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Board of Education Update--May 13
Posted 5/17/19


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 night started out with some feedback on a recommendation made for changes in the cum laude system and weighted grades at Newton High School. A committee made up of teachers, administrators and college representatives came up with the proposal. Newton High School department chairs unanimously approved the proposal. If approved by the board of education, the proposal would get rid of weighted grades. However, it would increase the GPA requirement for Summa Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude and Cum Laude. Students would also be required to take a mixture of honors courses, dual credit courses and AP courses for the recognition depending on the level. It would also drop ACT score requirements for the different cum laude levels. Some students, teachers and parents raised some concerns including keeping students motivated and applying to certain colleges. The board will revisit this issue in the June 10 meeting.

Three organizations were named Friends of Education: Excel Industries for their work at the high school as well as Koerner Heights Church and Trinity Heights United Methodist for their work with Sunset Elementary school. 

The board also heard a presentation on Opportunity Academy. The Opportunity Academy is part of a partnership between USD 373 and Ember Hope. The academy will be on the Ember Hope campus. Residential students at Ember Hope as well as USD 373 students will attend. This program offers smaller class sizes to its students. It will also involve project-based learning and give attendees the opportunity to work at their own pace.

The Board of Education also approved a method of election for the September 3 bond election. They chose to have mail-in ballots. Some members cited the higher voter turnout in mail-in elections as the reason behind their decision. The motion to have mail-in ballots passed 7-0. The mail-in ballots will be sent out approximately 30 days before September 3.

The board of education also approved some gift requests. The Gene Haas Foundation donated $12,000 to Newton High School’s machining program for scholarships and NIMS credentialing. Jackie and Scott Nelson donated a 1995 Honda Accord to the Newton High School Auto Program. Bank of the West donated $50 to Chisholm Middle School for a field trip. Newton Lions Club and First Bank of Newton both donated $100 to Chisholm Middle School for a field trip.