The Eagle Soars

Back to School - August 2019 - Sunflower Elementary

Sunflowers at the JOCO Fair this week!

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Counting Down

The countdown has dwindled to just days now! Feelings of excitement and nervousness threaten to break free from kids and adults!

We wanted to get another newsletter sent out to everyone with some important information about back to school events and what to expect the first couple of days (car line info, dismissal times, etc.).

So, Happy New (School) Year Eagles!!! It's going to be great!

Welcome from Dr. Jones

Dear Sunflower Eagles,

I hope you are enjoying a wonderful summer. I trust you are relaxed, recharged and ready to start a new school year! As I begin my third year at Sunflower, it remains an honor and privilege to serve as your principal. I am committed to ensuring students experience meaningful and personal growth every day.

For those students and families who are new, I am delighted you are joining our learning community! Our teachers and staff are caring, innovative, and always learning something new for the benefit of our students. We are a collaborative and driven group of educators who strive to provide a nurturing environment in which students can develop their academic and social/emotional capacities. To help ease anxiety any member of your family may be experiencing, I’m hosting a meet and greet event for new families on Friday, August 2 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and on Monday, August 5 from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. “Popsicle with the Principal” gives you the chance to have your back-to-school questions answered and tour the school.

Enjoy the remaining days of summer. I look forward to welcoming all K-4 students back-to-school on Tuesday, August 13 and our preschool friends on Wednesday, August 14. I hope your new school year is filled with stories of great success and learning!


Jason Jones, Ed.D.



The school supply lists can be found here.


All incoming kindergarten students and parents are invited to come and play and meet the kindergarten team and fellow kindergarten families!

If you didn't make it to our first play date last week, please plan to attend the next play date, scheduled for Friday, August 2, 6:30-7:30 pm. This play date will be held on the kindergarten playground in front of Sunflower Elementary.

Please plan to attend! It will be so much fun to meet your new friends!


Dr. Jones is hosting a Meet & Greet called "Popsicle with the Principal" for all new families attending Sunflower this year.

  • Have your back-to-school questions answered
  • Tour the school
  • Learn what to expect for arrival & dismissal
  • Practice lunch procedures

Please plan to attend one of the following sessions: Friday, August 2 from 11:00 am - 12:00 pm, or Monday, August 5 from 6:00 - 7:00 pm. Both sessions will start out in the Sunflower cafeteria.

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August 12 Meet the Teacher Night 5:00-6:00 pm - Drop off your school supplies, meet your new teacher, and visit with friends! Also, learn about the Watch D.O.G.S. and Eagle M.O.M.S. volunteer programs. Finally, if you ordered last year's yearbook, you'll be able to pick it up!

August 12 Preschool Parent Night 6:15-6:45 pm - The preschool teachers will host a special meeting for all preschool parents. Childcare will be provided.

August 13 First Day of School for Grades K-4 - Early Dismissal at 11:25 am (no lunch served).

August 14 First Day of School for Preschool - Full Day for Grades K-4

August 19 Primary Family Information Night - Each grade level will present a program full of information about what your child's school year will look like.

  • Kindergarten 6:00 pm
  • 1st Grade 6:30 pm
  • 2nd Grade 7:00 pm

August 20 Intermediate Family Information Night - Each grade level will present a program full of information about what your child's school year will look like.

  • 3rd Grade 6:30 pm
  • 4th Grade 7:00 pm

August 24 Family Color Run - more information to follow

August 29 Watch D.O.G.S. & Eagle M.O.M.S. Kickoff 6:00 pm - Come find out how Dads of Great Students and Moms of Magnificent Students can spend time at school and become positive role models for the Sunflower students.

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Welcome To Our New Staff Members!

We are thrilled with the level of expertise our new staff members are bringing to complement the talents of our existing staff. Join us in welcoming the following individuals to the Sunflower family:

First Grade - Ashley Barney

Third Grade - Melissa Runge

Music - Garrett Prall

Nurse - Brittany Zimmerman

Life Skills Para - Samantha Cooper

IR Para - Lauren Joeckel

IR Para - Rosi Pahl

IR Para - Claudia Schmidt

Math Aide - Regina Hammerschmidt

Speech Language Pathologist - Libby Shannon

Interrelated Resource Special Education - Hayley Christensen

Some of our current staff members have new assignments and/or responsibilities:

Interrelated Resource Special Education - Amber Nichols

Kindergarten - Lauren Ridley

First Grade - Kristine Culbertson

Second Grade - Becky Casey

Third Grade - Ryan Root

Fourth Grade - Betsy Beverage

District Gifted Resources - Sara Reimer

Sunflower PTO

Our Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) has been an integral part of Sunflower Elementary for many years. Through fundraisers and fun events, they are able to provide funds to teachers, classrooms, and the school.

We invite everyone to join the Sunflower PTO Facebook page. By searching "Gardner Sunflower PTO" under Pages, you will be able to join the group and receive updated PTO information.

Drop Off and Pickup...Intimidating?

Our car line can be intimidating. If you follow these simple rules, it's a breeze!

At Meet the Teacher Night, you will receive a sign with your child's name on it. When you pick up your child in the car line, please hang this sign up on your rear view mirror. Even if your current after school plan is for your child to walk home or ride the bus or go to JCPRD, please take your sign home. There might be a day when you will need to pick up your child in the car line.

Please take a moment to watch our "how-to" video on how to navigate the drop off and pick up lines!

Drop Off & Pick Up Procedures

In Case Of An Absence...


...HAS AN EXCUSED ABSENCE due to illness, appointment, funeral or family emergency, please use the online absence reporting link on Skyward as soon as possible. If we haven't heard from parents by 9:00 am, we will call to check on your child. You can also call in student absences to the absentee line at 913-856-3749.

...WILL BE LATE TO SCHOOL, please let our office know ahead of time (if possible). When your student arrives at school, stop by the office first, and the secretaries will give your student a hall pass.

...WILL BE ABSENT BECAUSE YOU'RE GOING OUT OF TOWN, this is considered an UNEXCUSED absence, unless preapproved by Dr. Jones. Please do not just tell the teacher! Please request approval in writing by emailing Dr. Jones at

...NEEDS TO LEAVE SCHOOL EARLY, you can call to let us know you are on your way, but students will not be called out of class UNTIL a parent is present to sign them out. Please plan ahead for appointments, as we would like to minimize missed class time.

...HAS DIFFERENT DISMISSAL INSTRUCTIONS, please call the office as soon as possible. If change of dismissal instructions are received after 3:00 pm, we can do our best to relay the message to your student.


If you notify your student's teacher of an absence, please also let the office know. Everybody's lives are crazy and busy...everybody's human...everybody can forget to forward an email on to the appropriate person. So, if you send an email to your student's teacher about an absence, please "cc" Christine ( and Janet ( That way, at least one of us gets the email and gets it taken care of right away. Thank you!!


This is just a reminder that each and every visitor will need a Government ID (Driver's License) with a photo to enter Sunflower. At the office door, visitors will request access by pushing a button and following the directions on the entry point signage.

You will need to present your ID each and every time you enter Sunflower. And even though you may are our next door neighbor, we will still ask you to hold your ID up to the camera. (I like to tell parents that I would still have to ask my very own husband to show me his driver's license!)

If you need to drop off something for your student, for example, their lunch, there will be a table available for parents to drop it off each time as well. Just make sure to notify the front office who the item(s) are for.

What's for Lunch (and Breakfast)?

Sunflower lunch ladies rock! Ms. Debbie and her crew are the best when it comes to making sure your students eat a healthy meal!

Click here for our lunch schedule and lunch menus. There's also an app that you can download for your phone called "Nutrislice" where you can pull up the breakfast and lunch menus.

Click here for our District Nutrition Services webpage where you can catch up on the latest special events, order classroom catering, apply for free & reduced lunches, and see the lunch prices for the 18-19 school year.

To pay for lunches, you can either pay online via Skyward (the same way you paid for the $70 Instruction Material fee when you enrolled) or bring cash or check into the school office.

Girls on the Run is Back at Sunflower!!!

Crystal Engemann, SE PE Teacher, is bringing back the popular program, Girls on the Run this fall! This program is open to 3rd & 4th grade girls!

Dalaena Karlin, mom of 3rd grader Emily Karlin, will be the assistant coach. We are still looking for a few good volunteers to help our coaches at practices, which will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays right after school. Please stop by the GOTR table at Meet the Teacher Night to sign up to help!

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