The Eagle Soars

Sunflower Elementary - January 11, 2019

Happy New Year!

You may find that many of the articles in this week's newsletter are repeats from past newsletters. We have several new families that joined our Sunflower family at the beginning of the year, and we want to make sure they have all of the tools necessary to begin their Sunflower journey!

Principally Speaking

Welcome back! I hope everyone had a wonderful break and has had a good start to the new year. Thank you parents and volunteers for assisting with our winter parties and helping to facilitate the Polar Express hot chocolate bar. December 20th was a huge hit and students really enjoyed themselves. Again, Sunflower staff is appreciative of your time and generosity.

The start of a new year is always a good time to reflect on our present circumstances and adopt resolutions designed for improvement. Our learning community is no different. At the start of the 2017-18 academic year, Sunflower teachers chose relationships (family engagement) and rigor (professional learning communities) as improvement initiatives associated with the state's accreditation process. This year, our goals were refined within the two broad categories and we continue to make progress in our pursuit to have a positive impact on the lives of our students, families, and staff. Site council has also chosen to support our family engagement goal by providing guidance and feedback using a multifaceted evaluation instrument to rate our effectiveness with respect to communication with families and stakeholders.

In closing, watching your children flourish with the instruction and guidance of our teachers and staff, coupled with your encouragement and support is rewarding. I believe I have the best job in the world because I get to witness children of all ages (PreK-4) grow academically, socially, emotionally, and physically over the course of a single school year. I am proud to be a part of the Sunflower learning community and am looking forward to a successful 2019!

Things to Put on Your Calendar!

Friday, January 18

Eagle Pride Assembly - Kdg-1st 2:00 pm, 2nd-4th 2:45 pm

Monday, January 21

Martin Luther King Day - No School

View our online calendar (select individual events for more details):

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We are a Latex Free School!

Sunflower Elementary has been proclaimed a Latex Free School. We strive to make Sunflower a safe place for all students. In order to ensure a safe environment, we need to make sure latex items like balloons are not allowed in our building.

Please refrain from sending anything containing latex into the building (gloves, balloons) even if there are not latex allergies in your student’s grade level. Latex reactions can be contact and airborne, so even breathing in latex particles in the air can cause an anaphylactic reaction.

All the gloves and band-aides from the health room are latex free. Small novelty erasers and items usually have a low content of latex. The main thing is no latex balloons.

Please understand that we want our school to be a safe and healthy environment for all of our students, and with your support and cooperation, we can achieve our goal. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at any time.

sunflower spelling bee champions

The 2019 Sunflower Spelling Bee was held today, Friday, January 11. The winner was Kate Neddersen, 4th grade. She spelled "irked" and "ruefully" to win. Lilian Graves, 4th grade, placed 2nd. Luke Thomas, 3rd grade, was the 3rd place speller. Kate will represent Sunflower Elementary School at the Johnson County Spelling Bee on Saturday, January 26. Congratulations to all of our championship spellers!

Eagle Pride Assembly, Friday, January 18

The character traits for 2nd Quarter were Caring and Citizenship. At our 2nd Quarter Eagle Pride assembly on January 18, select students will be recognized for demonstrating these two character traits.
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New district website

As you may have noticed, we have a new look to our USD231 district website! We are slowly transitioning all of our information over from the old website, so if you can't find something, please give the office a call at 913-856-3700. We should be able to help you find it!

Thank you for your patience during the transition!

News from the SE Lit Lab

Our MAKERSPACE is running low on a few consumables. If you have any of the following in your recycle bin or hanging around your house, please bring send them into the LIT Lab.

Empty Toilet Paper Rolls

Egg Cartons

Small Plastic Tubs

Cotton Balls

Index Cards

Bendable Straws

Notes from the Office

Transportation Changes

Please let your child's teacher know how your child will be leaving school ahead of time. **If you need to make a change during the day, contact the office with a phone call, no later than 3:00 pm. After 3:00 pm, we can not guarantee that your child will get the new instructions. A child will not be allowed to go home in a different manner unless we hear from you. Thank you for your understanding as we work to ensure all of our students arrive home safely.

Birthday Treats

Parents/Guardians should coordinate with classroom teachers in advance. Leave treats and all necessary supplies (e.g. napkins, serving utensil, etc.) in the office. Teachers will retrieve and distribute treats at a suitable time to limit instructional disruptions. As an alternative, families are encouraged to celebrate in non-food oriented ways including the purchase of small tokens such as pencils and stickers, or, donate a book or a game.

Absences Due to Vacations

If your family is planning to go out of town and your student will miss any days of school, this is technically an unexcused absence (per district handbook). Please email Dr. Jones at ahead of time. This will allow us to take a look at previous attendance history and determine whether or not the absence will be excused.

Sunflower Cafe: Lunch Guests

Parents and family members are welcome to have lunch with their student(s). Guests need to check in at the office, wear a visitor badge, and stay in the cafeteria until returning to the office to check out. Please sit at the table designated for guests. Enjoy your meal and conversation with your child (other students should not be invited to join you).

Drop Off and Pickup...Intimidating?

Our car line can be intimidating. If you follow these simple rules, it's a breeze!

If you choose to remain in your vehicle when dropping your child off in the morning, please proceed to the drop off lane.

If you are using the crosswalk to safely escort your child to the building, the "Park & Walk" lot is available for this purpose. This is used for the same purpose in the afternoon during dismissal.

Please take a look at the document link below for more detailed drop off and pickup instructions!

Cold Weather and Recess Policy

With winter weather upon us, please review the information below from the elementary handbook regarding recess.

There will be no outside recess when:

  • The temperature is 20 degrees or below,
  • The wind chill index is 20 degrees or below, and/or
  • There is significant precipitation.

Teachers may take their class out briefly for fresh air at their discretion. Students should be prepared for sudden changes in Kansas weather. Dress appropriately!

School Safety

This is just a reminder that each and every visitor will need a Government ID (Driver's License) with a photo to enter Sunflower. At the office door, visitors will request access by pushing a button and following the directions on the new entry point signage.

If you need to drop off something for your student, for example, their lunch, there will be a table available for parents to drop it off each time as well. Just make sure to notify the front office who the item(s) are for.

What's for Lunch (and Breakfast)?

Sunflower lunch ladies rock! Ms. Debbie and her crew are the best when it comes to making sure your students eat a healthy meal!

Click here for our lunch schedule and lunch menus. There's also an app that you can download for your phone called "Nutrislice" where you can pull up the breakfast and lunch menus.

Click here for our District Nutrition Services webpage where you can catch up on the latest special events, order classroom catering, apply for free & reduced lunches, and see the lunch prices for the 18-19 school year.

To pay for lunches, you can either pay online via Skyward (the same way you paid for the $70 Instruction Material fee when you enrolled) or bring cash or check into the school office.

Watch D.O.G.S. & Eagle M.O.M.S.

Watch D.O.G.S. is an innovative program being used by schools across America that helps students to be positively impacted by the committed involvement of fathers and father-figures in their student’s life.

Eagle M.O.M.S. is a new program that we have implemented here at Sunflower. We want our moms to also be an active part of our school. The specific goal of this initiative is to enhance our students’ educational success.

If you would like to sign up for a day to spend with your student, please call the office at 913-856-3700.


We are now taking orders for the Sunflower yearbook for the 2018-2019 school year!

  • Full Color Pages
  • All Grades Represented
  • Great Pictures From School Events

2 Easy Ways to Order:

  1. Click on the picture above or access your Skyward account via to place an order using your debit/credit card.
  2. Download and print out an order form below. Return the completed form along with cash or check to the Sunflower office.

Enroll Now for the Next Session of Young Rembrandts!

Make this a memorable winter by signing up your elementary child in a Young Rembrandts drawing class. Your child will learn about basic design and composition as they draw the Fish Below Ice and Great Wall of China. If your child is fond of sports, they will enjoy drawing our illustration featuring a Hockey Player. Besides strengthening your child’s drawing and coloring skills, he or she will also learn about art history as we present lessons featuring master artists Leonardo Da Vinci and Franz Marc. Enroll your child today!

Join the USD231 Team

Applications are being taken online for District-wide Paraeducator positions. Paraeducators assist licensed teachers in student training. They work in primary, secondary and high schools and qualified paraeducators also work with students with special needs. The aim of a paraeducator is to facilitate a positive learning environment for students and allow for their personal, social and intellectual development. Please call Human Resources at 913-856-2016 for more information on how to apply, or click on the picture to the right to start the application process.

Sunflower Site Council Meetings 2018-2019

The Sunflower Site Council will be meeting at 6 pm in the library on the following dates: 9/11/18, 11/13/18, 2/5/19, 4/9/19.

All meetings are open to the public.

Kansas schools are required to establish site councils composed of the principal, teachers and other school personnel, parents, business representatives, and other community groups.

Site councils have a responsibility to provide advice and counsel in the following areas: evaluating district and school performance goals and objectives,

determining methods to meet those goals and objectives,

and other areas as requested by the board of education.

Remember, the work of the site council is advisory only;

it makes recommendations, not decisions.

Sunflower PTO

Our Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) has been an integral part of Sunflower Elementary for many years. Through fundraisers and fun events, they are able to provide funds to teachers, classrooms, and the school.

We invite everyone to join the Sunflower PTO Facebook page. By searching "Gardner Sunflower PTO" under Pages, you will be able to join the group and receive updated PTO information.

Follow Us on Social Media!