Board Hears About Programs for Olathe West

Jan. 9, 2015 ~ The number of 21st Century High School Programs in the Olathe School District will grow from 11 to 13 when Olathe West High School opens in fall 2017. An update on plans for these new programs was presented to Board of Education members during their regular meeting Jan. 8.

Deputy Superintendent Alison Banikowski said the development process for Public Safety and Green Technology at Olathe West began in September and involves a team of district administrators, architects, public safety representatives and others who will meet two or three times per year. The experiences of these advisory council members will provide ideas, community relationships, and sounding boards as the programs are developed.

These four-year programs will give students a jump start on a specialized post-secondary program or career. Learning strands in the Public Safety program will be fire safety and law enforcement. Green Technology strands will be energy/power and ecology/sustainability. The advisory teams discussed potential coursework including courses the district already provides, those to develop, and those to be revamped.

Middle School Instructional Technology

Director of instructional Technology Connie Smith presented a recommendation to provide iPads to all district middle school students and staff on a 1:1 basis for the upcoming school year. This would involve approximately 6,650 students and 560 staff.

A great deal of research has already gone into this recommendation, including having four middle schools test the ways iPads could be utilized in middle school classrooms. This is similar to the proof of concept phase for elementary staff and students before the district authorized the 2:1 iPad deployment that occurred this school year.

Smith said staff would have many opportunities to learn more about the educational applications, interactive textbooks and powerful creative tools offered on iPads during training this spring, at Summer Conference, and through more professional development next school year.


  • Olathe's Got Talent was recognized as a district business partner because of its support of the arts in Olathe Public Schools with thousands of dollars in student scholarships and funds for theater departments.
  • Bentwood Elementary School first-grade teacher Nancy Smith earned National Board Certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
  • Frontier Trail Middle School Principal Rod Smith is one of six "Exemplary" Middle School Principals of the Year, as named by the Kansas Association of Middle School Administrators (KAMSA).
  • Indian Trail Middle School Assistant Principal Shane Kaberline is the 2014-15 Assistant Principal of the Year, as named by KAMSA.
  • Olathe Northwest High School orchestra teacher Joel Martin is the Northeast District Kansas Music Educators Association High School Orchestra Educator of the Year.
  • School board members were honored as part of National School Board Recognition Month.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved a consent agenda including meeting minutes, reports, student trips, instructional materials, 2015 Legislative Positions, and Head Start performance standard plans.
  • Received an update from Chief Financial and Operations Officer John Hutchison on the district's cash balances through the first half of the fiscal year.
  • Accepted a bid to replace 650 digital projectors and peripheral hardware to replace aging equipment in elementary schools as part of the 2013 bond.
  • Accepted a bid for white copy paper to fill the district's needs for this semester.
  • Received information on future action items including bids for concrete and asphalt repairs, emergency safety intervention policy revision, student trips, and budget development goals and calendar for 2015-16.
  • Received the Head Start director's monthly written report.
  • Received construction change orders.
  • Held an executive session to discuss personnel matters and employer-employee negotiations.

The complete agenda and supporting documents are online at