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12-4-15 — Board Approves Curriculum for Olathe West Programs

Dec. 4, 2015 ~ Prior to approving the curriculum for two new 21st Century High School Programs, Olathe Board of Education members heard an update on the process followed to develop these programs. Deputy Superintendent Alison Banikowski made the presentation during the board's Dec. 3 meeting.

Public Safety (fire rescue and law enforcement) and Green Tech (energy and sustainability) programs will come to Olathe West High School when it opens in fall 2017. Banikowski said the district's 21st Century High School Programs launched in fall 2003 with two offerings each at Olathe North and Olathe Northwest high schools. Two programs were added in 2004, four in 2005 and one in 2009.

The goal of these programs is to focus on a high-demand, specialized career field in a four-year program that matches the student's interests. Designing the Public Safety and Green Tech programs involved a team of experts, determining potential strands of study, identifying potential student experiences, outlining the coursework, deciding on possible advisory group members, identifying the building and resource needs, and, finally, developing the curriculum.

MAP Assessment Pilot

The second presentation centered on the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP), a national assessment. Assistant Superintendent Jessica Dain said MAP testing could be a solution to the district's need for a nationally normed assessment.

The district will pilot MAP testing starting this winter with reading and math. Thirty of the district's 35 elementary schools, all nine middle schools, and three of the four high schools will pilot MAP. A variety of technology will be used, from laptops and desktop computers to iPads.

Dain discussed the benefits of MAP testing for all stakeholders. Students will set growth goals for themselves and take ownership of their learning. Teachers will be able to identify instructional resources and collaborate with each child's learning team to monitor the student's growth. Administrators will use the data to evaluate programs, allocate resources and project students' proficiency. Parents will receive a MAP report for their child twice a year.


  • First National Bank and the Olathe Public Schools Foundation were recognized for their continued support of the district as community partners.
  • The district's United Way executive committee members (Amanda Faunce, Elizabeth Esco, Jennifer Curry, Erin Dugan and Nancy Cheatham) were thanked for their efforts to coordinate the campaign which resulted in $73,294.22 in donations to the United Way of Greater Kansas City.
  • The Olathe North High School Eaglettes dance team received the Accessible Community Award from the Persons with Disabilities Advisory Board and the Youth Award from the Olathe Human Relations Commission.
  • The Olathe North softball team was the top-ranked academic high school softball team in the nation according to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.
  • The boys cross country team from Olathe North captured the 6A state title.
  • The gymnastics team from Olathe East High School was named the 6A state champion.
  • Darby Gertsema of Olathe East earned the state gymnastics title in All-Around and Vault.
  • Samantha Bond of Olathe East earned the state gymnastics title in Balance Beam and Floor Exercise.
  • Executive Director of General Administration / Elementary Programs Brent Yeager received the President's Award from the Kansas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved a consent agenda including routine items such as meeting minutes, reports, Head Start policies and procedures, Public Safety curriculum and Green Tech curriculum.
  • Rejected a trade bid for an LED video display board in the Olathe Northwest High School gymnasium.
  • Approved change orders in excess of $20,000 for Olathe West.
  • Approved a bid for 1,485 desktop computers as replacements in 28 elementary school computer labs and administrative areas in the high schools and several support and alternative education buildings, and 90 workstation level computers for 21st Century High School Programs at Olathe Northwest and Olathe East that use computer aided drafting programs.
  • Approved audit reports for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2015.
  • Approved the district's legislative platform for 2015-16 which includes student learning, school finance and representation.
  • Received information on future action items including Head Start plans, student trips, technology audio visual equipment bid, instructional materials, curriculum, special education software replacement, district notifications solution, and Board of Education special meeting retreat.
  • Received the Head Start director's written monthly report.
  • Received the fall parent-teacher conferences report which showed that more than 22,000 district students were represented by a parent at the conferences. The elementary average rate of participation was 98 percent; 69 percent for middle schools; and 53 percent for high schools. The overall district participation rate was more than 78 percent of the student body.
  • Held an executive session to discuss personnel matters and employer-employee negotiations.

The complete agenda and supporting documents can be found online at