West Harrison's School Newsletter
Mr. Marty Fonley
It has been a great start to the school year here at West Harrison! We are very fortunate to have a great group of people serving our students here at school, students who are willing to adapt, and families and communities that have been extremely supportive given all the challenges that 2020 has thrown at all of us. Guidance from the Iowa Department of Education and Department of Public Health continues to change and we will continue to do our best to adjust to these changes.
We are currently working with students attending school for face to face instruction and will continue to do so unless something changes drastically. We continue to prepare for hybrid and continuous learning by making sure we have connectivity; developing plans for 50% attendance where half our students would come on Monday and Tuesday, half would come Thursday and Friday, and the groups would alternate Wednesdays; and planning for meals, transportation, etc.
We do not intend to utilize either hybrid or continuous learning unless forced to do so but we do want to be as prepared as possible should it be necessary in the future.
Instructional Support Levy
Over the next two months, the Board will be working through the process of renewing the district’s Instructional Support Levy (ISL). Schools are required to renew the ISL every five years. The process includes two board meetings, a public hearing, and then a vote by the school board. The ISL has been in place in the district for many years so it will not add anything additional to the district budget or tax rate. What renewal will do is make it possible to maintain programming.
The ISL generates a little over $200,000 annually through a combination of property tax and income surtax. This amount is equal to 3-4 teaching positions, including benefits in the district so it is critical to the quality of education the school district is able to provide students. This process was started at the September 9th board meeting and a public hearing is scheduled for October 14th as part of the regular October board meeting.
We are currently looking at potential calendar changes to the fall school calendar. At their meeting on September 14th, the Board heard from teachers about the need for additional planning and preparation time as well as stress created on staff in trying to providing multiple formats of instruction. We are committed to providing great face to face instruction for students but also must provide high-quality services to students who are in continuous learning models due to family choice, testing positive for COVID-19, or being required to quarantine due to symptoms or close contact.
Though we have not had any positive cases to date with students or staff, we have had multiple students needing to quarantine while awaiting test results and anticipate that will continue to be the case for the foreseeable future.
Providing additional time for teachers to prepare will ensure we can meet the needs of all students regardless of the learning platform. The calendar change will be in the format of increasing the number of Wednesday 1:30 pm early dismissals throughout the fall.
When a decision is made we will communicate the change to families.
Mrs. Casey Ring
To get the ball rolling, a form will be sent home to be filled out and then submitted to Family Connections. They take it from there. All payment is billed through Medicaid or private insurance. Please contact Mrs. Marshall (email@example.com) or myself if you think this would be a positive option for your child!
Be Sure to Have Your Plan B Ready!
While school has been operating smoothly in this new normal, please still be sure to have your PLAN B ready if your child has to join school from home unexpectedly. We have had a number of students thrown into this already as they await a doctor's appointment or test results. Even if at home, students will still be required to attend school.
A PLAN B would include your plans for a child (and their siblings) to remain at home and still attend school. Our younger students would still need lots of adult support to continue with their learning alongside their classmates. We can still provide food services and needed technology.
For more information, check out our Continuous Learning Page on our Return to Learn Website.
West Harrison has been approved to serve ALL students breakfast and lunch FREE of charge!
What does that mean?? It means breakfast and lunch to all enrolled West Harrison students, regardless of family income, will be provided meals FREE OF CHARGE at least until the end of December or when the money runs out. This will begin on Monday, September 14th.
Seconds are not free; students will have to pay for them. If a student brings their lunch and wants milk they will have to pay for the milk as well. They can only have one meal per student for breakfast and lunch.
Deb Evans - School Nurse
Getting back into the swing of things went much smoother than I anticipated. I have to say the students have shown great attitudes towards doing what is necessary to try and prevent outbreaks of COVID at school. I applaud the parents for keeping your children educated on ways to prevent contracting and spreading this virus.
Just a reminder:
· Stay home if you are feeling ill or have a temperature. Keep your child home if they are feeling ill or have a temperature. If in doubt always feel free to contact me and I will help and assess over the phone. If your child has 1 high risk or 2 low risk symptoms you will be asked to keep them at home and either have them tested or provide an alternate diagnosis by your healthcare provider before being able to return to school and be without a fever for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen.
· Remind and reinforce handwashing. This is the best form of defense for prevention of COVID and Flu viruses.
· Remind your child to not touch their face, place fingers in their nose or mouth.
· Wear a mask when going out into public and practice safe distancing.
· Drink plenty of water.
· Get plenty of sleep.
· Eat a healthy diet.
Expect to have your child sent home more than normal this year especially as we are getting ready to go into the flu season. Your patience and understanding is most appreciated as we attempt to keep this virus out of West Harrison Schools and our community. I strongly encourage students and families to get vaccinated for flu this year. For the upcoming flu season, flu vaccination will be very important to reduce flu because it can help reduce the overall impact of respiratory illnesses on the population and thus lessen the resulting burden on the healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic.
***Remind your child if they are feeling ill they are asked to notify their teacher who will notify me to assess them vs them texting a parent saying they are sick and want to go home**** There has been a couple instances of this recently and a couple of them almost made it out of school without me knowing. It is important for me to lay eyes on your child and assess for symptoms of COVID and keep track of who is sick and other potential viruses. My goal as always is to help keep your child safe and healthy allowing them to learn to their fullest potential.
Respectfully, Deb Evans, RN West Harrison Community School Nurse
****2020-2021 Flu Shot Clinic Notice****
West Harrison is planning to hold the annual Flu Shot Clinic this school year for students on October 13, 2020 beginning at 7:30 a.m. It is strongly encouraged to get a flu shot due to concerns with COVID and flu resulting in increased illness requiring hospitalization. Emergency rooms and urgent care clinics are often flooded with flu patients during winter months. So getting a flu shot can help prevent those visits — and thereby prevent the co-mingling of flu patients and COVID-19 patients, who can infect each other and spread their viruses to other ER patients.
Be sure to fill out the consent form (see below) and submit by end of day Monday, October 12, 2020. For coverage for vaccine please review the Payment information on the Child Consent Form.
Mrs. Marshall - School Counselor
It has been great to see all the student’s smiling expressions under their masks! I missed the kids and it was good to get back into a routine.
Senior Important Notes:
FAFSA: (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) will be available on October 1st. In order for students going to college to receive financial aid from the college and other sources and some scholarships, the form will have to be filled out.
Make sure you use the correct form at www.fafsa.gov (Form is FREE)
If you want help completing the FAFSA make an appointment via Zoom with ICAN, sign up ASAP. Appointments can be booked with Steve Irvin by phone: 877-272-4692 or through our website at www.icansucceed.org and clicking on the Schedule an Appointment link.
Consider retaking the ACT October or December.
Visit even if it’s virtually any college you are wishing to attend.
Take the opportunity to talk to college admission counselors as they come to WH.
October is college application month. Start applying now for admission to the colleges you are interested in. See Mrs. Marshall for help if needed.
Seniors will soon have a Senior website where all the needed information and scholarships will be on. Stay on the lookout for this.
Local scholarships are sent out to all seniors as they are received. Any other scholarships the student finds on their own. A list of some national scholarship search websites will also be on the Senior Website.
Junior Important Notes:
All Juniors will take the ASVAB October 6th starting at 8am in the HS Library
Start thinking about signing up for the ACT. Right now the plan is to have all juniors take ACT here at WH in the Spring.
Sign up even if virtually only for college visits.
Take the opportunity to talk to college admission counselors as they come to WH.
Feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns.
Mr. Nunez - Activities Director
Sports COVID Guidelines
The guidelines for volleyball and football home games/meets are located on the West Harrison webpage. You can find them under Parents & Students. Future sports will be included as we go through the seasons. Thank you for your understanding and support of the school. The students, staff, employees of West Harrison, and community members are the priority.
Athletic Activity Tickets
This year athletic activity tickets will again be available to purchase through the high school office. Checks can be sent with your child or mailed in. The price for an athletic activity ticket is $60 for adults and $40 for students. We also have a family pass available for $200. This will get you into any home athletic event (except tournaments) during the 2020-21 school year.
These tickets may only be used by the name which appears on the ticket. If you buy one, the ticket will be made and laminated here at school and either mailed or sent home with your student.
TeamMates Mentoring Program- We Want You!
The West Harrison School district is in its fifth year of their TeamMates mentoring program. We will be one of over 170 chapters in Nebraska and Iowa.
The program’s mission is to positively impact the world by inspiring youth to reach their full potential through mentoring.
We are looking for men and women of any career and experience to be mentors to West Harrison students. Our program will be focusing on the 4th through 9th graders and will expand from there. You can get information at teammates.org. If interested please contact me at school (712-646-2231) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com)
Tony Nunez, PresidentKim Nunez, Program Coordinator