There’s a pretty good chance by now you’ve seen the footage of the transformer fire that caused power outages throughout much of Newton. In our school district, power was affected at Aurora Heights elementary, Berg Middle School, and the Newton Senior High School. Additionally, phones and internet were interrupted at the District Office and access to Infinite Campus was off-limits as much of that technology resides at the High School.

So, what happens when we lose power and the ability to use Infinite Campus to communicate with parents? We use every resource we have available to us to keep the community informed. I’m going to let you in on something you probably already know, too. The greatest resource we have in situations like these is our incredible staff. The safety and comfort of our students is of utmost priority in any situation like this. Campuses where power was affected, gathered students in place safely. The district reverted to our two-way radio system for communication between the district buildings and departments. We need to give special recognition to the Newton Fire Department who delivered drinking water to Aurora Heights as the power outage affected their ability to use the drinking fountains.

As we quickly realized power would not be restored in time to prepare lunch and the power outage looked like it could last several hours, we made the decision to cancel classes for the reminder of the day, at approximately 9:35am. But without the ability to access Infinite Campus to send out text and e- mail communication, we relied on several other stakeholders in the community. Word spread quickly as we alerted the local media – KCOB and the Newton Daily News, posted messages on our District Facebook page, updated our website; our teachers and staff made additional efforts to contact parents and guardians through cell phone communication. All children were safe through the entire ordeal because of the caring efforts of the entire district staff. Several people in the district office contacted various entities in the City of Newton to help share our social media posts to further get the word out. Every one came together to work as one to help spread the news, all while students were kept safe.

The district would like to thank all of the guardians and parents, and our district partners for their cooperation during a difficult situation. Safety will always remain the main focus during situations like these and we will communicate with you as quickly as possible to notify you of changes in your students day. Experiencing so many come together and work as one is just another reason we are Proud to Know Newton! Red Pride Lives Here.