Wildcat Growl

September 25, 2020

Future Ready Wildcats

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


Principal's Message

Wildcats and Families,

Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held Wednesday, October 28th, and Thursday, October 29th. This time typically includes inviting parents and students into the building to share important information and discuss student progress. We are excited about the opportunity to connect – however, it may not include meeting face to face. Look for detailed communication from teachers in the coming weeks.

Homecoming week, which was originally scheduled for early September, now begins Monday, October 19th. Fun activities are planned to take place all week long, ending with the Football game vs. Kearney on Friday, October 23rd.

There are several aspects of online/remote learning that are critical to the success of our students. One is that our students must be self-directed. At school, we have bell schedules, and adults and peers moving from class to class at specific times – which makes it easy to know when and where a student should ‘be’. On a remote day, when a student is at home, students must have a heightened sense of time and organization. In many cases, they will need to be able to manage time and organize themselves completely on their own. This includes logging into Zoom meetings on time and completing coursework throughout the day.

Another skill required for students in a remote setting is problem-solving. Technical issues will arise throughout the year, and being able to resolve those issues without significant disruption to learning will require students to do something about it and persevere until the tech issue is resolved. Students should contact technical support (k12itc @816-382-4840), communicate with their teacher, and review course content in Canvas.

During the school day, Hybrid and Optional Remote students that are part of the cohort not in physical attendance at school will only check-in with their 1st block class via Zoom for attendance at 7:50 am. They will then complete Canvas course work posted by teachers asynchronously for all classes.

Students knowing their class schedule for the week becomes very important. In order to help, we are providing a weekly schedule called the Academic Week at a Glance. This document for the week of Sept 28th (found here) can be reviewed on our website. The Academic Week at a Glance provides detailed information for Hybrid and Optional Remote students about the schedule for each day of the week.

We are excited to welcome Nancy Taliaferro to DHS. Ms. Taliaferro comes to us from North Carolina and joins our Career and Tech Ed. Department teaching Engineering. We are excited to have Nancy join our team.

Kind Regards,

Sam Ruff

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Attendance Procedure and Tips

If your student is hybrid and not physically in class on a day that they should be, they will be considered absent even if they sign in remotely.

Please remember to call DHS, preferably before 10:00 am on the day of the absence if your student is absent. This also includes Optional Remote Students.

You can also call in a prearranged absence ahead of time. The 24-hour attendance voicemail

is 913-667-6259. We also ask that students missing school as a result of an appointment to verify the appointment by turning in an appointment note/slip. This helps us ensure the absence is excused rather than considered as a parent request. Students can turn the note into the school office when they return from the appointment or email the attendance secretary at mpartlowwilliams@usd232.org.

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Dropping off forms or items for your student?

DHS has placed shelves just inside the front doors for parents and students that need to bring in forms and items or would like to pay fees during office hours. 7:30-3:30 Monday-Friday
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Needing a Locker?

We found that most students do not use their assigned hallway lockers throughout the year. As a result, we will not automatically assign a locker to every student. Instead, students interested in having a hallway locker assigned to them will need to request a locker by contacting our registrar, Amy Carver (ACarver@usd232.org).

Face Mask Facts

Face masks are required to be properly worn by all individuals in K-12 schools by Kansas Executive Order 20-59.

Wearing a mask is an important tool to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. This evidence-based approach is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment.

In compliance with the state order, USD 232 requires the wearing of masks at all times, with few exceptions. Exemption requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and require medical verification. Requests can be made by contacting our nurse at 913-667-6250 or mfarverlightcap@usd232.org.

Wildcat Nation News

Click here for Weekly Updates from the De Soto High School Activities Department

Parents Choosing the Opt Out Process-Virtual Counseling for Students

USD 232 cares about the social-emotional wellbeing of all students. Given the changing circumstances surrounding school, we know students’ wellbeing must continue to be a focus. We are pleased to continue offering virtual sessions for students with their school’s social worker/counselor when meeting in person is not an option. All video conference sessions will be through a platform called Zoom and we will take steps to ensure the sessions comply with HIPAA and FERPA requirements. However, if a parent would prefer that their student not participate in virtual sessions with the school social worker or counselor, you may opt out by completing a simple form: VIRTUAL COUNSELING OPT OUT FORM

September is National Suicide Awareness Month

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Helping professions across the nation use this time to increase community awareness and promote education around mental health and emotional regulation. As we reflect on how the COVID Pandemic has contributed to youth mental health we are seeing the numbers of individuals experiencing symptoms of Depression and Anxiety increased significantly. These symptoms often lead to social isolation and decreased communication with friends and family. As we work our way back into the school year and the stressors of new routines, academics, social pressures and so much more add up, it is critical time to keep the line of communication open. Here are a few warning signs to look for in individuals at risk for thoughts of suicide;

  • A start to or increase in alcohol and drug use
  • Aggressive behavior – could be verbal and/or physical
  • Withdrawal and isolation from friends, family and community
  • Significant swings in mood
  • Impulsive or reckless behavior
  • Change in their hygiene
  • Change in sleeping and eating habits

If you have concerns about your student you are welcome to connect with members of the DHS Student Services Team. Student Services is comprised of the three DHS Counselors, School Psychologist, Nurse and Social Worker. You can find email links to those individuals here; https://www.usd232.org/Page/4415

Johnson County Mental Health operates a 24/7 Crisis Line to support mental health needs. By calling 913-268-0156 you will be connected to a licensed mental health professional.

National Public Radio recently aired a short segment about youth mental health and suicide risk which summarized some of the concerns recently identified by the CDC. Here is a link that story;


Dr. Shayla Sullivant, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist with Children’s Mercy Hospital is conducting virtual workshops for families. The workshop is titled, Prepped and Ready. The workshop focuses on risk factors, mental health/suicide statistics, mean to lethality, protective measures and much more. USD #232 had the pleasure of hosting her presentation at DHS last year. The event was well attended and Dr. Sullivant does an amazing job of keeping the audience engaged with her clinical perspective and experience in working with at-risk youth.

There are five talks scheduled for this Fall (all virtual) with the first of those on Tuesday, September 29th. The following link will allow you to register for that event or others offered later in the year. Registration for an October 29th event will open in the coming weeks.


The following video is a good summary of the workshop’s content and summary of the mental health needs present within our communities.


If you have concerns about your student’s mental health you are welcome to call or email to schedule a time to connect.

Take care,

Joe Kordalski, LMSW

DHS Social Worker


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School Meals in Any Learning Environment

Click here for more information on Take-home Meal Kits

De Soto Pep Club

DHS Pep Club is selling T-Shirts and masks online this year.

Click on De Soto Pep Club 2020 to order your pep wear today!

Deadline is October 3rd.

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RG Fiber internet service for De Soto families

Free or Reduced Cost Internet Program for De Soto Students & Families

The school district is pleased to share information about a new program to help students who do not have reliable, fast internet access at home. This program is for families who qualify for free or reduced meals at school.

Please click either the Spanish or English version below to find out more about this great offer for our DHS students and families.

College Fair

Upcoming College Fair:

The National Association of College Admission Counseling is hosting 3 upcoming virtual college fairs on October 12th, October 18th and November 8th. For more information please visit: www.virtualcollegefairs.org.

Camp College:

An evening event where students will work in small groups on their college applications and have admissions staff and counselors on hand to support. Then breakout sessions will include:

  • How to conduct the college search in the wake of COVID
  • Test-Optional? What the heck is that?
  • Scholarships and Financial Aid
  • Essays and Resumes for Colleges and Scholarships
  • Parents Breakout Room

Camp College Dates & Registration:

  • Wednesday, September 30, 5:30 to 8:00 P.M. CDT

Students can register here!

KACRAO Virtual College Fair:

Students will have the opportunity to participate in multiple virtual college fairs where you can hear from several different colleges and universities in one session and have the ability to ask questions to college reps:

  • Sessions will have six different colleges and universities presenting.
  • Sessions are offered over four days to provide you a variety of opportunities
  • Students are encouraged to register for multiple sessions!

To see a list of schools for each session, click on the links below. Students will register for sessions using the same links below.

FAFSA 2021-22 Application Opens Soon!

FAFSA 2021-22 Application Opens Soon!

Seniors who are attending a post-secondary institution next year need to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This application will determine eligibility for grants and scholarships and many colleges and universities, but also provides loans as well. Students can begin filling out the 2021-22 application, starting October 1st. For more information, please visit: www.studentaid.gov.

JCCC has a helpful website on completing the FAFSA and offers assistance daily from 10 am – 3 pm via Zoom. Visit https://www.jccc.edu/admissions/financial-aid/ for more information.

The Johnson County library is offering an online step by step session to help students and parents with the FAFSA process. The next session available is October 28th from 6:30 to 8 pm. Students must register by visiting the following link: JCCC FAFSA Event.

Free Virtual FAFSA help with JOCO LIbrary

Johnson County Library is offering a free virtual FAFSA program this fall. Please share this information with
students, parents and anyone else you think may be interested in attending:

Step-by-Step through the FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is the federal application necessary to get free and low-cost money for college.
Join us as Jason Anderson, college and career planner, walks line-by-line through the FAFSA form,
using it to explain the ins-and-outs of the college admissions and financial aid process.
Wednesday Oct 28 6:30-8pm

To register to attend this virtual program, please visit our calendar jocolibrary.org/events and check "Career and Finance" in the Event Type section.

Thank you!

Debbie Lowery
Information Specialist/Shawnee Library
13811 Johnson Drive, Shawnee KS, 66216
913.826.4600 (office) | 913.826-4671 (fax)

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Meet with the KU Rep Virtually

Our KU rep will be available to meet with students virtually next Tuesday and Thursday at 1:00. Students can sign up with the following links below.

Registration link for Tuesday September 29th :


Registration link for Thursday October 1st :


Meet with the University of Missouri Rep Virtually

Student Services has scheduled a virtual info session for students at De Soto High School on Tuesday, October 27th at 4:30 pm. Students who are in our system will receive an invite one week out and then one day out. Do you have a way to send out the registration info on your end?

If so, students can register at https://futuretigers.missouri.edu/register/DHS102720.

Wildcat Boosters Closet

Click here for the latest DHS Booster Wildcat Spirit Gear

Notes from the Nurse

New Illness Exclusion policy:

As many of you have read per our USD 232 website, our exclusion guidelines in regard to illness have changed per Johnson County Health Department. Please see below for a detailed explanation.


Students with at least one primary symptom OR two or more secondary symptoms are assumed to have COVID-19 and should be excluded from school and school-related activities and isolate at home. Fever is considered a secondary symptom in children.

Student Primary Symptoms (at least one)

New cough • Difficulty breathing • Loss of taste/smell

Student Secondary Symptoms (at least two)

Extreme fatigue • Fever (≥100 degrees Fahrenheit) or chills • Congestion/runny nose • Nausea/vomiting/diarrhea • Sore throat • Headache • Muscle or body aches

Students who exhibit one primary symptom OR two or more secondary symptoms and are not tested or test positive for COVID-19 should remain out of school and all school-related activities for 10 days after their symptoms began AND 24 hours after their fever (if present) has resolved without the aid of medication AND their initial symptoms have improved.

If a student is tested for COVID-19 and is negative, they can return to school 24 hours after their symptoms improve. If a physician indicates the symptoms are due to a non-infectious diagnosis (e.g., allergies, asthma), the child can be readmitted to school prior to their symptoms resolving. If a child has only one secondary symptom, the individual should be excluded for 24 hours after their symptom improves.


Our first exclusion date for missing immunizations is approaching. Per our Board of Education policy. Letters will be sent to those families of students with missing required immunizations. If your student is remote please remember to still send a copy of updated immunizations to me.

I have been notifying families of any students that DO NOT have the required vaccines on file, or have a religious or medical waiver on file to exempt their student.

This vaccines must be documented or a medical/religious waiver be on file for your student by October 12th, 2020.

If you have record that your student has had this vaccine, please send in a copy, email mfarverlightcap@usd232.org or fax (913-667-6251). If your student has not had this vaccine please schedule an appointment with your pediatrician to discuss this vaccine before October 12th, 2020

You may look this information up on Skyward family access under Health Info choose “Display Options” next to your student’s first name, select “Show Vaccinations”. Skyward will display which vaccinations are deemed Noncompliant.

***If this is not addressed by October 12th, your child will not be able to attend classes. This will be an UNEXCUSED ABSENCE.***

Please contact me if you have any questions,

Anne Lightcap BSN, RN

De Soto High School Nurse

Driver's Education is now Virtual

Click here to find out the latest information

Technology Help Desk

Please remember that the fastest way to start getting a solution to any technical issues is to contact our help desk. This is also available to all students.

Technology Help Desk

Get help with district technology

Students and Parents: You can reach our Help Desk by calling 816-382-4840.

Hours of Operation
Monday - Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

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.