Olathe & Southwest Joco

Olathe teacher part of national engineering project

Intense focus was part of the Careers on Wheels event.
Intense focus was part of the Careers on Wheels event. Courtesy photo

Olathe Northwest High School is participating in a national effort, funded by the National Science Foundation, to implement engineering design activities into high school science classrooms.

Bruce Wellman, a chemistry and engineering educator at Olathe Northwest, is playing a key role.

The effort is spearheaded by Ohio Northern University, in collaboration with Ohio State University and Olathe Northwest. It’s funded through a three-year NSF grant for $450,000 which began Aug. 1.

The project was designed and submitted by two Ohio Northern faculty members together with Wellman and others. Its goal is to develop curricular activities and assessment guidance for science and engineering educators who want to bring engineering design into their biology, chemistry and physics classes.

If successful, the district said, the project could be a model for supporting support busy, budget-constrained teachers and get more students interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers.

“I’m eager to get students excited about how they can make the world a better place through engineering and science,” Wellman said in a news release.

He added that the project is an example for all instructional materials should be developed.

“We hope that this project will create both great learning tools for high school science students throughout the country and serve as a model for school districts to develop new partnerships with colleges and universities,” he said. “Our team is uniquely positioned to develop science-teacher-requested activities that are engineer-verified and backed by solid education research.”

Olathe Health names new CEO

Stan Holm has been named president and CEO of Olathe Health and will start his tenure on Nov. 1. Holm will serve over all entities of Olathe Health, including Olathe Medical Center, Miami County Medical Center and Olathe Health Physicians.

“The board of directors was committed to finding a new leader with extensive experience as a CEO in very competitive environments,” Olathe Health Board Chairman James Hubbard said in a written statement. “We are especially impressed with Stan’s track record of building positive culture, physician recruitment and relations, and developing services that transform patient care in a positive way.”

Holm has had more than 23 years of healthcare management, most recently serving as CEO of Arizona-based Abrazo West. He is a board certified healthcare financial professional of the Healthcare Financial Management Association.

Holm is replacing Frank H. Devocelle, who is retiring after 47 years of leadership of Olathe Health.

Fourth-grade? Not too early to think about careers

Earlier this month, half of the Olathe School District’s fourth-graders traveled to the District Activity Center for the first Careers on Wheels event. They visited stations with dozens of vendors who represented career fields and workforce opportunities.

Students heard a brief explanation of a career, met professionals and asked questions before going to the next station.

A similar event will take place May 15 for the rest of the fourth-grade students.

Research suggests that students begin determining career interests as early as the fourth grade, said Angie Salava, the district’s college and career readiness and counseling services coordinator. She served on the committee that coordinated the event.

“We wanted to partner with community members in a way that would not only expose students to careers, but would be something that our fourth-graders would enjoy,” Salava said.

In addition to business representatives, students from the district’s 21st Century Academies made the fourth-graders aware of opportunities that will help them gain industry knowledge and establish professional contacts before they leave high school.

“The biggest takeaway is that students learned about careers that they may not have even heard of before,” Salava said. “That knowledge provides a foundation for further research and exploration.”

Resources for college planning

Olathe school officials have scheduled these events in October to help families prepare to send their children to college or a technical school after they graduate from high school.

▪ Olathe School District FAFSA Completion Event, Oct. 3: From 5 to 8 p.m. at Olathe South High School, college financial aid experts will help seniors and their families complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Parents should bring a copy of their 2017 tax returns and FSA identification. They must sign up for the limited time slots at https://goo.gl/forms/cTYmnBmswhER2F5y2. If a scheduled appointment can’t be kept, parents should call 913-780-7874 to cancel the reservation. The school is at 1640 E. 151st St.

▪ Olathe Eighth-Grade Career Fair, Oct. 23: This event, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Johnson County Community College, is open to eighth-grade students only. Students will be able to network with representatives from more than 90 local businesses and learn about potential careers and jobs in the Olathe area. They also can learn about career studies available in high school. Students will be bused from their middle schools for this event.

▪ College Opportunity Night, Oct. 30: Held from 6 to 8 p.m. at Olathe North High School, the college fair will focus on students of color and their families, who can learn about historically black colleges and universities, as well as scholarship opportunities. Olathe North is at 600 E. Prairie St.

Taste of Literacy

Olathe Public Library Foundation’s annual “A Taste of Literacy” dinner will feature Thomas Fox Averill, author of such works as “Secrets of the Tsil Cafe” and “The Slow Air of Ewan MacPherson.”

The event, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 6, will be held at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center, 10401 S. Ridgeview Road.

Guests will see a presentation about the new Indian Creek Library from Gould Evans architect Sean Zaudke.

Tickets are $75. Visit OlatheLibrary.org or call 913-971-6878 for more information.