The Raptor – September 2019

THE RAPTOR | Issue 9-10

The Raptor




A Focus on Learning

by Staff

Prior to the start of the school year, a large percentage of teachers spent a day working with Ken O’Connor, one of the foremost experts on the topic of standards based grading.  O’Connor spoke about a number of topics, and addressed specific aspects of the grading program at North Fayette Valley.  One of the topics, and a continuing themes throughout the day, was building a Culture of Learning.

Obviously there are a number of aspects to building a culture where learning is a priority, and frankly, that is what has been going on for years in schools.  That is the focus of school improvement and reform.  Learning is what schools are all about.  That is their purpose. 

Unfortunately, at the high school level learning is not always the priority, particularly when grades become the focus.  Grades do not always reflect learning, which is one of the main reasons that the district moved to grading standards.  However, at the high school level, grades are perhaps a necessary evil as colleges and universities require them for admission.  Thus, in the standards based system that exists, there is a compromise.

Even though students do receive traditional letter grades, learning is the priority, and in the eyes of the staff at the high school, much more important than the letter grade.  Yet, many students and parents obsess over the grade, and others only check to see what the grade is.  The best way to see what the student is learning is not to look at the grade, but rather the standard score.  The standard score is what best reflects learning because it is directly connected to the standard.  It is the learning that is important, and that can be seen looking at the standard score, not the grade.


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: Top Good and Bad Apps

by Staff

Josh Ochs, from Smart Social, shared in a recent video what he believes are the top good and bad social media apps our young people are using.  As a disclaimer, he states that all social media apps can be used in a negative manner that can impact a teenagers mental health, and all of them are bad when one uses them too much.

On the positive side, Ochs shares that Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are the best and the safest, though they have their negative characteristics as well.  Twitter and Facebook are both widely used apps and anonymity is not as common as others.  Both have significant internal oversight.  YouTube is a great app to access to learn things and share things with a wide audience.

What is interesting is that the two apps that Ochs says are the worst of the most commonly used apps — Instagram and SnapChat — are the ones used most by students at NFVHS.  The primary reason they are in the “worst” category is because of the anonymity they allow.  Accounts can be established anonymously which results in no accountability.  In addition, students can set up “fake” accounts that they can easily hide from parents.  Other dangerous social apps to keep and eye out for are Tik Tok, Red Zone, and Tumblr.

It is important for parents to establish parameters to their high school students cell phone use.  Having regular conversation and checks of their apps will make a difference.

First Day


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.

September 2019

2 NO SCHOOL — Labor Day

4 Early Dismissal for PD

5 Faculty Meeting

9 Board of Education Meeting

10 LEAD Team Meeting

11 Early Dismissal for PD

16 Parent Advisory Meeting

18 Early Dismissal for PD

24 LEAD Team Meeting

25 Early Dismissal for PD

Congrats from IHSAA

by Staff

North Fayette Valley High School has been notified by the Iowa High School Athletic Association that once again, our boy’s teams had no player or coach ejections in the 2018-2019 athletic year.  Our school is one of 149 schools, or 41% of the high schools in the State of Iowa that did not have an ejection.  North Fayette Valley has consistently been one of the “ejection free” schools on the boy’s side, something that reflects the character and philosophies of the coaching staff and activities department.  Of particular significance is the on-field/on-court behavior of the student-athletes that represent the TigerHawks.  In the past couple of years very few unsportsmanlike conduct calls have been made against one of the players.  Competition does get intense, and the fact that our students have maintained their composure is a credit to them as individuals, their parents, as well as the coaches that work with them.  The same can be said about our female student-athletes who have also done an outstanding job maintaining their composure during competition. 


Easton's Tractor


Easton was a big winner at the State Fair with his Oliver tractor!

Coach Heins

This is What You Need to Know!

Coach Justin Heins meets with parents of football players on Back to School Night.


AD's liked least about job


What they like least about their job? -

62.3% of athletic directors said “dealing with aggressive parents and adult fans.”

New Officials Quit


New officials quit - Of new officials who registered in 2017-18, 60% quit in one year,  citing unruly parents as a major reason.


Who will referee our games if there are no officials?  When we cannot find officials we will be forced to cancel games. 

Principal's Pen Photo

Principal’s Pen

by Todd F. Wolverton

If you do not read my blog, I would invite you to do so.  It is a bit different than a newsletter as I take on a variety of topics, most of them dealing with education and school in some capacity, and invite feedback from people.  I have to admit that over the years few people have made comments, which is a bit frustrating, and while there have not been large numbers of people read it, a number have.  In some of the articles I have gone deeper on subjects than I could in a newsletter, and my basic attempt has been to get people to think about things that impact our kids a little bit more.  To be honest, in some instances I get on a soapbox a bit, but I do try  to temper my political beliefs as I know most folks do not have the time for that.  Over the month of July I started writing about my experience and observations with the Uberlingen-North Fayette Valley exchange, and was surprised that I actually came up with a number of different things to write about, leading to a number of different articles that I will post over the coming months.  I generally post twice a month during the school year, and once a month in the summer, though sometimes I do not meet that goal  You can access the blog at:   I also invite you to follow me on Twitter @NFVtwolverton.  I am not a fanatic tweeter, but I do try to put things up to give recognition to our students and the great things that happen on a daily basis at North Fayette Valley High School.  I do miss some things as I am not perfect, but I want to make sure to get out the news when I can!

As I write this, we have a week of school under our belt.  There were a few things that were not quite ready to go as it was an incredibly busy summer for some of our folks, but there was no doubt that the teachers were ready to see the kids come through the doors, and it seems like the kids were ready to get back to it as well, despite the short summer!  There is a real positive vibe right now, and hopefully that will be sustained as we go through the school year.  The teachers have hit the ground running, jumping right into teaching and making a difference in student’s lives.  It is mentioned elsewhere in the newsletter that there is a positive attitude on our fall sports teams, and a strong energy at their workouts and as they compete.  It is a good start to the school year!

I want to expand on a topic that is mentioned in the TigerHawk Talk column below.  If you have read some of my blog posts in the past, I have written a bit about fans and officiating at sports events in the past.  I have also paid very close attention to the current state of fan behavior at our events, as well as what is happening in terms of officiating.  Those of you that regularly attend games have seen some of the same referees or umpires for years.  I’ve been here ten years now and many of them were old when I got here.  The reality is that in some sports we are running out of officials because there are very few new ones to replace those that are retiring or leaving for other reasons.  For the past 20 years I have been reading about an impending shortage, with most articles pointing out that negative parent and fan behavior is chasing young officials away.  In terms of our fan behavior, it isn’t too bad as I would give both our students and adults a grade that is better than average.  However, there are times when it is not good, and certainly could improve. 

The expectation of fans is that they cheer loudly in support of our team.  That’s what fans do.  Fans cheer on their team, and treat opponents and officials with respect.  There’s a saying that players play, coaches coach, officials officiate, and fans positively cheer on their team.  When any one of the four get out of their lane, that’s when we start having problems.  I’ve played all four of the roles, and I have stepped out of the lane I should be in, and more often than not, I was embarrassed after the fact.  For a lot of people, with age comes wisdom, and since I am getting older, perhaps some of these final points will resonate with you:

  1. I have never met an official who started out a game with the intention of favoring one team over the other.  Nor have any of them ever come into a gym with the attitude that they are going to try and get half of the calls right.  There may be some bias, but even then, to say that a referee is intentionally out to get a team is false, absolutely false.
  2. Yelling at an umpire or referee, or making your own calls from the stands, will not get them to start making calls in your teams favor.  That runs counter to human nature.  In fact, you will most likely see calls go against your team.  That is human nature.
  3. With the a few exceptions, being an official is a physical activity.  If we do not start seeing younger men and women picking up a while and putting on the stripes, the caliber of officiating will decline.  In my years as a wrestling coach, official, and fan, there are definitely problems when a referee can not move effectively during a match.  For that alone, we need younger officials.
  4. We have had one sub-varsity set of games that we had to move because we could not find officials.  I am worried about how many times we have to do that this year.

TigerHawk Talk

By Todd Wolverton, Activities Director

The fall activities are underway and there is a lot excitement and spirit  in all of them!  All of our teams have seen competition, and while the final results may not have been what they hoped for, they have competed well and from my perspective, there will be quite a bit of success this season.  The marching band is off to a good start putting their program together, and we have a  lot of cheerleaders working hard to keep spirits high and fans engaged in the game. 

On the flip side, the IHSAA released a memo to fans and parents regarding their behavior at games.  Parent behavior and adult fans have become a major problem in high school sports, at least to the point where leaders believe it is necessary to formally address the problem.  Coupled with this is that we are facing a crisis in terms of a shortage of officials due to many retiring, or quitting because of fan behavior.  You can access the complete document here:

TigerHawk Talk


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


Hey, Mr. Clark!

by Bill Clark, School Counselor

Children with Special Health Care Needs, Depression (From CHSC Family Newsletter, April 2018)

If you are concerned your child or adolescent is depressed…..

Mental health is an important part of overall health for children as well as adults. For many adults who have mental disorders, symptoms were present—but often not recognized or addressed—in childhood and youth. For a young person with symptoms of a mental disorder, the earlier treatment is started, the more effective it can be. Early treatment can help prevent more severe, lasting problems as a child grows up.

Warning Signs

It can be tough to tell if troubling behavior in a child is just part of growing up or a problem that should be discussed with a health professional. But if there are signs and symptoms that last weeks or months; and if these issues interfere with the child’s daily life, not only at home but at school and with friends, you should contact a health professional.

Your child or teen might need help if he or she has been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from depression:  Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood  Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism  Irritability  Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness  Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities  Decreased energy or fatigue  Moving or talking more slowly  Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still  Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions  Difficulty sleeping, early morning awakening, or oversleeping  Appetite and/or weight changes  Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts  Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment.

Risk Factors

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S.  Current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Depression can happen at any age, but often begins in adulthood.  Depression is now recognized as occurring in children and adolescents, although it sometimes presents with more prominent irritability than low mood.  Many chronic mood and anxiety disorders in adults begin as high levels of anxiety in children.  Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some people experience only a few symptoms while others may experience many.  Several persistent symptoms in addition to low mood are required for a diagnosis of major depression, but people with only a few – but distressing – symptoms may benefit from treatment.  The severity and frequency of symptoms and how long they last will vary depending on the individual and his or her particular illness.  Symptoms may also vary depending on the stage of the illness.  Depression, even the most severe cases, can be treated.  The earlier that treatment can begin, the more effective it is.  Depression is usually treated with medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two.

If you are a child or teen, talk to your parents, school counselor, or health care provider. 

If you are a parent and need help starting a conversation with your child or teen about mental health, visit .  If you are unsure where to go for help, ask your pediatrician or family doctor or visit NIMH’s Help for Mental Illnesses webpage. It may be helpful for children and teens to save several emergency numbers to their cell phones. The ability to get immediate help for themselves or for a friend can make a difference.  The phone number for a trusted friend or relative; The non-emergency number for the local police department; The Crisis Text Line: 741741; The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255); Call-855-581-8111 or TEXT 855-895-8398.


Molly H

Molly Holthaus talks about junior job shadowing and the Career Learning Link with parents at Back to School Night.

New Mural

The new mural painted by students in the Art Club and Sarah Pisney this summer looks great!

Sidewalk Art

A number of teachers at NFVHS went to work with chalk and window paint to welcome the students back to a new school year!

Peanut and Tree Nut Aware Building

by Staff

This year there are a few students in the high school who have severe food allergies, specifically to peanuts and tree nuts.  Because of this, North Fayette Valley High School is now a Peanut/Tree Nut Aware School, with some new procedures in place.

First and foremost, we ask that everyone is sensitive to the needs of those with the allergy.  It is serious, and we need to be aware and respectful.  We do not have a ban on bringing food with peanuts or nuts into the building, but ask that people are mindful of that and make the choice not to do so.  Our food service will not provide food for any of our students that have peanut or tree nut-based products in it.  We will continue to provide variety for our students meeting the USDA guidelines, and have a number of options for student choice.

In the cafeteria we are designating a row of tables for those students who bring their food in from the outside.  We ask that student who bring in their own lunch sit in the row of tables closet to the stage.  Other students who eat school lunch can sit there too, but we want to contain possible exposure of to designated tables.

Teachers and study hall monitors have been asked to be very diligent in terms of food in the classroom.  Food is already not allowed in classrooms unless there is an approved party or celebration.  When that does happen, we will ask that food that is brought in is commercially produced and clearly identified as “nut free.”  We are a community and all need to look out for one another.

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