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Parents As Teachers scheduling preschool developmental screenings for 3- to 5-year-olds

Getting ready for school starts well before kindergarten, and parents of preschoolers have a variety of ways to help their children be Preschool Children Seriesprepared. The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District Parents As Teachers program encourages local parents to schedule free preschool screenings for their 3- to 5-year-olds.

Parents As Teachers are currently scheduling developmental screenings. To schedule your child’s screening, call (816) 986-2486. For more information, you may also visit the Parents As Teachers website at

Screenings provide parents with an opportunity to see where their child’s progress fits in with standardized measures of child development. Health, hearing and vision screenings are also provided.

The developmental screenings highlight the strengths and abilities of each child and usually reassure parents that their children are meeting developmental milestones within expected age ranges. If delays are identified that may affect future learning, parents can be referred to resources that will provide help for their child.

R-7 School District rolls up tax levy slightly by 0.0565 cents per $100 assessed value

The Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education approved a slight property-tax increase due to a decrease in overall assessed value at the Board of Education’s Sept. 23 annual tax-rate hearing. This rollup is allowed by state law and provides school districts with the opportunity to maintain a stable level of property tax revenue funding when property assessments are lowered.

Missouri law also requires that school districts roll back their tax levies when they see assessed value gains due to reassessment. The tax increase amounts to 0.0565 cents per $100 assessed valuation when compared to the previous year’s rate. With the rollup, the Lee’s Summit R-7 tax rate for 2014-15 will be $6.1192 per $100 assessed valuation.

R-7 students named National Merit commended students

Four Lee’s Summit R-7 School District seniors were recently named National Merit Scholarship Corporation commended students through the national program. Students recognized are Chris Mitchell and Emily Walker, Lee’s Summit High School; Alexander Lynn, Lee’s Summit North High School; and Sam Little, Lee’s Summit West High School.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation conducts the program for academically talented seniors. About 34,000 commended students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2015 competition for Merit Scholarship awards, commended students placed among the top 5 percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2015 competition by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Founded in 1955 to conduct the annual Merit Scholarship competition, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation is a privately financed, not-for-profit corporation that operates without government assistance. The organization announced its semifinalists earlier this fall, and commended students were just recently named.

R-7 School District ACT college-entrance exams are well above state and national averages

Lee’s Summit R-7 School District students taking the ACT college-entrance test scored well above state and national averages, according to results recently released from the 2013-14 school year.

R-7 students averaged a 23.5 on the composite score, compared to 21.8 for the Missouri average and 21 for the national average.

A total of 993 Lee’s Summit R-7 students took the ACT test during the previous school year. This is 77.8 percent of the 2014 graduating class of all three R-7 high schools combined, and is a noteworthy increase over the percentages of test takers in past school years. Lee’s Summit High School, Lee’s Summit North High School and Lee’s Summit West High School graduated a total of 1,277 students in May 2014.

Lee’s Summit R-7 School District students also scored above the state and national averages in all four specific subjects tested – English, mathematics, reading and science.

The ACT is America’s most widely accepted college entrance exam. It assesses high school students’ general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work. The multiple-choice tests cover four skill areas: English, mathematics, reading and science. The writing test measures skill in planning and writing a short essay.

Artwork by LS R-7 staff members displayed through Oct. 18 at Got Art Gallery

Artwork by 20 Lee’s Summit R-7 School District employees and retired employees will be featured through Oct. 18 in the R-7 Art Faculty Retrospective at Got Art Gallery, 18 SW Third Street in downtown Lee’s Summit.

Artists included in the show are past and present staff members at Lee’s Summit R-7 high schools and middle schools. They include Rashelle Stutts, Lee’s Summit North High School; Mark Rice, Lee’s Summit West High School; Olga Burwell, Lee’s Summit High School; Suzy Smith, LSWHS; Brandon Briscoe, LSWHS; Donnie Havner Lilly, Bernard Campbell Middle School; Nancy Nokes; LSNHS (retired); Jeannine Akins, LSNHS; Melissa Woody, LSHS; Missy Michaelson-Gard, Summit Lakes Middle School; Jewelee Lukowski, SLMS; Kathy Graves, LSWHS; Robert Klausing, LSWHS; Manning Williams, LSHS; Angela Hays, LSHS; Angie Prindle, LSHS (retired); Jay Helland (retired); Michael Russell, LSNHS; Lisa Schieszer, LSHS (retired); and Katie Carruthers, LSNHS.


LSNHS chemistry teacher reaches out to student with faith and encouragement

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

Making a difference in the life of a high-school student

My son, Cory, now a senior at Lee’s Summit North High School, took CoryMitchell-Sept2014chemistry I in the 10th grade with Elizabeth Bock. After getting into the class, he clearly felt like he was in over his head and was seriously doubting himself. He was maintaining a B in the class but felt like he was struggling. Although he had always liked science, he began to think that chemistry might not be for him. He has always had dreams of getting into veterinarian school but had heard how difficult it was and even began doubting that. It was causing problems at home because we were convinced Cory was just not putting enough effort into it. I received a phone call one night from Mrs. Bock. She had called to tell me how proud she was of Cory and his effort and that it doesn’t happen with many students but Cory just “gets chemistry.” She went on to tell me how sharp she thinks he is. When we talked about Cory’s dream of veterinarian school, Mrs. Bock said she had no doubt he could get into a school and make a great veterinarian. When I relayed this conversation to Cory (after apologizing to him) it made all the difference in the world. Not only did Cory finish that chemistry class, he went on to take International Baccalaureate chemistry and is planning on getting his undergraduate degree in chemistry before continuing on to veterinarian school. I truly believe his life could have taken a whole different direction without the faith and encouragement shown to him by Mrs. Bock and the fact that she took time out of her own life to call us. For that I will be forever grateful to her.

Submitted by Melanie Mitchell


Nationally renowned violinist to present concert Oct. 6 at LSHS

Musician also visiting LS R-7 high schools

Mark O’Connor, nationally recognized violinist and composer, will spLSHSconcert-OConnorperform with the Lee’s Summit High School orchestras during a special concert at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 6 at the LSHS performing arts center. Mr.

O’Connor is also visiting all three Lee’s Summit R-7 high schools during the school day Oct. 6 to talk to student musicians about his music and his career.

Tickets for the concert are $25 for adults and $10 for students. Children under 5 years old are free. Advance tickets may be purchased at or by calling 1-866-967-8167. More information is also available at

Mr. O’Connor’s music is critically acclaimed throughout the world, and he has received numerous awards for both his performing and his compositions. As a young teenager, he won national string instrument championships for his performance on the guitar, mandolin and fiddle. At age 13, he became the youngest person to win the Grand Master Fiddler Championship, a record that still stands today.

He performs classical, bluegrass, jazz and country and also developed his own teaching model, known as the O’Connor Violin Method. Mr. O’Connor has won several Grammy awards, Country Music Awards as well as hundreds of regional, state and local music awards. In addition, he has been featured on dozens of albums and music videos.

BCMS students raise funds to purchase chicks through Save the Children

Bernard Campbell Middle School students recently went above and beyond through fall fundraising.spBCMSchicksPhoto

“Over the past few weeks, members of Mustang Nation have been raising funds to support BCMS student programs,” said Tressa Wright, assistant principal, “but in true Mustang Nation fashion, we couldn’t stop there.”

Students had the option to select from multiple fundraising prizes. Instead they chose to purchase 341 chicks for Save the Children’s chick program which supply chicks, seeds, wells and other farm animals to people in need in Nicaragua and Guatemala.

A friendly competition was initiated among the school’s five lunch shifts. Pictured are a few students from Sean Donovan’s third lunch shift who won the challenge by purchasing a total of 133 chicks.

LS R-7 bus drivers present Peaceful Bus program at Meadow Lane Elementary

Meadow Lane Elementary students and their school bus drivers recently worked together through the Peaceful Bus program, designed to prevent bullying and help build community among bus riders. The national program is recommended through the National Association for Pupil Transportation.

Peaceful Bus seeks to create a positive and safe environment on school buses for all students by decreasing inappropriate behaviors on the bus, increasing the students’ sense of responsibility and developing a cooperative and supportive relationship between students, school staff members and bus drivers.

During a 30-minute presentation on Sept. 18, the school’s approximately 550 students were grouped by their bus routes, working in small groups throughout the school.

“The program builds community by helping bus riders get to know the students on their bus,” said Adam Schwartz, R-7 Transportation Department instructor/safety coordinator. “The end result is less safety violations and more team work. Students also learn to see their teachers, bus drivers and school administrators working together as one cohesive team.”

The program, which will be offered once during each quarter during this school year, was a positive experience for students and staff members, said Dr. Sheryl Cochran, Meadow Lane Elementary principal.

“The bus drivers come to our school and work with the students who ride their buses, conducting relationship building activities among their bus riders as well as activities designed to build a positive relationship between students and drivers,” she added.

Peaceful Bus was piloted during 2013-14 at Prairie View Elementary School and is continuing at Prairie View this year.

  spMLE-BusProgramPhotoOrganizers and presenters of the program at Meadow Lane Elementary are (front row, from left) Andrew Gibb, assistant principal; Dr. Sheryl Cochran, principal; Sandy Palma, bus driver; Patty Spencer, bus driver; Tiffany Thurman, bus driver; Tammy Myers, bus driver; Carrie Gibson, bus driver; James Brown, bus driver; (back row, from left) Brian Seydlitz, bus driver; James Widau, bus driver; Scott Anderson, bus driver; and Chris Talley, bus driver.



Eight R-7 School District students named National Merit Scholarship Corporation semifinalists

Eight Lee’s Summit R-7 School District seniors were recently named National Merit Scholarship Corporation semifinalists through the national program. Students recognized are Lana Tuong, Lee’s Summit North High School; and Elise Blegen, Cooper Leabo, Ethan Payne, John Reuss, Kayla Shaeffer, Allison Tsay and Franklin Zhong, Lee’s Summit West High School.

Recognized students have the opportunity to continue in the competition for approximately 8,200 National Merit Scholarship Awards, worth close to $33 million, to be offered next spring. There are approximately 16,000 semifinalists throughout the United States.

Lana Tuong is the daughter of Paul Tuong and Christine Bui. At Lee’s Summit North High School, Lana participates in National Honor Society, French National Honor Society, French Club, Missouri Scholars Academy and is an International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate.

Elise Blegen is the daughter of Christine Blegen and Daniel Blegen. At Lee’s Summit West High School, Elise participates in Truman Heartland Community Foundation Youth Advisory Council (LSWHS team leader), French Club, National Honor Society, Titan Television and is an International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate.

Cooper Leabo is the son of Denise Leabo and Todd Leabo. At Lee’s Summit West High School, Cooper participates in robotics, Cyber Patriot Team at Summit Technology Academy, Skills USA and is a Missouri Innovation Campus intern at Cerner Corporation.

Ethan Payne is the son of Dawn Payne and Robert Payne. At Lee’s Summit West High School, Ethan participates inrobotics, National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, Spanish Club, Science Bowl, All-District Orchestra, Lee’s Summit Honors Orchestra and is an International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate.

John Reuss is the son of Janet Reuss and John Reuss. At Lee’s Summit West High School, John participates in robotics, National Honor Society, track, cross country, Summit Technology Academy engineering design and development courses and attended Missouri Scholars Academy.

Kayla Shaeffer is the daughter of Nancy Shaeffer and Chris Shaeffer. At Lee’s Summit West High School, Kayla participates in band, choir, symphony orchestra, jazz band, musical, German Honor Society, National Honor Society, UNICEF Club and is an International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate.

Allison Tsay is the daughter of Joyce Chang and Frank Tsay. At Lee’s Summit West High School, Allison participates in UNICEF Club, robotics, Science Bowl, Scholar Bowl, student government, orchestra, freshmen mentoring, National Honor Society and is an International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate.

Franklin Zhong is the son of Doris Zhong and William Zhong. At Lee’s Summit West High School, Franklin participates in tennis, volunteers for girls’ tennis team, school community garden, National Honor Society and is an International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate.


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