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Iowa’s workforce is educated and productive. The state has taken a proactive approach to transform its public education system to focus on student achievement and meeting the skills gap. Quality education to ensure a quality workforce is a shared community value.

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, students and educators played a key role in the Blue Zones 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.

Public Schools

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. Instructional programs are coordinated pre-K to grade 12 with low 13-to-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 pre-K-4, the intermediate schools grades 5-6, and middle school grades 7-8. Mason City High School includes grades 9-12. In Clear Lake, schools are organized pre-K-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 just a few 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 schools

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-to-1. The day care center, preschool, and school are open to children of all faiths.

North Iowa Christian School is another choice for parents seeking a faith-based learning environment. The school features quality teachers and academics, a warm environment, and close communication with parents. Students enjoy a student to teacher ratio of 7-to-1.


Early childhood education is a community value. Voluntary 4-year-old free pre-K 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.

North Iowa Area Community College

Businesses and educators in North Iowa work together closely to ensure our students are well prepared for the workforce. Mason City is home to North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC), which serves a nine-county region. In addition to the more traditional degree programs, NIACC boasts many excellent continuing education and training courses that are heavily utilized by industries throughout North Iowa.

Much of this training is housed at NIACC’s Murphy Manufacturing Technology Center. Designed by industry and education leaders, this Center is positioned to provide North Iowa’s manufacturing community with an elite technical workforce. A current initiative is underway to ensure all Mason City and Clear Lake students have access to the National Career Readiness Certificate program assessments prior to high school graduation.

The John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC)

Located on the NIACC campus, the JPEC helps to spur economic growth by providing programs, services, and resources for aspiring and existing business owners. Programs include business start-up and expansion services, technical assistance, access to capital, creating entrepreneurial communities and regions, and entrepreneurial education.

Buena Vista University

Buena Vista, based in Storm Lake, Iowa, operates a satellite campus at NIACC. They offer a professional and online studies program with 19 majors and secondary education endorsements in a variety of flexible formats.

Kaplan University

Kaplan offers degree and certificate programs in fields such as health, arts and sciences, business, criminal justice, information technology and legal occupations at its Mason City campus and online.

LaJames College of Cosmetology – Mason City

Students at LaJames earn their Iowa license in cosmetology, nail technology, and massage therapy.

World Wide College of Auctioneering

Mason City’s auction college (which ranks first in educating world-class auctioneers) trains students in developing the auction chant, bookings, laws and licenses, appraisals, advertising, personal image, and many other aspects of the auctioneering industry.

Kinney Pioneer Museum

The early legacy of the region is preserved at the Kinney Pioneer Museum located near the Mason City Municipal Airport. The living history and vintage exhibits transport patrons back to life on the Western frontier. The pioneer village blacksmith shop and log cabin feature frequent demonstrations. A visit to the museum is the perfect activity for life-long learners.

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