Buzzin' in the Hive

Graden Family Newsletter, March, 2022

Dear Hornet Families,

It is hard to believe that the end of third quarter will be Friday, March 11th. I am so impressed with the teaching and learning that happens each and every day at Graden even during our AMI days.

This is always the time of year that we begin planning for Kindergarten Kick-Off. This year our kick-off event is scheduled for Thursday, May 5, from 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm. This will be a face-to-face event for all incoming kindergarten students and their families. Families will be able to sign-up for a schedule block of time to visit Graden, meet our kindergarten teachers and take a tour. Please spread the word to neighbors and friends who have children who will attend Graden in the fall of 2022. Students need to be 5 by July 31 in order to enroll for the 2022-23 school year. More information will be sent home prior to the event.

Our annual Read-a-Thon began yesterday, Monday, February 28th and will run through Friday, March 4th. We so appreciate your support of the annual PTA fundraiser. Revenue from this fundraiser goes directly back to the students and staff. A special thanks to Mrs. Jessica Freels, who is spearheading this campaign.

Annually, schools across the Northland nominate employees to be recognized in two categories: Excellence in Teaching and Excellence in Service to Education. This year, Graden will recognize two deserving individuals for these nominations. Mrs. Carrie Jo Fohl, Graden Resource Teacher, has be nominated for her Excellence in Teaching and Mrs. Kris Morris, Graden School Nurse, has been nominated for Excellence in Service to Education. We look forward to celebrating with them at the Chamber Banquet in April.

As a reminder, Spring Break begins for all students on Friday, March 11th @ 12:35 pm and runs through Sunday, March 20th. I hope you have a safe and fun break!

Thank you for all that you do to support Graden!

-Dr. Easley


Thursday, March 3rd - 6th Grade Orientation - 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm - Lakeview Middle School

Friday, March 11th - End of 3rd Quarter

Friday, March 11th - 1/2 day for Students - Dismissal begins at 12:35 pm

Monday, March 14th - Friday, March 18th - Spring Break

Monday, March 21st - PTA Meeting - 6:30 pm - Library (Dr. Cowherd Presentation)

Thursday, March 24th -District Mathletics Competition - 4:45 pm - Lakeview Middle School


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March 11th is a half day of school for all elementary students. Our hours will be 9:10 am - 12:48 pm. All students will be served breakfast and lunch. We will begin dismissal at 12:35 pm.


As you might have seen in a message from the district and my communication last week, we are grieving the loss of a member of the Hornet family. Last week, Alexander Bryant passed away. He was a third grader in our Park Hill Online Academy, but he previously attended Graden.

You might remember Alexander from a few years ago when we celebrated him by raising money for Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation to fight pediatric cancer.

We celebrated his life by wearing purple, his favorite color, yesterday. Alexander's wish was to have a big celebration at his funeral. His family would like to welcome anyone to come and remember Alexander at his funeral.

Alexander Bryant's Obituary

Funeral Information:

Day: March 5th, 2022

Time: Visitation -10:00 am - 12:00 pm Service 12:00 pm

Location: North Heartland Community Church - 4800 NW 88th St. KCMO, 64152

Attire: Please wear purple

If you would like to support his family and assist in covering the cost of funeral and medical expenses, you may access the gofundme link below.

Our Student Lighthouse Team will also be planning another Alex’s Lemonade Stand event this Spring to continue to support his family and the the fight against pediatric cancer.

If your child is struggling with this loss, our social worker, Julianna Ruwe, and counselor, Cari Cetola, are available. Please contact your child's teacher for more information. The National Association of School Psychologists is an excellent resource to help you talk to your child about their feelings of grief.


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The Park Hill Board of Education placed Proposition I and Proposition N on the April 5 ballot. Together, these questions mean no tax rate increase, and they would allow us to maintain the community's investment in our facilities and bring them up to date. They would also let us build a 12th elementary to help us move students out of classroom trailers and maintain class sizes. And they would help us maintain our high-quality school operations, including keeping our staff salaries competitive, so we can recruit and retain the best teachers and support staff.

You can find out more information on the district website, including specific ways the no-tax-increase ballot propositions will affect our school.


Fourth Quarter COVID Changes

Superintendent Dr. Jeanette Cowherd announced that we will continue to monitor COVID cases and staffing issues, and unless the situation changes, we anticipate changing our mitigation strategies for fourth quarter.

This means that, starting after spring break on March 21, we expect to . . .

  • Still send people home when they are sick.
  • Stop sending notifications about every COVID case. We will still update the district dashboard.
  • Hold gatherings and events without restrictions.
  • Allow visitors and volunteers in our schools. We will be providing information about volunteer background screening requirements in the coming weeks.
  • Still limit birthday treats to the approved list.

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We will have early release day once a month for teachers and staff to engage in professional development to continue to enhance learning opportunities for students.

We will release ALL students at 2:00 pm on early release days.

Please communicate with your classroom teacher and the office if you have alternate transportation on early release days.

Early Release Days:

Wednesday, March 2nd

Wednesday, April 6th

Wednesday, May 4th

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Interest groups will be held on early release days. Each interest group day will include a virtual assembly and a classroom interest group activity. Students and staff will wear their leadership shirts and engage in interest group day within their stable classrooms. We hope to create amazing opportunities for students to continue practicing Habit 8

Interest Group Schedule:

Wednesday, March 2nd

Wednesday, April 6th

Wednesday, May 4th


Online ordering for yearbooks ends Monday, April 11, 2022

To order you yearbook visit:

and enter code: 62854X


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All fifth grade students will take a 5th grade promotion photo on Friday, April 1st. Look for more information about the photos from your classroom teacher.


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Graden staff make placement of students very carefully. Many factors must be considered, including learning styles, boy/girl ratios, academic achievement, behavior, peer relations, and student/teacher characteristics.

Extenuating circumstances or valid reasons sometimes exist that the school is not aware of, therefore we are providing this opportunity for you to have input regarding the placement for your child. This form may not be used to request a particular teacher or to be placed with particular students. Please do not use the form below to request a teacher by name.

If you would like to provide input for the 2022-23 school year, please complete the form below and bring it to the Graden office or email it to Ms. Meghan Wheeler at, by Friday, April 29th.


If you received a letter about your child taking the COgAT to qualify for the Park Hill Bridges Program, please observe the schedule below to identify when each class will take the assessment. Students must qualify to take the COgAT. If you did not receive an assessment letter, you student will not take the assessment.

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It’s almost springtime and I don’t know about you all, but I am ready for the warm weather! 😊 Our Spring counseling small groups are underway and I am looking forward to another month of happiness and learning in the hive. Be sure to check out the March newsletter below to see what we are learning about this month in more depth! Visit the Graden Counseling Website for previous counseling newsletters, community resources, and parent referral forms, as well as several other fun resources to cultivate social and emotional development. As always, I am available to chat via email, phone, or in person (YAY!) if you would like to schedule a time to meet. You can reach me by email at or via phone at 816-359-5647. Wishing everyone a bright and warm March!

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Meet our Board Members:

Jamie Fender, President

Hayley Cooper, Vice President

Lindsay Ramon, Secretary

Maggie Wright, Treasurer

Jessica Freels, Parliamentarian


March 21st - Dr. Cowherd Attend

May 9th


The Park Hill Star recognition program was started in 2015 to celebrate support staff and teachers whose work is especially noteworthy.

The following is an overview of the Park Hill Star Program:

Our employees are the reason we are so successful here in the Park Hill School District, and we would like to recognize them for all they do for our students. That is why we present the Park Hill Star award once a month to a pre-K or elementary teacher, a secondary teacher and a support employee.


School Office (816) 359-4340

School Fax (816) 359-4349

Attendance Line (816) 359-4341

First Student Bus Company (816) 359-4560

Adventure Club (816) 359-5015

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