District Update

Summer Edition: June 16, 2021

June 16, 2021 Newsletter 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 voted (6-0) to remove COVID-19 restrictions for the 21-22 school year. The district will still be monitoring statistics as well as listening to guidance from local, regional and state health professionals. In the fall, the district will have to have some sort of return-to-learn plan to access the federal ESSER dollars. We will get more information on what that will look like from the state in the next few days.

The discussion then went to the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) program. The district went over the plan for its ESSER 2 dollars as well as announcing that it had been allocated about $5.1 million dollars for ESSER 3. The district has until September 2023 to spend the ESSER 2 dollars and September 2024 for the ESSER 3. The district has set aside money for a variety of different things including reintegrating students back into the traditional classroom, addressing any learning loss and providing healthy and safe learning environments. A few examples of how the district plans on doing this are by investing some funds into a better HVAC system for better air quality within the school, providing mental health services and supports by hiring additional staff and training for current staff, summer learning programs, premium pay for staff and purchasing additional educational technology including hotspots families can check out at home. The district can make adjustments to the plan as needed and will submit it in the next two to six weeks.

Free lunch forms are not going to be issued by the federal program due to the continuation of the free meal programming at the federal level. Typically, the state uses these forms to determine at-risk funding for the state. This year, the state is allowing districts to utilize the CEP Household economic survey instead. The district lost in excess of $200,000 in the current fiscal year due to the reduction in those numbers (approximately 90 students). Each district receives 0.484 FTE (approximately $2200 per student) designated as free via the federal guidelines. To help make sure families fill out the form, the district is considering giving guardians $10/student off of textbook and technology fees if they complete the form whether they qualify or not. The district will be sending out more information in the near future.

Board Meeting:

Board of Education Meeting June14

Facebook Live Q&A

June 15 Facebook Live Board of Education Recap and Q&A

Superintendent's Corner

Mentoring Program

Megan Nagel has led the group that has been tasked in years past (actually, she co-led it with an individual that no longer works at 373) to utilize the funds from the Rotary Club designated to help with bullying within the district. This group has met a few times this spring, wrapping up on Wednesday to follow through with some plans to make connections amongst students within buildings and provide some leadership opportunities for our secondary students through mentoring.

Below is a blurb that Megan put together for this edition of notes. We would really like to see this expand over time. Thanks to Megan and those involved!

Thanks to funding provided by the Rotary Club, we are excited to begin a pilot program,

Railer Way Mentoring, that connects Newton High School student-athletes with

elementary classrooms. During the 2021-2022 school year, 50 High School students will

lead monthly lessons around living the Railer Way at South Breeze Elementary School.

We have ambitious hopes to continue to grow the program to incorporate more buildings and high school students in the upcoming school years.

Beginning in September, we will cover one letter per month.

R- Relationships

A- Acceptance

I- Integrity

L- Leadership


R -Resilience

W-Working Together

A- Achievement

Y- You are Worthy

A huge shout out to Blake Smith, Samantha Anderson, Erin Graber, Michelle Regier, Jenny

Switzer, Jaime Moses, Jana Bohling, Kelsey Flickner, and Christina Jones for designing the lessons that will be used by NHS student mentors next fall.

Roof Repairs

Roof repairs are beginning within the district by Wray Roofing. In the pics below, you will see the application of an additional coating that will extend the life of this roof on the northwest side of area 1 of the a roof at the high school.

Support USD 373--Birdies Against Bullies Golf Tournament

Join USD 373 and the Rotary Club of Newton for the Birdies Against Bullying Golf Tournament at Sand Creek Station on June 24 at 8 a.m. It's a four-person scramble that raises money for the Anti-Bullying Project and USD 373. It is $100 per player with a USD 373 staff rate of $60.

To sign up, contact Travis Rose at travis@bridgesincorporated.com

Railer Recognition

State Track

Congratulations to all our competitors at the 5A State Track meet last month. Here are the medalists for the Railers:

Asha Regier- Girls High Jump- 2nd

Hayley Loewen- Girls Triple Jump- 4th

Aiden Kendall- Boys Shotput - 8th, Boys Discus- 5th

Kenyon Forest- Boys Javelin- 1st

Davis Mick0 Boys Javelin 8th

Seal of Biliteracy

Congratulations to Josue Coy Dick, Azeneth Ramos-Bencomo and Asiel Dimas-Villescas for earning their seal of biliteracy.
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Shrine Bowl

Congratulations to Aiden Kendall who will participate on the West Team at the 2021 Shrine Bowl Game in late June.

FFA Awards

Last month, Shelby Spreier took first place in the entire state in the ag communications competition. The Newton FFA Chapter took fourth place overall.

State Tennis

Congratulations to the NHS Boys Tennis team. They took 5th place at the 5A State Tournament. Doubles team Jonah Schloneger and Justin Franz finished in 5th place. Max Musser and Zeke Thompson finished 12th overall. In singles, Otis Musser finisher 12th. Sam Claassen also qualified for the tournament.

Miss Kansas Outstanding Teen

Congrats to Gracie Hendrickson on winning Miss Kansas Outstanding Teen title!

Gracie said this about the honor:

"Winning this title has been a huge accomplishment for me and I can’t wait to make Kansas proud this year! My next stop is competing for the title of Miss America’s Outstanding Teen in July!"

Athletic Signings

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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.

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.

Building Reports

Cooper Early Education Center

*Through Head Start COVID Relief Funds, we were able to send a food basket, safety kit, summer learning backpack and summer fun kits home with each Head Start student in May.

*Due to COVID safety precautions, Cooper held preschool graduation outside at Military Park. It was a great setting that allowed us to have guests attend, and we had a natural Newton Backdrop with the train engine for photos.

*A HUGE thank you to the Newton Fire Department for graciously coming on our field day to spray us down with water from the fire trucks!

*The Infant Toddler team continues to serve families and children throughout the summer and is working with Greenbush to get a new process for Medicaid billing rolled out.

*The PAT team was awarded a Kindergarten Readiness Grant which will be used to partner with Sedgwick USD 439 to provide PAT services to some Sedgwick families.

Northridge Elementary School

Northridge Elementary finished out the year strong. Several of our classes went on walking field trips to nearby parks and parents who had a background check completed were able to meet them there or walk over with the kids. Our 4th grade had their annual Gold Rush. We want to thank our 4th-grade teachers, aides, and parent volunteers who assisted us in making this a successful event for our 4th graders. Mr.Gilbert arranged for Northridge to have a Field Day at the school. Again, teachers, parents, paras, and aides assisted with this and it was a fun day that the kids really enjoyed. There were some tears when the high school graduates did a walk-through at Northridge. I believe that this is one of the best traditions that USD 373 has. Two of our teachers got to take pictures with their “former” students. It was awesome! On the last day of school, our 4th graders did a final walk-through of Northridge and were congratulated by the K-3 students. From all of the staff at Northridge Elementary, we wish all of our students to have a safe and fun summer break. They deserve it!

Slate Creek Elementary School

Fourth graders across the state of Kansas focused on the state of Kansas and Regions of the United States in order to promote geographic, historical, and civic awareness. The four disciplines of history, geography, economics and civics are explored throughout our study of Kansas and the Regions of the United States. We explored those four disciplines more specifically through the study of a region's landforms/geography, landmarks, culture, climate, and other interesting facts. At Slate Creek. We extend on that learning about Kansas and the different regions with our students researching a specific state within those regions. The project was launched with Mrs. Alfaro asking students to help her family pick where they should go for their summer vacation. Students researched their state and created a presentation that provides information to prospective "travelers" to their state as the students pretend to be travel agents for their state. The overall objective is for students to use their understanding to compare and contrast different states/regions with the state of Kansas. Part of this state and historical research is learning all about the California Gold Rush of 1849. Fourth Graders reenacted that time. This has become a tradition at Slate Creek that all 4th graders look forward to participating in. The kids will come dressed as miners and have miner nicknames picked out. They will begin the day by searching the playground with their partners for an area that looks like it would be a “rich claim.” The playground will be scattered with “gold”. After they decide on a location, they must measure an area no larger than 10x10 feet and stake it with sticks and rope. Once the kids register their claim at the Sacramento Land Office they can begin mining for gold. Some of the day's activities also include; learning to weigh their gold at the Wells Fargo Bank, budgeting and buying items from the general store with the measured gold and, of course, learning to love beans and hardtack! The day has always been full of adventure that will pull together everything that the students have learned about the Gold Rush in class the prior weeks. GO WEST!

-4th Grade teachers: Rob Briley and Allison Heisler

South Breeze Elementary School

1) In May, we put two of our redesign prototypes into action! The first included the building principal recording morning announcements that were shared with all students. South Breeze students made comments to Ms. Bohling bout the videos and seemed to really enjoy them.

The second was a virtual family night for 2nd and 4th-grade families that included “Minute to Win It” games facilitated by the classroom teachers. All supplies needed for the families were sent home before the family night. Students/family members shared positive feedback and seemed to really enjoy the time together.

2. Our amazing PE teacher, Arissa Eilert, planned a fun and safe field day for South Breeze students. Even though it was really cloudy outside and the sky misted on them at the end, they loved the time together outside exercising!

3. Fourth-grade teachers continued the tradition of celebrating our 4th graders as they left our building. They walked the halls of South Breeze to fun music as we all cheered. Then they headed outside to parents who lined the sidewalk with posters of celebration. As South Breeze Steam engines we hope they know they will always be loved by all of us.

4. Last, but certainly not least, we all made it through a rough year... intact! We supported one another in ways we probably never dreamed we would, but we all did it with a caring heart. That is exactly the culture we hope everyone who comes to South Breeze feels. Here is to a well-deserved, restful, and rejuvenating summer.

Sunset Elementary School

Up until the end of the year, staff was encouraged to add items to a doc titled, “Ideas to Spring Forward for 2021-22”. Here are the items that were listed that are certainly worth attempting to make doable:

1. Line orders for all classes all day

2. Seating charts in cafeteria and all classes back in cafeteria

3. Continue staggered dismissals

4. Every teacher walking class out the door at end of day

5. Same aide or para in classroom all day

6. Flexibility in classrooms schedules

7. Front door remaining locked all day

8. Zones at recess

9. Option for video conferencing with parents

10. 10-15 min intervention groups with interventionists at lower grades

Have a wonderful summer everyone! My hope is that we can all come back to school refreshed and rejuvenated!

Walton Rural Life Center

That's a wrap!!! The end of the school year at Walton Rural Life Center was fabulous. Students participated in Ag Fair, Day on the Farm and Field Day. Saying goodbye was difficult and we are already looking forward to another great year next year.

I would also like to take this opportunity to give one more “thank you” to the staff at Walton Rural Life Center. The entire staff consistently goes above and beyond for students and for each other. They rocked this school year- despite all of the difficulties, and having a new administrator. WRLC truly is special and I feel so blessed to get to be a part of it.

Santa Fe 5/6 Center

Please help me in recognizing and celebrating all our staff for their hard work and dedication this school year. This year was by far one of the hardest for everyone. Our students would not be as successful as they have been if it were not for our amazing staff.

The end of the school year went well. The students worked hard until the very end and their grades show it! I am proud of all the hard work and dedication shown by all Santa Fe staff, students, and guardians! Thank you for making the 20-21 school year such a success!

Chisholm Middle School

The NHS Drama II class came to Chisholm and taught an improv. workshop to some of our CMS students. It was a great experience for our students and gave them an opportunity to try something new. Thanks to Mrs. Heidrick for her leadership in making this experience possible for our students.

The Chisholm Singers created a video performance of two pieces that they worked on this semester. Mr. Bucklin and the students worked hard on recording, editing, and putting together this video performance and it turned out great.

Our Summer School program took place June 1 - 17. We had 31 students signed up to participate this year. Students were able to receive transportation and meals for our program as well. Our summer school focus has been to ensure that students learn the specific skills that they may have missed this past year and make sure they are ready for the upcoming school year.

Opportunity Academy

As we bring the year to a close, we have had 14 graduates for the year. Four Early Grad Juniors and 10 Seniors who graduated on time! This brings the total number of graduates over the first two years of OA to 23 students! We are very proud of these students and the strides they have made in their time with us. As of May 17, OA has served 107 total students! We would also like to congratulate Greg Krotz as he retires from teaching after 33 years of service!

Department of Justice Grant- In August we will begin our training with ESSDACK for our Violence prevention in schools. We will be trained in the program VIBE that students will use to self-assess their social and emotional state. This will allow us as teachers to gather real-time data on students and we will be able to track long-term data to gather trends during the day, week and month. The students will also receive feedback on ways to cope with where they are emotionally.

Newton High School

High School students help out at South Creek Field Day. Mr. Brown said they did an amazing job and were great role models for their students.

Performing Arts Awards 20-21

South Central District KMEA Honor Band & Orchestra:

Alexander Barnett, Taylor Redington, Jamie Gonzalez, Elijah Redington, Kaden Anderson, Josh Bergman,Jonah Schloneger

South Central District KMEA Jazz Band:

Brandon Montgomery, Josh Bergman, Jonah Schloneger, John Mark Koontz

Alternate: Ryan Ruggiero

KMEA All-State Jazz Band:

John Mark Koontz, Jonah Schloneger (selected two years), Josh Bergman (selected three years)

Alternate: Kaden Anderson

SCKMEA Scholarship:

Josh Bergman

KMEA All-State Scholarship:

Two of the three state-wide awards: John Mark Koontz and Josh Bergman

Josh Bergman

1st place - Hutchinson Symphony Solo Competition

2nd place - Wichita Symphony Youth Orchestra Solo Competition

KSHSAA Solo and Ensemble Festival:

"Excellent" (2) rating: Ashley Groote, Elijah Redington, Saxophone Quartet (Brandon Montgomery, Zeke Thompson, Lauren Anton, Ryan Ruggiero)

"Outstanding" (1) rating: Lauren Anton, Brandon Montgomery, Josh Bergman, Taylor Redington, Mixed Trio (Taylor Redington, Grace Meisel-Silva, Oliver Dungan)

Jazz Festival Awards for exceptional musicianship:

McPherson College Jazz Festival

Kaden Anderson, Josh Bergman, John Mark Koontz, Jonah Schloneger

Pittsburg State University Jazz Festival

Josh Bergman, John Mark Koontz, Jonah Schloneger, Kaden Anderson

South Central District and All-State KMEA choir members are:

Mackenzie Glasmann, Madyson Groves, Madison Hershberger, Jenna Teichler

KSHSAA Solo and Ensemble Festival:

Vocal Solo receiving an "Excellent" rating or a "II" at Contest: Evelyn Gaertner

Vocal Solos receiving an "Outstanding" rating or "I" at Contest: Jenna Teichler, Ashton Huntley, Mackenzie Glasmann, Madison Hershberger

Piano Solo receiving an "Outstanding" or "I" at Contest: Abby Koontz

The Newton High School Choir received an "Outstanding" or "I" at Contest

South Central District KMEA Honor Orchestra

Josue Coy Dick, Diego Coy Dick, Daisy Buller, Claire Preheim, Alondra Valle, Abby Chappell Deckert, John Mark Koontz

KMEA All-State Orchestra- Josue Coy Dick, John Mark Koontz made the All-State Jazz Band

Wichita Symphony Youth Orchestras

Abby Chappell Deckert, Daisy Buller, Caleb Garber

KMEA Orchestra Scholarship

John Mark Koontz

Solo and Small Ensemble Festival

"Excellent" (II) ratings

Eva Dungan, Daisy Buller, Lucy Buller, Ethan Neufeld, Ann Pomeroy

"Outstanding" (I) ratings

Diego Coy Dick (violin), Caleb Garber (cello), Abby Chappell Deckert (cello), Claire Preheim (viola), Alondra Valle (viola), Josue Coy Dick (violin), Tessa Preheim (violin), Caleb Koontz (piano)

Ensembles receiving a I- Trio of Daisy Buller, Lucy Buller, and Ethan Neufeld

Quintet- Abby Chappell Deckert, Alondra Valle, Claire Preheim,Josue Coy Dick, and Tessa Preheim