District Update

April 26, 2021

Board of Education Recap Article

This is not a full recap of all issues discussed at the Board of Education meeting. These are not official minutes. For more information on the Board of Education meeting, click here.

In April 26’s board of education meeting, the board discussed further plans regarding the school security enhancement project grant.This is a federal grant with a 25 percent match from the district’s capital outlay. It includes secured entry and controlled access with video and voice capabilities. The security enhancements will take place over the summer. The board approved DH Pace to do the work related to that. The bids the district received were for the first phase of the project which is about $283,000. The goal is to have that operational by the 2021-2022 school year. In the second phase, the district is looking at some additional cameras or replacing existing cameras. If there are funds left over after that, the third phase will include expansion of the system.

The board also reflected on and discussed the community meeting that took place on April 19. Superintendent Van Ranken explained that the plan is to have more of those meetings. Topics discussed in those meetings include what a Newton graduate should look like, what kinds of things they should understand or be able to do and what the district is doing well and not so well. So far, there have been one community round and two high school student sessions. The goal is to have a better idea of what the district’s strategic plan and goals should be and how to go about supporting those plans and goals.

Board Meeting:

- YouTube

Facebook Live Q&A

April 27--Facebook Live Q&A

What is the district doing to address bullying?

We have certain policies and plans in place. It’s a matter of changing the culture within our schools. We hope to build some of this through the strategic planning mentioned in the board recap. Bullying is not acceptable. If you are having issues, please reach out. We always try to solve the problem at the “lowest” level. So, if it’s happening in the classroom, start with that classroom teacher then work with building administrators and even the superintendent’s office if necessary. Our buildings try to be responsive. One thing to note is that unless your student is the one who is being disciplined for bullying, you won’t know what the consequences are.

Superintendent's Corner

The numbers this week taken from logs maintained locally are:

● Students quarantined: 12 on 4/22/2021 (10 on 4/15/2021)

● Staff quarantined: 1 on 4/22/2021 (1 on 4/15/2021)

● Active cases: 2 active cases on 4/17/2021, including 2 student and 0 staff (2 active cases on 4/17/2021, including 2 student and 0 staff)

Admin Professionals Day

This past week, Administrative Professionals Day was celebrated. As you all well know, they are generally the faces of our buildings in so many ways. Thanks to all of our Administrative Professionals throughout the district!

Railer Recognition

Kansas Stae Department of Education Awards

The Kansas State Department of Education released its district awards this past month.

USD 373 was awarded Copper status for Postsecondary success. There are four levels of awards, Gold, Silver, Bronze and Copper.

In addition, USD 373 was given the Commissioner’s Award for outperforming the predicted

post-secondary effectiveness rate above 0.40 standard deviation.

CTE Scholars

On Tuesday, April 13, 2021, the KSDE recognized fifty Kansas high school seniors as 2021 Kansas Career and Technical Education (CTE) Scholars. The Kansas CTE Scholar program is an opportunity to recognize well-rounded outstanding CTE students who are finishing their senior year of high school. This is the fourth year for the initiative.

Below is a list of those students who were recognized:

● Jakob Graber, Newton High School, Newton USD 373.

● Taylor Hill, Newton High School, Newton USD 373.

● Shelby Spreier, Newton High School, Newton USD 373.

● Anthony Wedel, Newton High School, Newton USD 373

CBYX Scholarship

Congrats to Daisy Buller for being accepted into the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) scholarship program for 2021-22! Daisy will be spending the next year in Germany, living with a host family and attending a German high school to improve her language skills and build relationships as a young ambassador for her country.

Debate Coach Earns Honor

Newton High School Forensics and Debate Coach David Williams was recognized by the National Speech & Debate Association for exemplary volunteerism to promote speech and debate. He serves on the West Kansas District Committee.

His responsibilities on the committee include:

• Expanding access to speech and debate by recruiting new programs.

• Providing ongoing mentorship for first-time coaches as they learn the ropes.

• Organizing and hosting local tournaments.

• Communicating with local coaches about upcoming events and rules.

• Coordinating recognition opportunities for students and coaches across the district.

Thank you, Mr. Williams, for everything


Mr. Ben Reed, NHS Assistant Principal and CTE Director, has started a new recognition program called I AM NEWTON CTE where he recognizes students, staff or community members for their contributions to our amazing CTE program. Here are the first few that have been recognized:

Don Seeney - Excel Industries, Lead Welder- Mr. Seeney is a 2013 graduate of our welding program at the Brooks Trades Center. He now serves as the Chair of our advisory board and works closely with Excel to provide materials for our students to help offset increasing costs. He is a valued member of the CTE team.

Katie Honeyman - Ag Teacher- Mrs. Honeyman was nominated by a local business for the exceptional way she represented Newton High School and the FFA Chapter in the community. She has knocked her first year of teaching out of the park!

Clayton Baughman - Machining Teacher- Mr. Baughman was nominated by another CTE teacher for his willingness to go above and beyond to support not only his program, but also other CTE classes. For instance, he has taken his own time to repair several of our commercial mixers (some of them more than once) and has worked collaboratively with the engineering and welding classes on several projects! We are thankful for all that he is giving back to the program he graduated from.

Angie Voth - CTE Administrative Assistant- Mrs. Voth is the cornerstone of NHS CTE. She is able to balance the many aspects of what it takes to run a seamless operation. Mrs. Voth continues to also connect with our area-wide high schools to help maintain and deepen our long-standing partnerships. We are ALL incredibly grateful for her service.

Fred Van Ranken – Superintendent- From day one, Mr. Van Ranken has been a huge supporter of Newton CTE. With his commitment to these efforts, CTE is now able to grow at the middle school level and support ideas being explored at the high school level. He is also visible and engaged with NHS CTE. Thank you from all of us, Mr. Van Ranken!

Railer Debate

Congratulations to NHS Forensics. They competed in the National Speech and Debate Association West KS National qualifier speech tournament this past weekend. The following students qualified for the online National Speech and Debate tournament this June. Preston Vicenzi will compete in United States Extemporaneous Speaking, Lindsey Warsnak qualified in Informative Speaking, and Miguel Molina Chavez qualified in Senate Congressional Debate.

Newton HS forensics will compete at the KSHSAA 5A state forensics tourney on May 1st, 2021. The tourney is online. Matthew Montano will compete in Oration, and Impromptu speaking, Preston Vicenzi will compete in Humourous interpretation along with Naomi Miller Garrett. Lindsey Warsnak will compete in Poetry Interpretation. Good Luck, Railer Forensics at State and Nationals!

Music Honors

Congratulations to the NHS Band for earning Division 1 "Outstanding" ratings from all three judges in the KSHSAA Music Festival! Also recognized as "Outstanding" were soloists Lauren Anton (piano), Brandon Montgomery (saxophone), Josh Bergman (trumpet), Taylor Redington (horn), and the Mixed Trio (Grace Meisel-Silva, Taylor Redington, Oliver Dungan). Earning "Excellent" awards were Ashley Groote (flute), Eli Redington (trombone), and Saxophone Quartet (Zeke Thompson, Brandon Montgomery, Lauren Anton, Ryan Ruggiero). Way to go, Railer Band!

Senior Josh Bergman was also a featured soloist and talent contest winner for the Wichita Youth Symphony Orchestra. Josh performed his trumpet solo at an outdoor concert Sunday afternoon.

NEA Representatives

Congratulations to Newton NEA members who were elected to office for the South Central UniServ of KNEA, representing Harvey and Sedgwick Counties:

Cathlina Bergman, vice-president

Lisa Otter, secretary

Brian Skinner, treasurer

Elizabeth Gunn, Harvey County representative

National Honor Society Inductees

Congratulations to Newton High School’s new National Honor Society Members! Kevin Aguilar Maldonado, Sarah Musser, Olivia Antonowich, Addison Penner, Drew Dillon, Taylor Redington, Camryn Entz, Ryan Ruggiero, Ezra Entz, Aspen Schmidt, Elisa Fernandez, Parker Schultz, Caleb Garber, Piper Seidl, Gracie Hendrickson, Trztin Soguilon, Collin Hershberger, Jenna Teichler, Isaac Klug, Emily Torres, Zuheily Maldonado, Nick Treaster, Samantha Mesecher, Lindsey Warsnak, Lynn Morford and Hallie Watkins.

Railer Students Of The Week

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Important Reminders


Enrollment opened on April 1. The tentative deadline for returning families to submit their 2021-22 application is May 7, 2021. You will just be getting students enrolled at this time and payment isn’t expected or able to be made until July 1. More on that below.

All families should enroll their kindergarten through twelfth-grade students using the 'Online Registration' link available through their parent portal account. If you are a parent of a returning student and need to enroll a new student for any grade level, you can follow the instructions available in the online application process to add their new student properly.

Families who are new to the district may access the online application through the 'New Family Registration' link on the USD 373 website under Enrollment Information. Again, you will not be able to enroll until April 1 either. We know you’re excited. It’s almost time.

Payments for 2021-22 fees cannot be submitted or paid before July 1, 2021. Free and reduced meal applications for 2021-22 will be available AFTER July 1, 2021.

If you need help with your parent portal please contact your student's school office.

New Covid Reporting Forms

Below are two new forms for reporting a positive COVID case or that your student is a close contact. You may use these instead of calling into the building if your child has tested positive or has COVID symptoms or is a close contact. If you would still like to call, that is acceptable as well. We hope these forms will allow us to keep our students and staff safe through speedy contact tracing.

Tested Positive/Symptoms: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScj701IpDPoqpCn8hB4Yxgez1G9g9niMKQFhUYV81QrAFmQ_A/viewform

Close Contact: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeQPoH5ioUK2coVCuAWX-W0ZgLLv8M60cAqUo6iOdT742wsyA/viewform

Question and Feedback Form

Question and Feedback Form

On all of our district and school websites, you will see a Questions & Feedback button on the home screen. This will lead you to a new form that you can use to get your questions answered more quickly and make sure your feedback goes to the correct person. Please use this form for any emails or questions. You’ll notice a few dropdown menus. If you choose general district, a dropdown menu with a variety of topics will appear for you to choose from. If you select school specific, a dropdown menu will appear with a list of schools for you to choose from.
This is to recognize the accomplishments of USD 373 staff or students. If you know of a student or staff that should be recognized, please email info@usd373.org.

Railer Gallery

This is a place for students to show off their work. These are pieces of art, poetry or other projects students have worked on. Staff, if you have any student pieces to submit, email samantha.anderson@usd373.org.

Student Music Compositions

Students at Santa Fe composed these amazing compositions in music class. As they composed, Vocal Music Teacher Carmen Weller was able to check their understanding on several musical concepts. Below are a few of the pieces the students put together:
Naomi Koontz
Catherine Maldonado
Brynn Budde
Gracie Zimmerman
Nic Bergman
Aaliyah Haviland

Building Reports

Santa Fe 5/6 Center

After-school-program permission forms have gone home and the program will start up next week as we receive the signed permission forms. We have four certified teachers who will be helping with the program this year.

We have started Legendary Leaders here at Santa Fe. This is a positive recognition program where staff members nominate a student for this award. One 5th and one 6th-grade student is selected each day and announced over the PA system each morning. They are then called down to the office and given an Legendary Leader award.

The table on page 2 of this document shows the different areas that we have been tracking each week. Overall student outcomes include student work completion in projects, focus areas, and math units. We also break it down and look at the projects and power focus areas specifically. The cognitive skills average shows the level of proficiency for the cognitive skills that are graded on each project. Students must score above 70% to be considered proficient. The green highlighted area has been a targeted focus building-wide. Please remember that our data is live therefore it is always changing based on what students and staff are working on within the platform.

Chisholm Middle School

2021-22 Student Class Choices

Ms. Jones has visited all 6th and 7th grade students in the district and helped them select their classes for next year. This is a big process and she has done an excellent job explaining all of the information to our students. We also held a Facebook live parent Q&A session to answer parent questions about enrollment and class choices for next year.

Bullying and Social Media Responsibility Presentations

Officer Hamersky presented to all Chisholm students on April 15 and 16 about bullying and safety/responsibility on social media. We are thankful for him taking the time to help our students understand how to interact safely and responsibly on social media. We also appreciate the information he shared regarding bullying and the negative impact it has.

Summit Action Plan

We have been working on implementing our Summit Action Plan. The plan has been shared with staff and we are working to implement the steps as outlined. We reviewed mentor check in guidelines at our April 14 staff meeting and have continued to improve our use of data to plan workshops.

KSDE Redesign Staff Culture Survey

We received the results of our Staff Culture Survey for Chisholm and I am happy to report that the survey results were very positive. The survey covered areas such as Shared Vision, Collective Efficacy, Psychological Safety, Modeling Learning Leadership, and Inquiry, Innovation, and Exploration. You can see the full results here

K Spring Sports

Our boys tennis team and track team seasons are in full swing. Each team has already participated in several competitions and we are excited for their spring seasons.

Summer School Plan

Our Summer School plan is ready to go. We are funded through a KASEG (Kansas After School Education Grant) grant, which has also paid for our Railer Power Hour program this year.

Kansas State Assessments

We have started our 2021 Kansas State Assessments. Seventh and eighth-grade students have completed the Language Arts and Math assessments. The 8th grade students will be taking the science assessment on May 7-8. We will schedule makeup assessments for students who missed any of the testing sessions after May 7th.

Summit Learning Data

We have been focusing on projects over the past couple of weeks, which is a focus in our Summit Action Plan. As a result, you can see improvement in the area of projects on our data report.

Newton High School

  • We will be celebrating 7 retirees in May. Mrs. Deb Helberg, Mr. Fred Becker, Mr. Jon Preston, Mr. Greg Dietz, Mr. Rusty Jollif, Mr. Scott McCloud and Mrs. Patrice Olais will all be leaving us for retired life. We want to thank them for their dedication to Newton High School!
  • Our counselors are working hard to get students signed up for the summer credit recovery program. We are targeting students that have fallen behind on graduation track first and then will open it up to all students.
  • We have had two more NHS Strategic Plan meetings with a group of teachers, counselors, social workers, and administrators. This group will lead the charge for our KESA accreditation with the state and will work hard to make our strategic plan actionable and positively impact student learning. This will include a strategic plan to address the academic and social issues created by the pandemic.
  • Drivers Ed had to be canceled this year due to some circumstances outside of our control. We will be working hard to make sure we can offer this program again in the Summer of 2022.
  • The final touches are being put on a Prom to remember, being held this Saturday at the Athletic Field Bandshell. We are expecting at least 350 students and will transform the area into an outdoor wedding/masquerade theme. We are thankful for the large donations from B&B Lumber, Rotary, and Sand Creek Summer Daze. I also want to thank Blake Smith & Shanda Swanson for their many hours of work into this unique endeavor.
  • We ended up having enough tickets to give each graduate 10 for Graduation at Hartman Arena. We are excited to celebrate the Class of 2021 and their success!

Opportunity Academy

April has been a productive month for OA! We have added five more graduates bringing our total to 13 for the year! We have graduated 10 seniors on time! These students likely would not have finished their courses in time at NHS to graduate on time! We had three early graduates this year and have hopes of possibly adding one or two more by the end of the year! At this time, students at OA have completed 486 semester courses on Edgenuity. We have served 104 students this year at Opportunity Academy, we have a lot of turnover but make it our goal to help each one and send them off in better shape than they arrived!.

Staff Shout Outs

Have a staff member go above and beyond for your student? Did a coworker go the extra mile to make a difference? Let us know and they'll be featured here! Please email info@usd373.org with the information.

Deana Waltrip is the most encouraging and down-to-earth administrator! She really goes over and beyond to care for her staff!

Mrs. Valle is so kind and patient with the students!

Kelly Alexander is a joy to work with! She is one of the most patient people!

Jessica May goes out of her way to care for others!

Shout out to Mrs. Joan Woodward for always being an advocate for my student and genuinely taking interest in him in his well-being and shout out to Ms. Kathy Murphy for always encouraging him and having patience with him and genuinely caring and being involved in ASL when she can.

I definitely want to recognize my student’s homeroom teacher. One has Mr. Emmitt and he helped my daughter out earlier this year by showing such compassion to her when her pet rat died (her first experience with loss). He gave her resource links and called her personally to talk her through it. I also want to commend Dr. P., my son’s homeroom teacher, for showing interest in his personal and educational progress and supporting him in ways too innumerable to mention. My students have the same four core teachers this year and all of them have been a blessing. Chisholm has a tough act to follow. I only hope they have teachers as great as they have had at Santa Fe.

Congratulations to Lynn Beebe for getting our insurance open enrollment process underway. Lynn is the driving force in all aspects of getting our district benefits available for and to our employees. Lynn takes this job very seriously and spends many hours making sure that data is correct, processes are in place and we are in compliance with all Federal Section 125 rules and regulations. Thank you Lynn for being one of the great behind-the-scenes worker bees.

Thank you, Ashley Carr. Thank you for always being willing to find the answer. Just this week you were asked to change a setting to something new and different in Absence Management. You dug through all the online resources first to figure out this process. Not finding anything there you reached out to Frontline support for guidance. Come to find out, it can't be done! This is not the first time you have been willing to reach outside the box, teach yourself something new in our systems and try to make things work better for all of us. I know it won't be the last. Thank you, Ashley, you are a great part of the payroll team.

Charlotte Sauerwein is a blessing to my General English 1 and CBL classes. She provides the added, patient support that some of my students need. During the 3rd quarter, she held almost daily Google Meets to work with SPED students who were struggling to manage computer-based courses. Her calming presence and timely assistance have kept those students (and their teacher) from despair!

Mrs. Latta always emails parents with very detailed information about the work that they are doing in class and keeps us informed on a weekly basis about the progress of it. As a parent who is always busy with two jobs, I appreciate the effort she puts in her job to keep us informed.

Amanda Regehr at Sunset Elementary goes beyond.

Shout out to Tommy Edgmon for always being willing to step in for IEPs as needed, taking over the vending machines, and being a sounding board for students when needed.

Kati Zimmerman is an incredible PE teacher. She jumps right in and plays with the kids. She's always positive and supportive. You can tell she really loves her job and cares about the kids.

Hannah Reber is an amazing teacher! She finds creative ways to engage her students and plans so much differentiation daily in her room to meet her student's needs. She works so hard for her students. The kids in her class are lucky to have her as their teacher!

I really want to acknowledge all of the support staff at South Breeze - without them, our building would not function as well as it does. They are flexible and always willing to step in to help in whatever capacity they are needed.

Brianna Wilson- Brianna always has a great attitude when she comes to work! She is always willing to help with any and everything. She is a great asset to USD 373!

Jesús Martinez- Jesús is one of the most hard-working people I know. He is extremely creative and always willing to go the extra mile! He makes strong connections with each of his students and is a positive influence on them. Chisholm would be lost without him!

Caleb Smith is doing an excellent job. It is always evident that he cares for the students and staff members. He is a great addition to U.S.D. #373 and we are lucky to have him.

Big shout out to Shanda Swanson and Blake Smith for all their hard work for the organization of PROM!

Shout to Mr. Caleb Smith. He has created a positive atmosphere at NHS. He treats every person with respect and understands the power of praise. He is great at filtering the negative and sharing the positives! Thank you for serving our community and us. You are a great addition to our school!

Stacey Bressler: Stacey has been a HUGE help out at Walton Rural Life Center! She jumped in with both feet, and has a wonderful personality; some kiddos ask "where is Ms. Stacey" when I go to pick them up now. Thank you SO much Stacey for all that you do.

Heather Christner has been a tremendous asset to the NHS sped team. She has unique ideas and viewpoints; we are looking forward to having her here this next year!

Rhonda Roux is an awesome kindergarten teacher. She knows her craft well and always has a smile on her face for her students and her coworkers. Thank you, Rhonda!

Kylie Tucker is a great team player, and what a lovely singing voice too! She is always so patient with her students - it definitely shows. Keep it up, Kylie!

Sean Monaghen will be a fantastic asset as he moves to the art position at NHS next year. He is known for doing some slightly goofy things, like "Phred Day" at WRLC. Thanks for always making it interesting Sean!

Evan Gilbert is a great P.E. teacher and coach. He always greets the kids when he sees them outside of class. He is also very patient with his students, and steps in when he is needed elsewhere in the school. Thanks for being a team player, Coach!

Kendall Smith knows her stuff! She is able to make science fun and engaging for all levels! It is exciting to walk into her room and see students working on various projects. She does a great job of meeting them where they are at and engaging with them. Thanks for the dedication Kendall!

Cheryl Nash has a passion for her students; she wants each one to succeed and is willing to put in extra time to make sure they get to that finish line. Thank you so much for your hard work, Cheryl!

Jana Boston has absolutely rocked it this year! First-year teacher, during a pandemic? Check. Keepin' it real and making lasting relationships with each and every one of her students? Check. Thanks for being yourself Jana - you're the bee's knees!

Aaron Voth is a chill and laid-back teacher. He has a passion for PBL and his students follow in his footsteps. Great things are happening in his classroom!

Savannah Sailors is a classy combination of energetic and patient. She is 'hip' and 'in the know' with her kids - she is 'among us'. Thank you for making a personal connection with every student in your class, and with your coworkers. Here is to year two, where we will actually finish the school year at school!

Toshia Widener is such a fun individual to be around! Read-alouds outside, by the greenhouse or out by the animals, engaging PBLs, and a community atmosphere in her room make her an outstanding teacher!

Bethanie Wedel is a gem - she does what is needed for her students to succeed. From reaching out to coworkers for ideas, staying after school to set her room up for the next day, and making sure each student is recognized for something good, even on those rough days. Thank you for your patience and dedication to our students. Also - check out the rubber-ducky collection in her classroom - holy quackers!

Angela Black - this is a teacher that goes above and beyond yearly, monthly, weekly... She goes an extra mile to really develop a personal relationship with each and every student in her classroom. She commands respect and instills timeless values in her students. Also - she is an egg queen - come and get 'em! Thank you, Angela, for helping our youth be the best that they can be.

Melanie Schall stepped up (or, down) to teach kindergarten this year rather than second grade. She has done a tremendous job with these students. Recently, her class got to see the lifecycle of some chicks: incubation, hatching and now happily chirping away in the classroom under a heat lamp. Thank you for taking that leap and helping this class of kindergarten students, Melanie!

Tayvia Kemp has taken the Learning Lab to new heights. The room is warm and inviting, and thoroughly organized. She has been great at getting students to meet their goals and has mastered the art of multiple schedules/changing things at the last minute to make sure that there is para coverage where it is needed (she HAS to be killer at a game of tetris...). Thank you Tayvia for your continued dedication to this school.

Cheryl Dirks, Scott Wahl, Lee Llamas, Jen Gronau, Tristin Wheeler, and Melodie Tucker: Thank you for everything that you do for our students; we could NOT do it without you!

Marcus Coleman, Chelsi Entz, Sarah Allen , Bry Gouvion, Alayna Frazier, Dylan Delk: Thank you for all the work you do with our students each and every day. We could NOT do it without you!

Blake Ervin and Wana Oswald make sure our kiddos are fed every day, and greet each child with a smile. Thank you for what you do!

Nurse Kaitlin Williams does WRLC proud. Thanks!

Caleb Haney and Rebecca McGuire make sure that WRLC is cleaned and disinfected each day and night. That is a large job in any year, but especially during a pandemic. Thank you SO much for keeping our school clean, our kids/staff safe, and for doing it with such a great attitude and a smile. You are a dynamic duo!

Missy Wonders and Niki Johnson have got to be the best secretaries/administrative assistants in the district. They are in the know about the happenings in any of the three buildings out here at Walton. They are also quick to help if you have a question, and are more than willing to jump in whenever and wherever they are needed. Juggling multiple things at once? Pros. Greeting students with a smile? Always. Thanks, ladies!

Kate Bremerman has done a fantastic job this first year out at Walton - I don't think we could be happier! She has led us with grace. If she didn't know the answer to something, she went out and found those answers. Staff could come to her with any problem, and she would do her best to address it. She is personable, relatable, and has built a friendly and comfortable culture out here in her first year. Thank you for being here, Kate!

Erin Graber is such a blessing to this school. She always has a minute for students and staff alike. She is an uplifting personality and really makes a connection with the students and her coworkers. Thank you for your passion, Erin!

Shout out to the Special Education staff across the district. This has not been an easy year with changes in paperwork, procedures and all the struggles this year has brought. Keep on keepin' on all - we are almost there!

Thank you to all administrators, administrative assistants, custodians, teachers, aides, paras, specialists, food workers, maintenance workers, transportation workers, and everyone in between. This has been a rough year, with constant change. I believe that we, as a district, have done a phenomenal job and have met the challenges head-on. We are almost there guys, keep breathing and keep going!

A special thank you to Fred VanRanken for coming out to the Rocky Mountain Oyster Feed on Saturday and supporting Walton Rural Life Center! It was great to see our superintendent supporting our school, and on a weekend too!

I would like to give a shout to Mrs. Bjerum, Mrs. Ray, Mrs. J, and Ms. Gordon. They don't allow "labels" to get in their way when building relationships with students, parents, and staff. They create a safe and healthy environment for all students who enter their respective areas. We know your effect goes far beyond the walls of a classroom/office. Thank you for fostering resilient learners. NHS appreciates you.

I would like to send a shout out to ALL of the Northridge teachers and staff! Despite the difficult and ever-changing school year, they have made it enjoyable for our students. All of our kiddos come into our building and know that they are loved and respected by all of the adults. This staff is AMAZING and an inspiration to be around. They make my job easy to love.

I want to recognize Lynnette Doty at CMS. She is an amazing Administrative Assistant and our chief substitute finder for our building. It is not a glamorous job and she usually has to do this last minute. She does a great job and always keeps her head up! Thank you for your hard work!

Shout Out to Mr. Masem, Sunset's Science teacher. He continues every day to make Science an exciting and interesting subject for kids! My own son couldn't wait to get home to show me his Upcycled project, in which he is growing lettuce in an upcycled container! He also does morning and afternoon duty making sure all kids get home safely, but beyond that he makes them feel loved and welcomed, seen and heard. Students coming back from middle school in cars always wave at him with big smiles, kids coming in the door know they are going to meet some smiling eyes and be joked with. He makes all of them feel special and loved!

I'd like to give a shout out to our building principal Debbie Watson. She has done so many things to make this "Covid" year function smoothly. I really appreciate her attention to safety and to details. It is the little adjustments that she has helped us make at lunch, at recess, with specials, at dismissal, w/ virtual meetings, etc. that have really helped Sunset to function well. I'm grateful for all her efforts and flexibility to keep the kids safe and in school!

Thank you to Ms. Kornfeld and Mrs. Doty for their awesome work in the Chisholm Middle School front office. They have been amazing in all that they do each day. We are especially appreciative for their help in preparing for state assessments.

Thank you to Allison Baumgartner, Jenny Gihring, and the entire Chisholm Social Committee for supporting our CMS staff and all the work that you do in planning for staff celebrations and events.

Shout out to Mr. Nulik for being an awesome assistant principal. He gives his all every day working with students and parents, developing positive relationships across the building, and always doing it with a smile on his face. We are so lucky to have such awesomeness at Chisholm!

Shout out to Jamal Joynes for seeing what students need at Chisholm! He listens to the students, brings his business background into the classroom and makes learning relevant! We are so fortunate to have an inspiring teacher like Jamal on our staff!

Joanna Bjerum for working with a student that needed "in the moment" support and helped them identify their emotions, regulate and determine next steps to work through a situation. Joanna is so approachable and makes students and staff feel at ease! We are so blessed to have her as a part of our Railer Family!

Shout out to Greg Dietz for working so hard on state assessments! He has been such a strong, positive part of Newton High School for many years!

Shout out to Karen Lehman for her many extra hours throughout the year. She has worked around the clock, 7 days a week, keeping our staff and students safe and as healthy as possible.

Shout out to Jane Nichols for going above and beyond to get us the best candidates for new teacher openings.

Shout out to Dan Page for his work with Yearbook and News Magazine this year! His students have been able to produce some awesome work during a super tough year and working with vendors that are struggling to keep up due to Covid.

Shout out to the NHS Custodial team for continued work this year keeping our building safe and clean and for being willing to step up and do many different things to support the students and staff at Newton High School!

Big thanks to Drew Rachel for his work in the library. He has been a huge difference-maker to our Railer Culture at Newton High School since he arrived last Fall!

Shout out to the NHS PE Department for always being flexible and having positive attitudes! We are lucky to have a cohesive team that works hard to support the needs of our entire building.

Shout out to the NHS Assistant Principals for your many hours of work outside of school time. I see these guys working around the clock and it is noticed and appreciated!

Shout out to Joni Jantz and Nora Miller at the District Office! They are the hidden glue of our district and keep things organized and running smoothly. =The staff at Newton High School appreciates you!

Shout out to Amber Warsnak for always being willing to answer questions and support our staff at Newton High School. You are awesome!

Adrienne Wedel at the High School as a sponsor of NHS. She organized opportunities for the kids to better serve the community, is a great role model as a person and teacher plus she led the students in putting on a wonderful induction ceremony that honored the students and maintained covid protocols.

I also wanted to say something for the forensics coach at Newton High School, David Williams. My daughter has grown in confidence and ability due to their hard work. Also, my daughter couldn't take the class this year but the coach has let her work outside of the class to get better.

Shout out to Mr. Skinner. I don't know what we would have done without his support over the last 4 years. He has gone beyond to bring hope when it was needed and mentoring my son when needed.

Jesus Martinez is an amazing interpreter. I was part of a complicated meeting with a lot of detail and technical information that he translated throughout. He does such a great job with this mentally demanding and time-consuming task. Both parents and staff can feel confident with his fantastic skills!

I want to give a shout out to Kirstyn Pracht. Every time I walk into her classroom I feel peace. Her students care for one another and for the adults in the classroom. She has control of her classroom because the kids adore her! It is my favorite classroom to go to. Kirstyn deserves huge accolades for her work at Santa Fe. She's awesome!

I would like to thank Kristen Kornfeld for always being positive. Both our administrative assistants wear many hats and do way more than what we think. Kristen always has a smile on her face (you can tell even with the mask). She keeps calm and always shows kindness to us all. I respect Kristen a lot and the role she plays at Chisholm Middle School. We couldn’t ask for a better person to be the first face of CMS!

Jordan Dennis is a great social studies teacher at Chisholm. He treats all of his students with respect and I can genuinely tell that he cares deeply for all of them. Jordan has built some really strong relationships with his students. I know this because I hear students talking positively about Jordan and his class. I am very fortunate to get to work with him!

I want to send a shout out for both Ms. Robyn Letcher and Ms. Gina Christensen. They’re paras for my son, and he comes home every day talking about what cool thing they did during the day. When he has a great day or really liked something, one or both of them are mentioned. They’ve really shown how much they care for him, and how much they want him to succeed, and I’m so grateful for them!

Tyann Hekele and Kelby are great! Kelby is a psych practicum student, and has shown tremendous talent; she will be great at what she does! Tyann has been an excellent mentor, colleague and friend. She is so knowledgeable and is always willing to help. Thank you, ladies!!!!