District Update

February 10, 2021

Video Recap of February 10 Newsletter

February 10 Newsletter Video Recap

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.


The board approved some changes to the graduation requirements (it is proposal B) for students who will be graduating during or after 2025. Starting next year, there will be a full block schedule for all students at the high school, giving them 8 credits per year instead of 7. Starting for the class of 2025, the credit requirements will increase to 26 from 24. Students from the class of 2025 or later will also be required to take 10 electives instead of seven. The high school will also remove .5 PE credit requirement and a .5 Computer apps credit requirement. The computer applications course will be pushed down to the middle level.


The board of education also decided to remain in the yellow (current mode of learning) through February. The district will then change to green (on-site) for all in flexible on March 1. The district will continue to monitor cases and make updates as needed. Some reasons for that recommendation are the current numbers being in green. We would change that mode of operations in facilities if the building were to have transmission within it or staffing issues. The symptomatic and asymptomatic testing within the district as well as vaccines also played a role.


If your child is in the remote mode of learning, they will remain in remote.


Full Board Meeting:

February 8 BOE Meeting Part 1
February 8 BOE Meeting Part 2

Facebook Live Q&A

2.9 Facebook Live Q&A

Q&A With Mr. Van Ranken

Why did we decide to wait till March 1 to switch to on-site?

We want to make sure the trend holds. We also want to give our staff the time to get at least the first dose of the vaccine.

Any new updates on Chisholm?

There will be a report at the February 22 meeting with more data. The principals are working with staff to increase student performance by using the data.

Superintendent's Corner

The numbers this week are taken from logs maintained locally are (1/22/2021):

● Students quarantined: 55 on 2/4/21 (129 on 1/29/21)

● Staff quarantined: 6 on 2/4/2021 (19 on 1/28/2021)

● Active cases: 5 active cases the afternoon of 2/6/2021, including 3 student and 2 staff (11 active cases the afternoon of 1/29/2021, including 7 student and 4 staff )


Meeting With Students From High School

I had the opportunity to meet with another group of high school today from NHS and

OA. One question I asked was when I send out my weekly notes, what would you want me to tell all staff from across the district?

● Staff are doing a pretty good job.

● They know some teachers are stressed out this year and students recognize and

understand that.


The bottom line is they know you all at NHS and OA care about them. That made my heart happy today, folks.


Thank You, Culinary Arts


Thanks to the culinary arts class for making the wonderful spread for the BOE in honor

of BOE Recognition Month. Below is a picture of Ms. Powell and Ms. Shauf as they delivered the goods to McKinley. With it being the first day of the new semester, I am sure they did much of the work for this but do know that the students contributed. A darn tasty meal!


Thank You, Jazz Band


In addition, Mr. Bergman and his Jazz Band students provided some lovely background music while eating. We are so lucky to have such a group wanting to engage in these types of activities. Thanks, Mr. Bergman and students!

New Information

NHS: National Honor Society Induction

Our Newton High School Students had a virtual induction this year due to the pandemic. You can see the ceremony below!

NHS Induction Ceremony 2021

NHS: The Robots Are Here

Last week was the welding robots' first student welds since we received the USDA grant with Hutchinson Community College. Equipment like this allows students to train for a whole new world of jobs.


Proud of our students' work and Mr. McConnell's efforts in preparing a new generation of robotic welding programmers!

Important Reminders

Family Engagement Survey

USD 373 Families,


We need your opinions to help improve USD 373. Please fill out the Family Engagement Survey posted on our of our school websites!


The Family Engagement Survey is an online survey designed to inform district and building leaders about their district/building’s success at engaging parents in the education of the children. When used in conjunction with other data, the Family Engagement Survey provides administrators and educators the opportunity to recognize strengths in their family engagement practices and create strategies for improvement.


Please fill it out today!

No School February 12 or February 23

Please mark your calendars. On February 12, we will not be having school to allow time for parent-teacher conferences or family engagement time. This does not mean that your school’s conferences will fall on that day.


Additionally, February 23 students will not be in attendance. This will allow our staff to participate in a professional development day for required training. The state-wide ACT assessment will still be occurring during that time.

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.

District Feature

NHS JAG: Resiliency

JAG-K helps students learn about themselves to find their strengths to capitalize on and weaknesses that could potentially hold them back. This month, we started the year off with our version of the “One Word Project.”


Each of us chose a word that has personal meaning, a word to focus on, a word that is inspirational and motivational. Students then used metal stamps and metal washers to create a bracelet, necklace, etc. to keep their word with them at all times


*Thank you to the JAG team for this article and the photos*

Railer Recognition

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.

Football Signings

We are proud to announce the following young men are continuing their education and athletic careers at the collegiate level.


Nick Antonowich has accepted a scholarship to William Penn. Nick is the son of Kathleen Rutschman. Nick was Hon. Ment. AVCTL as a senior.


Braiden Botterweck has accepted a scholarship to Kansas Wesleyan. Braiden is the son of Tionna and Derek Botterweck. Braiden was a two-year starter in football at NHS.


Aiden Kendall has accepted a scholarship to Fort Scott. Aiden is the son of Jamie and Bill Kendall. Aiden was a 1st team All-State, 1st AVCTL as a senior and 2nd AVCTL as a junior and sophomore.


Xzavion Martin has accepted a scholarship to Dodge City. Xzavion is the son of Danielle Martin. Xzavion was third in receiving AVCTL as a senior.


Peyton Maxwell has accepted a scholarship to Tabor. Peyton is the son of Erica Maxwell. Peyton was 1st team All-State KFBCA, 1st AVCTL as a senior and 2nd AVCTL as a junior.


Dehann Nelson has accepted a scholarship to Tabor. Dehann is the son of Andrea Cashin. Dehann was Hon. All-State, 1st AVCTL as a senior and 2nd AVCTL as a junior.


Ben Schmidt has accepted a scholarship to Dodge City. Ben is the son of Angie and Luke Schmidt. Ben was Hon. All-State, 1st AVCTL as a senior and Hon. Ment. AVCTL as a junior.

Record Breaker

Kenny Banos just broke the NHS record for bench press! The new record is 285 pounds for the 150-pound weight class. He broke the record by 25 pounds. Way to go!

Newton Scholars Bowl To State

Newton Scholar’s Bowl went 9-0 at Regionals, placing first. This means they are headed to State, which will be Saturday, Dec. 13th at DeSoto.The last time they were in state was 2012 as a regional runner-up. To go further back, the last time that Newton was 5A Regional Champions was 1998.


The team who qualified was made up of Miguel Molina Chavez, Diego Aguilar-Maldonado, Kevin Aguilar-Maldonado, Ben Gering, Ethan Neufeld and Elise Jantz. The coaches are Brian Skinner and Adam Williams.

NHS Students Of The Week

Big picture
Big picture

The Railer Gallery

This is a new section of our newsletter. These are pieces of art, poetry or other projects students have worked on. If you have any student pieces to submit, email samantha.anderson@usd373.org.

NHS: Madison Hershberger

Big picture

Madison Brown: You're So Beautiful

You’re so beautiful’

They told me as I was looking in the mirror

Pointing out all my flaws

‘Never worry about what other people think’

As my frown turns into a smile

They say

‘See, look at that smile. Beautiful’

That made my whole day

It made me smile so much

that I couldn’t keep a straight face the rest of the day

I’ll never forget that

And the way they said it

They looked so meaningful too

And those words meant a lot to me

‘You’re so beautiful’

CMS--Where I'm From: Sophia Vela

I am from the Barbie dollhouse.

From Poptarts and Capri Suns

I am from the yellow paint

(golden, warm, it was perfect)

I am from the marigold flower the tiger lily,

Whose petals I would pick from the stem,

Hoping my wishes would come true.

I'm from eyeglasses and little family getaways,

From Larissa Sutherland and Joseph Vela

I'm from the traditionals and socials,

From ¨God doesn't like liars!¨ and ¨Don't put hands on!¨

I'm from Sunday morning church and saying my prayers every night.

I'm from the Newton hospital,

Big red, and barbecues.

From the motorcycle crash,

The big fight for survival from cancer.

On the top of my closet was a box with pictures,

Moments from when I was just a baby, moments

From my childhood, me and my grandparents,

Me and my cousins.

I am from those photos of memories,

Keeping them forever with me in my heart.


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.

A huge shout out to Bill Cartmell, head custodian at Santa Fe for shoveling the snow and getting the sidewalks all prepared for the arrival of students! Thank you for all you do to make our building look great!


Caleb Haney- some might call him a custodian but we call him a SUPERHERO. Caleb goes above and beyond to keep Walton in tip top shape. You can catch him connecting with kids in our cafeteria, wrangling goats on the playground and even jumping in to help recover our greenhouse! A true Walton asset.


Jennifer Gronau- goes above and beyond to connect with every student in our building. Jen does a great job of rolling with the punches and making each student feel loved.


Dylan Delk- job title “kindergarten aide” what he actually does is EVERYTHING! Dylan has subbed in almost every classroom, he has stepped in as a para and he has even gone to other buildings to help out! He does all of it with a smile on his face.


Savannah Sailors- Ms. Sailors is in her 2nd year of teaching and she is ROCKING it. She does so much for her students and is always willing to try new strategies, her students are lucky to have her.


Jamal Joynes: The students feel they can open up and talk to him about their problems. He is a great mentor


I’d like to give Felipe and Harley a shout out for the good work they are doing at our shop. Felipe cleans the buses really well and Harley does a good job in the shop cleaning.


I appreciate Mr. Buller's willingness to share his skills and talents. He has made several videos for CMS this year to help keep everyone informed and on the same page as things are changing. He also goes out of his way to engage his students and help them be successful in class. He is a great team player and we are lucky to have him!


I wanted to give a shout out to Ms. Mary Beth. She is always willing to go the extra mile and help others. When walking down the hall she is always saying good morning or how are you. She is just a friendly soul and brightens my day. She also went above and beyond to learn how to work google meet to help me provide MTSS to my remote students. We love Ms. Mary Beth so much!


I would like to give a huge shout out to

Keely Clipper

Brenda Krueger

Amy Crawford

Marcey Cornejo

Mindy Arreguin

This group of ladies are awesome.They are the paras in the IDD classroom at Newton High School. They have really come together and shown they care beyond their home lives. Their students are their family too. Willing to step up and take control of any classroom duties is what is recognized the most with these ladies. No hesitation to go beyond their work duties as paras... Love these ladies to the moon and back


Jen Magnall is an incredible teacher. Her students really care about her and feel cared for by her ...and they are very loyal. She works so hard with them to finish their classes and succeed in life. She is what any parent would hope for in a teacher....and....she may literally actually be a superhero.


I'd like to recognize Melanie Schall from Walton. She found out one week before school started that she would be teaching K instead of 2nd grade which she's taught for quite a few years. She is doing a fabulous job and the kiddos love her!


Hannah Ramey at Santa Fe is always willing to fill in at crossing guard on a very busy intersection after school. She does this almost every day until the assigned crossing guard gets outside and it shows how much she cares about the safety of the kids!


I would like to give a BIG shout out to Shannon Bartel for all the amazing things she does for the SMD children. They have been studying about the 1700s and talking about our first president and how things have changed since the 1700s. Shannon has made this so interesting and fun for the students. The students helped make different foods that they would eat (example: sweet cornmeal pudding).You rock Shannon keep up the awesome job!


I believe the staff that should be recognized are the staff at Newton High SMD classroom.

Shannon Bartel

Janene Mabrey

Tanee Coleman

These ladies come into work with smiles on their faces. They are willing to help you in any situation they can and they never complain. They have such a huge heart and seeing the students' faces when one of these ladies appears is just pure music to your ears. They do a wonderful job with the students and their relationship building is phenomenal. When you walk to this classroom you know you have a friend for life with these ladies.


I would like to recognize Rob Masem from Sunset.Not only is he a great science teacher who makes science a lot of fun, he also does a fantastic job directing traffic everyday after school - helping parents move efficiently through the pick-up line and getting the kids safely to their vehicles! He does an amazing job with this!


Daniell Michael is so caring when she works with our kids. She can anticipate what they need and then help the kids help themselves. At the same time, she challenges the kids to do their best and always questions statements like "they can't do that". Daniell is an essential part of the Structured Learning team!


Deana Waltrip is a fantastic leader for us all at Santa Fe!


Ashley Nottingham loves all of her students and provides a wonderful environment for the classroom!


Sarah Kaufman is a wonderful example of an amazing teacher! The students love her assignments!


Hannah Ramey is such a sweet teacher and got her class a pet!


Kim Fischer is beyond wonderful! She helps everyone become a better teacher!


Nick Sisson is a hard worker! He shows his kids how to become mature adults!


Corbin Berner- shout out to the guy who makes it all happen! He has a special talent in

helping students get motivated to work!


Janine Clayton is an encouraging spirit! She deeply cares about everyone!


Lauren Artaz is so patient and caring!


Mrs. Thompson loves her students and her job! She works so hard to teach her students! They love being in her class!


Mrs. May is a fun teacher! She makes learning fun!


Shout out to Carol Haigler and her paras at Santa Fe for all of the work they do with their kiddos. They are amazing and give so much of themselves for each one of their students.


I want to shout out the NHS Admin team! They are doing a fantastic job this year supporting teachers and engaging with our students. During this tough time, I really love my job because of the atmosphere being built at the high school.


I would like to shout out to South Breeze Manager Lisa Graf and her helper, Olivia Negrete, for having a PERFECT Food Establishment Inspection report.


Mrs. Preheim’s conference was very informative and personal. She has taken the time to really know my child. Mrs. Preheim has done a great job of supporting students through hybrid as well as making connections. Thank you for your dedication! --


Kate Bremerman has taken on her first year as principal during a pandemic even, with courage and grace. She works hard and pulls the team together fabulously. Thanks, Kate, for being a terrific leader.


Shout out to Esmeralda Hernandez for joining the Opportunity Academy team and bringing her warmth and enthusiasm to the team.


Shannon Tiemeyer has our backs! I appreciate that she saw I was locked out of the employee portal and reset it before I even thought to ask. So awesome!


Charity Potter-para at NHS- goes above and beyond on a daily basis to help out our welding students as they prepare for the work-force.


Angie Voth-vocational admin assistant-is a valuable and knowledgeable resource for CTE. We enjoy working with her and thank her for her continued support of CTE and Newton High School.


Ben Reed-CTE director- he is a great asset to Newton High and CTE. He supports the teachers and the staff and provides them with opportunities to grow and develop.


Kaitlin Patterson has been a great asset to CMS as a Spanish teacher. She's helped students become interested in a foreign language and she always does it in fun, engaging ways. Students are always talking about how much fun they had in Spanish because Miss Patterson creates such a fun atmosphere for them. It's refreshing to see a teacher utilize games and music to help students learn a tough subject. As a staff member, she also is a great problem solver and is able to help other staff members see things from a different perspective. She is well-organized and works hard to make sure that her students and her co-workers see her as a positive light in their lives.


I'd like to recognize Alex Petersen for being a great co-worker. You rarely see him without a smile on his face. He is always very positive and makes sure that others are doing okay. Alex is great at organizing his team and making sure that they are all taken care of. He also cares for his students deeply and does his best to make sure that they understand his content. He makes sure his class is engaging and the students are always engrossed by it. The students and the staff at CMS are lucky to have Alex on their side.


Tyann Hekele: Tyann is a rockstar! As a school psychologist, she is testing, writing reports, and attending meetings non-stop to support her two schools. She is very willing to answer questions, and when she doesn't know, she will ask. She is very friendly and ways willing to listen and help out where she can. WRLC and NHS couldn't ask for a better psych. Here's to you Tyann!


Erin Graber: Erin is such a remarkable asset to WRLC. Students and staff alike feel comfortable with her. She is always willing to listen and help where she can, both with professional or personal struggles. Even in some tougher situations, she is rarely without a smile on her face. Her days are never the same, and she rolls with whatever punches come her way. She is very visible in our school, and very appreciated. Keep up the good work Erin!


Caleb Haney: Wow - talk about a go getter! Caleb joined the Walton team this school year as our custodian. With COVID, there are more guidelines for keeping the schools clean and disinfecting frequently- I don't think he even blinked- he just did it. Caleb often greets staff and students when he sees them, and will pause what he is doing so a student can talk, say hi or chat with him. He is quick to respond when something is requested, and is usually smiling as he goes about his day. WRLC is SO lucky to have you Caleb.


Everardo Flores: Everardo goes above and beyond for students at NHS. He takes the extra time.out of his day to really check in with students and does what he can to help them succeed; encouraging words to keep students going, and getting new bike tire tubes and filling them up. He is very genuine in his conversations with students and staff alike. We are so glad to have you as part of the team!


Janene Mabrey: Janene is an amazing para. She really focuses on the students and what they need. It's been a pretty tough year, but she still shows up and does what is needed. You can tell that she loves her kids and is there 100% for them and what they need. Also, she is a great cook! Being her guinea pig with recipes is also a delight. Thank you so much for what you do Janene!


Amber Warsnak: She has been my go-to gal the past couple of years with all of my questions. If she didn't know the answer, she said as much, and then found the answer by asking or looking into it. This last year, guidelines for paperwork has changed so many times, but Amber seems to have kept on top of it all. She has come out to schools to assist as well as keeping track of a mountain of incoming paperwork. I don't think she hears this enough - thank you for all that you have done, and continue to do. We couldn't do it without you!


Jana Crittenden is always helpful and very knowledgeable. She is organized and able to multitask to help many students, parents and staff!


Staff in Walton's Learning Lab have been working tirelessly and do it all with a smile. Thank

you for your dedication, Tayvia Kemp, Jennifer Gronau, Lee Llamas, Scott Wahl, Melodie

Hatch and Tristin Wheeler.


Thank you, Coach Gilbert and Coach Delk for the extra helping hands. You both are very much appreciated.


Erin Graber at WRLC is fantastic. We couldn't do it without her. Thanks, Erin!


Thanks to Mrs. Preheim, who always goes above and beyond to help her students. She does a great job communicating with families to address issues and find solutions that will help her students find success!


Shout out to Mrs. Tate who was running multiple workshops at the same time on our Workshop Wednesday. She had students in three locations - online through Google Meet, inside her classroom, and just outside of her classroom - and was jumping between all three to make sure students got the specific help they needed.


Thanks to Mr. Nulik for always thinking outside the box and finding creative ways to improve what we are doing at Chisholm. His creativity has been invaluable in helping us work through various challenges.


Shoutout to Traci Henning for always being so willing to help out, even beyond what is expected with her job. She is so flexible and such a pleasure to work with!


Shoutout to Drew Rachel, our new NHS library assistant. He has taken on the role of master editor of videos and is producing a great one on the Life of a Railer. He also helped a student last week edit a video for Ag Academy without any hesitation!


Shoutout to Tyler Ives. If you've ever been in this guy's classroom you'd understand how great of a teacher he is. His classroom is built on non-judgment, respect, and his students take constructive feedback with grace. He can also play any instrument you put in his hands!


Shoutout to Patrice Olais and Eden Quispe. Last week, on very short notice, they allowed a future teacher to come shadow them and ask questions. They are such an inspiration to our students... and future teachers!


Shout out to Mr. Graber, Ms. Baumgartner and Ms. Jones at CMS for all their help with 8th graders' enrollment for high school. The Newton High School Counselors couldn't have done it without them!


Thank you to Ms. Salgado from NHS for always going above and beyond for her students! We are lucky to have her at NHS.


Jody Hall at ETC is always so friendly and helpful when problem solving.


Diane Moser at NHS is crushing it! She is always upbeat and has great ideas.


Shout out to Rob Wharton and Tom Derstein and the rest of the team for coming in on the snow day and clearing entryways and sidewalks! You are appreciated!


Thank you to Sam Anderson for doing so much for our staff and students behind the scenes. She does a great job of serving our schools and community. We are lucky to have her on the USD 373 team!


Thank you to the high school counselors for your hard work with pre-enrollment and for providing extra opportunities for support in the evenings!


Shout out to Mollie Mills-Weis for putting her heart and soul into every lesson she does. She connects so well with her students and is passionate about her content. We need more teachers like her!


Thank you to Betty Schmidtberger for being the heart and soul of NHS! You are amazing!


Mr. Flores has made an effort to come and support the Railer Bowling team at several away meets. He is the first administrator to show this kind of interest in our Railer Bowlers. His support is very much appreciated by both athletes and parents.


Kate Bremerman goes above and beyond for our students! She brings such an energy and passion to our building and she's always ready to help in any capacity! We couldn't do it without her leadership!


Olivia Lyles is just amazing! She brings her infectious laugh and energy wherever she goes, and she truly goes above and beyond for her students! She's a gem!


Tayvia Kemp is such a great addition to WRLC! She jumped right in on a day one and has done so much for our students! She is a great problem solver and finds ways to reach all of our students! We are so grateful to have her on our team!


Missy Wonders- What would we do without Missy?? She is such a bright spot at Walton and makes everyone feel loved and appreciated! We are so grateful for her positive energy at WRLC!


Nikki Taylor- We love Nikki! She brings the calm to our crazy, and she's always willing to step in and help! We couldn't do it without her!


Kendall Smith- Kendall is an amazing teacher! She finds ways to engage every learner and make science fun! It's obvious that she truly cares about our students and takes the time to make connections with them!


Caleb Haney -We love Mr. Caleb! He keeps our school running and is always willing to help! We love how he goes out of his way to get to know students! Thank you, Caleb!!


Evan Gilbert- We are so grateful to have Evan at WRLC! He's such a fun, positive role-model for the kids! He's always willing to lend a hand, and he truly cares about his students! Evan, thanks for all you do!