Board Hears of Impact Youth Court has on Students

May 8, 2015 ~ The Olathe Youth Court program is not just for students who are interested in law. This was one of many things Olathe Board of Education members learned about the popular program during their regular meeting May 7. The board also heard a report on the upcoming rollout of iPads to every middle school student in the district.

Youth Court

Student Development Facilitator Jennifer Bodenmiller and Staff Counsel Scott Mason shared an informational video about the Youth Court program. They reviewed the process of Youth Court which includes receiving cases from the Johnson County District Attorney's office, assigning trial teams and preparing for the trial, holding trial, and following up to make sure defendants complete the assigned hours to have the case dismissed. Two students told board members about their experiences in Youth Court.

Sixty-two percent of Youth Court participants are in high school and 38 percent are from middle school. Among defendants, 81 percent are in high school and 19 percent are from middle school.

Students who participate in Youth Court gain leadership and public speaking skills, develop friendships and are given opportunities to perform community service hours.

Middle School iPads

Assistant Superintendent Erin Dugan updated board members on the communication and training taking place this spring relating to the fall rollout of iPads to every middle school student. Dugan shared that numerous communication materials have been created for students, staff and parents to provide them with the information they need about the iPad initiative. Middle school teachers received iPads to begin the training process this week and additional training will be held in the summer and in fall before students return in August. In addition, iPad use and use of technology in teaching will be infused into professional development opportunities moving forward.

Staff is currently working on a technology handbook for students and parents, an orientation video for parents and students, information to be distributed at enrollment in July, digital citizenship lessons for students in the fall, and more.


  • The Clockwinders Optimist Club of Olathe was thanked for its longtime support of the district.
  • Susan Rippe, a teacher at Olathe Northwest High School, was recognized for her upcoming induction into the National Teachers Hall of Fame.
  • Fine Arts Coordinator Martha Gabel and instrumental music teacher Randy Detrick were honored for their recent Best Communities for Music Education designation.
  • The district's National Merit Finalists were recognized during the meeting. They are Erica Chang, Emma Clark, Saurabh Harohalli, Adam Khan, Angela Li and Haotian Xue from Olathe East High School; Greg Bixler, Monelle Brink, Wyatt Heikes, David Nelson and Caleigh Penn from Olathe North High School; Bonnie Dowd, Ben Harper and Kurtis Huff from Olathe Northwest High School; and Isaiah Hastings and Callie Van Winkle from Olathe South High School.
  • Alexis Buff of Olathe North is the 2015 Junior Volunteer of the Year for Shawnee Mission Medical Center.
  • The Culinary Arts team placed first at the Kansas ProStart Invitational in March and first in the National ProStart Invitational in April.
  • The Olathe North dance team took second place in the varsity pom division of the National Dance Alliance contest.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved a consent agenda including meeting minutes, reports, Head Start performance standards, student trips, and revisions to the Student Code of Conduct.
  • Approved textbooks purchases and/or revised curriculum for driver's education, international language, sign language, social studies, and English language arts.
  • Accepted the installation cost for resilient gymnasium flooring at Countryside Elementary School.
  • Accepted trade bids for the auditorium sound and lighting upgrades at Olathe East and Olathe North high schools.
  • Approved the purchase of wireless hardware equipment to replace the wireless network installed in 2005 and to handle the heavy usage by 9,000 iPads last fall and another 8,000 iPads coming to middle schools this August.
  • Granted easements to the City of Olathe for storm water improvements adjacent to Havencroft Elementary School.
  • Accepted a bid for street improvements associated with the building of additions at Cedar Creek and Heatherstone elementary schools.
  • Accepted the glass and glazing bid for the building additions at Frontier Trail, Indian Trail, Oregon Trail and Pioneer Trail middle schools.
  • Accepted trade bids for Phase 2 interior renovations at Northview Elementary School.
  • Accepted furniture bids for additions at California Trail, Chisholm Trail, Frontier Trail, Indian Trail, Oregon Trail, Pioneer Trail and Santa Fe Trail.
  • Accepted trade bids for Olathe West High School.
  • Approved the cost associated with constructing a support building at Olathe West.
  • Appointed Brent McCune to serve on the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) Legislative Committee; Shannon Wickliffe (who will be sworn in as an Olathe Board of Education member in July 2015) to serve on the KASB Nominating Committee; and Rick Schier to serve as the KASB Board of Directors Region 15 Vice-President.
  • Approved the Head Start funding grant application for 2015-16.
  • Approved two student trips.
  • Received information on a variety of future action items including the KASB and National School Boards Association 2015-16 fees, Head Start work plans, textbooks, window glass-breaking tools for safety protocol, student trips, instructional materials, curriculum, board policy revisions, a social media policy, student transportation services agreement, transportation safety variance areas, general insurance policy renewal, milk and juice bids, and network electronics bid.
  • Received the Head Start director's monthly report.
  • Held an executive session to discuss personnel matters and employer-employee negotiations. Returned from executive session to approve a motion for the non-renewal of a personnel contract.

The complete agenda is available at