Return to Headlines

5-31-23 — May 2023 Awards

May 31, 2023

Canyon Creek Fifth Graders Win KICK Outreach Challenge Award

Canyon Creek Elementary School fifth graders recently won one of three awards in the 2022 Keep It Clean Kansas (KICK) Outreach Challenge!

Partnered with the Kansas Department of Health, the KICK Outreach Challenge is a competition for Kansas students in grades K-12 to keep the planet green and clean. Classrooms work in teams to create and share projects that educate others about recycling, composting and other waste-reduction activities in Kansas.

The Canyon Creek Green Team proved that no one is too old or too young to learn how to recycle properly. The fifth grade classrooms split into eight teams and created projects through fun presentations, posters and videos. They shared their projects with K-4 grade level students and faculty members to teach them about the benefits of recycling properly at school and in the community.

“We loved this challenge! It really helped with making our learning authentic which is a huge aspect of Project Based Learning,” Canyon Creek fifth grade teacher Eli Schoeman said. “The kids really enjoyed sorting through the trash and our school is better off because of this challenge.”

The Kansas Department of Health presented Canyon Creek with a $1,000 check for their achievement.

In addition to competing in the challenge, educators and students received access to a free virtual classroom known as the “Waste Investigation,” which features a curriculum of on-demand videos and activities centered on recycling, composting and waste reduction. They also have access to virtual “office” hours to meet and communicate with professional environmental educators.

Olathe South Video Productions Shines at State and Regional Competitions

It was a great school year for Olathe South Video Productions, also known as “Falcon Films.”

In November, Falcon Films participated in the Kansas 24-hour Film Fest and placed second in the short film category. Hosted by St. John’s High School, around 15 schools in the Kansas City area, including Olathe Northwest High School’s e-Communication program, entered 24 films. Students were given a prompt that included a theme, line of dialogue, camera shot and object that must be incorporated. They were given one whole day to create and submit their short films.

Falcon Films also earned first place at the Kansas Scholastic Press Association’s regional and state contests. Regionals were due in January, and the finalists moved on to the state competition. After placing first in the regional contest, they were given prompts for their films for state. Falcon Films won first place once again and got to celebrate in Lawrence, Kan.

In April, Olathe Northwest hosted the eMagine Festival. Falcon Films picked up the following awards:

  • Short Film – first place
  • Commercial – first place
  • Documentary – third place
  • Travel/Influencer — first place
  • Music Video – third place
  • Short Film – third place

Most recently, the Olathe South students took a field trip to Kauffman Stadium to celebrate the Kansas Association of Broadcasters State Contest, where they placed first in the on-air personality category and second in documentary. Competition videos were due in March, and the celebration was held at Kauffman Stadium on May 2.

Olathe Public Schools Holds Districtwide Math Wings Event

Olathe North High School hosted the District Math Wings event this April. Each elementary school was represented in teams of three. Here are the results:

Fourth Grade:

  • First Place: Regency Place Elementary School — Alex Jin, Ethan Winch, Oliver Bennett
  • Second Place: Ravenwood Elementary School — Linna Wang, Miles Christy, Toby Esser
  • Third Place: Woodland Elementary School — Hans Chen, Parker Dunlay, Emma Zheng

Fifth Grade:

  • First Place: Regency Place — Hosanna Kiruthi, Ze-lan Sea, Nicholas Tuzhilov
  • Second Place: Forest View Elementary School — Isaac Dean, Aiden Sumcad, Ethan Lim
  • Third Place (tie): Cedar Creek Elementary School — Davis Heimsoth, Adam Merfen, Ollie Hart; Fairview Elementary School — Emily Solado, Kace Phelps; Walnut Grove Elementary School — Henry Biesterfield, Cesar Frias, Carter Johannsen

Two Olathe High Schools Place in Top Five in 6A Kansas FAFSA Challenge

Olathe East High School and Olathe West High School placed in the top five 6A high schools in the 2023 Kansas FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Challenge. Olathe East placed fourth with a completion rate of 52.8% and Olathe West placed fifth with a 51.7% completion rate.

The Kansas FAFSA Challenge is a statewide FAFSA completion competition for Kansas high schools. Schools are grouped by size and recognized in two different categories, Highest Completion Rate and Most Improved Completion Rate. The competition started in 2021.

Olathe Public Schools’ Head Start Members Receive Awards

The Olathe Public Schools’ Head Start early childhood program had three faculty members receive state-recognized awards, with two of them winning a regional award to qualify for national recognition. Here are the award-winners:

  • Kim Sill (Head Start Director) — Kansas Head Start Administrator of the Year
  • Sharon Green (secretary) — Kansas Head Start Support Staff of the Year
  • Camilo Bustamante (Olathe West High School senior) — Kansas Head Start Alumni High School Senior Scholarship

Head Start is an early childhood program that welcomes children of income-eligible families who are at least 3 years old by Aug. 31 of the current school year. Services include education, social services, health exams, nutritious snacks and meals, mental counseling and services for those with special needs. Head Start’s mission is to enhance the quality of life of families through education.

“Head Start recognizes that parents are the primary educators of their children, and you are their role model and guide,” Head Start Director Kim Sill said. “As Head Start staff, we want to support you in that role.”

Sill and Bustamante were winners of their respective awards at the regional level and will move on for national consideration. Region 7 Head Start encompasses the states of Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska.

Olathe North Senior Selected as Finalist for National Student of the Year Award

Olathe North High School senior Aarushi Pore was selected as a finalist for the 2023 William Woods Tate Jr. National Student of the Year Award and will compete in the National Speech and Debate Tournament in Arizona in June. Out of over 140,000 National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) members, only six students are selected as finalists for this award.

The NSDA connects, supports and inspires a diverse community committed to empowering students through speech and debate. The 2023 National Speech and Debate Tournament is held in Phoenix, Ariz. from June 11-16.

Pore is the first finalist from Kansas since 2018 and is one of two finalists from Kansas this year.

Olathe Public Schools Achieves Highest Level of Determination for Special Education Services

The Kansas State Department of Education assigned Olathe Public Schools a “Meets Requirements” level of determination (LOD) through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) State Performance Plan Report for the fiscal year 2021. Meets Requirements is the highest status level a district can achieve.

The district earned this honor by meeting substantial compliance on all compliance State Performance Plan district-level indicators. As a result of the district’s Meets Requirements LOD for 2021, the district is eligible for a number of fiscal and program rewards.

The Kansas Department of Education recognizes that achievement and continuation of a Meets Requirements LOD requires quality leadership and appropriate knowledge of IDEA requirements and best practices. Therefore, as a reward for achieving Meets Requirements an additional stipend to support professional learning opportunities for district leadership is made available to the district through the Targeted Improvement Plan application process and budget.

“Receiving the highest level of determination paired with the independent Special Education study results confirms that the work our educators are doing is top-notch,” Executive Director of Special Services Anjanette Tolman said. “While this is an incredible accomplishment for our staff, we will never stop striving to provide the best services we can for all of our students.”

This distinction is due to the hard work of all our educators, paraeducators and administrators who are a part of our Special Education team.

Westview Elementary Receives Challenge Award

Westview Elementary School was named one of the 2022 Challenge Award recipients by the Kansas State Department of Education for outstanding achievement and uncommon accomplishments based on Kansas Assessment results in math and reading.

The awards recognize Kansas schools that are making a notable difference in student achievement despite facing significant challenges in their school population. Winning this award is due to the amazing staff and students at Westview Elementary School.