LS R-7 registered nurses volunteer at Ronald McDonald Room

A group of Lee’s Summit R-7 School District registered nurses donated their time to help families of jnNursesVolunteerPhotochildren at Children’s Mercy Hospital. The school nurses provided, prepared and served dinner for more than 60 family members in the hospital’s Ronald McDonald Room. Several of the families have been at the Kansas City hospital for weeks or even months while their children receive treatment. Volunteers from Lee’s Summit R-7 are (from left)  Rebecca Litton, Christy Weber, Cheryl Orr, Kari Frayling and Amy Wald. For information about volunteering at the Ronald McDonald Room, visit

R-7 staff members receive Reflections of Character Awards

Two Lee’s Summit R-7 staff members were among 12 local citizens receiving Reflections of Character Awards at the Jan. 22 Lee’s Summit Mayor’s Character Breakfast. The awards are presented to community members who are nominated based on character traits.

R-7 employees presented with the award are Jamie Rayburn, a teacher of students with special needs at Lee’s Summit West High School, and Ryan Kelley, a Lee’s Summit North High School physical-education teacher.

Ms. Rayburn was recognized in the category of family for going the extra mile to help the one of her student’s family during a time when the family was facing financial and health challenges.

Mr. Kelley, who also coaches soccer at LSNHS, was honored in the category of citizenship for helping organize a community-wide youth soccer clinic for children with special needs.

In addition to the two staff members, two Lee’s Summit R-7 students, a former Board of Education member and a retired R-7 employee were also honored at the community event. Benjamin Edwards, a student at Westview Elementary, received a Reflections of Character Award in the category of perseverance. Sophia Hoffman, a student at Highland Park Elementary, received the award in the area of sportsmanship. Nathaniel Cox, also an R-7 student, and Andrew Shields, formerly of Lee’s Summit R-7, were recognized for courage. Carl Chinnery, a former R-7 Board of Education member who has also been a leader in numerous school district and community organizations, received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Retired R-7 staff member Roby Little, who serves as the director of Lee’s Summit CARES, was presented with the first Lee’s Summit Community Hero Award.



Lee’s Summit R-7 and UCM recognize unique partnership setting stage for construction of shared educational facility at community event

New Summit Technology Academy / Missouri Innovation Campus also included in R-7 April 7 no-tax-increase bond issue

Lee’s Summit community members celebrated a unique partnership opportunity involving the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and the University of Central Missouri at a Jan. 28 ceremony and open house, held at Summit Technology Academy / Missouri Innovation Campus.

At the special event, leaders from the two educational organizations officially signed a lease agreement that sets the stage for Lee’s Summit R-7 and UCM to develop a unique shared facility designed to serve both high-school and college students.

During the ceremony, Dr. David McGehee, Lee’s Summit R-7 superintendent, and Dr. Charles Ambrose, UCM president, discussed the two entities’ successful partnership and plans for the shared building.

The event also included presentations from Summit Technology Academy / Missouri Innovation Campus (STA / MIC) students Brett Burasco, Quinn Cosgrove and Annamarie Hurst as well as tours of STA / MIC.

Participating in the ceremonial lease signing were Dr. McGehee, Dr. Ambrose, R-7 Board of Education President Ron Baker and UCM Board of Governors Vice President Dr. Gus Wetzel II. 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.

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 in technology fields.

The agreement is contingent upon the purchase of land for the shared facility. The R-7 School district is currently finalizing the land purchase with plans calling for the Board of Education to approve a letter of intent to purchase property on Feb. 19.  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. Based on the agreement, Lee’s Summit R-7 will be the sole owner of the school which will house Summit Technology Academy / Missouri Innovation Campus as well as UCM programs currently located in the UCM Summit Campus.

No-tax-increase bond issue to include funding for shared facility

The Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education unanimously approved placement of a no-tax-increase bond issue on the April 7 ballot at the Board’s Jan. 22 meeting. The issue includes:

  • Construction of a new Summit Technology Academy / Missouri Innovation Campus
  • Numerous school improvements in the areas of classroom instruction, safety and security, health and wellness, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) renovations and special education
  • Playground safety upgrades to all elementary schools’ soft play areas and replacement of deteriorated play equipment
  • Maintenance projects at numerous sites designed to protect the district’s investment in its school facilities.

The no-tax-increase issue was reviewed by the district’s Citizens’ Advisory Committee, Business Roundtable and PTA Council with each group providing feedback on the recommended components.

The $40 million bond issue includes approximately $17.5 million for the R-7 School District’s portion of the new Summit Technology Academy / Missouri Innovation Campus. The shared facility would reduce operating expenses for the R-7 School District, allowing the district to move STA / MIC from leased space into a building owned by the school district. The R-7 School District has leased space for Summit Tech at a favorable rate due to a tax abatement for a 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 growing educational programs. Due to the anticipated increase in rental costs with the expiration of the tax abatement, it is estimated that construction of the shared facility would save approximately $9 million for the school district over the next 20 years.

School improvements

A significant portion of the bond issue – approximately $5.44 million — would fund improvements at numerous R-7 schools. Elementary improvements include Greenwood Elementary ADA access and gym renovation; Hazel Grove Elementary kitchen renovation; Longview Farm Elementary concrete at kindergarten wings; Lee’s Summit Elementary health room renovation, drop-off lane and kitchen renovation; Meadow Lane Elementary track upgrade/repair and basement renovation; Mason Elementary gym expansion, classroom renovation, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) access; Pleasant Lea Elementary health room/office renovation; Prairie View Elementary north gym isolation; Richardson Elementary additional parking; Trailridge Elementary restroom sink replacement; and Underwood Elementary cafeteria renovation.

Middle school improvements include Bernard Campbell student entry doors replacement and locker painting, Pleasant Lea locker replacement and Summit Lakes sound system. High school improvements include Lee’s Summit High School science classrooms renovation, Lee’s Summit North entry re-design (safety/security) and Lee’s Summit West restrooms/concession area for baseball and softball area (completing projects included in original school design). Special-education projects include Highland Park Elementary life skills classroom restrooms and Miller Park Center upstairs renovation, gym floor upgrade and kitchenette.

School maintenance projects

In addition, close to $17.06 million in maintenance projects are included in the bond issue. These projects were identified with the help of school principals and an architects’ audit identifying facility needs across the school district. These numerous projects would impact each R-7 school. A project impacting all elementary students would fund safety upgrades to all schools’ soft play areas and replacement of deteriorated play equipment at each site. Other maintenance projects targeted for schools are flooring, carpet, ceilings, painting, roofing, paving, mechanical, doors, windows, FOBS, backflows, water sanitizing and masonry.

Construction schedule

If the bond is endorsed by at least four-sevenths of 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 school improvements and maintenance projects would also begin soon after the election with the majority of projects complete by either fall 2015 or fall 2016.

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 computer science, networking, health sciences, 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 Summit Technology Academy 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.


Dr. David McGehee speaks about the partnership during the special event.









jnLeaseSigningAnnaMarieHurstStudent Annamarie Hurst speaks about her experiences at the unique school.









jnLeaseSigningGroupParticipating in the partnership event were (from left) Dr. Gus Wetzel II, Brett Burasco, Dr. Charles Ambrose, Dr. David McGehee, Ron Baker, Quinn Cosgrove and AnnamarieHurst.

Summit Technology Academy, LSNHS teams are finalists in national CyberPatriot competition

Students from two Lee’s Summit R-7 schools recently advanced to the finalist level in the CyberPatriot National Finals Competition. Two teams are from Lee’s Summit North, CyberBroncos and CyberWarriors. One team, Team Sudo, is from Summit Technology Academy.

The LSNHS teams are coached by Lt Col John Deese of the LSNHS Air Force Junior ROTC program. The Summit Tech team is coached by Lisa Oyler, STA teacher. The three local teams are among just 28 teams from throughout the nation qualifying for the national finals.

Students qualifying for the finals will travel all-expenses-paid to Washington, D.C., March 11-15 to compete for the title of national champion, scholarships and other recognition.

The 12 open division, 13 all-service division and three middle-school division finalist teams advanced through extremely competitive online qualifying rounds to earn the distinction of being national finalists. They represent schools and other organizations from 16 states and Canada. LSNHS won in the all-service division, and Summit Technology Academy won in the open division.

CyberPatriot VII began in October 2014 with more than 2,100 teams made up of from two to six students registered from all 50 states, Canada, and Department of Defense dependent schools in Europe and the Pacific. After two months of rigorous online challenges, the open division and all-service division teams were divided into three tiers: platinum, gold and silver. The teams continued to compete within their tiers for state awards and advancement to the regional/category round, but only teams in the top tier were eligible to advance to national finals.

“All CyberPatriot VII competitors should be exceptionally proud of themselves. Our program experienced a 40 percent increase in total registrations in 2014, making this year’s competition the most challenging yet,” said Bernie Skoch, AFA’s CyberPatriot national commissioner. “This year’s national finals will host previous finalists as well as schools brand new to the competition. We are pleased that our program is exciting young people about STEM education and preparing cyber defenders for a workforce that is in dire need of the skills they are developing in CyberPatriot.”

The CyberPatriot VII National Finals Competition will be held at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. Teams will compete to defend virtual networks and mobile devices from a professional aggressor team. The national finalists will also face-off in four additional competition components: the Digital Cyber Crime Scene Challenge from the Digital Forensic Consortium, the Cisco Networking Challenge, the Leidos Digital Forensics Challenge and a Mobile Application Challenge hosted by AT&T. These extra challenges expose teams to new elements and skillsets of the many career opportunities available to them.

CyberPatriot, an education initiative established by the Air Force Association and presented by the Northrop Grumman Foundation, is a one-of-a-kind cyber defense competition designed to inspire students toward futures in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Other program sponsors include Cyber Diamond sponsors AT&T Federal and the AT&T Foundation, Cisco, Microsoft, USA Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense; Cyber Gold sponsors Facebook, URS, Riverside Research, Splunk, and Symantec; and Cyber Silver sponsors Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Leidos, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and University of Maryland University College.

Parents of 2015-16 kindergarteners invited to info night and registration events

Great Beginnings to present kindergarten information nights Feb. 9 and 24; Kindergarten registration to be March 31 at all schools;
Mark your calendar for May 12 and 14 kindergarten jnCrayonsArtworkscreenings   

Parents of 2015-16 kindergarten students are invited to attend several important events to help prepare their children for school. They include a general kindergarten information night on Feb. 9 and 24, kindergarten registration on March 31 and kindergarten screening on May 12 and 14.

Great Beginnings Early Education Center will present two kindergarten information nights for parents of preschool children. Parents invited to attend one of two offerings, scheduled from 7 to 8 p.m. Feb. 9 at Pleasant Lea Middle School, 630 SW Persels Road, or from 7 to 8 p.m. Feb. 24 at Summit Lakes Middle School, 3500 SW Windemere Dr. These events will provide general kindergarten information.  School specific information will be available during kindergarten registration to be conducted at all schools March 31.

The events are designed for R-7 families who have children eligible for kindergarten in 2015-16. Child care will not be available at the events.

Each session, hosted by GBECC, will feature a panel discussion, including an elementary-school principal, a kindergarten teacher, a school counselor, a representative from Lee’s Summit R-7 Nutrition Services, a representative from R-7 Transportation Services, a school nurse and a representative from the R-7 Before- and After-School Services (BASS). Parents will have the opportunity to ask questions of the panelists during the discussion. For more information, contact Tracy Robinson at

Registration for 2015-16 kindergarten students will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. March 31 at all Lee’s Summit R-7 elementary schools. Parents should bring their children’s birth certificates or legal birth document, immunization records and current proof of residency. Proof of residency includes an original utility bill (only electricity, gas or water) that shows the resident’s name.

During the March 31 registration, parents will set appointments for kindergarten screening, scheduled on May 12 and 14 at all elementary schools. Completion of registration and screening are necessary for student assignment to a class list.

Longview Farm Elementary students help celebrate Missouri School Board Recognition Week

Students from Longview Farm Elementary School helped celebrate Missouri School Board Recognition Week during a special presentation at the Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education’s Jan. 22 meeting. The annual recognition week is Jan. 25 through 31 this year.

The students thanked the Board of Education and performed the song “Happy.”

School Board Recognition Week, sponsored by the Missouri School Boards’ Association, recognizes the more than 3,600 school board members across the state. These public servants are elected by local constituents and do not receive compensation for their tireless efforts.

The goal of this event is to build awareness and understanding of the important function an elected Board of Education plays in communities and schools.

R-7 School District Board of Education members are President Ron Baker, Vice President Terri Harmon, Bill Baird, Phyllis Balagna, Patti Buie, Chris Storms, and Bob White.


Longview Farm Elementary students musically thank R-7 Board of Education members during the Board’s January meeting.

Lee’s Summit R-7 School District receives Ethics in Business Award at Mayor’s Character Breakfast

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District received the annual Ethics in Business Award Jan. 22 during the Mayor’s Character Breakfast. The award is presented by Lee’s Summit CARES as part of the community-wide event attended by close to 700 people.

The Ethics in Business Award is a community-wide recognition presented to Lee’s Summit businesses and individuals who exhibit outstanding ethical practices. To be considered for the Ethics in Business Award, an organization or individual must complete a comprehensive application, obtain references and administer a survey to employees. Recipients are selected through a blind application process.

Dr. David McGehee and members of the R-7 Board of Education accepted the award on behalf of the district’s staff members, students and families. During the presentation, Dr. McGehee praised the district’s almost 2,600 employees and R-7 students as well as the entire community for their important roles in the successful school system.

The R-7 School District officially reorganized in 1949 when 16 rural districts combined with the Greenwood School District and the Lee’s Summit City District. In 1949, the district enrollment was approximately a little over 1,200. Today, more than 17,500 students attend the district’s 28 schools. The district is governed by a seven-member elected Board of Education, and all Board members serve as unpaid volunteers. For more information about Lee’s Summit R-7, visit


R-7 Board of Education members accept the Ethics in Business Award at the Jan. 22 Board meeting, including (from left) Dr. David McGehee (superintendent), Bob White, Chris Storms, Patti Buie, Ron Baker (Board president), Phyllis Balagna, Bill Baird and Terri Harmon (Board vice president).

Lee’s Summit R-7 community group travels to Jefferson City to advocate for public schools

School district’s legislative priorities include support for full funding of the Foundation Formula, support for fairness in funding and opposition of student transfers

Members of several Lee’s Summit R-7 School District community groups traveled to Jefferson City Jan. 21 to talk to state elected officials representing this area, advocating for adequate and fair funding for public schools and other legislative priorities.

Individuals making the advocacy trip were representatives of the R-7 Board of Education, Citizens’ Advisory Committee and Business Roundtable. The group consisted of Dr. David McGehee (R-7 superintendent), Ron Baker, Phyllis Balagna, Bill Baird, Ying Zurbuchen, David McCaughey, Dorothy Walk, Eric Gibbs and Stephen Hill.

The group met with the following legislators: Sen. Will Kraus, Sen. Paul LeVota, Rep. Rick Brattin, Rep. Joe Runions, Rep. Rebecca Roeber, Rep. Sheila Solon, Rep. Donna Pfautsch and Rep. Gary Cross.

During the meetings, the community members focused on the district’s legislative priorities for the 2015 Missouri General Assembly session. Key points the group highlighted are:

  • Support of the General Assembly providing appropriations for full funding of the Foundation Formula for public schools
  • Support of equal proration of the Foundation Formula as a percentage reduction for all school districts if the cost of the formula exceeds appropriations.
  • Opposition to the transfer of students out of accredited school districts, emphasizing that this practice is not in the best interests of all students and will not lead to improvement of unaccredited districts.
  • Support of local school districts’ authority to make decisions about matters such as open enrollment; employee compensation and working conditions; class sizes; curriculum and instruction materials; professional development; program and employee evaluations; and school calendar.

Support of fairness in the Foundation Formula, including equal proration as percentage reductions, is especially relevant this session. A new law, which becomes effective in 2015-16, would create additional inequities among school districts. Sometimes known as a “double hold-harmless” provision, the law includes measures to protect any school district that would have received less state funding under a Foundation Formula revised in 2005. The result is that districts not protected by this provision – such as Lee’s Summit R-7 – would lose significant amounts of funding while the hold-harmless districts are fully protected from any losses in state monies. Due to the wording of the new law, Lee’s Summit R-7 would be among the biggest potential losers with its state funding being reduced by an estimated $705,000 in 2015-16.

The R-7 School District’s complete list of legislative priorities is available on the district’s website at This website also includes a Toolkit for Advocacy, legislators voting records from the 2014 General Assembly session and contact information for elected officials. Community members are also invited to sign up for the district’s legislative electronic advocacy newsletter by visiting . An excellent source of local school information as well as legislative updates is Dr. McGehee’s Twitter account, located at @DrDavidMcGehee.


jnAdvocacyTripToJeffCityParticipating in the Lee’s Summit R-7 advocacy trip to Jefferson City were (front row, from left) Bill Baird and Ying Zurbuchen, (back row, from left) David McCaughey, Phyllis Balagna, Dorothy Walk, Eric Gibbs, Dr. David McGehee, Stephen Hill and Ron Baker.

LS CARES presents Parenting the Love and Logic Way for parents of tweens and teens

Lee’s Summit CARES will present Parenting the Love and Logic Way for Parents of Teens and LSCares LogoTweens from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays, Feb. 24 through March 31 at Pleasant Lea Middle School, 630 SW Persels. (No class will be held March 17 due to spring break.)

The course is designed to teach parents how to help their children navigate adolescence. Parents will learn how to end arguing and backtalk, establish good communication, set enforceable limits, teach responsibility and improve school motivation.

Cost for the class is $32 per participant, and previous participants pay just $10 for the new program manual. Scholarships are available to residents of the R-7 School District. For more information, contact Bev at ReDiscover, (816) 347-3259 or visit

The program is offered in collaboration with the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and funded in part by United Way of Eastern Jackson County.

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