The Bird Call

News and Notes from Clever High School

It's A Learning Experience

Welcome to another edition of The Bird Call! I hope you find this monthly newsletter helpful and informative. The goal is to publish a new edition on or close to the 20th every month. And, as always, if you have any questions or concerns please reach out to us here at CHS.

I read an article recently on "toxic positivity" and it caused me to stop and think. If you are like me, the term itself is unfamiliar and almost feels contradictory. In short, toxic positivity is overgeneralizing a happy and optimistic mindset/culture at the cost of a genuine emotional experience. In other words, it happens when we bury the authenticity of a circumstance and suppress the very real fact that bad things happen and whether or not we can control them, they can have a significant impact. It is the unintended consequence of "putting on a happy face".

A few examples of some common phrases that promote toxic positivity that I am 100% guilty of using include:

  • "It could be worse."
  • "It's always something."
  • "Think happy thoughts."
  • "This too shall pass."
  • "Look at the bright side!"
  • "Hang in there."
  • "Fake it till you make it!"

My intention is never to do harm when I say these things. But, when I look through the lens of toxic positivity I realize that responding this way is taking the easy way out and, in many ways, minimizes the real issue(s). There are three key components that responses like this lack: Acceptance, Validation, & Support. If I cannot offer these in my response to a friend, colleague, student, parent, or community member then I am falling short of meeting their need. Ultimately what we need is HOPE - the promise that better days are ahead - and that in the meantime we all are allowed to struggle.

The truth of the matter is that on some level, many of us are having a hard time right now. Regardless of your beliefs or opinions on any number of issues facing our country right now, I would venture to say that the majority of us would agree that 2020 has been emotionally and mentally exhausting. We all deserve to know that what we are feeling is real and that it is okay to not be okay. From there, each of us should have the support needed to endure.

In 1972, Bill Withers released the song "Lean on Me" and if you have not lately, I encourage you to stop what you are doing and take a few minutes to really listen to the lyrics. I am amazed that nearly 50 years after this song was written, the message is as meaningful and necessary as it ever has been. This song embodies the idea of accepting, validating, and supporting others in their time of need. And if you ask me, we need a lot more of this in the world today.

Go Jays!

Joe Casey

High School Principal


Remind: Text "@clever9-12" to 81010

Twitter: @CleverPrincipal

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Hickman's Happenings

Character Education in the HS

Our character word of the month for October is Citizenship. A Clever Bluejay Displaying Good Citizenship follows all school rules including in the parking lot, shows kindness and compassion to all, volunteers and gives back to the school and community, and helps to maintain a safe and clean school by reporting safety concerns, picking up trash, and recycling. Keep up the positivity and kindness Bluejays!

A+ News:

The next ACT date is Saturday, December 12th and the deadline to register is November 6th. To sign up, go to and follow the instructions. If you have not registered previously, you will need to complete a profile first. It is best to use an email address other than your school email address in order to receive important information and your admission ticket from ACT.

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is available as of October 1st. The earlier the FAFSA is filed, the better!

  • Students and parents should first set up a FSA ID:

  • File the FAFSA online at This is a free website - beware of other sites which may charge a fee!!

  • If you need help filling out the FAFSA, you can check out a “Journey to College: FAFSA Frenzy” event. Public FAFSA Frenzy events

Male students that have turned 18 must sign up for the Selective Service System. Please visit to register.

Counselor's Corner

Dual credit payments are due by October 27th. Invoices and payment directions have been emailed to the students from OTC. The school will pay for one class per senior and if the senior wants the class paid for this semester, he/she needs to contact Mrs. Waisner.

Red Ribbon Week is coming up. The theme this year is Be Happy. Be Brave. Be Drug-Free. Celebrate #Red Ribbon Week (October 23-31)

The ASVAB will be on December 9th for all Juniors and any senior that hasn't taken the test or would like to retake the ASVAB.

December 12th is the next ACT at the high school. Registration is due on November 6th.

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Virtual Learning

COVID-19 has presented a unique set of challenges for the staff, students, and families of Clever High School. We have adopted the theme of 'Grit, Grace, and Gratitude" this year to help remind us that we are all better together. While changes happen quickly, we want to ensure we are doing all we can to support our students who are learning virtually, whether by choice or not.

Click below for a link to our expectations for students learning remotely. While originally designed to help our Bluejays@home learners navigate virtual learning, this information applies to any student who finds him/herself learning from home.

Officer Barney's 4-1-1

Hello again from Officer Barney!

This month is BUCKLE UP / PHONES DOWN. NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) reports that distracted driving is dangerous, claiming 2,841 lives in 2018 alone. Among those killed: 1,730 drivers, 605 passengers, 400 pedestrians, and 77 bicyclists. Per NHTSA there were approximately 400,000 injured due to distracted driving.

Why is distracted driving dangerous? At 55 mph you take your eyes off the road to read or send a text just for 5 seconds you have traveled farther than a football field.

I want you to know that behind every Clever Police Department’s Badge is a heart to serve our community. Be safe BUCKLE UP / PHONES DOWN.

No Vape November

The High School FBLA will be sponsoring "No Vape November". This idea, initiated by Reeds Spring High School last year, is a way to give our students an opportunity to turn in their vapes at school without any kind of punishment. We want to let our students know that behind the discipline that comes with being caught in possession of or using a vape, is genuine care for their health and a true desire for them to quit the habit before it is too late. Every student that turns in a vape, will receive a t-shirt with a "No Vape November" slogan and school logo. Throughout the month we will push out updates, health information, etc on social media to promote the program using "#NoVapeNovemberCR5".

To be clear - this only applies to students who voluntarily turn in a vaping device. Students who are caught in possession of or using a vape at school will still be subject to the consequences outlined in the student handbook.

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District Events Calendar

Click here for a comprehensive list of all upcoming events!

School Pictures

All student pictures, including senior composites, will be taken on Thursday, November 19th.

Picture order forms will be available in the main office beginning on Tuesday, November 3rd. Have your student stop by and pick one up.

Clubs and Activities at CHS

Clever High School offers a variety of extra/co-curricular activities for our students. Now is the time to get involved! Check out the list below for what is offered and who to contact:

Future Teachers of America - Mrs. Neely

Fellowship of Christian Athletes - Coach Jones

Science History Club - Ms. Romine

Clever Student Alliance - Mrs. Money

Art Club - Mr. Schmidt

Future Business Leaders of America - Mrs. Lumpkin

National Honor Society - Ms. Lathem

Future Farmers of America - Ms. Hultz

Student Council - Mrs. Grant and Mrs. Waisner

Yearbook - Mr. Boyles

Speech and Debate - Mr. Rea

Academic Team - Mr. Walker and Mr. McGarry

Spirit Squad - Mrs. Neely

Theatre - Mrs. Scheibe

Math Club - Mr. McGarry

High School Parent 101 - Absences

How attendance is tracked can be confusing, especially when discussing excused vs. unexcused absences. Keep in mind that there are extenuating circumstances and that this information applies only to typical day-to-day absences. If you ever have questions, do not hesitate to reach out to the school!

There are a few "just the way it is" facts that come from the state level when looking at daily student attendance, and they are:

  • A significant amount of funding that the district receives from the state is based on student attendance - simply put, the more our students attend school the more funding the district receives.
  • The state does not differentiate between excused or unexcused absences. Regardless of the reason, when a student misses school it counts against his/her attendance.
  • Missed days can not be "made up" by attending tutoring sessions, Saturday school, etc. and an excused absence still counts as an absence.

Excused vs. Unexcused absences matter at the local level. An unexcused absence is technically truancy. Missouri law requires students to attend school (again, there are exceptions and rules). Truancy, as defined by the student handbook, happens when a student is:

Absent from school without the knowledge and consent of parents/guardians and the school administration; excessive non- justifiable absences, even with the consent of parents/guardians; arriving after the expected time class or school begins, as determined by the district. Any student missing school without a valid excuse will be considered truant after 24 hours.

So when a doctor's note, a phone call from a parent/guardian, etc. is requested to excuse the absence we are really checking on the well-being of the student both in the short and long-term. We are doing everything we can to ensure that the student was accounted for by their parent/guardian and not missing school excessively without good cause.

Smart Social App Review

A review of dozens of social media apps

Alumni Spotlight

CHS Alumni we need more individuals to feature in our monthly spotlight!

Here is a list of questions you can copy/paste into an email and send your answers to Mr. Casey (


Class of:

Hobbies and interests:


Current Job:

College or Career Training after CHS:

Degree/Certificate Earned:

Extracurricular activities you participated in at CHS:

Favorite class at CHS:

Advice to current CHS students:

**A picture to include in the newsletter would be great!**

Thanks in advance!

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