District Update

August 25

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 of education approved the “Stay To Learn” plan for students who would be quarantined by the Harvey County Health Department for being a close contact of a positive Covid-10 case. It is an option for those families, but they do not have to take it. They can also quarantine their students at home. This plan was made with the Harvey County Health Department’s help. The plan allows those students to go back to school as long as they get tested at school every morning during their quarantine, wear a mask and socially distance. Last year, out of the 2,666 students who were quarantined for being a close contact, only 10 tested positive. Again, this is just an option for those families. And this applies to just school, not athletics.


The board also heard an update on the status of Lindley Hall at Santa Fe ⅚ Center. The exterior parapet of the building--the exterior brick facade--has pulled away from the structure of the building. The brick ties have deteriorated over time. There are some interior structural issues with the masonry as well. It does appear that all of the interior i-beams that form the interior of the structure are good according to an engineer that was brought in but there is some separation of the interior walls from the bleachers.



Board Meeting:

- YouTube

Facebook Live Q&A

August 24 BOE Recap and Q&A

Why is the health department in charge of quarantining students?

That is not a district decision. Legally, I believe, that is their role. They are the ones that can issue quarantines. Schools can exclude but they cannot issue a quarantine order.


Why don’t you send COVID emails by building like you did before?

We do have a running total on our website of positive cases for the district as a whole. We are working to protect the identity of those students or staff members who have tested positive. Last year, we didn’t report according to buildings if there was only one positive case.


Why isn’t full remote an option this year?

There was state legislation that was passed that severely limit’s the district’s ability to provide remote to students. The district does not have a K-12 virtual school. We do have a partnership with ESSDAK this year where some 9-12 students who were in a virtual environment can go. Legislation was passed that only allows 40 hours of what they call remote learning and some conditions have to be met in order for us to be able to offer that. A school day is about 6.75 hours so 40 hours wouldn’t get a student through the quarantine period. There are some special allowances that allow 240 hours but that would have to be approved by our board of education and the state board of education on a case-by-case basis.


Do students who are quarantined have to worry about truancy?

That won’t apply. It will be considered an excused absence.

Superintendent's Update

COVID Numbers Update

As of 8/19/2021, there is one active student and one active staff Covid case. There are 30 student quarantines. There are no active staff quarantines at this time.


Testing Grant

The KDHE offered grant opportunities over the summer that the medical team’s Karen Lehman has applied for to help cover the cost of testing as well as stipends for health staff (including her salary as the Covid Coordinator) as well as other Covid-related supplies. We received word this week that they have awarded that grant, which is great news!


There is the possibility that this can carry over for three more years. I am so thankful that Karen took the initiative to work through the application process as it will help to offset other costs and provide a safer environment for students. Nice work!


Railer Palooza

The Railer Palooza this past week was amazing! The secondary staff went above and

beyond to produce a great experience for parents, students and patrons. The pie action earned around the $7000 mark from unofficial reports... One pie went for over $700.


The other teacher nights and open houses were also not only well attended, I have heard many positive comments about how they were done.


Thanks to ALL for their hard work this past week as it does take a lot to pull all of these things together during this very busy time of the school year!


First Day of School

I went to every building (except for Cooper--which didn't have students yet) on the first day. It was awesome to see students!


It was also fun to touch base with many of you and do so in person. I greatly appreciate how

you all have worked to open the school year with a level of excitement and commitment to

improving the lives of our students.

Important Reminders

Economic Household Surveys and Consent Forms

Economic Surveys and consent forms are now online. You can find them on our website by following this link: https://usd373-ks.schoolloop.com/enroll/applications


You will need to submit the forms on a computer. It is very important you fill these out. You will receive a deduction of $10 for textbook fees and $10 for technology fees (if applicable) per student in your household.


This form will replace the free-and-reduced forms used in previous years. It also could mean further discounts on fees for your family.


Additionally, this is how the state will judge our district’s at-risk funding since free-and-reduced forms are not being used this year nationwide. Last year, the district lost about $200,000 due to families not filling out the forms. This is money the district could use in its classrooms to promote better learning for all.


Please take five minutes to fill out the short survey. If you need any assistance, join us at the district help hours. We will have the forms available then as well:


• Tuesday, July 13: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm

• Wednesday, July 14: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm

• Thursday, July 15: 7:00 am - 3:00 pm


We also will have Spanish translators to help with the consent form, if needed

Railer Recognition

South Central KMEA President

Greg Bergman is the South Central KMEA president for the next two years! It is a great honor to be elected for this role in the music world. KMEA stands for Kansas Music Educators Association.

Welcome Back

South Central KMEA President

Greg Bergman is the South Central KMEA president for the next two years! It is a great honor to be elected for this role in the music world. KMEA stands for Kansas Music Educators Association.

First Day Of School Pictures

Covid Expectation Reminder

Big picture

Staff Shout Outs

Jen Ediger (formerly Magnall) continues to impress me as an incredibly talented, caring, and dedicated teacher. She is the kind of teacher you want working with your kids at any school and seems to be specially equipped for an alternative school. She goes above and beyond and her students know she cares.


Shout out to Kiet Nguyen and Tequency James for hauling and installing bookshelves for the Opportunity Academy Imaginarium. Many thanks to all who added books to our collection-- these gentlemen made sure they had a home!


Staff shout-out - I'd like to thank Lisa Otter for being such a supportive and collaborative coworker. She helps me all the time!


S/O to Kayla Berrey for going above and beyond for her class. She always puts in the extra work and effort to reach the needs of all of her students. Your hard work doesn't go unnoticed!


Kim Tate has done a great job as our team leader. She is low drama and brings great ideas to the table. She has used her Marzano training and has brought ideas to our team on how to incorporate her training into our classrooms.


Walter Knopf has gone above and beyond in his role as a custodian at CMS. He has become a great leader in our building. Students love him, he is always friendly, and he is always willing to help, often dropping what he is doing to help out with any task. Thank you Walter for what you do and your passion!


Lynette Doty and Kristin Kornfeld are the first faces that students and parents see at CMS. They are friendly, willing to help in any way, and are always in good spirits. Their role as administrative assistants at CMS has a positive impact on us and we are very fortunate to have them here. Thank you for caring and taking care of us all!


Definitely have been blessed with a wonderful teacher in Mrs. Rhonda McKibben at Opportunity Academy. She is very patient and 100% involved with her students. I am so thankful for her and Mr. Swalley. I love Opportunity Academy.


I would like to shout out to Daniell Michael (Structured Learning Para) at South Breeze for reaching out to my Kindergartner and giving him support and love when he was upset and needing help after morning drop off. It's always a tough process for a mother!


I want to shout out to Mrs. Flood at Slate Creek for wearing her mask both to protect her kids and also to help them feel comfortable coming back to school after being remote all last year. I really appreciate how much she cares about her kids.

I also want to shout out to all the other teachers who are wearing masks for whatever reason. I have kids at Santa Fe and Chisholm, and I have heard from the kids that some of their teachers are wearing masks as well but not all of them. They are watching and it makes them feel safe


Sara Friesen-Guhr, the counselor at Sunset. She's epic. My kindergartener was having a difficult time with the transition to school, and she not only met us at the door (because my son's preschool teacher texted her we were on the way) but sat with my son through breakfast and walked him to his classroom. Also met my son at the door today. She's so great with these kiddos and ought to be recognized


Kynda Faythe has gone above and beyond for my student time and time again. She always has an open door, a friendly smile and a listening ear. Her words of continual encouragement and supportiveness have been a treasure we were so lucky to find! Newton High is so lucky to have her!


Danna Gordon - has gone above and beyond to help our NHS counseling department get ready for the year. She has been AH-MAZING help to our new staff. THANK YOU for your extra efforts!


Tavis Leake and Nicole Pringle - Are INCREDIBLE additions to our NHS counseling team, they have had to learn a LOT in a short amount of time and have DONE A GREAT JOB.


Taylor Lewis brought us treats and has offered much-needed support as we start the year. So EXCITED to have her on our team.


So many to name for all the help, patience, listening ears, and well-trained staff working to get my student transitioned into a new school environment I have to give a big shout out to all.

Lynnette Doty

Kristen Kornfeld

Angie Naysmith

Shawna'de Smith

Sara Kopper

Christina Jones


Thank you for your willingness to go the extra mile to calm our anxieties about this transition.

Gayle Franz and Ocean Gomez-Poston are the most amazing Para Educators. They never cease to amaze me. Their love and compassion for our students are beyond measure. Each day they work tirelessly to ensure our students receive a full day of positive and meaningful learning. I am excited to see what this school year brings. With these ladies, our students will dance with the rainbows and dream with the stars!


Ms. Bremerman, Ms. Missy Wonders and Nurse Kaitlin Williams have gone above and beyond welcoming my kindergartener and helping us through hiccups and mom's mistakes.


Awesome job by our CMS Administrative Assistants, Lynnette Doty and Kristen Kornfeld, who spent many hours preparing for the beginning of the school year, getting parent packets ready for CMS Open House, helping parents and staff, and doing everything with a smile. We would be lost without their expertise in the office!


Thank you to Chisholm teachers Kim Tate, David Adams, and Monty Graber for all of their hard work in helping teachers get set up with Railer Learning. Their knowledge has helped many of our CMS teachers feel more comfortable with the platform and how to set things up.


Thank you to our CMS custodians, Walter Knopf, Mercy Lindeman, and Jordan Ciccone for their tireless efforts in moving classroom furniture, helping teachers get rooms set up and preparing the school to welcome students and families for our open house.


Shout out to Kate Bremerman, who has driven to Chisholm after school each day to help the Walton students get to the correct bus. Her efforts have been much appreciated by the Chisholm supervisors, parents, students, and bus drivers.


Shout out to Christina Jones and Jaime Moses, the CMS Counselors, for all of their great work with student schedules, helping parents, and addressing the social-emotional needs of our students during the first few days of school.


Thanks to Eddie Lawrence, the CMS Social Worker, for his efforts to help the students at Chisholm. He does a great job checking in with students and has worked closely with a number of families to help them with the transition to Chisholm.


I would like to shout out to Mrs. Ediger. She has made my son feel so welcomed at OA. When he was ill, she made sure to send a message to him that he was missed. From my mommy heart, I can't thank her enough. She made him feel loved, that hasn't always been his educational experience. Thank you, Mrs. Ediger


I would like to give a Railer Recognition to Amanda Warkentine. She has been having to go above and beyond to make things work in her schedule to fit her kids' needs. Even when some of those times should be breaks and other things, she always puts her students' needs first. She always makes sure we as teachers have what we need, and if we don't she tries her best to do what she can.