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Greenwood Elementary is first R-7 school to receive playground improvements

Greenwood Elementary is the first Lee’s Summit R-7 elementary school to receive playground improvements taking place at each elementary school thanks to the voter-approved April 2015 no-tax-increase bond issue. Lee’s Summit R-7 staff are evaluating each playground to determine a plan of action to remove and replace any outdated equipment. After equipment improvements are complete, artificial grass safety turf is being installed at each playground, replacing wood and rubber mulch. The new surface provides a uniform, clean and easily maintainable area for children to play.

Nearly 80 percent of voters endorsed the $40 million no-tax-increase bond issue last spring. In addition to the playground renovations, the bond issue is funding improvements and renovations at all R-7 schools as well as construction of a new Summit Technology Academy / Missouri Innovation Campus. Work on the school improvements began this summer with all school improvement projects being complete by either fall 2015 or fall 2016. Summit Tech / MIC will be complete by summer 2017. For more information about the bond issue, visit the Lee’s Summit R-7 web page. In the photo is the newly completed Greenwood Elementary playground.



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Students with special needs participate in yoga during summer sessions

Students attending Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s Extended School Year Program at Hawthorn Hill Elementary and Sunset Valley Elementary recently had the opportunity to participate in yoga.  Emily Heady from Core Balance Yoga and Yoga Patch and Matt Hawkins from Adaptive Skate Kollective volunteered their time at both schools to show students yoga moves that they can incorporate into their daily lives.

Yoga works on relaxation techniques, which enhances students’ focus and readiness to learn, as well as their balance, coordination, flexibility and breathing.

Ms. Heady and Mr. Hawkins taught poses that involved working with a partner to balance, which is a great social skills activity. The students also learned poses to calm their bodies and build strength in their core.

Ms. Heady specializes in teaching yoga to children, including those of all ability levels.

She said, “I love to provide my students with a safe non-competitive place to explore the connection of breathing and movement, freedom of imagination, many ways to ‘be’ in a pose and the love of moving their body in healthy ways.”

Unlike many physical activities, there is no winning or losing when doing yoga. It is a physical activity that anyone can do.

For those wanting more physical activities, Mr. Hawkins, a skateboarder, snowboarder, surfer and a below-the-knee amputee, is dedicated to raising awareness for the adaptive community through his nonprofit organization, Adaptive Skate Kollective (A.S.K.).  A.S.K. offers skateboarding events for youth, adults and veterans living with physical disabilities.

A.S.K. will be conducting skating demonstrations at the Kansas City Ability Expo on Aug. 29 at the Overland Park Convention Center. There will be other adapted sports organizations, non-profit groups, products, resources and services at the KC Ability Expo to connect individuals with physical disabilities to services in their communities to help them lead full and productive lives.

juExtendedYrYogaCircleStudents participate in yoga at the R-7 Extended School Year Program.






juExtendedYrYogaWomanAndBoyNick and Wendy White practice their yoga moves.


Students participate in summer courses focusing on STEM at Summit Tech

Fourteen Lee’s Summit R-7 School District students took advantage of a unique course offered at Summit Technology Academy this summer. Students were engaged in activities and projects that focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers. From binary math to medical documentation, students explored careers in these areas. On the last day of the course, students presented a career project at an open house event for families, business partners and district administrators. In the photo, Rachel Schouten, a 2015-16 freshman at Lee’s Summit High School, presents her career choice of aerospace engineering.


Adam Schwartz of LS R-7 earns certified professional status in transportation of students with special needs

Adam Schwartz, Lee’s Summit R-7 School District transportation juTransportationAdamSchwartzsupervisor, recently earned national certification in special needs student transportation from the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT). Mr. Schwartz is the first Missouri school district employee to earn this certification as well as the second in the nation.

A Lee’s Summit R-7 Transportation employee for 13 years, Mr. Schwartz has worked as a school bus driver, driver trainer and safety coordinator. He is currently the school district’s student safety supervisor. In addition to working for the R-7 School District, he has worked in customer service, retail management and accounting.

Mr. Schwartz attended Longview Community College and has completed Missouri’s certified school bus instructor training. He is also a certified instructor in nonviolent crisis intervention through the Crisis Prevention Institute and has earned the special-needs endorsement through NAPT. Mr. Schwartz is currently taking courses to become a NAPT certified supervisor.

Within the Lee’s Summit School District, he implemented the Peaceful School Bus program for elementary students with more than half of the district’s elementary schools participating by 2015-16. In 2002, he won first place at the Missouri School Bus Safety Competition in the rookie division.

The NAPT Professional Certification Program was established in 1989 to recognize the achievements and expertise of individuals in various administrative positions within the school transportation field. A candidate for certification undergoes an objective peer review of the individual’s education, career experience and achievements in the field of student transportation. The candidate must also take a rigorous job-specific written exam focusing on national standards for safe and efficient pupil transportation.

NAPT offers five types of certification: director of transportation, certified in special needs transportation, supervisor of pupil transportation, pupil transportation specialist and pupil transportation driver instructor. Certification in special needs transportation is available to individuals who are qualified to function at the highest technical level, including having the ability to carry out policy and understand regulatory oversights while possessing excellent leadership skills.

LS R-7 Board of Education receives Missouri Outstanding Boards of Education Award from state organization

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District received the 2015 Missouri Outstanding Boards of Education Award from the Missouri School Boards of Education Assocation. The R-7 School District received the award in the area of finance resources at a June 13 MSBA Leadership Summit, held at the Lake of the Ozarks.

The local Board of Education was among 14 school boards from among Missouri’s more than 500 school districts receiving this recognition in various categories. The Outstanding Boards of Education Awards were aligned to six specific categories of the Missouri Public Education Vision Project. Winners in the respective category were selected by a committee made up of school board members from districts throughout the state. Lee’s Summit R-7 was one of two school districts in the state that were recognized in the financial resources category.

To qualify for the Outstanding Boards of Education Award, school districts were required to submit a comprehensive application. The financial resources category focused on five areas:

  • A transparent budget process that includes community and staff participation.
  • Alignment of the district’s budget with its Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (strategic plan) goals and objectives as well as effective measurement of these goals and objectives.
  • Outstanding management of district resources, including cost-effectiveness, progress and results as well as ongoing improvement.
  • Financial accountability demonstrated by accuracy of standard account practices, auditing procedures and financial reporting.
  • Financial review and stability, including evidence of periodic review and evaluation of the effectiveness of practices that impact schools and students.

“These boards of education exemplify the characteristics of effective leadership teams,” says MSBA Executive Director Dr. Carter Ward. “The board members in each of these districts are to be congratulated for their dedication to the students in their district.”

The Missouri School Boards’ Association is a private, not-for-profit organization that exists to help school boards succeed.

Missouri School Boards' Association (MSBA). Leadership Summit. Dr. Carter Ward.

Missouri School Boards’ Association (MSBA). Leadership Summit

MSBA Executive Director Dr. Carter Ward (right) presents the Outstanding Boards of Education Award to Lee’s Summit R-7 Board members Bob White (left) and Chris Storms.




juMSBA-BOEaward-AllmembersBoard of Education members are (front row, from left) Adam Rutherford, Bob White, Vice President Chris Storms, Bill Baird, (back row, from left) Julie Doane, President Terri Harmon, Phyllis Balagna and Dr. David McGehee, superintendent.

Minor fire at Underwood Elementary confined to exterior canopy

Fire will not impact start of school or other upcoming school activities; school was closed due to summer break

During mid-morning on June 26, Lee’s Summit Fire Department responded to a structure fire at Underwood Elementary. Firefighters quickly had the fire under control and extinguished it within a few minutes of arrival. The fire appeared to have started near the metal and plexi-glass outer entrance canopy on the building’s north side. According to initial inspections by Lee’s Summit R-7 Facilities Services staff members, the fire was isolated to the exterior canopy of the school’s main entrance. Fortunately, there also appears to be no fire or smoke damage to the interior of the school as well as no water damage to the school’s interior entrance or office area.

Underwood Elementary is not being used for summer school, and no students were inside the building at the time of the fire. Clean-up and repairs on the school building are beginning today. Based on the initial assessment, school officials believe that the fire will have no impact on any upcoming school activities, including the start of school on Aug. 19 as well as elementary enrollment, scheduled for July 29 and 30.

The Lee’s Summit R-7 Before- and After-School Care program operates a preschool, known as KC Cubbies, in a mobile unit near Underwood Elementary. Students in this program were on a field trip at the time of the fire and were not in this nearby structure. There are no plans to relocate the KC Cubbies program due to the fire.

R-7 officials are grateful to the Lee’s Summit Fire Department for their quick response to the school fire and appreciate the work of the firefighters on the scene.

Pleasant Lea Elementary students recognized in Father of the Year Essay Contest

Several students from Pleasant Lea Elementary were recognized in the Kansas City Royals Father of the Year Essay Contest. Winners were recognized at a banquet before the June 17 baseball game.

Payton Dampf won first place and was selected to read her essay at the banquet. Other winners from Pleasant Lea Elementary were Radiyyah Zabihulla  Alison Lesue, Aaliyah Roland and Hazel Graves.

In the photo, the students are pictured with their families at the game.


Prairie View Elementary is one of numerous schools benefiting from April no-tax-increase bond issue

Prairie View Elementary is one of numerous Lee’s Summit R-7 schools receiving facility improvements thanks to a juProgress-PVEschoolSignvoter-approved April bond issue. Nearly 80 percent of voters endorsed the $40 million no-tax-increase bond issue last spring.

The bond issue is funding improvements and renovations at all R-7 schools as well as construction of a new Summit Technology Academy / Missouri Innovation Campus. Work on the school improvements began this summer with all school improvement projects being complete by either fall 2015 or fall 2016. Summit Tech / MIC will be complete by summer 2017. For more information about the bond issue, visit the Lee’s Summit R-7 web page. In the photo, a wall is being built to isolate the Prairie View Elementary School north gymnasium.












Pleasant Lea Middle School students travel to Washington, D.C.

Pleasant Lea Middle School students learned about our nation’s history and



government during a recent trip to Washington, D.C. The students were in the nation’s capitol from June 8 through 11. The school-sponsored trip is funded by the students and their families.

Students attending were Damon Bedenbender, Jake Gabbert, Jesse George, Jonathon Hutcherson, Caleb Ranney, Abby Joers, Daisy Magee, Emma Oesterly, Molly Roller, Grace Buchanan, Bianca Famous, Kenna Neatery, Alexis Weakley, Hunter Weakley, Jack Jennings, Brendan Roberts, Jackson Wells, Jonathan Crance, Curtis Jackson, Levi Magnuson and Trevor Wishne. Adults attending included Kim Desmond, Michelle Jennings, Gay Lamonica, Justin Magee, Janice Crance, Tom Merrell, Angela Wishne and Kirk Wishne.

LSNHS volleyball team teaches skills to students with special needs

Coach Rhea Moses and Coach Mandy Mendenhall along with 17 members of the Lee’s Summit North High School volleyball team conducted a mini-volleyball camp for students attending the Lee’s Summit R-7 Extended School Year program.

The camp focused on volleyball skills such as setting, serving and passing. It also provided students with the opportunity to play volleyball with their peers and the LSNHS volleyball team. The students rotated between several stations, allowing all students to practice the moves. In addition, the the camp ended with dancing among the LSNHS team members and the students who are enrolled in the summer program.

“Many of the students who attend our Extended School Year program have difficulties with gross motor skills,” shared Amy Phillips, special services teacher. “This activity allowed our students to work on those skills by strengthening muscles and increasing coordination, all while having fun.”

The coaches and student athletes did not focus on students’ disabilities but their abilities, evening out the playing field for all students despite challenges that they may face.


juSVE-SpEdExtYrVolleyball1Pictured (from left on left side) are Aiden Wilson, Nick, A+ student Lauren Mason with Zedd VanHook in her lap. On right side of photo is Coach Rhea Moses and volleyball team member Erin Paulakovich (front).







juSVE-SpEdExtYrVolleyball2Andy Tran volleys with LSNHS team member Nicole Collens.  







Students from the Special Services Center are Brittany Bott, Jeffery Mullins, Dawson Kruser, Livia Walker and Abby Traxel with the LSNHS volleyball players.

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