Saturday, August 23, 2014

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8/20/14 > ACT Scores Remain Strong

ACT Scores Posted

ACT Scores Remain Strong

De Soto, KANSAS __ Students in Unified School District No. 232, Johnson County, Kansas, continue to score above state and national peers on the ACT College and Career Readiness Exam. According to official 2014 data released by ACT, district students recorded a composite average of 23.5 - a slight adjustment from last year's score of 23.7.

The overall scores remain strong in USD 232 even with more students taking the exam. In fact, the number of graduates taking the test jumped more than 12 percent from a year ago. "We believe more students are interested in the ACT because of our new ACT Preparatory course launched in 2013," said Jessica Dain, Ed.D., director of teaching and learning for the school district. "Given the increased focus on helping students reach their goals through the College and Career Readiness Exam, we have no doubt they will continue to improve and surpass our expectations."

The annual scores reflect the achievement of our graduates on the ACT over time and is an indication of the extent to which students are prepared for college and career readiness in the areas of English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science.

High School Results

Mill Valley High School saw its overall composite score slip by three-tenths to 23.7, down from 24.0 a year ago.

De Soto High School's composite ACT score held steady at 23.0

ACT Scores
Composite Average
All Students

 

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

USD #232

 

23.5

23.7

22.7

23.0

22.3

22.8

Mill Valley High School

 

23.7

24. 0

23.1

23.5

22.4

23.4

De Soto High School

 

23.0

23.0

22.1

22.1

22.1

21.5

State of Kansas

 

22.0

21.8

21.9

22.0

22.0

21.9

National

 

21.0

20.9

21.1

21.1

21.0

21.1


The district implemented a long-term strategic plan for increasing academic rigor for students. An essential component is the expansion of Advanced Placement (AP) and College Now course offerings, as well as pre-AP for students in middle school and in grades nine and ten.  In an effort to help students with College and Career Readiness, both high schools offer ACT Preparatory courses as an elective.

Questions about ACT results and student preparation for the assessment may be directed to each high school. The ACT is a national college admissions examination that consists of subject area tests in English, Math, Reading, and Science. For more information, please visit http://www.act.org/ .

8/20/14 > Board of Education Approves 2014-15 Budget

Board of Education Approves 2014-15 Budget

Significant decrease in mill levy

De Soto, KS__ The Board of Education of Unified School District No. 232, Johnson County, KS approved the budget for the 2014-15 school year at its meeting on Monday, August 18. Of particular note is the significant decrease in the school district's mill levy - the greatest single-year decrease the district has seen since 1993.

The 2014-15 fiscal budget reduces the mill levy (the assessed property tax rate used to raise revenue) by more than eight mills to 71.917, down from 79.984 a year ago. This marks the fifth consecutive year USD 232 has decreased its mill levy.

Superintendent Doug Sumner praised the fiscal budget and the work of the administrative team. "Despite the growing challenges we face as a public school system, we continue to address our operational needs by finding new efficiencies and stretching available resources," Sumner said. "While the future financial landscape for Kansas school districts remains uncertain and our needs outpace expected revenue, staff members continue to provide a level of effort and find solutions that make it possible  to meet the needs of our students and families."

Along with the mill levy decrease, the district will draw fewer taxes from patrons compared to the previous year. Total taxes to be levied will decline by more than $1.3 million.

The reduction in taxes levied can be attributed to a number of financial factors including the equalization of state aid for the Local Option Budget (LOB) passed by the Kansas legislature in April. In order for USD 232 to receive the full state aid, the Board of Education had to increase its LOB to 33 percent of its general fund. The LOB was previously set at 31 percent of the general fund. Even with the two percent increase in the LOB, the district was able to realize a sizeable decrease in the mill levy. In order to maintain the full equalization of state aid, the district will ask voters in 2015 to keep the LOB at 33 percent of the general fund.

The general fund and the supplemental general fund, or Local Option Budget, combine to make up the school district's annual operating fund, which is budgeted at $51,050,106. This operating budget goes to pay for teacher and support staff salaries and other day-to-day expenditures.

Additionally, the district continues to reduce its bonded indebtedness with a reduction of $10 million over the last year. To learn more about district finances, please visit www.usd232.org/finance

USD 232 operates 12 schools within the cities of Shawnee, De Soto and Lenexa with an enrollment of more than 7,000 students.

8/19/14 > DHS Student begins year as reigning state Pole Vault Champion

Jannell Clampitt, now a junior at De Soto High School, begins the 2014-15 school year as the reigning Pole Vault Champion in Kansas Class 4A, Division I. Clampitt captured the state title in May when she posted the highest pole vault at the state meet.   She also set a new DHS record by clearing 10' 9".

Clampitt's success at the state level led to her selection for the Lawrence Journal Worlds' All-Area track team and received honorable mention on the Kansas City Star's All-Metro Team.

Lawrence Journal World All-Area track team > http://bit.ly/1p9CC0O

KC Star's All-Metro Team
> http://bit.ly/1thWUW0

Jannell Clampitt

"

 
8/19/14 > Shawnee Annual Bike Safety Rodeo - August 23

The Shawnee Rotary, in conjuction with the City of Shawnee and the school district, is hosting its annual Bike Safety Rodeo for Elementary students. The event is scheduled for Saturday, August 23, 9am to Noon, at Mill Valley High School. The first 500 students will receive a free t-shirt and bike safety helmet. See graphic below for more details.

Bike Safety Rodeo - August 23
8/19/14 > Superintendent Sumner takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Superintendent Doug Sumner accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and nominated others to do the same. He also made a donation to the ALS Association.


8/15/14 > De Soto Teachers' Association conducts food drive

USD 232 staff started giving even before school doors opened to welcome students for the new school year. Staff gave cash and collected over 46 boxes of food and other household items to help restock the shelves of the De Soto Food Pantry.

The De Soto Teachers' Association conducted the food drive on August 12 at the district's annual Convocation - an event that brings together all district employees to celebrate the beginning of a new school year. The food drive was such a success, DTA plans to continue its community outreach on an annual basis.

The De Soto Food Pantry was established to help the people in the community who are experiencing financial difficulties to provide food for themselves and their families while preserving their dignity. If you would like more information about the food pantry please visit http://desotoksfoodpantry.wordpress.com .

8/14/14 > New this year! BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) for Students

The Board of Education of USD 232 believes that 21st Century instruction is necessary for 21st century learning. Providing students with an environment that fosters and encourages this belief is part of our core values. All members of our learning community hold the responsibility to value technology and achieve technological proficiency to prepare our students for future jobs, which currently may not exist.

New for 2014-15! The Board of Education took steps to improve the technology infrastructure at our schools to allow students to use their own technology devices to enhance their learning. This program is simply known as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).

TIMELINE

  • High School students - Now
  • Middle School students - September 29, 2014
  • Elementary - To Be Announced

Please use the information below to help you learn more about this exciting opportunity for students. Should you have any questions, please contact your child's principal. Thank you for supporting USD 232!


8/07/14 > District newsletter available for download (August)


The August 2014 issue of schoolNEWS is available for download.  
>> Click here. (pdf)   schoolNEWS is published quarterly.

Click image to download PDF.
7/24/14 > LTMS Students in Honor Band

LTSM, Honor Band, Bandmasters

A select group of Lexington Trails Middle School band students performed in the 2014 Kansas Bandmasters Honor Band at the association's annual conference in Wichita on July 18. The nine students were nominated by Rob Foster, band director at LTMS.

Students from across the state were nominated by their band directors and were seated according to their musical achievements. The world renowned composer and band director Ed Huckeby conducted the concert.

The following KBA Honor Band musicians will be attending De Soto High School in the fall and plan to be members of the DHS Bands.

Back row:  Zach Yarbrough- 1 st chair euphonium, Josie Bedford- 2 nd chair clarinet, Camille Poulain- 1 st chair trumpet, Jared Baruth- 1 st chair trombone, Patrick Whitaker- 1 st chair tuba.

Front row:  Kyle Bell- 1 st chair percussion, Riley Moore- 1 st chair flute, Kyler Gish- 1 st chair bari sax, and Trenton Biggerstaff- 4 th chair trumpet.

 

7/15/14 > Teacher Brandi Leggett represents Sporting KC in MVP Contest
Vote for Teacher Brandi Leggett

Community encouraged to vote for Leggett in national contest

Kansas City's Brandi Leggett named finalist for MLS WORKS Community MVP Contest

Major League Soccer announced the finalists for the MLS WORKS Community MVP Contest presented by Wells Fargo. The Grand Prize winner, as voted by the fans, will be awarded a $10,000 donation for the charity of their choice and a trip to the 2014 AT&T MLS All-Star Game in Portland.

Sporting Kansas CitySporting Kansas City is represented by Brandi Leggett, third grade teacher at Prairie Ridge Elementary, for her involvement with the Active Readers program . A 2014 Kansas Regional Teacher of the Year, Leggett created the Active Readers program in 2013 at Prairie Ridge Elementary in Shawnee to further reading comprehension through students' interest in soccer and Sporting KC. More than 100 boys and girls participated in the eight-week program, which gathers students once a week for 30 minutes of soccer instruction followed by 30 minutes of reading/literacy instruction, and the district is acting to expand the program to seven elementary schools for the upcoming school year.

MLS WORKS Community MVP Contest fan voting is open now through July 25 on the MLS WORKS web site . Fans may also vote by tweeting: "I vote for the @MLSWORKS @WellsFargo @SportingKC #CommunityMVP" from 11 p.m. CT on July 24 through 11 p.m. CT on July 25. The Grand Prize winner will be announced on Friday, July 25 at 1 p.m. CT.

>> Vote for Brandi Leggett

>> Read the news release from Sporting KC

7/09/14 > Back to School Tool Kit

We are looking forward to seeing you on the first day of school!

No need to stress! We created our Back-to-School Tool Kit to help busy parents prepare for the start of the new school year.

>> Back to School Tool Kit

If you have any questions, just let us know!

6/24/14 > Teacher Brandi Leggett is state finalist for Kansas award
Brandi Leggett, Teacher at Prairie Ridge Elementary

Teachers Brandi Leggett, Anne Sobba are state finalists for Kansas award

BY BETH LIPOFF, SPECIAL TO THE STAR

June 23, 2014

>> Read the full story in The Kansas City Star

When your third-grade science class involves paper airplanes and roller-coasters, you know it's something special.

Innovative lessons like that brought teachers Brandi Leggett of the De Soto School District and Anne Sobba of Shawnee Mission awards last week from the Kansas State Department of Education.

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching salute the top three teachers in the state in math and science, separately.

Leggett, who teaches third grade at Prairie Ridge Elementary in Shawnee, is up for merit in science teaching, while Sobba, who teaches fifth grade at Nieman Elementary in Shawnee, is being honored for math lessons.

>> Read more in The Kansas City Star

6/23/14 > USD 232 Ranked Second in Metro as Top Area School District

 

The Kansas City Business Journal recently launched its new school index score to measure Kansas City school districts and identify those school systems considered to be high-performing.

USD 232 is ranked second behind the Blue Valley School District leading the Kansas City area as top school districts.

According to the Kansas City Business Journal (KCBJ), the index is based on student performance on standardized exams at various grade levels, district wide student-teacher ratios and graduation rates, using the most recent data available for each district.

Top 5 Area School Districts
Source: Kansas City Business Journal, October 2013

  1. Blue Valley School District
  2. De Soto USD No. 232
  3. Gardner-Edgerton
  4. Piper USD No. 203
  5. Park Hill School District

About the Index

The Kansas City Business Journal School Index is comprised of nine components of equal weight. Districts receive a score for each component, based on how they compare with the bi-state average. Data comes from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Kansas State Department of Education, surveys completed by the districts and KCBJ staff calculations.

Below is a list of the nine components used to compute each district's total index score.

  • Four-year graduation rate
  • ACT scores
  • Student-teacher ratio
  • Fourth-grade English, language arts/reading proficiency
  • Fourth-grade math proficiency
  • Fourth and fifth-grade science proficiency
  • Eighth-grade English, language arts/reading proficiency
  • Eighth-grade math proficiency
  • Seventh and eighth-grade science

You can view the full Top Kansas City school districts list online at KCBJ.
http://bit.ly/topKCschools

6/12/14 > USD 232 secondary schools are leading Johnson County

How do our secondary schools compare in Johnson County?

USD 232 secondary schools are leading Johnson County in academic performance based on the 2013 Kansas Assessments in the areas of Mathematics and Reading.  The scores represent the percentage  of students meeting or exceeding rigorous state standards.

Summary:

  • USD 232 is 1st in Reading and 1st in Math at the high school level.
  • USD 232 is 1st in Reading and 2nd in Math at the middle school level. 

District

Reading
High Schools

USD 232

98.5

Blue Valley

97.6

Olathe

95.4

KC Catholic Diocese

93

SM

92.5

Gardner

92.4

Spring Hill

81.6

   

District

Mathematics
High Schools

USD 232

97.1

Blue Valley

95.0

Olathe

91.4

KC Catholic Diocese

91.3

Gardner

89.3

Shawnee Mission

86.9

Spring Hill

62.3

   

District

Mathematics
Middle Schools

Gardner

96.4

USD 232

94.5

Blue Valley

90.9

Olathe

90.5

Spring Hill

89.5

Shawnee Mission

85.8

   

District

Reading
Middle Schools

USD 232

96.5

Gardner

95.8

Blue Valley

95.3

Olathe

93.2

Shawnee Mission

90.0

Spring Hill

89.2

5/22/14 > Students Meet Reading Challenge

Students at Starside Elementary School have once again met their goal of reading one million minutes in a school year.  As part of their reward, Starside Principal Kasey Weishaar was duct taped to the outside of the building, which the students enjoyed.

The monthly goal for each student was 400 minutes which they tracked on a reading calendar.  A running total was kept for the entire school and excitement grew as the minutes were tallied each month. Students were thrilled when the April total met the one million mark. Celebrations like this have become a tradition at Starside for students have met the one million minute reading goal for the last several years.

5/19/14 > Elementary Math Students Compete Internationally


Ethan Kremer, fifth grader from Belmont Elementary School and Casey O'Donnell, 4th grader from Riverview Elementary, scored in the top 10 percent of the Math Olympiad's more than 110,000 international participants. Kramer and O'Donnell will receive trophies and silver pins from the Math Olympiad organization.

Math Olympiad is an international competition whose goals are:

  • To stimulate enthusiasm and a love for Mathematics
  • To introduce important Mathematical concepts
  • To teach major strategies for problem solving
  • To develop Mathematical flexibility in solving problems
  • To strengthen Mathematical intuition
  • To foster Mathematical creativity and ingenuity
  • To provide for the satisfaction, joy, and thrill of meeting challenges  

Belmont and Riverview each formed a team of about 15 members consisting of fourth and fifth graders. Students practiced solving challenging math problems and then took five individual tests of five problems each for a possible 25 points for the year. Twelve of the 14 Belmont team members and 11 of the 15 Riverview students will receive Math Olympiad patches for scoring in the top 50 percent of participants from all over the world. Joann Dunham, gifted service facilitator at Belmont and Riverview, sponsored the group.

The 2014 Math Olympiad had competitors from 49 states, 13 territories and 27 foreign countries for a total of 5000 teams and over 110,000 participants.

Learn more> http://www.moems.org

 

 

5/19/14 > DHS Student Named to Kansas Masonic All-State Band


Erick Sherman, junior at De Soto High School, has been selected as a member of the Kansas Masonic All-State High School Marching Band and will be performing at the 2014 Shrine Bowl on July 26, in Pittsburg, Kansas. Matt Bradford is the band director at DHS.
 
More than 180
of Kansas' best high school musicians will be showcased in this event that is capped by a pre-game and halftime performance in the Kansas East-West All-Star Shrine Bowl football game. The band will also perform at the Shrine Bowl Banquet on Friday evening, and Saturday morning will lead the Shrine Bowl Parade through the downtown area. 

The band camp proceeds are used for educational loans and grants and for the financial support of the Oncology Clinic at Kansas University Medical Center.

5/19/14 > Students Win Big in Stock Market Game

Anna Leuszler and Lane Warner, sixth grade students at Mill Creek Middle School, won first place in the middle school division of the Stock Market Game™ (SMG). They were recognized on May 15 at a banquet held at the Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City, KS. The event was sponsored by the Kansas Council for Economic Education and the Kansas Centers for Economic Education.

Leuszler and Warner also placed second overall out of over 700 teams from across Kansas who participated.  Conducted over a ten-week period, the game helps students gain a fundamental understanding of investing and how to make money work for them.   Mize Elementary fifth grade teacher Mimi Leuszler served as advisor. 
 
The Stock Market Game, an online educational activity for students, has reached more than 13 million young people in grades 4-12 since its inception in 1977. Developed by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association Foundation (SIFMA), SMG introduces students to the financial markets with an integrated curriculum as they learn math, economics, and the importance of long-term saving and investing. Teams invest a hypothetical $10,000 in real stocks, bonds and mutual funds. In the process, they enhance their skills in cooperation, communication and leadership as they manage their portfolio. The program is designed by teachers and reviewed for accuracy by industry experts at the SIFMA Foundation.

The SIFMA Foundation is dedicated to fostering knowledge and understanding of the financial markets for individuals of all backgrounds. Drawing on the support and expertise of the financial industry, the SIFMA Foundation provides financial education and programs and tools that strengthen economic opportunity across communities and increase individual access to the benefits of the global marketplace.

Front Row (L-R) Lane Warner, Anna Leuszler, and Mimi Leuszler

Back Row (L-R) KCEE Board Members: Brian Watson, Brad Neuenswander, Scott Oberkrom and Tom Krebs

Learn more: http://stockmarketgame.org

 

5/15/14 > MTMS Band Takes 2nd at Festival of Music

The Monticello Eighth Grade Band took second place at the Festival of Music sponsored by Worlds of Fun held on May 11 at Tivoli Musical Hall at the Worlds of Fun amusement park.

Bands competed in divisions based on school enrollment. The MTMS Band went up against 13 other schools, six of which were high schools and the remaining eight were middle schools. Competitors came from Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas.

"This festival has very high judging standards," said Angie Eisenbarth, MTMS band director. "I am extremely proud of my students for impressing these judges."   Worlds of Fun's Festival of Music uses nationally known adjudicators who are exceptionally qualified and recognized as among the best in their fields. 

Worlds of Fun's Festival of Music is accredited for school choir, band, and orchestra participation by the Missouri State High School Activities Association and comparable associations in neighboring states. The Festival of Music is held in cooperation with the University of Central Missouri's Department of Music, which standards of excellence play a major role in making the Festival of Music the Midwest's premier competition.

5/15/14 > Clear Creek Girls on the Run


The Girls on the Run (GOTR) group from Clear Creek Elementary School earned $300 for the GOTR program by supporting and cheering on runners in the Garmin Marathon on April 26 in Olathe, KS.

Girls on the Run is a positive, youth development program for girls grades 3-8. Life skills are taught through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games. The program culminates with a celebratory 5k running event. The goal of the program is to unleash confidence through accomplishment while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness.

One component of GOTR is to perform a community service project during the ten week program. The Clear Creek group chose to donate their time and energy to the Garmin Marathon. The girls and their parents volunteered to be course monitors and to set up cheer stations along the marathon route. For every volunteer the Clear Creek GOTR provided, Garmin donated $10 to the club. 

On May 13, a $300 check was presented to Jamie Klare, GOTR program manager. The money will be used to sponsor GOTR scholarships.

Learn more> http://www.girlsontherun.org/ 

5/13/14 > Starside Named School of Service for 12 Years Running

For the twelfth straight year, Starside Elementary School in De Soto has been named a School of Service by the Presidential Points of Light Foundation. An award will be presented during an assembly on May 31 at 9:30 a.m. at Starside.

Students have logged more than 3,270 service hours this year according to Paula Henderson, counselor at Starside. Some of the activities included: playing BINGO with the residents at the local nursing home, ringing bells at the Red Cross Kettles during the holidays, sorting and packing meals at Harvesters, volunteering for the school district's summer meal program, baking and sending cookies and writing letters to deployed soldiers, picking up trash in surrounding neighborhoods, making valentines for Children's Mercy Hospital, singing holiday songs at nursing homes, helping prepare food at church for the homeless, working at Toys for Tots collection, and helping parents prepare and decorate bedrooms for seriously ill children.

The President's Volunteer Service Award was created to thank and honor Americans who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service. It is also the only presidential award that is available to the general public without having to be nominated or judged on criteria. It is an award that allows citizens to be honored and recognized for service that is important to them.

To date The President's Volunteer Service Award program has partnered with more than 80 Leadership Organizations  and more than 28,000  Certifying Organizations   to bestow more than 1.5 million awards to the nation's deserving volunteers.

Learn more> www.pointsoflight.org

5/13/14 > Students Receive National PTA Arts Awards

Darcie Hingula , fifth grader at Clear Creek Elementary School and Annie Winter, fifth grader at Riverview Elementary School have each received National Achievement in the Arts awards presented by the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Reflections program. 

Out of the three students from Kansas who received a National Award, Hingala received the highest honor, the Award of Excellence, in Music Composition for her original song. Winter received an Award of Merit in Dance Choreography. Both students competed in the Intermediate grade division. The third student from Kansas was from Shawnee Mission North High School.

The awards program spans six arts categories: Dance Choreography, Film Production, Music Composition, Photography, Literature, and Visual Arts. This year, students explored the arts and the world around them through the theme "Believe, Dream, Inspire".

National Award recipients will be recognized in a public gallery at the U.S. Department of Education, in Washington, DC, in January and February of 2015. All award winners will be featured at the 2015 PTA Convention in Austin Texas and this summer will be featured in the National PTA Reflections Online Gallery of Artwork.

The Reflections program is the National PTA's cornerstone arts program. It was developed in 1969 by Colorado's PTA President Mary Lou Anderson to encourage students to explore their talents and express themselves. Since then, the Reflections program has inspired millions of students to reflect on a specific theme and create original artwork.

On April 5, 2014, Winter and Hingula received State Awards of Excellence and were recognized along with the other state winners at the Kanas 2014 Arts in Education Awards held at the Kansas City Kansas Board of Education offices in Kansas City, Kansas.

The ceremony, with over 125 students and family in attendance, was the culmination of the hard work and dedication of the local PTA units collecting, judging and forwarding their entries to council and regional competition. Entries that received the Award of Excellence in Kansas were then forwarded to the National PTA.  Of the thousands of entries submitted to the National PTA from across the United States, Kansas submitted 23.
 
 

         Darcie Hingula                                                                                                       Annie Winter


 
5/07/14 > Great Performances at State Forensics for MVHS

The Mill Valley forensic team brought home 16 number one ratings, and 16 number one state medals from the State Forensic Festival held at Kansas City Kansas Community College on May 3, 2014. Jeanette Hardesty is the forensics coach and teaches communication arts at MVHS.

Students Receiving a One Rating:

Mason Cooper, sophomore - for Original Oration and for Prose 

Henry Hanson, junior - for Impromptu

Karla Kim, sophomore - for Extemporaneous Speaking and for Impromptu

Kara Lewis, senior - for Poetry and for Serious Solo Acting

Madison Plouvier, senior - for Serious Solo Acting 

Victoria Kilkenny, senior - for Humorous Solo Acting and for Prose

Daniel Ward , senior - for Serious Solo Acting 

Brooklyn McCann , sophomore - for Serious Solo Acting 

Joe Gunter senior and Madison Plouvier, senior - for Duet Acting 

Sierra Thompson, sophomore - for Informative 

Meghan Fuller, senior  and Megan Feuerborn, sophomore - for Improvised Duet Acting 

Raven Hodges, junior  - for Prose 

5/06/14 > MVHS Journalism captures second consecutive state title

Mill Valley High School journalism students combined to win the school's second consecutive Kansas Class 5A state title at the Kansas Scholastic Press Association's state contest at KU on Saturday, May 3. MVHS also won state titles in 2010 and 2004.  

The results are as follows:

  • Senior Jack Lopez, first in editorial writing
  • Junior Maridee Weber, first in video package 
  • Junior Lindsay Roush, second in caption writing
  • Junior Margo Wieschhaus, third in yearbook writing
  • Sophomore Karissa Schmidt, third in advertising design and honorable mention in sports photography
  • Junior Mikaela McCabe, honorable mention in yearbook design
  • Junior Courtney Bohnert, honorable mention in yearbook design
  • Courtney and Mikaela, honorable mention in yearbook theme design
  • Seniors Amanda Curtright and Shelby Rayburn, honorable mention in yearbook theme design  

Also competing were senior Ryan Fullerton, senior Alana Flinn, sophomore Tori Aerni, senior Dona Gentry, Hanna Steen, sophomore Justin Curto, junior Steven Blaine and junior Kat White.

The JagWire newspaper and Mill Valley News Online were honored with an All-Kansas rating, the highest in the state. Newspaper editors are Ryan Fullerton and Alana Flinn. Online editors are Justin Curto, Sydney Carson and Amber Nguyen. Their adviser is Kathy Habiger.

 

 

5/05/14 > First Student hiring part time bus drivers
First Student
5/01/14 > MVHS Athletes Named to All-Star Cross Country Team

CJ Meeks and Graham Wilson, seniors at Mill Valley High School, have been selected to participate in the Shrine Bowl All-Star Cross Country event on July 26, at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas. This prestigious honor is based on the athlete's previous races, coach's nomination and voting by top cross country coaches in Kansas. The MVHS cross country coach is Mark Chipman.

The Kansas Shrine Bowl is a non-profit charity raising funds and awareness for the Shriners Hospitals for Children. The Shrine Bowl has been in existence since 1974 and hosts one of the most prestigious high school football all-star games in the nation. Since its inception it has been promoting Kansas talent and the incredible network of hospitals raising over 2.5 million dollars. (pictured left to right: Graham Wilson and CJ Meeks   )

4/30/14 > Northeast Kansas Woodwind Expo at LTMS

Student musicians from the surrounding area came together with professional musicians and university professors to perform a concert at Lexington Trails Middle School on April 25.  

The students were from De Soto, Shawnee, Olathe, Overland Park, Louisburg and Lawrence and participated in the Northeast Kansas Woodwind Expo which was created four years ago by Rob Foster, band director at LTMS.

This one-of-a-kind event focusing on woodwind instruments provides young musicians an opportunity to work with the best music teachers in the state. University professors of flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon and percussion from the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Washburn University and Haskell University worked on section features with the students which culminated in the concert at LTMS.

"It was wonderful having the professional musicians working with our musicians and presenting a concert that received a standing ovation after only three rehearsals," said an enthusiastic Foster. He was joined by conductors Melissa Smith from Free State High School, Lawrence; Owen Evans form Overland Trail Middle School, Blue Valley; and Melissa Cain from Holy Cross Catholic School, Overland Park. 

"We showcased many of our pros and best young musicians by featuring them on Flight of the Bumble Bee," said Foster. Other tunes performed included: Menuetto by Haydn, German Dance by Mozart, the Cantina Band from "Star Wars", and Under the Sea from "The Little Mermaid." The Lions Sleeps Tonight featured former LTMS and De Soto High student Andy Rhodes on the baritone sax, who was joined by Dr. Craig Treinen, saxophone professor and director of jazz studies at Washburn University. 

4/30/14 > District names secondary curriculum coordinator
Ceresa Schaffer

The Board of Education of USD 232 on Friday, April 25, accepted the district's recommendation to name Ceresa Schaffer as Secondary Curriculum Coordinator. Her appointment is effective July 1, 2014.

Schaffer comes to USD 232 from Olathe South High School where she served as Academic Dean and Lead Counselor. She previously served as Special Education Department Chair and Building Level Team Chair.  She will succeed Doug Kapeller in secondary curriculum who is transitioning to Technology Integration and Career and Technical Education Coordinator for the district.

In her role with USD 232, Schaffer will help with the development, vertical alignment and maintenance of middle and high school curriculum. She will also design and implement effective professional development plans and activities to assist teachers with integrating research based instructional strategies for the purpose of supporting the delivery of curriculum.

"Ceresa brings a strong focus on college and career readiness, curriculum development and student growth and learning," said Dr. Jessica Dain, Director of Teaching and Learning. "She will help us continue our remarkable achievements in the area of academic performance, literacy, and the implementation and integration of the Kansas College and Career Readiness Standards at the secondary level. We look forward to her contributions and support of our teachers and students."

Schaffer began her professional career in 1999 at Hayden High School in Topeka and transitioned to Olathe South High School in 2003. She earned her bachelor's degree in Education from Emporia State University and her master's in Educational Administration from Washburn University.

4/28/14 > Principals named for Riverview Elem. & De Soto High School


District names Principals for Riverview Elementary and De Soto High School

Riverview Elementary

Beth Mildren

The Board of Education on Friday, April 25, accepted the school district's recommendation to  name Mrs. Beth Mildren as principal of Riverview Elementary school in Shawnee. Her appointment is effective July 1, 2014.

Mildren will succeed Jennifer Luzenske in the school's leadership position, as Luzenske accepted an opportunity to continue her professional career with the Blue Valley School District in the 2014-15 school year. Luzenske has been principal at Riverivew for three years.

The district conducted an exhaustive search for highly qualified candidates prior to selecting Mildren. She comes to USD 232 from the Leavenworth School District where she currently serves as Assistant Principal at Anthony Elementary School.  "We are confident Beth will continue Riverview's focus on academic excellence and their emphasis on building a positive school community," said Dr. Doug Sumner, Superintendent of Schools. "Beth brings a strong background of professional leadership and she is well prepared to carry on the positive momentum at Riverview Elementary. We are thrilled to have her join our team."

Mildren earned two bachelor's degrees from Missouri State University in Organizational Communication and Psychology with a minor in Spanish. She studied abroad in Mexico, Guatemala and London.  She completed her Educational Specialist degree from the University of Kansas and received her licensure in School Leadership through Emporia State University.

She will contact the school community in the coming weeks to schedule a time to meet and greet the families of Riverview Elementary.

De Soto High School


Dustin MortensonThe Board of Education on Friday, April 25, accepted the school district's recommendation to name Mr. Dustin Mortenson as principal of De Soto High School for the 2014-15 school year.

Mortenson will succeed Mark Meyer effective July 1, 2014, as Meyer accepted an opportunity to continue his professional career with the Gardner-Edgerton School District. Meyer has been principal at DHS for two years.

Mortenson comes to USD 232 from the Gardner-Edgerton School District where he currently serves as Principal of Sunflower Elementary School, a position he has held since 2008. He also served as assistant principal at Wheatridge Middle School for three years. His appointment to De Soto High School is a return to the school district for Mortenson. He taught American History and Communication Arts at Monticello Trails Middle School from 2002 through 2005.

"We are pleased to have Dustin return to the school district in a key leadership position," said Dr. Doug Sumner, Superintendent of Schools. "Dustin is a proven leader and clearly understands our commitment to student learning.  We look forward to the partnerships Dustin will form at DHS and the positive leadership he will provide the De Soto High School community. Dustin's passion for kids and education will energize our efforts in providing the best possible experience for students."

Mortenson earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in Education and Educational Administration from the University of Kansas. He is in the process of completing his doctorate of Educational Leadership, also from University of Kansas.

He will contact the DHS school community in the coming weeks to welcome families to the 2014-15 school year.

4/27/14 > DHS Football Players Give Back
DHS Football Players

For the second year in a row, members of the De Soto High School football team tackled the job of beautifying the De Soto Cemetery. On April 19, forty members of the team cleaned flower beds, trimmed bushes, raked leaves, picked up trash and put down fresh mulch.  The head coach is Brian King.

The community service project was started by Angela Christopher, the parent of one of the players, in collaboration with the Honorable Tim Maniez, mayor of the City of De Soto.

4/16/14 > MVHS Junior Awarded KC BizFest Scholarship
Alex Ayala

Alex Ayala, junior at Mill Valley High School, placed third out of over 90 students and was awarded a $1,500 scholarship at the KC BizFest Entrepreneurial Workshop and Scholarship Competition. The event, sponsored by the Greater Kansas City Hispanic Collaborative, was held February 5-8 in Overland Park, KS.

KC BizFest is a four day entrepreneurial training seminar and scholarship competition open to high school juniors and seniors from the Kansas City metro area.

According to Ayala, the first two days were spent on developing a business plan. "We were told to find some idea or hobby we were passionate about," said Ayala. "I am interested in the music business and deejay myself, so I wrote a plan for an audio shop geared towards deejays, emcees and the music industry." The next two days were spent working on a PowerPoint to use for a presentation.

On the last day, the students gathered in the gym with friends and family to hear the names of the six finalists. Ayala's name was announced first. "I was shocked. I couldn't believe they called my name," he said. "And to think I wasn't looking forward to attending because I had to make up all of the school work I was going to miss."

Ayala, along with the other finalist, presented to the entire group gathered in the gym as well as a panel of judges. Scores were tallied and scholarships were awarded. "I learned so much in such a short time. I made a lot of great friends and connected with a lot of wonderful people," said Ayala. "I am so grateful for the experience. I would feel that way even if I hadn't won a scholarship. I want to go back and do it again." He hopes to be involved in the music industry as a career.

Read more about KC BizFest> http://gkchc.com/Programs

4/16/14 > LTMS Student Wins Band Competition

Trenton Biggerstaff, 8th grader at Lexington Trails Middle School, won the 2014 Fountain City Brass Band Solo Competition held in March at St. James Academy in Lenexa.  He was selected from over 100 musicians from three area youth brass bands.

Biggerstaff will perform his winning solo piece with the Fountain City Brass Band on May 4 at the Bell Cultural Center at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, KS.

The five-time National Champion Brass Band, the Fountain City Brass Band, is a thirty piece brass and percussion ensemble that is based in Kansas City and draws its membership from around the United States. In November of 2009, it won the Scottish Open Brass Band Championship. It became the first American band ever, and the first non-United Kingdom band in over fifty years, to  win a major brass band competition on UK soil.

"I am very proud of all of our LTMS students who participate in the youth brass band and auditioned for this incredible opportunity," said Rob Foster, band director at LTMS. "It is quite an accomplishment to be selected as the winner."  Foster noted that Zach Yarbrough, 8th grader at LTMS, won last year's Fountain City Brass Band competition.

Read more about the Fountain City Brass Band > http://www.fcbb.net/

4/15/14 > Early Childhood Program accepting applications


The district's Early Childhood Program is accepting applications for 3-year-old students for the 2014-2015 school year. Applications will be accepted while spots are available. Application and enrollment information can be found at www.usd232.org/earlychildhood.

 

4/09/14 > DHS Senior Wins Second Scholarship for Writing

Bailey Rendzia, senior at De Soto High School, has been awarded a $1000 scholarship for her winning entry in the League of Women Voters of Johnson County (LWVJC) Essay Contest.

Rendzia will read the essay aloud at the annual Making Democracy Work Award Program and Breakfast sponsored by the LWVJC on May 3. Her essay will also be published in an upcoming LWVJC newsletter and on the organization's website.

Earlier this year, Rendzia won first place in the Bill of Rights Institute Essay Competition.

4/09/14 > Special Services Attains Highest Level of Recognition
USD 232 Meets Requirements

Special Services Attains Highest Level of Recognition

The Kansas State Department of Education notified USD 232 that its Special Services Department has attained the highest level of achievement, Meets Requirements, following a review of the Annual Performance Report.  In order for a district to earn a level of determination of Meets Requirements, the district must meet substantial compliance on Fiscal Management, Educational Outcomes for Students with Disabilities, and General Supervisory Authority under IDEA.

"The state's recognition of our support and services to the students we serve is a tribute to the dedication of our staff and parents," said Anjanette Tolman, Director of Special Services. "Reaching the highest levels of achievement under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act shows our commitment to helping exceptional learners succeed on a daily basis."

The exercise of submitting an Annual Performance Report is an annual process for school districts in Kansas with emphasis on meeting identified objectives under the State Performance Plan.

4/07/14 > MCMS Olympiad Team Competes at State

The Mill Creek Middle School Science Olympiad team ranked ninth out of 17 in the large school division at the 2014 Kansas Science Olympiad State Tournament held at Wichita State University on April 5. MCMS placed 14th overall out of 28 teams which competed.
 
MCMS also captured first in Helicopters, second in Write It Do It and third in Meteorology and Shock Value. The team's sponsor is Laurie Heisel.

1st place - Helicopters - Matthew Lingner & Cael Duffin
2nd place - Write It Do It - Zach Deibert & Johnny Meehan
3rd place - Shock Value - Zach Deibert & Johnny Meehan
3rd place - Meteorology - Lina Al-Tahhan & Rylee Wilson

Science Olympiad is intended for students that have an interest in science and engineering who may or may not choose a career in one of those fields. The point of Science Olympiad is to learn some science and have some fun in the process. Events cover biology, physics, chemistry, earth science, engineering and inquiry. They range from pencil and paper "tests," to performing lab experiments, to building a structure or robot. Learn more about Science Olympiad in Kansas >> http://webs.wichita.edu/scienceolympiad/

 

4/07/14 > LTMS Olympiad Team Competes at State

The Lexington Trails Middle School Science Olympiad team ranked fourth out of 11 in their division of the 2014 Kansas Science Olympiad State Tournament held at Wichita State University on April 5. The team placed 12th overall out of 28 teams which competed.

LTMS had seven of its 14 team members medal for placing in the top three in their events. Students captured first in Can't Judge a Powder, first in Metric Mastery, first in Water Quality, second in Heredity, and third in Shock Value. The team's sponsor is Jamie Talbott.


1st place - Can't Judge a Powder - Liam Clarke & Cooper Pflaum

1st place - Metric Mastery - Garrett Heitmann & Cody Moose

1st place- Water Quality - Kay Craven & Cooper Pflaum

2nd place - Heredity - Henry Cahoone & Cody Moose

3rd place - Shock Value - Sam McQuality & Cody Moose

Science Olympiad is intended for students that have an interest in science and engineering who may or may not choose a career in one of those fields. The point of Science Olympiad is to learn some science and have some fun in the process. Events cover biology, physics, chemistry, earth science, engineering and inquiry. They range from pencil and paper "tests," to performing lab experiments, to building a structure or robot. Learn more about Science Olympiad in Kansas >> http://webs.wichita.edu/scienceolympiad/

3/28/14 > Counselor Honored for Lifetime Achievement

Paula Henderson, counselor at Starside Elementary School in De Soto, is the 2014 recipient of the John K. Strickler Award for Excellence in Conservation and Environmental Education. She will be honored at the 2014 Awards Celebration on April 4 at the Sunset Zoo in Manhattan, KS.

Since 1999, the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education has presented this prestigious award. Named after one of the founders of KACEE and first executive director, John K. Strickler, it honors the lifetime achievements, contributions, and leadership of individuals in the Kansas conservation and environmental education field.

Henderson has worked in the school district for 19 years. During that time she has been instrumental in leading the way for Starside students and staff to complete projects such as: obtaining a wind turbine, constructing a school pond powered by solar energy, and establishing the first location for recycling in the city of De Soto. Starside was named a Kansas Green School of the year in 2009.

Pictured left to right: Cayden Rickey, Paula Henderson, Brody Hendrich, Lane Buckner, Zoe McNolty

3/27/14 > Horizon Elementary Principal announces resignation


Horizon Elementary Principal announces resignation

District names new principal for the 2014-15 school year

Principal Kim Gracy of Horizon Elementary School announced her resignation effective at the conclusion of the 2013-14 school year, completing 16 years of service in USD 232.

"While excited about this new chapter in my life, I will greatly miss the friends, colleagues, and families that I have come to know and love," said Gracy. "I am extremely proud of our students and teachers and all they have accomplished these past seven years." Gracy was named principal of Horizon Elementary when the school opened in 2007 and helped it earn the Governor's Achievement Award in 2013 placing Horizon among the top five percent of high performing schools in Kansas.

The Board of Education accepted Gracy's resignation at its meeting on Monday, March 10. "We sincerely appreciate Kim's service to our district and value her many contributions to the Horizon Elementary school community," said Superintendent Doug Sumner. "We fully support her decision and wish her and her family much success and good fortune."

New Principal Named

Upon learning of Mrs. Gracy's desire to resign at the end of the school year, the district launched an immediate search for a highly qualified educator to assume leadership at Horizon Elementary. After completing a comprehensive search process, the Board of Education accepted the district's recommendation to name Chris Lowe as Horizon's next principal.

Mr. Lowe currently serves as associate principal at Monticello Trails Middle School, a position he has held with the district since July 2013. Prior to being named associate principal, Lowe served as the school improvement specialist at Clear Creek Elementary school for two years.  "I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the students, families, and staff of Horizon Elementary," said Lowe. "Horizon is a wonderful school with a spirit of cooperation and a determination to achieve high levels of academic excellence."

"Chris is a talented educator and committed leader," said Superintendent Sumner. "I am confident he will continue the commitment to excellence we have come to expect at Horizon. His prior experience at the elementary and middle school levels makes him uniquely qualified to continue the positive focus we have on student learning."

Before coming to USD 232, Lowe worked as an assistant principal at Community Elementary in Coffeyville, Kansas. Lowe graduated from Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. He earned his master's degree in school leadership in 2008 from Baker University.

Lowe will be contacting the school community in the coming weeks to schedule a time to meet and greet the families of Horizon Elementary.

Unified School District No. 232 educates more than 7,000 students in northwest Johnson County, Kansas. The boundaries of the school system cover 100+ square miles encompassing the City of De Soto, portions of the City of Shawnee, City of Lenexa, City of Olathe and unincorporated areas of the county. The district currently operates two high schools, three middle schools, and seven elementary schools.

3/27/14 > DHS journalism students qualify for State

Six De Soto High School students qualified for State competition in 10 categories at the Kansas Scholastic Press Association (KSPA) Regional Journalism Contest at the University of Kansas.

Jordan Wolf - News Sports Writing, Honorable Mention (HM)

Rebekah Burgweger - Editorial Writing, 2nd place; News Writing, 3rd place; Photo Illustration, HM;

Kelsea Burns - Editorial Writing, HM; Infographics, HM; Editing HM

Emily Herrington - Editorial Cartoon, 2nd place

Ben Patton - Editorial Cartoon, HM

Kyle Wernimont - Headline Writing, 3rd place

The State contest will be held at the University of Kansas on Saturday, May 3 where the DHS students will compete against other qualifiers from the other Regionals held at Emporia State, Fort Hays State, Pittsburg State, Wichita State and Kansas State. The DHS journalism advisor is Michael Sullivan.

3/27/14 > MVHS journalism students qualify for State

Congratulations to 16 Mill Valley High School students who placed in the regional journalism competition Feb. 28 at the University of Kansas. The students will now compete to defend last year's state title at the State competition on Saturday, May 3. Mill Valley, Class 5A, qualified with the most entries (25) for state in a region that had just one other Class 5A school (Washington); the rest were Class 6A schools including Shawnee Mission Northwest, Shawnee Mission North, Shawnee Mission South, Blue Valley, Blue Valley West and Lawrence. The MVHS journalism advisor is Kathy Hill Habiger.

 

Dona Gentry (two entries)

Karissa Schmidt (three entries)

Steven Blaine

Justin Curto

Jack Lopez (three entries)

Kat White (two entries)

Ryan Fullerton (three entries)

Tori Aerni

Alana Flinn

Lindsay Roush (two entries)

Courtney Bohnert (two entries)

Mikaela McCabe (two entries)

Amanda Curtright

Shelby Rayburn

Margo Wieschhaus

Hanna Steen

 

3/25/14 > High School Students Recognized for the Arts

Ten USD 232 high school students will be representing the district at the Shooting Stars Gala on March 30, 2014 at Johnson County Community College.

Over 100 outstanding young visual, performing, and literary artists from 25 local high schools will be honored at the Shooting Stars Gala. The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Performing Arts Series at JCCC, and Johnson County Community College will host the event where scholarships will be awarded to18 students and nine teachers will receive honorariums. 

Nominated by their high school Arts teachers, finalists audition or submit a portfolio of work for review by independent judges in one of the following categories: Literature, Strings, Winds & Percussion, Voice Classical, Theatre Performance, Production & Design, 2-D Visual Art, 3-D Visual Art, and Photography.

Since its founding by Chairman Emeritus Bob Endres in 1997, the Shooting Stars Program has recognized 1,000 students and awarded over $250,000 in college scholarships, and $65,000 in teacher honorariums.

USD 232 Shooting Stars 

Two -Dimensional Art

Taylor Cole, DHS

Logan Robertson, MVHS

Three-Dimensional Art

Alexandra Knauss, DHS

Jessica Tharp, MVHS

Literature (prose/poetry)

Elizabeth Henderson, DHS

Photography

Shelby Philbrook, DHS

Theatre Performance

Kassidy Forshey, DHS

Madison Plouvier, MVHS

Voice Classical

Madalyn Torline, DHS

Winds and Percussion

Madison Kerr, DHS

3/24/14 > MVHS Seniors Publish Book Reviews

Emily Leonard (L) and Alexis Crispin (R)

Alexis Crispin and Emily Leonard, seniors at Mill Valley High School, each wrote book reviews which were selected for publication on the national School Library Journal website. The reviews are part of a program at the MVHS media center which allows students to voice opinions about nominations for the Young Adult Library Services Association's (YALSA) Teen Top Ten books.

Crispin and Leonard participate in a school program headed by Andy Shelly, MVHS teacher -librarian, called Read & Review.  In conjunction with Johnson County Library (JCL), the group meets once a month during seminar with Jennifer Mendez, a 2005 Mill Valley graduate, who is an Information Specialist at the Shawnee branch of JCL.

Students share information about the books they have read, learn about teen events and programming at the JCL, and choose a new book (sometimes called a galley) that Mendez has brought to review.  Crispin reviewed Something Real by Henry Holt and Leonard wrote a review on My Life with the Walter Boys by Ali Novak.

JCL is one of sixteen locations nationwide that is part of the Young Adults (YA) Galley program. This allows teens to read young adult books before the official release date and review them online.

The reviews aid YALSA to narrow down the hundreds of titles to twenty-five nominees for this year's Teen Top Ten books. The list of nominated books will be released in April giving students nationwide enough time to read them before voting in the fall for the Teen Top Ten books for 2014.

Read Alexis Crispin's review at:   http://bit.ly/1iuoz0R

Read Emily Leonard's review at: http://bit.ly/1psmseU

3/14/14 > Prairie Ridge Presents $10,000 Check to Heifer International

Prairie Ridge Presents $10,000 Check to Heifer International

Elementary students raised funds in a 30-day Read to Feed® reading incentive program to help end hunger and poverty

 

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (March 13, 2014) - Representatives from Prairie Ridge Elementary School in Shawnee, Kansas, held an assembly to present a check for $10,205.45 to Cindy Sellers Roach, Community Engagement Manager for Heifer International. The students raised the donation during a recent Read to Feed reading incentive program.

At the urging of the school's Media Specialist, Candy Luschen, students and teachers set out to do an "all-building" activity, as opposed to the classroom-based reading incentive activity they normally do. They expected to raise about $1,500, so they were understandably excited and proud of their students for raising more than $10,000.

"Read to Feed was an attractive program for student participation because of the dual purpose achieved through love of reading and service to the global community," said Michelle Hite, Principal of Prairie Ridge Elementary School. "We were humbled to learn the school population was so committed to the project they raised $10,205.45. The foundation of our success was our Media Specialist, Candace Luschen, who identified and organized the program, but more importantly, made Read to Feed relevant to children's lives to get them excited about reading to benefit others internationally.  Showing students how education sends ripples of positive change through the world is one of the highest callings teachers have in leaving lasting imprints on the lives of those in their care."

Luschen said, "Each class decided on the amount that they wanted to raise. The students were the driving force behind the success of this fundraiser and I give them all of the credit. I just organized the paperwork for it."

Heifer International's Read to Feed is a powerful reading incentive service-learning program that fosters in children a passion for reading and for helping others. It is a fun and fulfilling way for teachers to enliven their class's reading efforts and get kids involved.

With Read to Feed, students get sponsors for each book (or chapter/page or minutes per day) they read. Their gift of farm animals and training helps families around the world begin a life of hope and opportunity. For teachers in need of innovative, creative ways to meet Common Core and improve literacy skills, Read to Feed helps meet these (and other) standards and inspires global citizenship among students.

The impact, Sellers Roach noted, is significant. "What these students and their teachers have done is incredible. Through Heifer's model of Passing on the Gift, this donation will quite literally help hundreds of families move out of hunger and poverty and towards a sustainable livelihood. Other children will eat better and be able to go to school themselves. Whole communities will be impacted by the livestock and training this donation provides. Prairie Ridge Elementary has a lot to be proud of in these young people!"

For details on Read to Feed, or to order materials, please visit www.readtofeed.org , call 877-275-READ (7323) or e-mail info@heifer.org

About Heifer International:
Heifer's mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. For 70 years, Heifer International has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income. Heifer is currently working in more than 30 countries, including the United States, to help families and communities become more self-reliant. For more information, visit
www.heifer.org , read our blog, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or call 1-888-5HUNGER (888-548-6437).

3/14/14 > DHS Student Chosen for National Science Conference

Morgan Darter, sophomore at De Soto High School, traveled to Chicago to present her research at the joint conference of the American Junior Academy of Science (AJAS) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on February 13-17, 2014. The AAAS is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of all people.

As a freshman, Darter was selected to represent DHS at the Kansas Junior Academy of Science (KJAS) at the State meeting held in Wichita in May of 2013. Darter's project, The Effect of the Source of Saliva on the Growth of Bacteria, was completed as a project for a Pre-Advanced Placement Biology class she took at DHS that school year.

Darter won the Best Overall winner for the Small High School category at KJAS which secured her spot for the AJAS Conference in Chicago.

Her interest in becoming a veterinarian inspired Darter to develop an experiment involving animals. She devised a study to measure and examine bacteria found in the mouths of dogs, cats and humans. She swabbed the mouths of 20 dogs, 20 cats and 20 humans, in order to get enough samples for her experiment. "Some of my friends volunteered themselves and their pets to be part of the project," said Darter. "I also have an aunt that works at an animal hospital, so I got samples from those animals too."

Once at the national conference in Chicago, Darter and the other student presenters set up displays allowing those attending the conference to view the projects and talk to the students about their findings. "The scientists were very nice and acted sincerely interested in the projects," said Darter. "They treated us like colleagues."

Darter also took advantage of some optional tours designed for students. "Because of my interest in animals, a behind the scenes tour of the Brookfield Zoo was an obvious choice," said Darter. "I also went to the Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab." Fermilab is the only U.S. laboratory dedicated to high-energy physics. Argonne serves as multidisciplinary science and engineering research center focusing on challenges in clean energy, environment, technology and national security.

Other events for the students included "Breakfast with Scientists" and a banquet held in the Great Hall of the famed Field Museum. Dr. Stephen Choo, former Secretary of Energy for the United States (January 2009 - April 2013) and co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics (1997), was just one of the illustrious speakers at the conference. Actor Alan Alda, a supporter of science education, also spoke at a session.  "We saw Alan Alda on the escalator on our way to hear him speak. My dad remarked that at least we wouldn't be late for his talk, since he (Alda) wasn't even there yet."

USD 232 offers Pre-AP classes for students in middle school and in grades nine and ten. Advanced Placement Classes are offered at the high school level.



The requirements of Kansas Junior Academy of Science:

Students must complete a scientific study, write a scientific paper and prepare a 10 minute oral presentation summarizing the research. Students can enlist the help of a teacher or other mentor but this help should be accurately reflected on the Student Signature Page/Mentor Form when the paper is submitted for judging at both District and State Meetings.

RESEARCH CATEGORIES:

  • animal physiology/pharmacology

  • biochemistry/immunology

  • botany/plant physiology

  • cell biology/microbiology/bacteriology

  • earth science/astronomy/chemistry/physics

  • engineering/math/computers

  • environmental science/ecology

  • experimental psychology/animal behavior

For more information about AAAS > http://www.aaas.org  

For more info on the Fermilab > http://www.fnal.gov  

For more info on Argonne National Laboratory > http://www.anl.gov

 

3/14/14 > Belmont Students Exhibit Artwork

For the second year in a row, students from Belmont Elementary School exhibited original works at the "Art Show" at Shawnee Hills Senior Living in Shawnee.  The display included pieces from other schools in the area as well as works from residents of Shawnee Hills, employees and their family members. 

The one evening art show took place on February 26, between 3-7 p.m. Residents, families and friends spent time viewing and discussing the two-dimensional works, which included drawings, collages, and paintings. 

"Many parents told me their student had been talking about this for weeks and they couldn't believe they were going to be in a REAL art show," said Lindsay Waller, art teacher at Belmont. "The students felt like celebrities," said Waller. "Parents taking pictures, staff asking which work was theirs and how they made it, seeing their art teacher there….it was a brand new experience for most of them.  They felt like they were 'real artists', which I try to tell them they all can be."

This experience allowed students to see their work displayed in a brand new place and also see the reaction of people who were not family and friends.  "Seeing art work from other students and adults, was new to them," commented Walter. "They got to mingle with other student artists, and I could sense a feeling of belonging and accomplishment between the students on exhibit. "

The most surprising aspect of the event, according to Waller, was how many families came. "The room displaying student artwork was filled with Belmont families almost the entire time. There was a short break when it was a little slow but after that, it was non-stop parents and students walking around, talking with me, the staff, other families, and parents thanking me for the wonderful opportunity."

Waller was happily surprised at the turn out, "It shows me how much they care about the work of their students and how important it is to nurture and celebrate the talents they possess." Students selected  to display artwork are listed below.

5th Grade: Ryan Lewis, Ethan Kremer, McKenzie Westberry, Ciara Sumpter, Gracie Terrell, Emma Hookstra

4th Grade: Allie Grimm, Attey Field, Tyler Schultze, Jocelyn Ellis, Ethan Schultze, Kennedy Pickert

3rd Grade: Sophia Livingston, Elizabeth Kalafut, Colton Martin, Adeline Warnes, Ashley Nelson

2nd Grade: Sydney Nelson, Taya Swarts, Ava Thompson, Bryanna Burgos, Bree Avery, Kaitlynn Tolly

1st Grade: Jackson Sprecker, Reid Ellis, Sophia Hsu, Leah Blom

Kindergarten: Bennett Martin, Palmer Norman, Ashley Young, Kayla Carroll, Bria Sumpter, Abigail Wagoner

 

3/13/14 > District names Teachers of the Year


District Names Teachers of the Year

Two outstanding educators received the highest honor in Unified School District 232 - Teacher of the Year. Lisa Pelkey, De Soto High School, is the secondary teacher of the year and Jennifer Vaughan, Prairie Ridge Elementary, is the elementary teacher of the year.

It is a designation that speaks to the passion and dedication they bring each day to their classrooms. Both professionals share a common goal to positively impact the lives of students and help them become lifelong learners. On March 13 each teacher received a certificate from the Board of Education, presented by Superintendent Doug Sumner, recognizing their selection as District Teachers of the Year.  Pelkey and Vaughan will now represent USD 232 in the 2015 Kansas Teacher of the Year Program.

Points of Pride:  USD #232 is an important and strong participant in the Kansas Teacher of the Year Program. The district is honored to have two Kansas Teachers of the Year - Mrs. Jeri Powers (2008) and Mr. Keil Hileman (2004). The school district also has 12 state finalists and nine semifinalists represented in the program since the year 2000... more than any other school district in region three.

Click image to enlargeCongratulations to Lisa Pelkey for being named USD 232 Secondary Teacher of the Year. Lisa has been employed by the district since 2006 and teaches English Language Arts. This is her 11th year of teaching. Prior to USD 232, she taught at Tonganoxie Junior High and received her master's degree from the University of Kansas. Pelkey is pictured with her AP Literature students.

Click image to enlargeCongratulations to Jennifer Vaughan for being named USD 232 Elementary Teacher of the Year. Jennifer has been employed by the district since 2007 and is in her eighth year of her career. She teaches 2nd grade. She received her master's degree from Trenton State College in New Jersey. Vaughan is pictured with Superintendent Doug Sumner and Principal Michelle Hite.

Points of Pride: USD #232 is an important and strong participant in the Kansas Teacher of the Year Program. The district is honored to have two Kansas Teachers of the Year - Mrs. Jeri Powers (2008) and Mr. Keil Hileman (2004). The school district also has 12 state finalists and nine semifinalists represented in the program since the year 2000... more than any other school district in region three.

3/12/14 > Mize Third Graders Collect for Animal Shelter

Every year students in Cheyenne Zwahlen's third grade class, at Mize Elementary school in Shawnee, select a community service project.  This year the Bonner Animal Rescue (BAR) in Bonner Springs was chosen as the beneficiary with students collecting over 126 much needed items for the shelter.

Zwahlen's third grade students elect a class president each year.  As part of the election process, candidates come up with a community service project for the class.  Emily Breit, this year's president, wanted to collect donations that would benefit the Bonner Animal Rescue (BAR). 

"I chose this project because I know most people in my class like animals. I thought it would be fun to help a lot of animals out by donating things so those animals can have a better life," said Breit.

The project was set up as a contest. Students teamed-up and competed against one another to see which team could donate the most items. The winning team would receive $100 in classroom dollars and a homework pass. 

Breit came up with the idea for the community service project. "Since she is president, she incorporated her idea and ran with it!" said Zwahlen. "We sat down and planned out the contest portion of it together.  I called the BAR to determine which items they needed and we made a list from there."

"What surprised me most," said Zwahlen, "was that every student was engaged in the project.  Every child wanted to help the animals in any way they could and all of them felt like this was a great way to help the community.  They really did a great job of focusing on the giving and not the reward."

Class discussion centered on how the competition and rewards were fun but that the true goal was to benefit the animal rescue shelter.  "I hope that students understand that they did a great service by donating to a not-for profit agency that struggles to provide basic necessities for the animals in their care," said Zwahlen.   "In the end, the students were in awe to see all of the items they collected TOGETHER, regardless of being on the winning team."

"I think our class learned that if you work really hard you can make a lot of things happen.  We bought enough stuff to last them six months or even more!  WE LOVE ANIMALS!" declared Breit. The class is planning a coin drive in the spring for the same facility. In appreciation, the BAR is planning to visit the class accompanied by some animal friends.

 

3/10/14 > DHS Senior Named Exemplary Volunteer
De Soto High School senior, Makenzie Hill, has been named an exemplary volunteer by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards (PSCA).

 

Prudential Spirit of Community Awards  

De Soto High School senior, Makenzie Hill, has been named an exemplary volunteer by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards (PSCA). Hill earned this recognition due to her commitment to community service which totalled over 150 hours over the last year.

 

Hill has dedicated time working with Safe Home of Johnson County, which is the only accredited provider of shelter and comprehensive support services for victims of domestic violence in Johnson and Miami Counties in Kansas. She participates in "The Outrage" which is an educational theatre performance piece presented by high school students for high school students. The sketches provide education and information about prevention of domestic abuse.

Hill also finds time for church youth group activities which includes helping Harvesters Community Food Network, the KC metro's only area food bank. In addition she spends time doing, as she says, "the usual youth group activities" like working in peoples' yards and other clean-up and beautification efforts. She manages to donate about ten hours a month to her causes.

When
asked about her future, Hill said, "I am passionate about making people aware of domestic violence issues. I plan to major in business and would like to run a non-profit organization that focuses on women's issues."

The PSCA is the United States' largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service. Created in1995 by Prudential in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), it honors middle- level and high school students for outstanding service to others at the local, state, and national level.

Over the past 18 years, more than 345,000 young Americans have participated in the program, and more than 100,000 of them have been officially recognized for their volunteer efforts.

 

Eligibility requirements to be considered for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards:

 

  • is in grades 5-12 as of November 5,
  • is a legal resident of any U.S. state or Washington, D.C.
  • has engaged in a volunteer activity that occurred at least partly during the 12 months prior to the date of application, and
  • submits a completed application to a school principal or the head of an officially designated local organization by November 5. 

for more information go to: http://spirit.prudential.com



 

3/06/14 > Five DHS Students Named to KMEA All-State Band

Five band students from De Soto High School were selected for the Kansas Music Educators Association (KMEA) All-State Band for 1A-4A high schools. Appointment to this elite band is a high honor because most Kansas high schools are not represented in the band and few schools have more than one musician chosen.

Students are selected via a rigorous audition process that starts at the district level (KMEA is comprised of six districts). Those who perform at the district level are then eligible to audition for selection to the state ensembles. This process ensures that the All-State student musicians are truly "the best of the best."  

"The students from the DHS band continue to amaze me," said Matt Bradford, DHS band director. "I am very proud of the students who participated in the KMEA All-State Band. The ensemble sounded great!" The band performed at the annual KMEA In-Service Workshop at the Century II Convention Center in Wichita, February 27 - March 1.

KMEA offers two band ensembles at the state level which are based on the classifications established by the Kansas State High School Activities Association.

The 1234A Band is made up of students from 1A, 2A, 3A, and 4A class high schools. 
 
The 56A Band is made up of students from 5A and 6A class high schools.

DHS KMEA All -State Band Members:
(pictured left to right)

Madison Kerr - Clarinet

Jaycie Thaemert - Flute

Ethen Aubrey-Mitchell- Tuba

Connar Kennard - Percussion

Alexander Michalek - Trombone

3/06/14 > Clear Creek Awarded Top Prize in Book Drive, Again

 

Clear Creek Elementary School in Shawnee has once again been declared the winner of the Hooked on Books - Reach Out and Read Program by collecting over 6500 books.  After taking last year off, CCE students were ready to get back into the groove of collecting new and gently used books for at-risk children in the KC Metro community. CCE has won all four years that the school has participated.

"The kids ABSOLUTELY love participating in the program," said Dandra Arter, CCE librarian and co-chair for the project. "Not only do they get to give back to others in need, but they gain a stronger understanding of life outside of our community. They want other kids to feel as fortunate as they are." 

For the incredible effort of collecting 6,547 books, Clear Creek will be formally recognized at Kansas City's Reach Out and Read 8th Annual Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast at the Westin Crown Center on March 7. Arter and CCE Principal Carrie Handy will attend. CCE will also receive a banner, a special awards assembly and will be given a $500 Scholastic Book gift certificate.

"What struck me most about this year's book drive is the persistence of the kids," said Arter.  "One would think that we had cleaned out the bookshelves of our CCE families and their extended families.  Yet somehow, our school community was able to find ANOTHER 6000+ books to give to children that would otherwise go without."

Arter continued, "The kids have been asking for this challenge, this chance to pass on their good fortune, since the first day of school.  They knew we took a break last year and they were ready for the challenge this year."


The accomplishment of Clear Creek's students and staff is more remarkable when you consider that the 6,457 books were collected between January 15 and February 28…less than 28 school days.

For more information about Hooked on Books:

http://bit.ly/1ifOE6M

3/06/14 > Students Use Olympics to Expand Learning

 

What do duct tape, rubber bands and twist ties have in common?  Well for one thing, they can all be found in a junk drawer at home. But to the fourth graders at Clear Creek Elementary School, these items are the makings of a bobsled. Designing and constructing bobsleds and a track were the culminating activities at CCE in a week-long celebration of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

 

The Olympics provided the catalyst for a variety of projects including:  studying the history of the Winter Olympics and how they have evolved, researching current athletes and writing biographies about them, and practicing ordering decimals while learning about the scoring of the events.

 

The students were able to access a number of websites that explained the math and science of the sports.  They viewed interviews with athletes who described the physics (friction, drag, weight, g-force) of the different sports.  "We studied 'mathletes' to see how the scoring of events was determined - for the sports of figure skating, snowboarding, and downhill skiing.  We used the scores to tie to standards about decimals and place value, ordering scores to determine who won and by how much," said fourth grade teacher Sara Gehrt.

 

Students were introduced to physics and engineering by working in small groups to design and

build bobsleds. The teams were given a small rectangular container for the base of the sled and were free to modify it with a list of approved materials.  The track was designed and built with the help of Advanced Placement Physics student Mitch Gehrt from De Soto High School.

 

"As a class we have been fine tuning our ability and skills to work in small groups," said fourth grade teacher Linda Biehl. "This activity truly showed me that the students were able to work in their group by using their communicating, compromising, and problem solving skills." Fourth grade teacher Loralie Koca added, "I loved watching them test their bobsled and then talk about how to change it so it could go faster or not fall off the track. I heard a lot of great problem solving and working together! "

 

According to Sara Gehrt, her favorite part of the week was the buzz and excitement each day." Many of my students play sports recreationally and seeing how what we learn in class is a part of their hobbies really energized them." 

 

Fourth grade teacher, Alyson Rahn, agreed, "The enthusiasm and excitement that it created for my students was not only at school, but they were watching the Olympics every night at home.  They came to a true understanding of the importance of math and physics in the Winter Games."

 

With the aid of NBC Learn videos, Rahn was able to correlate the evening televised Olympic activities with classroom learning. "The students loved coming to school the next day and talking about the results," said Rahn.  "The results tied in perfectly with math since we were studying decimals at the time.  We did a lot of ordering of decimals using the results from the Olympics."

 

The winners of each class competed in the final race that was held in front of the entire fourth grade class.


Learn more > http://www.nbclearn.com/olympics

3/05/14 > Full Day Kindergarten Applications due Friday, March 7

Applications for Full Day Kindergarten due Friday, March 7

The deadline for Full Day Kindergarten applications for the 2014-15 school year are due Friday, March 7. To learn more, please visit www.usd232.org/fulldayk.

3/04/14 > Enrollment & Boundary Study - Board reaches decision

Enrollment and Boundary Study Process

Board of Education reaches decision

The Board of Education of USD 232 held a special meeting on Monday, March 3, to continue its discussion of possible solutions to address identified enrollment challenges. After lengthy dialogue, the Board took action and selected no change to current school boundaries.

The decision followed a process that involved the work of an enrollment and boundary study committee and the collection of public feedback over the course of five months. The committee generated an initial list of 18 solutions which was narrowed by the Board of Education on February 10, to three possible options.

While Monday's result closes a major chapter in the process, the Board will continue the conversation at future meetings regarding an open transfer policy to De Soto High School and Lexington Trails Middle School, and whether to provide bus transportation for students who transfer to those schools.

Enrollment Study

The school district commissioned an enrollment study in 2012 to examine student population trends through the 2016-17 school year. The study identified potential spikes in student enrollment at two schools - Monticello Trails Middle School and Mill Valley High School. The study also revealed the underutilization of Lexington Trails Middle School over the same time period.

In the fall of 2013, the school district formed an enrollment and boundary study committee to examine the challenges and identify possible solutions. The committee of 50 individuals, mainly parents, began meeting in October 2013 and concluded its work in January 2014 with the development of 18 options. This was followed by two community forums in January to gather additional feedback from parents and community members.

In February 2014, the Board narrowed the list of options to three.

  • No Boundary Changes
  • Middle School Boundary Change - Option #1
  • Elementary, Middle School, High School Boundary Change - Option #4 (Middle School Only)

In the end, the Board chose the No Boundary Change option. According to current data, there is an enrollment bubble working its way through the middle school level with what appears to be a future correction in enrollment numbers. Specifically, the incoming sixth grade class (current fifth grade students) is the largest in the school district with 612 students. In comparison, the incoming fifth grade class (current fourth grade students) is 526.

The school district will begin working with the administration and staff members at Monticello Trails to manage its larger incoming sixth grade class (281 students) over the next three years as those students move through the system. In addition, the district will be more flexible with students who wish to voluntarily transfer to De Soto High School and Lexington Trails Middle School in an effort to help alleviate enrollment pressure at MVHS and MTMS.

To learn more about the enrollment and boundary study process, please visit www.usd232.org/enrollmentstudy

--END--

 

2/27/14 > DHS Scholars' Bowl Places 3rd in State

De Soto High School Scholars' Bowl team placed third at the 4A state tournament hosted by DHS on February 15, 2014. This is the sixth straight season that the Scholars' Bowl team placed fourth or better at state. DHS went into the 2013-14 season as a three time state champion.

"The final result is impressive as we went from not having a winning record at a tournament in November and going winless at a tournament in December to placing third in our League in early January," said coach Phil Hamilton. "The students set the goal of making the State tournament by placing in the top three out of fifteen at Regionals, and they asked to extend practices half an hour each time and practice twice more per week."

This was the first time since 2006 that DHS has hosted the state competition. Junior varsity coach Donna Rhodes organized the tournament.

In Scholars' Bowl competition, teams must answer questions in math, science, language arts (English questions like grammar, spelling, literature, etc.), foreign language (they have to translate a phrase that is given in French, German and Spanish to the English equivalent), social science, fine arts, and the year in review.

Individuals who played in at least one varsity tournament this year:

Nick Mechler
Jennifer Schneider

Joel Sweeney
Kelsea Burns

William Walker
Colleen Henning
M
addie Field
Joe Brazeale
Bryce Zimmerman
Jacob Sweatt
Francisco Valenzuela
Shelby Philbrook

Kyle Wernimont
Emily Herrington

Jordan Wolf
Nathan Hess

Adam Huber
Mitch Gehrt

Billy Crady
Nick Crady

David Poulain
Kaylee Asher
Callie Lane
Erin Kaul

Erick Sherman
Tim Mayfield

Rebekah Burgweger
Jebbie Cavanaugh

 

2/27/14 > MVHS Wrestling Team Captures Regional Championship

 

12 Headed to State

The Mill Valley Jaguar Wrestling Team captured the 2014 5A Regional Team Championship on February 24, in Pittsburg, KS. They will be sending 12 wrestlers to the State Wrestling Tournament in Wichita February 28 - March 1. 

As an added honor, MVHS wrestling coach, Travis Keal, was voted the Regional Wrestling Coach of the Year by his peers. He received the award at the Regional meet in Pittsburg.
 

State Qualifiers: Coach Travis Keal
 
 

Landon Scott - Regional Champion

CJ Beran - Regional Champion

Tyler Dickman - Regional Champion 

Jake Ellis - Regional Champion

Nathan Anderson - Regional Runner-up

Jake Gramke - Regional Runner-up

Sebastian Uriarte - Regional Runner-up

Logan Marx -3rd

Bryan Burnett -3rd

Seth Burnett - 3rd

Regan Wright - 3rd

Ryan Anderson - 4th

2/27/14 > De Soto High School Cheer Squad Wins Awards

The De Soto High School Cheer Squad received an overall one (I) rating at the Cheer and Dance Festival on February 22 in Baldwin, KS. 
 

The squad also received specialty awards for Jumps and Choreography. "We were one of two squads out of 14 who received the Judges Award which required a score of eight or higher in all categories," said coach Kiersten Heier.   A total of 23 dance and cheer teams competed.

Cheer Squad Members:

Seniors:   Elaine Price, Alex Deghand, Maddy Cater, Breanna Putman, Ashton Riffel, Elaina McEndree, Rachael Giersch, Montana Frehe, Katie Church, Sydney Denham

Juniors:   Jessica Ward,  Ryanne Mercer, Samantha Hill, Bretlyn Opfer, Melonie Mullen, Abby Cater

Sophomores: Lily Brown, Taylor Cannon, Rachel Moore

Freshman: Moriah Putman, Katey Hinds, Becca Clancy, Mackenzie Smith

 

2/27/14 > Students to Compete at State in Science Olympiad

Three District Schools Headed to State

Lexington Trails Middle School, Mill Creek Middle School and Mill Valley High School Science Olympiad teams competed at the Northeast Kansas Regional Tournament at Johnson County Community College on February 22. All three schools will take teams to the State Competition at Wichita State University on April 5.

MCMS placed fifth and LTMS placed sixth overall out of the more than 30 middle schools that competed from the Northeast Kansas Region.  "I am very proud of all the hard work my team has put in to their events this year.  Their dedication has certainly paid off!" said MCMS coach, Laurie Heisel.  LTMS coach Jamie Talbott and MVHS coach Jennifer Aytes echoed those sentiments.

MVHS placed sixth out of 22 teams that competed in its division. Seven students placed in the top six of their events, including three first place winners.

Science Olympiad is one way for students to learn about science and have fun in the process. Events range from pencil and paper tests to performing experiments and building structures. Competition categories include: biology, physics, chemistry, earth science, engineering and inquiry.

LTMS:6th place overall    

Coach: Jamie Talbott 

 
 
    click to enlarge
 
 

Individual Events:

1st place Water Quality : Kay Craven and Cooper Pflaum

2nd place Crime Busters : Kasey Seaba and Sam McQuality

2nd place  Metric Mastery:  Garrett Heitmann and Cody Moose

6th place  Rocks/Minerals: Garrett Heitmann and Sam McQuality

6th place  Dynamic Planet:  Kay Craven





  
 

MCMS: 5th place overall

Coach: Laurie Heisel 


click to enlarge

Individual Events:  
2nd place Helicopters:   Matthew Lingner & Cael Duffin
2nd place Meteorology:  Lina Al-Tahhan & Rylee Wilson
3rd place Rotor Egg Drop:  Jacob Powers & Craig Ollendick
3rd place Shock Value:  Zach Deibert & Johnny Meehan
4th place Write It Do It:  Zach Deibert & Johnny Meehan
5th place Robo Cross:  Zach Deibert & Andrew Thomas
5th place Water Quality:  Deanna Newman & Katie Ortgies 
 
 
 
 
 

MVHS: 8th place overall

Coach: Jennifer Aytes


(Nadia Suhail working on Mission Possible apparatus)

Nadia Suhail working on Mission Possible


Individual Events:

1st place Anatomy and Physiology - Alyssa Hobson and Connor Oswald

1st place Disease Detectives - Alyssa Hobson and Connor Oswald  

1st place Geologic Mapping - Chase Oswald and Rohit Biswas

3rd place Compound Machines - Tyler Hinnen and Tb-Ying Lin

4th place Circuit Lab - Jack Booth and Tyler Hinnen

5th place Designer Genes and Forensics - Alyssa Hobson and Connor Oswald

5th place Water Quality - Chase Oswald and Rohit Biswas

6th pace Mag Lev- Tyler Hinnen and T-Ying Lin

2/21/14 > Student Percussion Ensemble Rocks the House

Buckets, garbage cans, and 55 gallon drums were the instruments of choice for the Lexington Trails Middle School Band at the USD 232 Solo and Ensemble Festival hosted at LTMS on February 19.

The LTMS band transformed into a percussion ensemble for the day and received a Superior Rating (I) for the song called "Trashing It Up".  Composer Brad Shores, father of Jaimie Shores, a USD 232 band director, wrote this tune to be performed entirely on the unique instruments.

Six band directors were brought in from other school districts to judge the nearly 300 solo and ensemble performers from Bonner Springs, Lansing, and Lawrence South Middle School.

"Many thanks go out to the generosity and wonderful donation of 'instruments' by the LTMS families and community," said LTMS band director Rob Foster. Fifth grade band students from Belmont, Clear Creek, Horizon, Mize, Prairie Ridge, and Riverview also participated in the festival.    

Watch a video of "Trashing it Up"
 

2/18/14 > Kindergarten Round-Up scheduled for February
Kindergarten Round-Up


We know it's difficult to let go…

That's why our Kindergarten teachers place a high priority on providing a nurturing environment where children thrive - academically, socially, and emotionally. We really care about your child!

>> Preparing your child for Kindergarten - Resources for Parents

Going to Kindergarten in the fall?
Make plans to attend Kindergarten Round-Up and Parent Information Night in February 2014.

New! >> Learn more about optional full-day Kindergarten

Find out everything you need to know at Kindergarten Round-Up and Parent Information Night. Parents will have the opportunity to begin the enrollment process, ask questions, and meet the principal. By Kansas statute, children must be the age of 5 on or before August 31 to be eligible for Kindergarten enrollment. 

What will you need?
Parents are encouraged to bring the following information to Kindergarten Round-Up:

  • Certified copy of child's birth certificate (required by Kansas statute)
  • Copy of immunization records (from pediatrician)
  • Proof of residency (copy of current utility bill, contract, etc.)

Parents will also learn about Before/After School Care and Extended Care offered through a partnership with Johnson County Parks and Recreation Department.


Questions? Contact your child's school to learn more.
Not sure which school your child will attend? Use our School Locator service >

Schedule

Belmont Elementary - February 18 at 6:30 p.m.
www.usd232.org/be

Clear Creek Elementary - February18 at 6 p.m.
www.usd232.org/cce

Horizon Elementary - February 18 at 5:30 p.m.
www.usd232.org/he

Mize Elementary - February 18 at 6:30 p.m.
www.usd232.org/me

Prairie Ridge Elementary - February 20 at 6 p.m.
www.usd232.org/pre

Riverview Elementary - February 20 at 6 p.m.
www.usd232.org/re

Starside Elementary - February 20 at 6 p.m.
www.usd232.org/sse 


>> Preparing your child for Kindergarten  - Resources for Parents 

2/18/14 > Mill Valley High School Cheer Team Competes


Mill Valley Cheer competed at the Andover Central Cheer Showdown on February 15 at Andover Central High School in Andover, KS. The team secured a number of top awards including a one rating for group performance.

"I am extremely proud of the hard work and dedication of the squad this year. They had to be extremely flexible due to injuries and other unforeseen circumstances, but they truly came together as a team and all of the hard work paid off," said Coach Stacey Moore. 


MVHS Cheer awards:

  • 1 rating for group performance

  • Overall award  outstanding stunts

  • Overall award  outstanding jumps

  • Overall award outstanding cheer

  • Overall award  outstanding routine

  • 1 rating for stunt group Taylor Schmidt, Callee Linton, Katie Heffernon, and Stephanie Boyer

  • 1 rating for stunt group Sarah Anderson, Kameron Williams, Emily Godwin, Emily Meier, and Beth Pfister

  • 1 rating for tumbling for Brooke Carson

  • 1 rating for jumps for Beth Pfister

  • 2 rating for jumps for Lexi Starr

 

2/17/14 > Enrollment and Boundary Study Update


Board of Education narrows list of options

The Board of Education on Monday, February 10, publicly discussed possible solutions to address identified enrollment challenges within the school district. By the end of the meeting, the Board narrowed the list of 18 options down to three. >> Read more

Full website at www.usd232.org/enrollmentstudy

--

2/13/14 > Riverview student is reporting for TIME

' TIME ' is right for aspiring Shawnee writer

By Michael Terry, The Shawnee Dispatch >> Read the full story

Patty McClain has never been one to back down from a challenge.

So when the 11-year-old Riverview Elementary School student heard about TIME for Kids' annual search for talented writers, she jumped at the chance to enter the competition.

Since 2001, TIME for Kids has run a nationwide search for talented writers between the ages of 9 to 13.

This year more than 400 young writers applied to be one of 10 kid reporters chosen for the 2013-14 school year.

"I thought it was pretty cool that kids were getting a chance to write in the magazine," she said, adding she wasn't sure she would get selected.

>> Read the full story from The Shawnee Dispatch


2/13/14 > Sixth graders go to the Olympics!

Sixth graders at Mill Creek Middle School kicked off their version of the Winter Olympics on February 7.  Displaying flags they created, and chanting original anthems, the students paraded around the gym with their class name proudly displayed just like the countries in the actual Olympics.

The first head-to-head competition was the Shaun White Cheetos Challenge where students competed to give their "Shaun" the orange locks of one the favorite USA competitors.  One student wore a shower cap with shaving cream while the other two teammates showered the cap with Cheetos. The Atomic Model Showdown and the Crabwalk Kickoff were also favorites. 

The students are learning about the Olympics in conjunction with an interdisciplinary unit. Lessons include: science, social studies, math, and communication arts and have many applications to the winter games in Sochi.  The sixth graders use research skills to learn about countries; communications arts to create advertisements using figurative language; science to calculate speed, velocity, rate, distance, time and laws of physics; and social studies to trace the origin of the Olympics which also ties into a unit on ancient Greece and Rome. 

"The Olympics provides a way to engage students and help them make the connection between what they learn in class and how to apply it to the real world," said Tara Mahoney, MCMS teacher. The competitions will continue for about two weeks.

2/13/14 > District Swim Team Update

League results and State swim teams announced

 

Swimmers from De Soto and Mill Valley High Schools turned in 57 new best times at the League swim meet at Turner High School, in Kansas City, Kansas on February 11. Eleven swimmers and five alternates were named to the State swim teams who will compete on February 21 and 22 at the Capitol Federal Natatorium in Topeka. The teams are coached by Alissa Ruffin and Alexander Morris.




click to enlargeclick to enlarge

 
 
   
 

50 Free

2nd -Cameron Webb (DHS)

4th- Ben Hadden (MVHS)

5th - Ian Ahaus (MVHS)

8th- Garrison Fangman (MVHS)
 

200 Medley Relay

3rd - Will Dervin, Nick Stack, Garrison Fangman, and Chase Midyett (MVHS)

4th (tie) - Jeremiah Kemper, Brenden Frieders, Spencer Clayborn and  Ben Hadden (MVHS)

4th (tie) - Jarod Blazo, Austin Hadley, Miles Arnold, and Cameron Webb (DHS)

 

200 Free 

1st -Callahan Eckardt (MVHS)

3rd- Jarod Blazo (DHS)

4th-Wyatt Brecunier (MVHS)

5th-Richard Wooten (MVHS)

 

200 IM

3rd -Jeremiah Kemper (MVHS)

4th - Brendan Frieders (MVHS)

5th - Jason Leuenberg (DHS)

 

50 Free

4th -Ben Hadden (MVHS)

8th - Garrison Fangman (MVHS)

 

100 Fly

1st - Garrison Fangman (MVHS)

6th- Jason Leuenberg (DHS)

8th - Spencer Clayborn (MVHS)

 

100 Free

1st - Callahan Eckardt (MVHS)

3rd - Cameron Webb (DHS)

4th - Wyatt Brecunier (MVHS)

5th - Nick Stack (MVHS)
 

200 Free Relay

1st place - Garrison Fangman, Nick Stack, Wyatt Brecunier, and Callahan Eckardt (MVHS)

3rd - Brenden Frieders, Richard Wooten, Ben Hadden, and Chase Midyett (MVHS)

7th - Jason Leuenberg, Chappell, Austin Hadley, and Miles Arnold (DHS)

 

100 Back

4th - Jarod Blazo (DHS)

5th - Will Dervin (MVHS)

6th - Jeremiah Kemper (MVHS)

7th - Brennan Teasley (MVHS)

 

100 Breast

2nd - Nick Stack (MVHS)

4th - Brendan Freders (MVHS)

7th - Logan Schmidt (MVHS)

8th -Austin Hadley (DHS)

 

400 Free Relay

2nd place - Richard Wooten, Wyatt Brecunier, Jeremiah Kemper, and Callahan Eckardt (MVHS)

4th - Webb, Blazo, Leuenberg, and Miles Arnold  (DHS)

7th place - Ian Ahaus, SpencerClayborn, Will Dervin, and Brennan Teasley (MVHS)

 

500 Free

3rd - Miles Arnold (DHS)

   

State swimming teams:  


MVHS

Wyatt Brecunier

Spencer Clayborn (alternate)

Will Dervin (alternate)

Callahan Eckardt

Garrison Fangman

Brendan Frieders

Ben Hadden

Jeremiah Kemper

Chase Midyett (alternate)

Nick Stack

Richard Wooten (alternate)  

DHS

Miles Arnold

Jarod Blazo

Austin Hadley (alternate)

Jason Leuenberg

Cameron Webb

2/10/14 > Middle School Students Watch Greek Mythology Come to Life

A group of students from Lexington Trails and Mill Creek Middle Schools were treated to a performance of "Geek Mythology: I was a Teenage Immortal" on January 23, at LTMS.
LTMS students and Coterie Theatre Cast

The play was presented by a troupe from the Coterie Theatre, Kansas City, Missouri. Bill Shaw, English Language teacher at LTMS, said, "The students liked the play because it was an updated version of Greek mythology and the gods and goddesses mentioned in the play were ones they had studied.  Also, the rock songs about the gods were a reflection of their personalities as described by the early Greeks."

 

After the performance, Shaw's forensics students enjoyed a question and answer session with the cast and crew. 

 

2/07/14 > Pantherbots to the Rescue

A team of ten students from Lexington Trails Middle School participated in the FIRST (For Inspiration of Science and Technology) Lego League Regional Championship. This robot-building tournament was held at Kansas City's Union Station, on January 18. The LTMS team, the Pantherbots, qualified for regionals at a tournament held at Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, KS on December 14. 

 

Front Row (l-r): Shane Watts, Dylan Plunkett & Adam Lee
Back Row (l-r): Coach Lesleigh Cetinguc, Victoria Schupp, Ella Haden,  Amanda Franklin, Isaac Contreras, & Coach Jamie Poe
Not pictured:  Lucas Hall, Quaid Tucker, and Erin Pickert

This year's competition theme, Nature's Fury, was about natural disasters. Teams were challenged to come up with a solution to a problem related to the theme, research the topic, and present a solution to a panel of judges.  


The LTMS team built and programmed a robot made with a special Lego kit (Lego Mindstorms) which contains software and hardware designed to create customizable robots. The robot, Bobert, had two and a half minutes to complete a series of theme-related missions on a table- top playing field: dispatching a rescue plane, repairing downed power lines, reuniting loved ones, bringing family pets back to their owners, getting an ambulance to safety and sending supply trucks to storm ravaged areas.



The Pantherbots focused on the problem of pets being separated from their owners during storms. They merged two existing inventions to come up with a solution. The result was a solar powered, blue tooth activated, light-flashing pet collar with a unique quick response code (QR code).

"Only one team was chosen to move on to the National Championship in St. Louis and that team was sadly not us, " said co-coach Jamie Poe. "We are already looking forward to next year's competitions and plan to start fundraising soon in hopes of purchasing the new Mindstorm EV3 Robot."

First Lego League describes itself as a science and engineering program, but it does not require any special technical expertise. Kids and coaches say it's just as much about teamwork, thinking creatively, and having fun. LTMS Pantherbots are coached by Lesleigh Cetinguc and Jamie Poe.

2/02/14 > De Soto High School Dance Team Sparkles

The De Soto High School Diamonds Dance Team captured several awards at the Miss Kansas Dance Competition on January 17 and 18 at Olathe South High School.

Individual Awards

Solo Winner - Kelsey Mills

Duet Winners - Christa Stenzel and Kelsey Mills

Officers Routine - Mackenzie Mathern and Morgan Riley

 

Team Awards      

  • Sweepstakes Award

  • Shining Star Award for performing three routines that scored 245 points and above

  • Judges Awards for Choreography - Lyrical

  • Judges Award for Technique - Jazz

  • Showmanship and Energy - Hip Hop

The Diamonds also competed for the first time at the Lee's Summit North Invitational held on January 25 in Lee's Summit, MO.  The team made a successful debut by placing fourth in all three of their routines against similar sized teams from Kansas and Missouri.  The Diamonds are coached by McKenzi Crow.

Placed in top Ten:

Solo - Kelsey Mills

Duet -Kelsey Mills and Christa Stenzel

Duet - Mackenzie Mathern and Morgan Riley

2/02/14 > Silver Stars Shine at Competitions

The Mill Valley High School Silver Stars dance team grabbed several awards at the Miss Kansas Dance Competition on January 17 and 18 at Olathe South High School.

Individual Awards

Solo Winners - Paige Habiger, Abbie Hughes, Morgan McLeroy

Ensemble Winners for Jazz - Sarah Amos, Natalie Golden, Abbie Hughes, Morgan Panovich, Sydney Ward

Team Awards

  • Judges Award for Choreography - Lyrical

  • Judges Award for technique - Hip Hop

  • Judges Award for polish and precision - Pom

  • Showcase Routine - Lyrical  
     

The Silver Stars were also brillant at the Kansas City Classic at Liberty High School, Liberty, MO, on December 14, winning several awards:

Solo Winners

  • 9th Grade Solos - Paige Habiger, 3rd

  • 10th Grade Solos - Abbie Hughes,3rd

  • 11th Grade Solos - Morgan McLeroy, 2nd

Team Awards

  • Ensembles - 3rd -Sarah Amos, Natalie Golden, Abbie Hughes, Morgan Panovich, Sydney Ward

  • Pom Routine - 2nd

  • Hip Hop Routine - 3rd

  • Jazz Routine - 2nd

  • Best Overall Choreography - Jazz

The Silver Stars are coached by Katie Villa.

1/24/14 > Mill Valley’s Gatton selected to Kansas Shrine Bowl

The Kansas Shrine Bowl has announced that Coltyn Gatton, number 61, of Mill Valley High School has been selected by a mail ballot of over 32 sports media professionals and the 2014 Kansas Shrine Bowl coaching staff to be invited to play in the 2014 Kansas Shrine Bowl. This charity all-star football game is scheduled for July 26 in Pittsburg, Kansas, at Camey Smith Stadium, Pittsburg State University.

Selection to play in this game has become one of the most sought after and prestigious honors a Kansas High School football player can be awarded. Only 68 young men are invited to play in this game each year from the entire state of Kansas. Gatton's head coach at Mill Valley is Joel Applebee.

In addition to bringing honor and recognition to the participants and their schools, all Shrine Bowl events are produced and presented to benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children [SHC]. SHC is a health care system of 22 hospitals dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing pediatric specialty care, innovative research, and outstanding teaching programs for medical professionals. Children up to the age of 18 are eligible for care and receive all services in a family-centered environment, regardless of the patients' ability to pay. 

1/22/14 > Governor's Award Recognizes Top Performing Schools

Lexington Trails Middle School & Mill Valley High School
in Top 5% of Kansas Schools


The Kansas Commissioner of Education, Dr. Diane DeBacker, announced Mill Valley High School and Lexington Trails Middle School are recipients of the annual Governor's Achievement Award. This distinction honors top performing schools and places MVHS and LTMS among the top five percent in Kansas. This is the third consecutive year for LTMS to win the award.

"The Governor's Achievement Award is a significant recognition for Kansas schools," said Kansas Education Commissioner Dr. Diane DeBacker. "The accomplishment recognizes a school's high expectations and the ability of the school staff to assist students in achieving to those expectations."

"We are proud of our schools and their continued focus on student achievement," said Dr. Doug Sumner, Superintendent of Schools. "We know this award could not have been possible without hard-working students, highly qualified teachers, paraprofessionals, support staff, administrators, and dedicated parents."

In order for a school in Kansas to receive the prestigious award, it must meet the following criteria.

  • The school must be among the top five percent in both Reading and Mathematics on state assessments at its respective level (elementary, middle/junior, or high school).
  • The school must have achieved one additional measure. (For elementary schools and middle/junior high schools - attendance; for high schools - graduation rate.)

Forty-two elementary schools, ten middle/junior high schools, and 18 high schools qualified for this prestigious award. 

Three schools in USD 232 received the Governor's Achievement Award last year: Horizon Elementary, Lexington Trails Middle School and De Soto High School.

1/21/14 > Enrollment and Boundary Study Committee

 

To learn more about the Enrollment and Boundary Study Committee, please visit www.usd232.org/enrollmentstudy.

 

1/16/14 > Cross Country Academic All-State

 

Margo Wieschhaus, junior at Mill Valley High School, has been named to the Academic All State Cross Country team by the Kansas Cross Country and Track Coaches Association. 

To be considered for this honor, a student must be a Junior or Senior participant at the Kansas State High School Activities Association State Cross Country meet, place in the top thirty of their respective event, and have a cumulative GPA of 3.75 or higher.

 

"What a great accomplishment for Margo  -  to come out for cross country for the first time as a junior, help lead the team to a third place finish at state, and top it off by earning this prestigious award. It says a lot about her character and work ethic," said MVHS cross country coach, Mark Chipman.

 

Wieschhaus is only the third runner from Mill Valley to earn the Academic All State award. The previous awards went to Kelsey O'Hara in 2006 and Emily Gilbreath in 2005. 

1/14/14 > High School Cross Country Coaches Honored

 

Mark Chipman, Mill Valley High School and Chris McAfee, De Soto High School, were honored with Coach of the Year awards for the second time this school year.   

 

The Kansas Cross Country and Track Coaches Association presented the Class 5A Boys Coach of the Year award to Chipman and the Class 4A Girls Coach of the Year to McAfee during the association clinic held in Junction City on January 10-11. Both were selected by a vote of the coaches in their respective classes.

In November, Chipman and McAfee were named the All-Metro Cross Country Coaches of the year for 5A boys and 4A girls, respectively.

1/13/14 > Starside Teacher Receives Prestigious KS Horizon Award

 

The Kansas State Department of Education selected Colby Heckathorne of Starside Elementary in De Soto as a 2014 Kansas Horizon Award winner. Heckathorne, who teaches fourth grade, was personally notified of the honor by the Kansas Commissioner of Education, Dr. Diane DeBacker, on Thursday, January 9. Heckathorne is one of only 32 teachers in the state to receive the prestigious award. She is a graduate of Kansas State University.

 

Photo: Colby Heckathorne (center, back row). She is pictured with her students and Principal Kasey Weishaar.


The Kansas Horizon Award program, sponsored by the Kansas State Department of Education, identifies and recognizes representatives of excellent teaching in the elementary and secondary classrooms of the state. The award program honors exemplary first-year teachers who perform in a way that distinguishes them as outstanding.


The Horizon Award program is a regional competition. The regions correspond to the state's four U.S. congressional districts. The Kansas State Department of Education appoints regional selection committees responsible for reviewing the nomination forms and selecting four elementary classroom teachers and four secondary classroom teachers per region for a total of 32 teachers.

 
Heckathorne will now join the Kansas Exemplary Educators Network (KEEN), a network of educators from around the state who have been formally recognized for exemplary performance. Members of KEEN have an opportunity to network with other outstanding educators and participate in a number of professional development programs throughout the year.


The 2014 Kansas Horizon Award recipients will be recognized at a special luncheon during the Kansas Exemplary Educator Network (KEEN) State Education Conference at the end of February.


The mission of the Kansas Horizon Award program is to recognize exemplary first-year teachers who perform in a way that distinguishes them as outstanding.


Qualifications for the Horizon Award

Novice teachers who have successfully completed their first year of teaching are eligible to be recognized. Applications will be submitted by October 11 of their second year of teaching, and recognition will occur in January/February of their second year. The criteria for this award are:

  • Nominee will have successfully completed his or her first year of teaching in a prekindergarten through grade 12 Kansas school accredited by the State Board of Education.
  • Nominee will be a full-time classroom teacher.
  • Nominee will be responsible for the assessment of students, assignment of grades, preparation of lesson plans, parent-teacher conferences, discipline, attendance, and other daily educational tasks.
  • Nominee will have performed in a way that distinguishes him or her from other novice teachers.
  • Nominee will be selected by the school district superintendent and building principal.
1/13/14 > DHS Students Place in Technology Competition

 

De Soto High School claimed third place overall in the Kansas Class 4A school category at the fourth annual Competitive Technology Event at Johnson County Community College. The competition was held Thursday, January 9, in Overland Park.

This is the first year DHS participated in the event and was rewarded by having seven students place in the top four of their categories. Nearly 600 students from 24 high schools in Johnson, Douglas and Miami counties vied in individual and team events.  DHS winners are:

MelindaSanchez and Kaitlin Clough - 1st place Advertising Graphic Design

Amand Gill and Alex Lewis - 4th place Advertising Graphic Design

Sydney Webb - 2nd place Ceramics

Shelby Philbrook - 2nd place Photography

Erin Sullivan -3rd place Photography

 

Other categories include: architecture, engineering, information technology, dragster design, Computer-aided Design (CAD), problem solving, fashion, film, flight, music, robotics, transportation and video production.

 

The competition is based on the state of Kansas career clusters with the intent of helping prepare students for future possible careers in these areas.

 

 1st place Advertising Graphic Design by Melinda Sanchez and Kaitlin Clough

 

1st place design Great Gatsby 1st place design Mr. Wildcat 1st place design Mask

12/20/13 > MCMS Students Collect Books for Charity

 Click image to enlargeClick image to enlarge

Click images to enlarge

Mill Creek Middle School seventh grade students gathered nearly 1,000 books for the charity, "Building a Bookshelf" on December 19.  This astounding amount was collected from only 230 students.  The 7 th graders also wrote book marks for each donated book, categorized the books, and packed them up for transport.

"We are truly overwhelmed with the kindness and thoughtfulness of our students and their desire to fulfill our school motto of 'Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve'", said Stacia Walters, communication arts teacher. 

According to the Building a Bookshelf organization, "Getting books into children's hands is the key to what we do. Statistics show that middle income neighborhoods have a ratio of books per child of 13 to 1; in low-income neighborhoods, the ratio is one age-appropriate book for every 300 children.  Eighty percent of preschool and after-school programs serving low-income populations have no age-appropriate books for their children. Our mission is to improve these statistics." 

Learn more about Building a Bookshelf:  http://www.buildingabookshelf.org  

12/19/13 > A Lesson in Civics and Giving at Prairie Ridge

By: Erika Tallan, KCTV5

>> WATCH THE STORY FROM KCTV5

 Fourth graders at Prairie Ridge Elementary School in Shawnee collected enough items to fill over 130 holiday stockings for shut-ins. Students asked parents and teachers for donations of personal-sized tissues, mints, soaps and other small treats to stuff the stockings.

The students included hand-written notes along with the goodies. "I really, really do like doing this because it makes me feel good," said Grace Emerson, a fourth grader at Prairie Ridge.

The project was part of an integrated civics lesson. "Our fourth grade team is making an impact and helping to reach those kiddos to hopefully become good citizens and continue to think about others all year long," said fourth grade teacher Kelly Mulvihill.

The stockings will be delivered next week by Meals-on-Wheels, an organization which serves those who cannot leave their house.... View the full story from KCTV5 >> http://bit.ly/18BC5ym

 

12/19/13 > Clear Creek volunteers bear gifts for children in need

'Locker fairies' bear gifts, including BackSnacks, for children in need
December 18
By LAURA BAUER, The Kansas City Star

>> Read the full story from The Kansas City Star

The halls are eerily quiet for a school of more than 500 kids.

And it's now, when the children at Clear Creek Elementary in Shawnee are occupied with morning math or history, or writing words on whiteboards, that Amy Freeman and Erin Krehbiel like to strike.

They wheel their loaded cart down the hall, stopping at lockers and finding room in backpacks for enough food to get a couple of dozen kids through the weekend. Others - not involved in the Harvesters food program - also get a little treat, with a note wishing them a good weekend.

If the moms must talk to each other, they whisper. When they open the lockers, they're careful not to make a lot of clacking noise.

This is secret stuff: the work of the school's "locker fairies."

"We don't want the kids (who get BackSnacks) to stick out - that's why it's important they see us getting into all of the lockers," Krehbiel said minutes before the two started their Friday delivery routine.

>> Read the full story from The Kansas City Star

12/18/13 > DHS Senior Writes Winning Essay

 

Bailey Rendzia, senior at De Soto High School, won first place for her essay in a writing competition sponsored by the Bill of Rights Institute. Rendzia entered the contest called, The Constitution. Students were given a statement prompt, chose a stance, and then defended the position in a 500 word essay. First place winners are awarded $800.  

As a student in a Constitutional Law class at DHS, Rendzia was encouraged to enter the contest by her teacher, Michael Runyan. "I offer the contest to students when they fit our curriculum as a replacement to our regular essay as an incentive to get them to enter the contest," said Runyan. "I believe that she did most of this on her own. That is the real story, her personal initiative and hard work."

The contest judges, selected by the Bill of Rights Institute, evaluated the entries based on: adherence to the submission guidelines, originality, organization, writing style, and depth of analysis. For more information visit:  http://billofrightsinstitute.org/kansascontests .

12/18/13 > Students Collect for Charity

 

During the week of December 9-13, the young adults at ACCESS House collected over 6,000 items to donate to "Giving the Basics", an organization which provides those in need with necessities like toothpaste, shampoo, diapers, and other personal hygiene products.

Adult Cooperative Community Education Service Support (ACCESS) is a program designed to help prepare students with disabilities, 18-21 years of age, to function effectively and independently in their community.


 

By contacting friends, family, and school staff to ask for donations, the students had a chance to use their communication and social skills. "The response from the young adults' families and school staff was amazing!  Every district building donated items or money to this wonderful cause," said Belinda O'Dell Transition/ACCESS Facilitator.  The students used the donated money to shop for items for the drive and practiced their money handling skills in the process. 

 

Once the items were collected, ACCESS students delivered the donations to the Giving the Basics warehouse located in the caves in Kansas City, Missouri.  They participated in sorting, counting and boxing up the items collected. The items will be distributed to local charities to be given directly to families and individuals in need. 

 

 "Afterward, we celebrated a successful giving and learning experience with eating out for lunch!  It was such a great opportunity for our students to see how a little bit of hard work can make such a huge difference in the lives of those less fortunate than themselves.  This was truly an amazing experience every step of the way," said O'Dell.  

 

"Giving the Basics" organization is active in Kansas and Missouri. For information about this human dignity program, go to: www.givingthebasics.org

12/17/13 > Mill Creek Student Wins Learning Quest Essay Contest

 

Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes awarded seventh grade Mill Creek Middle School student Ally Barnhart a $1,000 prize for a Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program account at a school assembly on Tuesday, December 17. Pictured with Ally is State Treasurer Ron Estes and her teacher, Stacia Walters.

For the first time this year, ten runner-up essays from the Learning Quest Essay Contest were chosen by judges to be entered in a People's Choice Contest on the Learning Quest Facebook page. Out of the five seventh-grade contenders, Barnhart's essay received the most public votes, earning her the title of People's Choice Winner.

The goal of the Learning Quest Essay Contest, open to all seventh and eighth grade students across the state, is to inspire them to think about their future and the importance of higher education. It also encourages families to start saving for college early.

This year's essay contest asked students 'If you had $2,000 to invest in your interests, how you would spend the money to better prepare yourself for the future?' Essays were judged on creativity, originality of content and clarity. This year, over 1,000 essays were received from across the state of Kansas.

"The essay contest has been a great way to encourage seventh and eighth graders to reflect on their future goals and think through how they may achieve them," said Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes. "I continue to encourage the young men and women of Kansas to think about their future, the education necessary for their desired careers, and what they can start doing today to achieve their dreams."

Mill Creek Middle School also received a $1,000 prize from Learning Quest thanks to Barnhart's winning essay.

The Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program was created to help families invest for their child's continued education after high school whether at a traditional four-year college, community college, or technical/vocational school. Kansas taxpayers can receive a Kansas tax deduction up to $3,000 per child ($6,000 if married, filing jointly) on contributions to Learning Quest or any other state-sponsored 529 plan.

Ron Estes is the 39th state treasurer for the state of Kansas and is the first state-wide elected official from the city of Wichita in 20 years. He was elected to serve as the Midwest Regional Vice President for the National Association of State Treasurers 2012-2013, and now serves on the College Savings Plans Network Executive Board. Ron has also served as Sedgwick County Treasurer and as the treasurer for the Kansas County Treasurers' Association. He was born in Topeka and is a fifth- generation Kansan. His family continues to run a farm in Osage County. Ron and his wife, Susan, have three children.

For more information: Ashley Murdie Director of Communications 785.296.3538 ashley@treasurer.ks.gov

12/16/13 > USD 232 presents first Partner in Education Award

 

Huhtamaki, Inc., of De Soto, Kansas recognized by Board of Education

The Board of Education of Unified School District No. 232, Johnson County, KS, presented its first Partner in Education Award to Huhtamaki, Inc., during a special ceremony on Monday, December 9, 2014.

USD 232 created the award to recognize businesses and organizations that work with the school district to provide students amazing life opportunities and real-world experiences. "We are pleased to recognize Huhtamaki as the first recipient of our Partner in Education Award," said Superintendent Doug Sumner. "Huhtamaki is a pillar in our business community and continues to be a strong supporter of our great schools." Accepting the award on behalf of Huhtamaki was Amy Peterson, human resources and safety manager.

The company was selected for the Partner in Education Award for creating an apprenticeship program for high school seniors. During the winter months of 2013, Huhtamaki approached the school district with the idea of creating a unique opportunity for students. The company said it was experiencing a challenge in finding skilled machinists to employ. This labor shortage triggered the idea of an apprenticeship program in order to grow a new generation of skilled machinists.

Working with high school counselors, Amy Peterson, human resources and safety manager for Huhtamaki, and Norman Kump, machine shop manager at Huhtamaki, presented the apprenticeship program in May 2013 to students at De Soto High School. As a result of that presentation and an interview process, Huhtamaki hired Isaac Garrison, a senior at De Soto High School.

If Garrison remains with the apprenticeship program, the company will pay for his formal training at an area technical college following his graduation in May 2014 with a bright and promising career with a growing international company.

Superintendent Doug Sumner was joined by Board Member Bill Fletcher in presenting the award to Amy Peterson. The Board of Education also recognized Senior Isaac Garrison for his participation in the apprenticeship program.

PHOTO
Pictured left to right: Superintendent Doug Sumner, Amy Peterson (Huhtamaki), Isaac Garrison, and Board Member Bill Fletcher.

About Huhtamaki

Huhtamaki, Inc. produces the most recognizable consumer goods packaging and foodservice products, as well as the CHINET® line of premium single-use tableware. Huhtamaki's North American segment is home to 16 production units in the United States and Mexico with more than 3,200 employees. This segment serves local markets with Chinet® disposable tableware, packaging for consumer goods and foodservice packaging. Corporate offices are located in De Soto, KS. The growth of Huhtamaki in America is largely due to the acquisition of established companies like Sealright and the Keyes Fibre Company in the late 1990s. The Chinet® brand traces its roots back to 1903 and inventor Martin Keyes, whose molded fiber technology laid the foundation for the Keyes Fibre Company in Waterville, ME where the famous product is still made today. >> http://www2.us.huhtamaki.com/home

12/12/13 > Graduation Rates


The Kansas State Department of Education measures graduation rates for every school district.  This information is released annually on each district's report card. Below are the most recent graduation rates for USD #232, Blue Valley, Olathe, Shawnee Mission, Gardner-Edgerton, and Spring Hill. 

 5 Year Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rates

Blue Valley = 96.5%

De Soto USD 232 = 96%

Olathe = 92.9%

Gardner-Edgerton = 92.5%

Shawnee Mission = 92.0%

Spring Hill = 46.5%

Kansas (state average) = 84.4%   
 
 
   
The US Department of Education passed regulations requiring all states to calculate graduation using a 4-year adjusted cohort rate. In addition, states were given the option to use an extended-year rate; Kansas chose to calculate a 5-year rate.

The 5-year adjusted cohort graduation rate is the percent of students who were first time 9th graders in 2007-2008 that graduated five years later (by September 30, 2012). 

The 5-year adjusted cohort graduation rate formula is as follows:
# 2012 graduates (# of cohort members earning a regular HS diploma by Sept. 30, 2012) X 100% = rate
# 1st time 9th graders in fall 2007 plus transfers in minus students who transfer out,
emigrate, or die during 2011-2012, 2010-2011, 2009-2010, 2008-2009 and 2007-2008

12/11/13 > District energy conservation program saves $464,000 in costs

School district energy conservation program saves $464,000 in costs

The Board of Education received information that its efforts to reduce the use of energy are generating positive results. Since the conservation program began, USD 232 avoided more than $464,000 in energy costs. The news was shared with board members at its regular meeting on Monday, December 9.

According to Dwight Stoppel, energy specialist, the conservation program is working thanks to the district's maintenance and HVAC team, along with employees in all buildings. The program was launched in 2012 when the Board of Education entered into a partnership with Cenergistic, a company which specializes in organizational behavior-based energy conservation for school systems, higher education, large churches and healthcare organizations.

"We determined to undertake this conservation effort because energy costs are rising and our utility costs are second only to salaries in our annual budget," said Steve Deghand, director of facilities.  "And Cenergistic has a national record of reducing energy costs for organizations like ours. In fact, they guarantee savings."

The goal was simple, yet challenging: dramatically reduce energy consumption and therefore the cost of utilities without affecting the district's educational goals. Conservation efforts will continue throughout the future because taxpayers, faculty, staff, parents and students deserve to see every dollar possible sent to the classroom.

Timeline

  • August to November 2012: The first four months focused on the implementation of program guidelines. This included training, equipment settings and communicating information about the program.
  • December 2012 to December 2013 marks the end of the first full year of the program.

Energy Use

  • Reduced electricity consumption by 2,430,913 kWh.
  • Reduced water consumption by 212,000 gallons.
  • Increased natural gas consumption by by 5,150 Mcf.
                Click on images to enlarge graphs.
               Electricity UseWater ConsumptionNatural Gas Use

Avoided Energy Costs

  • Due to reduced consumption, the district avoided more than $464,000 in energy costs.

Expected Savings

  • Cenergistic estimates the school district will save $4.4 million over a ten year period.

The energy conservation program is funded solely and rapidly by the savings it generates, allowing the school district to reserve saved energy dollars for other educational priorities.

The district's energy specialist, Dwight Stoppel, conducts energy audits to ensure that students and teachers are comfortable during class time and scheduled activities, and that energy is used only as necessary. Stoppel is also responsible for helping to motivate everyone in the system to use energy wisely, keep classrooms comfortable, and practice smart energy strategies. This powerful, proven process turns recommendations into real savings, changing consumption behavior by focusing on four critical components:

  • Assessment + Planning
  • Coordination + Communication
  • Leadership + Focus
  • Measurement + Verification

Every energy use point throughout the organization is analyzed with continual follow up to ensure that energy is used as necessary, but never wasted in classrooms, offices, athletic facilities, kitchens, or other areas of the system. The program, working with district maintenance and HVAC teams, analyze optimum practices for heating and air conditioning systems, ventilation rates, periods of occupancy, humidity, transition to unoccupied buildings, circulation pumps, and more.

To measure and verify the program's success, the school district tracks energy consumption using an independent, third party energy-accounting software. The software compares current energy use to a baseline period and calculates the amount of energy that would have been used if conservation and management practices had not been implemented. It adjusts for weather, equipment changes, and variations in building use, according to industry standards. By analyzing consumption and energy use patterns, the software helps the energy specialist quickly identify and correct areas that need immediate attention.

To learn more about the Energy Savings Program, visit www.usd232.org/energy.

To learn more about Cenergistic, vist www.cenergistic.com.

12/10/13 > USD 232 leading Johnson County

 

2013 School Report Card Debuts New Annual Measurable Objectives

USD 232 Leading Johnson County

The Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) released its first look at the 2013 Kansas School Report Card achievements based on the four Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs) approved through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Flexibility Waiver. The new system provides Kansas a multi-dimensional look at student achievement based on academic performance, academic growth, proficiency gap reduction and reduction in the percentage of students scoring below proficiency, rather than the single percent proficient previously used known as Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).

 

USD 232
Based on the most recent Annual Measurable Objectives, USD 232 is among the top performing school districts in Johnson County - first in Reading, second in Math, and second with the average ACT Composite Score.

 

"We are proud of the outstanding academic results achieved by our students and the equally impressive efforts of our staff whose remarkable commitment made these results achievable," said Superintendent Doug Sumner. "While we are thrilled to celebrate this success, our efforts to meet increasingly rigorous standards will continue as we maintain our focus on preparing students for College and Career Readiness. While the road ahead will require even more from us, the strength of a highly engaged student body, innovative staff and a supportive community provide confidence that our efforts will continue to yield positive results."

 

READING

 
 

District/Entity

% Proficient

1

De Soto USD 232

96.5

2

Gardner Edgerton

96.4

3

Blue Valley

95.6

4

Olathe

93.7

5

KC Catholic Diocese

93.5

6

Spring Hill

90.6

7

Shawnee Mission

90.5

 

Kansas

85.7

 

 

MATH

 

 

District/Entity

% Proficient

1

Gardner Edgerton

97.0

2

De Soto USD 232

94.5

3

Olathe

91.4

4

Blue Valley

91.4

5

KC Catholic Diocese

89.6

6

Shawnee Mission

88.3

7

Spring Hill

84.1

 

Kansas

79.5

 

ACT Scores

 
 

District/Entity

ACT Average Composite

1

Blue Valley

25.0

2

De Soto USD 232

23.7

 

KC Catholic Diocese

23.7

 

Olathe

23.7

5

Shawnee Mission

23.6

6

Gardner Edgerton

23.0

7

Spring Hill

21.9

 

Kansas

21.8

Achievement Measures

The Assessment Performance Index (API), the new accountability system, awards successively higher points each time a student moves into a higher proficiency level rather than focusing only on those students who could be moved over the proficiency line established by No Child Left Behind.  The API is calculated by assigning points to each of the top four proficiency levels in fixed and equal increments of 250 points.  At the lowest performance level (Academic Warning) no points are awarded, Approaching Standards awards 250 points, Meets Standards awards 500 points, Exceeds Standards awards 750 points and Exemplary awards 1,000 points.  Therefore, a school can earn up to 1,000 points for each student who advances from the lowest proficiency level to the highest proficiency level. The point increments are uniform so that there are no incentives to focus exclusively on those students at the threshold of proficiency, while neglecting those at the very bottom and the very top.  Schools are rewarded for maintaining students at the highest levels possible. 

 

 

Student Growth Measures

The Student Growth Percentiles (SGPs) model adopted by Kansas will measure each student's academic trajectory on state assessments. The model uses easy-to-understand percentiles and offers realistic year-to-year goals for each student. Based on the SGP model, Kansas has established a Growth AMO target that requires schools to fall within the top half of the distribution of all school growth medians in order to meet the AMO target.

 

Gap Reduction Measures

Achievement gaps in Kansas will be identified by comparing building and district performance against a state benchmark.  Both building and district performance and state benchmarks will be calculated by using the API.  Gap calculations will be performed separately for math and reading. State benchmarks for math and reading are based on the building scoring at the 70th percentile on the API, which was determined to be an ambitious but achievable level of performance for all buildings and districts.  This benchmark is then compared to the API score for each building and district's lowest performing 30 percent of students. The difference between the state benchmark and the lowest performing 30 percent of students in each building can then be ranked and used to identify those schools which have the most pronounced state-level achievement gaps.  This system provides each building and district with a customized Gap AMO to know the progress they must make each year.

 

Reducing Non-Proficient Measures

The goal of the Reducing Non-Proficient AMO is to help schools chart their progress towards reducing the number of non-proficient students by half in annual increments spanning six years. Separate proficiency AMOs will be reported for the All Students group and all identifiable subgroups at the building, district and State levels. Reducing Non-Proficient AMOs will be reported separately for math and reading assessments.

Under these new measures, it is expected that schools will achieve at least one of the four AMOs in reading, at least one of the four AMOs in math, assessment participation must be greater than or equal to 95 percent for All Students and all subgroups, and at the high school level, must make graduation goals for All Students and all subgroups.

12/09/13 > School Report Cards: 2012-13 School Year
Standard of Excellence

Report Cards

Thank you for your interest in our schools.  Students participate in the Kansas Assessments Program each year to measure academic progress. Over the past several years, our students have made significant progress in meeting the challenge. The work of our dedicated teachers and staff is reflected in the improvement of assessment scores by our students.

The report cards provide data for each grade level participating in the assessments.  The links below take you directly to each report, which is provided by the Kansas State Department of Education.   


REPORT CARDS


> District report card  

> Listed by Schools    

   

11/21/13 > Students Prepare Fall Feast

 

Once again, the students of ACCESS House transformed a simple gym into a restaurant for a day. The Second Annual "Our House Bistro Fall Feast" was offered to parents and building staff on November 21, at the District Service Center.   
 
The menu included turkey with all the trimmings, which diners ordered off a menu presented to
them by a hostess. After being seated, a waiter promptly arrived to take their order which was sent directly to the kitchen to be prepared.

What makes this so special is that the hostess, waiter, and kitchen staff are all part of the ACCESS program. The Adult Cooperative Community Education Service and Support program is designed to help prepare students with disabilities, 18-21 years of age, to function effectively and independently in their community.

"The Fall Feast is one of the young adult's favorite events of the year. It provides the students with the opportunity to practice not only their shopping and cooking skills, but also to experience a fairly realistic restaurant setting and to demonstrate the skills necessary to work in a restaurant environment.  From the hostess and servers to line cooks and table bussers, the students gain practical knowledge and apply that knowledge in a manner that also allows them to give back to their school community," said Belinda O'Dell, Transition/ACCESS Facilitator.

The feast was considered a great success - the guests left satisfied after eating a delicious meal and the students were left with the satisfaction of a job well done.

 

Connor Bickle and Matthew Dujakovich

Connor Bickle and Matthew Dujakovich

11/21/13 > Cross Country Coaches Honored

 

Mark Chipman, Mill Valley High School, has been named All-Metro Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year and Chris McAfee, De Soto High School, was named All-Metro Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year. These two coaches were selected by the Greater Kansas City Cross Country Coaches Association in order to recognize their accomplishments and contributions to the sport of cross country. They will be honored at a banquet and awards ceremony on November 24, at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park, KS.  

McAfee coached the DHS girls cross country team to the 4A state tile this year. Chipman's MVHS girls and boys teams both placed third in the 5A state meet.

The goal of the GKCCCCA is to best represent the interests of coaches, athletes and the sport of cross country in the Greater Kansas City area.

 Mark Chipman
Coach Mark Chipman

Chris McAffe
Coach Chris McAfee

11/21/13 > Students Selected for Honor Choir

De Soto High School senior Maddy Torline, sophomore Rex Templin, Mill Valley junior Henry Hanson and sophomores Rachel Lamb and Allen Weinert, were named to the Northeast Kansas Music Educators District Honor Choir. To receive this distinction, they competed against more than 500 students from more than 90 schools in this part of the state.

Students were required to perform three selections in addition to sight-singing in blind auditions with four judges. Of the 260 singers selected for the choir, only 17 were from 4A schools or smaller, with the remaining spots going to students from 5A & 6A schools.

"This is a difficult audition and is quite an honor to be selected," said Sheree Stoppel, choir director at MVHS. "The top scoring singers in each section are chosen for the state honor choir which meets at the KMEA Convention in Wichita in late February."

This year DHS freshmen, Katey Hinds, Mackenzie Smith, Sophie Straight, and Cameron Webb were selected for the NEK Middle Level Honor Choir. Also selected were Monticello Trails Middle School students: Kileen Beran, Karan Kaur, Elaina Smith, John States, Clarie Stephens and William Tenner. Selection is based on audition recordings submitted for judging.

The honor choirs will be performing at the NEKMEA Choral Festival on December 7, at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School in Shawnee, KS. Mary Etta Copeland is the choir director for DHS and Bob Velaquez directs choir at MTMS.

11/20/13 > Students Selected for All-State Honor Band

 

Lexington Trails Middle School and De Soto High School have captured 13 chairs in the John Phillips Sousa Junior All-State Honor Band. Monticello Trails Middle School and Mill Valley High School add three more musicians for a grand total of 16 students representing USD 232. The band will perform a concert at the University of Kansas Lied Center on January 25, 2014.

The audition process began in July with the audition music posted online for students to download and learn. Students then made audition tapes that had to be submitted to a review committee by October. The tapes were evaluated in November and the band selected.

The Kansas John Philip Sousa Junior Honor Band is a non-profit independent arm of The John Phillip Sousa Foundation. It is organized and administrated by Kansas band directors seeking to provide an honor band experience for young musicians in the State of Kansas. The annual honor band is sanctioned by the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) and supports the eligibility and participation guidelines of both KSHSAA and the Kansas Music Educators Association (KMEA) which involves the same guidelines and expectations for all Kansas students who wish to participate in any KSHSAA or KMEA sponsored music activities.

 

Blue Band:

Kayla Deghand - 2nd flute, DHS

Sam Howe - 3rd bassoon, DHS

Kyler Gish - 1st bari sax, LTMS

Logan Patterson - 6th trumpet, DHS

Ian Ahaus -1st trumpet, MVHS

Trenton Biggerstaff - 9th trumpet, LTMS

Jared Baruth - 4th trombone, LTMS

Zach Yarbrough - 1st euphonium, LTMS

Matt Lynn - 4th tuba, DHS

Red Band:

Jared Carlton - 1st bassoon, MTMS
Evan Sullivan - 2nd euphonium, DHS

Zaid Gratz- 5th percussion, DHS

Adam Gillette - 5th trumpet, MVHS

Camille Poulain - 10th trumpet, LTMS

Jaxon Arthur - 17th trumpet, LTMS

Patrick Whitaker- 1st tuba, LTMS

 

 

 

 

11/19/13 > DHS annual Green/White Wrestling Challenge
De Soto High School

De Soto High School Wrestling Presents

Annual Green/White Challenge

Come see DHS Wildcat Wrestling and De Soto Kids Club wrestling!


When: Friday, November 22

Meal will be provided by DHS Booster Club, $5 only
Proceeds from the meal will benefit After Prom at DHS.

Time: Meal - Serving begins at 5:00 p.m.

Wrestling begins at 6:00 p.m.

Enter through the northwest Event Entrance at De Soto High School
35000 W. 91st Street, De Soto, KS

11/19/13 > High School Students named to NEKMEA District Honor Band

 

DHS and MVHS Students named to District Honor Band 

De Soto and Mill Valley High Schools were well represented at the Northeast Kansas Music Educators Association's District Honor Band auditions held November 16, at Olathe East High School. All of the Honor Bands will perform at Blue Valley High School on December 7. Matt Bradford is the band director at DHS and Deb Steiner directs the MVHS band.

 

NEKMEA Honor Band - De Soto High School 4A

Jaycie Thaemert  - flute, 4th chair
Erin Sullivan-flute, 5th chair
Keyri Serrano - flute, alternate
Madison Kerr - clarinet, 1st chair
Jessica Stanton - clarinet, 5th chair
Brenton Michalek - trumpet, 3rd chair
Erick Sherman - trumpet, 5th chair

Megan Wilkerson - French horn, 4th chair
Alexander Michalek- trombone, 1st chair
Ethan Aubrey-Mitchell - tuba, 1st chair

Connor Kennard - percussion, 1st chair
Samuel Seidl - percussion, 2nd chair
Austin Smith - percussion, 5th chair

NEKMEA Honor Band - Mill Valley High School 5A-6A

Maragret Hempleman - Flute, 6th chair

Tristan O'Brien - Tuba, 6th chair

Kate Schau - Euphonium - 1st chair 

 

>Learn more about Honor Band

http://www.ksmea.org/ne/?section=hsband

 

11/18/13 > Remembering Our Fallen exhibit on display at high schools

 

The Remembering Our Fallen Exhibit will on display at Mill Valley High School the week of November 18 and at De Soto High School the week of December 2. The traveling exhibit honors more than 70 U.S. military servicemembers from Kansas who lost their lives in the line of duty in a war zone, while in uniform, since September 11, 2001.

 

This is an exhibit that will be displayed at several high schools across the state of Kansas. It was created to honor those military servicemembers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Its legacy will be that these men and women will never be forgotten and that their names will be remembered.

 

You can learn more about the exhibit at http://rememberingourfallen.org . The Remembering Our Fallen display is produced and maintained by Patriotic Productions. The organization is dedicated to honoring our military, including those who have died, while serving the United States of America.

 

The exhibit is open to the community. During school hours, please check in at the front desk.

After hours at Mill Valley High School (week of Nov. 18):
Tuesday - Thursday, 3pm to 8pm
Friday to 5pm

 

After hours at De Soto High School (week of Dec. 2)

Monday - Thursday, 3pm to 8pm

Friday to 5pm


 

The exhibit was created by Bill & Evonne Williams of Patriotic Productions in Omaha, Nebraska and is sponsored by Bellevue University.

 

Bellevue University is a private, non-profit University in Bellevue, Nebraska.  Founded in 1966, with the charter of serving our military heroes, it has been a military-friendly school for 45 years.  

 

 

 

 

11/14/13 > District seniors recognized as Kansas Honor Scholars

 

Seniors from De Soto and Mill Valley High Schools were recognized as Kansas Honor Scholars at an award ceremony and reception held on November 11, at Blue Valley North High School in Overland Park, Kansas.

The Kansas Honors Program, a Kansas University tradition since 1971, is designed to promote academic excellence in secondary education, to reward high school seniors for their hard work and dedication, and to support Kansas communities.

All high-school seniors who rank academically in the top 10 percent of their class are invited to attend along with their parents, principals, counselors and superintendents. Each Kansas Honor Scholar receives a certificate and a special edition of Webster's New College Dictionary, and has a chance to qualify for a $4,000 scholarship  to KU.

De Soto High School Honor Scholars (click image to enlarge)
DHS Honor Scholars

Front Row: Rebekah Burgweger, Erin Sullivan, Alexandra Deghand, Carlie Stenzel,  Breanna Putman, Madison Cater.  Back Row: Jennifer Schneider, Kaylee Asher, Callie Lane, Mackenzie Lancaster, Shelby Philbrook, Nathaniel Hess, William Walker, Mitchell Gehrt, Michael Buffkin

Not pictured: Elaina Grantham, Makenzie Hill.


 

Mill Valley High School Honor Scholars (click image to enlarge)
MVHS Honor Scholars

Front row (left to right) Alexis Crispin, Bailey Parke, Amanda Curtright, Abigail Ford, Mariah Kalma, Alyssa Hobson, Jasmine Hitt, Alexia Oehlert, Martha Nguyen, Logan Robertson, Linzi Murray, Kylie Lewis.Back row (left to right) Victoria Kilkenny, Caroline Peters, Gabrielle Fangman, Connor Oswald, Ryan Fullerton, Mastin Tapp, Chad Craig, Graham Wilson, Davis Cantwell, Jason Biesma, Arran Rounds, Erick Guzman.Not pictured: Hannah Billings, Taylor Cowan, Maegann Parsons, Michaela Remijio, Brooklyn Shaw.

11/14/13 > Students selected for Honor Choir

Clarie Stephens, Karan Kaur

Claire Stephens and Karan Kaur , 8th graders at Monticello Trails Middle School, have been selected for the Kansas Choral Director Association Treble Honor Choir. From over 700 audition tapes sent in, only 250 students are chosen to be part of this prestigious group.

"This is a great honor for MTMS and the choir program. It is very exciting to honor students in the fine arts," said Monticello Middle School principal, Brian Schwanz.

The KCDA Treble Honor Choir will perform at the Kansas Music Educators Association Annual Convention on February 28, 2013, at Century II Convention Center in Wichita. Bob Velazquez is the choral director at MTMS.

11/12/13 > Athlete puts team above self

 

Shoes Optional

Akin puts team above self after injury and completes cross country race

The cross country teams at both De Soto and Mill Valley High Schools achieved great success at the state level this year. The DHS girls' team won first in the 4A division and the MVHS girls' and boys' teams both placed third in the 5A division. This is a great accomplishment for these students and underscores their commitment to their sport and their teams.

As any athlete knows, in order to excel in a sport there needs to be a high level of determination, dedication and drive to reach the top. Sometimes there are students who work through exceptionally difficult circumstances to help the team reach their goal. Amber Akin of Mill Valley High School is one such student athlete.

Many may know that Akin, a sophomore, finished ninth at the state cross country event on November 2 at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence. What they may not know is the heart she showed in pulling out that ninth place finish. Akin was with the lead pack for most of the race before she was unintentionally spiked by an opposing runner. The spike put a cut in the back of her heel, and she had to run the last 1.5 miles with only one shoe.  Her effort allowed the MVHS team to place third by a margin of two points to secure its best finish in the history of the school.

"This is exactly the type of effort we look for in athletics, said David Ewers, Associate Principal and Activities Director at MVHS. "It showed determination and a positive reaction to an adverse situation.  Amber put the team ahead of herself and did not allow a bad situation to ruin her day. When asked what was going through her mind when the incident occurred Akin replied, "I was freaking out on the inside. I didn't really know what to do so I just kept going."That sounds like good advice for us all.

Akin's achievement is just one example of the commitment to excellence that so many of the students in USD 232 demonstrate. Students are given opportunities to perform above and beyond their own expectations in their classes as well as in many extracurricular activities. The exceptional coaches, teachers and staff who support the students know how important teamwork is and what it can accomplish. Results are witnessed every day in students like Amber, who give their all not only in sports but in every challenge they face.

>>Read more in The Kansas City Star

11/05/13 > Cross Country Teams Storm State Meets

 

State Champs! - DHS Girls Cross Country

The De Soto High School girls' cross country team won the Kansas Class 4A state title in Wamego on November 2.  In addition to taking state, this year's team also won first place in league and regionals. The DHS boys cross country team took fourth overall at the state meet. Both teams are coached by Chris McAfee.

Mill Valley High School

Both the girls and boys cross country teams at Mill Valley High School captured third place at the Kansas Class 5A state meet at Rim Rock Farm on November 2.  Derek Meeks and Amber Akin finished in the top ten and earned the prestigious designation of All-State. The teams are coached by Mark Chipman.

Photo: DHS

Left to Right: Coach Katie Simecka, Morgan Darter, Jaycie Thaemert, Kate Barger, Rebekah Burgweger, Meredith Wolfe, Brianna Jenson, Annie Schmucker, Coach  Chris McAfee.
DHS girls cross country team


Photo: MVHS

Mill Valley boys' and girls' cross country teams with third place trophies - coached by Mark Chipman.
MVHS cross country teams
 

11/05/13 > Mill Valley students shine at regional video competition

 

Students from Mill Valley High School in Shawnee, Kansas, captured several awards at the annual DUTV Video Competition and Conference held on November 2 - 3 at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri.

The year's event brought together students and teachers from 23 schools in the Midwest and Southwest regions. The two-day competition and instructional event is designed to help students and teachers improve skills individually and as a team. Professional video producers were on hand to critique students' work and lead workshops on common production issues. Mill Valley High School students have participated in this video competition since its inception and have brought home awards every year. Cindy Swartz teaches Broadcast and Video Production at Mill Valley.

Winners are:

Madison Plouvier - 1st Place - Best Female Actor
Madison Plouvier

 

Riley McDonald - 3rd Place - News Writing
Riley McDonald

 

Caleb Latas, Jon Darby, Ty Smith, Riley McDonald, Alana Flinn, Sidney Szczygiel - 3rd Place - Midnight Madness Film
Midnight Madness Film

 

10/25/13 > DHS soccer team wins league title

 

The De Soto High School soccer team captured the 2013 Frontier League Championship on October 22. DHS defeated Spring Hill for the title by a score of 2-1. This is the second straight year for the Wildcats to win the league. The head coach is Darren Erpelding.

10/25/13 > Belmont Elementary Grows the Great Pumpkin Patch


Teachers transformed the pumpkins into literary characters

This is a story about the great pumpkin patch at Belmont Elementary. Thanks to the dream of a student and a little help from the community and his classmates, the pumpkins grew and are now transformed into famous literary characters.

You can't miss the great pumpkins when you walk into Belmont. Lining the hallway entrance and greeting students are Pumpkin Fancy Nancy, Pumpkin Harry Potter, and Pumpkin Curious George, just to name a few.

The tale begins about a year ago when third grade students were asked by their teachers to write a persuasive letter to their principal, Pam Hargrove. Their task was to convince Principal Hargrove to change some aspect of the school. One student in particular, Luke Koehler, decided to request a pumpkin patch at Belmont Elementary to be enjoyed by the entire school community.

Principal Hargrove read each and every letter and told the students to hang on to their dreams because they never know when the dreams might come true. In February 2013, Luke and his teacher, Holly Schreiber, learned about a grant opportunity from the Garden Club of Shawnee. Together, they worked on a grant request to purchase the materials to create Belmont's very own pumpkin patch. And wouldn't you know it? The Garden Club of Shawnee was so impressed with Luke's request, it funded the project.

With his plans in place, the pumpkin patch received a green light from the principal. Recognizing that one person could not complete this venture alone, Luke (who is now in fourth grade) and his teacher received help from classmates Lily Thompson, Ava Thompson, Zach White, their parents and Principal Hargrove. The hard work on the pumpkin patch began the last week of June. Belmont's custodial staff also got involved by helping water the pumpkin plants during the summer. 

The pumpkins grew and were harvested in October 2013 and that's when the transformation began. Belmont teachers decorated the pumpkins as their favorite literary characters like Fancy Nancy, The Lorax, Harry Potter, Olivia the Pig, Tacky the Penguin, and Curious George. Belmont students are voting for their favorite decorated pumpkin by donating non-perishable food. The pumpkin with the most food stacked next to it wins! The food will be donated during the holidays to help families in need in Johnson County.

You never know when dreams will come true. Sometimes you have to make plans, get others to believe in you, roll up your sleeves and plant a few seeds. Add a little care and nourishment and you, too, can reap a harvest of dreams. Just ask Luke.

Curious George & Tacky the PenguinOlivia the PigHarry Potter & The Lorax

 

10/24/13 > Mill Valley Broadcast team takes 2nd at KS State Fair



PHOTO - Pictured from left to right: Jacob Patterson, Savannah Rudicel, Ty Smith, Maridee Weber, Davis Cantwell.

The Mill Valley High School broadcast team of Jacob Patterson, Savannah Rudicel, Ty Smith, Maridee Weber, and Davis Cantwell took second place at the 2013 Kansas State Fair Broadcast Competition.  The award also includes a $50 cash prize for the media production program at Mill Valley.

 


 

The popular competition attracted 13 other Kansas high schools including Blue Valley West, Blue Valley Southwest, Chase County, Goddard, Hoisington, Parsons, Rose Hill, Rossville, Sterling, Wichita North, Wichita Southeast, and Winfield.

 


 

"This is the fourth year that we have participated," said Cindy Swartz, Broadcast and Video Production teacher. "Each year we are lucky to win an award and a cash prize.  I am proud of the students and their accomplishments."

10/24/13 > Mill Creek Middle School raises $3,750 at Dig Pink event

 

Mill Creek Middle School in Lenexa held its third annual Dig Pink event on October 10 and raised $3,750 to support breast cancer education, screening and treatment in the greater Kansas City area. The fundraiser featured carnival games, hair painting booths, special treats, raffle drawing for students, a silent auction and a musical performance. The night also featured volleyball games where school teams played against the teachers.

The money was donated to Susan G. Komen Foundation of Greater Kansas City. The organization provided t-shirts for students, breast cancer information for adults, and featured a guest speaker who is a cancer survivor.

10/24/13 > District High Schools Win Cross Country League Titles

 

De Soto and Mill Valley High Schools ran away with league titles at cross country meets held on October 17. The DHS girls' team won the 2013 Frontier League, their first league title since 2007.  In the Kaw Valley League, MVHS swept the team and individual titles. This was the boys' fifth straight Kaw Valley title and the girls' second. Many runners achieved personal bests.

DHS Varsity Girls  

Annie Schmucker

Brianna Jenson

Meredith Wolfe

Kate Barger

Jaycie Thaemert

Morgan Darter

Rebekah Burgweger


 

MVHS Varsity Girls

Amber Akin

Margo Wieschhaus

Kennedy Hoffman

Ellie Wilson

Ally Henderson

Mariah Kalma

Hollis Tharp

 

MVHS Varsity Boys 

Derek Meeks

Kurt Lovenstein

Callahan Eckardt

Connor Armstrong

Graham Wilson

CJ Meeks

Garret Fields

 


 

MVHS JV Girls

Sydney Hookstra

Brooke Wiebe

Holly Peterman

Meagann Parsons

Jackie Wurtz

Danielle Holt

Devin Ristau

Maddie Palmer

 

 

MVHS JV Boys

Max Jones

Brenden Tenner

Mitch Perkins

Brian Fitzsimmons

Seth Nolen

Drew Nelson

Bobby Hellon

Richard Loya

Ben Gillig

Talon Hilmes

Jazz Loffredo

Joey Pentola

10/17/13 > Teacher Keil Hileman included in book on classroom heroes

 

Teacher Keil Hileman, Monticello Trails, is featured in a new national coffee table book called American Teacher: Heroes in the Classroom. Hileman teaches Museum Connections and his archeology class is one of only two high school archeology courses in the country.

Hileman will take part in a public appearance to promote American Teacher: Heroes in the Classroom. He will speak Saturday, October 19 at 1:00 p.m. at the Barnes and Noble at Town Center Plaza store located at 119th Street and Roe in Leawood.

From the Kansas City Star

Three county educators included in book on heroes in the classroom By SARA BEANE The Star Updated: 2013-10-15T22:03:04Z
 October 15, 2013 > By SARA BEANE, Special to The Star

Most teachers don't go into the field of education for fame and fortune. But for three Johnson County teachers, fame seems to be finding them whether they like it or not.

Josh Anderson of Olathe Northwest High School, Ron Poplau of Shawnee Mission Northwest High and Keil Hileman of Monticello Trails Middle School in the De Soto School District are all featured in a new coffee table book called American Teacher: Heroes in the Classroom. The hardcover book sells for around $45 and can be found at Barnes and Noble bookstores.

>> Read more in the Kansas City Star

 

 

10/17/13 > DHS Marching Band Named Grand Champion

DHS Marching Band Named Grand Champion

The De Soto High School Wildcat Marching Band received the highest rating to be named 2013 Grand Champion at the 15th annual Baker University Marching Festival on October 16.

 

 

The competition is Class 1A to 5A marching festival where high school students can compete against other marching bands from Kansas and Missouri.  There were 15 bands that competed in two divisions. This year DHS earned the highest rating and won the Grand Champion Trophy.  In addition, the Wildcat drum line and color guard performed and also received a "1" rating.  The DHS band is under the direction of Matt Bradford.

10/16/13 > Student artwork selected for display at Board of Ed

 

Twelve students received an outstanding honor on October 14 ,2013, from the Board of Education. Their artwork was selected to be on permanent display at the Board of Education/Administration building in De Soto. Each year, art teachers select original works of art from among their students to become part of the permanent district collection. The following students received a creative achievement award from the Board of Education.

2013 Art Award Winners

Belmont Elementary - Caleb Kmiecik

Clear Creek Elementary - Sabrina Castle

Horizon Elementary - Lily Werner

Mize Elementary - Charlie Truelson

Prairie Ridge Elementary - Liam Watson

Riverview Elementary - Mackinley Fields

Starside Elementary - Eli Boehm

Lexington Trails Middle School - Fernanda Morales-Carrillo

Mill Creek Middle School - Tyler Orbin

Monticello Trails Middle School - Makenna Sharp

De Soto High School - Emily Churchwell

Mill Valley High School - Kelsey Winscott

Student art award winners
Back row L-R: Sabrina Castle, Charlie Truelson. Front row L-R: Caleb Kmiecik, Eli Boehm, Liam Watson, Mackinley Fields, Lily Werner.

Student art award winners

L-R: Tyler Orbin, Kelsey Winscott, Emily Churchwell, Fernanda Morales-Carrillo
Not pictured: Makenna Sharp

10/01/13 > Six Commended Students in 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program

Six Commended Students in 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program

The principals of De Soto High School and Mill Valley High School announced that six students have been named Commended Students in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program. A letter of Commendation from the schools and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), which conducts the program, will be presented by the principals to these scholastically talented seniors.

Commended Students in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program

  • Madeline Field - De Soto High School
  • Samantha Hurst - De Soto High School
  • Blake Bunner - Mill Valley High School
  • Brooks Danahy - Mill Valley High School
  • Graham Wilson - Mill Valley High School
  • Sydney Wilson - Mill Valley High School

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2014 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2014 competition by taking the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).

"The young men and women being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success," commented a spokesperson for NMSC. "These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation. We hope that this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success."

10/01/13 > MVHS senior named Outstanding Participant

MVHS senior named Outstanding Participant  


Senior Alyssa Hobson of Mill Valley High School is one of 3,100 Outstanding Participants in the National Achievement Scholarship Program being referred to U.S. colleges and universities. These students scored in the top three percent of more than 160,000 Black Americans who requested consideration in the 2014 National Achievement Program when they took the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).
 


Outstanding Participants being referred to higher education institutions have shown academic promise 
in the competition for Achievement Scholarship awards. The National Achievement Scholarship Program was initiated in 1964 specifically to honor academically promising Black American high school students.


The annual scholarship competition is conducted by National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), which also conducts the National Merit Scholarship Program that is open to all U.S. high school students.

9/12/13 > Space Academy helps educators step outside boundaries


By BETH LIPOFF, Special to The Kansas City Star


They may not be blasting off to Mars anytime soon, but teachers Amber Boyington and Meg Richard each spent a week this summer participating in the grueling Space Academy in Huntsville, Ala.

And already, their students are better off for it.

Boyington, a math teacher at Mill Creek Middle School in [Lenexa], and Richard, a seventh-grade science teacher at California Trail Middle School in Olathe, were chosen for the experience by Honeywell.

The program, called Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy, is a joint effort between Honeywell Hometown Solutions and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. The application asks teachers who apply for those spots how they use technology in their classrooms.

>> Read the full story in The Kansas City Star

 

 

9/10/13 > Two area teachers named finalists for Kansas Teacher of the Year


TOPEKA-Sept. 8, 2013- Brandi Leggett, a third-grade teacher at Prairie Ridge Elementary School in Shawnee (De Soto USD 232), and Jennifer R. Smith, an eighth-grade social studies teacher at Lakewood Middle School in Overland Park (Blue Valley USD 229), were named Region 3 finalists for the 2014 Kansas Teacher of the Year award today. This award recognizes excellent teaching in the elementary and secondary classrooms of the state.

The announcements were made during ceremonies at the Marriott Hotel in Overland Park on Sunday, September 8. As finalists for the Kansas Teacher of the Year distinction, Leggett and Smith each received a $2,000 cash award from Security Benefit, a major partner in the Kansas Teacher of the Year program. In addition, they are now eligible to be named Kansas Teacher of the Year, an award that will be announced during ceremonies in Wichita on Nov. 23.

Leggett and Smith were among six Teacher of the Year semi-finalists from Region 3, which covers the third U.S. congressional district. Other semi-finalists were Shauna A. Hammett, an elementary reading teacher at Shawanoe Elementary School in Shawnee Mission (Shawnee Mission USD 512); Elizabeth "Liz" Long, a first-grade teacher at Edgerton Elementary School (Gardner Edgerton USD 231); Jennifer Thomas, a ninth-grade science teacher at Turner High School in Kansas City (Turner USD 202); and Kelly Ulmer, an eighth-grade science teacher at Santa Fe Trail Middle School in Olathe (Olathe USD 233). Each of the semi-finalists received a red marble apple with a wooden base, compliments of The Master Teacher in Manhattan. Statewide, 105 educators were nominated for the Kansas Teacher of the Year distinction.

Nominations are made in each of four regions in the state. The Kansas State Department of Education, sponsor of the Kansas Teacher of the Year program, appoints regional selection panels comprised of teachers, education administrators, and higher education representatives to select semi-finalists and finalists from each region.

Each panel selects six semi-finalists - three elementary teachers and three secondary teachers. From those semi-finalists, the panel in each region then selects one elementary finalist and one secondary finalist. The Kansas Teacher of the Year is selected from among the state's eight regional finalists.

The mission of the Kansas Teacher of the Year program is to build and utilize a network of exemplary teachers who are leaders in the improvement of schools, student performance, and the teaching profession. The Kansas Teacher of the Year team, comprised of the Teacher of the Year and state finalists, serve as ambassadors for education in Kansas, making public appearances across the state promoting education and the teaching profession.

The individual selected as the Kansas Teacher of the Year is eligible for national distinction as Teacher of the Year. The National Teacher of the Year program, sponsored by Target, is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers, in partnership with the ING Foundation, the University of Phoenix and People to People Ambassador Programs.

By: Denise Kahler, Director of Communications, Kansas State Department of Education
785-296-4876

8/26/13 > LTMS student receives trumpet from Band of Angels

 

Seventh grader Morgan Cravens, Lexington Trails, received a gently used trumpet on Saturday, August 24, from Fox 4 News Band of Angels. The program, in partnership with Meyer Music, is in its fourth year and has provided hundreds of free instruments to deserving students.

 

>> Watch the story from Fox 4 News.

 

 

8/21/13 > DHS junior raises money for Student Care Fund

 

Junior Abby Oberle, De Soto High School, wanted to do something to help children and teenagers who are in need --- but wanted to focus on needs within her own community. That's when she decided to help the school district's Student Care Fund.

>> Read more in the DHS Green Pride

The Student Care Fund was established in 2010 by the Board of Education to help our students and their families during times of special or extreme need when no other resources are available to meet those needs. The fund is supported entirely by donations and does not rely on any tax dollars. Following a modest request process, the Student Care Fund provides assistance for families by putting shoes on the feet of children, helping with groceries, clothes, and even emergency shelter.

Oberle organized a back to school used clothing sale to benefit the Care Fund by soliciting the help of her friends, family, and neighbors. Hundreds of articles of clothing were donated for the sale and when the event was over in early August, she had raised more than $1,400 for the Student Care Fund.

To recognize her selfless act and enthusiasm to help others in need, the Board of Education presented Oberle with a Certificate of Community Service on Monday, August 19. Superintendent Doug Sumner and DHS Principal Mark Meyer honored Oberle for her efforts. She shared with the Board that the success of the used clothing sale could not have been possible without the help of her friends and family.

8/20/13 > Board of Education Approves 2013-14 Budget


Decrease in Mill Levy - Four Years in a Row

De Soto, KANSAS __ The Board of Education of Unified School District No. 232 adopted the 2014 fiscal year budget at its regular meeting on Monday, August 19, 2013. The school district lowered the mill levy for the fourth year in a row, reducing the amount of taxes levied.

The total mill levy for the 2013-14 school year is 79.974 mills compared to 82.262 mills last year, a decrease of 2.288 mills. An important fact to consider is that the district is drawing fewer taxes than it did last year - a decrease of $283,504 in overall taxes.

In addition, the district continues to reduce its bonded indebtedness with a reduction of more than $9 million over the last year. To learn more about district finances, view the official budget, and read a guide to Kansas property taxes, please visit www.usd232.org/finance .

 

 

7/26/13 > Activity Participation Fee
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What is the Activity Participation Fee?
The Board of Education approved the fee to help offset the cost of providing extracurricular student activities in grades 6 through 12. The fee, which is for the whole year, includes all sports, activities, clubs, and other extra programs.

Why is there a new fee?
The reason for the new fee is due to reductions in funding from the state of Kansas and limited funds at the local level. The fee will help the school district sustain current student activities and athletic programs.

How will the money be spent?
The fee will help offset the cost of supplemental contracts for teachers who provide direction or supervision of extracurricular activities. Examples include club/activity sponsors and coaches. The district estimates the fee will generate $100,000.  The fee will not replace other charges for programs or activities required for participation in the activity or program.

Do other districts in the area have activity participation fees?
Yes. This particular fee is based on a model adopted by the Blue Valley School District in 2007.

Purpose of the Fee: To help support the costs of extracurricular activities and programs in the district.

When Collected: At time of registration.

Amount of Fee: $50 for grades 9-12; $30 for grade 8; $25 for grade 7; $10 for grade 6.

Payment Plans: Yes, payment plans may be arranged with the school for student fees.  

Waiver of Fee: Yes. The fee is waived for students qualifying for Free/Reduced lunch.

Refunds: Yes. The district will refund the fee for any students who did not participate in any extracurricular activity, school club, or any other non-required activity offered by the school. Parents must complete a Fee Refund Form and submit it by June 1 of the current school year.

Maximum per Household: For families with multiple children from one household in the same school, the fee will be capped. The maximum per household fee will be $100 for grades 9-12 and $60 for grades 6-8.

Partial listing of extracurricular activities: National Honor Society, student council, publications, pep club, Scholars Bowl, Science Olympiad, robotics, musicals, FHA, Knowledge Bowl, football, basketball, track, wrestling, cheerleading, baseball, softball, volleyball, soccer, cross country, tennis, golf, drama, instrumental music, vocal music, forensics, debate, drill team, dance, weight training, yearbook, newspaper, LITE Leadership, flag team, color guard, etc.

7/09/13 > Board of Education reaches agreement with Teachers Association

 

The Board of Education of Unified School District No. 232 reached an agreement with De Soto Teachers' Association for the 2013-14 school year. The board formally approved the new contract at its regular meeting on Monday, July 8.

The new agreement provides for vertical and horizontal movement on the teacher salary schedule, or an increase of 1.26 percent in compensation. Individual increases will vary depending on a teacher's placement on the salary schedule.

Negotiations between the school district and De Soto Teachers' Association (DTA) began formally in February with a tentative agreement reached in June. Teachers ratified the agreement in July followed by final action taken by the Board of Education.

The school district is able to provide the modest increase for teachers following a reduction in discretionary spending at all levels. "Funding for public schools is not increasing and we wanted to provide something for our dedicated teaching staff," said Lachelle Sigg, director of human resources. "Our administrative team examined budgets over the course of several months and reduced expenses in order to provide vertical and horizontal movement on the salary schedule." The school district is also providing a slight increase in compensation for classified support employees of the same 1.26 percent.

Unified School District No. 232, Johnson County, KS, operates 12 schools with approximately 7,000 students and just over 900 employees. Three schools are located in the city of De Soto, one in Lenexa, and eight in the city of Shawnee.

5/10/13 > DHS Student wins 2013 Congressional Art Competition

 

Emily Churchwell, De Soto High School senior, places first with "Catching Dreams"

 


 

Washington, DC  - Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) announced the winner of the 2013 3rd District Congressional Art Competition. Emily Churchwell, a senior at De   Soto High School, is this year's winner and her art entry "Catching Dreams" was completed using graphite, acrylic, gel, and oil paint. Each year, the winner of the Congressional Art Competition has their entry hung in the halls of the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center for the following year, among some of the best high school art work in the country. This is the second year in a row a student from De Soto High School has been selected in the Congressional Art Competition.


 

"I want to congratulate Emily for winning this year's 3rd District Congressional Art Competition. Her entry Catching Dreams was chosen out of several other fantastic entries," stated Representative Kevin Yoder. "The 3rd Congressional District has a large number of very talented young artists. I want to thank every student who submitted an art entry for their passion, and I thank our many wonderful art educators for the work they do."



"In addition to Emily, I'd like to thank and congratulate our three Honorable Mentions from this year for their exceptional talents as well : Madeline Fowler, senior at Shawnee Mission South High School, for the entry 'Orphans of Rwanda'; Jane Chaffee, senior at Shawnee Mission South High School, for the entry 'Distortion of Light'; and Kris Roller, senior at Shawnee Mission North High School, for the entry 'Catie.' All three submitted remarkable art entries and received Honorable Mention recognition for their work. Additionally this year, I added a third category, "The People's Choice Award," giving community members the opportunity to share with me their favorite piece of art. 'Catie', Kris Roller's piece won "The People's Choice Award" for this year. Thank you to all the other students who entered their work in this year's Congressional Art Competition, and to the judges who had the difficult task of picking just one winner."

 

The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 to provide an opportunity for Members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of the high school students in their districts. Since then, over 650,000 high school students have been involved with the nationwide competition. The winning student art will hang in the U.S. Capitol with the winning art selected from all Congressional Districts across the country from June 2013 through June 2014. Emily's winning art was chosen from amongst all high school art students who entered art within the 3rd Congressional District; including public and private high schools, as well as home school students. 

 

Click the following link to view Emily's winning entry, "Catching Dreams," or for more information about the Congressional Art Competition:   http://yoder.house.gov/art-competition

 

5/10/13 > Mill Valley High School captures fourth state journalism title

 

The Mill Valley High School journalism department earned numerous honors at the Kansas Scholastic Press Association State Journalism Contest on May 4, including the school's second 5A state journalism title in the last four years.

Lead by seniors Kristina Milewski, Austin Gillespie and Jillian Mullin, the team of 14 students outpaced Wichita's Bishop Carroll to win the state title, 39-35. Mill Valley also won state journalism titles in 2004, 2009 and 2010. Click here to read more about the contest.

>> Read the full story from Mill Valley News.

5/01/13 > High schools partner with The University of Kansas Hospital

 

USD 232 entered a three year partnership in 2012 with The University of Kansas Hospital Center for Sports Medicine to provide athletic training services for student athletes. De Soto and Mill Valley High Schools were the first high schools in the area to partner with the Center for Sports Medicine. The new program is featured in a magazine published by The University of Kansas Hospital.

Gearing up for the game
Center for Sports Medicine partners with area high schools
BeWell, The University of Kansas Hospital, May-August 2013

Game time. The minds of high school athletes are fixed on these words during practices, summer camps and conditioning exercises. Long before the first pitch or game whistle, these young but serious competitors push hard to keep their competitive edge.

At the same time, they're still growing into their roles as athletes. Athletic trainer Clint McAlister knows how important it is to make sure high school athletes stay healthy.

Training the next generation

McAlister, an athletic trainer with The University of Kansas Hospital's Center for Sports Medicine, works full-time with students at Mill Valley High School as part of the hospital's partnership with Unified School District #232, which includes De Soto and Mill Valley high schools.

>> Read the entire article in BeWell, page 8.

 

4/10/13 > Middle schools receive prestigious awards

 

The Kansas Association of Middle School Administrators (KAMSA) named Monticello Trails Middle School in Shawnee as Finalist for the 2013 Middle School of the Year. This is the second year in a row for MTMS to be named a finalist in the prestigious competition among more than 200 public middle schools in Kansas.

Mill Creek Middle School in Lenexa was named a 2013 Exemplary Middle School of the Year.

KAMSA is dedicated to promoting middle school education and recognizing Kansas middle schools that have demonstrated great achievement. Schools are reviewed in a number of categories including two primary areas; evidence of continual effort to improve and evidence of new programs added.

Evidence of Continual Effort to Improve

Schools are evaluated on programs that have been established to create an environment dedicated to academic improvement. Data measures and results are used to help determine success of the programs.


Evidence of New Programs Added
Schools are evaluated on new programs or more emphasis placed on existing programs, to accelerate academic achievement, provide for student motivation through recognition/awards, student social development - such as bullying, leadership, and peer mediation programs.

4/10/13 > Three teachers earn National Board Certification

 

Three teachers in USD 232 achieved the highest credential available to American educators by becoming National Board Certified Teachers through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

The Board of Education recognized Brandi Leggett, Wendy Ping, and Stacey Moore on Monday, April 8, for their accomplishments and presented them with certificates of professional achievement. They are pictured with Superintendent Doug Sumner.

National Board Certification is voluntary and designed to develop, retain and recognize accomplished teachers, and to embed ongoing improvement in schools nationwide. While teacher credential programs set the basic requirements to teach in each state, completion of National Board Certification signifies that teachers have developed and demonstrated advanced knowledge, skills, and practices required of an accomplished education professional.

Wendy Ping is an art teacher at Prairie Ridge Elementary School in Shawnee. She earned her certification in early and middle childhood art. Ping is one of only two teachers in Kansas to have National Board certification in this particular art category.

Also receiving her certification this school year is Brandi Leggett, who is a third grade teacher at Prairie Ridge Elementary. She earned her certification in middle childhood/generalist.  Brandi is also the school district's 2013 Elementary Teacher of the Year and will represent the district in the 2014 Kansas Teacher of the Year competition.

Stacey Moore is a Reading Specialist at Starside Elementary in De Soto. She received her National Board Certification in middle childhood/generalist in 1998 - and has since renewed her professional certification.

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, known simply as National Board, is an independent, nonprofit organization. It was formed in 1987 to advance the quality of teaching and learning by developing professional standards for accomplished teaching, creating a system to certify teachers who meet those standards and integrating Board-certified teachers into educational reform efforts.

In January 2013, coinciding with the organization's 25th anniversary, the National Board announced that it had reached a new milestone: There are now more than 100,000 National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) advancing student learning and achievement in all 50 states. These NBCTs have been certified in at least one of the 25 certificate areas, which span 16 content areas and four student developmental levels. Even though NBCTs are only a small percentage of the nation's teachers, they represent the largest group of accomplished teachers as recognized by the profession.

3/13/13 > District names Teachers of the Year

 

Two outstanding educators received the highest honor in Unified School District 232 -- Teacher of the Year. Gerri Balthazor, Monticello Trails Middle School, is the secondary teacher of the year and Brandi Leggett, Prairie Ridge Elementary, is the elementary teacher of the year. 

 

It is a designation that speaks to the passion and dedication they bring each day to their classrooms. Both professionals share a common goal to positively impact the lives of students and help them become lifelong learners. On March 13 each teacher received a certificate from the Board of Education, presented by Superintendent Doug Sumner, recognizing their selection as District Teachers of the Year. Balthazor and Leggett will now represent USD 232 in the 2014 Kansas Teacher of the Year Program. 

 

Gerri BalthazorCongratulations to Gerri Balthazor for being named USD 232 Secondary Teacher of the Year. Gerri has been employed by the district since 2010 and teaches 8th grade Communication Arts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brandi LeggettCongratulations to Brandi Leggett for being named USD 232 Elementary Teacher of the Year. Brandi has been employed by the district since 2009 and teaches 3rd grade. She is also a National Board Certified Teacher through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

 

2/11/13 > DHS Scholars’ Bowl team wins State Championship

DHS makes it 3 in a row with State Title

The De Soto High School Scholars' Bowl team won the State Championship in Kansas Class 4A held in Wellington, Kansas on Saturday, February 9, marking the third year in a row that DHS captured the state title. Team members in photograph are (left to right): Blake Bradford, Amanda DeBrabander, William Walker, Ashton Neylon, Lauren Mabe, and Christian Sweeney.

The Wildcats went undefeated in ten rounds of academic competition, becoming the first Scholars' Bowl team in DHS history to be undefeated in the state tournament. Although the team made a clean sweep, it was not an easy contest. "The final two matches, first against Louisburg and then against Topeka-Hayden, came down to the final questions," said Phil Hamilton, DHS Scholars' Bowl coach. "The hard work the team put into studying, preparing, and practicing for the tournament paid off, as critical answers in the final questions of those meets ended up helping us win the tournament."

 

This is the third straight year for DHS to win league, regional, and state, with an overall record of 27-1 at those tournaments this year. The team redoubled its efforts after failing to place earlier in the season in a tournament in Lawrence that featured the varsity starters. The team practiced more days each week and studied over one thousand note cards in preparation, which paid off in the state competition.

 

In Scholars' Bowl competition, teams must answer questions in math, science, language arts (English questions like grammar, spelling, literature etc.), foreign language (they have to translate a phrase that is given in French German and Spanish to the English equivalent), social science, fine arts, and the year in  review.

 

Over that last five years, the DHS Scholars' Bowl team has placed in the top four in the State tournament, with the last three being in the number one spot. This year's team has won a total of seven tournaments. Success has brought an increase in membership to more than 40 students this year. Twenty-one different players competed in at least one varsity tournament and 20 others in at least one junior varsity tournament. The coaches are Phil Hamilton and Donna Rhodes.

1/11/13 > Mill Valley teacher honored with prestigious KS Horizon Award

 

The Kansas State Department of Education selected Alyssa Meyer of Mill Valley High School in Shawnee as a 2013 Kansas Horizon Award winner. Meyer, who teaches physics, was personally notified of the honor by the Kansas Commissioner of Education, Dr. Diane DeBacker, on Friday, January 11. Meyer is one of only 32 teachers in the state to receive the prestigious award. She is a graduate of Kansas University. 
 

 

Pictured: Alyssa Meyer (front). Back row, left to right - Principal Tobie Waldeck, Superintendent Doug Sumner, Associate Principal Marilyn Chrisler, and Lachelle Sigg, director of human resources.


 

The Kansas Horizon Award program, sponsored by the Kansas State Department of Education, identifies and recognizes representatives of excellent teaching in the elementary and secondary classrooms of the state. The award program honors exemplary first-year teachers who perform in a way that distinguishes them as outstanding.


 

The Horizon Award program is a regional competition. The regions correspond to the state's four U.S. congressional districts. The Kansas State Department of Education appoints regional selection committees responsible for reviewing the nomination forms and selecting four elementary classroom teachers and four secondary classroom teachers per region for a total of 32 teachers.


 

Meyer will now join the Kansas Exemplary Educators Network (KEEN), a network of educators from around the state who have been formally recognized for exemplary performance. Members of KEEN have an opportunity to network with other outstanding educators and participate in a number of professional development programs throughout the year.

 

The 2013 Kansas Horizon Award recipients will be recognized at a special luncheon during the Kansas Exemplary Educator Network (KEEN) State Education Conference at the end of February.
 

 

The mission of the Kansas Horizon Award program is to recognize exemplary first-year teachers who perform in a way that distinguishes them as outstanding.
 

 

Qualifications for the Horizon Award

Novice teachers who have successfully completed their first year of teaching are eligible to be recognized. Applications will be submitted by October 11 of their second year of teaching, and recognition will occur in January/February of their second year. The criteria for this award are:

  • Nominee will have successfully completed his or her first year of teaching in a prekindergarten through grade 12 Kansas school accredited by the State Board of Education.
  • Nominee will be a full-time classroom teacher.
  • Nominee will be responsible for the assessment of students, assignment of grades, preparation of lesson plans, parent-teacher conferences, discipline, attendance, and other daily educational tasks.
  • Nominee will have performed in a way that distinguishes him or her from other novice teachers.
  • Nominee will be selected by the school district superintendent and building principal.
1/03/13 > Three schools among top five percent in state


Governor's Award Recognizes Top Performing Schools


The Kansas Commissioner of Education, Dr. Diane DeBacker, announced De Soto High School, Lexington Trails Middle School, and Horizon Elementary are recipients of the seventh annual Governor's Achievement Award. This distinction honors top performing schools and places DHS, LTMS, and Horizon among the top five percent in Kansas. This is the second year in a row for LTMS to win the award.

"The Governor's Achievement Award is a significant recognition for Kansas schools," said Kansas Education Commissioner Dr. Diane DeBacker. "The accomplishment recognizes a school's high expectations and the ability of the school staff to assist students in achieving to those expectations."

"We are proud of our schools and their continued focus on student achievement," said Dr. Doug Sumner, Superintendent of Schools. "We know this award could not have been possible without hard-working students, highly qualified teachers, paraprofessionals, support staff, administrators, and dedicated parents."

In order for a school in Kansas to receive the prestigious award, it must meet the following criteria.

  • The school must be among the top five percent in both Reading and Mathematics on the 2012 state assessments at its respective level (elementary, middle/junior, or high school).
  • The school must have achieved the Standard of Excellence in both Reading and Mathematics for 2012.
  • The school must have achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in both Reading and Mathematics and one additional measure. (For elementary schools and middle/junior high schools - attendance; for high schools - graduation rate.)

Forty-two elementary schools, eleven middle/junior high schools, and 18 high schools qualified for this prestigious award.

12/17/12 > Resources for Parents: Talking with Children after a Crisis

 

Safe and Prepared Schools
Tips for Parents & Educators

Our thoughts continue to be with the families in Newtown, Connecticut, following the horrible tragedy that will forever scar the community and our nation. As those families begin the difficult and delicate journey of coping with the devastation, we realize you may have questions about how to assist your own children through this difficult time. We have prepared a number of resources for your review. Click here... or visit http://www.usd232.org/crisis.

 

 

11/26/12 > Common Core Family Night at Riverview

Riverview Common Core Family Night 

Riverview Elementary students and their parents immersed themselves in an evening of learning called the Common Core Family Night held on November 19, 2012. Parents received an overview of the new Common Core Standards for both math and reading. They were then given the opportunity to engage as students in a sample math lesson experiencing the methods of instruction encountered daily in the classroom.

 

This event was held by the school to partner with parents in assisting their children at home as the district transitions to the new rigorous standards. All Kansas school districts are required by the Kansas State Department of Education to begin full implementation of these new standards by the 2014-2015 school year. 

The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that young people need for success in college and careers.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a multi-state effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The standards were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and experts from around the country, to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our children for college and the workforce.

Learn more>> Common Core

9/26/12 > Technology Help Desk for Students, Parents, and Staff

The school district continues to improve its technology services for students and employees. The newest service is a Technology Help Desk operated in partnership with K12itc, the district's information technology support provider.

Parents & students - Having trouble accessing the Citrix PORTAL from your home computer? Call our K12itc Help Desk.

K12itc Help Desk

816-382-4840

Hours of Operation:
6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday - Friday

 Employees can dial extension 3500 (internally) to reach the technology Help Desk.

9/10/12 > Two teachers named semifinalists for KS Teacher of Year
Kathy McBride & Nancy Perry were named semifinalists for KS Teacher of the Year.

TOPEKA-Sept. 9, 2012- Kathy McBride and Nancy Perry of USD 232 (De Soto) were named semifinalists in the Kansas Teacher of the Year program for region three. They were honored at an awards ceremony Sunday evening, September 9, in Overland Park.

McBride teaches Kindergarten at Belmont and Mize Elementary Schools. Perry teaches Spanish at De Soto High School.

Points of Pride: USD 232 is an important and strong participant in the Kansas Teacher of the Year Program. The district is honored to have two Kansas Teachers of the Year - Mrs. Jeri Powers (2008) and Mr. Keil Hileman (2004). The school district also has 11state finalists and ninesemifinalists represented in the program since 2000... more than any other school district in region three.

Judy M. Domke, an elementary inter-related resource teacher at Stanley Elementary School in Overland Park (Blue Valley USD 229), and Scott Keltner, a high school mathematics teacher at Eudora High School (Eudora USD 491), were named Region 3 finalists for the 2013 Kansas Teacher of the Year award today.

The announcements were made during ceremonies at the Marriott Hotel in Overland Park. As finalists for the Kansas Teacher of the Year distinction, Domke and Keltner each received a $2,000 cash award from Security Benefit, a major partner in the Kansas Teacher of the Year program. In addition, they are now eligible to be named Kansas Teacher of the Year, an award that will be announced during ceremonies in Wichita on Nov. 17.

Domke and Keltner were among six Teacher of the Year semi-finalists from Region 3, which covers the third U.S. congressional district. Other semi-finalists were Elizabeth "Beth" R. Koon, an elementary art teacher at Raymond B. Marsh Elementary School in Shawnee Mission (Shawnee Mission USD 512); Kathy McBride, a kindergarten teacher at Belmont Elementary School and Mize Elementary School in Shawnee (De Soto USD 232); Vincent LaVergne, a high school mathematics teacher at Shawnee Mission South High School in Overland Park (Shawnee Mission USD 512); and Nancy B. Perry, a high school Spanish teacher at De Soto High School (De Soto USD 232). Each of the semi-finalists received a red marble apple with a wooden base, compliments of The Master Teacher in Manhattan. Statewide, 91 educators were nominated for the Kansas Teacher of the Year distinction.
Nominations are made in each of four regions in the state. The Kansas State Department of Education, sponsor of the Kansas Teacher of the Year program, appoints regional selection panels comprised of teachers, education administrators, and higher education representatives to select semi-finalists and finalists from each region.

Each panel selects six semi-finalists - three elementary teachers and three secondary teachers. From those semi-finalists, the panel in each region then selects one elementary finalist and one secondary finalist. The Kansas Teacher of the Year is selected from among the regional finalists.

The individual selected as the Kansas Teacher of the Year is eligible for national distinction as Teacher of the Year. The National Teacher of the Year program, sponsored by the ING Foundation and Target, is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers, in partnership with the University of Phoenix Foundation and People to People Ambassador Programs. The Kansas Teacher of the Year team, comprised of the Teacher of the Year and state finalists, travels the state advocating for education and the teaching profession.

For more information: Kathy Toelkes, Director of Communications for the Kansas State Department of Education, 785-296-4876

9/04/12 > Board approves purchase of new computers


Replacing aging fleet of desktops and laptops

The Board of Education recently approved the purchase of 1,274 new computers to replace an aging fleet of laptops and desktops used by students and teachers. The decision to invest in the newer technology came during the board's regular meeting on August 13, 2012.

The computer purchase is part of the school district's initiative to slowly replace devices that are approaching a decade of service. "This is an important and essential investment by the Board of Education because we are replacing computers that are eight and nine years old," said Jessica Dain, Director of Professional and Program Development. The cost of the new devices will be $1.3 million paid through the district's capital outlay fund.

The board commended the district for prolonging the life of existing computers, but recognized the difficulty in securing replacement parts and batteries for old machines. The purchase includes Dell laptops and desktops that will be deployed for use by students and teachers. It also includes 24 Mac Book Pros and 150 Mac desktop computers for use by students in the 21st Century Career and Technical Education Programs at both high schools.

 

8/07/12 > Superintendent of Schools Named Superintendent of Promise
Dr. Doug Sumner was named Superintendent of Promise by KS School Superintendent's Association.

 

The Kansas School Superintendent's Association recently honored Dr. Doug Sumner with its Superintendent of Promise Award for the 2011-12 school year. Sumner, who is beginning his second year in the top job in Unified School District 232 in De Soto, KS, learned of the award in June 2012.

The KSSA developed the Superintendent of Promise Award to recognize and highlight those new superintendents who show exceptional promise for continued leadership in the future. Sumner had to meet certain eligibility requirements and had to have successfully completed his first year, as evidenced by a contract renewal, and had to have the support of his mentors and Board of Education President, who were asked to sign the award application before it was submitted.

Although Sumner is in his second year as Superintendent, he actually joined the school district three years ago when the Board of Education named him Superintendent-Elect. The appointment concluded a lengthy search process by the Board which involved 25 applicants and feedback from more than 300 teachers, parents, and community members. Sumner spent that first year preparing for his leadership role working alongside interim Superintendent Ron Wimmer.

Sumner is no stranger to USD 232, having spent nine years with the school district as an administrator. He served as principal of Monticello Trails Middle School in Shawnee from 1998 to 2004 and the previous three years as associate principal at De Soto High School. Sumner transitioned to the Gardner Edgerton School District for a six year post as assistant superintendent and director of human resources.

His professional experience includes time as an assistant principal at Shawnee Heights High School in Tecumseh, Kansas, and teaching positions with Pittsburg State University, The University of Kansas School of Education, and Warrensburg R-VI school district in Warrensburg, Missouri.

Sumner is an alumnus of The University of Kansas where he earned his bachelor's degree in middle and secondary education with a comprehensive focus in social studies. He went on to earn his master's in educational policy and leadership in 1994, also from the University of Kansas. In 2008 he completed his doctorate in educational leadership at Baker University.

De Soto Unified School District No. 232 educates nearly 7,000 students in northwest Johnson County, Kansas. The boundaries of the school system cover 100+ square miles encompassing the City of De Soto, sixty percent of the City of Shawnee, approximately forty percent of the City of Lenexa, a portion of the City of Olathe, and unincorporated areas of the county. The district currently operates two high schools, three middle schools, and seven elementary schools.

7/10/12 > District Conservation Program Will Save Energy Dollars
Energy Education


$4.4 million in savings over ten years

De Soto, KANSAS _ The Board of Education of Unified School District 232 is taking a proactive step in good stewardship of taxpayer funds by embarking on a comprehensive energy conservation and management program with Energy Education. The award-winning company's energy conservation program is estimated to save the district more than $4.4 million over the next ten years.

The Board of Education approved a four year agreement with Energy Education at its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, July 9, 2012. "The time has arrived for us to address energy savings at every level of the organization," said Steve Deghand, director of facilities for USD 232. "This organizational behavior-based program will help us save tax dollars using the utility systems and personnel already in place. Every dollar we don't spend on energy is a dollar we save for educational purposes."

The program is funded solely and rapidly by the savings it generates, allowing the school district to reserve saved energy dollars for other educational priorities. Energy Education earned the 2011 and 2012 ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Awardfrom the United States Environmental Protection Agency and was named ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year for 2009 and 2010. In 26 years, the company has worked with more than 1,200 educational and ministerial organizations, helping clients save over $2.8 billion in utility costs.

Energy Education will work directly with the school district to conduct energy audits to ensure that students and teachers are comfortable during class time and scheduled activities, and that energy is used only as necessary. An Energy Education Specialist will be responsible for helping to motivate everyone in the system to use energy wisely, keep classrooms comfortable, and practice smart energy strategies - ensuring that Energy Education's Transformational Energy Management® process is implemented throughout the system. This powerful, proven process turns recommendations into real savings, changing consumption behavior by focusing on four critical components:

  • Assessment + Planning
  • Coordination + Communication
  • Leadership + Focus
  • Measurement + Verification

Every energy use point throughout the organization will be analyzed with continual follow up to ensure that energy is used as necessary, but never wasted in classrooms, offices, athletic facilities, kitchens, or other areas of the system.   The program will analyze optimum practices for heating and air conditioning systems, ventilation rates, periods of occupancy, humidity, transition to unoccupied buildings, circulation pumps, and more. The program is designed to preserve comfortable environments during class and scheduled activities.

Energy Education's consultants cover the range of energy conservation specialties - engineers, certified energy managers, boiler specialists, heating-ventilation-air-conditioning experts, measurement and verification professionals, grounds care, organizational behavior, and more. They make frequent training and implementation visits as needed for maximum savings.

To measure and verify the program's success, the school district will track energy consumption using an independent, third party energy-accounting software. The software compares current energy use to a baseline period and calculates the amount of energy that would have been used if conservation and management practices had not been implemented. It adjusts for weather, equipment changes, and variations in building use, according to industry standards. By analyzing consumption and energy use patterns, the software helps the EES quickly identify and correct areas that need immediate attention.


For more information on Energy Education: www.energyeducation.com    
Jan Noel-Smith, Director - Public Relations 214.273.2814 
info@EnergyEducation.com

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6/12/12 > Board approves comprehensive enrollment & boundary studies

 

The Board of Education approved a partnership on June 11, 2012, with RSP & Associates to conduct comprehensive enrollment and boundary studies. RSP is a professional educational planning firm based in Overland Park, KS. The company began work in July on a detailed enrollment analysis.

RSP helps educational institutions find better ways to benefit the children they serve by using reliable forecasting techniques integrated with new technologies. It produces statistical analyses that are proven to be 98 percent accurate, which gives school districts greater confidence in assembling a sound and responsible strategy for educating students. The result will be a more efficient use of financial and operational resources.

Once the enrollment analysis is complete RSP will begin work on a district-wide boundary study. The firm will examine current attendance areas using a number of data sets and criteria. It is important to note that the school district does not know if any changes in school attendance areas are necessary. However, an in-depth analysis would identify possible concerns that may need to be addressed in the future. An example of criteria that would be part of the boundary analysis would be:

  • Contiguous planning areas
  • Demographic considerations
  • Duration of boundaries
  • Feeder system considerations
  • Fiscal considerations - capital and operational
  • Keeping neighborhoods intact
  • Projected enrollment/building utilization
  • Students impacted by boundary change
  • Transportation considerations

The accuracy of data provided by RSP will allow higher, more complete decisions to be made by the Board of Education regarding the most efficient use of resources. The studies will give administration a better understanding how and when school capacities will be impacted by enrollment changes related to demographics and community development. The cost of the analyses is set for an amount not to exceed $53,700.

Founded in 2003, RSP has extensive experience providing objective, analytical, and statistically accurate data sets to its clients. The firm specializes in helping districts discover how enrollment changes, facility operation performance, and economic development in the community will impact the mission to deliver high-quality education.

For more information about RSP, contact Robert Schwarz, AICP, REFP at 913.963.5967.
On the web at
www.RSP-associates.com .

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6/11/12 > Prairie Ridge Teacher is state finalist for Presidential Award

 

TOPEKA-The 2012 state finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching were named during a ceremony Tuesday, June 5, 2012, at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson. Brandi Leggett, a third grade teacher at Prairie Ridge Elementary in Shawnee, is one of three finalists in Kansas for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching. Leggett (left in photo) will learn next spring if she will represent the state as a national finalist. Leggett is pictured with Diane DeBacker, Kansas Commissioner of Education.

Official News Release
June 5, 2012

Kathy Toelkes, Director of Communications, 785-296-4876

State finalists for math and science teaching excellence awards named

TOPEKA-The 2012 state finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching were named during a ceremony Tuesday, June 5, 2012, at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson. The 2012 state finalists for mathematics are Laura Hurla, Berryton Elementary School, Shawnee Heights USD 450; Nancy Shreve, Central Elementary School, Wamego USD 320; and Cathy Wilber West Elementary School, Wamego USD 320. The finalists for science are David Clark Jr., Wilbur Middle School, Wichita USD 259; Lindsey Constance, Bluejacket-Flint Elementary School, Shawnee Mission USD 512; and Brandi Leggett, Prairie Ridge Elementary School, De Soto USD 232.

 The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching are the nation's highest honor for mathematics and science teaching. They are presented to educators who show a high degree of knowledge, innovation, skill and leadership. Elementary and secondary educators are recognized in alternating years. This year, elementary educators are being recognized. Kansas had 13 mathematics nominees and 11 science nominees (a list of all nominees is attached). Each of the state finalists receives a $500 award and will go on to compete for a national finalist title. Two educators from each state, one in the area of mathematics and one in science, may be named national finalists next spring. Each of the national finalists will receive an award of $10,000.

 The state awards ceremony was just part of a two-day conference open to the nominees and other members of the Kansas Exemplary Educators Network (KEEN). The conference, which took place June 4 and 5 at the Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center, included presentations from leading Kansas educators and the Kansas Cosmosphere.

The two-day conference was sponsored by Westar Energy, Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation, the Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center, and the Kansas State Department of Education.

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5/11/12 > District to partner with k12 ITC for technology services


Agreement estimated to save $1.2 million over five years
 

 

The Board of Education on Monday, May 7, approved a five year contract with k12 ITC, Inc., to manage technology services for the school district. The framework of this partnership will allow the district to control costs and realize estimated savings of $1.2 million over a five year period.

 

"Based on months of research, consideration of multiple internal and external solutions and a comprehensive assessment of all proposals, we believe k12 ITC will not only deliver reliable services, but will respond to and guide the instructional and technological growth of our school district," said Dr. Jessica Dain, director of professional and program development. "We are confident that through this partnership the district will overcome the challenges and adversity of the current state of technology and strategically position us to meet the needs of our students and teachers." The transition to the k12 ITC will begin in July 2012.

 

Outsourcing

While outsourcing technology services is a relatively new concept in public school systems, both large and small businesses and many private schools have long benefited from arrangements of this kind. Outsourcing as a service model, however, is not a new concept to public school systems. In fact, many school districts, from the very large to the very small, use this model to provide transportation services, food services, custodial/maintenance services, and construction management services. USD 232, for example, outsources transportation services to First Student.

 

How will students and staff benefit?

k12 ITC will deliver a customized service based on a hybrid model of cloud-computing and local resources. The hybrid delivery model allows the company to adapt to individual customer needs while capturing efficiencies and leveraging advanced deployment and virtualization technologies to realize additional cost savings. Some of the benefits for staff and students include:

· Helpdesk support with extended hours

o   Students and staff need a helpdesk they can rely on for support when working outside normal school hours.

o   One phone number to call for help

o   With k12 ITC phone support, users will have one number to call for help no matter the technology issue.

o   24/7 online helpdesk support

· Increased storage for home drives

o   Staff home drives (storage) will increase from 2GB to 10GB.

o   Student home drives will increase from 1GB to 5GB.

· Self-service, user-driven IT

o   Staff will use a self-service web portal to choose software and other resources without any intervention of the IT staff.

· Web 2.0 and social media

o   Explore the possibility of opening access to various Web 2.0 and social media tools for staff and student use.

o   Ensure adequate internet capacity for Web 2.0 tools, particularly video sites.

· Improved customer service

o   Timely status information regarding technology issues

o   Improve transparency by communicating technology decisions to staff in a consistent, easy to understand format.

· Access to newer technologies

o   Available software updates will occur frequently, enabling users to receive the latest software needed, when it is needed.

· Internet access to network files and applications

o   Utilizing the anywhere, anytime access service, network files and applications will be available from internet connected computers - including access from mobile devices such as iPads and Android tablets.

 

Who is k12 ITC?

k12 ITC, Inc. is a Kansas City based technology services company focused exclusively on K-12 school districts.It takes a customer-focused, holistic, quality approach to provide better service without compromise. Founded by a nationally award winning Director of Technology, the leadership team has a combined total of more than 50 years of experience in K-12 schools. The company has optimized technology services to provide:

· Technology design, process and service assessments

· Service solutions

· Staffing resources outside the bounds of a typical K-12 organization

· Expanded support offerings

· More efficient resource use through a shared services model

 

 

The school district will immediately begin working with the leadership team at k12 ITC to finalize and implement transition plans for technology services.

1/06/12 > Lexington Trails Middle School among Top 5% of Kansas Schools

(TOPEKA, KS) The Kansas Commissioner of Education, Dr. Diane DeBacker, announced Lexington Trails Middle School in De Soto as a recipient of the sixth annual Governor's Achievement Award. Lexington Trails is among the top five percent of high achieving schools in Kansas.

"We are proud of Lexington Trails Middle School and its outstanding academic achievement," said Dr. Doug Sumner, Superintendent of Schools. "We know this award could not have been possible without the support and work of highly qualified teachers, paraprofessionals, support staff, administrators, hard-working students, and parents. This award places Lexington Trails among the elite schools in the state."

In order for a school in Kansas to receive the prestigious award, it must meet the following criteria.

  • The school must have achieved the Standard of Excellence in both Reading and Mathematics for 2011.
  • The school must have achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in both Reading and Mathematics and one additional measure. (For elementary schools and middle/junior high schools - attendance; for high schools - graduation rate.)
  • The school must be among the top five percent in both Reading and Mathematics on the 2011 state assessments at its respective level (elementary, middle/junior, or high school).

Forty-three elementary schools, eleven middle/junior high school, and 18 high schools qualified for the Governor's Achievement Award.

11/30/11 > Sign up for text message & email alerts

 

Sign up for text message and email alerts.

>> www.usd232.org/alert  

 

 

 

8/04/11 > School Hours

School Hours 
First day of school is August 15 for students in grades 1-9.
August 16 is first day of class for students in grades 10-12.
August 17 is first day of class for Early Childhood and Kindergarten students.

High School

7:50 AM - 2:55 PM

Middle School

7:55 AM - 3:00 PM

Elementary School

8:50 AM - 3:50 PM

Kindergarten AM

8:50 AM - 11:50 AM

Kindergarten PM

12:50 PM - 3:50 PM

 

11/12/08 > Handmade flag from Monticello Trails displayed in nation's capital

Remember the flag story from March 2008?  This is the one about the student-led class project at Monticello Trails Middle School.  You may recall the teacher, Keil Hileman. He pushed his students to think big and the result was a recreation of the United States flag of 1812. The flag measures 42 feet by 30 feet.  

Here's an update on the flag.  Over the summer of 2008, a group of 41 students with Teacher Keil Hileman and some adult chaperones took the flag to Washington, D.C. This was the 15th consecutive year that a group of students from MTMS traveled to the nation's capital to study and explore the country's history. While there, the students took the opportunity to unfold their flag of 1812 for everyone to see. They displayed their flag at The Capitol, The White House, Arlington National Cemetery, and The Lincoln Memorial - just to name a few locations.

The project was the idea of two eighth grade students at Monticello Trails Middle School, Jill Applegate and Carly Granato. (The students are now in the 9th grade.)

flag at lincoln memorial
MTMS students flag of 1812

8/12/05 > Historic school donated to district
Virginia School, established in 1877, was relocated to Mize Elementary School on August 10, 2005.

128 year old school to become "living history" for students

(August 12, 2005 – Shawnee, KS) USD 232 officially took possession of the historic Virginia School on Wednesday, August 10. Crews maneuvered the fragile building on a trailer and hauled it nearly a mile to its new, permanent site at Mize Elementary School in Shawnee. The former owner of the building, Dennis Hillhouse, donated it to the district and paid for the relocation.

The Board of Education agreed to take possession of the one-room school to preserve its historical value for years to come. The building will be transformed into a teaching tool - a museum of "living history" for students. The transfer of ownership was several months in the making, with assistance from the Monticello Community Historical Society.

Crews from Camdenton, Missouri, spent two days preparing the structure for its ride to Mize Elementary. The carefully orchestrated move took 45 minutes to cover one mile with the help of police escorts and utility crews. Engineers were amazed at how well the schoolhouse had been constructed, making the relocation a smooth process. Virginia School will be repaired and restored with the help of the historical society and will open for student tours and lessons in 2006.

In 1876, C.J. and Sarah Mize deeded one acre to District 33 for a new school in Monticello Township, a rural farming community. Construction of the one-story school was completed in 1877. Teachers earned an average salary in 1878 of $29.64 per month.The school finally closed in 1962 because of unification of school districts in Kansas. It remained at its original location at 71st and Clare Road in Shawnee, until August 10, 2005.

A staff member of USD 232, Willy Snow – Special Services, attended first grade at Virginia School. Her father was also connected to the schoolhouse as a member of administration. Snow said she still has fond memories of the old school and is happy to see it preserved for future generations. Snow took time from her busy work schedule to witness the move August 10, to Mize Elementary. She was not alone. Several alumni traveled to Mize to watch crews slowly move Virginia School to its new home.

To learn more about the work to restore the school, you may contact Cindy Ashby, president of the Monticello Community Historical Society: cindy.ashby@mail.sprint.com

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