SMSD News: Shawnee Mission shout outs!

Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) students and staff continue to bring many points of pride to our community. Here are a few recent highlights of accomplishments from our schools:

Battle of the Books 

Middle school students put their reading-related knowledge to the test in a district-wide Battle of the Books competition. Participants were asked trivia questions based on 10 books from this year’s list of William Allen White Children’s Book Award nominees. This year, Hocker Grove Middle School was declared the champion, defending a three-year winning streak. 

KMEA State Performers  

Shawnee Mission musicians from across the district were selected to represent the SMSD in All-State ensembles. These students took part in rigorous auditions to ultimately be invited to be a part of the Kansas Music Educators Association In-Service Workshop. Click here to see who qualified to perform in All-State ­­orchestra, band, jazz band, and choir.

Reflections Reception 

In January, Board of Education members formally recognized awardees in the Shawnee Mission Area Council PTA Reflections program. This year, students submitted their creations in a variety of artistic mediums, centered on the theme “I will Change the World By…” Community members are able to view the student work through the SMAC PTA District Reflections on-line exhibit.  Click here to view the exhibit.

In February, the Board of Education recognized honorees in this year’s Shawnee Mission Area Council (SMAC) PTA Citizenship Writing contest. This program encourages students in 5th through 12th grades to write and submit a poem or essay.

This year, students were prompted by the theme “I Will Make the World a Better Place By…” The theme was developed by Westridge eighth grader Elizabeth Barnes. Click here to view a list of all Citizenship winners.

EPA Honors for SM East 

The United States Environmental   Protection Agency Region 7 awarded Shawnee Mission East a 2020 Food Recovery Challenge Award. The school is recognized for its notable achievements in sustainable food management practices for the 2019-2020 school year. They were honored for their innovative cafeteria composting program. The Lancer’s work to reinvigorate their program led to 12.4 tons of composted food waste in 2019, which was a 538 percent increase for the school within one year.

This all ties to district-wide efforts that began in 2008 and spread across the district as a grassroots effort led by students, parents, teachers, district leaders, and community partners. All SMSD schools and the Center for Academic Achievement participate in recycling and cafeteria composting.  

County Spelling Bee 

A group of strong spellers advanced beyond classroom and building-level competitions to earn a spot in the Johnson County Spelling Bee. Mira McInnes, seventh grader at Indian Hills Middle School and Annique Gras, sixth grader at Rising Star Elementary were finalists among the nearly 70 students who participated. Click here to see a list of all students who represented the Shawnee Mission School District in the county bee.

Coach of the Year 

The National Federation of State High School Associations named Andy Gibbs, Shawnee Mission East tennis coach, an NFHS Section Coach of the Year for girls tennis. This honor placed him in the running to be considered for National Coach of the Year. Honorees are nominated by the Kansas Coaches Association, which considers involvement in professional organizations, coaching philosophy, and involvement with school and community activities and programs. 


John Johnson, athletic director at Shawnee Mission South High School, received a Spirit of Sport nomination from the Kansas State High School Activities Association. Spirit of Sport Awards recognize individuals who exemplify the ideals of the positive spirit of sport that represents the core mission of education-based athletics.

Bistro Gold Medal 

A team of Shawnee Mission School District culinary arts students earned a gold medal and a $500 scholarship at a recent Johnson County Community College culinary competition. The team of students included Tobin Watkins, senior from Shawnee Mission West, Xaver Miti, senior from Shawnee Mission North, Morgan Dusin, senior from Shawnee Mission South, and Kaori Peterson, senior from Shawnee Mission North and were sponsored by chef instructor Stephan Venne.

Quarterly Digital Art Show 

The Shawnee Mission School District is proud to share artwork from students across the district in the latest Quarterly Digital Art show. This art show features work created by students in Pre-K through 12th grades in schools across the district during the second quarter of this school year. A special thanks is extended to all students, SMSD art educators, and visual arts coordinator Megan Ellis for sharing this artwork with all of us. Click here for a link to the art show featuring the creativity and talent of SMSD student artists.

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