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Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education approves contract with MARC to fund two Head Start classrooms

The Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education approved a contract with Mid-PreschoolStudentsPlaydoughAmerica Regional Council (MARC) on July 17 that will provide two Head Start preschool classrooms during the 2014-15 school year. Head Start is a federally funded instructional program serving low-income, 3- and 4-year-old students.

The Lee’s Summit R-7 program will serve 68 qualifying students with one classroom located at Meadow Lane Elementary and one at Westview Elementary. Children in the program will attend either a morning or an afternoon session four days each week.

“We appreciate the opportunity to work with MARC to offer Head Start within Lee’s Summit R-7,” said Dr. David McGehee, superintendent. “Head Start is a valuable program for children and their families that strengthens communities. The program makes a tremendous difference for students in terms of their academic success and their futures.”

“Head Start early education opportunities for children will impact Lee’s Summit R-7 families who cannot afford fee-based community preschool,” said Kerry Boehm, principal at the district’s Great Beginnings Early Education Center. “Educational services will close the achievement gap that exists for children who have had no school readiness training prior to entering kindergarten. The Head Start program promotes school readiness by enhancing cognitive development, pre-academic skills, health, nutrition, social skills and other services to support children and families enrolled in the program.”

Initiated at the federal level in 1965, Head Start has an impressive record of helping children transition successfully from preschool to elementary school while fostering stable family relationships. In addition, the program is recognized for enhancing children’s physical and emotional wellbeing and helping students be prepared to succeed as they transition into elementary school.

All Head Start students will receive two meals each session, including breakfast and lunch for morning students and lunch and a heavy snack for afternoon students. Transportation to and from the program will be provided for students through the R-7 Transportation Department.

Lee’s Summit R-7 School District officials were approached about offering Head Start by representatives of the Mid-America Regional Council during spring 2014. Staff members from both organizations worked together during the last few months to develop plans for the launch of the Lee’s Summit R-7 program.

More than 22 million children have participated in Head Start during its nearly 50-year history. In the metropolitan area, MARC serves as the grantee for Head Start programs in Jackson, Clay and Platte Counties.

For more information about the R-7 Head Start program, call the school district at (816) 986-3265.

LSNHS Broncobots hosts robotics camps

Lee’s Summit North High School Broncobots held two robotics camps for children during July. Students from fourth through sixth grade attended the one-week camps, forming eight teams and competing as alliances with and against one another. The camps were modeled after FIRST national robotics competitions, an engineering program designed for high school students. Teams were given four days to design and build a robot out of VEX parts with one day for competition. The game, Quack Attack, involved each alliance collecting colored ducks and scoring them in either a high, medium or low goal; the alliance with the most points at the end of the three-minute match wins.





















LS R-7 middle school students travel to Costa Rica

Marcy Hess, Spanish teacher at Pleasant Lea Middle School, led students from Pleasant jlCostaRicaPhotoLea Middle School, Summit Lakes Middle School, Lee’s Summit High School and Lee’s Summit West High School on a nine-day tour of Costa Rica June 9-17 with EF Tours. The highlight of the tour was visiting a school in Monteverde. Lee’s Summit R-7 students brought school supplies for the children and monetary donations. The students and their families paid for the cost of the travel with students working at numerous fundraisers. The Costa Rican students danced for the group, followed by all students playing soccer. Pictured in the front row: Alyssa Alvarado, Isaiah Cherry, Audrey Howe, Molly Roller, Kaila Reamer, Erik Holm, Mallory Lee, Cayla Daniels. Back row: Hope Cherry (parent) with baby Daniella, Curtis Jackson, Sara Gauger, Isabella Hess, Brennen Holloran, Jacob Mehrer, Sam Leyerle, Duncan Carter, Brielle Beavers, Cathy Klingsick, Jay Snook, Caylee Smith, Olivia Rodriguez, Andrew Stringer-Gruetze, Connor Lovelace and Lexi Stiers-Seacreas. Parents (not pictured) also accompanied the students, including Heather Alvarado, Gail Howe, Cindy Lee, Dave Leyerle, Chuck Klingsick and Joe Snook. Chaperones for the tour were Emily Aldenderfer (PLMS), Christy Beavers (SLMS), Kirsten Lovelace (SLMS) and Kirk Wishne (PLMS).

Summit Technology Academy student wins national award at SkillsUSA

Cooper Leabo, 17, a student at Summit Technology Academy, captured a jlSTA-SkillsUSAphotofirst-place gold medal in the SkillsUSA national championship competition in Internetworking event.

National winners were announced June 27 at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference awards ceremony. The conference was held June 23-27 at the Municipal Auditorium, the Kemper Arena, H. Roe Bartle Hall, the downtown Marriott and the downtown Crowne Plaza in Kansas City. More than 6,000 outstanding career and technical education students joined in the excitement of hands‑on competition in 99 different trade, technical and leadership fields.

“I am thankful that my networking class at Summit Technology Academy prepared me so well for the competition,” Cooper said.

Cooper is a 2014-15 senior attending Summit Technology Academy and Lee’s Summit West High School. He is employed by Cerner Corporation as part of the Missouri Innovation Campus program.

“We are very proud of Cooper’s accomplishments,” said Eric Walters, Cooper’s advisor at Summit Tech. “He is a true champion because of his dedication to learning the most he can in a highly technical field.”

Cooper’s networking instructors at Summit Technology Academy are Jeff Banhart and Lisa Oyler.

In addition to Cooper’s national award at the SkillsUSA competition, two Summit Technology Academy students tied for first place in the event’s Showcase for Additive Manufacturing Technology. The showcase was a proposed 3D printing competition. STA students winning this award were Kevin Balch and Zack Warfield, both from Raytown School District.

The SkillsUSA contests are planned by technical committees made up of representatives of labor and management and are designed to test the skills needed for a successful entry‑level performance in given occupational fields. Safety practices and procedures – an area of great concern to labor and management alike – are judged and graded and constitute a portion of a contestant’s score. A short video about the National Leadership and Skills Conference is available online at

The Internetworking contest consists of three main parts — networking design, general networking knowledge and hands-on evaluations. The networking design problem tests a contestant’s ability to design functionality, scalability, adaptability and manageability of an internetworking system. The online written portion tests the student’s complete knowledge of internetworking concepts. The hands-on component demonstrates the abilities of the contestant to make cables, trouble shoot network systems, configure routers and switches and to deliver customer service in a technical assistant center environment.

The contestants will find errors in WAN and LAN networks; do an ISP configuration using routers and switches; talk a technician through an error they are having on their network; and take an online, certification-type test. The national contest is based on the most current CCNA certification. In today’s job market, system administration skills are needed. Therefore, the following server skills are scored: installation of DNS, creation of a record and installation of active directory services and DHCP. The contestant must also have knowledge to create user and group accounts on Windows server 2008.

For more information, visit

LS R-7 extended school year students learn about fitness from special guests

These days it’s more common to find a tablet, cell phone, remote or video game controller in the hands of a child at play than a bat, ball or glove, and, “I don’t feel like exercising,” is a refrain said around the world by many adults. What if you had additional physical or medical barriers would that be a valid excuse not to exercise? If you ask the students in the Lee’s Summit R-7 extended school year program, there are no excuses!

Stephanie Parrish and Sarah Riggins with YES! Kids Fitness became a part of the solution by helping the students develop skills to promote movement through exciting and fun physical movement activities. Superheros flying through the air, popcorn exploding, ladder races and ball throws were just a few of the activities the students engaged in.

“All the kids were trying and having fun. The kids in the wheelchairs were just amazing. It was really cool to work with them and see their personalities shine thorough,” said eighth-grade Campbell Middle School volunteer Sara Riggins. “Some of the kids had made up their minds that they didn’t want to do the activities. By the end of the class everyone was doing it and having fun, which is really cool to see.”

Stephanie Parrish shared, “Wow!! It doesn’t matter your disability. Every child can participate in one way or another! The few ‘I can’t’ or ‘I won’t’ turned into ‘watch me, I can do it!’ Their smiles got brighter and brighter to know they accomplished a ladder drill or threw a ball! From the cartwheels at the end to jumps of joy the kids were having fun. I had a blast!”

So what is the solution? There many local opportunities for physical activity programs, even for children with special needs, and parents must be role models for an active lifestyle. There are NO EXCUSES!

















Lee’s Summit R-7 Nutrition Services wins state-wide award for breakfast program

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District recently earned the School Breakfast Challenge Award from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Through the award, sponsored by the Midwest Dairy Council and the Missouri Food Bank, the school district is receiving $2,000 that will go toward health and wellness activities for students.

R-7 officials said the participation increase was a result of the Bag-a-Breakfast effort at all 18 elementary schools. This program provides elementary students with the opportunity to purchase breakfast as they enter their schools and then eat the to-go version of breakfast in their classrooms. Thanks to Bag-a-Breakfast, participation in the morning meal more than doubled throughout the district’s elementary schools.

School districts are eligible for the cash prizes if they have at least a 20-percent increase in breakfast participation among students when comparing the 2012-13 and 2013-14 years.

According to Lee’s Summit R-7 staff members, the program has benefitted the many students participating.

“It is a win-win,” said one school principal about the program. “Students are getting to class on time and getting fed.”

The program was also praised by teachers for providing students with a simple, healthy breakfast with minimal distractions and almost no mess in the classrooms.

“Breakfast gives children a boost and helps them start their day,” said an elementary teacher. “They are better able to focus, and behavior is improved.”






















Volunteers share joy of music with LS R-7 extended school year students

Hans Christian Anderson once said, “Where words fail, music speaks.” When it comes to children with limited or no vocal communication, music can be a powerful language indeed. That proved to be the case when Lee’s Summit R-7 speech pathologist Julie Thomas partnered with Randy Buffington, Angie Keeting and Julia Reece to provide an interactive music program for students of varying ages and disabilities in the Lee’s Summit R-7 extended school year program.

The musicians brought their guitar and ukuleles to help the students prove that no matter what your level of ability might be, you can still make music. The students became involved in various ways, by singing, dancing or playing instruments such as the cabasa, maracas, clatterpillars, wave drums, tone blocks and sticks.

Student Lily Kingsley said she enjoyed the campfire sing-alongs. “My favorite was Old MacDonald. I played the triangle,” she added, “but wanted to play the bug rattler (clatterpillar).”

Zachary Thortan shared, “I enjoyed playing the one that went ‘ch-ch-ch’ (cabasa). I liked the singing. My favorite was the ‘Frozen’ song from the movie.”

The biggest raves for the music program came from the volunteer musicians themselves. “It’s a joy to use music to lift the spirits of children! I love kids and I love sharing the joy of life through music,” noted Randy Buffington, minister of worship at First Baptist Church of Lee’s Summit.

Angie Keeting shared that it was the highlight of her summer. “I loved all of their smiling faces as they play the instruments with us,” she said.

The youngest musician, Julia Reece, a freshman at Lee’s Summit North High School, said, “It was awesome. I had fun watching the kids play their instruments and sing.”

To sum it up, music ROCKS and so do the compassionate and generous individuals who volunteered to share the universal language of music with the students.




















Lee’s Summit R-7 adds 3,000 more Google Chromebooks to enhance instruction and improve student achievement

Technology initiative is funded through school district funds and contributions from LS Educational Foundation

Lee’s Summit R-7 students will continue to benefit from the school district’s approximately two-year-old Google Chromebooks initiative. By fall 2014, a total of 7,000 Google Chromebooks will have been placed within the district’s elementary, middle and high schools.

During the 2012-13 year, students and teachers began using the Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education to enhance day-to-day classroom instruction and improve student achievement.

Instructors use the devices and apps for instruction and to collaborate with co-workers, sharing successful teaching strategies and lesson plans. The devices are located on charging carts within schools and may be checked out by individual teachers.

During summer 2014, R-7 School District technology staff members are receiving and placing approximately 3,000 additional Chromebooks in schools.

The Chromebook initiative has received support from the Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation which has provided approximately 20 percent towards the funding of the 7,000 Chromebooks over the past few years. In addition, several parent organizations have raised money for the technology initiative, further supplementing the Lee’s Summit R-7 budgeted funds.

The Google Chromebooks have a number of advantages, including their affordable price, long battery life, portable nature and user-friendly features, said Dr. Amy Gates, R-7 executive director of technology. Information is saved to the cloud which means students and staff have access to documents at home. For this reason there’s almost no maintenance or need for virus or spyware associated with the Chromebooks.

Students are able to easily share documents with teachers and with other students working together on group projects. Teachers use the Google Chromebooks and apps to collaborate about specific students and classroom activities and to share lesson plans and other good ideas. The Google Chromebooks were also used during student assessments at the school level and as part of state-mandated testing.

The Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation will soon be launching its 2014-15 annual fund drive, and a total of $120,000 toward the purchase of additional Google Chromebooks and charging carts are included. For information about donating to this campaign, visit

jlChromebooksPhotoR-7 Technology staff members (from left) Gail Grygar, Dawn Carl, Jeff Seever and Matt Hughey prepare to deliver Chromebooks to schools.

Tamashii Black Belt Academy shares lessons with students in LS R-7 extended school year program

It may look like simple kicking and punching, but for students in the Lee’s Summit R-7 extended school year program, these moves are anything but simple. Kyoshi Hanson and Andrew Kreicbergs of Tamashii Black Belt Academy challenged the students not only physically, but also mentally by working on focus and attention.

During the karate lesson students gained a tremendous sense of self-confidence. In many areas of their lives they are struggling, but during their time with Kyoshi Hanson and Andrew they were achieving. When the students learned how to punch or kick, or even duck and jump, the level of achievement and happiness that they got was just amazing, said Kay Rader, R-7 teacher.

“What the kids couldn’t do physically, they made up for in enthusiasm,” she added.

At the end of the lesson as the kids took a bow, their performance was an achievement worth applauding.

“The kids were amazing! They have great enthusiasm and worked hard on focusing! I really enjoy coming and working with the students; it is wonderful to see the big smiles on all the faces,” said Kyoshi Hanson.

Kyoshi Hanson provides karate lessons in several of the special-education classrooms in the school district year round, shares self-control and anti-bullying lessons at many schools and leads a Saturday morning adaptive karate classes at her dojo.

jlExtendedYrKarateBoyWithInstructorStudent Chase West learns from Andre Kreicbergs.










jlExtendedYrKarateKidsKickingStudents Caroline and Aiden McClintock work with instructor Linda Hanson.






jlExtendedYrKaratePunchLinePictured are Tauheed Bahti, Ben Page, Morgan Frey, Zackary Beckwith, Owen and Kyoshi Hanson.

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