Shawnee Mission School District | KCUR

Shawnee Mission School District

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

It was back to school Friday for some Johnson County students.

For many years now, the Shawnee Mission School District has had a transition day for students moving into a new school building. According to Shawnee Mission West Principal Steve Loe, having just ninth graders on the first day lets new high school students meet their teachers and get acquainted with the building before they have to share the halls with upperclassmen.

Three black plates on a grey surface. Two of the plates have tortillas with filling.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Buying school supplies and clothes can be a struggle but local programs are available to help. 

The Harbinger / YouTube

When Christopher Justice got a text message from a friend earlier this summer, he didn't know what it meant: "You're Twitter famous."

Justice had just graduated from Shawnee Mission East High School, and he was spending an uneventful few months working at a pizza place before heading off to college at Wichita State University. He didn't even have a Twitter account.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: New Shawnee Mission schools superintendent on his plans for the district. 

Courtesy Shawnee Mission School District

The Shawnee Mission School District is still searching for someone to lead its beleaguered special education department.

The district came under fire last year after the Kansas Department of Education found some students with special needs weren’t getting all federally required services. Students who are gifted also qualify for special education in Kansas.

SMSD Superintendent Michael Fulton sent an email to parents earlier this week announcing Assistant Superintendent Christy Ziegler would be taking over the special education department on an interim basis.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Updated at 4:20 p.m. Thursday with response from the district.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas is suing the Shawnee Mission School District for allegedly violating students' free speech rights.

Students complained in April after administrators in several schools allegedly censored students during the nationwide walkouts protesting gun violence. Among other incidents, students said a Hocker Grove principal  pushed a student for mentioning school shootings in a speech and an administrator at Shawnee Mission North confiscated a student journalist's camera.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Students with disabilities often miss out on opportunities their peers take for granted, like learning a foreign language.

That's why Shawnee Mission West French teacher Katie Bogart works hard to accommodate all different kinds of learners in her classroom.

“They struggle more with some of the grammar that we do, a lot of the written work,” Bogart says. “That can be a little bit more challenging.”

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

After complaints arose that administrators allegedly censored students during recent nationwide walkouts, the Shawnee Mission School District announced it will take measures to train district officials on First Amendment rights.

Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union threatened to sue the district if it didn't address allegations that administrators restricted students' participation in the April 20 walkouts protesting gun violence.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Updated at 4:40 p.m. 

After threatening to sue the Shawnee Mission School District for allegedly keeping students from participating in April's nationwide walkouts to protest gun violence, the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas will not take legal action against district — at least for now.

Paul Sableman / Flickr - CC

Segment 1: Schools in the Shawnee Mission district have been accused of stifling expression during student demonstration.

During last Friday's national school walkout, parents and students at several Shawnee Mission schools reported that administrators attempted to curate and censor student speech. These complaints have spurred an investigation by the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas. Today, we asked what happened during the demonstrations, and how the school district is responding.

Big Stock

The father of a 19-year-old Shawnee Mission South student says his daughter was sexually assaulted last April on a school bus as she was returning home from school.

The allegations are detailed in a lawsuit filed this week against First Student Inc., which last year lost its transportation contract with the Shawnee Mission School District.

Segment 1: A local dance troupe performs an original piece based on people's experience with cancer.

The Owen/Cox Dance Group has collaborated with Gilda's Club Kansas City and will perform a piece about how people's lives are impacted by cancer. We talk to the choreographer, and we hear from patients, survivors and caregivers.

Shawnee Mission School District

Shawnee Mission Board of Education hired Michael Fulton to be the district's next superintendent for $250,000 a year, but the other details of his contract have been finalized.

Fulton will receive $1,000 a month car allowance "for the purpose of offsetting all necessary operating expenses for travel required to perform duties" in the Kansas City area. In addition, the district will also provide a yearly $24,000 tax-sheltered annuity.

Fulton will get 31 vacation days a year in addition to all days off students and staff get.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR_89.3

Segment 1: Kansas' Third-Biggest School District Picks A New Leader

After a months-long hiring process, the Shawnee Mission School District Board of Education has decided on a new superintendent. We heard about the move, and about the future of one of the largest districts in Kansas and the metro.

Courtesy of SMSD

Editor's note: This post was updated at 12:50 on Tuesday to include comments Michael Fulton made to KCUR's Steve Kraske on Up to Date.

In a unanimous vote Monday night, the Shawnee Mission Board of Education appointed Michael Fulton as new superintendent of the Shawnee Mission School District, bringing a long saga of disrupt in the district to a close.

Courtesy of Shawnee Mission School District

A lack of women candidates and large district finalists concerned Shawnee Mission School District parents who listened in Saturday during a marathon session of interviews for a new superintendent.  

After an eventful year following the unexpected resignation of former Superintendent Jim Hinson, many in the district were hoping for a new leader who would help heal the district.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Timothy Tamargo / U.S. Coast Guard

High school students aren't necessarily known for taking a thoughtful approach to complicated moral dilemmas, but that characterization may be unfair and outdated. Today, we learn about the competitive extracurricular activity taking place in two Johnson County, Kansas. schools that promotes civil discourse and a careful consideration of all viewpoints. Then, we get the Missouri Budget Project's perspective on Gov.

File Photo / KCUR

The former legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas thinks a practice among some school boards of restricting patron complaints at public meetings eventually will end up in court.

Doug Bonney, legal director emeritus for ACLU Kansas, said if barring complaints about school board members, the superintendent or employees is common, that doesn’t make it right.

Jake William Heckey / Pixabay-CC

Looking back, this year was slammed with national news: tropical storms, wildfires, protests and even Twitter wars. But plenty happened here in Kansas City, too! So before entering a new year, we check in with community newspapers to learn about the important local stories of 2017.

Guests:

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The Shawnee Mission school board is going to have a very different look next year.

All three reform candidates won Tuesday night, replacing three veteran board members.

That now gives reformers a 4-3 edge on the board.

One of the reform leaders is at-large board member Brad Stratton who wasn’t on the ballot last night.

"The voters in the Shawnee Mission District came out and said loud and clear that they'd like some new voices at the board table," he says.

Isabel Fimbres

The artist: Brotha Newz

The Song: Fallen Roses

In 1973, Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs met up on the tennis court to see whether women could cut it in sports. Inspired by Battle of the Sexes, we take a look at how their legendary match influenced feminism and women in sports today.

Plus: a teacher at Shawnee Mission East wrote a song that addresses sexual assault ... and invited his students to collaborate on it. Hear the story behind his song, "Fallen Roses."

 

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Update Aug. 4 5:38 p.m.

Mandi Hunter's lead over at-large incumbent Cindy Neighbor more than doubled Friday afternoon, from seven votes to 18 votes. 

The Johnson County Election updated the primary night vote totals after counting additional mail in ballots post marked by 7:00 Tuesday night and received in the office Friday.

The votes, including provisional ballots, will be canvassed Monday morning.

If Hunter's lead holds she will face Heather Ousley in the general election.

Original story starts here.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

You don't often see a school board election as contested as the one percolating in the Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) but that's exactly what's happening this year.

There is a primary election on Tuesday, August 1 for two of the three seats up this year.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Erin Smith doesn’t watch a lot of TV.

Instead, the 17-year-old spends her evenings perfecting an online tool she created. The tool, called FacePrint, can detect Parkinson’s disease years before current diagnosis methods by recording your facial reactions with a webcam at home.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

The art of lowriding in Kansas City, then local high school students share how they covered politics and the presidential election in their yearbooks.

Guests:

Shawnee Mission School District / YouTube

The ACLU of Kansas says a new policy adopted by the Shawnee Mission School Board may violate the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment. It has sent a letter to Board President Sarah Goodburn, urging the board to rescind the policy. 

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

The Shawnee Mission School District Board of Education unanimously voted Wednesday night to name Dr. Kenny Southwick as interim superintendent for Shawnee Mission schools.

Jim Hinson, who has headed the district for the past four years, unexpectedly announced his retirement last week. His last day is June 30.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Outgoing Shawnee Mission School Superintendent Jim Hinson was absent from Monday night's board meeting but he was the subject of much discussion.

The board officially accepted Hinson's resignation and started to lay out plans to search for his successor.

Hinson, who has headed the district for the past four years, unexpectedly announced his retirement last week. His last day is June 30.

Several members of the public asked the school board to hold off on hiring a new superintendent until after the November elections. Three board positions will be on the ballot.

Shawnee Mission School District

Shawnee Mission School District Superintendent Jim Hinson unexpectedly resigned today. Hinson has spent more than thirty years in public education, four of them in Shawnee Mission.

In a statement on the school district’s website, the superintendent says, “I’ve decided to retire effective June 30, 2017. This decision will allow me to spend more time with my family, and pursue other lifelong goals.”

Under Hinson’s watch, the district invested millions in building news schools and the “one-to-one” technology initiative, which provided each student with a personal computer.

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