Olathe & Southwest Joco

Elementary school kids apply for various part-time ‘jobs’ at Olathe school

Dressed for the occasion, fifth-grader Erika Sanchez shakes the hand of her interviewer, Cathy Donovan, at Central Elementary School. Donovan, director of staffing and talent acquisition for the Olathe Public Schools, has begun a three-year term as president of the American Association of School Personnel Administrators.
Dressed for the occasion, fifth-grader Erika Sanchez shakes the hand of her interviewer, Cathy Donovan, at Central Elementary School. Donovan, director of staffing and talent acquisition for the Olathe Public Schools, has begun a three-year term as president of the American Association of School Personnel Administrators.

Job interviews come early for fifth-graders

It would have been so easy just to tap a fifth-grader for each task.

School tour guide? Stylist to display lost-and-found items? News hound to help with daily announcements?

You. You. And you.

Done.

But that’s not the way it happened this fall at Central Elementary School in Olathe. The school’s fifth-graders applied for various part-time “jobs” at the school, wrote resumes and submitted to interviews by the members of the Olathe School District’s human resources staff.

“Instead of just assigning jobs or letting students pick one, teachers had students identify which jobs appealed to them. Then they prepared to get this job,” Principal Brandi Leggett said in a news release.

“We brought in the Human Resources Division so our students could have the real-world experience of completing an interview.”

The overall goal, she said, was to provide school leadership roles for the fifth-graders.

They had dozens of choices. Other options included grounds crew, gym duty with younger students, Spanish-English translator and various delivery positions.

First, the students had to learn what each job entailed.

“I prepared my class by having them write resumes and practice interviewing each other,” fifth-grade teacher Lindsay Croft said. “We began with personal interest-type questions for interviews, then students looked at a sample resume and created their own.”

The students sought teacher advice on their resumes before practicing with the same questions they would hear in their official interviews. Leggett said many students were surprised that they would actually speak with a human resources professional.

“The students were very prepared, polite and engaged in the interviews,” said classified staffing specialist Kirsten Dannen. “Any time you can give students real-world experience, it brings the lesson to life.”

The interviewers’ notes went back to the teachers for final review before the “hiring” began.

“Students definitely learned some great life skills from this opportunity that already lent itself to some great real-world discussions,” said fifth-grade teacher Niccole Miller.

Olathe is No. 7 in U.S. for trick-or-treating

The little goblins and fairies going door to door on Halloween might not know that Olathe is ranked among the 10 best places to trick-or-treat in the country by financial technology website SmartAsset.com.

SmartAsset evaluated seven factors: single-family housing density, the percentage of residents younger than 15, median home value, the rates of violent and property crimes, the precipitation rate and average temperature.

Olathe came in seventh, up a few spots from 10th place in 2018.

The study said Olathe has the seventh-lowest rate of property crime in the study: 1,428 incidents per 100,000 residents.

“Olathe ranks in the top 20 of the study in terms of its youth population, with almost a quarter of residents younger than the age of 15. It is temperate there on Halloween, with a historic average temperature of 61.9 degrees Fahrenheit.”

That would have to be the average high temperature, but this year’s chill is certain to lower that figure a bit.

Social studies teacher earns statewide honor

Ashley Umphrey, who teaches at Chisholm Trail Middle School in Olathe, is the 2019 Kansas Social Studies Teacher of the Year for the 2019.

The Kansas Council for History Education made the selection during its social studies conference after first naming her Elementary Teacher of the Year.

“Ashley Umphrey is not just an outstanding social studies teacher, she is one of the all-time great educators,” Chisholm Trail Principal Michael Wolgast said in a news release. “Stepping into her history class is like going back in time and experiencing the events firsthand. She challenges her students to think like historians and brings their learning to life.”

Children’s author to headline library ‘Fiesta’

The Olathe Public Library Foundation will celebrate the new Indian Creek Library with a Fiesta on Nov. 16, featuring Angela Cervantes, author of children’s books including Disney Pixar’s Coco junior novelization. Dinner and desserts will be created by culinary students from Olathe North High School.

The event will last from 6 to 8 p.m., with Cervantes speaking at 6:45 and 7:30 p.m. Other activities include live music, a silent auction and photo opportunities. Those who explore the new library, at 16100 W. 135th St. and complete a “passport” could earn a prize.

Tickets will be sold through Nov. 8 at OlatheLibrary.Org/Foundation. They are $25 for adults and $10 for children 4 to 12. Children 3 and under are admitted free.

Disability film showcase and discussion

A conversation about accessibility and support for people with disabilities will follow the screening of two movies on Nov. 4 at the Olathe Indian Creek Library, 16100 W. 135th St.

The short films “Mr. Connolly Has ALS” and “The Barber of Augusta” will be shown from 6 to 8 p.m. The library is organizing the event along with Olathe Public Schools and Olathe’s Persons with Disabilities Advisory Board.

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