THE RAPTOR | Issue 9-10
A NEWSLETTER FOR THE NORTH FAYETTE VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL COMMUNITY
A Look At the Last 10 Years
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!
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 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.
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: http://northfayettehighschool.blogspot.com
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.
PROUD TO BE NFV!
It is wrestling season! TigerHawk wrestlers are looking to make their mark in January and February.
The young TigerHawk bowling teams at Lilac Lanes
The award winning NFV Drill Team will perform at upcoming basketball games.
Grading Information for the End of the Semester
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
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