The Trailblazer

Tomahawk Elementary - December 2015

Principal Message

Dear Parents/Guardians,

It's hard to believe that it's already December! The time is just flying by. First of all, I would like to thank you all for your participation in the first semester fundraisers and activities. We are so glad to be in this partnership with you and look forward to a very successful year.

I would like to also wish you a very happy and peaceful holiday season. It's a wonderful time of year to get together with friends and family to celebrate and be thankful for all of the wonderful people in our lives.

Thank you for all of your support.


~Christy James, Principal

Office 411

Important Safety Tips for Parents

As the days grow shorter and darker, now is an important time to remind your children about some general safety tips to make sure walks to and from school are safe and successful.

· Always walk home using the same route

· Never stop at a friend’s home without telling your parents first

· Walk straight home every day

· Always be aware of your surroundings

· Always walk on sidewalks and stay out of people’s yards and driveways

· Try to walk home in groups of two or more

· Do not become distracted by play, use of cell phones, etc.

· Do not talk with strangers

Birth Certificates Requested

We have recently conducted an audit of our student records. Thank you to the parents who have responded to the request for missing birth certificates. If you need information on how to obtain a birth certificate, please call the Tomahawk office at (913)780-7690.

Lost Coat “Cure”

Consider putting your child’s name in his/her coat to save confusion with look-alike coats and help get a lost coat back to your child. At school, we ask students to put their gloves, hat, and scarf inside their coat sleeve to help keep all their warm weather items together. Encourage your child to check the “Lost and Found” area for items he/she did not bring home.

District to Pilot MAP Assessments

This school year, 45 schools in the district will be piloting the MAP assessments in reading and math. These assessments are nationally normed achievement tests that provide information on how a student compares to both national and district peers. This assessment will replace the regular district assessments for this school year. MAP results provide teachers, students, and parents with an accurate assessment of a student’s ability, accurately measuring what a child knows and needs to learn. The MAP test, when administered at regular intervals over time, is used to determine whether an individual student or an entire grade level is making satisfactory progress. Teachers can use the assessment data for instructional planning for individual students or an entire class. Students in kindergarten through ninth grades will be given the reading and math assessments during the winter window (December and January time frame) and again in the late spring.

The student data gathered from each MAP administration will be used to help make informed decisions at all levels of the district. Teachers can use the information to plan lessons, differentiate and drive instruction. Pending the successful pilot of the program, the district aims to launch twice-yearly MAP testing in every school in the district in the 2016-17 school year.

Calling All Watch D.O.G.S.

Attention Watch D.O.G.S. Volunteers:

Have you had a chance to check out our online Watch D.O.G.S. Calendar? There are many open dates to choose from! Please visit the school website, follow the Parent Info. Tab on the left, and select the Watch D.O.G.S. Calendar from the drop-down menu. The presence of a Watch D.O.G.S. Volunteer is truly appreciated!

Coordinator: Jessica Pannell

Spelling Bee News

After 8 rounds of intense competition, fourth grader, Anna Casey was declared the winner of the annual Tomahawk Spelling Bee held Tuesday, November 24th. Fifth grader, Giovanni Gagliardi, finished in second place and third grader, Kaylee Reichard, was third. Anna will go on to represent Tomahawk at the District Spelling Bee, which will be held at Frontier Trail Middle School on February 11th at 8:30 a.m.

Other participants in the Spelling Bee were:

  • Third Grade – Alicen Silva, Abbie Walden, Cinthia Young Rosales, Dafne Navarro-Lemus, and Christian Lopez-Garcia.
  • Fourth Grade – Alyssa Harris, Mazyn Motter, Jade Woolery, Abby Jowers, Serge Otiankouya, Bailey Cronbaugh, Abrianna Gagliardi, and Julian Newson.
  • Fifth Grade – Layla Abu Saada, Shannon Letourneau, De’Ja Reeves, Katie Sirridge, Zacharyah Smith, Myles Day, Tyler Jowers, and Luke Matson.

We are very proud of all of our Spelling Bee participants.

In Case of Bad Weather: Snow Line: 780-8000

School Cancellation:

If school is cancelled due to snow or bad weather, the information will be available on the District Information Line (780-8000); on the District Web site:; and through local television and radio stations. You can receive an email message or text if you are signed up for Olathe Alert.

If Bad Weather Occurs During the School Day:

It is our district’s policy NOT to dismiss students early due to bad weather. We must be mindful of such safety issues as transportation, particularly for those students who normally ride the bus or are driven to and from school; lack of supervision at home because of an unscheduled dismissal; and the uncertainty of sending children away from a protected school environment and out into hazardous weather conditions.

If Bad Weather Occurs At Dismissal Time:

Sometimes bad weather, such as an electrical storm, will occur right at dismissal time. If that happens, we will postpone regular dismissal until the immediate danger has passed. Parents who wish to come inside to get their students may do so.

Check here for more specific information about the District’s inclement weather policy:

Brighten the Holidays Food Drive

WOW! We collected 3,086 food items! Thanks to everyone who participated in the Brighten the Holidays Food Drive in November. We can always count on our Tomahawk families to help those in need. Mrs. Buchta's 2nd grade class came in 3rd place with 312 items donated. Ms. Taylor's 5th grade earned 2nd place with 355 items. The winner of the class pizza party with 469 items was Mrs. Smith's 4th grade class. Thank you everyone!

Donate $1, Chew Gum for the Day

Olathe students are helping the Mayor of Olathe raise funds for the Children’s Shoe Fund. Olathe schools, including Tomahawk have a container in the office to collect donations for this project. In addition, Tomahawk students who bring in $1 to donate to the Pennies for Shoes Fund on Thursday, December 3 will receive their first piece of gum to chew at school. Bring in $1, chew gum for the day, and help buy shoes for children in Olathe. We have a collection jar in the office for families who wish to donate additional money to the Children's Shoe Fund during the month of December.

Volcanoes Erupt at Tomahawk

For extra credit, fourth grade students showcased their homemade volcanoes in front of the entire grade level. Students’ creations came in a wide range of sizes and colors. The students gathered to watch each eruption. The mock volcanoes oozed and exploded with different mixtures of baking soda, vinegar, cola and even Mentos! It was fun & educational for all!

Nurse Beth's Cabinet

Vision Screening

The nurse will be doing vision screening with the kindergarten classes during the first two weeks in December. Following the screening if there is a concern with your child, I will notify you. Please feel free to contact me at 780-7696 if you have any questions.

Lunchroom Cupboard

Lunch Account Balances

Lunch balance letters are sent home regularly to help you keep current on your child’s lunch account. You can also view and make payments to your child’s lunch account on the district website’s payment site (or go to the district website , click on Students & Families, then Online Fee Payment and then the link to mypaymentsplus).

The cost for lunch is $2.55 and breakfast is $1.30. Breakfast charges are applied to lunch accounts. Students wanting to eat breakfast need to arrive at school by 8:10am in order to have enough time to eat and get to class on time. Breakfast ends at 8:15am. If you have questions about your child’s lunch account, you can contact the office at 780-7690.

Holiday Meal December 17

Tomahawk will have the Holiday Celebration lunch on December 17th. The menu for this holiday meal is Sliced Ham & Roll, Scalloped Potatoes, Romaine Salad, Peaches, and Red Velvet Cake. (Yogurt & Muffin is the Y lunch option).

Month At A Glance

(click here to be directed to website for Tomahawk December Calendar of Events)

Thursday, December 3 - Gum Day, Donate $1 to the Mayor's Shoe Fund and Chew Gum for the Day

Friday, December 4 - 5:15pm-5:45pm Special Chorus Sings at Mayor's Tree Lighting Ceremony

Tuesday, December 8 - 4:00-9:00pm Culver's Night for Tomahawk (take flyer available here, on the Tomahawk website or that will be sent home closer to the event); 6:00pm Fun Fair Planning Meeting; 7:00pm PTO Meeting

Thursday, December 10 - 2:30pm & 6:00pm 5th Grade Music Program
Friday, December 11 - 3rd Grade Field Trip

Tuesday, December 15 - 6:00pm Winter Concert- Band/Strings/Choir
Wednesday, December 16 - 9:00am Winter Choir Tour
Thursday, December 17 - Sweet Tee's Coffee Day for Tomahawk (take flyer available here, on the Tomahawk website or that will be sent home closer to the event); Holiday Lunch
Friday, December 18 - Gingerbread House Day in the morning; Holiday Assembly & Treats in the afternoon

Monday, December 21 - Winter Break Begins! No School until January 6!

(The Student Store is open on Fridays before school from 8:00-8:15; Math Wings meets after school on Tuesdays)

Dates subject to change. Check the Tomahawk website at for an updated list. Contact the office at 780-7690 with questions about activities.


Information from Art, Computer, Counselor, Library, Music, and PE


What can I do to help my child’s self esteem? Why does my child always want to be near me? How can I encourage my child to try new things or activities? Why does my child have a difficult time? Are they just shy? These are common questions parents ask when they are concerned about their child’s independence. Often, parents try to keep their children from making mistakes thinking that they will feel better and have fewer problems as a result. Although this is done out of love, and caring for the child, it can send children the message they are not able to handle new situations on their own. Parents who show empathy for their child when they make a mistake, but allow them to experience natural consequences are encouraging independence. A positive self-image and a sense of independence go hand in hand. Independence allows a child to experiment with their abilities and provides them with a sense of competence. This increases a child’s confidence in their own abilities and helps them handle any situation. Young children have a natural desire to gain independence and will frequently say “I can do it by myself”. When parents become overprotective, or try to control the child’s environment, it shows the child the parent does not think they can solve their own problems and independence becomes difficult. Below are some suggestions to help children gain confidence in their own abilities.

  1. Provide your child with plenty of attention. Children who don’t get enough attention will spend time hovering adults, trying to get more-instead of trying out their independence.
  2. Provide a secure home base from which the child can venture out into independent activities, knowing that there is always a safe place to which to return.
  3. Provide time for independence. If you are always in a rush to get your child off to school, there probably isn’t adequate opportunity for the child to select clothing or pack a lunch.
  4. Provide opportunities for your child to share in planning for activities that contribute to independence.
  5. Use discipline and problem-solving techniques based on self-control and voluntary participation, rather that commands or orders.
  6. Provide your child with choices when ever possible.
  7. Let your child organize his or her own bedroom.
  8. Don’t over organize your child’s life so that there is not time for independent activity. Lessons, clubs and athletics are important, but it is also important to have down time so your child learns to entertain themselves.
  9. Praise your child for independent actions.


Student Artwork on Display

Congratulations to the following students who have artwork on display at the Olathe Public Schools Education Center through January 7th, 2016: Kaylee Sevilla (dancing giraffe drawing), Kylie Noland (paper sculpture), Kathia Sanchez (paper sculpture), and De’Ja Reeves (chameleon painting).


Special Chorus To Sing at Mayor's Tree Lighting Ceremony

Our Special chorus has been asked to sing for the Olathe’s annual Mayor’s Christmas tree Lighting Ceremony this year! The Ceremony is on Friday, December 4th at the Olathe Community Center (off of Kansas City Road and Ridgeview) and we sing at 5:15. On December 4th, choir students will STAY AT SCHOOL instead of being dismissed. They will have a quick rehearsal and then be bussed to the event at 4:30pm. If you wish for your student to participate in this event, you MUST meet us at the ceremony and attend the ceremony! THERE WILL BE NO BUS TO TAKE THE KIDS BACK TO SCHOOL. Students will leave from the event with their parents. Additional information and permission slips were sent home with students already.

5th Graders to Perform in “Thwacked”

Tomahawk 5th graders will be performing their fourth annual musical on Thursday, December 10th at 2:30 & 6:00 pm. Their program “Thwacked” combines two classic fairytales: The Frog Prince and Chicken Little! The 5th graders will sing, dance and entertain you as a frog and his pals set out to prove to their town that the sky is falling!

Winter Concert Celebrates the Season

On December 15th at 6:00 pm, choir students will present their Winter Concert. Program attire will be dressy which could include any of the following: nice jeans or slacks with a nice top for boys (ties of suits would be fine as well if they have them)and dresses, shirts, nice jeans/slacks with a nice top for girls. Santa hats, elf hats, reindeer antlers, etc. are allowed if your student would like to wear them for the concert. Choir membership has reached an all-time high of 131 singers this year!! Join us for a wonderful evening of music and wintery refreshments!

Choir Tours December 16th

The choir will be taking their talents on tour Wednesday, December 16th from 9:00am-2:45pm. Mrs. Gesling is still working on tour destinations but the kids will travel to various places throughout the city bringing winter cheer. Choir parents, I am looking for some new places to bring the choir to tour this year. If your place of work might be suitable or if you have any ideas for me, please e-mail me at I will also need parent volunteers to accompany us! Let me know if you are interested! For our tour, choir students need to wear holiday colors (red and green) or winter colors/attire (stocking hats, shades of blue or white, scarves, etc.). Kids are allowed to wear Santa hats, reindeer antlers, elf hats or stocking hats if they wish! Please note that the tour is the day after the concert and that dress requirements are different for both occasions.

2,4,6,8 Who Do We Appreciate?

Thank you to all of our Tomahawk families who have helped throughout the month of November. We would specifically like to thank Holly Palacio and the room parents/volunteers for the wonderful fall parties; Kelci Ebrecht for planning the Chick-fil-A night; Jeanne Bradford, Jennifer Billam and Sarah Bible for their organization of the many fun events at the Holiday Mart/Santa Shop/Chili Cook-off; Marcia Baron for her efforts to provide pies for the Tomahawk Staff . We truly appreciate the amazing support of our Tomahawk families.

PTO Points

Meet the PTO BOARD

Below is a list of the 2015-2016 PTO Board Members. If you have questions about an activity or would like to volunteer, please contact a board member.

President: Wayne Janner / 768-6084/

Vice President: Kelci Ebrecht / 609-7596 /

Treasurer: Josh Muder / 609-3867 /

Secretary: Adrienne Morgan / 780-0706 /

Parent Volunteers: Heather Silva (Sign Duty) / 219-3969 /

Parent Volunteers: Holly Palacio (Room Parents) / 338-2585 /

Ways and Means (Fundraising): Sarah Graybeal (Primary) / 353-1965 /

Ways and Means: Marie Henkel (Box Tops) / 782-4142 /

Ways and Means: Julie Barncord (spirit wear)/ 839-3166 /

Hospitality/Teacher Appreciation: Marcia Baron /815-685-5065 /

Playground/Safety: Bob Winebrenner / 485-0676 /

Directory: Melissa Winebrenner / 284-6114 /

5th Grade Legacy: Jeanne Bradford / 568-6811/

Special Activities: Michele Dioszeghy / 230-3601 /

PTO Meetings are open to all Tomahawk parents/ guardians. Click here for a copy of the PTO Minutes from the November meeting to see what was discussed. If you are interested in becoming active in the PTO, come to the next meeting and get more info: Tuesday, December 8th at 7pm in the Tomahawk Library.

TWO Opportunities to Eat Out and Raise Money for Tomahawk!
Culver's Night
Join your Tomahawk friends at Culver's of Olathe (151st & Ridgeview) on Tuesday, December 8 anytime from 4-9pm. Be sure to take the Culver's flyer that will be sent home closer to the event date (or you can get it by going to the Tomahawk website or clicking here.) Culver's will donate 25% of the sales to Tomahawk.

Tomahawk Day at Sweet Tee's Coffee Shop
Stop by anytime 6am-8pm on Thursday, December 17 at Sweet Tee's Coffee Shop, 2063 East Santa Fe in the Crossroads Shopping Center for locally roasted coffee blends, yummy lattes, signature drinks and delicious baked goods. Be sure to take the Sweet Tee's Coffee flyer that will be sent home closer to the event date (or you can get it by going to the Tomahawk website or clicking here.) Tomahawk will receive 20% of sales with the flyer.

Gingerbread House Day December 18th
Students will get to decorate a gingerbread house on the morning of December 18. The times for each grade are:
  • Kindergarten - 9:55-10:25am
  • Grade 1 - 9:20-9:50am
  • Grade 2 - 9:00-9:30am
  • Grade 3 - 8:45-9:15am
  • Grade 4 - 10:10-10:40am
  • Grade 5 - 9:35-10:05am
You can help with this fun event by donating graham crackers (grades 3-5) and small candies (grades K-2). See below in the Volunteer section or click here for more information on donations and helping at the event. We need your help to make this event successful.

Holiday Assembly December 18th
On December 18 at 2:30pm students will be treated to a Holiday Assembly complete with singing, dancing and merriment, followed by sweet goodies back in their classroom. Contact your child's room parent or Holly Palacio (338-2585 or for more information.

5th Grader Baby Pictures Needed

The yearbook contains a special section with baby pictures of 5th grade students. Please send a picture of your 5th grader to school by December 11th. You can also email them to Jeanne Bradford at

BoxTops/Receipts/Labels Due December 15

Remember to turn in your HyVee receipts, Box Tops for Education, & Campbell’s Labels for Education. Classroom collections will be picked up on December 15th.

Student Store Open Fridays

The student store is open Fridays from 8am-8:15am. There are lots of fun school supplies to choose from.

PTO Volunteer Corner - Here's How YOU Can Help!

We Need You! Get Involved! Whether you have several hours a week or one hour once in a while, there are so many ways to get involved at Tomahawk. Contact any of the PTO members listed in this newsletter or come to one of the meetings listed below. Parent support is what makes our programs successful!

Donate Gingerbread House Supplies by December 4
All students will be making gingerbread houses on December 18 using graham crackers and small candies! We’re counting on donations for this fun event!

Grades 4 and 5: Each student please bring a box of graham crackers. (These will be distributed among all of the students to form the walls of the gingerbread houses.) We are looking for some parent volunteers to cut graham crackers at home. Please let the classroom teacher know that you are interested in helping with this!

Grades, K, 1, 2 and 3rd: Each student please bring a package of small candies for decorating. Suggestions: Skittles, mini-M&Ms, regular or mini chocolate or other flavor baking chips, small gumdrops, Smarties, LifeSavers Holes, anything else tiny. Large candies do not work well for decorating houses the size of a milk carton. Please send unopened packages of candy.

Please send supplies in by December 4. Click here for a copy of the flyer that was sent home.

Parents Wanting To Volunteer: We need LOTS of help at the event on December 18th. Please contact Adrienne Morgan at 913-780-0706 or Michele Dioszeghy at 230-3601

Tomahawk Fun Fair Planning Meeting

We have our committee chairs in place but we still need LOTS of help in planning the Tomahawk “Let It Glow” Fun Fair scheduled for February 26th from 6-9pm. Join us Tuesday, December 8th at 6pm in the Tomahawk Library for a planning meeting. We would love to hear your ideas as we revive this FUN event at Tomahawk! If you cannot attend the meeting but would like to help, please contact Sarah Graybeal at .

Help Needed to Change the Tomahawk Sign

We need parent volunteers to change the big sign in front of Tomahawk. To volunteer contact Heather Silva at (913) 219-3969 or


The YMCA continues to provide YClub before and after school care onsite at Tomahawk for full-day Kindergarten through fifth grade! We offer flexible hours, no school day, and drop-in services. The Y also offers scholarships for qualifying families! Kids enjoy nutritious snacks, physical fitness, and daily academic enrichment. If you would like more information about the program please call our main office at 913-345-9622.

Around the District/Community

Fee Based Early Childhood Peer Participation Slots

The Early Childhood Disabilities program of the Olathe Public Schools incorporates typically developing children into the program. These students are referred to as “Peers”. Definition of a “peer” for the ECD program includes children that do not have, or are not suspected of having a disability. Eligibility to be considered, or to maintain status as a peer in this program requires meeting this definition.

The Olathe Public Schools believes it is important to provide preschoolers with special needs, (Speech/Language delays, behavior concerns, fine and gross motor delays, hearing impairments, genetic disorders, etc.) the opportunity to learn with peers who are typically developing.

The application process for the 2016 -2017 school year begins on January 7, 2016. Children must be three or four on or before August 31st in order to participate in the upcoming school year. Children must speak and understand English and also be toilet trained.

Benefits your child can receive by being a peer participant:

  • More positive/accepting attitudes about people with disabilities
  • More social skills
  • Equal, if not greater, developmental progress
  • Access to a highly qualified teacher
  • Good student to teacher ratio

For information about the application process contact Kim Russell at 913-780-7341 or by email: (There are no waiting lists for future years.)

More Community and District Opportunities Available on ePOST
Check out ePOST on the District website for information about other opportunities in the district and the community.

Notice of Non-discrimination: The Olathe Public Schools prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in admissions, access, treatment or employment, in its programs and activities as required by: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Inquiries regarding compliance with applicable civil rights statutes related to ethnicity, gender, the ADA or age discrimination may be directed to Staff Counsel, 14160 Black Bob Road, Olathe, KS 66063-2000, phone 913-780-7000. All inquiries regarding compliance with applicable statutes regarding Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act may be directed to the Assistant Superintendent General Administration, 14160 Black Bob Rd. Olathe, KS 66063-2000, phone 913-780-7000. Interested persons including those with impaired vision or hearing, can also obtain information as to the existence and location of services, activities and facilities that are accessible to and usable by disabled persons by calling the Assistant Superintendent General Administration. (06/10)