At the foundation of any great community is its educational system, and North Iowans take education very seriously. Our schools strive to meet students where they are, and educators have committed to incorporating the Blue Zones Power 9 Principles into the learning environment. In fact, high school students helped to lead the community Blue Zones application effort, and play a key role in the certification process.
School menus are prepared with a “plant slant,” and students are taught at a young age to move naturally and to listen to their bodies to prevent unintentional overeating.
Test scores prove Iowa’s public schools are doing a tremendous job. The Mason City Community School District and Clear Lake Community Schools take pride in promoting learning for all ages. The Mason City and Clear Lake schools share a superintendent—a testament to the shared community value of promoting efficiency, while keeping a student-centered emphasis. Instructional programs are coordinated PreK to grade 12 with low 13:1 student/teacher ratios to ensure all students experience consistent and coherent programming. All public school teachers are licensed in their assigned teaching areas.
In Mason City, the district has been reorganized to provide more developmentally appropriate learning environments in state-of-the-art buildings. Elementary schools serve PreK-4, the intermediate schools for grades 5-6, and middle school for grades 7-8. Mason City High School includes grades 9-12. In Clear Lake, schools are organized PreK-5, 6-8 and 9-12.High school students benefit from a large choice of advanced-placement courses, courses offered in partnership with North Iowa Area Community College and many other post-secondary enrollment options. In addition, Mason City’s outstanding music education program has received national recognition, including designation by the Grammy Foundation as a “Grammy Signature School.” Mason City High School was one of only 42 high schools across the nation to receive such a recognition and the only Iowa high school to be recognized.
The public schools take pride in responding to the needs of all learners through a full spectrum of services, from special education programming to gifted education services.
Private Christian-based schools are available for students of all ages.
The Newman Catholic School System offers a traditional parochial school education to students of preschool age through the 12th grade on a single integrated campus. Newman provides a safe environment for Christian learning while emphasizing intellectual, spiritual, moral, physical and social values. The ratio of students to teachers is 15:1. The day care center, preschool and school is open to children of all faiths.
Early Childhood Education is a community value. Voluntary 4-year-old free PreK programs are available from multiple sources, thanks to partnerships with the Mason City Community School District. In addition, parents can choose from several quality private programs and integrated day care/learning environment at a choice of convenient locations.
Each of these educational choices promotes a sense of belonging for young people and families. Blue Zones research emphasizes the long-term impact of friends on a person’s well-being. North Iowa schools are focused upon developing social circles of healthy minded, supportive people.