The Hawkeye

West Harrison's February Newsletter

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Mrs. Julie Trepa

Q: What’s the difference between operational sharing and whole grade sharing?

Operational sharing is when a district shares certain positions with another district to share the costs of that individual and then the state provides extra funding on top of the savings to do so. For example, West Harrison CSD just approved an agreement with West Monona CSD to continue to share the superintendent’s position. In addition to saving money by only paying half of the salary, benefits, and other costs, the school receives the equivalent of 8 students in funding. In addition to sharing the superintendent, West Harrison also currently shares the following positions: Human Resources Director, School Business Official, Transportation Director and Director of Operations and Maintenance. These positions are currently shared with Logan-Magnolia CSD and have been for quite some time. West Harrison has been sharing a superintendent with West Monona for the past six years.

Whole grade sharing is when a district decides to share students with another district. This, too, brings in extra money to both schools. Some of you may remember from about four years ago when West Harrison held a community-wide meeting to explain the terminology. There are different types of whole grade sharing. The most common types of whole-grade sharing are described below.

There is two-way whole grade sharing where two districts essentially “swap” two levels. For example, District A might send their middle school students to District B and District B might send their high school students to District A. Both districts would get to “count” all of their own students, plus the students from the other district that are being shared. Both districts would remain their own district.

There is also one-way whole grade sharing. Charter Oak Ute and Maple Valley Anthon Oto do this. Charter Oak Ute has remained a district, but their high school students go to Maple Valley Anthon Oto. Again, Charter Oak Ute gets to count the high school students in their “count”, even though they attend Maple Valley Anthon Oto. And, Maple Valley Anthon Oto gets to “count” all of the students in their district AND the Charter Oak Ute students that attend daily. Again, both districts remain their own district.

Why is the “count” so important? That is how schools are funded. Every year, the number of students in attendance on count day, October 1, is the number the state uses to provide state aid money to schools. The school receives just under $7,000 per student.

West Harrison does not currently whole grade share with anyone.

Q: Why would a district want to utilize operational sharing and whole grade sharing?

Districts utilize operational sharing and whole grade sharing for the financial benefits they provide. With many schools experiencing declining enrollment and low state supplemental aid funding, schools are faced with doing more with less. Utilizing operational sharing and whole grade sharing are simply tools districts use to stay afloat and maintain their status as a district.

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Buckle Up for Safety on West Harrison School Buses!

Hello Hawkeye families! Over the course of the next week or so, West Harrison will be receiving our newly leased buses. What is so exciting about that? These buses follow the new Iowa law by coming equipped with seat belts!

As we transition to this new change at school we would love parents and guardians to speak with their child on the homefront as well. In this way, we can make sure we are compliant with Iowa law and our students are safe when riding in school transportation.

  • The day we put our new buses on the afternoon route, students will be given a tour and have time to learn about the new expectations.
  • Signs will be posted and teachers will cover the expectations before the first day. Preschool and Kindergarten have books to read and other grades will have posters available.
  • We will post a video to our social media and websites for parents and guardians to see what the new seatbelts look like.
  • Bus drivers will be informed of the new expectations and follow them with their riders.

What are our new rules? This is what students will be given:

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Here is some more information, in addition to these expectations:

  • Preschool and Kindergarten students will wait for the bus driver or an older student to take their seatbelt off at their stop. We are going to see how this goes; it may be a temporary transition or permanent, depending on how well the students do with this change.
  • Bus drivers are required by law to check and make sure all students are wearing their seatbelts before leaving. Once the bus leaves, it is the student's responsibility to keep it on.
  • Failure to follow the rules will result in a bus conduct report. Here is the letter sent home regarding these reports. Three reports may result in a temporary bus suspension.
  • Coaches, sponsors, athletes, and all other students are also expected to follow these rules when riding to events.

This is a new process and one that will take some time to refine as we learn the best system possible for everyone. If you have any questions regarding seatbelts on our new buses, please reach out! The chances are if you are wondering, then someone else is too!

Thank you,

Casey Ring

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Child Fair

Child Fair for West Harrison CSD will be held Wednesday, April 8th, 2020. Times are 9:00 AM - 12:00 noon. You must have an appointment. Please contact Annette Kuhlman at 646-2016.

WHO: Children ages birth to 5 who live in the West Harrison School District and are not presently in kindergarten

WHAT: A developmental screening that will give you the opportunity to see if your child is playing, moving, thinking and talking at his/her age level. Screenings include vision, hearing, speech, language and overall development.

WHERE: West Harrison Elementary at 410 Pine Mondamin, Iowa.

COST: It's fun and free for all children while reassuring to parents!

WHY: Child Fairs can give your child a better educational start.

Participating agencies may include West Harrison Schools, Iowa State Extension, Harrison County Home and Public Health, Child Care Resource and Referral, Jeffrey L Walls, DDS., Lions Club for vision checks and Alegent Health. Additional agencies may be represented.

If you have concerns about your child's development but are unable to attend the Child Fair, you may contact Green Hills AEA to schedule an in-home screening at 1-800-886-4112 or 712-642-4112

FCCLA District STAR Event Competition

West Harrison FCCLA competed in three categories at district STAR events on January 29th.

Brylee Sherer and Riley Acker - Chapter Service Project Display - Gold Medal
Emily McIntosh, Haleigh Rife, and Madison Lautrop - Focus on Children - Gold Medal
Zoe Etter, Kenna Heisterkamp, and Kali Peasley - Repurpose and Redesign - Gold Medal

The students began preparing for competition in October and continued to work to improve their projects for districts. They not only received gold medals but also qualified for state competition. Mrs. Fegenbush will be taking the state qualifiers to Des Moines at the end of March to compete at the FCCLA State Conference.

Congratulations and best of luck at state!

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January Golden Hawkeye Award Winners

Each month, students in K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 will be recognized for his/her achievements within the West Harrison community by being awarded the Golden Hawkeye Award. Written nominations are made by the faculty/staff. A committee of staff members selects the winners from the nominations made. This is a great opportunity to recognize our students who are doing good things!

The nominees for January were (back row): Mason King, Mason McIntosh, Aiden King, Maren Evans, and missing Jason Barry.

Congratulations to the January Golden Hawkeye winners (front row): Garrett Marshall, River Adams, Halle Berwick, Nelson Clark, and Shelby Hiller.

Amy Stolz and the Golden Hawkeye Committee

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February is National Dental Health Month!

Lifelong habits begin at home. Make dental health part of your daily routine and share these reminders with your whole family:

Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, especially after breakfast and before bedtime. Drinking water after eating also helps to clear your teeth of food particles.

Floss every day. An adult should help children under the age of eight to floss. Older children should be ready to floss on their own.

Limit the number of times you eat snacks, especially the sticky ones and long-lasting ones.

Visit a dentist regularly for a routine check-up and a cleaning.

Protect your teeth by wearing a mouthguard when playing sports.

Don’t forget to change your toothbrush regularly, and after an illness.

Sweet snack facts:

Eating a lot of snacks with sugar may cause cavities.

Every time you eat sugar, plaque in your mouth mixes with the sugar to make acid. The acid hurts the teeth and causes decay over time. This can be painful!

The school nurse can help you find a dental home for your family!

Smile J Deb Evans, RN West Harrison Community Schools 712.646.2231

Mrs. Marshall - It is scholarship season for seniors!

Seniors need to be checking emails weekly, if not daily. I send any scholarship that comes through email or mail on to them. The local scholarships are the ones West Harrison students are most likely to get. I recommend if they meet the eligibility requirements, for them to apply. A scholarship will not be won if it is not applied for. We have an amazing community that helps West Harrison students with access to a lot of local scholarship opportunities.

Another way for seniors to find scholarships is to consider if their workplace offers any, their parents or grandparents workplace, through the church, places they volunteer, or any organizations they or their parents belong to. Other ways to find scholarships are through scholarship search websites, such as, and that filter to what criteria is put in. These are national scholarships so more people are applying to them. Beware of scams when searching for scholarships. If a fee has to be paid to get the scholarship or to apply for the scholarship it is most always a scam! If in doubt ask for a second opinion.

When writing an essay for a scholarship some very important tips to remember include:

  • Use proper grammar and punctuation (have someone proofread it)

    • This is one of the most common ways an applicant gets thrown out of the running

  • Remember this is the time to promote your uniqueness and your story (stand out from all the other applicants)

  • Follow Directions, such as: answer each question completely, follow word limits, and any other specific requirements the scholarship lists

Mr. Nunez - Jr. EMS Training and Serving

The West Harrison Jr. EMS members have been training and also serving the community. Their latest training included the skills to “package” patients on a backboard, with a C-collar, onto a cot, and into the ambulance. They also trained with the air splints, which are used on extremity injuries as well as the stair chair for patient transport up and downstairs.

The members also spent one Sunday morning and early afternoon serving pancakes, biscuits and gravy, and sausages to the community at Mondamin’s annual Pancake Feed Fundraiser.

West Harrison Jr. EMS members are Chantz Cleaver, Maren Evans, Hunter Hansen, Kayla Lynch, Brecken Pavlik, Beatriz Martin, Haleigh Rife, Chloe Green, Jeff Perry, Joslynn Thomas, Lanie Gustafson, Tyler Deppe, Sabrina Rife, and Parker Rife.

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Newsletter From the Elementary Resource Room by Mrs. Smith

We have completed the first semester! All of the elementary students were screened again for math and reading skills. Those results help us make decisions regarding planning and instruction. We also celebrate the growth students made since our first screening in the fall! Good job and keep reading at home, kids! That extra practice will help you earn A.R. points and make you a better reader!

Professional development for special education teachers is focused on literacy this year. We are working hard to identify where students are weak in fluency and decoding. The Special Education department has applied for and received the SDI Literacy Grant awarded by the Iowa Department of Education. Some of that money was spent on new reading curriculum materials to help students improve their reading skills, especially when it comes to learning phonics. It is also being used for teacher training.

I have had several meetings with families so far this year and I look forward to meeting with the rest of my students’ families. I appreciate your input as team members and we will continue to work as partners to help your child meet his or her goals.

Mrs. Sherer's 4th Grade Classroom

Hi! My name is Jami (Lawrenson) Sherer. I am currently the 4th grade teacher here at West Harrison. This is my 22nd year of teaching. I am a 1994 graduate of West Harrison and love being able to give back to such a great place! I began teaching at West Harrison in 1998. I taught Special Education for the first 4 years. Then I moved into Kindergarten for the next 4 years. I have spent one year in 5th grade, and the remainder in 4th! In my 22 years, I have also done some coaching. I have been both the Assistant and Head Coach of Softball, and Track & Field, and the Head Coach of Volleyball, and Head Junior High Volleyball Coach, along with coaching multiple ages in (K-7th) softball.

I love to be able to offer the students real life experiences, and hands on learning as much as possible. So far this school year, we have had the opportunity to have dictionaries donated to each student in the classroom by Larry Hutchinson in memory of his wife. We have also had Connie Betts the Harrison County Naturalist come into our classroom and teach us lessons, a park ranger from Desoto Bend Wildlife was able to come in and work with us and then each student received a National Park Pass, Mr. Harris was the speaker at the Veteran’s Day Program, after the program he came into our classroom to speak to us and answer questions, we have also had Mrs. Ring, our Principal come into our room and read us a book, and Mr. Nuzum’s High School Government Class has come in and taught us a mini lesson on the Census. I also have planned in April for Melanie Bruck from the Iowa Farm Bureau to come in and teach us a mini lesson on the History of Iowa Agriculture. We have also been able to participate in Red Ribbon Week, and Homecoming week which both included dress up days! Before Christmas break we were able to go to the Rialto Theater in Missouri Valley and experience the theater and a movie. We were also able to collect canned goods and deliver them and take a tour of the Matthew House before Christmas break. The students and their families donated items to the Matthew House instead of exchanging presents with each other.

I can’t wait to keep having THE BEST YEAR EVER in 4th grade here at West Harrison!

Mrs. Palmero - Spanish Classes Have Been Busy!

We had a pretty busy 1st Semester with a lot of new things going on.

We started the school year using a new tool in high school. It is called Flipgrid and it is a website that allows teachers to create "grids" to facilitate video discussions. Each grid is like a message board where teachers can post questions, called "topics," and their students can post video responses that appear in a grid. It gives all the students the chance of speaking Spanish from home every two weeks and review the learned concepts. My students are doing a great job sharing their grids!!

Another new thing this year is that Spanish 2 is going to the Mondamin Public Library once a week to do different activities with Christine. So far we have been speaking Spanish, playing Bingo with Spanish Vocabulary, reading Spanish books, making flowers for the Day of the Dead and celebrating it. We had a good Christmas celebration too with Christine who made a sweet treat from Mexico for us.

My seniors go to the elementary end twice a week to teach Spanish vocabulary to the 2nd grade. It is amazing to see their little faces and that they are learning so many new words, it is great. I am really proud of my seniors, they are awesome and so ready to go to college.

We visited the Museo Latino in Omaha on October 23rd. We learned about the Day of the Dead Celebration and there was also an exhibition about Guatemalan ponchos. After the visit, we went to Fernando’s in Blair to have lunch. It was fantastic. Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to learn and have a great time together.

At school, for the Day of the Dead we made an altar honoring some relatives, friends or famous people who have passed away, we colored skulls and made “papel picado”, we also made felt skulls. Middle school students watched the Book of Life movie, which was pretty interesting. It was really fun!!

This New Year, we have many plans ahead of us.

We will keep using Flipgrid to improve our speaking skills.

In March we will start building our sculptures for our traditional Fallas festival.

The Falles is a traditional celebration held every year from the 15 to the 19 of March in commemoration of Saint Joseph in the city of Valencia, Spain. Each neighborhood produces a construction known as a falla which is eventually burnt. Every year my students build their own sculptures and learn about Spanish culture at the same time.

Included you can see two of the pictures from last year but I am sure that this year they will improve their work and our Falla will be awesome!!

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Save your Family Fare receipts! We’re raising money to be used for items or special projects in classrooms through Direct Your Dollars

Direct Your Dollars is a receipt-based program, meaning that we can raise money simply by doing something we all do each week – going to the grocery store.

Every time you shop at your local Family Fare store, save your receipts – and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Once we’ve collected $150,000 in receipts from these stores, we can turn those slips of paper into a $1,000 check for West Harrison Community School!

To reach our goal of $150,000 in receipts, we’ll be collecting eligible receipts in our Direct Your Dollars box. The box has the DYD logo on it, and it’s located in both offices in our building. Please make sure you drop off the original receipt – that’s how we earn our $1,000 check.

If you aren’t able to drop your receipts off in person, you can also mail them to the school address 410 Pine Street, Mondamin, Iowa 51557

Through the Direct Your Dollars program, we can turn YOUR Family Fare receipts into cash.

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!
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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