Agreement between LS R-7 and UCM sets stage for construction of shared educational facility

Unique school would save money for each organization, provide improved learning environment for students at new Summit Technology Academy / Missouri Innovation Campus

The Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education and the University of Central Missouri (UCM) Board of Governors recently approved an agreement setting the stage for the two organizations to develop a unique shared facility designed to serve both high-school and college students.

UCM and Lee’s Summit R-7 are partners with Metropolitan Community College (MCC) and a number of industry-leading businesses in the nationally recognized Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC). Through the MIC, located within R-7’s Summit Technology Academy, the partners are reshaping the way students experience education.

The Missouri Innovation Campus was launched in fall 2012 and has continued to receive regional and national recognition for dramatically reducing the time required to receive a college degree while also significantly decreasing the cost of higher education for students and their families. In summer 2013, President Barack Obama visited UCM’s Warrensburg campus, highlighting the Missouri Innovation Campus and the collaborative effort among R-7, UCM, MCC and businesses. The program, which has received state grants, has also been touted by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon as a model partnership.

The MIC students, who attend Summit Tech during their junior and senior years of high school, earn their associate degree from MCC at approximately the same time they receive their high-school diploma. MIC students will earn a four-year bachelor’s degree from UCM just two years after high-school graduation. More remarkably, these students graduate from college with little to no student debt while participating in high-tech paid internships. The internships combined with MIC coursework provide the students with highly sought-after skills for well-paying careers in technology fields.

UCM’s board members approved the lease agreement Dec. 13, and the R-7 board approved the agreement Dec. 18. Through the legal agreement, R-7 and UCM commit to coordinating and cooperating with one another in order to construct and operate a shared educational facility that will house R-7’s Summit Technology Academy, UCM programs currently located in the university’s Summit Center and the Missouri Innovation Campus.

“Partnerships featuring this level of involvement are considered rare among higher education and public school districts,” Dr. David McGehee, R-7 superintendent, said, “and we have been especially pleased with what has already been accomplished by working together at Missouri Innovation Campus. Through the lease agreement for the new facility, we have the opportunity to save money, trade our leased space for a facility our district will own and design a learning environment that fits the needs of today’s students and students of the future.”

The agreement is contingent upon the purchase of land for the shared facility. Both R-7 and UCM will work together on planning for the facility with both organizations approving the final design.

Through the partnership, Lee’s Summit R-7 will purchase and own the facility with UCM agreeing to pay a base rent reflecting 60 percent of the overall cost of the land purchase, financing expense, building design and construction of the facility, amortized over a 20-year lease term. UCM programs would use approximately 60 percent of the educational facility with R-7 using approximately 40 percent.

“Since opening the MIC, the university and the R-7 School District have broken new ground demonstrating innovative ways to accelerate the time it takes for students to complete a degree, provide students with job-ready skills, and help them graduate with little or no debt,” said UCM President Charles Ambrose. “We’re making tremendous progress, but we have a lot left to do. Looking toward the future, and our joint vision for expanding opportunities at the MIC, we couldn’t ask for a better partner.”

About Summit Technology Academy and Missouri Innovation Campus

The R-7 School District opened Summit Technology Academy in 1999 with the goal to prepare students for college and high-demand careers. Over the past 15 years, Summit Tech has grown from just 26 students in one program to a school offering 14 programs and serving approximately 450 students from 11 school districts. Students are enrolled in courses such as information technology, networking, nursing, international studies, digital media, education and engineering. Sending school districts from the metropolitan area pay tuition to Lee’s Summit R-7 for their students who enroll in R-7’s Summit Technology Academy programs.

The Missouri Innovation Campus is a component of Summit Technology Academy, and both are outgrowing the current facility, located within the Summit Technology Campus business complex. The R-7 School District has leased space for Summit Tech at a favorable rate due to a tax abatement for the local business center that dates back to the late 1990s. This low-cost lease will expire when the business facility comes onto the tax rolls in 2018, and R-7 officials have been looking for an alternative that will be both more affordable and designed specifically for the educational programs.

Since early in 2014, leaders from Lee’s Summit R-7 and UCM have been discussing a shared facility that would provide a solution to the growth challenges faced at Summit Technology Academy and Missouri Innovation Campus as well as at the UCM Summit Center. Through the agreement approved by both R-7 and UCM governing boards during December, the two educational organizations would share space and equipment, saving money for the local school district and the university. Plans call for the approximately $40 million school to be funded by both organizations with Lee’s Summit R-7 paying approximately $16 million and UCM paying approximately $24 million (through its lease). R-7 and UCM would share in the cost of operating and maintaining the facility.

No-tax-increase bond issue under discussion

Within the last few months, Lee’s Summit R-7 officials began discussing the possibility of including this new Summit Technology / Missouri Innovation Campus facility on an April 7, 2015, no-tax-increase bond issue. Preliminary plans call for the district to present a $40 million no-tax-increase bond issue to voters. The issue would include around $16 million for Summit Technology Academy / Missouri Innovation Campus, approximately $21 million for facility improvements and deferred maintenance at all schools and $3 million for contingencies and fees for all construction projects.

The list of potential school improvements and deferred maintenance projects was developed using information gathered in a recent architects’ audit of all schools, through recommendations from principals of each school and after receiving feedback from several community groups. During fall 2014, the bond issue proposal was presented to three major parent and community groups – PTA Council, R-7 Citizens’ Advisory Committee and R-7 Business Roundtable – with the groups providing input at their meetings. Feedback from the community members indicated that the bond issue would be favorably received by the public.

The school projects included in the proposed bond issue would positively impact each school and include items such a building improvements related to classroom instruction, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) access, safety and security, health and wellness, special education and playground equipment and surfaces.

The proposed bond issue is scheduled to appear as a decision item on the R-7 Board of Education’s Jan. 22 meeting agenda. If approved by the Board members, it would appear on the April 7 ballot. If endorsed by at least four-sevenths of Lee’s Summit R-7 voters, construction on the Summit Technology Academy / Missouri Innovation Campus would begin soon after the election with the new school opening in August 2017. The facility improvements and deferred maintenance projects would also begin soon after the election with the majority of projects complete by either fall 2015 or fall 2016.

If the proposed no-tax-increase bond issue is approved by the Board of Education, additional information about the issue will be communicated to the public.

 

In the photo, students Nicole Voss and Scott Faulkner at the Missouri Innovation Campus.dcInnovationCampusPhoto-BoyAndGirlByEquipment

LSNHS robotics team to host pancake breakfast fundraiser Jan. 3

The Broncobots from Lee’s Summit North High School will host the team’s Pancakesannual pancake breakfast fundraiser for the 2015 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Kick-Off from 8 to 10 a.m. Jan. 3 in the LSNHS commons. All you can eat pancakes are $6 at the door.

All proceeds from the event will go to support the Broncobots and the team’s upcoming season. In addition to the pancake breakfast, the team will have a silent auction through 10:45 a.m. Some of the items in the auction are a wood hutch donated by Profile Cabinet Shops, a handmade quilt, Paradise Park tickets, “Sesame Street Live” tickets and items from Jason’s Deli, Powell Gardens, Bed Bath and Beyond, Next Door Pizza, Houlihan’s, Longhorn Steakhouse, Pepperjax Grill and Piano Tuning.

Robotics teams will also demonstrate their creations. The 2015 FRC game will be announced at 9:30 a.m.

Lee’s Summit R-7 high schools second-semester theatre schedules

Lee’s Summit R-7 School District high schools are offering a number of top-quality productions during this year’s second TheatreMaskssemester. Theatre schedules follow, including contact information and websites for each school.

Lee’s Summit High School will continue its season with a play based on real events, “The Women Of Lockerbie”. After the attack on Pan Am flight 103, the women of Lockerbie begin a movement to wash the recovered clothes of the victims and send them home to their families, hoping to provide some healing for both the families, and themselves. “The Women Of Lockerbie” is a powerful story of converting an act of hate into an act of love.  Don’t miss “The Women Of Lockerbie” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 20, 21, 27 and 28 and at 2:30 p.m. March 1.

To close out the Lee’s Summit High School season on April 24, 25 and 26, the Repertory Theatre production will stage a play that has yet to be announced.

Tickets for all LSHS shows are available at www.lshstheatre.com on the box office web page or you may contact (816) 986-2059 or tickets@lshstheatre.com for more information or group reservations.

Lee’s Summit North High School’s second semester begins with a family friendly musical based on the children’s story of the Princess and the Pea, “Once Upon a Mattress.”  This classic will have you rooting for the underdog princess and laughing all the way.  The show runs at 7 p.m. Feb. 27 and 28 and at 2 p.m. March 1.

LSNHS will conclude its season with a ‘yet-to-be-announced’ drama produced by the Repertory Theatre Group. This play will be offered at 7 p.m. April 10 and 11 and at 2 p.m. April 12.

For tickets and information about any of the three LSNHS shows, visit www.lsntheatre.com or call (816) 986-3031.

The Lee’s Summit West High School season continues with the magical family musical, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13, 14, 20 and 21 and at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 15. Cinderella wants to attend the Prince’s Ball but her stepmother and stepsisters have other ideas.  What happens when the Fairy Godmother shows up to make all her dreams come true?

In addition, LSWHS will present a series of student-directed one-act plays March 27 and 28  and a repertory theatre production on April 17, 18 and 19. Information about all LSWHS productions is available at www.westsidestage.com. Tickets for all plays will be $6 in advance and $7 at the door. Musical tickets will be $8 in advance and $9 at the door.

All three high schools will also present yet-to-be-announced productions at the school district’s One-Act Play Festival to be performed on the LSWHS Stage, scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 5.

Carla Krebs named Lee’s Summit R-7 Learning for Life Award winner for December

Carla Krebs was named the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District Learning for dcLFLcarlaKrebsLife Award winner for December. She is a physical-education teacher at Hazel Grove elementary.

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

“Everyone – including students, staff and families – has a high level of respect for Coach K, and they rally around her because of her amazing enthusiasm for everything she does,” said a colleague. “Everyone would agree she truly is a role model for Learning for Life.”

Prairie View Elementary kindergarten students contribute to Heart to Heart International

Prairie View Elementary kindergarten students recently completed a service project for Heart to Heart International in place of exchanging holiday gifts with their classmates. Students donated supplies to make care kits for people in need during disasters. The kindergartners worked together to fill the bags with towels, washcloths, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs and band aids. In all, students made 75 kits to donate to Heart to Heart International.

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LS R-7 staff members participate in annual Resource Fair

Guidance counselors from Lee’s Summit R-7 schools participated in a Resource Fair Dec. 11, held at the district’s Stansberry Leadership Center. During the approximately two-hour event, representatives from a variety of area agencies and organizations provided information to the counselors about resources available to students and their families.

Counselors as well as members of Student Assistance Program teams had the opportunity to talk to the representatives from the organizations in an informal setting. Examples of a few of the 26 organizations participating in the fair are Crittenton’s Children’s Center, Hillcrest Transitional Housing, Hope House, Job Corps, Truman Medical Center, Lee’s Summit CARES, Lee’s Summit Social Services, R-7 Parents As Teachers and ReDiscover.

This is the second annual Resource Fair for R-7 guidance counselors and Student Assistance Program teams.

R-7 staff members visit with representatives from a variety of dcResourceFairCAPA-Coldwatercommunity organizations during the Resource Fair.

 

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LS R-7 Before- and After-School Services announces new preschool

Community open house scheduled for Jan. 5

KC Cubbies will open a second location on Jan. 6 at a facility located in frontdcKC CubbiesPhoto of Underwood Elementary, 1125 NE Colbern Road. The program is offered through Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s Before- and After-School Services (BASS) and provides care for children from 3 to 5 years old.

Enroll by Dec. 22 at a significantly reduced rate of $10 per child or $15 per family (regularly $80 / $105).  Children must be Lee’s Summit R-7 School District residents and age 3 by July 31, 2014, to be eligible for enrollment.

The new KC Cubbies facility will host an open house for interested community members, scheduled from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Jan. 5.

KC Cubbies is open from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily with many full- and part-time options. There is a limited enrollment, so act quickly.

The R-7 BASS mission is to provide support to families by caring for their children in a safe, nurturing, fun and educational environment.  The daily schedule at KC Cubbies includes preschool learning activities in the morning, physical fitness options, rest time each afternoon, two snacks with drinks daily, lunch through Lee’s Summit R-7 Nutrition Services and the opportunity for “buddy time” with older students from Underwood Elementary.

For questions, please visit the BASS website at http://bass.lsr7.org/ or call (816) 986-3440.

Greenwood Elementary first-graders work with business partner to prepare gifts for adopted grandparents

In an annual tradition that is part of the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s Partners In Education dcGWE-PIEphotoprogram, Jessica Steward, senior clerk at Greenwood Quarry, helps Greenwood Elementary first-graders wrap holiday gifts destined for the school’s adopted grandparents at Truman Medical Center-East. Assisting other first-grade classes were Blaine Foster, quality control technician, and Tony Micketti, plant manager. The quarry is operated by Martin Marietta Materials, which has participated in the district’s Partners In Education program for three years.

Tracy Sample of LS Elementary named one of 12 Distinguished Principals in Missouri

Tracy Sample, Lee’s Summit Elementary School principal, has beendcTracySamplePhoto named Distinguished Principal by the Kansas City Suburban Elementary Principals Association (KCSEPA).

Mrs. Sample was one of several administrators nominated by fellow elementary and middle school principals from Kansas City area districts. She was selected by the organization based on meeting rigorous national criteria for this award and her distinguished performance as a principal at her school, in her district, within her community and beyond, said KCSEPA officials.

In the words of her colleagues:

“Tracy works tirelessly to meet the diverse needs of her special learning community.”

“She has worked to provide one-to-one devices for students in her building in order to help differentiate instruction as well as to provide them with access to technology that they may not have in their homes. She is a strong advocate for seeing that students’ needs are met and works closely with school staff and district personnel to see that there is adequate staffing and programming for students.”

“Tracy is such a humble person, and she would never expect this kind of honor. I don’t think she has any idea how much those around her think of her as an exceptional leader because of the difference she makes with her students, staff, and families as well as those of us who know her.”

Lee’s Summit Elementary serves approximately 300 students in kindergarten through sixth grade.  Mrs. Sample has partnered with community organizations to support the needs of her students and families in innovative, effective ways. In addition, she has demonstrated an inspiring commitment to supporting her staff in the work they do for their students.

“Lee’s Summit Elementary focuses on building strong relationships with each student, parent and staff member,” Mrs. Sample added. “This has been crucial, and is the catalyst for success for all of our students.”

Mrs. Sample has served as principal at Lee’s Summit Elementary since 2011. She has earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in speech pathology, both from the University of Central Missouri, and a master’s degree and specialist degree, both in elementary administration from William Woods University.

The Missouri Distinguished Principals program honors outstanding elementary and middle-level administrators who ensure that Missouri’s children acquire a sound foundation for lifelong learning and achievement. By promoting excellent leadership, quality education and professional growth, this award celebrates principals and exemplifies their outstanding achievements.

Each year, the Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals honors 12 Distinguished Principals from around the state. Mrs. Sample and the other 11 finalists will attend the Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals Spring Leadership Conference March 14-17 in Osage Beach. At the culmination of the conference, one of the 12 Distinguished Principals will be selected to represent Missouri at the national level.

KCSEPA officials added that they are proud to have Tracy Sample represent the outstanding commitment and talents of her fellow elementary and middle school principals in the Kansas City area as the organization’s 2014-15 Distinguished Principal.

LS CARES to present Parenting the Love and Logic Way Jan. 27 through Feb. 24

Lee’s Summit CARES will present Parenting the Love and Logic Way Tuesdays, Jan. 27 throughLSCares Logo Feb. 24, at Westview Elementary School, 200 N. Ward Road. The course provides parents with strategies to put an end to arguing, whining and backtalk; help children learn listening skills; and raise children who are respectful, responsible and fun to be around.

The updated class is facilitated by Kerri Gray, M.S., LMFT, or Jan Nelson, M.A., of ReDiscover. It is offered in collaboration with the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and area churches.

Cost for the class is $42 per participant, and previous participants will pay only $10 for the new program manual. Scholarships are available to residents who live within the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District.

For more information, contact Bev at ReDiscover, (816) 347-3259 or visit www.lscares.org. Please register for the course by Jan. 23.

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