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Senior citizens tour Summit Technology Academy as part of R-7 community program

Close to 40 area senior citizens returned to school Oct. 16 as part of a special program hosted by the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District. Through the district’s Senior Citizens’ School Tour program, the local residents visited Summit Technology Academy.

The event included a tour of the facility, and the special guests also heard from school educators and a student panel.

Since the district’s Senior Citizens’ School Tours began in 2007, more than 400 local seniors have participated in the program. The opportunities are provided to seniors two times each school year and are free to participants.

The tours for senior citizens are part of the R-7 School District’s Comprehensive School Improvement Plan and were recommended by a community team. Plans call for a fall 2014 tour.

ocSrTourStudentPanelSummit Technology Academy students discuss their experiences and plans as part of a student panel.






ocSrTourIntStudiesClassGuests hear from students in the international studies program at Summit Technology Academy.





ocSrTourElaineJeremyDavidDr. David McGehee (right), R-7 superintendent, talks to senior citizens. Also pictured are Elaine Metcalf, Summit Technology Academy director, and Jeremy Bonnesen, Summit Technology assistant director.

LSNHS National Honor Society presents dictionaries to Richardson third-graders as part of national program

Lee’s Summit North High School National Honor Society students recently traveled to Richardson Elementary to make special presentations to the school’s third-graders. Through the Dictionary Project, a national organization, the LSNHS students visited third-grade classrooms, presenting a dictionary to each student.

To participate in the Dictionary Project presentations, the National Honor Society members were required to raise $200 for the charitable organization. The Dictionary Project is a national group that provides dictionaries for third-graders thanks to private donations. The organization’s Kansas City chapter oversees dictionary presentations to third-graders throughout the metropolitan area.

“Seeing how happy the third graders were was a great experience,” said Mandi Murphy, LSNHS National Honor Society treasurer who coordinated the high-school students’ involvement. “I think it’s important for Lee’s Summit North to be involved with the Dictionary Project because we are shaping our future students. Even with just one visit, we were able to reach out to approximately 90 future Lee’s Summit North students.”

Mandi added that the Dictionary Project helps younger students become more enthusiastic about reading and writing. “My school was fortunate enough to be a part of the Dictionary Project when I was in third grade,” she said, “and I remember being excited to take my dictionary home to show my parents how I use it. In fact, I still have my dictionary as a senior in high school.”

The presentations at Richardson were coordinated by Cynthia Kaleikau, Richardson third-grade teacher.

“Richardson third graders were so excited to receive their dictionaries,” Mrs. Kaleikau said. “Their faces lit up with excitement as the LSN Honor Society representatives placed them on desks.”

The Richardson students will keep the dictionaries in their desks or book boxes throughout the school year and use them as they edit their writing.

“Students were directed to explore them together as these dictionaries include extra information such as the longest word in the English language,” Mrs. Kaleikau added. “It has 1,909 letters!”

Lee’s Summit North is the only high school in the Kansas City area supporting this effort. Students discovered the charity a few years ago, viewing it as a way to give back to the local schools and help younger students. This is the fourth year that LSNHS students have given dictionaries to the Richardson third-graders.

Following the presentations, Mrs. Kaleikau said the third graders shared how special they felt when they learned that the high-school students had raised the money to purchase the dictionaries.

ocLSN-RHEdictionary2girlsSarah Welsh (left), LSNHS National Honor Society president, and Tori Kelly, National Honor Society historian, present dictionaries to third-graders.




ocLSN-RHEdictionaryHSgirlWithElemLSNHS student Mandi Murphy talks to students about their new dictionaries.








ocLSN-RHEdictionaryHSgirlwithElemBoyLSNHS student Tori Kelly helps present dictionaries to elementary students.








ocLSN-RHEdictionaryHSgirlHSboyMandi Murphy, LSNHS National Honor Society treasurer, and Tofer Frostestad, National Honor Society vice president, talk to third-graders about the Dictionary Project.

Race for the Future raises $39,000 for LS Educational Foundation, Carrie Foresee Memorial Scholarship Fund

Race for the Future, a 5K run/walk held Oct. 11, raised approximately $39,000 to benefit the Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation and the Carrie Foresee Memorial Scholarship Fund. A total of 785 runners and walkers registered for the 5K event, 54 registered as Dream Partners, and another 58 participated in the Kid’s Dash.

Total proceeds over the race’s 18-year history are close to $341,000. The popular metro-area event is held at Lee’s Summit West High School. A photo gallery and race results are available at

A competition for student/staff participation (including runners, walkers and staff volunteers) was also held on race day among Lee’s Summit R-7 schools. For the ninth year in a row, Hazel Grove Elementary School won first place honors with nearly 28 percent of their staff and students participating in the Race. Second place went to Westview Elementary School. Each school receives a traveling trophy and a $500 grant from the Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation. Third place school was Cedar Creek Elementary, fourth place was Highland Park Elementary and fifth place went to Sunset Valley Elementary.

The event involves more than 85 volunteers and approximately 50 Friends of the Foundation sponsors. Concessions for the Race for the Future were provided by Hy-Vee, LaMar’s Donuts, and Panera Bread.

The Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation is a non-profit, 501c3 organization established in 1993 to raise and manage resources in order to expand educational opportunities. The Foundation is a way for citizens to invest in today’s youth, tomorrow’s leaders and the future of Lee’s Summit by making tax-deductible donations which are utilized for non-recurring expenses. Donations help provide educational experiences above and beyond the core curricula and help initiate programs that challenge and encourage students at all levels.

The Carrie Foresee Scholarship Fund was established in memory of Carrie Foresee, a former Lee’s Summit High School student. Carrie died Sept. 3, 1996, as the result of injuries suffered in a car accident. Funds from Race for the Future support scholarship opportunities for graduating seniors as well as classroom grants and technology.

For more information about Race for the Future or student scholarships, call Sheryl Franke, Foundation director, (816) 986-1015.

ocRaceStartTheyreOffRace for the Future runners and walkers begin the 5K run/walk.





ocRaceKidsBabyWalksAsher Johnson heads to the finish line in the Kid’s Dash.









ocRaceKidsOlderRace for the Future Kid’s Dash participants near the finish line.








ocRaceStartRunnersRace for the Future participants begin the 5K run/walk.

Dr. Paul M. Rutherford is guest lecturer for UMKC’s School of Computing and Engineering

Dr. Paul M. Rutherford, a teacher at Summit Technology Academy, was a guest lecturer Oct. 6 at theocSTA-RutherfordLecturePhoto University of Missouri-Kansas City’s School of Computing and Engineering. Dr. Rutherford, who teaches Project Lead The Way’s Engineering Design and Development at the Lee’s Summit R-7 school, was invited to discuss the history of science and technology and the role that engineering has played in society over the course of human history.

Dr. Rutherford presented to the introduction to engineering class, taught by Dr. John Kevern, PhD, P.E. (professional engineer), an associate professor at UMKC’s School of Computing and Engineering. Dr. Rutherford also teaches the history and philosophy of science and technology during the fall semester and is the faculty supervisor for middle and high school science student teaching during the spring semester for UMKC’s School of Education.

Dr. Rutherford earned his PhD at UMKC in 1999 and is the recipient of the 2010 School of Education’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

LS R-7 vision program empowers students

White cane is one of many tools that build independence

Lee’s Summit R-7 students Hunter Hall and Malikye Baston have a message to share with others about the white cane they carry when making their way around Lee’s Summit.

“The white cane helps me stay safe,” said Hunter, a Lee’s Summit North High School sophomore who has Leber’s congenital amaurosis and can only see light and dark as well as some colors and shapes. The cane is one of numerous tools he uses to be more independent.

Malikye, a Bernard Campbell Middle School seventh-grader who has retinitis pigmentosa resulting in night blindness and limited peripheral vision, agrees. He explained that the white cane not only helps people who are blind and visually impaired go from place to place, “the White Cane Law says that if someone doesn’t stop for a person using a white cane, he or she is responsible for what happens to that person – so it is important to yield.”

Both students are involved in the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s vision program which serves a small population of blind and visually impaired students within the district’s schools. Students in the program this year range in age from second to 10th grade and are learning how to use their white canes and other specialized mobility and assistive devices to successfully navigate in a visual world.

“The daily work by our Vision Department exemplifies the fundamental principles and beliefs of special education,” said Dr. Emily Miller, R-7 executive director of special services. “Specialized instruction is designed to support general education instruction, increase access and build upon strengths to empower students with disabilities.”

On Oct. 15 each year, a national day of observance – known as White Cane Safety Day – recognizes the ability of individuals who are blind or visually impaired to travel independently. The annual event is also designed to raise public awareness about the White Cane Law, which requires motorists to come to a complete stop when pedestrians with a white cane or a service dog cross a roadway.

“Our students can be as independent as their sighted peers given the correct accommodations and training,” said Leah Enright, R-7 certified orientation and mobility specialist. “The white cane is really a symbol of both independence and ability as opposed to a sign of disability.”

The R-7 vision program, which began in 2005, adapts the curriculum for each individual student. Like many students with special needs, students in the program attend classes with their peers during much of the school day. In addition, staff members in the Special Services Department help the students learn skills that will help them function at their highest potential. For several hours each week, students in the vision program work with Kristina Rains, R-7 teacher of visually impaired students, and Ms. Enright on mobility, orientation and other specialized skills that help them succeed in school and life.

Depending on each student’s individual education plan, their lessons may include instruction in independent living skills such as personal hygiene and food preparation; additional teaching in social skills; instruction in reading and writing Braille; teaching safe and efficient travel skills in both familiar and unfamiliar environments; and education through community learning experiences.

Students in the program, accompanied by Ms. Enright, participate in lessons in the local community so they can learn to safely travel city streets and effectively navigate within stores and other locations. During these excursions, it is not unusual for them to encounter members of the public who are curious about the students and their special training.

The students learn how to maneuver streets by listening to traffic and noticing other signals. Especially helpfully to the visually impaired are Lee’s Summit’s first two accessible/audible pedestrian signals added during spring 2014 at the corner of Second and Douglas as well as at the corner of Third and Jefferson in downtown Lee’s Summit.

“The students appreciate the opportunity to travel within Lee’s Summit and meet community members,” Ms. Enright said. “White Cane Safety Day provides us with a great opportunity to help our citizens learn about how they can interact with someone who is blind or visually impaired.”

A few guidelines provided through White Cane Safety Day follow.

  • Treat blind people as any another person – they simply do things differently.
  • Always yield to white cane and dog guide users at street crossings – it’s the law.
  • Do not grab the person, cane or dog guide. When in doubt, ask if the person needs assistance.
  • Do not pet a dog guide. Most dog guides are working and should not be petted since it can be distracting for the dog. Keep in mind that blind people treat their guide dogs and white canes as extensions of their bodies. Never distract guide dogs from their job or touch, move or grab a cane without the owner’s permission
  • Identify yourself when you come in to a room and let the person know when you are leaving a room or location.
  • Unless the individual has a hearing loss, there is no reason to speak loudly to someone who is blind or visually impaired.

ocWhiteCaneStudents2Malikye Baston (left) and Hunter Hall navigate in downtown Lee’s Summit with the help of their white canes and special training through the Lee’s Summit R-7 vision program.

LS R-7 students participate in Summit Art Festival

Art students from three high schools and three middle schools participated in the Summit Art Festival, held Oct. 10-12 in downtown Lee’s Summit. Teams of students from each school created artwork through the festival’s Stuck on Art activity using black masking tape as their media. As part of Stuck on Art teams, students collaborated together to create this unique type of art on Oct. 11 in just three hours. Winners in the Stuck on Art program were Bernard Campbell Middle School in the middle-school division and Lee’s Summit High School in the high-school division.

ocArtFestLSHSLee’s Summit High School Stuck on Art team members with their winning entry.







ocArtFestBCMSBernard Campbell Middle School team members with their winning Stuck on Art entry.

LSHS celebrates homecoming

Students, staff and families celebrated homecoming with the annual Lee’s Summit High School parade Oct. 10 in downtown Lee’s Summit. The LSHS Homecoming football game was Oct. 10 with the dance on Oct. 11.





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

Lee’s Summit R-7 School District middle schools recently recognized their September 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 Sania Palmer and Lukas Parrish. At BCMS, Sania has been involved in cheerleading. Away from school she enjoys dance and cheerleading. At BCMS, Lukas is involved in the musical, ukulele club, scholar bowl and talent show. Away from school he enjoys soccer and piano. He has been listed on the principal’s honor roll all quarters.

Students of the Month from Pleasant Lea Middle School are Kendall Ruehling and Isaiah Cherry. At PLMS, Kendall is involved in volleyball, choir and is a webcares leader. Away from school, Kendall enjoys volleyball, church youth group and Lee’s Summit Youth Chorale. She has been listed on the principal’s honor roll all quarters. At PLMS, Isaiah has received the High 5 and Citizenship Awards. Away from school, Isaiah enjoys soccer, basketball and football. He has been listed on the principal’s honor roll.

Students of the Month from Summit Lakes Middle School are Maryn White and Harrison Breshears. At SLMS, Maryn is involved in student council, falcon smart, spelling bee and she received a first place medal in the Greater Kansas City Science Fair. Away from school, Maryn enjoys dance, volunteer work, founding a non-profit organization to mentor and tutor young girls and is the reigning National American Miss Missouri Junior. Teen 2014-15. She has been listed on the principal’s honor roll all quarters. At SLMS, Harrison is involved in choirs, yearbook, musicals, talent show and awards show. Away from school, Harrison enjoys guitar, piano, bass, drums, church youth group, playing in the church praise band and mission trips. He has been listed on the principal’s honor roll.






LSWHS speech and debate program earns national recognition

The Lee’s Summit West High School National Forensic League was recently recognized as among the top 1 percent by the National Speech and Debate Association. Students involved in the speech and debate program earn points and degrees through the league’s honor society based on competitive and service-related activities.

The LSWHS National Forensic League chapter earned more than 300 degrees, ranking the school among the top 1 percent of schools nationwide. Due to this achievement, LSWHS also earned membership in the national association’s prestigious Societé de 300.

“The hard work you have invested to achieve this distinction will pay dividends for years to come,” said J. Scott Wunn, executive director of the national Speech and Debate Association.

Lisa Oyler named Lee’s Summit R-7 Learning for Life Award winner for October

Lisa Oyler was named the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District Learning for Life Award winner for October. ocLFLlisaOylerShe is a teacher at Summit Technology Academy

The award is presented to one employee each month who is nominated by co-workers and selected by a staff committee.

“Lisa puts in numerous hours as the coach for the US Cyber Patriot team,” said a colleague. “Her students know she goes above and beyond for them.”

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