District Update

March 10, 2021

Video Recap of March 10 Newsletter

March 10 Newsletter Recap Video

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 elected (6-1) to keep student fees the same for next school year as this year.

The board also approved two new classes at Chisholm Middle School. These courses will be courses students may take to prepare them for CTE courses at the high school. The two courses are explorations in industrial technology and explorations in media and computers.

Also at Chisholm, the board approved the addition of a second counselor. This will be a revenue neutral-move due to an unfilled position at the high school. The addition of this position will help the school with scheduling as well as meeting students’ social-emotional needs.

The board also discussed Summit Learning. No action was taken however it will be an ongoing discussion. There was discussion on what changes have and could be made to the platform to better support student learning and meet the Newton School District’s needs. The board also received more information on how grading in the platform worked. There will be another discussion on March 22.

Full Board Meeting:

- YouTube
- YouTube

Facebook Live Q&A

March 8 BOE Recap and Q&A

Superintendent's Corner

The numbers this week taken from logs maintained locally are:

● Students quarantined: 67 on 3/4/21 (38 on 2/26/21)

● Staff quarantined: 6 on 3/4/2021 ( 5 on 2/26/2021)

● Active cases: 9 active cases on 3/5/2021, including 6 student and 3 staff ( 4 active cases

on 2/26/2021, including 1 student and 3 staff )

New Covid Reporting System

We are trying out a new reporting system for Covid cases and close contacts on our website so parents can utilize these online forms in place of calling buildings if that is what they prefer. It is a part of our goal to make these processes as accessible to parents as possible.


There is a good possibility that several roofs across the district will be able to be recoated and perhaps in an instance or two, replaced, due to a hail storm that passed through a couple of years ago. The case was reopened by the insurance company, and we are working through that process with the adjustors, etc.

Thanks to Mr. Schaeffer and Dr. Decker for their efforts on this.


I was able to spend a bit of time with the CTE group this month as they were going through a vision-building process led by Ben Reed. It was great to see the interaction occurring between staff and their passion for what they are doing for students. I look forward to hearing and seeing what they come up with.

NHS Jazz

Newton High School Jazz Combo and Jazz Ensemble performed at KMEA this year.

Getting one group to perform is an honor. Getting two is a statement about the program. VERY COOL!

Around The District

CTE: Mobile Equipment Maintenance Overview

Mobile Equipment Maintenance is just one of the many pathways our Career & Technical Education program at the high school offers.

Learn more about it in this course overview.

CTE: Mobile Equipment Maintenance Overview

Mrs. Garr's Class Involved In Nation-Wide Read Along

Want to know what the weather in Hawaii looks like this time of year? Just ask Ms. Garr’s class. They could probably tell you about Hawaii as well as other states across the country. The third-grade class is participating in a special Read Across America project that started in Hawaii and has classroom participants from each state. Miss Garr’s third-grade class is Kansas’ participant.

The teacher who started the project wanted to give her students a wider view of the world. Most of her students hadn’t been to another island let alone out of the state of Hawaii. So, she decided to bring the world to them. A teacher from each state shares a quick weather report and reads a book. All of the links are posted to a powerpoint the participating classrooms share. Ms. Garr gave Kansas’ weather report and read The Monster Who Lost His Mean.

Because of Ms. Garr’s video, students from all across the country got the opportunity to learn a little about Kansas. Additionally, every morning, Ms. Garr’s classroom watches a video of a book reading from a different state as well and gains the opportunity to learn more about their country.

“When we watched the Hawaii video, they could see the ocean from their playground,” Garr said. “Our students thought that was really cool. In Utah, right behind their school are these big mountains.”

Students were also exposed to different accents and cultural lessons from the videos.

“We are learning some global awareness and getting a worldview of the states,” Garr said. “Teachers read the same books as we do here in Kansas. The weather may be different. The outside might be different. What they might see from the classroom, but inside the classrooms look the same and we are learning the same things.”

Ms. Garr’s class will continue the project until spring break.

JAG: Employer Engagement

Chad Rhoades from Lincoln College of Technology in Denver, CO, gave JAG-K 9/10 and 11/12 students an informational and motivational presentation about all that Lincoln Tech has to offer.

Employer Engagement is part of The JAG Advantage:

Employer Engagement

Project-Based Learning

Trauma-Informed Care

By combining the three parts, students get The JAG Advantage:

  • Employers interact with JAG students in the classroom and by offering tours, job shadows or internships.
  • Students learn real-world competencies that employers want to see in their employees.
  • Companies develop a positive culture that students want to be a part of.

JAG-K 9/10 has enjoyed the following guest speakers so far this year:

Linda Moyo, 2018 NHS Grad and former JAG-K State Career Association President

Tami Lakey, Owner/Director of Norm’s Coffee Shop and So Shine Foundation

Doug Trumble, Owner of U.S. Outdoor First Aid, LLC

1Lt Alex Trumble, US Army Blackhawk Helicopter Pilot, 2013 NHS Grad

Diane Moser, College and Career Advocate of NHS Career & Technical Education Center

SRO Steve Hamersky, Newton Police Department and Professional Soccer Player

Cpt Silas Minkovitch, Commander of the Newton US Army Nat’l Guard, 2012 NHS Grad

Tim Sweigart, Owner and CEO of Kansas Electric

Peter Jantzen, Operations Administrator of Kansas Electric

Alyssa Stillwell, CNA at Kidron Bethel, 2020 NHS Grad

Loren Kurtz, Director of Later@Norm’s and NHS SpEd Paraprofessional

Cody Griffin, High School Recruiter, WSU Tech

Tucky Allen, Business Director of KansasworksONE

Chad Rhoades, High School Recruiter for Lincoln Technical College

Thank you to all of the guest speakers.

New Northridge Principal

Help us welcome our Northridge principal for the 2021-2022 school year, Megan Nagel!

Mrs. Nagel is a NHS graduate who has been with USD 373 as an employee since 2005. In her time here, she's worked in a variety of teaching positions as well as the technology integration and professional learning specialist. Mrs. Nagel also was a Kansas Teacher of the Year Finalist.

Current principal, Ms. Stephey, will be taking an assistant principal job at Newton High School.


It's about time for our student-directed one acts! We have six total, so we'll be splitting them into two separate performances. Our first round is coming up on March 25 and 26 and the second round will be March 27 and 28.

Purchase your tickets ahead of time here: https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/48198

NOTE: If you can, please do reserve online so we can get an estimate for how many we'll have and can plan for social distancing. Thank you so much for supporting our students!

Spreading Sunshine at Chisholm

The Chisholm Behavior Support Team sponsored a Spread Sunshine event for the month of February. CMS Staff were encouraged to spread sunshine, encouragement, and positivity throughout the entire month. It has been great to see staff encouraging students, families, and each other. We also have some great sunshine and positive messages in our building now too. Keep the positive vibe going!

Important Reminders

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

Kindergarten Round-Up

Mark your calendars for Kindergarten Round-Up on April 1. This year, Kindergarten Round-Up will be at the elementary buildings by appointment (either on-site or virtual). We are asking incoming Kindergarten Families to fill a survey found on this page by March 22. After the survey is completed, families will be called by school staff to set the appointment.

Precautions for COVID-19 will be taken.

We do ask that families bring immunization records, health assessments or birth certificates if available (not required for Kindergarten Round-Up)

If you do not have an incoming kindergartener but know of any families with incoming kindergartners, make sure you let them know about this event and information.

Please note, this means kindergarten students will not have school that day.

Latchkey For Spring Break

We are offering Latchkey from 6:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m. over spring break for K-6 children.

Children will need to bring a sack lunch, water bottle, and mask.

You will need to sign up by March 12

If your child is currently participating in Latchkey, you will need to email haleigh.willis@usd373.org to let her know your child plans on attending or sign up with your site supervisor before March 12 . If your child does not currently attend Latchkey, you will need to fill out an application form and turn it in to Haleigh Willis. You may scan and send your applications in to Haleigh Willis or drop them off or send them to Sunset Elementary School (619 Boyd Ave, Newton, KS 67114). Either way, Latchkey will need to know your child is participating by March 12

We also have United Way scholarships available. To apply, you must fill out this form. Again you can scan and send the applications or get them to Sunset.

For more information on Latchkey, visit the Latchkey website.

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.

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.

State Wrestling

Congratulations to Jayme Murry for her 6th place finish at 155 pounds at State Wrestling! She is the first Railer qualifier and medaler at state for girl’s wrestling.

On the boys side, every athlete who competed medaled with Nick Treaster taking the championship in the 106 weight class.

Bowlers Qualified For State

The NHS Bowling team qualified 3 individual bowlers for the 5-1A State Tournament on March 4 in Wichita. Myriah Nicholson qualified for the girls. On the boys side, Dehann Nelson and Carsen Ebert both qualified for state.

KMEA Scholarships

KMEA awards three $500 scholarships to high school seniors who enroll as music education majors in a four-year Kansas college or university. One scholarship will be granted in each of the performance areas of wind/percussion, strings and voice. Newton High School received two of the three awards given out statewide!

Josh Bergman received the wind/percussion scholarship, and John Mark Koontz was awarded the strings scholarship.

KMEA All-State Ensemble

Congratulations to NHS students who made their KMEA All-State ensemble three years in a row! Josh Bergman, Mackenzie Glasmann, Madyson Groves, and Josue Coy Dick.

Newton High School Business Professionals of America Officer Positions

Newton High School Business Professionals of America (BPA) Voting Delegates took place in the State Officer voting this past Thursday evening. NHS also had two students that ran for state officer positions! Ann Pomeroy was elected as the State Vice President and Joel Franz was elected as the State Historian.

2021 KSPA Regional Results

Railer Journalism had 18 top-six finishes this year at the Kanas State Press Assiociation Regional Competition.

NHS Students Of The Week

Big picture
Big picture

The 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.

CMS: The World Today By Isabella Vogt

The World Today is a crazy place.

In the world today, people feel so entitled to refuse

to wear a simple piece of fabric over their face,

even if it would keep others safe.

In the world today, people feel

so strongly about their opinions that

they riot and protest

without rest.

Think about the next generation,

our own creations

growing up within this nation.

While kids learn to count coins

others join in what seems to be

a battle against humanity

Now the children may not yet understand

but I will not stand for the actions

being made on our land.

I could name everything that happened in 2020,

but you may have trouble believing it all.

You may not even care unless you were there.

2020 came, so did a virus called Covid-19,

a virus which we would later struggle to tame.

This virus soon gained its fame,

causing people all around the world to restrain

from leaving their homes.

On February 3rd, 2020, we were told that fires

began in Australia.

Meanwhile, people tried but the president´s job

was not renounced.

Then what they next announced, everyone wished they mispronounced.

Kobe Bryant lost his life, and Gigi went with him,

there are two innocent victims to the game we call life.

The game of life where everything seems like strife,

A battle for existence,

A need for assistance,

A constant persistence,

A struggle for subsistence.

It can cause you to distance

yourself from everything else.

This is the world we live in now.

What happened next is

a bit hard to put into text.

When a man´s life was taken, for the

color of his skin,

the people became more restless

then they had ever been.

Riots broke out,

towns were burnt down,

and the people were bound to demand

justice for those who fell down.

But even those who protested with peace

were met with police.

Even one who was fast asleep,

did not get the chance to keep

his life.

Unfortunately, this is all too real.

A policeman even took a kneel,

on another man´s neck.

Now people feel

we should all take a kneel

in order to appeal

to those who have fallen.

This is the world today.

We celebrated the new year but

little did we know the events

that would soon take place.

If we did we would have feared

the year after 2019.

Eventually, they made a vaccine,

for covid-19.

It all seems like a bad dream.

Some say its all a scheme

but it seems to be all too extreme.

The election finally came

and everyone gathered around

to see who would be the president of this country´s ground.

But when the results were found,

People later marched to the Capitals ground.

Suggesting that it was a fraud

They barked and clawed.

stating that the election was flawed.

Just think, this is the world today.

I just hope that we can all find a way

to come out of it okay.

But this is our world, this is your world,

This is just as much everybody elses´ world as it is mine.

This is the world today.

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.

I would like to give a huge shout-out to Anna DeWitt. She has been my right-hand gal for Transition and she is awesome. Willing to go above and beyond whenever anyone needs anything or things change at the last minute. I couldn't do this job without her! You are Awesome, and thank you for all you do!!!

Shout out to Jennifer Kelsey at Northridge. Jennifer is a great bouncing board for ideas. I often visit her room after school. Jen is a listening ear that encourages and challenges me as a teacher. I appreciate her openness and clearness in ways I can help a difficult student or teach something in a clearer way! She is a blessing to have at Northridge.

Mrs. Loeffler has been great for my sophomore daughter who is primarily doing virtual learning. My daughter loves her and feels completely comfortable with going to Mrs. Loeffler with questions or concerns. Shout out to Mrs. Loeffler for working hard to build trust and rapport with her students!!!

Ali McCartney is such a dedicated employee. She is one of the best co-teachers I've ever had. She is well prepared, an amazing advocate for her students and brings positive energy to any class she is in.

Samantha Kempf is a role model of teaching math and teaching in general. She has a perfect combination of rigor and compassion. Students feel respected and supported by her. She brings the high quality and consistency to math education that the students need.

Jesus Martinez is the best ESL staff person ever! He is passionate and committed to making a difference. He is constantly standing up for his students and making sure they get the accommodations they deserve. He is understanding to students and teachers alike.

Shout out for Drew Eron at the high school.

Jenny Bristol and Gina Skinner go above and beyond in supporting parents and staff at Santa Fe. They are always willing to help in any way they can and we are so lucky to have them!

We are so lucky to have Holly Engel as our school nurse! She has done an excellent job of dealing with everything COVID-related. She does many extra duties to help students at Santa Fe. She's the best!

Shout out to my paras Laura Curtis and Happy Cantu! They always go above and beyond to help make our day run smoothly. My classroom would not be the same without them!

A huge shout out to Duane Knoll and Lael Ewy for responding with compassion and demonstrating flexibility when my child contacted them about mental health issues she has been experiencing this semester. Mental health is a key component of student success. Your kindness is deeply appreciated.

Thank you to Jessica Heidrick for creating a safe space of acceptance for students during lunch and throughout the day. My daughter and I sincerely appreciate you.

March is National Social Work Month with March 7-13 designated as school social work week. Social Workers are essential! We have a team of exceptional social workers in our midst who work tirelessly to meet the needs of students, families, and staff. A special thank you to our social workers: Ashley Park, Colleen Werner, Eddie Lawrence, Erin Graber, Heather Fischer, Janel Rogers, Jeanne Harper, Jennifer Switzer, Joanna Bjerum, Michelle Regier, Penny Dorado, Sara Friesen Guhr, and Sara Kopper.

Super proud of Chisholm and Slate Creek for also having a perfect inspection! Super proud of them.

Kendall Smith is an absolute joy to work with at Walton! She is so kind and does a fantastic job making her lessons exciting and engaging! It is obvious she cares about her students and is always willing to help out a teacher when needed! WE ARE SO THANKFUL FOR YOU, KENDALL!!

I would like to shout out Mr. Buller, my daughter's homeroom teacher. He has been awesome in helping her get her grades up-most encouraging teacher she has had. We really appreciate everything he has done for and with Aaliyah-he is a special guy. He relates well to my daughter and me both!!! He has gone above and beyond to help get her where she needs to be. Woot Woot Mr. Buller!!!

My shout out goes to Jen Magnall. Jen has been my daughter’s teacher for two years and has been patient & kind and has been determined with and for my daughter. She has helped her in ways that no other teacher has before. She has helped her see that she can be successful in school. Emily is even taking a certification course for a Vet Tech Assistant that we had no idea she could do during high school. Jen has been amazing!

Shout out to Denise Seger from Northridge! She cares so much for the students and is always willing and eager to help and step in where she is needed. We couldn't get through this crazy time without you. We love you, Denise!

Shout out to Diana Rodriguez at ETC for printing and laminating the Students of the Week posters for Newton High. They look great in the front entrance!

I wanna give a shout out to Northridge Elementary School’s first-grade teacher Mrs. Adkins. She has had such a trying year with so many kids in her class and so many ups and downs! She’s been a fighter, sticking with it putting the kids first working with them so hard. We really appreciate all that she’s done! So many of her kids have been behind with their schoolwork because of Covid and missing out on half of their kindergarten year. She’s done a wonderful job trying to catch them back up.

I wanna give a shout out to Mrs. Seirer, fourth-grade teacher at Northridge Elementary. She has worked so hard with her kids as well as our son. He has really thrived in her class and we can’t thank her enough for working so hard with him.

I want to give a shout out to Mrs. Dietz. She does an amazing job helping our boys read and understands what they need to do. She truly cares for her students and loves what she does. Thank you for working so hard with our boys!

We are so thankful to have Amy Freud and Bethany Hamill working as paraprofessionals in the math department at NHS. With all of our students learning on-site together again, their work is invaluable.

Mr. Dietz is a school administrator who promotes the success of all students by acting with integrity and fairness. He is always willing to support and help his staff and peers. Mr. Dietz is a true champion for NHS and the community. Thank you, Mr. Dietz, for serving our kids and families.

Chris McKellip always goes above and beyond for the remote special education students. Today, she got transportation forms for a couple of students and personally took the forms to the parents’ house to fill out. Chris, you are truly a joy to work with. Thanks for everything you do.

I just wanted to send a shout out for Amanda Warkentine. The progress that my son has made in the two years that she’s worked with him has been HUGE. I truly feel that his successes would not have happened if it wasn’t for her work with him. I can absolutely tell that she wants him to succeed, and he loves her. I love that she celebrates his good days, communicates when he has had a hard day, and always reminds him that every day is a new day for a great day. I am beyond grateful for everything she has done to make sure that my son is getting the education that he deserves.

Ag Academy Team - Our Ag Academy staff (Lacie Fair, Elizabeth Gunn, Ryan Kopper, Adam Williams, Nate Wollenberg, and Amanda Gillespie) have worked very hard to plan and implement a program that supports students who are interested in agriculture. Even in a year with so many parameters, they have still found ways to connect what students are learning in their Ag core content classes with what they're doing in their Ag elective course. Grateful to have an excellent team of teachers who create a family feel and connection with each of their academy students!