District Staff, Students Receive Honors

Feb. 16, 2017

Two Olathe Middle Schools Selected for Yearbook Honor

Santa Fe Trail and Prairie Trail middle schools were selected by Balfour, a leading publisher of student yearbooks, to be a national sample yearbooks. Featuring exceptional student work from their schools' 2017 publications, Balfour's national samples are distributed to workshop events and sales offices across the country for training and selling.

Melissa Erker and Susan Warner are the yearbook advisors for Santa Fe Trail and Prairie Trail respectively.

"Being selected as a national sample is a significant achievement. Fewer than 3 percent of the yearbooks we produce annually are designated as sample books. We're delighted to honor these talented staffs' work, and pass their work along for inspiration for others," said Mike Codd, director of product management for Balfour.

Numerous Olathe Students Named Shooting Stars Award Finalists

The Arts Council of Johnson County (ACJC) announced 104 finalists which were nominated for the 2017 Shooting Stars Awards. Of the finalists, 25 are students of the Olathe Public Schools.

The Shooting Stars Program honors Johnson County high school students for achievement in the literary, performing and visual arts through recognition and college scholarships. Shooting Stars award recipients will be announced at the 20th annual Shooting Stars Gala at Johnson County Community College Sunday, March 27. Two students from each category will be selected to receive college scholarships at the Gala event.

  • Literature – Samantha Goepfert, Olathe North High School; Emma Nicholson, Olathe South High School; McKenzie Willits, Olathe Northwest High School
  • Photography – Madeline DeVries, Olathe Northwest High School; Nicole Gravatt, Olathe North High School; Katherine Horton, Olathe East High School; Alexis McGhee-Dinvaut, Olathe South High School
  • Production – Mary Hirtreiter, Olathe North High School; Isaiah Reasby, Olathe South High School
  • Strings – Nicole Allen, Olathe North High School
  • Theater Performance – Liam Chewning, Olathe South High School; Lindsey Hart, Olathe East High School; Drew McCall, Olathe Northwest High Schoo;, Paola Ramirez, Olathe North High School
  • Three-Dimensional Art – Nathan Brown, Olathe South High School; Joanna Raetzel, Olathe East High School
  • Two-Dimensional Art – Margaret Breidenbach, Olathe East High School; Allison Campbell, Olathe Northwest High School; Maddie Kaine, Olathe North High School; Kahill Perkins, Olathe South High School
  • Voice Classical – Reese Bailey, Olathe Northwest High School; Cole Bellamy, Olathe North High School; Abby Lacy, Olathe East High School; Kaeli Whitener, Olathe South High School
  • Winds and Percussion – Austin Latham, Olathe Northwest High School

District Staffer Receives Hall of Honor Recognition

Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Jessica Dain was recently selected to be inducted into the Alumni Hall of Honor in the Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (HPER) at Emporia State University. This prestigious award recognizes HPER alumni who have represented the education profession in an exemplary fashion.

A luncheon to recognize the HPER Alumni Hall of Honor inductees and HPER Student Majors of the Year will be hosted Friday, April 21 at the Memorial Union on the Emporia State University Campus.

"As an educator, I take very seriously my role in helping to prepare students for their future. As I reflect back on my tenure at Emporia State, I realize the magnitude of influence my professors had in shaping my professional pedagogy," Dain said. "There is no doubt ESU prepared me for my career; it is an honor to receive this on behalf of the instructors who invested in my journey."

e-Communication Academy Receives Apple Distinguished Schools Accreditation

For an unprecedented eighth straight year, the e-Communication Academy, located at Olathe Northwest High School, has been named an Apple Distinguished School. This accreditation is held by 400 schools throughout 29 countries.

With Mac labs and a TV studio, the e-Communication Academy fosters collaboration and enables students to develop career-ready skills while still in high school.

"Being an Apple Distinguished School means the leaders, faculty and the extended community of e-Communication have a clear vision for how our technology-rich environments integrate with our five guarantees of leadership, collaboration, communication, project/management and technology goals," e-Communication Academy Facilitator Anna-Lynn Morris said. "We have established elements for continuous innovation that include culture, team, capacity, community, finance and measurement and it ultimately translates to improved student learning and experience."

Olathe Northwest Blood Drive Sets Records, Saves Lives

The student council at Olathe Northwest High School organized three blood drives over the course of the 2016-17 school year. The most recent was held Feb. 14 and was the largest student-organized blood drive in the state of Kansas. The Community Blood Center registered 314 donors and collected 264 units of blood.

Through the course of the year, the Olathe Northwest community helped the Community Blood Center collect 649 pints of blood which will help the lives of 1,300 hospital patients.

"It takes a village to achieve this kind of success year after year," Jim Sajevic, recruitment representative, Community Blood Center said. "It starts with the support of Principal Zuck and ONW administrators; builds under the leadership of blood drive co-chairs Kathy Ingles and Carol Toburen, student council sponsors, and school nurse Cathy Schaukowitch; and comes to fruition through through the hard work of StuCo officers and members."

Olathe Public Schools' Communications Department Wins Gold Award

During the third annual Social Media Club of Kansas City (SMCKC) AMPS Awards, the Communications Division of the Olathe Public Schools received a Gold Award for their efforts in leading a social media campaign for Olathe West High School's "Pick the School Colors and Mascot" campaign.

The Multi-Channel Integrated Campaign Gold Award was the only award given to a school district during the Feb. 8 awards ceremony.

"We are absolutely thrilled with this award. The Olathe West color and mascot social media campaign was a great success because of the outstanding response from our community," Director of Communications Maggie Kolb said. "Using social media to bring the community together is an exciting new endeavor and earning recognition for our efforts is very gratifying."

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City Presents Award to Olathe Public Schools

The Boys & Girls Clubs Corporate Partnership Award recognizes organizations that have demonstrated a strong commitment to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City. Earlier this month, the Olathe Public Schools was honored to receive this award while being recognized for its partnership, support and advocacy for continued impact at the Olathe Unit.

"The Olathe School District took immediate action when we evolved to year-round programming in August 2015," Dave Smith, president and alumnus of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City, said. "They provided dedicated transportation between the Club and targeted schools before and after school daily. This is only one piece of so many great resources that the district has made available to assist in our impact on the growth of young people in the Olathe community."