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Share Your Photos from the School Year with the SMSD
Shawnee Mission School District

We are excited to welcome students to remote learning and the 2020-2021 school year.     

This year will be a unique one for everyone, but together we are #SMSDStrong.

We invite you to share your stories, photos, and videos with us of staff and students engaged in learning. Help tell our story, whether we are learning in a remote, in-person, or hybrid model this year.

Click here to submit your SMSD Stories.

Farm Bureau Recognizes SMSD Teacher’s Garden Lessons
Shawnee Mission School District

* Photos taken in fall 2019/early 2020

A salad party may not sound like fun at first, but that might change after you learn about, planting, tending and harvesting your very own garden. Earlier this year, Heather Brown, second-grade teacher, incorporated a tower garden learning experience into multiple educational opportunities.

The Kansas Farm Bureau Foundation recognized Brown with an Excellence in Teaching award. These awards are given to exemplary teachers who integrate agriculture lessons into the classroom. Tower gardens are  grown vertically, allowing a lot of plants to be grown in a small space.

Brown’s tower garden lessons incorporated vocabulary, reading, writing, math and science practice. Upon harvesting, the class enjoyed the benefits of their hard work, celebrating with a salad party.

Students were introduced to new vocabulary words, read articles and answered comprehension questions about indoor gardening. In groups, they worked to become experts about what they learned, presented their researched ideas to the class, studied the cost of the seeds, measured the amount of seeds needed, and explored best practices for beginning gardeners.

Students started plant journals and  wrote letters to their families about planting. The class discussed timing for lighting and setting the water pump for indoor growing.  They tracked progress in their journals throughout the process and held discussions comparing and contrasting the growth of different plants. Second-graders predicted which plants would be ready for harvest first, how tall they would be, which they looked forward to eating, and compared indoor and outdoor gardening.

 “The tower garden lent itself nicely to experimenting with the effects of sunlight and water, as we discuss in science and study interdependent relationships in ecosystems,” Brown noted. “We developed models for pollinating the flowering plants indoors. We observed plant life indoors and compared it to plant life outdoors through the different seasons.”

To practice math skills, students measured growth, created graphs and wrote word problems. The class planted and harvested threes time prior to spring break and shared food with other classes. Brown even took the tower garden home and began growing it outdoors, sharing the progress and lessons with her students throughout fourth quarter via video chat sessions.

As a winner, Brown received a choice of a $600 scholarship to attend a conference or a $200 gift certificate to purchase classroom supplies. 

She was nominated by a friend impressed with her tower garden initiative in the classroom.

Dr. John McKinney presented the 2020 Champion for Children award by KSSWA
Shawnee Mission School District

The Kansas School Social Workers Association (KSSWA) presented Dr. John McKinney, director of family and student services, the 2020 Champion for Children award. 

The Champion for Children award recognizes a non-school social worker who supports the school social work profession and demonstrates dedication in promoting social work services in schools. 

Several Shawnee Mission School District staff members contacted KSSWA to offer their endorsement of McKinney receiving the honor.  

Thomas Walsh, who will serve as a social worker at Brookwood and East Antioch, nominated McKinney for the award.

 “He is supportive and sensitive to the needs of social workers as we work with students and families,” Walsh said.

Nicole Gawer, social worker at Pawnee Elementary School, also wrote a letter in support. She highlighted his work to assemble a task force of social workers and nurses to update suicide assessment paperwork and protocols into evidence-based formats.

“He has listened and thoughtfully made ideas of social workers into actions that benefit all students in the Shawnee Mission School District.” Gawer shared.

McKinney epitomizes the award, David Aramovich, SMSD homeless liaison wrote in a support letter.

“He demonstrates equanimity, competence, dedication, enthusiasm, and humor, all of which highlight his tremendous leadership qualities,” Aramovich said.

McKinney was awarded the distinction virtually.

Graphic for Live Streaming
Shawnee Mission School District

The negotiations team representing the Shawnee Mission Board of Education and NEA-Shawnee Mission will meet in the Board Room at the Center for Academic Achievement (CAA), 8200 W. 71st Street from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., with a 1-hour lunch break starting at approximately 11:30 a.m. on Monday, July 13.

A livestream of the meeting can be watched here:

The interest-based bargaining (IBB) method is being used for negotiations this year. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and current state and local guidelines for group gatherings, seating in the Board Room will be limited to ensure 6-foot spacing.  Seating will be available on a first-come basis. To ensure that all interested community members have live access to the meetings, the meetings will be livestreamed.