NEW Lee’s Summit R-7 tornado safety
NEW Lee’s Summit R-7 tornado safety
NEW Senate Bill establishes ‘Innovation Education Campus Fund’
Missouri Innovation Campus expands to offer rigorous, accelerated training
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Lisa Detig named assistant principal for Prairie View and Richardson Elementary Schools
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Following the May 20 tornado devastation in central Oklahoma, the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District is providing staff and community with information about regular plans and procedures related to tornado preparation.
R-7 schools and facilities routinely practice tornado and other emergency drills, and all district buildings have tornado shelter areas designated. Following the Joplin tornado in May 2011, all shelter areas were thoroughly evaluated to ensure that they are large enough to hold each school’s students and staff members. This review also focused on making sure that the shelters are the safest locations within the building. In addition, all school shelters are compliant with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommendations released following the 2011 Joplin tornado.
District staff and students will continue to take shelter anytime a tornado warning is activated for the Lee’s Summit area. During a tornado warning, all R-7 schools and other facilities will be locked down. No students or staff members will be allowed to leave the shelter area until the warning has expired. District officials emphasized that school tornado shelters are among the safest locations for students. For this reason, parents will not be allowed to pick up their children from school while a warning is underway.
When students and staff members take cover in shelter areas during tornado warnings, all parents will receive a phone call through the district’s automated calling system (known as SchoolMessenger). This call will notify parents that their children have been moved to the shelter. A second call will go to parents to notify them that the warning has expired and that students and school staff are returning to classrooms.
The recorded phone calls will also inform parents that students will not be released from school during the warning. In addition, school staff members will not be answering the office telephones since they are all required to report to the shelter areas for their own safety.
The Missouri Innovation Campus program continues to expand, offering additional opportunities for Lee’s Summit area students interested in earning a college degree within a high-demand field with little or no college debt or expense. The program, located at Summit Technology Academy, is a collaborative effort involving the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, the University of Central Missouri (UCM), Metropolitan Community College (MCC) and a number of business partners.
Approximately 12 students have already signed up for the Innovation Campus’ new Engineering Technology/CAD (computer-assisted drafting) program, launching in fall 2013. During fall 2012, the first Innovation Campus program – Systems Engineering Technology – began with 19 students enrolled. The second cohort group in the Systems Engineering Technology program will also begin next fall with approximately six students already enrolled.
Each career-oriented course provides students with a rigorous, accelerated program that prepares them for high-demand careers and reduces their higher-education costs to almost nothing.
Through the Innovation Campus, students will complete an associate’s degree from Metropolitan Community College by the semester after high-school graduation, earning either a bachelor’s degree in Systems Engineering Technology or a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Technology/(CAD) from UCM within two years after high-school graduation. Throughout the students’ involvement in the four-year process, they are also participating in high-impact internships and on-the-job education thanks to the partnering businesses.
These companies, which include Cerner, DST, Saint Luke’s Health Systems, Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Black & Veatch, Burns & McDonnell, Honeywell, KCP&L, the City of Lee’s Summit and Grundfos, enter into participation agreements with the Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC). The companies help underwrite the cost of training provided by the Innovation Campus through paid internships for the MIC students. The Innovation Campus has also received state grants totaling $1.5 million to assist with these program costs.
Laura Evans of Cerner said her company is exploring multiple ways to fill current and future needs for technical talent to support Cerner’s continued growth. “The MIC approach challenges status quo by developing accelerated methods for students to not only gain a degree but the work experience needed to successfully apply their skills solving real-world problems in a team-based, professional environment,” she added.
For the students, the benefits are substantial as they will complete their bachelor’s degree just two years after high-school graduation and pay virtually zero for their tuition from MCC and UCM. Through the business internships, it is anticipated that students will have the opportunity to become full-time employees of the partner companies immediately following graduation.
“We are looking forward to our continuing partnership with the Lee’s Summit School District and all of our other Missouri Innovation Campus partners,” said Dr. Charles Ambrose, president of the University of Central Missouri. “It’s very gratifying to see us move forward with new opportunities to help students graduate on time, with little or no college debt, while meeting critical needs in business and industry for employees who are skilled in technology. We not only want to create a model for innovation campuses, we are making the Missouri Innovation Campus in Lee’s Summit ‘The’ model for all innovation campuses.”
Summit Technology Academy, a Lee’s Summit R-7 school, provided a solid foundation for the local Innovation Campus.
“Lee’s Summit R-7 is fortunate to have outstanding partners working together to offer such a valuable program to our students and their families,” said Dr. David McGehee, R-7 superintendent. “An important component in this success is Summit Technology Academy, which is uniquely positioned to serve as the location of our state’s first Innovation Campus due to its emphasis on high-tech career training and business partnerships.”
Dr. Fred Grogan, MCC-Longview president, praised the program and partnerships. “The value of this partnership is that it allows three sectors of education—kindergarten through 12th grade, community college and four-year university—to work together to help students shorten the time to state-of-the-art education and in doing that reduce the cost of higher education,” he said. The close working relationship with employers, such as Cerner and DST, enriches the quality of both our programs and the experience of our students.”
The Innovation Campus programs as well as Summit Technology Academy are open to qualifying students from Lee’s Summit R-7 as well as the 18 area high schools sending students to Summit Tech. The sending high schools pay tuition to the R-7 School District for the MIC courses as well as other high-tech programs offered at the school.
A bill waiting for Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s signature makes it possible for the Missouri Innovation Campus in Lee’s Summit to benefit from a special state fund established just for such initiatives.
Sent to the governor during May after a 151-2 vote by the Missouri House of Representatives, Senate Bill No. 381 establishes within the state treasury the “Innovation Education Campus Fund” to be administered by the commissioner of higher education. The bill specifically notes the existing Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC) as an entity that would be eligible for such funding. It is a partnership between the University of Central Missouri,
Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community College and various community organizations, businesses and industries.
The legislation enables the general assembly to appropriate money to the “Innovation Education Campus Fund” in support of participating institutions that are demonstrating through partnerships that they are actively working to lower the cost for students to complete a college degree; decreasing the time required for students to earn a degree; and providing applied and project-based learning experiences for students that leverage curriculum developed with partner Missouri businesses and industries. It also stipulates that students graduating from the innovation education campus should have direct access to internship, apprentice, part-time or full-time career opportunities with Missouri businesses that are involved in the innovation campus partnership, and that the campus engages and partners with industry stakeholders on ongoing program development and program outcomes review.
“This is a major step forward for UCM and its partners in the Missouri Innovation Campus. This legislation gives innovation campuses a real sense of identity and recognizes their value in meeting the need to graduate students with little or no debt and decrease the time it takes to complete a college degree,” said Charles Ambrose, UCM president. “We’re grateful for all of our legislators who support this bill and are helping to make this legislation possible.”
The Missouri Innovation Campus, located at the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s Summit Technology Academy, is the first of its kind in Missouri, and has benefitted from previous grant funding supported by Gov. Nixon. At MIC, 19 high-school juniors are currently participating in a rigorous, accelerated program that prepares them for high-demand careers and reduces their higher-education costs to almost nothing. The program began in fall 2012, giving students an opportunity to complete an associate’s degree from MCC by the summer after they finish high school, and earn a bachelor’s degree in systems engineering technology from UCM within two years after high school graduation. Throughout the students’ involvement in the four-year process, they are also participating in high-impact internships and on-the-job education thanks to the partnering businesses.
These companies enter into participation agreements with the Missouri Innovation Campus and receive grant funds from the state to help them hire the student interns. The companies then help underwrite the cost of training provided through the Innovation Campus. So far, the MIC project has received state grants totaling $1.5 million to assist with these costs. It is anticipated that students will have the opportunity to become full-time employees of the partner companies immediately following graduation.
MIC plans to launch a second degree program this fall. Student participants are being recruited this spring.