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9-7-18 — Board Hears Details of New Suicide Prevention Curriculum

Sept. 7, 2018 ~ Members of the Olathe Board of Education heard some statistics about teen suicide when they met for their monthly meeting on Sept. 6. The district’s new suicide prevention curriculum was one of two presentations made to board members.

College and Career Readiness and Counseling Services Coordinator Angie Salava and Assistant Superintendent of Support Services Jessica Dain shared details of a suicide prevention curriculum that will be implemented in all Olathe high schools this year. The Signs of Suicide program includes peer-to-peer educational curriculum and a seven-item screening for adolescent depression. The in-school screenings help educate individuals about mental health, risk factors and options for receiving help.

In a recent Communities That Care student survey, 150 out of every 1,000 secondary students in Olathe said they are considering attempting suicide.

The board adopted a proclamation to officially recognize September as Suicide Prevention Month.

Literacy Development Grant

District K-5 English/Language Arts/Title 1 Coordinator Linda Boxberger, Secondary ELA Coordinator Kim Dahl, and Early Childhood Special Services Administrator Kim Hawkins updated board members on the district’s literacy development initiative funded by a three-year federal grant. The Kansas LiNK funds (more than $3 million over three years) will be used to benefit all students although the grant’s qualifications focused on economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, and non-English-speaking students.

Goals of the project include establishing a Literacy Leadership Team, increasing access to assessment tools and resources, increasing professional learning for teachers, and improving reading proficiency for all students.


  • More than 60 participants in the Volunteers Serving Schools program earned President’s Volunteer Service Awards this year: 48 bronze awards for 100-249 hours of service in 2017-18, 10 silver awards for 250-499 hours of service, and five gold awards for more than 500 hours of service.
  • Nancy Smith of Bentwood Elementary School was named the 2019 Janet Sims Memorial Kansas Agriculture Teacher of the Year by the Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom.
  • Andrew Edmondson, science teacher at Olathe Northwest High School, and Matthew Peterie, Engineering Academy facilitator at Olathe Northwest, were accepted into the Master Teacher Policy Fellowship class by the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Institute of Physics.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved a consent agenda consisting of meeting minutes, financial reports, accounts payable, human resources items, and a contract with New Teacher Center to provide professional learning for early childhood teachers.
  • Approved an agreement with Ad Astra Government Relations LLC to be represented by a legislative liaison in Topeka. (general fund)
  • Approved the lease of five additional 10-passenger Ford Transit vans and replacement of three Chevrolet Suburbans for use by the high schools with athletic, activity and academic events. (capital outlay)
  • Approved the purchase of Cisco phones for elementary classrooms throughout the district. (2016 bond)
  • Rejected all bids for an expanded parking lot at Summit Trail Middle School because the project is being postponed.
  • Approved the purchase of security and surveillance system and services for Canyon Creek Elementary School.
  • Authorized the deputy superintendent for business and operations to enter into a contract to purchase approximately a half acre near Central Elementary School.
  • Authorized the sale of property at 14700 S. Lakeshore Drive because it is no longer needed for an elementary school site.
  • Authorized the sale of property at 116th Street and Renner Boulevard because it is no longer needed for a high school site.
  • Received information on several future action items including student trips, curriculum, a schedule for HVAC replacement projects, and bids for table saws with enhanced safety features for middle schools.
  • Received the annual facility usage report which showed an overall decrease in hours of community rental due to a discontinuation of the Y Care program at four elementary schools, a decrease in community use at the high schools, and an increase in blocked field rental days at the activity complexes. In 2017-18 the community rented district facilities 46,815 hours, compared to 51,269 hours in 2016-17.
  • Received the Head Start director’s monthly report.
  • Held an executive session to discuss employer-employee negotiations.

The complete agenda and supporting documents are available on BoardDocs.