Sunflower News

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COVID-19 Parent Resource Site

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We know this could be a challenging time for families. Please contact our social worker, Jeanette Roberts, if you need some assistance or support. She will do her best to assist you. or 913-993-5477


SCHOOLS/OFFICES CLOSED the remainder of the 19-20 school year.

A note from Mr. Kalis

Sunflower Elementary Community,

Thank you so much for your patience as our Sunflower staff has worked and is continuing to work to shift their instruction from onsite to virtual opportunities. Our staff is continuing to handle this transition wonderfully and they are excited to begin sharing the work they’ve planned this coming week.

As your family begins to complete school work from home, please allow me to offer a little advice and encouragement. This is a trying time for all families and our staff is well aware of it. Students are likely picking up on the added tension and anxiety that comes with parenting right now, and that is new for them. They are used to the routine that school provides, and although the initial reaction of being away from school for many months seemed great, the reality of our situation isn’t like summer break. They miss their friends, routines and activities. You may be experiencing some increased challenges to your parental authority. Remember to remain calm and set up a space in your house for your child, or you, to remove yourself until everyone is in a better spot to reconnect.

What kids need most right now is to feel safe and loved. Please try and work on what we send when the opportunity presents itself, but it’s okay not to set a minute-by-minute schedule. Take time to go with them on walks, play board games, watch movies and enjoy this unexpected time we’ve been given to be with our family. Don’t worry too much about any regression in school as all of the students are in similar scenarios. When we all return to school our staff will continue to work and problem solve on how best to meet your child’s needs.

As a staff, we are going to do our best to consolidate communication into one or two emails throughout the week when possible. You will receive a weekly communication from your child’s teachers and/or grade level teachers. Teachers will be working in teams on instructional materials, involved in virtual staff meetings, and providing instructional materials and feedback to students. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher(s) with questions and they will connect with you.

My wife Sasha and I are both educators and we still only have a rough outline of how this will look at our house. We are working to find the balance and I am thinking that it may still take a little while until we all settle in. It has already been pretty interesting having a high schooler, middle schooler and a preschooler working virtually in the house. We both agree that our kids mental health is the most important thing during this time. We plan to create some academic checklists of must-do’s for our kids each day when their opportunities to learn arrive from school. We know our kids operate best when they can physically check off tasks completed, so that is the route that we will continue to take. We are checking in with them throughout the course of the day, but we are also giving them options and space to be alone so they don’t feel too constricted.

In summary, we at Sunflower, are excited to provide you with opportunities to continue to learn. Our staff is working hard to make this as stress free as possible. Please personally give everyone involved grace during this time if things don’t go exactly as planned. Kids will remember this moment in their lives for how they felt during this time and not how many opportunities to learn they completed in a day.

Please keep yourself and everyone around you safe. Please tell your children I miss them, that I am thinking of them and that I am looking forward to the next chance to fist bump them when I’m able to!

Have a good weekend!

Ryan Kalis

Mobile Food Pantry Offered Sat. March 28th at Merriam Park

This Saturday, March 28 from 9:30-11:00am, a mobile food pantry will be available at Merriam Park Elementary 6100 Mastin in Merriam. The pantry is free and open to everyone. The pantry provides drive-through distribution and no identification is necessary.

Shawnee Community Services Food Pantry 913-268-7746

Johnson County Mental Health 24/7 crisis line 913-268-0156

Parent/Family Resources

Clear list of community resources, activities, COVID-19 specific resources put together by SMSD social workers.

SMSD Grab & Go Meals 10:30–11:30 a.m. Mon-Fri

4 locations serving breakfast and lunches, click here for more details.

Ipad Pickup Information

Good Afternoon!

I wanted to let you know that we have a plan in place for the Sunflower iPad Distribution for grades K, 1st and 2nd grade. This also includes iPads for those 3rd-6th grade students that were absent the last day of 3rd Quarter when the 3rd-6th grade iPads were sent home.

Below is the detailed schedule for iPad distribution and pick-up in our front car rider lane/loop based on your child’s grade level and assigned teacher for Thursday, April 2nd, 2020. By following this schedule, we will be able to work to provide a safe and efficient process for all parents involved. Please follow the schedule below:

    • 10:15-10:45 - Schwartz - K
    • 10:45-11:15 - Thompson - K
    • 11:15-11:45 - Shackelford - 1st
    • 11:45-12:15 - Wells - 1st
    • 12:15-12:45 - Avery - 2nd
    • 12:45-1:15 - Fuchs - 2nd
    • 1:15-1:45 - Tesson - 2nd
    • 1:15-1:45 – Grades 3rd-6th iPads That Were Not Picked Up The Last Day Of 3rd Quarter

*We will pair older siblings iPads with younger siblings. So, for example, if you have a K and a 2nd grade student, the 2nd grade students’ iPad will be paired with the K students’ iPad so you only have to go through the iPad pick up process one time.

You may only pick up your own child’s iPad at this time and the iPad must be picked up by a parent or guardian. If Thursday, April 2nd, 2020 does not work for you/with your schedule, we will also follow the same time/teacher schedule on Monday, April 6th.

When you arrive during your assigned time based on your child’s teacher and grade level, please pull-up to the furthest cone in the front drive/car rider lane. Step out of your vehicle and approach the labeled A-M or N-Z table based on your child’s last name. Please remember to follow the required social distancing guidelines and keep a 6 foot distance from others while retrieving your child’s iPad from the table. **Once the first 2 cars pull away (like we do during our car rider pick up process), the next 2 cars will need to pull up. You may only get out of your vehicle to retrieve your child's ipad if you are one of the first 2 cars in line as indicated by the cones.**

Please note that due to having different iPad carts for grades K-2, not all carts required bricks. This means we do not have enough bricks/cords to send home with every K-2 student. One charger per family will be sent home. If there is an older sibling in the home who already has their iPad with them, this will be the one charger to share for the iPads. I recommend a rotation schedule for charging iPads while at home.

Again, thank you for your patience and understanding as we follow county and state recommendations to provide best practices for the distribution of our K-2 iPads. Once we have worked through our iPad distribution process with all of our students, we will then begin plans to roll out student personal items that have been left in their desks. Please stay tuned in the upcoming Sunflower SMORE’s for more information to come. Thanks again for your patience with this as we continue to work to ensure that our processes are safe for all involved as well as efficient.


Ryan Kalis

Specials with Sunflower Teachers

Click Here for PE, Music, Library and Art Instruction

Math Challenge of the Week

How many different geometric shapes and figures can you find in this house photograph? Your challenge is to draw or build a model of an original house with multiple geometric shapes and figures, and then list the geometry terms (shapes, lines, angles, etc). Send a picture and geometry list, along with the student’s name and grade, to Mrs. Buttrey at by Wednesday, April 1, with the subject “Math Challenge of the Week”. One picture per grade level will be randomly selected to publish in next week’s Smore. If you love math and will be in grade 4, 5, or 6 next year, be sure to join Math Club!

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SMSD Tech Support

Technology support will be available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday through Friday. The district’s Web Help Desk ticketing system is available at to any employee or student.

The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) team has placed a permanent link/app on all devices for easy access. This link can be accessed by clicking on the link that looks like the yellow innertube picture attached or by clicking on this Help Desk link. The Help Desk can also be reached by phone, and is available to all employees and students at (913)993-8880. ICT encourages using the ticketing system as much as possible as phone support is more limited.

The ICT team will also be able to offer WebEx sessions to users that would like “face-to-face” support. You may view the support document we have created at this link: Using the SMSD WebEx Platform to help people install and configure the necessary software.

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Social Emotional Learning Sites

Breathe, Think, Do is an app that allows younger kids to use the “Breathe, Think, Do” strategy to calm down, identify their feelings, and work to solve their problem

Calm has a page of free meditations, music, talks and more to help us relax and stay focused

Choose Love daily Choose Love lesson, interactive discussion prompts, a downloadable activities, and a suggested project for the day that children will be invited to share and discuss during the next online class

Confident Parents, Confident Kids is a a site for parents actively supporting kids' social and emotional development

Cosmic Kids Yoga is yoga, mindfulness and relaxation designed specially for kids

Go Noodle contains movement and mindfulness videos created by child development experts

Focus On the Go! allows kids to play games that help kids understand feeling words, problem solving, and telling their story

Headspace is offering a free collection called Weathering the Storm to anyone

JusTme Mindfulness is fusing yoga, mindfulness, and neuroscience education to optimize physical and mental health

Mindful Schools for the next few weeks, Mindful Schools will be offering free mindfulness classes for kids! Join us online – for mindful activities, mindful movement, read-alouds – and let’s have fun exploring mindfulness together.

Parent Toolkit is a one-stop resource developed with parents in mind. It’s produced by NBC News Learn and supported by Pearson and includes information about almost every aspect of your child’s development, because they're all connected.

SEL Games for Kids a handful of social-emotional learning activities that can help your child manage emotions and work on social skills—and have some fun with you along the way. These social-emotional learning games are very low-tech. And all are designed to fit easily into daily routines.

SEL Passport is a fun activity that can be done to incorporate practicing of SEL skills in every day life

Skill Champ uses your child's interests to teach new skills. Quickly customize any of the 10 lessons with your child's favorite theme - so you can use sailboats to teach numbers or train signs to teach colors! Skill Champ covers a range of early academic skills: Picture Matching, Letters, Numbers, Colors, Put In, 1:1 Put On, Big & Little, Happy & Sad, A/B Patterns, and Shape Puzzles.

Smiling Mind has 100s of free programs for children and adults available on their app

Stop, Breathe, Think allows you to check in with how you are feeling and choose a mission to help create your very own force field of calm

Super Stretch Yoga is a free app where twelve poses come alive with video, animation, music and real kids learning right along with you

Touch and Learn Emotion is a free app that helps kids identify and name emotions, facial expressions, and body language

30 Emotional Health Activities is a great resource for parents and students to practice social emotional skills when school is not in session.