Commitment to Education

Planning for the education of Newton’s children and workforce doesn’t quite fall under the City government’s jurisdiction. Still, participants in The ReNewton Project wanted to ensure the city will remain supportive of efforts to educate all Newtonians — from preschool through adult.

Quality and Recruitment

A quality school system is a primary selling point for any community. And as efforts continue to recruit new residents and employers to the area, having a strong school system is a key component of any economic development efforts.

“We must meet the needs of a changing workforce in a global market,” the plan says. “We want our community to be recognized statewide for the high-quality education we provide across the spectrum of students and lifetime learners.”

The plan encourages the City to work collectively with the USD 373 school board to:

  • Retain the neighborhood school concept.
  • Creatively re-use vacant structures.
  • Plan for parks adjacent to any future school sites.
  • Continue to provide for expanding early childhood education and day care needs.

Bonding with Bethel

The plan also recommends that the community strengthen its relationship with Bethel College.

“We are looking for opportunities to connect our students to entrepreneurs, to businesspeople, to artists,” said Bethel College President Perry White. “And we’ve taken advantage of a few of those opportunities, but if we really explore the experiential learning component that I would like to see a part of our curriculum, we are going to need more of those opportunities, which allows for growth.”

The plan also recommends a similar partnership with Hutchinson Community College, to provide adequate workforce training. Newton must keep up with workforce needs in order to attract new industries to the region.

Insights

“I think the best thing Newton can do to retain students in the community after they graduate is to give them the experiences while they are here. Our entrepreneurs, our merchants, our community members should continue to reach out to Bethel students.”
— Perry White, Bethel College president