The Hawkeye

West Harrison's January Newsletter

Big picture

Mr. Marty Fonley

The start of the New Year brings the opportunity for new beginnings. In reality a “fresh start”can be done at any point in the year (or day for that matter) but New Year’s Resolutions seem to come to mind this time of year. If you are like me, those New Year’s Resolutions last somewhere in the neighborhood of two weeks and that would be a really good year. They typically are tied to a challenge I face in my life, like weight, work, or stress. I would offer that 2020 was one of the more challenging years we have had in quite some time for a wide variety of reasons, like COVID-19.

When dealing with challenges our mental approach is one of the most important things that we have control over. Doing everything we can to keep that mental approach positive is the best way to improve our own lives and the lives of those around us. A positive attitude impacts our health, our happiness and the lens through which we view the world around us. The rest of this article is about ways to positively impact that mental approach.

One of my favorite authors is Jon Gordon, who has written several books and is a nationally known motivational speaker. His work focuses on positive attitudes and focusing on the things in our lives that we can control. Below are several items from his work that you may find helpful.

The video below is about the one-word challenge. The idea is that focusing on one word is easier than a phrase or a concept. For this year, my word is “present” as in being focused on the present moment, the present conversation, enjoying every moment of the present. Take a look at the video and decide what word you will pick for the year.
Jon Gordon - One Word that will Change Your Life
This video is one my daughter shared with me. It is from Lauren Johnson, the mental conditioning coach for the New York Yankees and she is working with my daughter's college softball team on mindset. The video is called The Lowest Common Denominator and has a great perspective on staying with the goals we set. Link:

Finally this list is again from Jon Gordon and is titled “21 Tips for a Positive New Year”. It is my hope that you all have a great 2021!


Big picture
Big picture

Mrs. Casey Ring

Happy New Year, Hawkeye Families!

I am a big believer in teaching our students that hard work and effort create success more often than talent or intelligence. One piece of teaching our students to have that mindset is to really think about how we phrase our message around success and failure.

This is an excerpt from Mindset; The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck.

Messages About Failure

Praising success should be the least of our problems, right? Failure seems like a much more delicate matter. Children may already feel discouraged and vulnerable. Let's tune in again, this time to the messages parents can send in times of failure.

Nine-year-old Elizabeth was on her way to her first gymnastics meet. Lanky, flexible, and energetic, she was just right for gymnastics, and she loved it. Of course, she was a little nervous about competing, but she was good at gymnastics and felt confident of doing well. She had even thought about the perfect place in her room to hang the ribbon she would win.

In the first event, the floor exercises, Elizabeth went first. Although she did a nice job, the scoring changed after the first few girls and she lost. Elizabeth also did well in the other events, but not well enough to win. By the end of the evening, she had received no ribbons and was devastated.

What would you do if you were Elizabeth's parents?

  1. Tell Elizabeth you thought she was the best.
  2. Tell her she was robbed of a ribbon that was rightfully hers.
  3. Reassure her that gymnastics is not that important.
  4. Tell her she has the ability and will surely win next time.
  5. Tell her she didn't deserve to win.

There is a strong message in our society about how to boost children's self-esteem, and a main part of that message is: Protect them from failure! While this may help with the immediate problem of a child's disappointment, it can be harmful in the long run. Why?

Let's look at the five possible reactions from a mindset point of view--and listen to the messages:

The first (you thought she was the best) is basically insincere. She was not the best--you know it, and she does, too. This offers her no recipe for how to recover or how to improve.

The second (she was robbed) places blame on others, when in fact the problem was mostly with her performance, not the judges. Do you want her to grow up blaming others for her deficiencies?

The third (reassure her that gymnastics doesn't really matter) teaches her to devalue something if she doesn't do well in it right away. Is this really the message you want to send?

The fourth (she has the ability) may be the most dangerous message of all. Does ability automatically take you where you want to go? If Elizabeth didn't win this meet, why should she win the next one?

THe last option (tell her she didn't deserve to win) seems hardhearted under the circumstances. And of course you wouldn't say it quite that way. But that's pretty much what her growth-minded father told her.

Here's what he actually said: "Elizabeth, I know how you feel. It's so disappointing to have your hopes up and to perform your best but not to win. But you know, you haven't really earned it yet. There were many girls there who've been in gymnastics longer than you and who've worked a lot harder than you. If this is something you really want, then it's something you'll really have to work for."

He also let Elizabeth know that if she wanted to do gymnastics purely for fun, that was just fine. But if she wanted to excel in the competitions, more was required.

Elizabeth took this to heart, spending much more time repeating and perfecting her routines, especially the ones she was weakest in. At the next meet, there were eighty girls from all over the region. Elizabeth won five ribbons for the individual events and was the overall champion of the competitions, hauling home a giant trophy. By now, her room is so covered with awards, you can hardly see the walls.

In essence, her father not only told her the truth, but also taught her how to learn from her failure and do what it takes to succeed in the future. He sympathized deeply with her disappointment, but he did not give her a phony boost that would only lead to further disappointment.

I've met with many coaches and they ask me: "What happened to the coachable athletes? Where did they go? Many of the coaches lament that when they give their athletes corrective feedback, the athletes grumble that their confidence is being undermined. Sometimes the athletes phone hoe and complain to their parents. They seem to want coaches who will simply tell them how talented they are and leave it at that.

The coaches say that in the old days after a little league game or kiddie soccer game, parents used to review and analyze the game on the way home and give helpful (process) tips. Now on the ride home, they say, parents heap blame on the coaches and referees for the child's poor performance or the team's loss. They don't want to harm the child's confidence by putting the blame on the child.

But as in the example of Elizabeth above, children need honest and constructive feedback. If children are "protected" from it, they won't learn well. They will experience advice, coaching, and feedback as negative and undermining. Withholding constructive criticism does not help children's confidence; it harms their future.

Big picture


We have a number of substitute positions available at West Harrison! Please call in to the school to have your name placed on a list. Our phone number is 712-646-2231.

  • Paraprofessional (HIGH NEED)
  • Food Service
  • Bus Driver (Class B CDL with bus endorsement)
  • Teacher (Substitute certification req.)

PARAPROFESSIONAL: A substitute paraprofessional fills in for our absent paraprofessionals. A paraprofessional is an educational worker who is not licensed to teach, but performs many duties both individually with students and organizationally in the classroom. It would be for a variety of grades, depending on the need for the day.

There is no minimum education requirement or certification needed, only a willingness to work (and approved background check)! Please call the school to get your name on our list ASAP. It is a high need for us at this time and we would love to grow our sub para list.

FOOD SERVICE: Help us feed our students! You can work in the morning and be finished by early afternoon!

BUS DRIVER: A 16-hour class and driver's test are required to become a bus driver. The school will pay for the class!

SUBSTITUTE: We would also like to grow our substitute teacher list. If you have at least 60 hrs toward a bachelor's degree in anything, you can become a certified substitute teacher! Classes for this certification are ongoing. Call the school and we can help you with getting signed up for the class. Certified teachers do not have to take the class.

Big picture

Yearbooks are currently on sale for $40 through the month of January. On February 1, the price will go up to $45. Please contact the following staff and students if you are interested in getting a book full of memories: Brenda Pape, Annette Kuhlman, Gina Birdsall, Katie Gore, Beatriz Martin, Brecken Pavlik, Aaron Peterson, Brooklyn Rhodes, Haleigh Rife, and Nickolette Whetstone.

Deb Evans - School Nurse

From The Nurses Desk January

Winter isn't a time to just stay indoors and wait for spring. There's a whole wonderland of sports out there for the entire family — sledding, snowboarding and skiing to mention a few. Plus, someone has to shovel the snow, right? Once outdoors, however, take precautions to keep your family safe. In ice and snow, accidents can occur easily, and before you know it you might be on your way to the emergency room.

It's easy to keep safe — and stay fit — during the cold months. By following a few tips, you can have a great time, no matter how much white stuff piles up outside.

Cold-Weather Hazards

Certain injuries are more common in the winter because cold-weather activities like ice-skating, sledding, snowboarding, and skiing can lead to accidents that often involve kids.

Now that snowboarding is drawing more kids out in the cold weather, ERs are seeing more abdominal, head, and neck injuries in those who run into trees or large rocks while snowboarding.

And some illnesses are more common when the weather turns colder. Respiratory ailments, especially viruses like the flu, are prevalent because people stay indoors more and thus are exposed to more airborne germs.

At Home

One way to stay healthy while cooped up inside is to make sure your family washes their hands. It's especially important to wash after sharing toys, coughing, and blowing a runny nose to help prevent the spread of viruses.

Decided you've had enough of the indoors and you're going to get the family outside to shovel the snow? Fine, but take care. Snow shoveling is strenuous work. It's OK for older, school-age kids to help out, but young children should not be shoveling because they can strain their muscles from lifting heavy shovels full of snow.

Younger or older, kids sometimes have a tough time knowing when to come inside from the cold. To nip frostbite in the bud, check on your kids regularly to make sure that mittens are dry and warm and noses aren't too red.

Dressing for the Cold

If you're going outside in the cold, stay safe — and warm. Make sure your kids have a snack before going out. The calories will give their bodies energy in the cold weather.

And protect your kids' faces with sunscreen. The idea of a sunburn in January can seem odd, but snow can reflect up to 85% of the sun's ultraviolet rays.

Kids should dress warmly in layers of clothes. If the top layer gets wet from snow or freezing rain, they can peel off some clothes down to a dry layer.

Avoid cotton clothing because it won't keep the kids very warm. Stick with wool or other fabrics. Dress them in long underwear, a turtleneck, and a sweater and coat. Add more layers depending on the temperature. Waterproof pants and jackets are great top layers because they don't let the wetness seep into the other clothing. The cold-weather ensemble wouldn't be complete without warm socks and boots to keep feet dry and a hat to top it off.

There's no set amount of time kids should be allowed to stay out in the cold. However, when being cold becomes unpleasant, it's time to go inside. Sometimes, though, kids may just need some dry gloves. It helps to have an extra pair of gloves or mittens tucked into their pockets if they plan to be outdoors for a while.

Winter Sports Safety

If your kids decide to go sledding on their own for the day, make sure you know about the hill where they will be playing. Is it steep or covered with trees? If so, it's not a good location for sledding. Also, watch out for hills with rocks or those near busy roads.

Sledding injuries can be very serious, resulting in broken bones and trauma to the abdomen, head, and neck. So it's wise to supervise your kids when they go sledding. Experts also suggest having kids wear helmets to help prevent head injuries.

Ice hockey and ice skating are great cold-weather activities, but require safety smarts, too. Make sure your kids avoid sports injuries by wearing helmets during ice hockey games and properly fitted skates whenever on the ice. Ice skaters should also consider wearing helmets. Rinks are always safer than ponds for skating. If you only have access to a pond, check the thickness of the ice yourself to prevent falls through it and supervise your kids while they skate.

Before they hit the slopes with a snowboard or ski, make sure your kids are wearing helmets and protective goggles. Skiers' safety bindings (the attachment that secures the ski boot to the ski) should be checked yearly, and snowboarders should wear gloves with built-in wrist guards. All equipment should fit well.

Snowmobiling is more popular than ever, and the machines also go faster than ever. When snowmobiling, follow these safety steps with your family:

· All kids (and adults) should wear goggles and a helmet approved for use on motorized vehicles.

· Kids younger than 16 should not operate snowmobiles, and those younger than 6 should not ride on them.

· Travel in groups and make sure someone knows where the snowmobilers are going.

· Know your machine and its capabilities.

· Respect other snowmobilers and yield to those who have the right of way.

· If it's necessary to snowmobile on frozen bodies of water, do so with extra caution.

· When crossing a roadway, make sure the way is clear in both directions.

· Operate at a reasonable and prudent speed for trail conditions.

· Remember that alcohol and snowmobiles don't mix.

In an Emergency

Kids are at greater risk for frostnip and frostbite than adults, and the best way to prevent it is to make sure they're dressed warmly and don't spend too much time in extreme weather.

Frostnip is an early warning sign of the onset of frostbite. It leaves the skin red and numb or tingly. After bringing your child inside, remove all wet clothing because it draws heat from the body. Immerse the chilled body parts in warm (not hot) water — 104-108°F (40-42°C) — until they are able to feel sensation again.

Frostbite occurs mostly on fingers, toes, ears, noses, and cheeks. The area becomes very cold and turns white or yellowish gray. If you notice frostbite, take your child immediately to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Going on a road trip over the holidays? Make sure you have a first-aid kit, extra blankets, and gloves in the car.

Happy New Year To All!

Big picture

Mrs. Marshall - School Counselor

I hope everyone enjoyed the winter break! I am glad to see everyone back and to start the second half of the school year.

In elementary, students are going to be learning about careers. One of my favorite units to teach. Kids get to think about what things they like to do and the skills they already have and how that can relate to what kind of job they may want to have in the future.

Middle/High School students started S2. It is a fresh start to the year with some new classes for students to enjoy.

Seniors are entering their last semester of high school! It will go by quicker than they know and I hope they enjoy it! We are in scholarship season so as the local scholarships get sent to me I will be sending them through email to the seniors. Don’t forget I also update the senior website with scholarships and other senior information. The seniors that plan to go to a two-year or four-year college need to be completing the FAFSA (financial aid application) to help them get money to pay for college if they have not done so already. See the senior website for FAFSA information. Here is the senior website for WH senior students and families.

Soon Registration for next year classes for current 8th-11th grade students will be here. More information will follow in the next newsletter.

Think about taking Physics for the 21-22 school year!

Students who performed well in Algebra 1 and Algebra 2, are good critical thinkers and are motivated

should think about taking the course. This is a good class for those planning on science majors in college, medicine, law, computer science, electrical engineering, physics, math, civil engineering, finance, accounting, chemistry, or life science.

Mr. Nunez - Activities Director

Starting Friday, January 8th, attendance for basketball games (including JH) for spectators has been opened according to the Governor's proclamation on January 7th. Any spectator who feels it is safe can attend. The girl's game starts at 5:30 with the boys to follow.
Big picture

Kindergarten - Ms. Brock

Happy New Year Hawkeye Families!

What a year 2020 has been! I think I can speak for all when I say it’s time for a new year and fresh beginnings! For those of you who may not know me, my name is Holly Brock and this is my third year teaching kindergarten at West Harrison. Of course, like everyone else’s year, kindergarten also looks a little different too. This year, we were fortunate enough to hire another kindergarten teacher reducing my past class sizes in half. What a difference it has made for our students academically. I have seen leaps and bounds in my students since the beginning of the year and I can’t wait to see where they end up in the next few months.

I have also learned quite a bit this year on how to incorporate technology into the classroom for our continuous learners. You can definitely tell these kindergartens are growing up in a technology-based world, as they are becoming quite the experts at navigating the iPads through our Seesaw platform and our IXL enrichment app. Besides learning technology, we are learning many new things here in kindergarten too. In literacy, we are learning five to six new sight words a week, producing letter sounds, blending letter sounds together, segmenting the words apart, and of course, we are all learning how to read!! In math, we are practicing our number recognition to twenty, writing our numbers, and our most recent topic learning how to add numbers together. Lastly, in our science class, we have been learning about living and nonliving things. In the fall, we were able to go on a nature scavenger hunt. (Check out our cool finds in our pictures!) We have not gotten to social studies, but plan to by the end of January. I am still creating lessons and activities to meet the new standards.

I hope you all had a fun and safe winter break with your children! Stay healthy and have a great new year!

Second Grade - Ms. Heithoff

At the beginning of a New Year, many of us find ourselves reflecting on the events of the past year. I graduated from the University of Wyoming in the spring- following my student teaching in Evanston, Wyoming. I knew that I wanted to move back to Iowa- closer to my grandparents and other extended families- as soon as possible.

I am very thankful for the home I have found at West Harrison in the 2nd-grade classroom. I have not been able to visit my extended family since I have moved here in order to keep them safe, but the people in my wing of the building have made me feel very lucky to have a community in the meantime.

The 2nd-grade class this year has been working hard to comprehend texts about community, apply our phonics skills in reading and writing, and add up to 100!

When I’m not at school you can find me bringing my dog for runs, rereading childhood favorites, and calling my mother and grandmother.

Family and Consumer Science - Ms. Kadar

Welcome Back and Happy New Year!

FCS has been moving and grooving this last semester. There is so much share about my first semester at West Harrison. I have absolutely enjoyed being here. Here are just a few highlights…

Foods and Nutrition students have been working on measuring ingredients properly, understanding the function of ingredients in recipes, reading recipes, and knife skills. To see what they’ve learned I challenged them to a Chili Challenge. Students were able to create their chili using any ingredients of their choice. Students could then invite one classmate to come and sample each of the chili’s and then enjoy a bowl of their favorite chili with a cinnamon roll.

First Place: Leah Frink, Lanie Gustafson, Kimmy DeGoey

Second Place: Jacob Garcia and Parker Rife

Third Place: Colt Heisterkamp and Wyatt Nelson

Each team received and certificate and medal.

Winning Recipe:

Homemade Chili Recipe


1 lb ground beef, browned

1 lb tomato sauce

1 white onion, diced

1 can Hunt’s stewed tomatoes

1 can chili beans

1 tsp cumin

2 1/2 Tbsp chili powder, divided

1 tsp garlic salt, to taste

Dash of salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Combine ground beef, onion, and 1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder, cook until beef is brown.
  2. In a large pot, add tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes (don’t drain), and chili beans (don’t drain). Stir to mix together, bring to boil.
  3. Once brown, drain fat and add beef mixture to tomato sauce mixture.
  4. Add remaining seasonings (cumin, garlic salt, salt, pepper, and remaining chili powder).

Exploratory FCS (Grades 6-8)

Students in exploratory FCS get a chance to learn about basic cooking terminology and basic measurements. Each grade gets a chance to make something in the kitchen. So far the favorite lab is the pancake lab. Students also create a DIY project or handsewn project. Seventh-grade students made a woven kit candy bowl. Sixth-grade students just finished up their ugly monsters which required them to thread a needle, cut out a pattern, sew on a button and hand stitch their monster closed.

FCCLA Update:

Thank you to all West Harrison Community friends and family for their support in purchasing Krispy Kreme Donuts. As usual, it was a great success. We look forward to being able to attend leadership conferences in the near future.

Congratulations to the following individual members and teams for submitting their first of three Peer Education projects:

Maren Evans

Kira Anderson and Denali DeGoey

Zoe Etter, Kali Peasley, and Lily Gustafson

Emily McIntosh and Haleigh Rife

Madison Lautrup and Kenna Heisterkamp

Emma Wood, Nickolette Whetstone, and Brooklyn Rhodes

Brylee Sherer had great success as well with her STAR community service project. FCCLA officers (Brylee, Zoe, Maren) were able to help her deliver well over 50 plus bags divided amongst four nursing/assisted living facilities for healthcare workers in Woodbine, Logan, Missouri Valley, and Dunlap. Thank you to those of you in our community who helped contribute to the goodies in the bags. Each of the facilities was very honored and thankful. Also a special shout out to Mrs. Jess Hopkins for being our chauffeur and logistical coordinator.

Big picture

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!