News Post

Hocker Grove Wins Battle of the Books
Shawnee Mission School District

On January 12, teams from all Shawnee Mission middle schools gathered to put their book-related knowledge to the test in the Battle of the Books competition.

Battle of the Books is a program designed to encourage reading and give recognition to students who like to read.

Teams were asked trivia questions based on 10 books from the 2021-2022 list of William Allen White Children’s Book Award nominees. School librarians compiled the questions for the competition.

Students formed teams in the fall and began reading the books, practicing possible questions, and developing strategies. On some teams each competitor read all the books. On other teams each member chose to read a small selection.

Westridge eighth grader Geneva Goodwin shared, “It’s been fun to meet new people and read a bunch of books.”

One of the best parts is the friendly competition, Ella Siengsukon, Indian Hills seventh grader explained. “I’m not really competitive, I don’t like doing athletic stuff, but this is right up my alley,” Siengsukon added.

Librarian Carol Edds expressed that all the students are winners in her eyes. “Reading and literacy is so important, it influences everything. If they continue their interest in books and reading, they will be set up for success in school and in life.”

In the end, a team of Hocker Grove middle school students triumphed, winning the championship trophy and defending a three-year winning streak.

Members of the winning team included:

  • Jack Kronawitter (8th grade)
  • Halley Vincent (7th grade)
  • Cristian Pio Reyes (7th grade)
  • Natasha Ramirez Franco (7th grade)
  • Emily Miller (7th grade)
Panel for Parents on Screen Time on Jan. 25
Shawnee Mission School District

Parents and guardians are invited to an upcoming event focused on students and screen time.

Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) students will serve on a panel, sharing their experiences as they learn using technology. This event will include collaborative discussion opportunities and will give attendees the chance to reflect and walk away with ideas and tips for parenting in the digital age.

This event will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 25, 2022 in the Board Room at the Center for Academic Achievement, 8200 W. 71st St.

Click here to register for the event.

SMSD educators continue to work with the goal of providing helpful information to support families as students use digital resources. Click here for more information and for resources about digital learning in the SMSD.

SM East Coach Honored as Section Coach of the Year
Shawnee Mission School District

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) 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.

Shawnee Mission East sometimes has as many as 90 students interested in playing tennis during the school year. One aspect of what makes Gibbs outstanding as a coach is his dedication to making sure all have play time on the court, shared Debbie Katzfey, SM East athletic director.  Sometimes that means running three practices to give everyone court time, Katzfey added.

“Our community should know that if your son or daughter has any desire to play tennis, he will find a way to make it happen,” she shared. “He works so hard to give them all a chance to love the game as much as he does. He is really amazing.”

Gibbs is honored in Section V, including the states of Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnesota.


Available Now For Teachers: Kennedy Center PD Opportunity
Shawnee Mission School District

SMSD educators are invited to register now for an upcoming Kennedy Center Professional Development opportunity.

“The Many Ways to Move Through the Curriculum with Harlan Brownlee” will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Jan. 19, 2022 at the Center for Academic Achievement, 8200 W. 71st St.

This session is for teachers of students in Pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade. Click here to register.

Brownlee, drawing on his 37 years of teaching experience, will guide participants in a series of movement-based activities designed to be integrated into daily lesson plans and increase instructional effectiveness.

Attendees are asked to dress comfortably and be ready for movement. Boxed dinners will be provided. There is an opportunity for two SMSD teachers who attend the PD to partner with Brownlee for an in-person lesson demonstration with their class.

The Shawnee Mission Education Foundation supports the Kennedy Center Partners in Education Program to bring professional development to educators and arts-integrated educational opportunities to students.

Join the SMSD Team- Apply Now
Shawnee Mission School District

Would you like to help students in our community achieve their personal best?

You can do that by joining the Shawnee Mission School District team. Click here to apply.

The SMSD is currently seeking individuals for the following positions:


Classroom Aides

Food Service Assistants


These positions offer benefits such as:
School Hours

Paid Holidays

Free Fitness Center

On-Site Health Facility

Health Insurance

Retirement Plan

Paid Sick Leave

Learn more about these positions and how to join the SMSD team here: