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Chamber and R-7 School District sponsor spring recognition program

When you hear the phrase “outstanding teacher,” who comes to mind? You may want to nominate this person for the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce Excellence In Teaching/R-7 Teacher of the Year Award.

Twelve R-7 teachers will receive the Excellence In Teaching Award. Each award recipient will also become a finalist for the R-7 School District’s annual Teacher of the Year Award. The district’s Teacher of the Year goes on to compete in the Missouri State Teacher of the Year program.             Any teacher, pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, and any guidance counselor or library/media specialist is eligible for the program. Due to the Missouri Teacher of the Year guidelines, guidance counselors and librarians are only eligible for the Excellence In Teaching Awards. They will not be considered for the Teacher of the Year Award since the state program is restricted to classroom teachers only.

Former Excellence In Teaching Award winners are eligible to interview for the R-7 School District Teacher of the Year Award if nominated, although they would not be able to win the Excellence In Teaching Award again.

The recognized teachers will be selected by a committee composed of R-7 staff and representatives from the Chamber of Commerce and the community. The 12 Excellence In Teaching winners will be announced in March and honored at an April 4 reception, to be held at the historic Longview Mansion. The Teacher of the Year will be announced at the reception.

Nomination forms are being sent home with R-7 students during December. Anyone wanting a form may also visit the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District website at and select the Teacher of the Year option under “Trending Topics.” The deadline for nominations is Jan. 16.

Staff members are champions for elementary student

The Story Project features personal stories about our students and their accomplishments in school. If you would like to submit a story about your child, visit

Underwood Elementary staff provides compassionate assistance to student

Our daughter, Kaylee, has attended Underwood from kindergarten through sixth grade. During those seven years, Mrs. Jeanie Hank, Mrs. Karen Hudson, Mrs. Robin Mishler and Mrs. Kathie Sloan have been champions for Kaylee in providing compassionate assistance to help Kaylee improve her reading,KayleeMerrigan-Nov2014 speech and math skills. Lori and I have seen a huge improvement in Kaylee’s speech, language and math skills, and we sincerely appreciate Mrs. Hank, Mrs. Hudson, Mrs. Mishler and Mrs. Sloan’s efforts to further Kaylee’s educational development. Kaylee loves attending Underwood, and she often speaks fondly of Mrs. Hank, Mrs. Hudson, Mrs. Mishler and Mrs. Sloan. During our parent/teacher conferences all four teachers have met with us through the years, and I have always been touched by their caring attitude for Kaylee. All of the teachers at Underwood have been wonderful to Holly and Kaylee as our daughters have fond memories of their elementary school days. It’s not the building that makes Underwood special it is the teachers’ compassion and dedication to their students. Thank you for this opportunity to express our appreciation to Mrs. Hank, Mrs. Hudson, Mrs. Mishler and Mrs. Sloan and the other wonderful teachers, band and choir leaders, art and physical-education instructors, the librarians, cooks, custodians and Underwood administration. Underwood Elementary has been a wonderful experience for our daughters.

Submitted by John Merrigan (Kaylee’s Dad)


Lee’s Summit R-7 School District makes transition to Gmail

Change shortens e-mail domain name, will result in financial savings

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District recently completed a transition to ocGmailLaunchGraphicGmail for its approximately 2,600 staff members. Students have had Gmail accounts for around three years, and staff members are making the transition this fall.

Email domains are being shortened from to E-mail messages sent to the old domain name will be forwarded for some time, although the district is encouraging the public to switch to the shorter Gmail domain.

Staff members are notifying school district parents and others about the e-mail address change throughout the fall and the remainder of the school year.

For the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, the transition has several advantages. The district’s long-time e-mail service is through Lotus, a software program that is difficult to obtain support for since it is considered end-of-life. By moving away from Lotus, the school district will no longer have to pay for maintenance, support and archiving through the Lotus service.

Gmail is free for education entities, has unlimited storage and free archiving for users. For the past few years, the district has used the suite of tools in Google Apps for Education, and Gmail is one more tool being added for district staff. The suite of tools may be used for collaboration and communication on numerous electronic devices and from any location with Internet access.

R-7 middle schools recognize Students of the Month for October

Lee’s Summit R-7 School District middle schools recently recognized their October Students of the Month. Students of the Month are recognized based on outstanding citizenship, conduct, attitude and school involvement.

Students of the Month from Bernard Campbell Middle School are Haylie Rouchka and Jack Graham. At BCMS, Haylie has been involved in WEB. Away from school she enjoys softball. At BCMS, Jack is involved in football, concert choir and basketball. Away from school he enjoys his club basketball team and church youth group.

Students of the Month from Pleasant Lea Middle School are Sierra Nyquist and Michael Cadwell. At PLMS, Sierra is involved in student council, volleyball and WEBCARES. Away from school, Sierra enjoys basketball, volleyball and her church youth group. At PLMS, Michael is involved in cross country, orchestra and WEBCARES. Away from school, Michael enjoys baseball and basketball.

Students of the Month from Summit Lakes Middle School are Audrey Ahrens and Sunny Kandola. At SLMS, Audrey is involved in Kansas City Science Fair, is a member of the SLMS volleyball team and was the volleyball team manager in seventh grade. Away from school, Audrey enjoys her club volleyball team and has a black belt in martial arts. At SLMS, Sunny is involved in the talent show, awards show and the musical. Away from school, Sunny enjoys piano and piano/singing recitals.


Lee’s Summit All-High School Smart Program to host annual ‘Freeze Out’ to benefit local Lee’s Summit charities and the new Feed-A-Need program

Tiger Smart, Bronco Smart and Titan Smart will participate in an annual cannedfood[1]“Freeze Out” from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 5 in front of Lee’s Summit High School, 400 SE Blue Parkway

Students will remain outside for four hours. During this time, they will collect clothing, especially coats and winter apparel, to be donated to local charities. This year in addition to clothing, donations of canned milk, soup, spaghetti sauce and chicken are being collected to fill each school’s Feed-A-Need pantry. The Feed-A-Need pantry serves high school students and their families. Community members are encouraged to drop off their donations at the school’s Building A south entrance, near the tiger head.

Freeze Out is a powerful event, as it allows students to experience the negative effects associated with homelessness. During the event, students set up a “box city,” relying solely upon community donations for warmth.

The Smart organization provides alcohol-, tobacco-, and drug-free activities that focus on character development for members, as well as the entire student body.

For more information, contact Susan Mosier of LSHS, 986-2000 or

Underwood Elementary PTA celebrates grandparents and special guests on Veterans Day

On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, the Underwood Elementary PTA sponsored the nvUWEveteransPhotoschool’s annual family event Goodies 4 Grandparents. The open house event allowed students to visit their classrooms with their special guests. It also showcased the art fair prepared by teacher Paula Zimmerschied, a band performance led by teacher Mike Gerhardt and choir performance led by teacher Ryan Morill. The evening closed with a special appearance by Men of Note, a barbershop group based with the First United Methodist Church in Lees Summit. The group performed a vocal rendition of patriotic ballads graciously recognizing all branches of our United States Armed Forces.

Lee’s Summit R-7 receives NGV America Achievement Award for school district’s transition to CNG school buses, utility vehicles

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s transition to school buses and light-duty utility vehicles powered by compressed natural gas was recently recognized at the national level. The local school district received one of 12 Natural Gas Vehicles for America (NGVAmerica) Achievement Awards Nov. 12 during the organization’s North American Conference and Expo, held in Kansas City.

The NGVAchievement Awards recognize national innovators and early adopters for their outstanding leadership and vision in advancing natural gas as a vehicular fuel, said NVGAmerica officials. Each year, NGVAmerica members submit nominations recognizing their customers, partners and industry advocates for their contributions to further grow the CNG- vehicle industry. Award winners are selected by NGVAmerica after a thorough review of members’ submissions.

The Lee’s Summit R-7 Achievement Award was based on “Outstanding CNG Fleet and Station Program,” and highlights of the R-7 program were featured during the awards program.

During the 2013-14 school year, the R-7 School District launched an initiative transitioning the district’s bus fleet as well as utility vehicles to compressed natural gas. 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.

“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,” said Dr. McGehee, R-7 superintendent. “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.”

Lee’s Summit R-7 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.

The Lee’s Summit R-7 initiative is the largest school bus transition to CNG in the nation. Over the next few years, the district is acquiring nearly 150 new CNG school buses and more than 46 CNG-powered light-duty vehicles. In addition, the district’s program includes a new public CNG fill station, located at 505 NE Transport Drive in Lee’s Summit. Sales at the fill station, which opened in spring 2014, provide the district with a royalty on fuel sold and is attracting numerous private-vehicle operators as well as national and regional commercial transportation fleets.

“Lee’s Summit R-7 School District is being recognized today because they did their homework when choosing a predictably priced fuel that significantly reduces costs, allowing them to put these savings back to where it matters most, in the classroom,” said officials at NGVAmerica.

2014 Natural Gas Vehicle Conference & Expo Photos by Dave Kaup Dave Kaup Photography 913-219-3569 Cox (center) of Lee’s Summit R-7 accepts the award from Doug Horne (left) of Clean Vehicle Education Foundation and Matthew Godlewski, NGVAmerica president.

LSWHS to host Holiday Mart fundraiser for journalism program

Lee’s Summit West High School will host the fourth annual Holiday Mart from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 13 at the school, 2600 Ward Road.

In 2013, the event included more than 80 venders, and organizers expect even more this year. The sponsoring organization for this popular event is the Lee’s Summit West Journalism Parents’ Group. Proceeds from the event benefit the journalism program including senior scholarships, equipment for the program and program needs.

Meadow Lane Elementary honors veterans at annual assembly

Meadow Lane Elementary School hosted its 20th annual Veterans Day assembly Nov. 11, recognizing more than 60 United States veterans at the special event. Students were encouraged to invite family members who have served or are currently serving in the Armed Forces.

One Meadow Lane family included three generations of veterans serving in three different branches. The all-school assembly featured a musical performance, the Lee’s Summit North High School Air Force Junior ROTC squad and presentations to the veterans and current members of the Armed Forces.

nvMLE-VetsAssemSamFordAndRaeganStudent Raegan Flowers with Sam Ford, who served in the Army with the 101st Airborne from 1954 to 1962. Raegan is his granddaughter.








nvMLE-VetsAssemSongForVeteransMeadow Lane students sing during the assembly. Meadow Lane students sang “Those Who Served” and waved their American flags at the end in tribute to their guests.





nvMLE-VetsAssemSgtBoydAndNiecePaigeStudent Paige Boyd with her uncle, Sgt. Brett Boyd.

LS Elementary students re-dedicate historic World War I memorial

Lee’s Summit Elementary students, staff and community members participated in re-dedication ceremony for a historic World War I memorial, located on the school’s site. The special event was held on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, at the site of the restored memorial – a bronze plaque with the names of Lee’s Summit soldiers who died during World War I.

The memorial resulted from a 1917 fundraising drive conducted by Lee’s Summit High School students. Almost a century ago, the LSHS students worked together to raise $15,000 to purchase a bronze memorial featuring the names of six LSHS graduates who were killed during the war.

This memorial was affixed to a flag pole located at the high school. At the time, Lee’s Summit High School was located at 110 SE Green Street – the current site of Lee’s Summit Elementary. Fortunately, the flag pole and the World War I memorial remained intact despite the relocation of the high school and the construction of the elementary school building, which was built in 1955.

Students in Cheryl McLaughlin’s gifted classes learned about the history of the memorial and worked throughout summer 2014 to create a video. These students also wrote to local community organizations, encouraging them to support restoration of the flag pole.

Thanks to Randy Reynolds of Stucco Inspection and Repair, the flag pole’s crumbling base has been restored, and the pole repainted in time for the Veterans Day re-dedication ceremony.

The Nov. 11 event was attended by the elementary school’s students as well as community members, Air Force Junior ROTC members, Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion officials and LSHS students. Several LSHS students enrolled in International Baccalaureate history provided brief biographical information about the six young men listed on the World War I memorial.

The re-dedication ceremony also included vocal performances by the Lee’s Summit Elementary students, the video created by the gifted students, presentation of the colors by the Lee’s Summit North High School and Lee’s Summit West High School Air Force Junior ROTC squads, comments by local historian Kathy Smith, a memorial tribute by Conner Freeouf and laying of a wreath by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The memorial was officially rededicated by Tracy Sample, Lee’s Summit Elementary principal, with officials from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion.

nvLSE-Mem-ROTCMembers of LSNHS and LSWHS Air Force Junior ROTC squads at the ceremony.




nvLSE-Mem-WreathMembers of the VFW and American Legion lay a wreath by the memorial.






nvLSE-Mem-2nd3rdSingSecond- and third-graders perform “America” during the laying of the wreath.






nvLSE-Mem-MemorialPhotoThe restored memorial.



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