THE RAPTOR | Issue 9-10
A NEWSLETTER FOR THE NORTH FAYETTE VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL COMMUNITY
NFV Grads Excel at College
Data release this past summer by the Iowa Department of Education provided a very positive look at the continued success of North Fayette Valley High School graduates. In recent years, the Iowa Department of Education has collected data in a number of different areas to measure the effectiveness of all of the schools in the state. What was once called a school’s “report card” is now officially referred to as the Iowa School Performance Profile. It consists of a series of reports that show how a school performed in a new accountability system that meets the Every Student Succeeds Act, the federal law that replaced the No Child Left Behind Act.
One of the reports that was released this past summer is the 2019 Postsecondary Progress Chart for 2013-2014 HS Graduates. This is the first report for NFV graduates that are five years out of high school. Additional reports are included for more recent graduating classes and will be updated on an annual basis.
Since the report for the NFVHS Class of 2014 is the only one that is complete, it provides the best snapshot about how our graduates have performed in college. In all indicators, our graduates have performed better than the state average! One year out of high school, 74% of our students were enrolled in some type of post-secondary education program, compared to 67% statewide. We have continued to see a high percentage of our students seek education beyond high school, and the majority of them have continued on beyond the first year. The better news is that four years after high school graduation, 44% of NFVHS graduates have earned a college diploma and 22% are still enrolled working toward graduation. Our fundamental goal is to get students ready for their next step in life, for many, that is college. This is a good indicator our graduates are prepared!
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 the Class of 201444%
Earned a college diploma or certificate four years after high school from North Fayette Valley.
Of the Class of 201437%
from the State of Iowa earned their college diploma or certificate in four years.
by Todd F. Wolverton
It has been an interesting couple of weeks, reminding me that the beginning of the year honeymoon is over. In reality, it lasted a little longer this year than many! The reality is that we got off to a good start this school year, and I am very proud of the leadership that I am seeing from the senior class. They have done a real good job up to the point and I have every reason to believe it will continue throughout the entire school year. So, if we got off to such a good start, what has happened to change that? In a word . . . grades. More specific, our first reporting of grades and the fall out in a few instances.
Before I go further, I will remind everyone that we said from the outset that the implementation of our standards based program would take four to five years before it was functioning the way we believe it will. We are entering year three. As often happens with a change, we sometimes have a tendency to overanalyze some things, or try to fix things that do not necessarily need to be fixed. That became apparent when we added some language to clarify eligibility this year, specifically when we added information about a standard score of one. First of all, a student is academically ineligible when they have a failing grade or and Incomplete. Period. That is what the computer pulls and that is what our policy says.
Last year, a number of students kept asking if they were ineligible if they had a standard score of one. I would guess that this was because at the end of the semester, if a student ends up with a standard score of one, they do not pass the class. However, eligibility and final grades are two different things. During the semester a standard score of one could be a temporary thing. It may be a first assessment and for a variety of reasons a student didn’t do well. Maybe a student did not have a chance for a retake when grades were pulled. It could be a number of things. Thus, we opted not to include that in determining whether or not a student is academically eligible.
In my attempt to explain that, as well as the way that it is written in handbook, there has been confusion, and in the eyes of some, contradiction. I said on more than one occasion that a standard score of one does not make a student ineligible. If you have an F or an Incomplete, you are. So what happens if a student has a standard score of 1, and because of that, an F. They are ineligible. The F makes them ineligible, so there is an instance when a standard score of one results in a student being ineligible, and I see why people are asking questions.
To better understand this, there is another aspect to this story. Of course, the first time grades are collected in a semester — at the start of the fifth week — there are not that many grades in the book. This is where it is important to note that for the past few years, I have strongly encouraged teachers to use professional judgment in their grading, and in this case, with eligibility. One of the most harmful aspects of the accountability movement in education that peaked with No Child Left Behind is that is placed nearly total focus on objective data to determine student progress and achievement, and virtually wiped out professional judgment. A nation full of professionally trained educators were stripped of their ability to assess the whole child because it was more important to see what the numbers said. Teachers basically fell back on the numbers, or were confined by them. Now, we are finally shifting back and asking teachers to use their training, experience and judgment as a part of assessment. So, how does that apply to this?
When there are not many scores, it is obvious that the “picture” is not complete. The numbers do not always tell the whole story. For that reason, so teachers look at scores and make a decision that there is not enough evidence to declare a student ineligible. And on the other side, even through there are not many scores, a teacher may have evidence that supports a student being ineligible, such as not doing any practice, thus a low score. Or, not taking opportunity to do a retake. Yes, that is factoring behavior into a decision. No, behavior is not to be included in a grade, but when a student is scoring poorly and making no effort to make improvement, it makes sense that would influence a teacher’s professional judgment.
Our students and teachers are getting more comfortable with our grading program, yet as I stated in the outset, we still have a ways to go. Our main purpose is to place an emphasis on learning, and we are going to continue to look at how we impart the same on students and parents. The learning is what is important, not the grade. More on that another time!
Hey, Mr. Clark!
Teen Suicide: Understanding the Risk & Getting Help
(Portions taken from the National Institutes of Health In the News, September 2019)
The rate of teen suicide has increased over the last decade and is now the second leading cause of death for teens and young adults in the US.
Who’s at Risk? Teenagers experiencing a mental health issue like depression, anxiety, or trauma. Other risk factors include:
- Family history of suicide
- Substance abuse
- Risky behaviors
- Trouble at school
- Conflicts with friends or parents
Persistent misunderstandings about suicide can also keep teens from getting help they need. They think a teen talking about it or attempting suicide are so called “gestures” or “attention-seeking” and don’t feel the teen is in real danger.
Knowing When They Need Help? Warning signs that a classmate or friend is thinking about suicide include:
- Talking about or thinking about wanting to die
- Depressed or suicidal posts on social media
- Feeling hopeless or having no purpose
- Feeling trapped
- Feeling pain-emotional and/or physical
- Looking for ways to kill oneself
- Being a burden to others
- Abusing alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious, agitated, or reckless
- Having trouble sleeping
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated
- Extreme mood swings
- Giving away belongings or treasured objects
How to Help? The biggest goal is keeping teens safe. Don’t be afraid to ask the question, “Are you okay?”. Start the conversation early when you first start to feel something is wrong with a friend or classmate. Involve a teacher or trusted adult to help. Make an appointment with a health care provider. Create a safety plan that includes coping strategies and contact information of trusted individuals who have agreed to help when having suicidal thoughts or feelings. Limit access to harmful objects-medications, firearms, etc.
A split second can make the difference-that is all it takes someone to decide to harm oneself.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.TALK or text “HOME” to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. Experts recommend all individuals save these numbers in their smartphones.
Of course, if you have concerns about your son or daughter’s social or emotional health, do not hesitate to contact me at the high school.
PROUD TO BE NFV!
Seniors helping out 9th graders and providing leadership this school year!
Minute-to-Win-It for an Advisory Competition. Get the cookie from forehead to mouth!
Putting together a map of the world in geography! A little activity to gain some perspective!
Peanut and Tree Nut Aware Building
For many of you reading this newsletter, the fact that we have students at the high school with peanut or tree nut allergies is nothing new as you have had children that have attended school with them for a number of years. For many at the high school, this is a new experience as there have not been the number of students with significant allergies like this before, and it has required us to make some adjustments in some of our procedures for the safety of the students.
To clarify, the high school is an “aware” building and not one with a ban. In other words, because we have students with the allergies, we have put practices in place to significantly reduce the likelihood that those with the allergy will come into contact with peanuts or tree nuts, or residue. We do not serve food through our lunch program with any of those items, or prepared in an environment where for would have come into contact with those products. The students that bring their lunch to school are asked to eat at any of six tables closest to the stage so that if there is anything that contains peanuts or tree nuts is contained to that area. And, those tables are wiped down with different cleaner to make sure the surfaces are disinfected.
We have restricted food that is brought into the buildings to lockers, and have asked teachers to not allow students to bring it into the classrooms unless it is a special event approved by the office, and then, great care is given to making sure surfaces are cleaned appropriately. We are aware and we are doing our best to keep our school safe for all kids!
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