Newton By The Numbers
Square miles of city
Tree species in Newton Arboretum
Written by: Newton School District | October 13, 2022
October 14th, 2022
Hello Cardinal Nation-
It is hard to believe we are already halfway through October. This being my first year back in a building, but as a veteran in the district, some days I feel like a newbie and others like an old goat. Regardless of which of those days it is, there is no better place to be than Berg Middle School. As with any new school year, we have focused strongly on building relationships and setting expectations. This has been especially important with the number of new staff and students at Berg this year. One benefit is the fresh ideas and energy they bring. We all have the opportunity to learn from each other, not only as teachers, but also from our students. Beyond the walls of our school, we also want to continue to improve communication with our families and the community. Sometimes this means seeking input about different ways to do things, other times it means clearly explaining the why behind what we do. Please don’t hesitate to let us know how we are doing, whether it be in ways to improve or things we are doing well. Our goal is to reach people in the most effective and consistent way possible, not just as an individual building, but as a part of the whole district. We all want Newton to be the best school district we can be, and we all have a role to play in making that happen.
We have another chance to continue the effective communication we strive for next week with Parent Teacher Conferences. We know students and families all have unique needs when it comes to education, so we do our best to schedule conferences in a way that is responsive to those differences. One way we do this is by having both scheduled and open conferences. Scheduled conferences are those in which a teacher, or team of teachers, have specific things to talk about with parents/guardians. These conferences are scheduled ahead of time to make sure everyone who needs to be there is available. We also have open times where families can stop in to meet with the teachers they choose. By moving to teams this year, we are able to limit the amount of walking around families must do, which allows conferences to take place in the classrooms, where the learning environment can also be on display. Scheduled and open conferences take place on each night of the Parent Teacher Conference, but we alternate which ones are early and late to be as flexible as possible with family schedules. Even though we have scheduled conference days, please do not hesitate to reach out whenever you have any questions.
We look forward to staying busy as the school year continues, and continuing to watch our students grow and succeed this year.
Bret Miller, Principal Berg Middle School
Newton Community School District
Parent and Teacher communication happens all throughout the school year, but during conferences, parents are allowed a unique opportunity to learn more and see more about a student's day in the classroom. Learn why conferences are important to attend, and how constant communication is key to a student's success.
Since last year, we have worked to develop a Communication Plan that would streamline and support the communication efforts within the District and with external members.
Through our efforts, Advisory Committee, and goals we have come up with a comprehensive plan that will help guide the District to a better understanding of where, how and what to do with different means of communication within the District.
We compiled goals based on past needs throughout the District and looking to the future for needs that will help support the District uphold its Core Values.
October 18th & 20th-
1.5 Hour Early Dismissal All Students
Parent Teacher Conferences (K-8)
No School for Staff or Students
Teacher Professional Development Day
No School for Students
Part of what is keeping us busy at Berg this year are the co-curricular, extra-curricular, and in-class activities that go beyond the typical daily learning. Our fall sports are wrapping up their seasons this week. This includes football, volleyball and cross-country. We have had outstanding participation and effort from our student athletes and coaches. After a short break, we will head into our winter sports seasons, starting with wrestling and girls basketball before winter break, and boys basketball after winter break. Our co-curricular activities are highlighted by band and choir. Both have been active recently, with SCIBA Honor Band and OPUS Honor Choir Auditions. Thousands of students from across the state audition for these select groups. SCIBA Honor Band only selects 132 musicians from the entire state, and 12 of them are from Berg. OPUS Honor Choir only selects four choirs of 180 each, and six Berg students were selected. Not only do we have dedicated musicians, our directors Will Edgar for choir and Seth Banwell for band, put in the time to help students prepare.
SCIBA Honor Band
Brooke Garvis - Oboe
Joseph Rechtfertig - Clarinet
Alyssa Machin - Alto Sax
Noah Tremel - Trombone
Jeffrey Cope - Percussion
Ian Alexander - Percussion
Alivia Conley - Bassoon
Michael Gabbard - Tenor Sax
Hudson Meyer - Tuba
Talia Friedman - Percussion
Layla Purvis - Trumpet
Jackson Riney - Trombone
OPUS Honor Choir
Kaden Banwell (2nd year)
Mathias Bloom (2nd year)
Jeffrey Cope (2nd year, Bass Solo Finalist)
Field trips have always been a valuable part of education and provide students hands-on experiences that can extend classroom learning. Last week our 7th grade students spent a day at Mariposa Lake to do just that. Environmental science is a significant part of the 7th grade curriculum and standards, with much of the focus being on energy and how it moves in an ecosystem. Students and staff were hosted by the Jasper County Conservation Board and volunteers to learn about watersheds surrounding Mariposa Lake and the ecosystem in the park. Prior to the field trip, students were visited in their science classroom by Greg Oldsen and Katie Cantu, where they interacted with a watershed model to learn about harmful practices that contribute to poor water quality, and also the positive ways farmers and everyone in our communities can help improve water quality and the health of Mariposa Lake. While at Mariposa Lake, students engaged in a variety of activities: pond netting, water testing, hiking around the wetland, viewing a soil erosion model, and taking a bus tour around the perimeter of Mariposa's watershed. Students shared that catching bullfrogs and invertebrate aquatic critters was one of their favorite things. Students also experienced the beauty of the park's landscape during their hike, and they are intrigued by the process of water-testing where they get to see the results right away. We greatly appreciate our partnership with Jasper County Conservation Board, science teachers Denise Fick and Cooper Heather, and all 7th grade staff for making this experience possible.
CHECK OUT THE BOARD HIGHLIGHTS FROM OCTOBER 10th, 2022 HERE!
Square miles of city
Tree species in Newton Arboretum
Whether you’re raising a family, starting a business or building a home — you’ll want to get to know Newton. Our community vision statement is “Newton Shines Bright: Newton is a progressive, family friendly community, a shining star of Central Iowa, and a place to call home.”