THE RAPTOR | Issue 9-10
A NEWSLETTER FOR THE NORTH FAYETTE VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL COMMUNITY
NFVHS is holding our first semester Parent-Teacher Conferences on Tuesday and Thursday, November 5 and 7. We look forward to these two nights to meet with parents and students to have a conversation about how things are going at school. There are a number of things that we want discuss, and our teachers look forward to talking about other topics you want to discuss.
One of the things our teachers will discuss with you are Employability Scores. We are placing a greater emphasis on this, and want you to 1) understand what they are, and 2) know how your child is doing with these important behaviors. It is our opinion that there is often a direct correlation to these skills and academic performance.
The three categories of skills we assess are effort, behavior, and work completion. Each of these will be assessed as effective, progressing, or needs improvement. Teachers will share a rubric with you at the conference and discuss your child’s score in each of his/her classes.
Advisors will also share information about important events coming up for students at each grade level, as well as assessment information.
Also on that evening, we are hosting an electronics recycling drive at the high school on both evenings. We all know that it is difficult to discard old electronics, and this is your opportunity to get rid of old televisions, computers and parts, monitors, and other old electronic equipment. There is a cost associated with some items.
If you have not yet scheduled a conference, please do! In addition, our teachers are available at the top of the hour for drop-in conferences.
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 - watch YouTube videos online
Of American Teens - use Instagram daily in 2019, up from 52% in 2015
by Todd F. Wolverton
This newsletter is coming late in large part to how busy things have been the past three or weeks. In many respects it has been business as usual. And, there are some outstanding things going on in our classrooms. I have been very impressed with some of the learning activities taking place with our students. There have been some highly engaging activities for our students with some solid learning taking place.
Unfortunately, at the same time we have been dealing with a number of behavior issues that take a significant amount of time. This has been a recurring theme not only at the high school, but at the middle school as well. Those of us in positions of authority are spending an inordinate amount of time with a relatively small population of students. One of the things that principals have been tasked with, for what seems like forever, is dealing with student behavior so that the rest of the school runs efficiently. That comes with the territory. However, for whatever reason it seems like we are spending more time on it this year.
The primary issue that I am dealing with are incidents of extreme disrespect and related behaviors. There are a number of students that quite frankly, have little respect for other people, particularly those who tell them what they do not want to hear. Obviously, a teacher is going to direct students to do things, and what has become most frustrating are those students who openly defy reasonable directives, and then fire very inappropriate verbal remarks back at the teacher, associate, or other authority figure. Back in the day, someone sitting in my seat would say to the student, “you wouldn’t talk to your parent like that” and it was true! But today, I have sat in that same seat and directly witnessed 16-year old kids say incredibly disrespectful things to their parents sitting right next to them! It has been very time consuming dealing with these incidents.
There have also been some extreme incidents by individuals that have also required a great deal of time. There is nothing we have not dealt with before, but for whatever reason, they seem to have come within a very narrow window of time. It is kind of crazy because this school year got off to a great start, but when problems showed up, they hit really hard.
At the same time, 95% of our students have done a great job and are truly good young men and women. I have always viewed one of my primary jobs as making sure that these kids, the 95% that are doing the right thing, have every chance in the world to learn in school and that the other 5% do not ruin it for them. Well, over the past five weeks, that 5% has made it a real challenge!
I want to take a little time to talk about our boys cross country team this year. People have heard me say before that we have team sports at NFVHS, and that the team is always more important than the individual. All of our coaches subscribe to that belief, and this year I am starting to see more of it among our players in all of the fall sports. I mention the cross country team because I believe this year’s team epitomizes the concept of team. The team made it to the state cross country meet, the first time that has happened for the boys since we became NFV, and the first time for boys in the 11 years I have been here. We have had state cross country medalists in the past six years, both of them very talented individuals, but they could not carry the rest of the team to Ft. Dodge. This year, we had some very talented runners, but not that superstar that is going to place in the top two or three every meet. This group ran with a pack mentality, pulling each other forward throughout the race until they got close to the end of the race when each runner would give everything they had left to earn the highest place possible to contribute to the final score for the team. On and off the race course, at practice, at meets, and at other times, there was true support and commitment for each other. At the state qualifying meet, each runner showed incredible heart. One, pushing through the pain of an injury that had kept him out of the lineup for a number of races, passed runners in the final 800 meters that proved to be the difference in securing the spot at state for the team. Congratulations to this team, the student-athletes, coaches, and everyone else that invested in the program. I am proud of them and look forward to watching them continue to grow as a team as nearly all of them will return next year.
Elsewhere in the newsletter you will read about our most recent ACT performance. After that article was written, it was released by the Iowa Department of Education that Iowa scored the highest of all states on the ACT this year. So if you extrapolate that out a little bit, our kids in the Class of 2019 scored higher than the state average in the state that performed the best in the country. Not too bad!
I want to invite all of you to a couple of events coming up. This weekend there are three performances of our musical, Legally Blonde. Our students have worked incredibly hard and would love your support. Also, our annual Veterans Day program is Monday, November 11.
Hey, Mr. Clark!
by Bill Clark, School Counselor
New Report Details the Devastating Effects Social Media Is Having on Generation Z (From Growing Leaders, Sept. 2019)
Today, we hear from Andrew McPeak. Andrew is a next gen researcher, speaker, and author for Growing Leaders.
A study released in Jan 2018 by Barna Research Group reveals that Generation Z is more emotionally affected by the perils of social media than other generations who are also online. Utilizing a quantitative survey of 1,490 nationally representative students—ages 13 to 18 across the US—researchers asked students about their relationship with technology. The findings are quite revealing.
When asked whether or not the following statements were true, Generation Z’s responses stuck out from other generatons:
“Looking at other people’s posts often make me feel bad about the way I look.”
Gen Z – 31%
Millennials – 30%
Generation X – 20%
Boomers – 4%
“Looking at other people’s posts often makes me feel bad about the lack of excitement in my own life.”
Gen Z – 39%
Millennials – 34%
Generation X – 24%
Boomers – 8%
“I have experienced bullying on social media.”
Gen Z – 33%
Millennials – 29%
Generation X – 20%
Boomers – 12%
A full third of Generation Z seems to be emotionally impacted in some way by the thousands of posts they are viewing online. It doesn’t seem foolish to assume that these students might easily make their way from “feeling down” about what they see online, to experiencing depression and anxiety (both of which are on the rise among teens). Today’s teens work constantly to make sure that they keep up with their friends online. In fact, a full 26% of them tell us that they spend the equivalent of a full time job on social media sites every day.
This information may feel like nothing new to you. You probably don’t need me to tell you your students are on their phones all the time. The difference is not that we know they are on their screens, it’s that each new study released paints a more and more dire picture of the internal challenges today’s teens are facing. According to this research, a member of Gen X and a member of Gen Z could spend the same amount of time on social media and the Gen Z student would walk away feeling more inferior and possibly more depressed. It’s a reality we need to understand if we are to lead today’s students well.
You may already know about the negative effects of screen use, but that doesn’t make having a conversation with students any easier. They want to be on their phones just as much as ever. So, let me suggest a way that you can start a conversation with your students about this problem without them feeling threatened.
1. Show them this report. Maybe the best way to talk to your Gen Z student about their social media use is not to tell them anything. Just show them this report and let that start the conversation.
2. Ask them what they think. Ask them about their experiences. Have their friends been affected by screen use? What about them? Just be sure to follow the “They, We, Me” method. Always start by asking them about other people (students today, students at their school, etc.). Next, ask them “we” questions (our family, our classroom, our group). After that you will be ready for a “me” question (Have you ever felt this way?) This method eases them into the conversation.
3. Ask them what their core values are. Challenge your students to build an identity through core values separate from their online persona. A great way to start the conversation is to ask them, when someone introduces you to a new person, what words do you want them to say about you?
4. Ask them what they think should be done next. Challenge them to build a healthy relationship with social media and their phone. I’ve talked with students who, of their own volition, decided to take a two week “fast” from technology, or to get rid of certain social media apps that affect them more than others, or to just spend less time online each day. Let your student come up with the idea, but then ask them if you can keep them accountable to their decision. You might even decide to take the fast along with them.
PROUD TO BE NFV!
These seniors have represented North Fayette Valley very well over the past four years!
A couple of legends made it out to the SQ cross country meet! Thanks Coach Scott and Mr. Story.
Getting ready for Halloween at NFVHS! This is a hard-working dedicated group!
NFV Students Continue Strong ACT Performance
North Fayette Valley senior students who take the ACT college readiness assessment have continued a level of high performance that has taken place over the course of the past few years. Performance data for seniors in the Class of 2019 was just recently released with good news for our school and how we are preparing them for post-secondary education.
This past year, 35 seniors took the ACT. This is the lowest number of students taking the test from NFVHS, but also reflective of an overall decline in the number of students in Iowa taking it. What we are seeing are more students making the choice to attend two-year colleges and forgoing the need to take the ACT as it is not required for admission to those schools.
Last year’s seniors scored at or above the state average on all five measures. The subtest where they scored the best, as well as the highest against the state average, was science. However, despite the solid scores, less than 50% of our students are considered college ready for biology at that level. At the same time, those of our students who have taken high school biology, chemistry, and physics scored very well on this assessment. Something that we have worked hard on over the past few years is encouraging our students to take four full years of science, including physics. Obviously, those that do are better prepared for college.
This class continued its strong performance in English. Nearly 70% of our graduates are considered to be college ready for composition.
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