District board meeting recap Nov. 26

Grace Altenhofen, Editor-in-Chief

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The following is a summary of the Nov. 26 SMSD Board of Education meeting.


  • Adoption of agenda; approval of minutes from Nov. 12 regular meeting


  • Report by Superintendent Michael Fulton
    • Hocker Grove Middle School teacher Kim Gilman was named Kansas Geography Educator of the Year
    • A team from SM South won the Kansas State Ecomeet Competition
    • Shawnee Mission student journalists and publications won several awards from the National Scholastic Press Association
    • SMSD received a health services award from the Health Partnership Clinic
    • The superintendent retreat was held Nov. 13
    • Dr. Fulton welcomed parents who were at the board meeting to speak about concerns regarding the one-to-one digital initiative


  • Dr. Christy Ziegler briefly discussed a meeting she held with nine parents, in which they were given an opportunity to voice their concerns regarding the use of technology in schools


  • Reports from Board Members
    • Heather Ousley said the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation is switching their fiscal year from January-December to July-June
    • Deb Zila said the professional services committee should have a recommendation by the December meeting
    • Mary Sinclair discussed the KSB legislative committee meeting


  • Chief Financial Officer Russell Knapp gave a brief budget overview in which he noted that nothing is out of the ordinary right now


  • Public Comment Section
    • 13 parents of students from several district elementary schools spoke about their concerns regarding the one-on-one digital initiative that was implemented five years ago. Though each parent spoke to their own experiences with the district-provided technology, their concerns focused around three main questions: Is this the best way to learn?; Is this amount of device use healthy for children?; And how are children being protected from inappropriate content? The parents cited research from the American Academy of Pediatrics about the effects of technology on children and the importance of moderation of screen time. They spoke out against the ‘flipped classroom’ teaching method, and discouraged the use of iPads during recess and other times that are intended for social and cognitive development. The parents finished by requesting three steps moving forward: a comprehensive review of the one-to-one digital initiative, the creation of an advisory committee and the ability to leave devices at school overnight as opposed to taking them home.


  • Academic Program Evaluation
    • Dr. Michelle Hubbard and Dr. Joe Gilhaus gave a presentation about the academic programs in SMSD, which included discussion about curriculum, Professional Learning Communities and instruction, among other topics


  • SMSD Lobbyist Stuart Little elaborated on potential language changes within the district’s legislative platform


  • Approval of Consent Agenda Items


  • Comments from Board
    • Patty Mach congratulated the Bistro on raising over $10,000 in their ‘Everything but the Turkey’ fundraiser and thanked the SM North Mission newspaper for mailing copies of their paper every month
    • Laura Guy encouraged everyone to read the new proposal on the KASB website and to leave comments voicing their opinions
    • Heather Ousley thanked the parents who spoke during public comments for their input and mentioned a climate change workshop being held by local leaders soon
    • Brad Stratton emphasized the importance of the board’s continued interaction with the public


  • The board dismissed to executive session to discuss personnel issues


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