SMSD News: District shoutouts

The Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) is proud of students and staff who, through hard work and dedication, continue to demonstrate we are #KeepingSMSDStrong. Here are just a few recent highlights from our school communities.

 National Merit 

The SMSD is proud to recognize the SMSD seniors who have been named semifinalists in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program. These students took the 2020 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which serves as an initial screen of program entrants. Approximately 16,000 semifinalists were selected nationwide. Click here to see the list of semifinalists, who represent less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors.  

FAFSA Challenge 

The Kansas Board of Regents honored Shawnee Mission East in the inaugural Kansas FAFSA Challenge. This is a recognition for high schools in Kansas that had the highest percentage of students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or had the largest increase in FAFSA completion. SM East was the 6A school in Kansas with the highest completion rate. The Regents stated that students who complete the FAFSA are more likely to enroll in college and that they are grateful to the parents, counselors, teachers, and administrators who help students complete this step.

Horizon Nominees 

Kira Stahly, a third-grade teacher at Merriam Park, and Kristen Carrillo, a special education teacher at Shawnee Mission West High School are the SMSD’s nominees for the state Horizon Award. This is a state recognition for first-year Kansas Teachers who “perform in a way that distinguishes them as outstanding.” Each district is able to select one elementary and one secondary teacher to be considered for the state Horizon Award.

Perfect ACT

Tongtong Yi, a senior at Shawnee Mission East High School, earned a 36 on the ACT exam. This is the highest possible composite score for test-takers. A perfect composite score on the ACT exam is rare. Fewer than one-tenth of one percent of test-takers achieve the distinction.

John Diemer Groundbreaking 

The John Diemer Eagles held a ceremonial groundbreaking for their new school building this month. Students led the Pledge of Allegiance, sang a recently rediscovered school song, and took a shovel to the construction site for the ceremonial groundbreaking. Diemer is one of five elementary school buildings that will be rebuilt in the district as part of a $264 million bond issue approved by community members in January 2021. Click here to see a video of the groundbreaking.

Unified Bowling 

The SMSD will soon join Unified Bowling in partnership with the Kansas State High School Activities Association and Special Olympics Kansas. This is an inclusive activities program that combines Special Olympics students who have disabilities with students who do not have disabilities to compete together on teams. Shawnee Mission unified bowling participants will begin practice this month.

Health Clinic Opens 

The Health Partnership Clinic (HPC) at Shawnee Mission West has opened to Shawnee Mission students and their siblings (ages 3 to 20). Health Partnership Clinic is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursdays (except when school is not in session). HPC and the SMSD are partnering to provide access to primary and preventative health care, chronic disease management, mental health services and more to district students and their siblings. Information about how to make an appointment is available here.

National Braille Finalists 

Shawnee Mission is home to two of the top Braille competitors in the United States. Jude Nickson, a fourth-grader at Trailwood Elementary School, was recognized in the 2021 Freshman age group (for students in third and fourth grade). Charlie Bethay, a junior at Shawnee Mission East High School, was a finalist in the 2021 Varsity category. They were among the top 10 in each age group out of about 1,000 competitors. They have qualified multiple times in this national competition and have worked with Jeri Hile, teacher for the visually impaired.

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