Board Hears About Success of AVID Program

Oct. 2, 2015 ~ Members of the Olathe Board of Education received a detailed report on the success of the district's Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program during their Oct. 1 meeting. AVID's mission is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society.

Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Jessica Dain and Director of Instructional Support Programs Jan Heinen gave an overview of this national intervention program and statistics about local students' achievements.

There were 89 AVID graduates in May, and 93.3 percent of those students were enrolled in advanced courses during high school. As a group, their weighted GPA was 3.45. More than 530 high school students are part of the AVID program.

Entry to the AVID program begins in winter of a student's eighth-grade year with recommendations from middle school staff and the AVID program director. Parents and students are interviewed and then complete an application form. Accepted freshmen are enrolled in AVID and Pre-AP English. Students must meet at least one of the following criteria: first in family to attend college, historically underserved in four-year colleges, low-income, or have special circumstances. They must show average to high test scores and have the desire and determination to attend college.

AVID focuses on improving students' writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization and reading skills.

In addition, Misael Delatorre, Olathe Northwest High School and AVID graduate, came to talk about his experience in AVID and how that has helped him in college. He is currently in the Honors Program at the University of Kansas.

Emergency Safety Interventions (ESI)

Assistant Director of Special Education Deb Chappell updated board members on changes in legislation governing the use of emergency safety interventions, also referred to as seclusion and restraint. The Kansas State Board of Education adopted guidelines for the use of seclusion rooms and restraint for children with disabilities in 2007. Two years ago the Kansas State Department of Education adopted regulations for emergency safety interventions for all students. This summer, Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law the Freedom from Unsafe Restraint and Seclusion Act.

These emergency safety interventions are only used when a student poses a reasonable and immediate danger to himself or herself or others, or following violent action that destroys property. She explained seclusion and restraint, and pointed out that parents must be notified the same day of an incident that required an emergency safety intervention. They also shared statistics on the number of restraint or seclusion incidents in schools last year and how the district is working toward eliminating seclusion and reducing restraint as much as possible.


  • The 2015 Olathe Public Schools Alumni Association Wall of Honor recipients were recognized. They are the late Fred Allenbrand, John P. St. John Memorial High School Class of 1951; the late Arthur Caylor, Red Brick School Class of 1909; James R. Hubbard, Olathe High School Class of 1961; Tom Knappenberger, John P. St. John Memorial High School Class of 1956; the late Roger Russell, John P. St. John Memorial High School Class of 1952; and Rebecca Milloy Vrbas, Olathe High School Class of 1974. Longtime high school counselor Bob Blackman was this year's Distinguished Person of Honor.
  • The Greater Kansas City YMCA was thanked for its support of a grant at Ridgeview Elementary School.
  • Rolling Ridge Elementary Principal John Ernst is the District 1 National Distinguished Principal for 2015-16 as named by the Kansas Association of Elementary School Principals.
  • Jenna Lillian of Olathe East High School and Cole Bellamy of Olathe North High School will perform in the National Association for Music Education's All-National Honor Choir.
  • Alexander Jackson of Olathe North will perform in the National Association for Music Education's All-National Honor Orchestra.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved a consent agenda of routine items including meeting minutes, reports and student trips.
  • Accepted a bid to repair the running track at Pioneer Trail Middle School.
  • Approved technology service and maintenance agreements for a network that operates 24/7 and serves more than 4,800 employees and 29,500 students.
  • Accepted bids for athletic flooring, visual display boards and an inside jogging track at Olathe West High School.
  • Approved two additional student trips.
  • Received information about future action items including middle school computer course curriculum, delegate appointments to the Kansas Association of School Boards convention, white copy paper bid, student trip, Head Start organizational chart and other documents, LED video display board for the gymnasium at Olathe West, legislative positions, Olathe West mascot and colors selection, bid to replace aging desktop computers and add additional computers because of growth, and computer studies curriculum.
  • Received the Head Start director's monthly report and the student health services 2014-15 report.
  • Held an executive session to discuss personnel matters and employer-employee negotiations.

The complete agenda is available at