SMSD News: Read Across SMSD December – Recognize our connectedness

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Whether a community member has been in the Shawnee Mission community for decades or they just started out – we are all connected because we are One Shawnee Mission.

Throughout the month of December the Shawnee Mission School District has been celebrating the Read Across SMSD theme: Recognize Our Connectedness.

The elementary-level book this month is called “Remember,” and it is a poem by U.S Poet Laureate Joy Harjo. The book highlights someone who takes time to think about all of the ways she is connected to her family, her world, and community.

Dr. Joe Gilhaus, deputy superintendent of the Shawnee Mission School District has long-standing connections to the Shawnee Mission School District. He was a student in Shawnee Mission during elementary, middle, and high school and also served as a teacher and principal in the district. Recently he visited Roesland Elementary School, a community that has been serving students since 1873, to talk to students about their connections to the home of the Panthers.

Numerous students at Roesland can describe the members on their family tree who have also attended their same school. Bella Muro, a sixth grader at Roesland shared that she has some of the same teachers as her grandma and great aunt. Her family has been a part of the Roesland community for nearly 47 years. Steven Garcia III, a sixth-grader, said his two uncles, aunt, and dad all attended Roesland.

Fifth grader Maia Duncan recently welcomed her great grandmother, Leona Thornton, who visited her former elementary school, Roesland. Duncan and Thornton love to talk about basketball and their shared experiences at the elementary school.

“This is such a special place,” Thornton expressed about the elementary school. “Roesland looks a lot different than when I went to school, but somehow it is still the same school community we know and love.”

Even as Roesland celebrates a successful, and long standing community, it also continues to welcome new students. Junior Garcia, fourth grader, started school at the school this fall.

“I’m proud to be the very first in my family to attend Roesland Elementary!” Garcia shared.

Read Across SMSD is modeled after the national Read Across America program and is led in partnership with NEA-Shawnee Mission. Access to books for Shawnee Mission students is made possible through the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation.

Here are the Read Across America November titles, encouraging readers to Recognize Our Connectedness:

NEA Book List:

By Joy Harjo
Click here to learn more.

Middle Grade
By Nisi Shawl
Click here to learn more.

Young Adult
“We Deserve Monuments”
By Jas Hammonds
Click here to learn more.

The links above provide activity ideas, discussion ideas, reflective writing questions, and related resources for more titles to try for each age group.

Click here to find out more and participate in Read Across SMSD. Post your participation on social media using #ReadAcrossSMSD.

 Shawnee Mission School District is the third largest school district in Kansas. The district serves students in Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade in 34 elementary schools, five middle schools, five high schools, and several educational centers. It has been consistently ranked among the finest school districts nationwide for its high student performance. The district’s objective is that each student will have a personalized learning plan that will prepare them for college and careers, with the interpersonal skills they need for life success. The district serves a diverse student population from 14 cities within northeast Johnson County, Kansas, which is 10 miles from downtown Kansas City, Missouri. For more information, visit www.smsd.org.

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