September 20, 2019

Miss Mary Strawberry Returns Soon with Fresh Ideas About Nutrition!

“This is the best job I’ve ever had! Everyone is glad to see me!” Miss Mary Strawberry (also known as Mary Hanna) shares her love of nutrition, food, and healthy eating with Knoxville elementary students. Hanna, a retired KCSD Family Consumer Sciences teacher, created the Miss Mary Strawberry persona with a team of others and after five years, she still loves the opportunity to interact with and teach the students.

The students at West Elementary and Northstar Elementary are always happy to see Miss Mary Strawberry in the hallways and in their classrooms throughout the school year. Miss Mary Strawberry provides nutrition lessons in each classroom four times each year. The lessons are created by Hanna and are based on MyPlate. “I really try to focus on basic nutrition and the foods of MyPlate, with an emphasis on increasing fruits and vegetables,” says Hanna.

This year she will focus on Farm to Table. “Students may know that food comes from a grocery store, but they may not think about it coming from a farm. One of our first lessons will be all about corn. We’ll talk about field corn, sweet corn, and all kinds of foods made from corn.”

Each lesson ends with a taste test of either a single food or a combination of foods. “I ask that they TRY it. They might like it, but they might not. They don’t have to finish it, and it’s ok if they don’t like it. I just encourage them to try it because that is the best way to learn about food!”

Hanna appreciates the students and staff she works with. “I just love to see the enthusiasm of the students. I appreciate all of the support from staff who take time to schedule, and welcome, and help with Miss Mary Strawberry in their classrooms.”

This year, Miss Mary Strawberry will be supported in part with funds from a $500 Team Nutrition 5210 Grant. The 5210 Healthy Choices Count! Initiative promotes 5 fruits and vegetables daily, 2 hours or less of screen time, 1 hour of exercise and 0 sugar sweetened beverages each day. Funds from the grant were used to purchase nutrition education materials to be used in Miss Mary Strawberry lessons.

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Northstar Mileage Club Off and Running!

The Northstar Mileage Club is off and running for the 2019-2020 school year!

On Friday, September 13, 2019, all students at Northstar had the opportunity to learn about the Northstar Mileage Club, practice the route and rules, and enjoy a fresh fruit and vegetable sample when they were done.

Tyler Pearson and Michael Splavec started the Northstar Mileage Club last spring and piloted the program with 4th grade students. Mr. Pearson shared, “We started the club last spring as a way to get kids moving at recess and encourage a lifelong love of running and walking.” Mr. Splavec commented, “It is both an “on your own” or “as a group” activity that all kids can do at their own pace.”

The Knoxville PTO helped get the program started by providing financial support. Mr. Pearson said the name “Northstar Mileage Club” is intentional and is focused on accumulated miles, whether running or walking or sprinting, and not just focused on running. “We want kids to get out there and be active. All kids are able to participate in the Northstar Mileage Club,” he said. After each lap, students use an iPad to scan the barcode on their wristband. Mr. Pearson and Mr. Splavec also incorporated PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention Supports) into the program: 10 miles equals 10 Panther Tickets. Students use Panther Tickets to purchase rewards from the school store.

The Northstar Mileage Club also teaches about goal setting. Mr. Splavec shared, “The kids loved it! They would challenge themselves and challenge their friends. It was fun for the kids to watch their mileage grow over time.”

Other benefits? “Increased attention in math right after lunch recess! I couldn’t believe how quickly I saw a difference in the classroom with attention and focus and calm.” Mr. Pearson and Mr. Splavec noticed that students were more active and engaged in other games and activities at recess as well. “So whether they were in the Mileage Club or playing tag or football or soccer, the kids were more active at recess.”

This year, the Northstar Mileage Club’s kickoff event was supported by funds from a $500 Team Nutrition 5210 grant. The 5210 Healthy Choices Count! Initiative promotes 5 fruits and vegetables daily, 2 hours or less of screen time, 1 hour of exercise and 0 sugar sweetened beverages each day. Funds from the grant were used to purchase wristbands, directional signage and cones for the course, and water coolers.

“There are youth football, soccer and baseball programs, so a program that helps grow running just makes sense,” shares Mr. Splavec.

Teachers and students alike are excited for the Northstar Mileage Club during the 2019-20 school year. There will be a bulletin board in the entryway of the school for students to be able to view which classrooms have accumulated the most miles, grade level leaderboards for individuals, and school wide incentives. We can’t wait to roll out this program as a whole school this year!

Kindergartners Leave Their Mark

Up and down the kindergarten hall at West you can see how the kindergartners have

left their marks with projects that promote name recognition, fine motor skills, and

getting to know you activities. Each of these projects is tied to a book that was read in

the classroom, which ties together the learning for students in a concrete manner. For

instance, the coconut trees are featured in Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom and the

crayons come from The Crayon Box That Talked. Pete the Cat is always a five-year

old favorite, and he welcomed kindergartners to the room way back in May at

Kindergarten Round-Up. The kids really enjoy seeing their artwork displayed in the

halls and it brightens up everyone’s daily walk. Feel free to stop by and see all the

wonderful activities we have going on at West, and that includes Preschool,

KinderPrep, and Grades 1 & 2!

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First & Second Grade Learning

5th Grade Kindness Retreat

Fifth graders at Northstar attended a Kindness Retreat last week. This retreat was led by Youth Frontiers, a company that leads character retreats for students across the midwest. The students were engaged in a variety of activities throughout the day involving how to treat others with kindness. Students were involved in both large group activities with the entire fifth grade class and small group activities with high schoolers assisting those groups. It was a fun filled day for our fifth grade students.

Library Skills

Northstar students celebrate International Dot Day in Library Skills class. This day began when Terry Shay introduced his class to Peter H. Reynold’s book The Dot on September 15, 2009. Since then, this date has been celebrated each year as International Dot Day — a day for classes to explore the story’s powerful themes: bravery, creativity, and self-expression. After reading the book, The Dot, each class opened the app Quiver 3D on their ipads. This app enabled them to create their own Dot and make it come to life. Here are a few examples of what was created that day.

PBIS Team (Positive Behavior Intervention & Supports)

Weekly Social Skills

Each week Northstar elementary students are taught a social skill and a school-wide expectation. These skills are reinforced throughout the week by all the staff in the building. If you want to reinforce the social skill of the week at home, follow our Facebook page Northstar Elementary. We post a video of the social skill of the week every Monday morning!


KMS Band News

The KMS Band has had a really exciting start to the 2019-2020 school year. We have 171 students participating in the KMS Band Program this year.

From the Counseling Office:

DMACC Career Discovery Days

DMACC Career Discovery Days are open to 9th–12th grade students, educators and parents. Explore career pathways through hands-on activity sessions, learn about educational opportunities by hearing from DMACC instructors, and connect to future careers and professionals by touring related businesses. Click here for more information.

Activities Minute

Upcoming home events -

* Fri, Sep. 20: 9/10 & Varsity football v. Chariton - 515 PM

** Marching Band performance, Dance Team performance

* Mon, Sep. 23: 8 volleyball v. Newton - 430 PM

* Tue, Sep. 24: 7 football v. Newton - 430 PM

* Wed, Sep. 25: FFA District Soil Judging - 900 AM

* Thu, Sep. 26: 7 volleyball v. Grinnell - 430 PM

* Thu, Sep. 26: Girls Swimming v. Marshalltown & Oskaloosa @Indianola YMCA - 530 PM

* Thu, Sep. 26: JV2/JV1 volleyball v. Des Moines North & Des Moines Lincoln - 530 PM

Big wins this past week - football over Centerville; volleyball over Davis County!

* Our volleyball team is now 10-0 and ranked #9 in Class 4A!!!

** Impressive active streaks for our volleyball team - 6 match home court winning streak, 10 match conference home court winning streak, 16 match conference winning streak

* Freshmen Norah Pearson is currently ranked #7 in the Class 3A individual state cross country rankings!!

* Our football team is off to a 3-0 start with a BIG home game against Chariton on Fri, Sep. 20!!

** We also received the below email from an area media member about how awesome our students are:

“I thought I would reach out to you and let you know that at the Centerville

vs. Knoxville football game this past Friday night, Knoxville's student

section rocked!

I know several people from Centerville have mentioned what a great student

section Knoxville had. I have attended hundreds of games over the years and

will say the best ever was the Knoxville students last Friday night!”

Dance Team Honors

Back in August, the Knoxville Dance Team joined schools from all over Iowa to try out for the All Iowa Honor Dance team. Over 2,000 dancers tried out for this team and roughly 600 are chosen to perform at the Girl's State Basketball Tournament in March.

We are so excited to announce that Raeghan Breazeale (senior) and Emma Sedlock (freshmen) were chosen to be members of this year's team!!

We are so very proud of all 4 dancers that tried out from Knoxville and can't wait to watch these 2 perform with other top dancers from the state in March!

Home Football Student Behavior Expectations

* Students need to be in their seats during the game. They should not be loitering around the gazebo or on the top sidewalk.

* Students should not be running around, wandering over to the east side of the stadium, or playing on the grassy north part of the complex.

* When someone leaves the stadium after 700 PM - they are out for the rest of the night.

* Students in 5th grade and younger need to have a parent accompany them to all home activities (not just football games).

We appreciate you helping us enforce these items and helping keep our kids safe while they attend our events.

All home events in the Knoxville High School gym and all school concerts in KPAC will be streamed LIVE on the NFHS Network! Go to for more details!

Get schedules for all extra-curricular middle school and high school activities by going to and then clicking on "Activity Calendar". You can even sign-up for email notifications so whenever we make a change to a schedule - you can be notified immediately.

Follow the Knoxville Activities Department on Instagram! @knoxvilleactivities

KHS SPRING MUSICAL: Audition Information

Due to circumstances beyond our control, KHS will not be producing OKLAHOMA as our Spring 2020 Musical. That being said, THE SHOW MUST GO ON, and I am SO EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE THE NEW SPRING 2020 MUSICAL...

(click this link) ;)

Please direct any questions to

ROCK ON!!!! :)

Heidi Feldman


KHS Student Senate's Homecoming Parade Entry Form

Parade: Friday, Oct. 11, at 3 p.m. The theme this year is “Panthers Strike Back”!

Driver Education

Driver Education will be offered at Knoxville High School through Triple ‘R’ Driving School again this fall. Classes for the fall session will begin Monday, October 28th and conclude on Friday, November 8th. For more information, click here or see registration form below.

Substitute Authorization Course Information

If you hold a bachelor's degree, obtaining a substitute authorization is easy. Sign up to become a sub today through the Heartland Area Education Agency!

Complete calendar is linked here. (Click on calendar above for one-page format.)

  • Choose your preferred format (week, month or agenda).

Upcoming important dates:
  • Oct. 11: Homecoming, 1 hour early dismissal
  • Oct. 14: No School (Professional Development)

Enrollment Options

KCSD offers enrollment options other than the traditional full-time PK-12 student schedule:

  • Home School Assistance Program (HSAP) is offered to support home school families. If you are interested in this program for the 2020-2021 school year, please email our HSAP Coordinator:
  • Open Enrollment applications must be submitted to the resident AND to the receiving districts. The deadline for filing for open enrollment for the 2020-2021 school year is March 1, 2020 for 1st—12th graders and September 1, 2020 for Kindergarten students.

Notifications for School Delays & Cancellations

Knoxville Schools utilizes GovDelivery to communicate weather cancellations, delays and/or changes to district activities. We recommend all parents/guardians sign up to receive email and/or text notifications. Anyone is welcome to subscribe, including community members interested in schedule changes for activities purposes.

If you signed up in the past for this service, you do not need to sign up again but you will want to adjust notifications if your child changed to a different school building this year.

Screenshots are pictured below of the subscription process.

If you need assistance, please contact: Lisa.Willis@kcsd.k12.ia.usor 641-842-6551 opt 1.

Reminder: Birthday Treats need to be store bought, or, even better, support your student's school by purchasing HOMEMADE treats from the school kitchen. We take care of the baking, delivery, plates, napkins, etc. Click here to see all options, prices and order information.

Also, please keep in mind that if you would like to send the teachers some love, you can have us make and deliver treats to the teacher's lounge on your behalf.

Thank you for your support, we look forward to working with you!

Jason Swanson, KCSD Child Nutrition Director

641-842-6551, opt. 8

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Neighbor Helping Neighbor

Neighbor helping Neighbor is every Monday - Wed 1-3pm. It is located at the First United Methodist Church activities center downtown. They have vouchers for food, personal care items, toilet paper, laundry detergent, and diapers at times.
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The Panther Press is a weekly collective newsletter for parents & community members. If you have an article or flyer to share, please submit to for consideration.

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