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Friday, July 29, 2016

Back to School Letter

July 20, 2016

Welcome Back to School!
I hope this envelope isn’t too intimidating, they seem to get bigger every year and this year is no exception. Some of you may receive this letter more than once, yes we know that’s wasteful, but it also is the easiest and most economical way to make sure everyone gets the information they need.  
We have made it a goal to increase parental involvement in NFV student’s education.  Your child will do better if you are committed to the right academic support and encouragement. A Harvard Meta-analysis by Dr. William H. Jeynes entitled Parental Involvement and Student Achievement: A Meta-Analysis strongly supports this involvement. Dr. Jeynes’ conclusions are most supportive of parents reading to or with their children, and of having expectations of academic success for your children.  If we can create a partnership between parents and teachers, supporting appropriate academic involvement and positive motivation, we can improve every child’s school outcomes.  We have scheduled a couple of events to help get us there.
One of our first events to build this partnership into a relationship is K-8 Intake Conferences.  On August 18 and 19 all K-8 parents are invited to attend a parent teacher conference for the purpose of telling your teacher about your student.  There is an Intake Conference Questionnaire in this packet for clarifying this discussion.  Please complete this questionnaire for each child in grades K-8 and bring it with you to intake conferences.  You can help that teacher be better prepared to deal with your student, know his/her motivations and fears, and to build that positive student/teacher/parent relationship that is most important for learning.  Intake Conferences are August 18, 11:00 am to 7:00 pm and August 19, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.  The Parent Teacher Conference Scheduler software is linked at our registration pages: or  We hope all K-8 parents can make it and start the year off on a positive note.  These links should be accessible starting on Friday, July 22.
In another event to build better relationships, we have contracted Dr. Paul Gasser, a Marriage and Family Therapist from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and the Love and Logic Institute.  He will be presenting to staff the morning of August 17, and for parents that evening from 6:00-8:00 pm.   His expertise is on dealing with children and students in difficult situations. You know those days when the young ones are not listening, uncooperative and are hard to reason with. He will provide practical strategies to keep the situation calm and help you regain control.  His evening presentation is entitled Making Parenting Fun Again, I think you’ll enjoy it.
We are also hoping these improved relationships with parents and students can help us achieve better attendance. Did you know that students who miss 15 days of school or more in a year are identified as chronically absent by the Department of Education? Their data shows that this chronic absenteeism puts students at a disadvantage in their learning.  These students typically earn lower grades, score lower on standardized tests and are less successful in school than their peers.  We know that some of these students often have illness or injuries that keep them away.  However, if we can eliminate some of the avoidable absences we can all do our jobs better.
Another change this year impacting those who live in Hawkeye and Fayette is that the 6:00 p.m. activity shuttles from West Union to those towns has been discontinued.  We will continue Activity Shuttles from the Middle School to West Union and the High School to Valley.
On the following pages are several announcements and notifications that you need to review.  Please note that KWWL has ended their text message services and School Messenger text message services have been dropped in favor of a system called Instructions for enrolling in GovDelivery are in those announcements.
And finally, many folks have been asking when can we make our NFV partnership permanent.  There is a citizen’s committee who are collecting signatures on a petition to call for that election.  They need 400 signatures in each district, to have an election in February of 2017 for a reorganized school district on July 1, 2018.  

As always . . . Proud to be NFV!  GO TIGERHAWKS! @NFVtigerhawks
Duane Willhite, Supt. North Fayette and Valley Community Schools

Monday, July 11, 2016

Please support NFVCC building Program

This is text of my speech at the NFVCC groundbreaking on June 28.  I hope we can count on everyone to support the Community Coalitions Efforts.  DW

"First of all I want to thank the people behind the growth of NFVCC for embracing our combining school districts and working for all of its students.  The coalition is a 16-year success story at Valley and I am very grateful that our partnership was embraced in a way that it brought parents and volunteers from North Fayette and Valley together.

"Mr. Knox has said that without the school district’s support this would not be possible, but I believe without the NFVCC support the vitality and power of our schools to reach out to kids would be considerably diminished.  One of the reasons the school district is fully behind this project is that we know students learn better when they are ready to focus on school.  Providing for socialization and a sense of belonging to the school, especially for middle schoolers, is a huge boost for our school culture.

"We've been talking about "Maslow before Blooms" in our administrative meetings lately.  For those of you who haven't had an Ed Psych class, Maslow's Heirarchy is the order of self-needs that we all encounter, physical needs like food and water, sleep, safety are the most basic of human needs.  Those human needs also include companionship, a sense of belonging and socialization.

"Bloom's Taxonomy is a heirarchy of thinking.  Knowledge and understanding being the basics.  Then higher thinking skills are problems solving, analysis, creativity.  We know that to successfully get into the higher thinking processes of adolescents and teens, they need to feel that sense of belonging, they need to have a safe place to be with peers and to grow in their social dynamics.  

"This building will provide that.  We know that we can do a better job in the Middle school building because fo the job that will be getting done in the NFVCC Youth Family Learning Center.  The volunteers who work for the youth center or YFL are doing great work.  They are providing the stepping stones to success for our young people and we as a school district are indebted to them for the time they give to mentor, advise and simply provide a safe place for students to develop a sense of belonging in NFV.

I thank all past and future donors to this project for the asset you are providing to our schools."