USD 231 Examples of Excellence

October 2020

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USD 231 is proud of the accomplishments that occur daily in our classrooms and buildings. We are frequently notified of awards received, generous donations by members of our community, and other occasions that warrant special attention. The USD 231 'Examples of Excellence' newsletter is produced to share the stories of our student and employee successes!​

Band Teachers Collaborate to Create Meaningful Experience with Students

The band teachers at GEHS, PRMS, TRMS, and WMS, collaborated to create an example of an activity that will ultimately be re-created with their students. It was also created to provide our families with an example of how we all can adapt during the pandemic to continue creating great and meaningful learning opportunities for our students. This serves as a great illustration of how the employees within our district are working together to innovate during these unprecedented times.

To record themselves performing, the band teachers used all the same resources that students will have access to in their homes.

  • Cell Phones
  • Chromebook
  • Smart Music
  • Instrument

Thanks to Will Biggs and Hannah Stevens (GEHS), Jeff Bubb (PRMS), Mackenzie Brazier and Nicholas Proctor (TRMS), and Justin Davidson (WMS).

Home on the Range Virtual Faculty Band

Madison Elementary Principal Contributes to a National Publication

Madison Elementary Principal, Dr. Matt Wachel, was a featured contributor in the publication ASCDEd, which is a respected journal by curriculum leaders across the country and worldwide. Dr. Wachel's article can be found HERE and focuses on the return to learning all schools faced this past August.

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Grand Star Elementary Librarian Finds A Way to Deliver Free Books

As a result of not being able to host an in-person book fair this year, Grand Star Librarian, Becky Henderson, MAT, MLS, came up with the idea of using their Scholastic profits to offer a free book to every student at GSE. It took a lot of organizing but the team was able to deliver most of the books to students when they picked up their school supplies in May. And for those students who couldn't pick them up...Ms. Henderson loaded up the remainder of the books in her car and, with the help of Google Maps, made home deliveries!

Madison Elementary Counselor Works with Local Organization to Donate Masks

Madison Elementary Counselor, Deb Clegg, saw an impending need for student masks. As a result, in March, she began helping with a grassroots organization called Masks of Mercy. This effort began to help fill the supply gap for barrier masks. Local seamstresses began sewing, and Masks of Mercy distributed to hospitals, first responders, nursing homes, etc. To date, the organization has deployed over 22,000 masks to our community.

One of the benefactors of these masks have been students in several of our schools. As counselors have identified students in need of a mask, these donations have been put to great use.

Gardner Edgerton High School Homecoming

Due to the current pandemic, the 2020 GEHS Homecoming wasn't quite the same this year; however, candidates were still identified and the court recognized - in a safe manner - during the Friday, October 9, GEHS varsity football game.

2020 Homecoming Court, from left to right:

Ashlyn Bell, Hayden Dyer, Taylor Nichols, Drew Cassida, Davonte Pritchard, Maycee Beasley, Sydney Oyer, Quenton Walion, Masen Kindler, and Mallory Boden

Davonte Pritchard and Maycee Beasley were named King and Queen.

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JCPRD Donates School Supplies to MLE and GSE

The Johnson County Parks and Recreation Department Before and After School Programs, housed at Moonlight Elementary, set up a lemonade stand this past summer as a fundraiser. From this event, they graciously donated $200 worth of school supplies to Moonlight Elementary and $200 worth of school supplies to Grand Star Elementary!

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PRMS Student Creates an Award-Winning Poster

Audrey Gainer, sixth-grader at Pioneer Ridge Middle School, participated in the National Society Sons of the American Revolution's (NSSAR) annual poster contest and won second place at the national level. The announcement from the NSSAR was issued on September 12 and the Kansas Society SAR believes this to be history-making. For the school year 2018-2019, the poster of Paige Noth, another PRMS student, won second place at the national level. To have two successive second place winners from the same school is truly a rarity; and it gives testimony as to the dedication and quality education the students at Pioneer Ridge Middle School are receiving.

The first three place posters are displayed at the NSSAR national headquarters in Louisville until the end of the school year. Audrey was presented a check and certificate for winning the Kansas Society SAR contest.

Grand Star Elementary Student/Boy Scout Beautify the Grounds

Grand Star Elementary student and future Eagle Scout, Liam McKinley, designed and built a new walking path at GSE that students, employees, and community members will be able to enjoy for years to come. Thanks, Liam!!!

Trail Ridge FACS Teacher is Selected for a Nationwide Training Program

Lori Bobki, the FACS teacher at Trail Ridge Middle School, was one of 35 teachers nationwide chosen to complete a food science training program developed and implemented in a partnership between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA), and Graduate School USA. The one-week program for middle and high school science, agriculture, family and consumer science, and health education teachers, took place July 10 – 20 in a virtual classroom setting.

The training is part of the FDA Professional Development Program in Food Science, a sustained effort to train U.S. teachers to use FDA’s curriculum in their classrooms nationwide. The goal of the program is to educate teachers and students about critical food safety issues such as foodborne illnesses by exploring the science behind them. The program arms teachers with a unique topic and curriculum with which to teach science. Participants learn about microbiology, nutrition, food allergies, and cosmetics safety from FDA experts. Teachers also receive nutrition and agricultural biotechnology education material to help teach their students how to use the Nutrition Facts label and other food labeling to make informed food choices.

Way to go, Lori!!!

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GEHS Students and Teacher Win $20,000 Worth of Technology

Meg Hunting, Gifted Teacher at Gardner Edgerton High School, and her students were named one of Kansas's winners in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest.

This nationwide contest is designed to boost interest and proficiency in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), and challenges public school teachers and students in grades 6–12 to use STEM to help improve their local community.

Mrs. Hunting and her students were awarded $19,679 worth of technology and other materials for their project. You can see a full list of the donated resources HERE.


From left to right: Beau Oxley, Kyron Saunders, and Charli McGill

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Share Your Story with Us!!!

Do you have a 'feel-good" story or accomplishment to share? Let us know by submitting the information HERE.