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Media Permission Clarification Posted 8/15/18

As communication and story-telling technology changes, we wanted to clarify our media publication permission. Photograph, voice or name would include moving photographs or video.  If this creates any issues for you or your student, and you wish to change the release you signed for this year, please contact your school to have your media permission changed.

Bus Safety Reminder Posted 8/14/18

 In the 2017-2018 school year, 175 drivers in Newton illegally passed stopped school buses according to USD 373’s transportation department. Director of Transportation Sheila Zwahlen estimates that total is about 50 more than the previous year.

When a school bus activates the amber lights it is to let the motorists know that the bus is about to stop. The lights will change from amber to flashing red lights and then the stop arm will deploy.  All drivers need to stop from both directions unless there is a physical median like a concrete separator or grass. If there is a physical median, motorists on the opposite side of the median may continue driving. Motorists should remain stopped until the bus no longer displays its flashing red lights and stop arm. If drivers do not stop, they are in violation of Kansas Law KSA 8-1556 and can be fined in excess of $420.

The rule is necessary to keep children safe when they get on or off the bus or cross the street. Bus drivers are trained to leave the arm out until children are in their yard. Zwahlen’s goal is to release children on the same side of the street as their home, but it’s not always possible.

“Several hours of work go into planning routes so they can be as safe as possible,” Zwahlen said. “Our students’ safety is our department’s number one priority. We want to keep them safe and we can’t do that alone. We need the community’s help.”

USD 373 has 18 buses that drive different routes. Attached are KSDE Bus Safety Unit illustrations to better clarify when drivers need to stop.

August and September Railer Roundtables Posted 8/13/18

We have our next round of Railer Roundtables scheduled out! We had amazing discussions in the last four sessions, and we’d love to see you at our next four! Feel free to just stop in for a few minutes or stay the entire session. Bring questions and share your thoughts and opinions with Superintendent Dr. Deb Hamm and the school district. Here are the times and locations:


August 23 5:30- 7 p.m. at Prairie Harvest

August 28 12- 1 p.m. at the Breadbasket

September 4 10 a.m.- 11:30 a.m. at Norm’s Coffee Bar

September 25 5:30 p.m.- 7:00 p.m. at Newton Recreation Commission

BOE Update--August 6 Posted 8/10/18

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 August 6’s Board of Education meeting click here:

The board had a special work session to discuss the Community Vision Team (CVT) for the school district’s next bond. The plan is two get two recommendations from the city, two recommendations from the chamber of commerce, two recommendations from NEA, two district office staff and thee additional staff from each level. Four members of the previous CVT team also expressed interest in joining this team. Those four individuals are Liz Gunn, Mallory Morton, Stacey Musser and Molly Schauf. The NEA suggested Joey Menninga and Jennifer Duncan. The rest of the selections are still under discussion.

The board also reviewed the timeline for a possible April bond election with Kevin Greischar of DLR in the work session. They discussed outlining priorities and the scope of the bond.

In the regular Board of Education meeting, USD 373 Director of Business Services Matt Morford reviewed information pertaining to the 2018-2019 budget. The board approved the 2018-2019 budget (6-0) for publication. The budget hearing is scheduled for August 20.

The board also approved a gift request (6-0) to Walton Rural Life Center from the Central Kansas Community Foundation. It was a $5,000 funds transfer for student and building needs. They also approved the 2018-2019 handbooks for NHS Staff, CMS Staff and Substitutes.

Board members discussed the board’s appointment to the Newton Recreation Commission. The current representative, James Wimmer, resigned so board members need to replace him. If you are interested in serving, fill out this application  and email it to Joni Jantz at the district office-- Applications need to be in by September 5 to be considered. We will be sending out an application in an all-staff email and posting it on social media in the near future.

Newton Recreation Commission Representative Posted 8/9/18

The Newton School Board is looking for an individual to serve as the Newton Recreation Commission Representative. This person will need to represent the Board of Education once a month on the Newton Recreation Commission Board. If you are interested in serving, fill out the application attached and email it to Joni Jantz at the district Applications need to be in by September 5 to be considered.

ALICE and USD 373 Fire, Tornado and Crisis Drills Posted 8/8/18

Providing a safe, secure learning environment for students is one of our highest priorities.  This is why USD 373 has implemented the use of ALICE (i.e. alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate).  ALICE training has become a requirement of staff who are employed by USD 373. Our USD 373 staff have been trained to understand that ALICE is not a step-by-step response, but rather a set of options to utilize in the event of a violent intruder. 


You can read more about ALICE by going to


In July 2018, the State of Kansas/State Fire Marshall modified the number of Fire, Tornado, and Crisis drills that schools will need to have throughout the school year.  (four Fire, three Tornado, nine Crisis).  Students and staff will be trained periodically throughout the school year on various Crisis protocols.  Per safety concerns with the new State regulations, Emergency Preparedness Drill notification may only be sent out five minutes prior to these drills/events taking place.

BOE Update--July 23, 2018 Posted 7/25/18

This is not a full recap of all issues discussed at the Board of Education meeting. These are not official minutes.


Bond Discussion

In their July 23 meeting, the Newton Board of Education continued discussing a new bond. Vince Haines of Gravity Works and Kevin Greischar of DLR explained the selection process for engaging construction management at risk (CM-r) and went over a calendar for that process. They named two board members to the CM-r selection committee--Carol Sue Stayrook Hobbs and Jennifer Budde, three district personnel—Deborah Hamm, Matt Morford and Chris Schaeffer, and four community members—Leroy Koehn, Hary Hill, Joe Reiger and Andy Harder.

The board also reviewed an April Bond election timeline. They discussed the steps they needed to take if there are still capital outlay funds available after the November election. The board also gave the district permission to put together a new community vision team made up of district and community individuals. The district will submit the names for the team at the next board meeting.

Other Actions

Board members approved the consent agenda. There was also discussion about a possible city, county and school district meeting that would investigate the ways these three entities could work together.

Back-to-School Information Posted 7/25/18

Can you believe that school is just a few weeks away? Here’s what you need to know in regards to start dates, school supply lists and immunizations.


We have some different start dates this year than previous years. Santa Fe 5/6 Center is starting a little later than normal so they can have porch visits with families on August 14 and 15 and teacher work days on August 16 and 17 to prepare for the school’s redesign. Here is a list of the first day of school for the different buildings and grade levels:

August 16—First day of school for all 1-4 students, 7th graders, freshman and new students to the district.

August 17—First day for 8th graders, sophomores, juniors and seniors

August 20—First day of half-day kindergarten and first day of school for 5th and 6th Grade

August 23—First day of school Cooper Early Education Center

For more information on school start dates and back-to-school events make sure you head over to Dynacal


Getting ready to do some back-to-school shopping? We have all of our school supply lists online. Follow this link to learn more


For more information on immunization requirements

Immunization Notice Posted 7/23/18

All required/recommended vaccines can reduce the disease burden in school-aged children, thus helping to assure that students will be in school ready to learn. Completely immunized school-aged children are vital in protecting other more vulnerable populations from the devastating effects of the diseases that immunizations can prevent. Proof of receiving the immunizations must be provided to the school prior to attending the first day of school.

 Kansas law requires that all students, eight and under, who are enrolling in a Kansas school for the first time present health assessment information. The assessment needs to have been conducted within the last 12 months before school entry.

Immunization requirements and an assessment form are available at

As an alternative to the above requirements a pupil shall present: (1) An annual written statement signed by a licensed physician stating the physical condition of the child to be such that the tests or inoculations would seriously endanger the life or health of the child, or (2) A written statement signed by one parent or guardian that the child is an adherent of a religious denomination whose religious teachings are opposed to such tests or inoculations.

Immunizations and health assessments are available at the Harvey County Health Department by appointment throughout the year. Appointments can be made by calling 283-1637. Upon request, services will be offered on a sliding fee schedule based on income and number of persons in the family.



USD 373 Awarded Safety and Security Grant Posted 7/16/18

The district was awarded $19,550 in grant funds through the Safe and Secure Schools State Aid Fund. These funds will allow the USD 373 to purchase a number of safety and security items including:

  • Eight additional security cameras for Chisholm Middle School
  • Five additional Motorola APX radios - one for the communications director, four for elementary schools with latchkey programs

The district applied for the grant on June 22, 2018. This is a matching grant and will require the district to commit matching funds. The total amount spent will be $39,100. The district will use their capital outlay funds for the project.

“We are committed to continuing our efforts to improve safety and security in all of our buildings,” Dr. Deb Hamm, USD 373 superintendent, said.  “This grant will allow us to do that.”

Funding will be deposited on July 20. After that, the district will begin the ordering and installation process.

District administration worked with the Newton Police Department and the Harvey County Sheriff’s Department to determine the items that would be most beneficial for the district buildings.