The Bird Call

News and Notes from Clever High School

It's a Learning Experience

Happy (early) Thanksgiving and welcome to another edition of the Bird Call!

One of my favorite things to say is "it's an amazing time to be alive" and I genuinely mean it. In spite of everything we are struggling with this year, we are still fortunate in many ways. Who knows how catastrophic the problems of today would have been 100 years ago? I don't say that to minimize what we are facing as a society. I believe that perspective is reality and right now, our perspective is that times are tough and we aren't sure when it will get better. Changing the calendar to January 1st probably won't close the chapter on all we continue to face this year, unfortunately.

I find myself constantly worrying about what I can do to make this year better for the people in my life that I care the most about - my family, my friends, & the students and staff here at CHS. At the same time, there is a constant need to remind myself that I can only do so much and that focusing on the things I can't control will actually work against me. The image below comes from Steven Covey's (author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) work on circles of influence. The innermost circle contains the factors that I can influence - or control - in my daily life. Things such as:

  • My words
  • My behavior and attitude
  • Asking for help
  • Taking care of myself - diet, exercise, rest
  • My response to others or my choice to forgive them

The outer circle contains the factors that have a constant impact on me in spite of the fact that I cannot control them. This includes:

  • Other people's words, behaviors, and attitudes
  • The state of the economy
  • Politics
  • A global pandemic!
  • The effort a student is willing to put into their own success :)

The simple truth is that if I allow the things in my circle of concern to overwhelm me I will accomplish very little. Looking at the image below again, you can see how the circles change size depending on where you spend your time. If I focus on my circle of influence, it may in some way shrink my circle of concern. For example, making improvements to my words and behaviors towards others could influence a person in my outer circle to do the same. The contrary is true also, focusing on whether or not a student is putting in the effort (beyond my control) would most likely cause me to miss the opportunity to think outside the box about what we can do to uncover any potential underlying issues or develop a better plan for intervention/remedial work/support to help the student. To take it a step further, I have come to the understanding that when I spend my time focusing on my circle of concern I have a much higher likelihood of either placing the blame on someone else or making excuses for why I can't do something. Both of these are toxic and counterproductive.

I believe that the good in this world far outweighs the bad. I also believe that as a society we want what is best for each other. We may not always agree on what that is, but I do believe in the idea of the "greater good". Having influence and making a profound change does not happen quickly, it is the result of a million little steps in the right direction and happens when enough of us focus on changes within our own circle of influence rather than our circle of concern. There is a famous quote that says "Be the change you wish to see in the world" which is widely attributed (in some controversy) to Mohandas Gandhi. Regardless of the origin, the takeaway is profound. Change on any level starts with each individual, it is not a result of someone else telling you what to do. And, understanding that one's actions can be the catalyst for positive change is one of life's most important lessons.

I hope everyone reading this has a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you stay healthy and safe.

Go Jays!

Joe Casey

High School Principal


Remind: Text "@clever9-12" to 81010

Twitter: @CleverPrincipal

Big picture
Big picture

Hickman's Happenings

Character Education in the HS

Our character word of the month for November is Trustworthy. A trustworthy Clever Bluejay tells the truth and is sincere - They say what they mean and mean what they say. These students keep their word and are reliable and dependable.

A+ News


The Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development has determined that accommodations are necessary for our 2021 seniors in order to be eligible for the A+ scholarship. Here is a summary of the accommodations:

  • Attendance - Currently, if a student does not meet 95% attendance, they must go through an appeals process. However, our school can establish a policy that would serve as an appeal for all students in identified categories affected by COVID-19 as an alternative to individual appeals.

  • Tutoring - 25 hours of tutoring/mentoring instead of 50 hours.

  • Algebra 1 EOC - No accommodations. If students did not take the Algebra 1 EOC in the 2019-2020 school year, they must receive advanced or proficient on a higher level math EOC or qualifying combination of HS GPA/ACT math subscore

  • GPA - No accommodations. Still need a 2.5 cumulative GPA to qualify.

ACT - The next ACT date is Saturday, December 12th. The last day to register is Friday, November 20th. You may have to pay a late fee. You can register online at

FAFSA - Just a reminder to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This is one of the requirements to be eligible for the A+ scholarship. If you have any questions, please contact Mrs. Hickman or Mrs. Waisner.

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

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

Congratulations to our October Student of the Month Winners for representing the character word Citizenship and our CHS staff Trophy of Awesomeness winner!

Counselor's Corner

Sophomores will be involved in a virtual Explore OTC on Wednesday, November 18th. This will be a virtual expo to showcase OTC"s high school programs with a focus on career training programs.

All juniors will be taking the ASVAB test on December 9th. This is a great test for students and with the results, we will do career exploration.

We are having multiple college visits during school hours for students interested in learning more about area colleges. Students are emailed the dates and times of these visits.

Big picture

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!

November is “NO VAPE NOVEMBER” or it should be “NO VAPE = NO EVALI”

What’s EVALI? A newly identified lung disease that the CDC has named EVALI

(the acronym stands for e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury).

There are thousands of cases and dozens of deaths related to EVALI.

You don’t have to listen to me, here’s what intelligent minds in the medical and science fields from John Hopkins Medical, Harvard Medical School, Yale Medicine, Northwestern Medical, American Lung Association, CDC, Surgeon General, and the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine have to say about vaping:

There are links to chronic lung disease, asthma, heart disease, and some substances linked to an increase of cancer; two primary ingredients propylene glycol (found in anti-freeze) and vegetable glycerin are toxic to cells. Other dangerous chemicals: acetaldehyde, acrolein (found in weed killers), and flavorings such as diacetyl. Secondhand emissions contain, "nicotine volatile organic compounds such as benzene (found in car exhaust); heavy metals: nickel, tin, lead, and formaldehyde.

As a young adult and student, nicotine affects a developing brain (prefrontal cortex responsible for attention, decision-making, judgment, and planning) negatively. Plus, they don’t know yet but suspect vaping and Covid-19 multiplies the risk. Be safe, don’t vape.

District Events Calendar

Click here for a comprehensive list of all upcoming events!

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

Alumni Spotlight

Name: Lacey Smith (Cisneros)

Class of: 2000

Hobbies and Interests: Riding Motorcycles, Watching my children in sports, and spending time with friends

Family: Husband-Adam Smith, Daughters-Chloe Smith 14, Cali Smith 11

Current Job-Office Manager for AEC Systems

College: Associates of Arts from Ozark Technical College, Bachelors of Science, Business Administration from Missouri State University

Extracurriculars: Volleyball, FFA, and Future Teachers

Favorite class: Missouri History

Advice: You only need one person to believe in you to succeed. It's a lot easier if that person is you.

Big picture
Big picture