Wildcat Growl

December 12, 2021

Future Ready Wildcats

De Soto High School staff and students endeavor to model the following core values:


Principal's Message

Wildcats and Families,

Final Exams begin Monday, December 13th, and conclude on Thursday, December 16th. The full exam schedule can be viewed (here). There is no school on Friday, December 17th. DHS and the Main Office will be closed through Monday, January 3rd, 2022. Classes resume on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022.

Last week we held an optional student assembly called 'One', that focused on the dangers of drug use. The fentanyl documentary 'dead on arrival' was shown followed by a presentation by the DEA. We plan to schedule a Q & A session for students in mid-January. Additionally, we want to remind parents about free access to the video 'DON'T WAIT'. We will send out a reminder about the details this week.

We also want to thank the following teachers for volunteering their time assisting with Cocoa and Cram - our afterschool study tables focused on Final Exam preparation. Thank you: Scott Sharp, Cat Monroe, Abby Adams, Melissa Lehrman, Laura Sixta, Katie Fitzpatrick, Sheila Wilkins, Mike Murphy, Autumn Burks, Joe Kordalski, Crissy Johns, Lindsay Hothan, and Kaitlin Britt. We also want to thank Abby Huggins for organizing the event!

The Cat Booster Club is looking for adults willing to assist with important activities (scholarships, teacher grants, concessions, and teacher appreciation week). Contact: dhscatboosters@gmail.com.

Nominations are currently being accepted for the Making a Difference Award for the month of December. Nominations are due December 31, 2021. Monthly entries are encouraged as new nominations are reviewed monthly.

Making a Difference Nomination Form

Heading into winter break, we continue to notice an increase in student behaviors that are atypical of our students. We included the information below as a reminder to students and parents regarding bullying. Thank you for helping us maintain a welcoming and positive school environment.

Thank you,

Sam Ruff,


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Best School Districts in Kansas 2022

De Soto District Ranked Second! Click here to read more.

Student Behavior: Bullying

This is a reminder that during Skyward enrollment, students sign an anti-bullying statement. We would like to remind parents of that and ask that you speak with your student about treating others the way they would want to be treated. A copy of our district and school policy on anti-bullying is in our Student Handbook, which is in the front of students’ agendas and also posted on our website here.

USD 232 is a place where the business of education can be conducted in a welcoming environment free of intimidation, violence, and fear. This setting provides an educational climate that fosters a spirit of acceptance and care of every child. It is a place where behavioral expectations are clearly communicated, consistently enforced, and fairly applied.

As a student at De Soto High School, I agree to:

Value student differences and treat others with respect. Not become involved in bullying incidents or be a bully.

Be aware of the school’s policies and support system with regard to bullying. Report honestly and immediately all incidents of bullying to a faculty member.

Be alert in places around the school where there is less adult supervision, such as bathrooms, corridors, and stairwells.

Support students who have been or are subjected to bullying.

Talk to teachers and parents about concerns and issues regarding bullying.

Work with other students and faculty, to help the school deal with bullying effectively.

Encourage teachers to discuss bullying issues in the classroom.

Provide a good role model for younger students and support them if bullying occurs.

Participate fully and contribute to assemblies dealing with bullying.

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Kansas Teacher of the Year

The De Soto School District has been an important and strong participant in the Kansas Teacher of the Year Program for many years. The district has had fifteen state finalists and twelve semi-finalists represented in the program since 2000.

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 www.usd232.org/ktoy. This form needs to be completed by noon on January 14, 2022.

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Text Alerts

Sign up to be notified of school closers and other alerts within the district.

2022-2023 Course Selection Information

Current 9th-11th grade students will be starting the course selection process for the 2022-2023 school year during seminar on Monday, December 6th. Students will be watching a course selection presentation provided by our counseling team. The purpose of the presentation is to give students updated information to help them make course choices for the following year and help students understand where they can find the information they need to help them make decisions. We will be sure that parents have access to the course selection presentation in the coming week so parents can talk with their students about planning for the next school year.

Also, just a reminder about college visits: Students who are going on a college visit need to do the following:

· Parent contacts the attendance line to notify the office

· Student picks up a college visit form in Student Services to take with them on their visit.

· Student returns the college visit form to the attendance secretary in the office. The form needs to be signed by one of the college representatives from the visit.

All of these steps help to ensure that the absence is excused.

Technology Help Desk

Having issues with district provided technology? Click here to get in touch with K12.

Notes from the Nurse

We are seeing an increase in illnesses as expected this time of year. Flu season is predicted to be early and JCDHE has already seen some positive cases of influenza in Johnson County. Please see the following paragraph from the JCDHE website

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Paraprofessionals and Student Nutrition Positions Available Now

De Soto School District is looking to hire for paraprofessionals and student nutrition openings in the district. If you are interested please click here for para information and here for student nutrition.
Winter Sports Spectator Guidelines

Click here for information and guidelines for spectators

DHS Band Students Perform in District Honor Ensembles

On Saturday, December 4th, De Soto High School band students performed in the ECKMEA District Honor Ensembles at Blue Valley HS and Blue Valley North HS. Students were chosen by a competitive audition process in November and performed with students from across Johnson, Miami, Franklin, and Osage counties. Senior Jacob Dority was also honored as one of eight band students to be selected to an All-District group all four years.

Students that performed on Saturday are eligible to audition for the All-State honor ensembles in January.

Red Band

Abby O’Donnell, oboe

Blue Band

Ryan Lange, horn

Gold Band

Ryan Handley, bari sax

Jacob Dority, trombone (4-year member)

Aidan Hamer, trombone

Kellan Flynn, tuba

Jazz Band

Cole Bichelmeyer, trumpet

Nic Weaver, trumpet

Vaping Myths and Facts

Click here to learn more about Vaping from Children's Mercy Hospital

Note from the Counselors:

As we near the end of semester 1, now is a good time to start preparing for finals. Here are a few helpful tips. Visit your teacher for classes that you need the most help with during seminar. Ask clarifying questions in class. Review old tests (if possible) to understand what you missed. After completing the review and studying it, try filling it out based on what you remember. Need extra help? Visit the student union after school, Monday – Thursday from 3-4.

Schedule Change Requests:

Students who would like to submit a schedule change request for the second semester will need to fill out the schedule change request forms. The forms will be available in Student Services upon the return from Thanksgiving break. Schedule changes will only be approved if it meets the criteria on the form.

Senior Scholarship Information:

Now is a good time to start looking for scholarships for college. If you haven’t already done so please check out the DHS Student Services site: https://www.usd232.org/Page/3287. Click on the Financial Aid/Scholarship tab. Scholarships for DHS seniors only will be posted in January/February. General scholarships are updated on a regular basis so check the page often.

FAFSA Application Open for the 2022-23 School Year:

In October the 22-23 FAFSA application opened. This is used to determine financial aid which comes in the form of grants or scholarships. It is also used for parents/students qualify for loans to help subsidize the cost of college. For more information on financial aid go to: https://studentaid.gov/

Individual Plan of Study (IPS):

Every DHS student will have a completed Individual Plan of Study upon graduating De Soto High School. Students complete different IPS lessons approximately twice each month during seminar. Xello is the platform for IPS and contains all kinds of important information, specific to each student including career matches, personality styles, skills, interests, saved colleges, saved careers, scholarships, etc. Students will review their IPS with their seminar teacher and their parents during spring conferences. This video gives a short summary of why IPS is important and gives students/parents an idea of what is to be expected.

Social Emotional Lessons (SEL):

DHS seminars are now including SEL (Social-Emotional Learning) activities to help provide tools and resources for students. Upcoming topics include: analyzing emotions, goal setting, perseverance, and managing responses to emotions. The overall health and well-being of our students are important to us. If you are ever concerned about another student or your own, please don’t hesitate to reach out to their counselor or the social worker.

Resources from CollegeBoard:

Parent Action Plan for Seniors

Financial Aid Checklist

FAFSA Resources:


Quick Video Instructions on how to fill out the FAFSA

How to Create Your FSA ID

Types of Federal Student Aid


DHS Student Services Scholarship Page (updates frequently)

Scholarship Search Websites

DHS Counselors and Social Worker

Crissy Johns (A-G): CJohns@usd232.org

Lindsay Hothan (H-N): LHothan@usd232.org

Kaitlin Britt (O-Z): KBritt@usd232.org

Joe Kordalski (Social Worker): Rkordalski@usd232.org

Wildcat Nation

Click here for the latest on anything activities or sports related.

Updates from our Missouri Colleges and Universities!

University of Missouri-St. Louis:

  • No application fee
  • Criminology and Criminal Justice ranked #4
  • International Business ranked in the top 25
  • Nursing: guaranteed spot for incoming freshman with a 3.0 GPA and a 24 ACT
  • January 1 scholarship priority deadline


  • Race, Ethnic and Gender Studies
  • Fall 2022: Bachelor of Media Arts and Design and Bachelors of Applied Sciences
  • 40% students of color, Over 85 countries represented, multiple LGBTQIA scholarships
  • Test Optional Admissions and Scholarships ($1500-2000)
  • Kansas Residents pay nearly the same tuition as In-State residents
Follow us on Twitter

Click here to follow DHS on Twitter: @DeSotoWildcats

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Kansas Compulsory Attendance Statutes

Regular attendance is required of all pupils enrolled in elementary and secondary school under Kansas compulsory attendance statutes. It is a parental responsibility under Kansas statutes to require the regular school attendance “of any child who has reached the age of seven (7) years and is under the age of eighteen (18) years,” unless the child is exempted by statute.

District Policy for Excused Absences

The State of Kansas delegates to the Board of Education the responsibility of determining reasons for excusable absences.

The following are reasons for excusable absence:

1. Personal illness. A physician’s note will be required for chronic absenteeism.

2. Serious illness or death of a member of the family or close friend.

3. Obligatory religious observance of the student’s own faith.

4. Participation in a school-approved activity.

5. Physician or dentist appointments that can be verified by appointment card.

6. Court appearance that can be verified through court services’ officer.

7. Verifiable, emergency situations requiring immediate action at the request of the parent. Limit of five.

8. An absence that has been requested in writing and approved in advance by the building administrator.

Parents will be notified after five, and then again after ten absences making them aware of their student’s attendance record. A student who is absent from class or school without an excusable reason, as outlined above, will be considered unexcused. An unexcused absence for one or more classes will receive disciplinary consequences and credit may not be given for missed classes.

Procedure for reporting absences

1. Parents or legal guardians are requested to call the 24-hour attendance voice mail line (913- 667-6259) on the day of the absence. If a call is not received the day after the absence, the absence may be considered unexcused.

2. A telephone call will be required each day the student is absent unless prior arrangements have been made.

3. When reporting an absence, the parent or guardian should give the following information: • His or her name and relationship to student • student’s name and grade in school (please spell the name) • reason for absence • the date and hours of absence

4. Upon returning to school the day following an absence, the student should go directly to class. If there is a question about the absence, the Main Office will contact the student.

5. If a student leaves the school building during the school day, the student must sign out with the Main Office. Students must sign in at the Main Office upon returning to school that day or arriving at school after the school day begins, even if returning or leaving during a passing period. Failure to properly sign in or out could result in the student’s absence being marked as unexcused.

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Children's Mercy Hospitals Prepped and Ready Series

DHS families, Children’s Mercy Hospitals have graciously kept the Prepped and Ready: Experts Edition video series open for the community!

As a reminder, the series is a collection of 3-5 minute videos addressing difficult topics that pertain to raising teens. It takes less than an hour to watch the videos and complete the research surveys. The content touches on a variety of topics, but a major focus is empowering parents with tools to prevent suicides in our community.

Excerpts from the videos are below, and showcase a variety of speakers from CMH and our community:

Intro to Prepped and Ready Trailer - https://youtu.be/ECsW7XbsSqo

Prepped and Ready Impulsivity Trailer - https://youtu.be/TnJcmzcIGLc

Prepped and Ready Asking Tough Questions Trailer - https://youtu.be/O-uvmB8xlhg

Prepped and Ready Ingestions Trailer - https://youtu.be/D_sP7PyQZV8

Prepped and Ready Vaping Trailer - https://youtu.be/34r5_xOIKCg

Prepped and Ready Safe Storage Trailer - https://youtu.be/24SPNXfHAGE

Prepped and Ready Eating Disorders Trailer - https://youtu.be/6k6n_DYP0IA

Securly App

Parents can have peace of mind in knowing your student’s search history and time on their device. See your student’s online activity in real-time and catch up with weekly email snapshots by signing up with the Securly app. Follow the link for more information and directions.


Residential Carpentry 2: Dog House Project

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