First Day of School Kicks Off Exciting Year

Aug. 16, 2017 ~ The 2017-18 school year got off to an exciting, albeit wet, start on Aug. 16 as elementary students, sixth-graders and freshmen returned to class for a half day. They were joined the next day by the rest of the more than 29,000 students who will attend school in the Olathe district this year.

The first day of school is always an exciting time, but this year there were even more reasons for students and staff to look forward to the start of this year.

  • The district's fifth high school, Olathe West, opened to about 900 freshmen, sophomores and juniors. The school will include seniors in the 2018-19 school year.
  • The district's 1-to-1 high school technology initiative rolled out with MacBooks at Olathe West on Day 1. The program will expand to Olathe East and Olathe North high schools in second semester, and then to Olathe Northwest and Olathe South next school year.
  • Construction of Middle School 10 is progressing well at 119th Street and Sunnybrooke Boulevard. The school will open in fall 2018 to relieve overcrowding at Mission Trail and Prairie Trail middle schools.
  • Six new 21st Century Academies opened in the high schools. Green Tech Academy and Public Safety Academy launched at Olathe West, while Civic Leadership Academy and Future Educators Academy kicked off at Olathe East. Olathe South is now home to the BIOengineering Academy and Business Finance Academy.
  • All middle and high school students will have Individual Plans of Study starting this year. The living documents will give students a chance to create, and regularly update, their own plan to guide them in making decisions and putting together a plan for their future.
  • A mobile app helps keep parents and patrons informed on everything from the district calendar to tailored newsfeeds. Those who download the free app can receive notifications from the district or individual schools, and access information about resources including the Safe Schools Safe Students tip line. The free app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store by searching "Olathe Public Schools."
  • The Olathe School District is among seven districts statewide to help redesign education around five outcomes established by the Kansas State Board of Education. Westview Elementary School and Santa Fe Trail Middle School will participate.
  • Around spring break, construction crews will start working on expanded and renovated front entries at Frontier Trail, Indian Trail, Pioneer Trail and Santa Fe Trail middle schools. The projects would continue through next summer and be finished by the start of school in August 2018.
  • Elementary School 36 is in the design phase, but construction will hopefully start in January or February 2018. The school would be built in the Canyon Creek Highlands subdivision off Prairie Star Parkway west of K-7 Highway and be ready for the 2019-20 school year.
buddies Catching up with friends is one of the many great things about going back to school. These buddies reconnected outside Pleasant Ridge Elementary before the first bell rang.
three girls headed to class Excitement was in the air for these girls and their classmates at Pleasant Ridge Elementary. The doors opened at 8 a.m. and a crowd came through the front entry.
kindergartner and mom Kindergarten students quickly settled into their chairs and began coloring. Many young Pleasant Ridge Elementary Patriots were escorted to their classroom by proud parents.
teacher and student

Fourth-grade teacher Cynda Woolard welcomed her students to the first day of class at Pleasant Ridge Elementary. Teachers had a variety of introductory activities planned to start the day.

Photos by Marlene Colgan