Board Reviews High School Learning Data

Sept. 4, 2015 ~ Olathe's high school attendance rate, graduation rate, and number of National Merit Scholarship finalists were all higher in 2015 than in 2014, according to a presentation made by administrators to the Olathe Board of Education on Sept. 3.

Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Jessica Dain, Executive Director of General Administration / Secondary Programs Jim McMullen and Deputy Superintendent Alison Banikowski shared a variety of high school data with board members.

  • High school attendance rate rose from 95.3 percent to 96.4 percent
  • The graduation rate (four-year cohort) rose from 90.2 percent to 92.3 percent
  • The number of National Merit Scholarship finalists increased from 13 to 16
  • 2015 graduates were offered $50.8 million in scholarships and accepted $22.9 million of those offerings. This compares to $43.8 million offered and $19.5 million accepted by the class of 2014.
  • In the senior exit survey, 89 percent of graduates said they planned to attend a two- or four-year college or university, or post-secondary training. The top selected schools were Johnson County Community College, University of Kansas and Kansas State University.
  • More than 92 percent of respondents in the senior exit survey said "my teachers care about me" and 93 percent said "staff are friendly and helpful to students."
  • Ninety-five percent said their studies in a 21st Century Program challenge them.
  • More than 93 percent of graduates in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program were enrolled in advanced courses during high school.
  • ACT exam scores rose in three of the four categories, and as a composite score. The 2015 composite score was 24, the highest in district history.

Summer Construction

Chief Financial and Operations Officer John Hutchison updated board members on the variety of district construction projects that took place this summer. The district is in the second year of a three-year aging facilities plan, which is funded by the 2013 Bond.

Some of the summer projects included:

  • Replacement of 300,000 square feet of carpet, including replacement of nearly a third of the carpet at Olathe North High School.
  • New flooring at various schools across the district.
  • Door and window replacement at various schools across the district.
  • Renovation of Northview Elementary School.
  • Secured entrances at Harmony Early Childhood Center, Heartland Early Childhood Center and Prairie Learning Center.
  • New gymnasiums at three middle schools, new music rooms at six middle schools, new activity event entrances at five middle schools and various renovations at five of the district middle schools.
  • Continued construction of Olathe West High School, which will open in 2017.

The district will continue on the third year of the plan in summer 2016.


  • Members of the Olathe Youth Mentors and Seniors Serving Schools volunteer programs were recognized for receiving 2015 Presidential Service Awards.
  • Ty Lawson of Olathe North, and Connor Neil and Weston Harder of Olathe Northwest High School were recognized for earning perfect ACT scores.
  • Jeremi Wonch, science teacher at Indian Trail Middle School, and Patrick Flynn, math teacher at Olathe East High School, were honored for receiving Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
  • Josh Anderson of Olathe Northwest was recognized as the 2015 National Debate Coach, as named by the National Speech and Debate Association.
  • Debby Byrne was honored as the Special Education Professional of the Year for 2015, an award given by the Kansas Association of Special Education Administrators.
  • Board member LeEtta Felter was recognized for her service as board president during the 2014-15 school year.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved a consent agenda of routine items including meeting minutes, reports, student trips, setting a special focus/study session at 6 p.m. Sept. 17, the Assurances section of the IDEA VI-B application for the state department of education, and board policy revisions.
  • Approved construction change orders for Olathe West in excess of $20,000.
  • Approved trade bids for Olathe West.
  • Received information about future action items including student trips, repairing the track at Pioneer Trail Middle School, and technology service and maintenance agreements.
  • Received the Head Start director's monthly report and the Facility Usage Department annual report.
  • An executive session was held to discuss personnel matters and employer-employee negotiations.

The complete agenda is online at