App Question: “Why Us?”

And besides providing all their grades, activities, letters of recommendation, test scores, and a Common App essay response, many are also subjected to supplemental essays. “Fun” questions like, “Who is your role model?” “What couldn’t you live without?” and the ever-popular “Why us?”

Because it isn’t enough that these selective schools obtain proof that a student can succeed in college, they want their applicants to prove that they are worthy of their exceptional institution.

So, here’s a response I’d really love to see. And it’s precisely what these schools need to hear.

How About a “Why Not Me?” Question, Instead?

“Dear University X,

I know you want to read about how I’m enamored of your school, and I adore its location, outstanding faculty and academic programs, amazing athletic teams and the awesome organic burrito bar you have in your dining facility.

But I’d rather flip this played-out script and inquire of you, “Why not me?”

I’m going to be completely honest with you here, and that just might be an unusual change in tone for you. I am not going to sugar-coat my life and lead you to believe I have it all figured out as a 17-year-old.

I’m realistic and have common sense. I’ve tried pretty darn hard to be successful in high school, but I decided not to buy into the crazy and stress myself out to get into a coveted “dream” school.

I’ve studied a lot – at times. I’ve slacked off a bit, too. I’ve made sleep a priority in my life. I guess you could call me balanced.

So, why not me?

I’ve played a sport but I haven’t tried to connive my way into being a co-captain, which is a position that doesn’t really exist here. I had fun participating in a school club but didn’t try to coerce people to elect me president.

I’ve had several part-time jobs that weren’t super glamorous or important. But I can make a mean sub sandwich and mow a lawn with respectable skills. I guess you could call me productive.

I’ve had fun. I’ve gone to dances and games. I’ve cheered on my friends and spent time laughing over YouTube videos. I’ve overslept a couple times. I’ve been late to class once or twice. I missed a few days of school for a family vacation. I guess you could call me normal.

So why not me?

I’ve loved some days of high school, and I’ve hated some days of high school. A lot of the rules and conventions are B.S., but I’ve obeyed them and dealt with them. It is what it is. I’m resourceful.

And I’m confident I’ll do fine at your school, as well. I have a family who supports me and will help me succeed if I truly need their help. I’ll try hard to pass every class because I know my parents are going to be paying a whole lot of money for me to be there. They’ll encourage me but will not be calling you.

If I am accepted, I’ll be a proud member of your community, and I’ll wear your colors and your name on my gear. But I know that your name is not my only ticket to success. I refuse to buy into the delusion that a certain name on my college diploma is the only path to a great job or a happy life. I guess you could call me sensible.

I have not sacrificed my sanity these past four years to mold myself into your perfect candidate. And I won’t apologize for that. Take me or leave me, because I’ll be fine no matter what. I guess you could call me easygoing.

So why not me?


A wonderfully “ordinary” high school Senior.

And to all the students who will be worrying if they have proven themselves worthy over the next few months, know that you are already enough.



It is wrestling season!  TigerHawk wrestlers are looking to make their mark in January and February.


The young TigerHawk bowling teams at Lilac Lanes

Drill Team

The award winning NFV Drill Team will perform at upcoming basketball games.

Grading Information for the End of the Semester

by Staff

As the end of the semester approaches, students will have final papers and projects due, and in some classes, a final exam.  Teachers will  spend a good amount of time correcting and scoring assessments, and grades will be determined.  Prior to the winter break students  and parents were notified of deadlines that have been established to bring the first semester to a close.  As a point of reference, here are those deadlines once again.

Incomplete Work — All work assigned before December 16 must have already been turned in.  All assessments assigned after December 16 must be turned in by January 13, or on the day due between the 14th and 17th.  No Incomplete work will be accepted after January 17 unless it was due to an extensive medical absence.

All Standard Scores of 1 — Must be completed and raised to a 2.0 or higher by 2:00 p.m. January 17.  The two weeks provided to students to raise these standard scores starts on January 6.  If submitted online, it must be also be submitted by the same time.  No additional time beyond the end of the semester will be given to raise a standard score of 1.  Teachers can refuse to provide opportunity to a student who did not attempt any retakes over the course of the semester.  A minimum of two assessments must be done for a standard to be included in the final grade.

Teacher Grade Submission — All grades will be submitted by Tuesday, January 21.

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
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


Tina Bodensteiner
Bonnie Fisher
Donna Kasel
Bobbi Jo Koch
Dana Leitzman
Sarah Lerch
Shanda Miller
Christy Radloff
Debbie Ruroden
Melissa Schupbach
Brittney Treloar
Janeane Vorwald