September Newsletter


Note from the Principal!

In a blink of an eye, it's September. As we begin our first full month of school, I look forward to all the challenges and successes that the month brings. The month of September is often a month of data collection. We will soon begin Dyslexia screening for all K-2 students. Although it may seem like a lot of assessments, we get valuable data that will set your child up for a successful year.

Our staff encourages our students to try their best on these assessments. On all these assessments, students will come across information they don't know and that's okay! In many cases, this is the information they will be learning over the course of the year. Please don't stress as parents and keep it positive at home! I've also included information in my newsletter regarding a change in philosophy in how we teach our kids spelling words.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out. And if you haven't already, please follow our Facebook page @ Cottonwood Elementary School USD 368.


Mr. Troast


The following students were recognized during the month of August for doing something positive for the staff or other students. Each student who is nominated receives a certificate of recognition and each month we randomly select students to receive a fun prize from Mr. Troast. August PAW Award Winners are:

Preschool: Rylan Windler

Kindergarten: Enzo Perales and Remi Dowd

1st Grade: Britton Hightower and Makenzie Compliment

2nd Grade: Lexi Caldwell and Axel Holy

Dismissal and Car Riders- Reminders

Just a few reminders for parents to make dismissal go smoothly:

  • Communicate: Please notify the classroom teacher and office staff of any transportation changes. Always include office staff just in case the classroom teacher has a substitute for the day. Office staff include Kathy Ferguson ( and Kelli Whitney
  • Please communicate transportation changes by 2:00 pm each day.
  • We DO NOT SHARE iDismiss numbers with anyone who calls in. Our office staff will only share the iDismiss number with individuals who are the primary contacts in Infinite Campus.
  • Please follow and merge correctly in our car rider line. Kids are organized based on that order. If someone cuts or jumps the line, it slows the entire process down.
  • Please make sure your child is ready to exit their vehicle during morning drop-off. That means they have their backpacks ready, electronics are put away and students are ready to exit the vehicle.
  • We encourage students to open their own doors, but Cottonwood staff is ready to assist as needed.

Watch Dogs- Virtual Sign Up- What information do I need?

Dads, Uncles, Grandfathers, or Father Figures- Be ready for our virtual WATCH Dogs sign-up on Sept 7th. THIS WILL BE A VIRTUAL EVENT ONLY. On Sept 7th, you will receive an email from your child's teacher and an email via infinite campus to sign up to be a WATCH DOG. Be on the lookout for that email to sign up for dates starting in October. Included in this email will be everything you need to know about our WATCH DOG Program, where you can order WATCH DOG gear and any common questions we get!

What is the WATCH D.O.G.S Program?

WATCH D.O.G.S. is one of the nation’s largest and most respected school-based, family, and community engagement, organizations in the country. In 1998, the very first WATCH D.O.G.S. program was launched at Gene George Elementary in Springdale, AR. Today, more than 6,800 schools across the country have launched a WATCH D.O.G.S. program of their own. Each school year hundreds of thousands of fathers and father figures make a positive impact on millions of children by volunteering countless hours in their local schools through this amazing one-of-a-kind program.

What are the goals of a WATCH D.O.G.S. program?

1) To provide positive male role models for the students, demonstrating by their presence that education is important.

2) To provide extra sets of eyes and ears to enhance school security and reduce bullying.

Title 1 Reading Compact- Don't Forget to Sign!

Cottonwood and Sunflower Elementary are both Title I schools. Title I is a federally-funded, general education support program. The goal of Title One Reading is to provide extra reading help and instruction for struggling readers.

Both schools are transitioning from being target-assisted programs (only qualifying students can receive Title I services) to school-wide programs. This means that all students can receive and benefit from supplemental Reading support from Title I teachers.

The Title 1 Reading Compact was shared in my August Newsletter. If you haven't signed the compact, please click the link below to sign.

Picture Day - Sept 7th

Picture Day is coming up on 9/7/22! Order before Picture Day to receive free shipping to the school. Order online at

Mr. Troast's Book of the Month: Spruce and Lucy

Each month, I will highlight a book that can be found in our Cottonwood library. This month's book is called Spruce and Lucy This is a favorite of Mr. Troast's. It's a great story about making sure individuals know they are valued members of this world and can do amazing and great things. Be sure to check with Mrs. Johnston to see if it's available for check-out this month in the Cottonwood Library. If you can't check it out, please watch the recorded version from the author Todd Nesloney.

Where are the Spelling Words and Sight Words?

This year you will see a noticeable change in how we teach spelling words and sight words at Cottonwood Elementary. We have a new reading curriculum that is based on the science of how students learn to read. Spelling will be taught explicitly each week in class and there will be multiple opportunities to practice within the classroom. The brain learns to read by patterns, not pure memorization.

Often times students would memorize words for spelling tests and be successful. What we see in education though is a majority of students can’t recall these words a month or two later. The focus of our new reading curriculum is on finding and applying patterns in words. What you will find this year, is classroom teachers will work on building automaticity with the target pattern through various activities throughout the week.

Each week students will also practice high-frequency words and heart words. Heart words are words within the English language that don’t follow spelling patterns. High-Frequency words are words that are found commonly in tasks. So, gone are the days where students will be asked to memorize 100 words by the end of Kindergarten or 150 words by the end of 1st grade. The goal of our program is to teach students the patterns and apply those to text with decodable books working on those skills.

Your child’s classroom teacher can share more information with you in regard to the shift in philosophy at Cottonwood Elementary.

September Calendar

  • September 5th- Labor Day- No School
  • September 7th- Picture Day!!!!!
  • September 7th-Virtual Sign Up for Watch DOGS- ONLINE ONLY
  • September 8th- Bond Ballets due by NOON
  • September 12th- Board Meeting 6 pm at Central Office
  • September 13th-14th- Cottonwood Dental Clinic

Cottonwood SITE Council

Are you interested in helping Cottonwood serve its community? Do you want to work closely with Mr. Troast to help and provide feedback that improves Cottonwood? Do you have ideas that could help Cottonwood grow and improve for your child?

Cottonwood is looking for parent volunteers to serve on our 22-23 Cottonwood SITE Council. SITE Council meets 3-4 times a year to discuss everything Cottonwood. It's a great time to provide feedback to Cottonwood staff and share any ideas that you may have. If you are interested in serving please email Mr. Troast at

Cottonwood Elementary

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to email me: or call the school at 913-294-8050

Location: 709 Hedge Ln, Paola, KS 66071, USA
Phone: 913-294-8050

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