The Hawkeye

West Harrison's December Newsletter

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ISASP Results and What They Mean

Parents of students in grades 4-12, received the results of the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP) for their students recently. Students took this test last spring, so the results reflect their achievement on the tests from the spring of last year. With the receipt of the test results, some questions have arisen. Below you will find a list of common questions we are receiving, along with the answers as best as we can answer right now.

Q: Why did it take so long to get the test results back?

A: This is the first time we have taken this test statewide. It is also the first time that writing has been a component of the testing. It took the summer months to bring educators from across the state together to ensure the scoring of the writing was done so with validity and reliability. The state also had to establish cut scores for proficiency and advanced proficiency.

Q: Will we get the results back before the end of the year this year now that they have one year of experience with assessment?

A: We have been told the earliest we can expect the results will be June. This is due to the need to have multiple assessors look at the writing samples students submit to ensure reliable and valid results. It is also due to the fact that the tests must be taken during the last quarter of the school year, according to Iowa Code.

Q: It looks like the science scores statewide were low. Why is that?

A: While we can’t say for sure, we can say that science scores were low statewide, especially for 5th grade. One reason for this may be that the tests were based on the most recent science standards that were just released. The vast majority of the schools have not had an opportunity to fully implement the new standards; therefore, that is reflected in the scores. My personal opinion is that the tests looked less like reading tests than they had in the past. Students had to utilize more content knowledge to perform many of the tasks presented to them in the ISASP, compared to the Iowa Assessments of the past.

Q: What are the consequences for my child if they are not proficient yet on one or more of the tests?

A: Knowledge of where your student is performing as compared to peers in their district and state give you an idea of their strengths and needs, as assessed by the ISASP. Poor performance on one test alone is not a reason for alarm. However, if their performance on this test is consistent with poor performance in the classroom, it provides you and your child’s teachers with information to determine possible next steps to take in an effort to help your child be successful. On the other hand, if their test scores exceed their performance in the classroom, it lets the parents and teachers know that the student is underperforming in the classroom. In these cases, I would recommend the parents, teachers and student sit down together and discuss the discrepancy and what they can do to bridge classroom performance to match that of the high test scores.

Q: I have heard that some schools took these tests online and we did not, is that accurate? Why did we do this?

A: Yes. Schools had the option to choose paper and pencil or to take the tests online during the first year of implementation. West Harrison elected to take the tests with paper and pencil, as we felt the changes in the test itself were enough of a change for our students to endure without adding a different format to the mix. However, now that we have a year under our belt, we will be utilizing the online version of the test this year.

Click on the link below to see WH District Achievement Summaries.

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Happy Holidays, Hawkeye Family!!!

With only a short three weeks remaining in the semester, things are moving quickly around West Harrison! For our middle and high school students, semester testing is coming up on December 18 and 19th. For our elementary students, holiday parties and festive fun are mixing in with learning. Teachers and staff are having fun with a holiday door decorating contest and we have lots of giving and celebration happening at school during this happy time.

As the end of the semester draws near, here are a few reminders for families:

  • Middle and High School:

    • Please encourage your child to dress warmly! I see many students hopping off the bus or running in from the parking lot without coats...brrrrr!

    • Semester test schedules for 12/18 and 12/19 will be coming out to students soon. Encourage early preparation at home--good study skills are essential to lifelong success.

    • Check your child’s grades--teachers are updating constantly and completed work will not be accepted past December 19 or earlier, at the teacher’s discretion.

  • Elementary:

    • Please make sure your child has a hat, coat, gloves, snow boots, and snow pants! Your child’s teacher may have a more specific policy, but we just want to make sure students are warm!

    • If your child is in need of a warm winter coat, hat, or gloves, please let their teacher know. We have some available at school!

    • Recess in Winter:

      • Students will go to recess outside if the wind chill/”feels like” temperature is at or above 10 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Weather Service.

      • Students with snowboots are allowed to play on the playground. Students with snow boots and snow pants can choose where to play. Students with street shoes are regulated to the basketball court.

      • Students without proper winter attire will not go to recess outside.

      • If recess is indoors, it is held in the Old Gym.

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JMC Parent Portal

Have you used JMC's Parent Portal? This site is where you can monitor your student’s attendance, grades, and missing work. You can set configurations to receive e-mail alerts for absences, missing scores or if a class grade falls below a percentage that you set, JMC will send you a notification. If you do not know your login information call the elementary or high school offices and Annette or Brenda can get you started.

Watch the video below to begin using this valuable tool.

Parent Portal Introduction

PaySchools Central

West Harrison is partnered with PaySchools to provide an online fee payment system. Parents have access to pay school fees as well as add lunch money to student accounts. Here is where parents can also set up low balance notifications.

The link below will show step by step how to create your account and set up those notifications if you have not already done so.

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Mark your calendars now, so you won’t miss the annual Scholastic Book Fair in the West Harrison Elementary Library. The fair will be open from Tuesday, December 3 - Tuesday, December 10. A wide selection of books will be offered for elementary, middle school, and high school students. The book fair is a way to raise money, so more books can be purchased for our libraries. By having the book fair a few weeks before Christmas, we also hope to help you with your holiday shopping. Wish Lists will be available for every child in preschool – 6th grade so that parents and grandparents will know which books their children and grandchildren would love to receive now or for Christmas.

For your convenience, here are the dates and times in which the fair will be open:

Tuesday, December 3rd: 3:35-5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, December 4th: 3:35-6:00 p.m.

Thursday, December 5th: 3:35-4:10 p.m. AND 6:00-8:30 p.m. (Elementary Winter Concert)

Friday, December 6th: 3:35-5:30 p.m.

Saturday, December 7th: 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Monday, December 9th: 3:35-6:00 p.m.

Tuesday, December 10th: 3:35-5:30 p.m.

See you the first week of December! Thank you in advance for your support in helping our libraries get more books!!!

Mrs. Birdsall

(Pre-K-12 Librarian)

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Mrs. Evans - Let's Fight the Flu Together!

Your decision to get the flu shot or not goes well beyond you. It also affects the many lives you touch…

Influenza is a contagious disease of the respiratory tract (nose, throat, and lungs) that can lead to serious complications, including pneumonia and the worsening of other chronic health conditions. Flu symptoms may include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and muscle aches. The best way to protect your family from new influenza strains is to get vaccinated each year.

The top five most virus-contaminated areas in the home are:

1. Telephones (have you cleaned your cell phone lately)

2. Appliances such as the refrigerator and microwave

3. Faucets

4. Light switch and door handles

5. TV remotes

Follow good health guidelines: eat right, exercise, and get plenty of rest to help boost your immunity to fight the effects of colds and flu. Wash hands frequently, do the elbow cough, and disinfect hot spots at school, work, and home. Treat the symptoms if you must, but avoid giving aspirin to children because it may cause a rare but serious illness called Reye syndrome.

Enjoy a healthy holiday season!

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Mrs. Marshall - School Counseling Update

In elementary lessons, students have been working on identifying their own feelings and how others are feeling. It is important to understand our own feelings, for example, recognizing when we are starting to feel anger. Instead of yelling or reacting to others, the student can instead choose a healthy option, such as: walking away and taking deep breaths. It is also important to understand how others are feeling and how they might feel different than us in the same situation so that we may be empathetic to one another. Empathy is the ability to feel and understand what someone else is feeling, or taking a moment to “walk in their shoes”.

For seniors, the senior year continues to fly by. We are almost at the end of the first semester. It is important to remember that deadlines are fast approaching for some colleges for priority financial aid packages, specifically, at universities such as Iowa State and the University of Iowa. These universities have a FAFSA submission recommendation of December 1st. If it is received after that date, there will still be financial aid given, but it may not be as much as the packages for those who submitted before the December 1st deadline. Other colleges and universities may have later deadlines between January-March depending on the college. Check out where you would like to attend and when their priority financial aid deadline is. This can be found on the college’s website or at the ICAN website for Iowa schools.

Mr. Nunez - Academic Achievement Awards

Congratulations to the 2019 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 3.73, the boys' team had an overall GPA is 3.93, and the volleyball team had an overall GPA of 3.60. The football cheerleaders had an overall GPA of 3.79 and the football team had an overall GPA of 3.72. All five team together had an average of 3.75- the best ever.

Members of the volleyball team: Chloe Gilgen, Joslynn Thomas, Haleigh Rife, Maren Evans, Haley Koch, Lanie Gustafson, Kayla Lynch, Lily Flint, Madison Lautrup, Zoe Etter, Kenna Heisterkamp, Lily Gustafson, Maggie Wolter, Grace Wallis, Grace Thomas, Madison Johnson, and Kierstyn Bieler. The coaches are Kathy Glennie and Tim Jones.

Members of the boys' cross-country team: Mason King, Gunnar Stolz, and Riley Acker. The coach is Troy Maasen.

Members of the girls' cross-country: Sabrina Rife, Jayden Kraft, Chloe Green, Beatriz Martin-Palmero, Katie Gore, Chenoa Bowman, Rachael Olson, Kali Peasley, and Sage Wallis. The coach is Troy Maasen.

Members of the football cheerleading squad: Joslynn Thomas, Chloe Green, Jayden Kraft, Haleigh Rife, Rochelle Kepford, Kayla Lynch, Lily Flint, Zoe Etter, Kenna Heisterkamp, Madison Lautrup, and Riley Acker. The cheer coach is Melissa Etter.

Members of the football team: Nick Rife, Tyler Melby, Mason Shearer, Karter Nelson, Colby Neill, Cody Radil, Nick Clark, Jeff Perry, Jon Chlupacek, Sabrina Rife, Brecken Pavlik, Grant Gilgen, Gabe Gilgen, Koleson Evans, Sage Evans, Brady Melby, and Walker Rife. Coaches are Andrew Stevenson, Scott Rife and Rowdy Evans.

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Mrs. Stolz – Elementary PE

The elementary students have finished a fun first quarter in PE. A few of the activities we have enjoyed are flag tag, ball tag, Monster from Mars tag, elbow tag, volleyball, beach ball and balloon net games, dodgeball, one-hand touch football, archery with the National Guard, scoop ball games, badminton and scooter games to name a few. We also participated in Iowa’s Healthiest State Walk in October.

One of the elementarys all-time favorite activities in PE is coming up in

February – roller skating! I will be sending information home in December.

Red Ribbon Week 2019

PreK-5th grade celebrated Red Ribbon Week October 28th-November 1st.

The students signed pledges that were hung in the elementary commons, had a coloring contest, and made a big poster with their handprints on it, all in support of Red Ribbon Week. They also participated in dress-up days. Monday was a day to wear red to show we are “Proud to be drug-free”. Tuesday was “Be a leader who gives drugs the boot,” and wear boots and western clothes. Wednesday was “Blackout drugs in your life,” and wear black. Thursday was “Say BOO to drugs,” and wear your Halloween costume. Friday was “Don’t be caught sleeping…say NO to drugs,” and wear your pajamas.

The 7th grade also made Red Ribbon Week awareness posters that were hung in the hallway. The theme was to reinforce messages of being drug-free.

We also had a contest between PreK-2nd grades and 3rd-5th grades to see which grades could bring in the most canned goods to be donated to the Matthew House in Mondamin. Second grade and third grade won the contest. However, all grades will be receiving a popcorn party before Thanksgiving break, compliments of the middle school student council. We didn’t want to let this great deed by all of our students go uncelebrated!


Your generosity is humbling, to say the least!

Amy Stolz

Middle School Student Council Advisor
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Mrs. Stirtz - 2nd Grade

Hi! My name is Halie Stirtz, and I am the second-grade teacher and instructional coach. This year, second grade welcomed 4 new Hawkeye students to our classroom. It is hard to believe December is here and the holidays have already begun. Please remember to dress your student appropriately for winter weather.

We are currently starting unit 3 in our reading series. Our learning objectives have included cause and effect, author’s purpose, and main idea. Students continue to set goals to meet their oral reading fluency and accuracy goal of 84 words per minute (this is the FAST Bridge winter benchmark.) Students are progress monitored weekly and participate in a classwide intervention. We do this in whole and small group settings so students can become more confident fluent readers. Please encourage your student to keep working hard towards his/her goals to help support learning!

In math, we continue to work on place value. We started with reviewing tens and ones, and after the holidays we will start hundreds, working up to thousands. We continuously practice fact fluency and have learned how to solve 2 digit addition and subtraction problems using a number line. Second grade also participates in math strategies that involve Cognitive Guided Instruction(CGI.)

I believe one of the second grader’s favorite parts of the week is on Monday and Wednesday when we meet for 20 minutes with Ms. Palmero’s high school Spanish class. These older Hawkeye role models have taught second graders Spanish words including numbers, colors, family members, days of the week, months of the year, drinks, etc. Even though it a short amount of time, the impact and excitement of watching students of all ages interact and learn from each other is incredible.

One last note, thank you to all the families who donated to the Matthew House during Red Ribbon Week. Second grade won the popcorn and M & M’s reward for the most food items in lower elementary.

Enjoy the holidays!

Halie Stirtz

Mr. Work - Music and Drama

The music and drama departments have had another fast start to the school year and it isn't slowing down anytime soon! Here is just a quick glance at the year so far and the upcoming events!

The high school marching band marched at 4 home football games and the Iowa High School State Marching Festival showing off their new uniforms and new drumline. 19 students helped the band earn a respectable Division III rating and an eagerness to continue their growth as a marching band. We honored 4 senior students at Parent Night as well. The band is working on their Winter Concert music as well as pep band and drum line preparation for basketball games!

The middle school band got a short taste of marching this fall and is working hard on their Winter Concert Music. They are working on recruitment as well and want more people to realize just how fun music and band is!

The high school and middle school choirs explored Broadway music in their first concert of the year singing music from Shrek, the Musical and Beauty and the Beast. They combined forces and ended another fantastic Veterans Day program just a few weeks ago. They continue to move forward as they get ready to present a variety of Holiday Music on December 12.

The elementary band and choir are developing their skills and along with the elementary music classes, will be performing their first official concert on December 5th at 7 PM. Along with preparing music, the elementary classes have been learning to read pitches and rhythms and using their ears to identify matching notes. All elementary classes will begin their piano unit in January where they get to use their iPads to learn some basic piano playing skills.

14 students participated in the middle school play, The Internet is Distract....Oh Look, a Kitten! on November 1. We had 9 first time actors and a wonderful show. The HS has just started rehearsals on a drama The End of the World (With Prom to Follow). With our largest cast of 29 to date, including 7 first time actors, we are looking forward to an intense and fully immersive experience on March 27 and 28.

As we come to a close on the first semester, I want to say how proud I am of the students at all levels in what they have accomplished this year and I invite everyone to come out to our winter concerts on December 5th for K-6th grades and December 12th for 7th-12th grades!

Mr. Scott - Science

Hello! My name is Kevin Scott and this is my second year teaching science at West Harrison Community School District. We are approaching the end of the first half of the school year with a lot of discoveries made and yet so much more of the world to be discovered.

Water! Water is everywhere it seems in 2019! Students in eighth grade started the school year talking about how science is done and then we transitioned into water and how it not only affects us but also how it changes and moves around the planet. Our community has been impacted tremendously this year with farmers’ fields being destroyed, road closings and construction and sadly even family homes being damaged. Our thoughts are with everyone impacted.

The study of life is what biology is about. Students are beginning to understand how cells work by themselves as well as with each other to make tissues and then into organs. We have looked at how cell membranes worked, isolated our own DNA and made comparisons using the analogy of a cell to a city.

Anatomy students this school year have learned about anatomical descriptors to be able to write an autopsy report for the pickle they dissected earlier this year. Students also learned about the different types of tissues and how those tissues make up organs.

Currently, students are learning about how important the skeleton system is for the production of blood cells, movement, protection, and structure. Students dissected a cow femur to have a better understanding of the structure and function of the parts of a long bone. Construction of body joints started the week before Thanksgiving so students will understand how body joint articulation occurs.

The muscular system will be the next system of the body students will be discovering. Movement articulation is also a key component not just for movement but also the ability to maintain posture and bone stability as well.

Chemistry students took an in-depth look at the structure of the atom and how that structure differs amongst the many different elements. Students are now using their knowledge of the periodic table of elements to be able to identify unknown elements just as Dmitri Mendeleev, a Russian chemist that is given credit for the foundation of the periodic table, has done. Bonding will be our next topic so students will understand how compounds are created.

Physical science students have been taking an introductory look at chemistry and how chemistry creates the world in which we live in. Students are often surprised to learn how much chemistry surrounds them and the students did not even realize it.

Hawkeye Volleyball 2019

The West Harrison Volleyball Team would like to thank those who helped in any way to make our season run smoothly and helped us to be our best. From ticket takers, line judges, custodial staff, transportation, volunteers who run the clock and take stats, those who prepared meals for the long journey to away games, we truly appreciate all you have done!

Thank you to our student body – You rock!

To our parents and community members, we appreciate all you have done to help not only your children but our school and community. Your dedication and support to our children and our school is a huge part of why our school continues to thrive. We are blessed to have such caring people in our school district.

I personally would like to thank the athletes for their hard work and dedication to the volleyball program. You have done amazing things this season!

The varsity team ended the season with a 14-15 record. This is the best season West Harrison has on record! The girls finished 4-4 in the conference. The varsity girls broke 20 school records as individuals and as a team. Several athletes also make the top ten list in several areas of the volleyball record book. Thank you to our two seniors, Chloe and Joslynn for your leadership. You will be missed dearly and thought of often.

The JV team ended their season with a 3-10-2 record. These girls worked hard and learned a lot. They are a sign of great things to come for our volleyball program.

The freshman/C team ended their season with a 0-3-1 record. Because many schools didn’t have freshman teams these girls did not get a lot of playing time, but worked very hard and improved a great deal.

Our volleyball squad earned a Distinguished Academic Achievement Award. This is awarded by the IHSAA and IGHSAU. They received the highest level of recognition for an overall GPA of 3.60. Congratulations ladies!

Kathy Glennie, Head Volleyball Coach

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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!

2020 Yearbooks For Sale

Want to have a keepsake that will remind you of all the main school events that happened throughout the 2019-2020 school year? Please consider buying a yearbook from one of the following staff/students: Brenda Pape, Annette Kuhlman, Gina Birdsall, Maren Evans, Chloe Gilgen, Chloe Green, Lanie Gustafson, Kelsey Harper, Jayden Kraft, Nell McCord, Joslynn Thomas, and Kaylee Woodside. Yearbooks can be purchased for $40 now until February 1; the price will increase to $45 after this date. Last year’s post-prom committee has graciously offered to pay for every senior to have a yearbook. Thank you for being so generous!!! All checks should be made out to West Harrison.

Thank you in advance for your support of the West Harrison yearbook staff!!!

Gina Birdsall, Adviser

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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


In an effort to maintain a SAFE and orderly environment at our home sporting events, so that ALL fans can enjoy the games, the West Harrison School District is asking parents to please help us in our effort by reviewing these expectations with their students before they attend a game.

· All students through 8th grade are encouraged to enter the game with an adult.

· All students must be seated during the game. Do not wander around or go outside.

· Concessions are available at all sporting events. After going to the concession stand, students should return to their seat.

· No footballs, soccer balls, kick balls, etc. are allowed when attending football games or events in the gym. They will be confiscated by game supervisors. There is also no ball playing, tag games, etc. allowed at any sporting event.

Always exhibit good sportsmanship:

Be respectful during the National Anthem, school song, and player introductions.

Never boo or yell at officials or opposing players

Cheer for the Hawkeye players

Represent West Harrison in a positive manner

Be respectful of other students and adults attending the game

Remember, you should be going to the game to watch the game.

Mr. Tony Nunez, Athletic Director