Employees of month honored

The Kansas City, Kan., Board of Education honored two employees as Employees of the Month at the April 8 meeting. Honored were Maria Rios, , left, secretary at Wyandotte High School, and Becky Bell, 5th grade teacher leader at White Church Elementary School. (Photo from Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools)

The Kansas City, Kan., Board of Education honored two Employees of the Month at the April 8 board meeting.

Maria Rios, secretary at Wyandotte High School; and Becky Bell, 5th grade teacher leader at White Church Elementary School, were honored.

The nominations:

“We nominate Maria Rios, a member of the Wyandotte High School office staff for employee of the month.  Maria works in the front office at Wyandotte and she is someone who is always there; ready to help when asked, offering to help before asked; and making whoever she is helping feel like her most important customer.  You seldom think about what Maria is responsible for because the work gets done so efficiently and seamlessly.   Drop a copy job into the ‘in box’ (onto a pile of several others), it is done just an hour or two later.  Need a truancy  report for a field trip?  Maria will have it done well before you need it.  But what really distinguishes Maria is her understanding of the idea of customer service.   If you are a parent or a visitor coming into the office, Maria greets you with her smile and a warm ‘How can I help you?’  Building staff and visiting parents often compliment her work and helpfulness.”  Sincerely, Jan Stocstill, principal’s secretary and Rich Zak, teacher

“I would like to nominate Becky Bell for employee of the month for White Church Elementary.  I have had the privilege of working with Becky Bell for the past 14 years, both as a fellow classroom teacher and as a teacher leader.  She is an essential member of our school and does so much for the staff and students at White Church!  Becky has been an educator in USD 500 for 20 years, and I have always been impressed with her willingness to stay on top of the newest research and teaching methods, and how she imparts that knowledge to those around her.   Becky is very friendly and approachable and goes above and beyond to make sure she is available to the staff, no matter what time of day or night.  She is the kind of person who does so much behind the scenes.  Becky Bell is one of the most inspiring people in our district and we are proud to nominate her.”  Sincerely, Emily Dennis, teacher, and Bruce Haber, principal
– Story and photo from Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools

Breakfast: Don’t leave home without it

from Chrishonda Brown

April showers signal spring in the air. But are your children in a fog during the stormy testing season?  Healthy breakfast is a necessity. Breakfast eaters perform better academically and behaviorally. Here’s how to boost the brain with better breakfast.
Embrace eggs. They contain choline, which is vital for memory and concentration. Try French toast for picky eaters. Make with 100 percent whole wheat bread and top with fresh fruit.
Get nutty. Peanuts contain folate, which improves memory and mental processing speed. Enjoy natural peanut butter on an apple or a few nuts on the side.
Skip the sugar. High-sugar foods and white breads result in energy crashes, likely in the middle of a demanding test or class.
Go bananas.  Bananas sharpen focus, mood and memory. Add to whole grain cereal with skim milk.
It’s simple to start your student’s day off with a strong breakfast for success, and don’t forget to eat some yourself!
Chrishonda Brown, who holds a master’s degree in kinesiology, is a guest columnist for Kansas State Research and Extension, Wyandotte County. For more recipes visit www.kidsacookin.ksu.edu/.  Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/KSREWyco and follow us on Twitter @WyCoSnapEd.
Brain Booster Breakfast Smoothie
Makes: 1 serving
1 cup nonfat milk
1 ½ tablespoons natural peanut butter
1 frozen banana
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
Wash hands and cooking surfaces. Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into glass and serve immediately.
Nutritional information for each serving:  359 calories, 12g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 5mg cholesterol, 44g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 28g sugars, 136mg sodium, 17g protein, 11% Vitamin A, 22% Vitamin C, 32% calcium, 18% iron.

Free bike rodeo May 17 to provide bike helmets for kids

The free KCK Kiwanis West Bike Rodeo returns Saturday, May 17, to the Schlitterbahn Waterpark, 9400 State Ave., Kansas City, Kan.

Elementary-aged kids will have the opportunity to learn tips on cycling safety, participate in interactive activities that promote health and safety and to sneak a peek at attractions at Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark at the eighth annual bike event. Hours are from 9 a.m. to noon May 17.

The event sponsors plan to distribute up to 300 free bike safety helmets and T-shirts to participants.

Activities will take place in the parking lot and entrance area of Schlitterbahn, and a large turnout is anticipated. Children should be accompanied by an adult.

The KCK Kiwanis West club, in partnership with Atmos Energy, Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark, Judi’s Bakery, Big D Cycling and several community businesses and organizations, are helping area youth ride their bicycles safely.

“During the past seven years, we’ve reached approximately 1,550 kids throughout Kansas City – helping them become safer cyclists,” said Jan Wiley, KCK Kiwanis West member and chair of the Bike Rodeo. “That’s 1,550 young cyclists who understand the rules of the road and the importance of wearing safety helmets to prevent head injuries. We’re really excited about the popularity of this event because it has the potential to save young lives. Our community sponsors are making it possible for us to reach more kids than ever before.”

Kids are encouraged to bring their bicycles. Helmets will be fitted, bikes will be inspected for safety, and kids may visit bike riding stations to earn a safety certificate.

“Even though helmets can’t keep a cyclist from falling, they can save lives,” said Kevin Jones, a Kiwanis West member and employee with Atmos Energy, the company that provides free safety helmets. “When they are properly fitted, helmets can reduce the risk of brain injury by as much as 88 percent if a fall occurs.”

Just as helmets reduce the risk of injury in bicycle accidents, car seats are vital for kids’ safety in automobiles. That’s why the event will also feature a free, drive-through car seat safety check. Experts will inspect car seats and ensure they are installed securely in families’ vehicles, making sure restraints are age appropriate and facing the right direction.

“Motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of children from ages 1 to 14,” said Kimberley Holm, a member of the Kiwanis West club and a certified National Child Passenger Safety Technician with the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Department.

“Even though most parents understand the importance of putting their children in car and booster seats, seven out of 10 kids in child safety restraints are not buckled in properly. We want to reduce that number,” she said.

Holm will be joined by Donald Paul Jones, the Safe Community coordinator with the Unified Government Health Department. Together with their volunteers, they will be available to check that child safety seats are properly installed.

“Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark is thrilled to host this popular community event for the fourth year,” said Chuck Stites, Kiwanis member and Schlitterbahn director of development. “In addition to helping kids gear up for a safe bike-riding season, the event promises to offer a morning packed with free family fun.”

New to Schlittlerbahn this year is the Verruckt waterslide, the world’s tallest waterslide. Schlitterbahn season passes will be on sale for $5 off the full gate price on that day. Season pass holders will be able to process their Schlitterbahn identification cards in person during this event.

Bike rodeo participants will be treated to free doughnuts, courtesy of Judi’s Bakery; get to enjoy performances by kids affiliated with Kansas Academy of Theatrical Arts; tour attractions at Schlitterbahn; get a close-up look at emergency vehicles; get into the groove with fun Zumbatronics workouts; and engage in other activities, games and crafts provided by local businesses.

Cabela’s will be on hand, providing a free fishing derby experience for the kids.

Additional sponsors for this event include: Legends Honda, Legends Toyota, Country Club Bank, Board of Public Utilities, Sunflower Dental, August Resources, PACES, Country Place Senior Living, Chick-Fil-A, Dr. Jane Philbrook, Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Department, Kansas City, Kan., Public Library Foundation, Adventurezip KC, Eric McTye – Edward Jones, Providence Medical Center, Liveable Neighborhoods and First Legend Bank and Trust.

Those with questions on the day of the event may call 816-751-4227.
– Information from Kiwanis West Club and Schlitterbahn