Mentoring Program is Important for New Teachers

Nov. 4, 2016 ~ The Olathe School District provides a comprehensive induction program and mentoring for all new teachers, and this was one of four presentations made at the Nov. 3 Board of Education meeting. This year about 220 new teachers were hired into the district.

New Educator Induction Coordinator Ann Addison showed a video that included comments from several Olathe teachers who have benefited from the mentoring/coaching support they received from instructional resource teachers. She said research shows that 40 percent to 50 percent of new teachers leave the profession within the first five years of teaching, creating teacher shortages across Kansas and the nation.

The district's induction program has four main goals: improve teacher retention, accelerate teacher effectiveness, increase student learning, and strengthen teacher leadership. Strengths of the program include principal support, professional development, a program leader, and ongoing program evaluation.

American Education Week

Another presentation to the board highlighted American Education Week, Nov. 14-18. Forest View Elementary School teacher Leigh Ann Rogers shared a video about stakeholders' glowing view of a public education in the Olathe district. The video was prepared by a team of student leaders at Forest View.

Enrollment and Demographic Data

Assistant Superintendent of General Administration Erin Dugan gave an update on the district's 2016 enrollment and demographic data. The district currently has more than 29,600 students enrolled. Although that is only 49 more students than last year at the same time, Olathe Public Schools is still 6.2 percent larger than the next largest Johnson County district, according to data from the Kansas State Department of Education. Other data showed:

  • 1,361 new students in the district
  • An increase in the amount of diversity
  • 4,466 students in special education programs, including both disabled and gifted services
  • 3,365 students for whom English is their second language
  • 84 different languages are spoken by students or their families
  • An overall poverty rate of 27.98 percent
  • Five elementary schools reporting at least 70 percent of the student body qualifies for free or reduced-price meals
  • Kindergarten is the smallest class and fourth grade is the largest class
  • Olathe's high schools rank among the largest in Kansas: Olathe North is second statewide, Olathe Northwest is third, Olathe South is fifth and Olathe East is 11th

Neighborhood Revitalization

Olathe City Attorney Ron Shaver presented the city's request for a neighborhood revitalization area west of Parker / K-7 and north and south of Dennis Avenue. The program allows cities to give tax rebates for certain properties within a plan area, and it is intended to encourage improvements and reinvestment in that area. Tax rebates would be offered for up to 10 years on multi-family residential, commercial and industrial properties. Shaver said the city is seeking approval from all taxing districts, and will ask the board to take action on this at its January meeting.


  • TVH was recognized as a district business partner for its support in student mentoring and involvement on the district's 21st Century Academy Advisory Board.
  • Brougham Elementary School Principal Stephanie Conklin received a $25,000 Milken Educator Award.
  • Bob Davis of Olathe Northwest High School was named the 2016 Outstanding Young Band Educator of the Year by the Northeast District of the Kansas Music Educators Association, and was named one of 50 Directors Who Make a Difference by School Band and Orchestra magazine.
  • Dee Bell of Olathe Northwest was named the 2016 Kansas State High School Athletic Association's 6A Track and Field Coach of the Year.
  • Olathe North High School student Ben Heueisen was named to the 2017 United States Army All-American Marching Band.
  • The gymnastics team from Olathe East High School won the 6A state championship.
  • Olathe East gymnast Samantha Bond is the 6A state champion in the all-around, floor, and vault competitions.
  • Olathe Board of Education members Amy Martin, LeEtta Felter, Brent McCune, Joe Beveridge and Rick Schier were recognized by the Kansas Association of School Boards' Leadership Academy.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved a consent agenda including meeting minutes, reports, student trips, and various Head Start documents.
  • Approved entering a fleet management agreement to replace eight maintenance trucks via a lease. This would be a pilot initiative to determine the long-term viability of fleet leasing across the district.
  • Accepted an agreement to purchase facility and custodial supplies.
  • Accepted trade bids for Middle School 10 that would be paid for by the 2016 bond issue.
  • Accepted a bid for interior signage at Olathe West High School.
  • Approved Olathe West construction change orders in excess of $20,000.
  • Accepted a roofing consultant's proposal for next summer's roofing projects. This would be paid for by the 2016 bond.
  • Approved the purchase of security and surveillance systems for Olathe Advanced Technical Center. This would be paid for by the 2016 bond issue.
  • Accepted the construction management proposal for next summer's construction projects. These projects would be paid for by the 2016 bond issue.
  • Appointed Brent McCune as delegate and LeEtta Felter as alternate delegate to represent the district at the Kansas Association of School Boards delegate assembly in December.
  • Set a special board meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16 to meet in executive session with Ray & Associates to review applications and select finalists for the superintendent position.
  • Approved a student trip for the Frontier Trail Middle School choirs and band to perform at the Kansas Music Educators Association workshop in February. They were the only middle school groups chosen to perform at the workshop.
  • Approved the State Board of Tax Appeals application for Olathe West High School.
  • Received information on many future action items including elementary science curriculum, student trips, high school biology curriculum, a water main extension agreement for Middle School 10, bidding schedule for summer construction and roofing projects, audit reports for the fiscal year ended June 30, bids for audio visual equipment, bids and proposals for Olathe West, bids for Olathe East baseball field renovations, proposal to replace aging color laser printers, bids for servers / desktops / laptops, bid for uninterruptible power supply units, and 2017 legislative positions.
  • Received the annual student health services report and Head Start director's monthly report.
  • Held an executive session to discuss personnel matters and consult with the district's attorney.

The complete agenda and supporting documents can be found at