The Hawkeye

West Harrison's November Newsletter

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Mr. Marty Fonley

As winter approaches so do the potential for school delays, early dismissals, and cancellations. We all know winter weather can change quickly and be completely unpredictable. It is possible that we could have sunshine and a blizzard occurring at the same time in different parts of the district since it is fifty miles from corner to corner. When making decisions related to weather, our goal will always be to err on the side of safety.

With that in mind we try to make the best decision possible with the information available at the time. You always have the option to keep your child home if you aren’t comfortable with the road conditions. Whenever possible we will try to make weather announcements the evening before to allow families additional time to plan.

When conditions do warrant a late start, early dismissal, or cancellation, the weather announcements will be sent out through Facebook, texts, and phone message. Weather announcements will also be posted on the following tv stations KETV, WOWT, KTIV, KCAU, KTIV, and KMEG.

Winter is also often accompanied by increased stress levels so it is important for all of us to do what we can to take care of ourselves both physically and mentally. Getting the right amount of sleep, eating right, and getting regular exercise is important to our health and ability to learn. Of equal importance to both is taking care of our mental health by focusing on the things we can control rather than the things we can’t, practicing an attitude of gratitude, spending time reflecting on the positives about ourselves and things we have accomplished throughout the day and surrounding ourselves with a positive support network.

Helping our children develop these healthy habits will provide them with their best opportunity to learn and a lifelong foundation for both mental and physical wellness!

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Mrs. Casey Ring

We Can Grow Grit!

Hello Hawkeye Parents and Guardians!

This month, I'd like to take a moment to talk to you about growing grit in your child. The information I am going to be referring to you in this article comes from the book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth. People who have grit are "unusually resilient and hardworking. Second, they know in a very, very deep way what it was they wanted. They not only had determination, they had direction. It was this combination of passion and perseverance that made high achievers special. In a word, they had grit. (p. 8)"

We would like to grow grit--that idea of determination AND direction--in our students at West Harrison. Students who have grit know that it isn't talent, but effort that creates success. It is learning to persevere and stick it out during the tough times that can teach students how to be gritty.

But, how do we teach this intrinsic value in our children? Here is what Ducksworth recommends instead of talking to our kids about surviving the "real world" when considering their future, we should be encouraging them to follow their passion. Research shows, that people are enormously satisfied with their jobs when they do something that sparks their personal interests. They also perform better at their jobs. The problem with young people is that they may falter in determining what their passion is.

Take an interest in fostering a passion in your child. Duckworth says "half of grit is perseverance...but nobody works doggedly on something they don't find intrinsically interesting. Even in the development of your interests, there is work--practicing, studying, learning--to be done. (p. 106)"

How do you encourage your child to foster a passion? Begin at the beginning: discovery.

Ask them these few simple questions:

  • What do you like to think about?
  • Where does your mind wander?
  • What do you really care about?
  • What means most to you?
  • How do you enjoy spending your time?
  • What do you find absolutely unbearable?

If you are looking for something to read, I recommend Grit by Angela Ducksworth. It is full of information and advice that you can apply to yourself, your family, and raising your West Harrison student to have grit.

Position Open

West Harrison's Food and Nutrition Department is looking for a dishwasher along with other duties. Hours would be from 10:00 AM - 2:15 PM. Applications may be picked up at school.

Deb Evans - School Nurse

From the Nurses Desk November 2020

With colder weather approaching we have had to slow down on the outdoor activities and move indoors. This is making it more and more difficult to social distance. With COVID cases on the rise in our community, it is more important now more than ever to wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As the school nurse at West Harrison Community School, I take COVID very seriously. I want to thank every parent, student, and staff member for their patience and understanding when asked to wear masks, wash hands, and practicing safe distancing. Please remind your student to wear a mask when outside of school and “hanging with friends” this will continue to help prevent the spread of the virus.

****Mask Hygiene****

Please wash your child’s mask daily. Think of it as underwear for your face. Research suggests that COVID-19 doesn’t survive for long on clothing, compared to hard surfaces, and exposing the virus to heat may shorten its life. A study published by Meridian Health found that at room temperature, COVID-19 was detectable on fabric for up to two days, compared to seven days for plastic and metal.

When deciding when to send your child to school please, please, please do not send your student if they are not feeling well. If in doubt about whether to send them, feel free to call me and we can talk it through. This year is different than past years and subtle symptoms can result in big problems. Please make sure your contact information is up to date. If your child is suspected of having COVID they are placed in an isolation room until we can get someone to pick them up. When they are not feeling well it can be distressful for them when they are waiting for long periods of time due to the inability to reach a parent.

We had a great turnout for flu shots this year and with that being said there was already a reported Influenza B from another school in Iowa. Wearing masks and good hand hygiene will also help ward off the flu. If you haven’t gotten a flu shot yet please consider doing so. This not only protects you but others and will help minimize the pressure in the healthcare arena.

Continue to say “BOO” to the Flu! – This year, the Centers for Disease Control advises everyone 6 months of age and older to get a flu shot during the months of October and November. Talk to your doctor.

We can protect and strengthen our own immunity by eating nutritious foods, taking daily walks, sleeping 8 –10 hours a night, reducing stress, and smiling daily : )

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Talk to your health care provider about the risk factors in your family, take precautions, & support the people you know with Diabetes!

Happy autumn!

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Mrs. Marshall - School Counselor

The month of November is starting off strong with some great presentations for Middle and High School students. For the third year in a row, Me360 from Heartland Family Services will be coming to West Harrison to talk to 7th and 8th Grade students about drug and alcohol prevention and making good choices. Me360 is an interactive program that touches on alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, vaping, prescription drugs, and meth facts. The speaker will talk about the effects these can have on the brain and the body and how addiction is part biological and part the choices we make. They do a really good job speaking at the middle school level.

The other presentation that we have coming for both Middle and High School students is the Set Me Free project. Set Me Free project’s goal is to make students, staff, parents, everyone aware of how sex trafficking is most of the time someone that they have built a relationship with through grooming and that it occurs not only in the nation but also is very prevalent in Iowa. Middle School’s presentation will focus on students' safety on social media. Things to look out for that might be people looking for easy targets. What makes students at risk on social media and practical tips for safer choices. High School’s presentation will be social media safety and making good choices. It will also touch more on Sex Trafficking and ways to recognize if themselves or peers are being groomed for it.

Both of these are prevention programs for our students. Lastly, around the school we have It’s Okay To Not Be Okay posters from Please Pass the Love. This gives students and adults a number they can call or text if they need someone to talk to. This is one small piece in suicide prevention. It is okay not to be okay and the number is easily accessible, 1-855-325-4296

Mr. Nunez - Activities Director

Congratulations to the 2020 West Harrison Cross Country, Football and Volleyball Teams as well as the Football Cheerleaders for receiving "Academic Achievement Awards from the Iowa High School Athletic Association and the Iowa Girls' High School Athletic Union. The awards are based on the 1st quarter GPA's of all members of the team 9-12 (including managers).

There are two levels of recognition. Excellence is a combined GPA of 3.00 to 3.24 and Distinguished is a combined 3.25 and above.

The girls' cross country team had an overall GPA of 3.34, the boys' team had an overall GPA is 3.84, and the volleyball team had an overall GPA of 3.53. The football cheerleaders had an overall GPA of 3.54 and the football team had an overall GPA of 3.27. All five teams together had an average of 3.50.

Members of the volleyball team are: Haleigh Rife, Maren Evans, Haley Koch, Lanie Gustafson, Kayla Lynch, Emily McIntosh, McKenna Waldron, Madison Lautrup, Kenna Heisterkamp, Lily Gustafson, Kali Peasley, Maggie Wolter, Grace Wallis, Riley Acker-Mgr., Leah Frink, Emmalyce Tyson, and Natalie McWilliams. The coaches are Kathy Glennie, Tim Jones, and Kylie Glennie.

Members of the boys cross country team are: Gunnar Stolz, Riley Acker, Koleson Evans, and Jacob Barry. The coach is Troy Maasen.

Members of the girls cross country team are: Katie Gore, Chenoa Bowman, Rachael Olson, and Sage Wallis. The coach is Troy Maasen.

Members of the football cheerleading squad are: Rochelle Kepford, Lanie Gustafson, Zoe Etter, Kenna Heisterkamp, Riley Acker, Tommie Theisen, Grace Wallis, Kierstyn Bieler, Emmalyce Tyson, Leah Frink, and Aiyonna Bowman (Mascot- Gunnar Stolz). The cheer coach is Melissa Etter.

Members of the football team are: Brecken Pavlik, Grant Gilgen, Alex Rachow, Aaron Peterson, Eli Aguire, Braedon Weldon, Gabe Gilgen, Gavin Jacobsen-Mgr., Sage Evans, Brady Melby, Walker Rife, Mason King, Colton Dickman, Keenan Riddle, Luka Waldron, Jacob Barry, Mason McIntosh, Skyler Armstrong-Mgr., and Nelson Clark. Coaches are Andrew Stevenson, Scott Rife, Rowdy Evans, Grant Staats, and Drew Radloff.

Little Hawks Wrestling Supporters

The Little Hawks wrestling program was started to get kids exposed to the sport and help those that do wrestle throughout the year. We need your help. I know there are some very good ex-wrestlers in our community (whether from West Harrison or not) and I would like to tap into that resource. If you could help out with practices or going to tournaments or anything else to make it a successful program, I would greatly appreciate it. I know many of you have families, however, I’m just asking for help on one or maybe two nights a month. If you want to help more, that would be great.

I was hoping to have practices two nights a week (starting in December) and possibly support at local tournaments. If you are interested you can contact me at home, school, or by e-mail.

Coach/AD Nunez

School - 646-2231

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Mrs. Birdsall - High School English Instructor

As the first quarter comes to a close, I have been very happy with the way students have adjusted to all of the changes brought on by COVID-19. Some of these changes include wearing masks, walking the halls in a one-way pattern, and having patience while teachers take extra time to set up for online learners at home. Not only have the students done a great job of making these adjustments, but the school board, administration, and staff have all worked together as a West Harrison family to encourage each other along the way.

Believe it or not, I am in my thirty-first year of teaching (12 at Manning CSD and 19 at West Harrison). Along with teaching, I keep busy as the yearbook adviser, speech coach, senior class sponsor, lead teacher, and mentor. All of these roles have helped to shape me into a person who leads by example. One of the skills I tell students I hope that they learn from me is the importance of staying organized, which will be useful in every aspect of their lives.

Besides meeting weekly with elementary classes in the library, I teach six high school classes. In English 10, students have been reading short stories, poems, and a play. They have also been teaching poetry mini-lessons to their classmates and writing children’s books with a partner, which will later be read to the preschool through second-grade classes. Sophomores will finish the semester by reading various literature about the Holocaust. Second Chance Reading students have been brushing up their skills by learning vocabulary, practicing reading strategies, and doing book talks. Adding a new class (English 11) to my schedule this year has been challenging. The first quarter found us reading many historical documents like the Declaration of Independence and Poor Richard’s Almanack and studying difficult grammatical items. Moving forward, the students will be writing a research paper before Christmas and reading some plays and novels in the second semester. Rounding out the middle of my day is English 12 in which seniors have been studying vocabulary, implementing prewriting strategies, and writing several types of compositions. English 9 students have done very well adjusting to a different schedule each week: two days of grammar and three days of writing or literature. Finally, yearbook students have been getting all the preparations made to design the 2020 yearbook: cover, theme, fonts, colors, pictures, content order, and page assignments. Anyone wanting to buy a yearbook should contact the school for a price of $40 until January.

Mr. Goodwater - Ag and Industry Instructor

First Quarter has flown by with students in Ag 2 working on Safe Animal Handling and Meat Identification. Ag 3 is working on Grain Marketing and forecasting future trends in the Cattle Markets. This year West Harrison has changed the Principles of Agronomy to Introduction To Crops Science to keep us inline with Iowa Western and Iowa State. This is a 3 credit hour college course taught by Mr. Goodwater.

All Students in Mr. Goodwater’s Industrial Technology class were pleasantly surprised with the new Safety Units provided by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). The new units align with general industry-standard training for all manufacturing employment. All, the student completed their safety training of reading safety procedures, quizzing over safety procedures and receiving a score of 100%, and demonstrating safety and handling equipment, they were able to proceed into the shop for projects. Woods and Introduction to Industrial Technology have worked on basic measuring, gluing, finishing, and miter, bandsaw, sander tool. Welding students have started making bead plates, and waterproof metal boxes to demonstrate their abilities.

Special Thanks to Mr. Shayne Weldon and Braedon Weldon for arranging Welding Supplies donations. Mr. Nuzum, Mr. Tyler Melby, Mr. Mason Shearer, and Brady Melby, Grant Gilgen for the custom planting and harvesting of the West Harrison Agriculture and Industrial Technology School Farm.

Mr. Staats - High School Math Instructor

My name is Grant Staats. I am the high school math teacher. This is my second year at West Harrison. I graduated from Mount Ayr High School in southern Iowa. There I participated in many activities including theater, band, football, wrestling, and track and field. I continued track and field at Morningside College while pursuing my Bachelor of Science in mathematics education.

I coach many sports at West Harrison including Jr High and High School football, wrestling, and track and field. We just finished up our football seasons. There were a lot of inexperienced players in middle school football. We were able to rally to a 2-2 season after losing our first two games.

In math we have transitioned into a digit homework model to accommodate the online learners as well as adjust to modern times. It has been challenging in some aspects, but rewarding in others. We are still learning how to improve every day. As a rule, I don’t let students use the word can’t. It is easy to say “I’m bad at math” and be okay with sub-par grades. I stress to students the importance of trying every problem and less on getting every problem right. The goal is to build skill mastery and not focus on exact answers. This is among the efforts to promote a low-risk environment that the students feel safe and welcome in.

In each class, the students have been working hard on individual skills. In Algebra we have started working with multi-step equations and graphing linear equations. In Geometry, we have focused mostly on constructions and have started to work into logical thinking and mathematical proofs of triangles. Algebra 2 started the year with sequences and are focusing on a range of different degrees of polynomials. Pre-Calculus just finished up on a large Algebra and Algebra 2 review unit and have begun an intro into Trigonometry. Technical Math is a class about the application of mathematical skills. They spend a lot of time doing word problems, participating in activities, and doing projects to learn about different jobs, and using math knowledge to understand the world around them.

Although this year has presented its own challenges I look forward to see what else this school year has to bring.

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Shout out to the Missouri Valley Knights of Columbus and Bill Cunard for the generous donation of winter coats to our elementary students!

West Harrison’s Scare Hunger Away

West Harrison had its 6th annual “Scare Hunger Away” event. Students 6-12th grade (and staff) bring in at least one item for the Matthew House and they can wear their Halloween costumes to school for the day. Items include food, hygiene products, or miscellaneous products. This year there were 70 items collected. Individuals that donated are the following:

Payden Roberson, James Kraft, Jersey Kraft, Erin Lewis, Broden Berwick, Remington West,

Danielle Cooper, Kaden Fink, Gabe Wolter, George Wolter, Chenoa Bowman, Aiyonna Bowman,

Layton Ring, Reagan Mauseth, Veronica Caddell, Emily Craig, Chelsea Gray, Emma Wood, Zoey McWilliams, Riley Acker, Paige Perry, Aaron Peterson, and Brady Lewis.

Sponsor- Mr. “Flash” Nunez

Junior High Girls Volleyball 2020

Members of the junior high volleyball team this year were: Chloe Leinen, Jaysa Lawrenson, Tylar Stirtz, Chelsea Gray, Devyn Harris, Mickenna Whetstone, Zoey McWilliams, Erin Lewis, Savanna Frink, Brooke Cooper, and Danielle Cooper. The girls worked on many skills this season with the two most important being passing and serving. Team records will not show personal growth made by the girls, but many improved tremendously from the first day of practice to their last game. I am proud of the progress they each made. The girls did a great job supporting their teammates. When they weren’t on the court playing, they were cheering for their team and getting excited over great serves and volleys.

There is always room for improvement; we can all work on doing something better. I talked to the coaches from the teams we played, and our girls were at a disadvantage when it came to experience. Most of these schools have a youth program that helps build their junior high and high school programs. For a majority of our girls, junior high is the first time they have played organized volleyball. If you are interested, please let me know and I can give out information on volleyball day camps that would be beneficial prior to next season.

I am excited to have the 7th grade back again next year and wish the 8th graders good luck in high school.

Amy Stolz

Jr. High Volleyball Coach

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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 If interested please contact me at school (712-646-2231) or email ( or

Tony Nunez, President

Kim Nunez, Program Coordinator

Drivers Wanted

We are looking for substitute bus drivers for things like field trips, sporting events, activities, and different routes that tend to pop up. We will pay for you to take the necessary classes. Please contact the school and/or Dave Kuhlman if you are interested!