NEW LS R-7 hosts Missouri Association of School Librarians Fall Professional Development Day
NEW LS R-7 hosts Missouri Association of School Librarians Fall Professional Development Day
NEW LS R-7 transition to CNG buses featured in School Bus Fleet national magazine
NEW BCMS students selected for Be the Change Award
The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District will host the 2014 Missouri School Association of School Librarians (MASL) Fall Professional Development Day, scheduled for Sept. 27 at Lee’s Summit West High School.
Theme for the all-day conference is collaboration and school-wide literacy, and several R-7 staff members are involved in presenting at the event. They include Christie Brown, Summit Lakes Middle School library media specialist, and Whitney Morehead, SLMS assistant principal, who are featured on a collaboration and school-wide literacy panel; Sarah Eckert, library media specialist at Lee’s Summit Elementary and Richardson Elementary, presenting about the Books and Breakfast program.
Nathan Miller, library media specialist at Bernard Campbell Middle School, and Amy Taylor, Lee’s Summit West High School library media specialist, are serving as facilitators for two of the moderated sessions.
Approximately 100 educators from throughout Missouri are planning to attend the fall conference.
Sania Palmer and Saul Villar-Medina were selected for the Bernard Campbell Middle School Be the Change Award. To receive this recognition, the students demonstrated high standards of behavior and have been involved with school in a positive way.
The criteria used for the award includes demonstrating exemplary behavior in the classroom and hallways, displaying a positive attitude in the classroom and hallways, displaying a positive attitude toward teachers and other students, and exhibiting great character at BCMS. The two students also received a token of thanks from the school’s business partner, Summit Bank of Kansas City.
Thanks to a successful partnership with The Missouri Bar Citizenship Education Program, 30 Lee’s Summit North High School student leaders participated in comprehensive sessions focused on current constitutional law issues during a Sept. 11 event.
Through the LSN partnership with The Missouri Bar program, the Bar provides extensive support for classroom learning about the law, the legal system and the courts. The school receives lesson plans, supplementary reading materials and teacher workshops.
Student leaders from LSNHS were invited to attend the Sept. 11 annual meeting of The Missouri Bar at the Sheraton Crown Center in downtown Kansas City. The students were nominated by teachers throughout the school on the basis of their academics, leadership qualities and interest in the law and government.
Students attending were seniors Collin Bates, Emily Bridges, Brennen Dooley, Paige Edson, Kristofer Frostestad, Bryce Gibson, Ben Gruenbaum, Zachary Hitchcock, Jasmine Jefferies, Victoria Kelley, Nolan Lamb, Austin Le, Caitlin McCord, Taylor Morrison, Kody Negri, Archit Pramanik, Erica Serrone, Greg Sheets, Gabrielle Von Collins, Conor Wehrwein, Simone Wells, Hannah White and Alexandra Worth; juniors Lindsay Conchola, Ian De Boer, Vance Kelley and Jonghae Lee; and sophomores Maleah Ahuja, Austin Alvidrez and Miriam Merritt.
These student leaders represent various groups and organizations throughout the school, including Air Force Junior ROTC, Debate Team, International Baccalaureate, varsity football, Student Senate, Youth-in-Government, the International Thespian Society, National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, LSN Band and Orchestra, Bronco Smart and other high school clubs and activities. Staff members attending were Tavish Whiting, American government teacher; Brian Glenski, American government teacher, Paula Keltner, Lee’s Summit R-7 social studies coordinator; and Dr. Jeff Meisenheimer, LSNHS principal.
Students were given an opportunity to attend two plenary sessions hosted by The Missouri Bar as a part of their required continuing education program for attorneys throughout the state. Each 90-minute session covered major constitutional issues facing citizens and states today. Attorneys generally pay a fee to attend each of these sessions, but The Missouri Bar waived all fees for students and teachers. Furthermore, The Missouri Bar fully funded the transportation, substitute teachers and other fees related to the event.
The first plenary session concerned the issue of same-sex marriage and the conflicting landscape currently present in the legal system. Since the landmark Supreme Court decision Windsor v. United States (2013), there have been a wide range of legal changes and questions throughout the country. A panel of law professors and attorneys discussed a variety of legal issues impacted by the Windsor case including retirement, spousal benefits, dependent care, federal and state tax laws, child benefits, funeral arrangements, probate, same-sex divorces and the Affordable Care Act. The repercussions of the Windsor decision by the Supreme Court, along with the various conflicting state and federal laws, has made the same-sex legal situation a major constitutional issue today, sparking litigation throughout Missouri and the nation. The session was moderated by the Honorable Michael A. Wolff, dean of the Saint Louis University School of Law and former chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court.
The second plenary session concerned the constitutional issue of privacy. The panel included a member of the United States Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, a distinguished author and law professor from Washington University of St. Louis and two attorneys who specialize in data security and electronic privacy issues in the private sector. Issues discussed concerned areas of intellectual privacy, protection of records, concerns with the Internet, data mining, cloud issues, technological advances and surveillance by state and federal government authorities. The panel was moderated by Ellen Y. Suni, dean of the School of Law of the University of Missouri at Kansas City.
Lee’s Summit North students were then invited on a tour of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, by the Honorable Judge Alok Ahuja. Students were given a history of the building, an explanation of the purpose and function of the Court of Appeals and an overview of the Missouri Plan process of electing Missouri judges.
Afterwards, students were given a rare opportunity to have a private question-and-answer with two judges from the Missouri Supreme Court. The Honorable Laura Denvir Stith and the Honorable Paul Wilson answered questions about themselves, their duties and their views on various issues. Students asked questions about each judge’s motivation for going into law, the process of hearing cases, the relationship between the state and federal court systems, and their views on the importance of the high court’s role in society.
Four Lee’s Summit North student leaders were selected by The Missouri Bar as Outstanding Student Leaders. Seniors Kristofer Frostestad, Zachary Hitchcock, Jasmine Jefferies and Victoria Kelley were all invited to a special opening luncheon with the chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court, the Honorable Mary R. Russell. The luncheon included the Address of the Chief Justice to The Missouri Bar, presentations of awards to outstanding jurists throughout the state and the “passing of the gavel” from the outgoing president of the organization to the new president, sworn in by the Honorable Richard B. Teitelman of the Supreme Court.
The Lee’s Summit North student leaders had an enriching educational experience at the event hosted by The Missouri Bar. Several students asked questions of the panelists during the plenary sessions alongside attorneys and legal scholars. Ms. Suni, the dean of the School of Law at UMKC, commented that the LSNHS students asked questions “more relevant” than many of the attorneys present in the session. In all, the experience of this meeting and the exposure to constitutional scholars and experts, gave the Lee’s Summit North student leaders an experience of a lifetime, adding enriching component to their education, said LSN staff members.
The Lee’s Summit West High School volleyball team will host its seventh annual Dig for the Cure fundraiser Sept. 17 at the LSWHS stadium. LSW will compete against Lee’s Summit High School with games as follows: 3:30 p.m. for freshmen, 5:30 p.m. for junior varsity and 6:30 p.m. for varsity.
The event will raise money for Be the Match, the leader in bone-marrow transplantation, and Cancer Action, a community-based agency offering support, education, empowerment, hope and comfort to those touched by cancer.
Dig for the Cure will transform the LSW football field into an outdoor volleyball arena, providing a special setting for the two high school teams to work together to support a worthy cause.
At the event, the teams will celebrate cancer survivors and fighters as well as honor the memory of those lost to this disease in a procession onto the field and a balloon release. Players will pay tribute to LSW graduate Rebecca Hertzog as she continues her fight against cancer and sponsor a Bone Marrow Match Donor Registry Drive the night of the event. All cancer survivors and fighters are welcomed to join the procession.
Event T-shirts are $10 prior to the event, and free admission is included for those wearing the shirt to the match. To purchase shirts, contact Doctorschallenge@outlook.com. The silent auction will feature a John Deere 4000 watt gas generator, John Deere push mower, Dig for the Cure quilt, Chiefs and Worlds of Fun tickets and more.
The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District Special Services Department will hold an informational meeting for parents who home school their children or who enroll their children in private/parochial schools. The purpose of the meeting is to provide information on how they may access special education services if needed.
This meeting will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. Sept. 18 in the Loyalty Conference Room located at the Stansberry Leadership Center, 301 NE Tudor Road, Lee’s Summit.
The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s successful transition to school buses powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) was featured in the September issue of School Bus Fleet, a national online and print magazine for school transportation officials.
The article, written by Dr. David McGehee, R-7 superintendent, is titled “Superintendent cites benefits of natural gas school buses.” It focuses on the district’s transition to CNG-powered school buses and utility vehicles, including the financial savings and advantages for the environment. A portion of the savings from this initiative are funding technology improvements that benefit the district’s approximately 17,600 students.
“Our school district projects that over the course of the next decade, we will cut transportation costs by about $10.5 million, with a portion of the fuel savings paying for new technology infrastructure in our school system,” stated Dr. McGehee in the national magazine article. “This infrastructure is especially vital as teachers and students use more and more digital devices in day-to-day classroom lessons, school-wide projects and extracurricular activities.”
The R-7 change to CNG is the largest school district transition to CNG-powered school buses in the nation.
Lee’s Summit R-7 launched the transition to CNG-powered vehicles during August 2013. The school district transports 12,000 students each day, translating into more than 4.1 million rides annually on 151 school buses. As of this fall, 106 buses – or approximately 71 percent of the district’s bus fleet – have been replaced with CNG-powered vehicles.
Buses powered by compressed natural gas are much quieter and cleaner than the traditional diesel-powered buses in addition to being less expensive to operate in terms of fuel costs.
The district recently opened a CNG Public Fill Station, located at 505 SE Transport Drive. The Lee’s Summit station is one of just two public CNG fill stations on the Missouri side of the Kansas City metropolitan area. The fill station is also providing additional revenue for the district since Lee’s Summit R-7 receives a royalty on retail CNG sales.
To read Dr. McGehee’s entire article in School Bus Fleet, visit http://www.schoolbusfleet.com/channel/green-school-bus/news/2014/09/11/superintendent-cites-benefits-of-natural-gas-school-buses.aspx.
(Lee’s Summit R-7 Community Connections highlights the many contributions to the community made by school district employees. If you would like to recommend an R-7 employee for this feature, please send the employee’s name and a few sentences about how he or she contributes to the community to Janice Phelan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contributions featured should be made by the employee in an area outside of the staff member’s job.)
Jewelee Lukowski, Summit Lakes Middle School art teacher, shares her artistic talents and her compassion for others to help children cope with loss as a volunteer for Solace House. For the past seven years, Mrs. Lukowski has facilitated a support group for 10- to 12-year-old boys at Solace House, a grieving center for children, individuals and families who have experienced the death of a loved one.
“The program is designed to guide the kids through the grief journey and provide coping skills,” Mrs. Lukowski said. “The kids share, listen, learn and heal.”
The Lee’s Summit R-7 teacher uses a curriculum that incorporates art therapy to help children honor their loved ones and manage their emotional issues while creating a work of art.
Mrs. Lukowski first became involved in Solace House following a difficult year at her school when both a staff member and a student passed away. At the same time, she was serving as School Assistance Program (SAP) chairperson for SLMS. At a meeting for SAP representatives, she heard a presentation from Solace House officials about how the organization could serve as a resource for students.
“After hearing about Solace House, I knew that it was a place I wanted to be a part of,” Mrs. Lukowski added.
At Solace House, she said she is grateful to be able to help the children get a little bit closer to finding happiness during the weekly sessions.
“You cannot imagine the variety of experiences these children bring to the group,” she said. “Some are so horrific that I go home and cry. The amazing part is these young boys help each other because they have something so difficult in common.”
Children involved in the program do not typically have friends to talk to about their loss, Mrs. Lukowski said. “It is awesome the relationships that are built and the things that these kids share with each other. Usually, the entire family are involved in groups on the same evening so they can be healing together.”
Mrs. Lukowski added that Solace House is the only organization of its kind in the Midwest. Owned by KC Hospice, Solace House provides its services at no cost.
“We are so lucky to have this non-profit organization in our community,” she said. “It is located in Kansas City, but I have had numerous children from Lee’s Summit and even several who attend my school in my group.”
For more information about Solace House, visit http://www.kansascityhospice.org/GriefSupport-SolaceHouse/Index.htm.
Jewelee Lukowski’s photograph is included as well as her van Gogh style self-portrait.
The award is presented to one employee each month who is nominated by co-workers and selected by a staff committee.
“Dan is a great community leader,” said a colleague. “He organized a scout group to prepare an outdoor classroom. This facility has been a big hit with the school and community.”
Cedar Creek Elementary celebrated the opening of the school’s new one-eighth-mile track during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 4. Joining in the celebration were Cedar Creek teachers, students and families along with special guests Dr. David McGehee, R-7 superintendent; the Chiefs KC Wolf; Sluggerrr of the Kansas City Royals; Jen Opie, principal; Michele Bilton, past PTA president; and Angela Fite, new PTA president.
During 2012 and 2013, Cedar Creek students, families, staff members and business partners raised money to build the track, designed for both school and community use. PTA selected the track as the organization’s fundraising goal after it obtained the highest level of support on a 2012 PTA survey regarding major fundraising projects.
Money was raised during two walk-a-thons with a third walk planned for Sept. 26 to celebrate the track opening. Together, the families of Cedar Creek raised more than $38,000 for the track. Cedar Creek also won $10,000 from the NFL and Kansas City Chiefs as part of Fuel Up to Play 60.
The goal of the Cedar Creek Elementary fundraisers are to promote a healthy lifestyle for children while encouraging them to be involved in supporting the school. Fundraiser themes included “I stormed the Cedar Creek Walk-a-thon” during the first year, “Rock the Walk” the second year and “Walk on the Wild Side” for this year.
The work on the track was completed during spring 2014. Although the vast majority of the funding was raised by the families of Cedar Creek, completing the project a year early enabled the school to receive over $7,000 of additional assistance from other partners—both cash and in-kind donations.
Fundraising also included several prizes based on meeting fundraising goals such as turning physical-education teacher Ryan Miller into a human ice cream sundae, throwing whipped cream pies at Mr. Miller and Mrs. Opie, ice-cream sundae parties and iPad and iPod drawings.
The priority of the Cedar Creek PTA is the education and well-being of every student at Cedar Creek. “We believe the track will enrich the wellness of students at Cedar Creek and provide greater resources for our physical education department,” said a PTA spokesperson. “But, we never want this to be to the exclusion of other academic programs that we support. This year we are fundraising for technology improvements including replacing Smart Board screens and projectors. A big thank you to all our teachers, staff, families, students, business sponsors and the KC Chiefs for their support of the Cedar Creek PTA and Cedar Creek Elementary. We are so thankful for all that they do!”
KC Wolf and Sluggerrr were among special guests at the track celebration.
Students, staff and families celebrated homecoming with the annual Lee’s Summit North High School parade Sept. 4 in downtown Lee’s Summit. The LSNHS Homecoming football game is Sept. 5 with the dance on Sept. 6. This is Lee’s Summit North’s 20th anniversary, and the theme for homecoming was “20 Year Rewind – Throwback to the 90s.”