Highlands Elementary

April Newsletter

Important Dates

April 10 No School- Professional Development Day

April 13 No School

April 13-27 Virtual Kindergarten Round Up

2nd Grade "Willy Wonka Day!"

Kindergarten Round-Up

We will have a "virtual" Kindergarten Round-Up beginning this week! Below is a letter from Dr. Fulton:

Dear 2020-2021 Shawnee Mission Kindergarten Parents,

Welcome to the Shawnee Mission School District! We are already looking forward to next fall and the start of the 2020-2021 school year. Due to the school closures for the rest of the current school year, Kindergarten Round Up is being handled differently.

Instead of meeting in person, parents of 2020-2021 Kindergarten Eligible Students (Age 5 on or before August 31, 2020) are asked to complete an initial Kindergarten Enrollment Form. This information will help us establish a student count and assist us in preparations for the upcoming school year.

Step 1: If you are unsure of your home area school, please check our district boundary map or the School Finder, both located on our website here.

Please note: you must enroll at the home school of the area in which you reside. Transfer requests are separate and may be made through the Transfer Application Window until 5 p.m. on April 30, 2020.

Step 2: Click on the button (located on the Kindergarten Round Up page) for your appropriate area high school feeder pattern. This will take you directly to the form you need to complete.

Step 3: After the form is submitted, the school secretary will contact you with next steps to complete the enrollment process. Further Kindergarten activities will take place prior to the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year.

This correspondence is being sent to our current Shawnee Mission School District families. If you know of a new family with a future Kindergartner, PLEASE pass this information along to them. Thank you for participating in our virtual district Kindergarten Round Up.


Dr. Michael Fulton


Free internet services are being made available while students are out of school by Comcast (www.xfinity.com/wifi) and Spectrum (1-844-488-8395).

Click here for flyer in English and Spanish.

Food Distribution

As you know, food is being distributed to SMSD families at Comanche, Rosehill, Shawanoe, or Hocker Grove on a daily basis.

If you cannot bring your child with you to pick up, there is great news! The district now has a process in place to address 1) a parent/guardian picking up meals when it is unreasonable or unsafe for a child to be present and 2) a non-family member (volunteer) picking up meals when it is not possible for a parent/guardian to get to a meal distribution site. If this is a necessity for you, please contact Julie Brown at julienelson@smsd.org.

Meal Distribution Changes on Wednesday, April 15

The schedule for meal distribution is changing. Beginning Wednesday, April 15 the Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) Pickup and Go Meal sites will distribute breakfast and lunch on Mondays and Wednesdays. There will be no meal distribution on Thursday, April 16 or Friday, April 17.

This means families will be picking up:

On Monday- two days of breakfast and lunch meals

On Wednesday- three days of breakfast and lunch meals

This change in service allows families and community members less human interaction, providing an additional measure of support in following current Stay at Home Orders, and limiting travel in the community.

Time: 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Dates: March 24, 2020 - May 22, 2020


  • Comanche Elementary, 8200 Grant St., Overland Park
  • Rosehill Elementary, 9801 Rosehill, Lenexa
  • Shawanoe Elementary, 11230 W. 75th St., Shawnee
  • Hocker Grove Middle School, 10400 Johnson Dr., Shawnee

Children must be present to receive meals.

  • No reservations are needed.
  • Meals will be available for pick up outside the school front drive.
  • Meals will be placed on a table for individual pick up.
  • An adult accompanying children may pick up the meals for each child without all children needing to exit a vehicle.
  • Please follow social distancing and avoid crowding when coming to the table.
  • Students are allowed to walk to school to pick up a meal. Parents are not required to bring the students.

Meals are prepared by District Food Services staff and distributed following food safety and sanitary practices.

These meals are funded entirely by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Contact the Food Services Department with any questions at 913-993-9710 or foodservice@smsd.org. Visit the foodservice webpage here.

Menus will be rotated and posted. Menus are subject to change due to availability. See menus here.

Each breakfast meal includes these components: fruit, grain, and milk

Each lunch meal includes these components: protein, fruit/vegetable, grain, and milk

Year Books

Many families have asked about year books for this school year. Know that we are working with the company on finishing the year book and will let you know about distribution at a later date. At this time, we anticipate not charging for year books and refunding anyone that paid the $10 fee.


The Shawnee Mission School District will offer tele-counseling from your school’s mental health providers as a part of the continuous education services being provided from April 7 through May 27, 2020. All counseling sessions will be virtual through a platform called WebEx. WebEx is HIPAA and FERPA-compliant. To the extent that it is possible, providers will be in a room in their house that is away from all other family members, providing confidentiality between them and your student. School mental health providers may be in contact with you about continuing services with your student. If you would like your student to speak with the school social worker, feel free to contact them via email (julienelson@smsd.org). Schools and staff emails can be found here. Prior to receiving tele-counseling, all parents must provide informed consent. Consent may be given here or by emailing your school social worker/counselor to request a digital form. For any general questions, please contact your school’s principal, social worker, counselor, or Dr. John McKinney, Director of Family & Student Services, at johnmckinney@smsd.org

From Mrs. Brown

Highlands families,

I know that this has been a challenging time for families and students and I wanted to reach out to say that I am happy to be a resource for you during this time. Whether your needs are practical (food, financial resources, etc) or social/emotional wellness, I am here to try to help give guidance and support.

Below is a Parent Resource Site with ideas on how to talk with kids regarding Covid-19, activities you might enjoy, and community resources. If you do not find what you’re looking for, please reach out by email and I will do my best to answer your questions via email, voice or video chat. Please take care of yourselves at this time and remember to take things slow. If you’re looking for a “first step,” I would begin this week by creating a “safe place” for your children. See below for instructions. I look forward to connecting with you all in the coming weeks and supporting your families in the best way we can!

COVID-19 Parent Resource Site

Safe Place (a calm down corner, safe spot, & calm down spot):

  1. Create a Safe Place at home for students (and families) to use as needed for self-regulation throughout the day. Safe Place is taught to be an area of the home that anyone can go to when feeling upset.
  2. Choose an area with children at home that they can designate a safe place. Ideally this area is only for the use of the safe place and not other activities.
  3. Use large pillows, blankets, forts, etc. For older students, they often prefer a separate space or room if possible to go that is comfortable and quiet. Older students also sometimes like to hide away in a smaller space. Students of all ages like beanbags, curtains, etc.
  4. The use of technology devices is not ideal for the Safe Place
  5. Create a visual for students using a feeling identification chart or even drawings that they can do with you to indicate their feelings. Can also use photographs of them.
    1. Pre-K through 2nd: Happy, Mad, Sad, Scared
    2. 3rd-12th: Happy, Mad, Sad, Scared, Embarrassed, Frustrated, Disappointed, Worried, Nervous, Anxious, Furious, Calm
  6. Create a toolbox with students with items they can choose from to regulate when upset. Items remain in the safe place and are ideally not household toys or daily items for use. Also avoid use of phone or iPad unless students are using one of suggested apps for meditation or breathing (Calm, Headspace, Settle Your Glitter, etc,).
    1. Suggested items that students can use in their safe place tool box: art supplies, paper, squeeze balls, bubbles, stuffed animal, pictures of family members, breathing icons, writing journals, kinetic sand, play-doh, music, pipe cleaners, yoga pose cards, crafts, paints, talking with a friend or trusted adult.
    2. When students or family members become upset, encourage them to use designated safe place before attempting to problem solve and learn. Brain research suggests that students can indicate verbally when they are calm and the ideal time before attempting to problem solve is 10 to 20 minutes.

Julie Brown, LSCSW


Highlands Elementary


Continuous Learning

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Continuous Learning Document

Please refer to this document and/or email staff if you have any questions!

Personal Items From Cubbies

Student Item Pick-Up -

At this time it is not advisable to organize a school-wide supply pick up for all families. If your student has personal items at school that are essential for continuous learning (ex. glasses, headphones, instruments, or specific school supplies that are not otherwise accessible at home) Please contact Mrs. Combs or your teacher to begin the process of getting these essential items returned. While I am sure there are many items still here at school that your child would like to have, please only make requests for essential items as we are significantly restricted by the Stay-at-Home order for Johnson County issued on March 28th. Again I appreciate your patience and cooperation as we navigate this difficult situation together.

Census Reminder

Census Day recently took place on April 1, but there is still time for community members to fill out the census online, by mail, or by phone. Taking part is everyone’s civic duty and completing the census will help provide resources for Shawnee Mission students in the future. More information about the census can be found at https://www.countmeinjoco.org/.
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