Starside's Comet

Newsletter Communication for January 14, 2022

Starside Elementary

Our Starside Mission:

Through a collaborative learning community we will build a foundation upon which all students can develop essential academic and life skills.

Click HERE to visit our school website!

A Message From Principal Hicks

Thank you Starside Comets! During our 12 Days of Kindness back in December, students collected a total of $120.00 in spare change. Way to go! All the donations went to benefit our local De Soto Food Pantry. Your kindness and generosity are appreciated.

Starside's Virtual Lost and Found

Starside Parents, Are your students missing any items such as coats or accessories? Do I have some exciting news for you! Starside now has a virtual lost and found! Thank you to Andrea Clem for the idea and organization of this. Thank you to Michelle Brown for adding this to our website. Check out the link below to browse pictures of all lost items. If you find something that belongs to your student please email your child's teacher and let them know. Thanks for helping us clean house around here!

Lost and Found Link

Grant Strong Event! You Can Still Register!

This benefits one of our Starside students. You can help! If you missed the basketball tournaments last week and didn't get registered, it's not too late. See below...use the QR code and text information to request a kit to be mailed to your home. You could save a life!! Let's continue to show our support! #WeareonebigfamilyatStarside
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We would like for you to nominate any teacher whom you consider to be an outstanding and effective educator and whom you or your child has had as a teacher. This person must be a tenured employee of USD 232. If there is a De Soto educator whom you believe to be outstanding and deserving of special recognition, please fill out the nomination form at This form needs to be completed by noon on January 14, 2021.

The De Soto School District has been an important and strong participant in the Kansas Teacher of the Year Program for many years. De Soto has had fifteen state finalists and twelve semi-finalists represented in the program since 2000. Two of our very own teachers were chosen as The Kansas Teacher of the Year; Keil Hileman in 2004 and Jeri Powers in 2008. This is truly unprecedented!

Why Should We Participate?

¨ To recognize and honor all teachers and publicize all that is good in public education

¨ To reward those teachers who are particularly effective in many areas of endeavor---in the classroom, with colleagues, and in school and community affairs.

¨ To promote our own school and school system, but, most of all, to promote the quality of education that we believe we are giving our students.

¨ To work with other teachers across the state for the improvement of our schools, student performance, and the teaching profession.

Who Can Participate?

¨ Any full-time classroom teacher in the De Soto Unified School District; this includes special education teachers.* Teachers must assign grades to be eligible by KSDE.

¨ Any full-time classroom teacher who was not selected as his/her building nominee the previous year.** (Teachers that have been selected as a Kansas Teacher of the Year district nominee or state semi-finalist are eligible after 5 years of serving on the state team).

What Are the Steps in this Program?

¨ Teachers are nominated on the building level by their colleagues, students, and/or parents

¨ The district team, made up of building representatives, will select one nominee for each building; this selection will be announced before the end of the school year.

¨ A different selection team will evaluate all building applications and will select one elementary and one secondary USD 232 district representative which will be announced in August.

¨ The two district representatives will attend the regional recognition banquet in March in Overland Park and will have the chance to participate in other Teacher of the Year opportunities throughout the year.

Save the Date


  • 14 - No School due to staffing shortages
  • 17 - No School - Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday
  • 18 - AM Choir Resumes! Spark tonight!
  • 20 - Glow Skate Party at Skate City, 6-8 PM - please follow Skate City mask policy


  • 14 - Classroom Valentines Day Parties
  • 16 - Half-Day of school - dismissal @ 12:10 PM
  • 16 - 4:40-8:10 PM - Parent-Teacher Conferences
  • 17 - 10 AM - 8 PM - Parent-Teacher Conferences, No School
  • 18-21 - No School - President's Day


  • 4 - Info to come (GlowDance, Java with Jan and Bingo Night!)
  • 11 - End of Q3
  • 14-18 - No School - Spring Break
  • 21 - No School for students - Teacher PD and Work Day
  • 22 - Q4 Begins
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Counselor's Corner

Kindest Kansas Citian contest

The Kindest Kansas Citian Contest is sponsored by Synergy Services in an effort to find the GOOD things that are happening in our community. School-age children from the entire metro area are encouraged to nominate someone who is 18 years or older, who is not in their family, and who lives in the KC metro area that they feel represents KINDNESS in some way.

Students can nominate an individual, couple, or group who they feel deserves the “Kindest Kansas Citian” distinction. All they need to do is submit a one-page essay or a drawing (Grades K-2) describing the caring ways of the person(s) they have nominated.

From thousands of entries, the top 20 students and their nominees will be honored on Friday, May 6th, 2022 at a Virtual Kindest Kansas Citian Awards Celebration. We encourage any Starside students who are interested to participate and continue this wonderful tradition. This year, instead of turning in a paper copy of your child’s essay or drawing, we are asking that you use the link below to submit your entry electronically. If you have any questions please contact Mrs. Mispagel,

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SPARK & Clubs

SPARK and 2ND Session Clubs began this week!

McKenzi Mispagel,

Madison King,

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Order your Starside Yearbook now!!

Yearbook Order Deadline is March 28th!

The online ordering code is:

If you have any questions about Yearbook, please contact Mrs. King or Mrs. Hessong.

Maddie King,

Danielle Hessong,


If you'd like to participate in 4th and 5th Grade Choir, please complete the paperwork below and turn it in to Mrs. Pradhan. If you have any questions, please email.

Choir will resume on January 18th!


Thursday, January 20th is the Glow Skate at Skate City. Masks are optional per the current Skate City policy. Please be prepared to wear a mask if this policy changes!

PTA has been very busy this past month:

-We treated SE staff to $5 gift cards to KJ's, Casey's or Cause Coffee before break. The staff appreciated and enjoyed the gift cards!

-PTA donated so that the Book Fair was able to provide a new book to each student for the first time!! We have over 450 students and purchases brought $1800 earned in new books for Starside! Thanks to the several volunteers who helped make it a success!

-Monday night's Chipotle fundraiser brought in $576 as Chipotle generously shares 33% in profits back to us! Thanks to all that supported us and enjoyed Chipotle for dinner!

-The PTA Glow Dance Party has moved to March 4. More details to come as it gets closer.

- Several changes to note! The updated calendar is available on our website at Or go to and click on Calendar and then the Calendar file.

View our monthly meeting minutes from November and January on the website, too.

Join our Facebook page at Starside PTA and follow us on Instagram at starsidepta232 to stay up to date on information and events.

Fundraising Opportunities:

  • Casey's Rewards - download their app and earn points
  • BoxTops - download the app and scan your store receipts
  • - choose Starside PTA as your favorite charity
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MAKERSPACE Donations Appreciated!

If you have any of the following items and would be willing to donate them to the Starside Makerspace, we would greatly appreciate it!

-Cotton balls-Hot glue sticks-Pringles cans-Pipe cleaners-Aluminum foil-Small canning jar lids-

SE Community Information

Pre-School Enrollment begins 2/21/22

USD 232 offers high quality preschool programs for children, ages 3 to 5, that are not yet kindergarten eligible. All programs are half-day, hold low student to adult ratios and use research-based curriculums tied to the Kansas Early Learning Standards. Preschool programs are located in the NEW Cedar Trails Exploration Center at the corner of Mize Blvd & 83rd St., next to Mill Creek Middle School. Grant funded (FREE) preschool spots are available for students who qualify. Transporation (busing) will also be available for grant funded spots and special education services.

Preschool Enrollment for the 2022-2023 school year begins on February 21, 2022. On that date, an online application will be available via the USD 232 Early Childhood website at Paper applications are also available within Cedar Trails Exploration Center (Lenexa, KS) and Starside Elementary (De Soto, KS) offices. All applications must be submitted to the Cedar Trails Office by March 4, 2022 at 4pm, to be considered in the first round of enrollment.

For more information, please visit

Contact the Cedar Trails Office at 913-667-1820 with questions.

Test To Stay & Learn Program

If you are interested in the district’s participation in the Test to Stay & Learn program, be aware that the program is only open when school is in session and is only available to District staff and students. To learn more about this program, and other District Covid information, visit

Please be sure to communicate with Starside Office staff to ensure that they are aware of the necessary absence and illness information.

Nurse Tara Brown: for Tara Brown, Jackie Johnson, and Starla Newberry

Special film - Angst: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety

USD 232 is partnering with the USD 232 Education Foundation to host a special online screening of ANGST: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety the week of January 31-February 6.

ANGST is a film-based education program designed to raise awareness around anxiety, with an emphasis on youth and families. The film includes interviews with kids, teens, experts, and parents with the goal of helping people identify and understand the symptoms of anxiety and encouraging them to reach out for help.

Starting on Monday, January 31 through Sunday, February 6 families in our district will be able to watch ANGST as a Virtual Screening from home anytime that week. Also included with the film will be an informative, paneled discussion led by the film’s experts and filmmakers.

Here is the link to gain access to the film ANGST which will be active starting at 5:00 p.m. on January 31 > ANGST: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety

Thank you for your interest in this film and for continuing the conversation.

- USD 232 Administration

USD232EF Quarter Kudos

The USD 232 Education Foundation would like to recognize the amazing teaching and learning going on in our classrooms. We even want to brag about it! Getting students excited about learning is a teacher's superpower, so we want to CELEBRATE the teachers of USD 232!

Last quarter, we came up with the idea of “Teacher Kudos”. This gave parents and teachers alike a chance to share a fun or innovative activity that really impacted students' learning by posting on Facebook. Each post submitted was a chance for the teacher to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card from the USD 232 Education Foundation.

We are doing this again for the second quarter which will be a great way to end the semester. Here is the Facebook link:

Second Quarter Teacher Kudos

Construction News will be continued next Spring...

Eastbound K-10 on-ramp and highway are now open! Both East and Westbound K-10 will remain open until construction begins on the Westbound ramp and highway in late spring or early summer!


Community Service

Community service hours should be tallied from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022. Attached you will find a form for tracking service hours. All service hours are due no later than Monday, April 4th this school year.

The definition of service under the President’s Volunteer Service Award program includes any activity that has a significant impact on meeting the needs of the community. Services that are paid for or carried out for a family member do not count towards service hours. Some examples of services include helping with community organizations, school-based programs, scouting services, or any effort to help others.

Students are responsible for keeping track of ALL of their community service hours including hours completed at Starside such as Comet Guard. If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at Starside at 667-6270 ext. 2196 or e-mail me at Thank you for your support.


McKenzi Mispagel

Starside School Counselor

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Contacts: Front Office

Email: to reach our secretaries, Starla Newberry and Jackie Johnson, and Nurse Tara Brown with your inquiries, attendance reporting, or student enrollment/records requests.

Be sure to add to your contacts list so we don't end up in your spam folder!

LIKE the Starside Facebook page!

"Like" our new Starside Facebook page: to receive updates on school news and events via Facebook!

Making A Difference

We are blessed to have such an amazing staff members here at Starside! They deserve to be recognized! Through the Great American Bank and our very own USD 232 Education Foundation they are providing you the opportunity to recognize staff members that you feel go above and beyond in their daily interactions with our students. All you need to do is click on the link below and fill out some general information of the deserving nominee. Thank you for helping our staff feel special!

Making a Difference Nomination Link

What is Bullying?

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SKYWARD Report Card Access

Parents – This year Starside will not be printing grade cards to send home with students. However, you may access your child’s grades in Skyward.


Log in to Skyward Family Access

Click on the Documents tab on the left side

Next, click on the blue link that says 21-22 Q1 Report Card

For further instructions please reference the Link (Pay close attention to page 3 and page 7):

Skyward Directions

Substitute Teachers Needed

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USD 232 Parents As Teachers

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Clickable Links:

Virtual Tour of Starside with Principal Hicks

Welcome to Starside
USD 232 Text Alerts

Sign up to receive alerts regarding special events like school closures, school pictures, late start reminders, etc.

2021-2022 School Year District Calendar

Details on school dates - late start dates and holidays, etc.

Starside Website

Your best resource for all things Starside!

Skyward Family Access Guide

Skyward Family Access instructions to check grades, SE Messages, fees, enrollment, and more.

Nutrition Resources

Menus and information regarding the USD #232 Nutrition program.

FirstView Student Bus Application

Parent App providing up-to-the-minute bus information including estimated bus arrival time, opt-in district messaging regarding delays or issues and customizable alerts.

Starside Family Handbook

Details on Starside procedures regarding arrival and dismissal, attendance notification, birthdays, snacks, special events, transportation changes, and everything Starside!

USD 232 Flyers

Electonic flyers for Scouts, Clinics & Camps, Sports & Miscellaneous events.

Family Resources

Community resources and information for USD 232 Families.

Education Foundation

Benefitting the District and enhancing the services and education provided by USD232.