Community feedback valuable in search for permanent LS R-7 superintendent

Surveys and focus groups help create a culture for positive results

By Bob White
Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education President

On behalf of our Board of Education, I want to thank our community and staff for an overwhelming response to our request for feedback regarding our search for a Lee’s Summit R-7 permanent superintendent. More than 500 individuals completed an online survey earlier this fall with almost bobwhite250 participating in a total of 17 focus groups.

This type of community involvement is much greater than what is normally received in this type of process, and we truly appreciate each person who took the time to share opinions. This feedback, presented to the Board of Education by BWP and Associates at our Oct. 13 work session, is helping Board members identify and prioritize critical attributes for our new superintendent.

Your involvement and support is especially vital as we continue involving the community in order to a achieve positive results. BWP and Associates noted that based on the survey and focus groups Lee’s Summit R-7 citizens are very proud of the school district and the quality of administration and teachers supporting our students.

Our school district is currently accepting applications for the position of superintendent with the application process closing on Nov. 11. In early December, the Board of Education will receive a slate of qualified candidates as recommended by BWP and Associates. The consulting firm will determine this list using a comprehensive screening process that incorporates feedback from the community and Board of Education.

Throughout December and January, the Board of Education will continue to narrow the list of candidates. Following further screening and interviews, the goal is to name the new superintendent by late January or early February. The permanent superintendent will begin his or her duties in July 2017.

I also want to thank the many staff and community members who have welcomed our interim superintendent, Dr. Dave Benson, to Lee’s Summit R-7. We have been pleased with Dr. Benson’s leadership and his focus on student success as well as community engagement and open communications. On the job since Sept. 1, Dr. Benson has been working with R-7 staff on tasks such as implementing our district’s new five-year strategic plan, known as Destination 2021. Our Board of Education has also been working with administration to strengthen Board policy and has approved contracts in accordance with newly revised Board policy DGA that has given greater guidance as to how to comply with state statutes.

I want to call your attention to an additional effort to enhance communications with our public. Beginning in December, we plan to begin videotaping our Board of Education meetings with videos available via our district’s webpage. More information about how to access these videotaped meetings will be included in district communications later this fall.

I hope you are having an outstanding school year and a wonderful autumn. Our students and staff members are accomplishing great things both in the classroom and beyond. Just recently, we learned that our 2016 graduates scored above the state and national averages on the ACT college-entrance exams. In addition, Lee’s Summit R-7 students performed well on the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) tests, scoring above the state average in each subject area and each grade level tested.

Please feel free to contact our Board of Education — or any school district department — via our “contact us” webpage, available at We welcome your feedback and are grateful to serve our students, staff and community as Board members.

Sunset Valley Elementary celebrates School Lunch Week

The cafeteria staff at Sunset Valley Elementary created a fun spirit filled week for students during National School Lunch Week. Nutrition Services staff members showed their spirit by dressing up during the week, which is held Oct. 10-14.  Greg Johnson, principal, and Terrill Lawson, building manager, also took part in the fun.  

ocsveschoollunch ocsveschoollunchprincipalbldgmanager

Celebrating National School Lunch Week

Schools throughout the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District celebrated National School Lunch Week, Oct. 10-14, with the theme of “Show Your Spirit for School Lunch.”

At Summit Pointe Elementary, the school was decorated for the week. In addition, Lee’s Summit West High School cheerleaders visited the school, eating lunch with elementary students and performing cheers along with the Summit Pointe Elementary Panther mascot.

The school has also been celebrating National Farm to School Month. Shirley Wolfskill of Nutrition Services took the lead for this special week, making apple dishes for tasting, sampling and placement on the menus. Highlights were apple squares and warm apple cider.

ocspelunchwkcafeteriastaffNutrition Services staff at Summit Pointe Elementary celebrate National School Lunch Week.






ocspelunchwkshirleywolfskillShirley Wolfskill with apple treats.

Lee’s Summit R-7 celebrates diversity

School district focuses on diversity through strategic plan, employee training, hiring and classroom lessons

Celebrating diversity is a critical focus within the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District. This consistent emphasis is included in several areas of the district’s strategic plan as well as within staff training, employee hiring, classroom lessons, academic support, behavior management and extra-curricular offerings. Throughout the district, schools work to honor, seek and encourage diversity on multiple levels each day.

The district’s comprehensive character education program includes a variety of broad goals such as teaching students about choices that improve the quality of their experiences and interactions with all individuals. These efforts include providing students with the skills and tools they need to be successful in our global society.

To ensure that diversity is an ongoing emphasis at each school, the district has a Diversity Facilitators Team to provide leadership and assistance. The team, which meets together several times annually, includes a diversity facilitator from each school. This group works together to be responsive to school issues while helping each school celebrate and acknowledge diversity. Another role of facilitators is to serve as champions of all aspects of diversity at their schools.

In addition to the facilitators, the R-7 School District has a six-member Diversity Planning Team. This group helps set the long-range vision for the continuing work with the school diversity facilitators and establishes agendas for the facilitators meetings. Dr. Kevin Daniel, R-7 associate superintendent of instruction and leadership, leads the team.

Within Lee’s Summit R-7, diversity incorporates multiple facets. The Diversity Facilitators Team has discussed and planned for the following diversity aspects — intellectual diversity, cultural, generational, technological, ethnicity and race, lifestyle choice, economic, social, emotional and disabilities/abilities.

This team has developed guidelines to ensure that all R-7 schools are equitable and culturally responsive. Through this guide, known as the Culturally Responsive Schools Model, expectations have been developed in the following areas: administrative leadership; academic student support; curriculum, instructional strategies and teacher resources; parent/community involvement and perception; physical environment; staff as role models, student assignments and student placement in classrooms; student behavior management; extra-curricular and co-curricular offerings; and affective student support. The model was developed with facilitation assistance from Dr. Emmanuel Ngomsi, president of All World Languages and Cultures.

In the area of employment, which falls under administrative leadership, school and district administrators are expected to recruit candidates who embrace diversity and to recruit and retain candidates of diverse populations.

Within the academic student support area, goals include high academic expectations for each student, additional support and resources for struggling students and access to technology and equipment for all students. In addition, it is expected that culturally diverse students will participate in school leadership roles and achieve recognition for academic achievement.

Other examples of expectations in the various areas follow:

  • The district curriculum reflects the diversity of the global society.
  • All families new to the district feel welcomed and comfortable at school.
  • Staff is knowledgeable and sensitive to cultural, socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Staff members model strategies that promote diversity and success in a global context.
  • Culturally unbiased structures are used to identify students for placement in academic programs and classes.
  • Discipline is administered equitably to students regardless of culture or ethnicity.
  • The district provides a safe environment for each student.
  • Students of diverse cultures participate in extra- and co-curricular activities.
  • Students are aware and sensitive to cultural, socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds.

spdiversityplanningteamDiversity Planning Team members include (front row, from left) Ginger Wood, Michelle Edwards (back row, from left) Dr. Kevin Daniel, Andre Montgomery and Joe Dan Vendelin. Not pictured is Curtis Cook.

Student officers elected to LS R-7 Elementary Nutrition Council

Newly elected officers of the Lee’s Summit R-7 Elementary Nutrition Council are (from left) Mason Gibbs, third-grader from Cedar Creek Elementary, secretary; Connor Gibbs, sixth-grader from Cedar Creek, president; and Rheanna Lear, fifth-grader from Underwood Elementary, vice president.

Elementary Nutrition Council includes representatives from each elementary school. The students meet monthly to sample new menu items and provide feedback on cafeteria items. Each middle and high school also has its own Nutrition Council to provide opportunities for student feedback.

During the election of officers, students prepared speeches that they presented before the group.


LS R-7 Aquatic Center to host Winter Swim League Open House Nov. 19

The Lee’s Summit R-7 Aquatic Center will host a Winter Swim League Open House and Registration from 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 19 at the center, 3498 SW Windemere Drive. Those attending the free event will have the opportunity to speak with league coaches, try on swimsuits and learn more about the popular community program.

In addition to the swim leagues, the Aquatic Center offers American Red Cross swim lessons for a variety of levels, swim team conditioning, aqua aerobics and diving instruction. The center also has an inflatable Wibit play area available on days when school is not in session from 8 a.m. to noon, including Dec. 22, 23, 27, 28, 29 and 30 and Jan. 2. Admission for the Wibit is $4 per person.

The center offers open swim times and is available for birthday parties and special events. For more information, visit or call (816) 986-1465.


LSWHS volleyball Dig for the Cure sets fundraising mark

The Lee’s Summit West and Lee’s Summit High School volleyball teams joined forces on Oct. 11 in the ninth annual Dig for the Cure fundraiser at the LSWHS Fieldhouse. Dig 2016 raised over $30,000 in the fight against cancer, eclipsing the previous record of $22,000 set in 2015.

Funds raised will be divided equally between this year’s event beneficiaries, which include Gilda’s Club Kansas City and Cancer Action KC, both cancer support groups that assist patients and their families, and LSWHS graduate Sam Smith, who continues to battle osteosarcoma.

As in years past, Dig for the Cure 2016 featured a court procession and balloon celebration to honor cancer survivors and fighters and to pay tribute to the memory of those lost to the disease. Additionally, more than 40 local medical professionals donated $100 each in the Medical Professional Challenge and were recognized for their extraordinary efforts in the fight against cancer.

This year’s celebration was especially poignant as the Titan volleyball team rallied around one of their own. Alicia Andersen, event co-chair and mother of Titan varsity player, Baylie Andersen, is herself battling cholangiocarcinoma, a cancer that attacks the bile ducts. Mrs. Andersen played volleyball at Iowa State, and all the Titan varsity players wore shoulder patches with the No. 13, her Cyclone number, as a show of support.

While the Titan varsity, junior varsity and both freshman teams swept the Tigers on the volleyball court, the evening was above all an inspiring example of community coming together in the fight against cancer.

LS CARES invites community to participate in parenting survey

Lee’s Summit CARES is inviting community members to participate in a parenting engagement survey available at this link. The survey takes approximately three minutes to complete and will help Lee’s Summit CARES continue to provide high-quality education to today’s parents.

Parents, grandparents and caregivers are encouraged to take the survey. Lee’s Summit CARES has provided Love and Logic parenting courses to this area for more than 15 years. The survey closes on Nov. 22.

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

Tiger Smart, Bronco Smart and Titan Smart will participate in our annual “Freeze Out” from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 2 in front of Lee’s Summit High School.

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, pasta, peanut butter, snacks on the go (such as granola bars, pop tarts, fruit snacks) and canned chicken are being collected to fill each school’s Feed-A-Need pantry. The Feed-A-Need pantry serves Lee’s Summit R-7 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 student body as a whole.

For more information, contact Susan Mosier of LSHS, (816) 986-2000 or

LS R-7 Nutrition Services seeks employees

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District is currently accepting applications for employment within the nutritionserviceshelpwanted-3district’s nationally recognized Nutrition Services Department.

For parents of R-7 students, the job offers several advantages. These include being off work on the same days children are out of school, leaving for work after students go to school and getting off work before children come home from school.

For more information, contact Donita Zehr at (816) 986-2207 or apply online at

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