Where should Olathe go next?
The Olathe City Council is asking the public for some big ideas as it embarks on a planning effort that will guide the city through the next two decades.
In preparation for updating the Olathe Strategic Plan, the City Council is asking citizens to consider two questions:
▪ What trends are you observing that you feel the city needs to pay attention to so Olathe will continue to be a great place to live for future generations?
▪ What external disruptions (positive or negative) on a local, regional, national or global scale could change or improve our community?
Citizens can offer their thoughts through Feb. 26 at OlatheKS.org/PublicEngagement.
Boundary tweak mulled for Madison Place Elementary
The Olathe School District wants to meet with parents Feb. 22 to discuss a potential middle school change for some students at Madison Place Elementary School.
Under current boundaries, a small number of Madison Place students move on to Indian Trail Middle School, while the rest attend Chisholm Trail Middle School. No decisions have been made, but the district is considering having all Madison Place students go to Chisholm Trail.
The discussion is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Madison Place Elementary, 16651 S. Warwick St.
Hey, kids, want to help design a playground?
Olathe is turning to young experts as it designs a new playground for Lake Olathe: Those would be the kids who might use it.
At a hands-on design workshop the morning of March 3, children will work with natural materials to help design the destination nature playground. Information gathered there will be incorporated to the extent possible.
Playground design consultant Michelle Mathis, from Oregon-based Learning Landscapes, will lead the workshop, which is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon at the Mahaffie Heritage Center, 1200 E. Kansas City Road.
School administrator to retire
After a 40-year career in public education, Mark O’Dell will retire at the end of June from the Olathe Public Schools.
O’Dell, the district’s executive director of human resources, has worked 29 years with the district.
“It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve the Olathe school community and to have the opportunity to associate with so many outstanding teachers and colleagues,” O’Dell said in a news release. “I am proud of the fact that Olathe Public Schools has a reputation of being progressive and a national leader in educational innovations and has stayed the course with their mission of preparing students for their future.”
The district said the O’Dell family has been connected to the district since 1969, when O’Dell’s father, Tom, became the head basketball coach at Olathe High School (now Olathe North). O’Dell’s wife, Radonna, also taught in Olathe, and their three children graduated from the district.
Their grandson will attend an Olathe school in the fall of 2019, the district said.
Upcoming blood drive
The city of Olathe is hosting a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 28 at the Olathe Fire Administration building, 1225 S. Hamilton Circle.
Schedule a time at www.redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS using sponsor code “OlatheFire.”
Student honored for volunteer work
Cameron Jones, an Olathe Northwest senior, has been named runner-up for the Prudential Spirit of the Community Award.
Jones created an annual golf tournament that has raised more than $30,000 for suicide prevention charities in Greater Kansas City.
“Cameron has a heart for others and dedicates her time, talent and energy toward improving the health and outlook for our community,” Olathe Northwest Principal Chris Zuck said in a news release.
The awards program is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary Schools Principals to honor the top youth volunteers in Kansas.
The city of Olathe has opened registration for spring baseball and softball and summer swimming lessons.
Baseball and softball leagues, camps, and instructional lessons are available for children ages 2 through second grade. A few spots are available for summer swim lessons. Learn more at OlatheKS.org/ParksRec.
Lifesavers will be honored next week
The Johnson County HeartSafe Foundation will celebrate bystanders who performed CPR and/or deployed an Automated External Defibrillator to save a life next week.
The HeartSafe Heroes Celebration is scheduled from 3:45 to 6 p.m. on Feb. 20 in the Capitol Federal Conference Center, which is part of the Regnier Center at Johnson County Community College.
Five survivors of sudden cardiac arrest, ranging in age from 19 to 65, also will be there.
One purpose of the event to is encourage the public to become knowledgeable about how to save a life. If someone suffers from cardiac arrest in Johnson County, the agency said, there is a 66-percent chance that a bystander would perform CPR.
That’s better than the national average of 40 percent, but still leaves one-third of those in cardiac arrest with no bystanders or loved one to perform chest compressions.
For every minute that goes by without CPR, the chances of survival decrease by 10 percent.
Gardner Edgerton announces Teachers of the Year
Kent Muyskens, who teaches chemistry at Gardner Edgerton High School, and Rhonda Wedel, a math teacher at Pioneer Ridge Middle School, are the Teachers of the Year in the Gardner Edgerton School District.
They will represent the district in the Kansas Teacher of the Year program.
Wedel has taught middle school math since 2004. She previously worked in the Olathe and Blue Valley districts.
She said in a release that her goal is to promote positive learning; to have a clear understanding of the math curriculum, instruction and assessment tools; and to create a strong math foundation. First, though, she tries to bring energy to the classroom by having fun and developing high-interest, real-world lessons and activities.
Muyskens has been teaching chemistry since 1985 and was named Northwest I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher of the Year in 2016. During the past seven years, he has taken students to the Space Settlement Design Competition in Houston, where students worked with NASA engineers to design a futuristic space settlement.
Muyskens said in a statement he takes pride when students tell him that they are successful in college chemistry and appreciate how hard he pushed them in high school.
Compiled by Elaine Adams, Special to The Olathe News