R-7 School District receives 100-percent exemplary state school bus inspection

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District recently received outstanding results on the district’s annual school bus inspection, conducted March March 20 and 21 by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Of the 150 school buses inspected, the inspectors did not identify a single advisory defect within the entire fleet. Although the school district has a history of outstanding state safety inspections, officials believe this is the first 100-percent passage report in at least 30 years. Among Missouri districts with a bus fleet of more than 100, there were no reports of a district achieving the 100-percent score during 2016.

Keith Henry, R-7 director of transportation, said the R-7 Transportation Department staff is to be commended for this remarkable 100-percent inspection.

The annual inspection included items such as light bulbs, tires, seat frames, exhaust systems, brakes, windshield wipers and many other school bus components. For a large bus fleet such as Lee’s Summit R-7’s, this means that more than 6,000 light bulbs were working with no cracks or discoloration; all 900 plus tires were properly inflated with proper tread, no bulges, no cracks or blemishes; and more than 3,000 seats were considered safe with no tears, cracks, mounting issues or padding failures — just to name a few examples of the more than 180 items each bus was inspected for during this two-day inspection.

The R-7 Transportation Department has a long-running tradition of successful state school bus inspections and passage rates. The department has averaged a 95-percent approval rating the past 30 years, well above the state average of 82 to 87 percent. The department has received the state’s Exemplary School Bus Maintenance Award for 11 consecutive years during summer conferences hosted by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The March 2017 outstanding inspection qualified the R-7 School District to receive the School Bus Exemplary Fleet Maintenance Award from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the School Bus Fleet Excellence Award from the Highway Patrol at the annual state conference in July.

Transportation Department’s maintenance staff includes Eric Slover, fleet maintenance supervisor; Rusty Rhoads and Joe Hand, lead mechanics; Larry Rachaner, Chris Barnes, Charles Parrot and Mike Walker, mechanics; and Payton Hargrave, Mark Edwards and Jimmy York, mechanic helpers.

The R-7 School District transports approximately 12,500 students each school day, traveling more than 2 million miles annually within the 117-square-mile school district.

Lee’s Summit R-7 School District earns Meritorious Budget Award from national organization

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District was selected to receive the Meritorious Budget Award for
excellence in budget presentation by the Association of School Business Officials. The award recognizes the district’s budget for the 2016-17 school year.

According to the national organization, the Meritorious Budget Award promotes and recognizes excellence in school budget presentation while acknowledging school business officials’ skills in developing, analyzing and presenting a school system budget. After a rigorous review by professional auditors, the award is conferred only on school districts that have met or exceeded the program’s stringent criteria. The award is sponsored by Voya Financial, Inc.  

Judges for the award praised the district’s budget, stating, “The Lee’s Summit School District produced a budget of the highest quality that provides essential information for every stakeholder of the district.”

The Lee’s Summit R-7 budget is available on the school district’s website at www.lsr7.org.

About ASBO International
ASBO International, founded in 1910, is a professional organization of 5,000 members that provides programs and services to promote the highest standards of school business management practices, professional growth, and the effective use of education resources.  For more information about the Meritorious Budget Award or Pathway to the MBA, visit asbointl.org/MBA.

Lee’s Summit R-7 PTAs/PTSAs participate in National Arts in Education Program

Students honored for outstanding creative work

Lee’s Summit R-7 School District students recently participated in PTA ReflectionsSM, a national arts in education recognition program. Through their schools and PTAs/PTSAs, students submitted creative works inspired by the 2016-2017 Reflections Program theme, “What is Your Story?”  

For more than 40 years, the national PTA Reflections Program has encouraged students across the nation and in American schools overseas to explore their artistic talents. PTA emphasizes that all children deserve a quality arts education and encourages students to pursue artistic expression through participation in the annual Reflections Program.

Students in preschool through 12th grade are invited to create and submit works of art in the areas of dance choreography, film production, literature, musical composition, photography and the visual arts.

The top three winners at the school level were submitted to Missouri PTA for state judging.

R-7 winners included Ethan Hardy, second place, dance choreography, primary grade, Richardson Elementary; Raigan Falke, third place, dance choreography, intermediate grade, Summit Pointe Elementary; Alexandra Falke, fifth place, dance choreography, intermediate grade, Summit Pointe Elementary; Jordan DeVoy, Honorable mention, dance choreography, middle school, Summit Lakes Middle School; Camden Bond, third place, film production, primary grade, Longview Farm Elementary; Caroline Hux, honorable mention, film production, intermediate grade, Richardson Elementary; Oliver Mathews, second place, literature, primary grade, Hazel Grove Elementary; Keilah Wheeler, third place, literature, primary grade, Hazel Grove Elementary; Alecsandra Dragomir, honorable mention, literature, high school, Lee’s Summit North High School; Cole Hayes, honorable mention, literature, intermediate grade, Richardson Elementary; Lillian Maggio, honorable mention, literature, middle school, Summit Lakes Middle School; Renae Sargent, honorable mention, literature, intermediate grade, Mason Elementary; Hannah Borgstadt, second place, music composition, intermediate grade, Longview Farm Elementary; Julia Washburn, fourth place, music composition, intermediate grade, Mason Elementary; Lincoln Hamaker, honorable mention, music composition, intermediate grade, Richardson Elementary; Hailey Wray, honorable mention, music composition, intermediate grade, Mason Elementary; Mayleigh McCoy, third place, photography, middle school, Mason Elementary; Charleston Selley, third place, photography, intermediate grade, Hazel Grove Elementary; Tommy Davis, fifth place, photography, intermediate grade, Mason Elementary; Duncan Black, honorable mention, photography, primary grade, Mason Elementary; Kinsey Gilliland, honorable mention, photography, middle school, Mason Elementary; Colten Hullinger, honorable mention, photography, primary grade, Mason Elementary; Emma Stafford, honorable mention, photography, intermediate grade, Mason Elementary; Connor Sinks, fourth place, visual arts, primary grade, Longview Farm Elementary; Duncan Black, honorable mention, visual arts, primary grade, Mason Elementary; Neah Crudup, honorable mention, visual arts, intermediate grade, Hazel Grove Elementary; Taylor Phillips, honorable mention, visual arts, middle school, Summit Lakes Middle School; Taylor Ramsey, honorable mention, visual arts, intermediate grade, Trailridge Elementary; Noelle Wood, honorable mention, visual arts, middle school, Summit Lakes Middle School.

The Theme for 2017-2018 is “Within Reach.”  For more information about the Reflections program next year or to volunteer at your local school, please contact the school’s PTA president. The program is made possible thanks to numerous volunteers throughout the district.

Paige Maxwell Chosen for Statewide Outstanding Youth Prevention Award

Paige Maxwell, a senior at Lee’s Summit High School, was awarded the 2017 Outstanding Youth Prevention Award by ACT Missouri. The award honors young people who have made a commitment and significant contribution to prevent underage drinking and substance use in their communities. Award winners were presented the prestigious award along with a Senate resolution.

“Paige exemplifies the dedication, resourcefulness, and tenacity it takes for youth to make a difference in their communities,” said Alicia Ozenberger, deputy director.  “ACT Missouri is thrilled to recognize Paige for her hard work over the past year.”

She was nominated by Lee’s Summit CARES, whose programs focus on youth substance use prevention, bullying and suicide prevention, parenting education and character development for youth and families of the Greater Lee’s Summit area.

Paige is a four-year member of Lee’s Summit CARES city-wide Youth Advisory Board (YAB) and a four-year member of her school-based ATOD prevention group, Tiger SMART. Through her work on the Youth Advisory Board, Paige has proven to be an excellent resource in the group’s efforts to advocate for healthy, drug-free lifestyles. When engaging her peers through the annual Celebrate Sober social media campaign, Paige’s coalition can count on her to have her finger on the pulse of the student body to guide the creation and implementation of the campaign. Paige is comfortable and competent in speaking publicly to community leaders. As a Youth Advisory Board member, she has spoken at our community marijuana forum and represents YAB at numerous community events to promote their drug-free message.

Coalition leaders throughout the state nominated youth for the award with an essay highlighting their community service and extracurricular activities.  The awards were presented on March 8 as part of the 13th annual Speak Hard Youth Conference in Jefferson City.  

ACT Missouri is the statewide training and resource center for substance use prevention.  

LS R-7 Board of Education names new administrators, approves administrative reorganization

Changes will not result in any net additional administrative staff and will save around $17,000

The Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education named several new administrators as well as a reorganization at the district office at the March 16 meeting. The reorganization, which is for the 2017-18 school year, is designed to improve services for Lee’s Summit R-7 professional staff, enhance student instruction and better align staffing with the district’s TEAM Lee’s Summit priorities as well as the district’s recent Academic Systems Review.

The reorganization will not result in any net additional administrative staff positions at the district’s Stansberry Leadership Center. In addition, the staffing changes will result in a total savings of approximately $17,000 during 2017-18.

As part of the administrative reorganization, the Board announced the following changes, which will take place July 1:

  • With the retirement of Dr. Brent Blevins, currently deputy superintendent of operations, this position will be changed to associate superintendent for business and operations. Dr. Judy Hedrick, currently assistant superintendent of business services, was appointed to this associate superintendent position. The district does not plan to hire a replacement for the assistant superintendent of business services position.
  • Dr. Hedrick’s appointment to her new position is resulting in the creation of a new position — director of accounting. This position will be filled later this spring.
  • With the retirement of Donna Southwick, director of special services, this position is being eliminated. To address needs in the special education area, the district’s four special services coordinators are moving from a 217-day annual contract to a 244-day contract. Dr. Emily Miller, the district’s assistant superintendent for special services, is continuing in this position and will continue to supervise this area.
  • In recognition of the critical importance of enhanced professional development, Dr. Kevin Daniel, currently associate superintendent of instruction and leadership, will be filling the newly created role of executive director of professional development.
  • Dr. Katie Collier, currently assistant superintendent of elementary instruction, was appointed to associate superintendent of instruction and leadership.
  • District officials will be announcing the 2017-18 assistant superintendent of elementary instruction later this spring.
  • Dr. David Sharp was named new assistant superintendent of secondary instruction. Dr. Sharp, currently principal at Lee’s Summit West High School, is replacing Dr. Don Andrews who is retiring in June.
  • Dr. David Carlson was named the district’s new executive director of classified personnel. Dr. Carlson, currently principal at Summit Lakes Middle School, is replacing Dr.
    Dianna Rentie, who is retiring in June.

In addition, Katie Whaley, currently a math specialist at Meadow Lane Elementary School, was named
assistant principal for Richardson Elementary School. She replaces Kimberly Hassler, who will serve as principal at Longview Farm Elementary next year.

Additional information about the new administrators as well as administrators taking on new roles within the school district follows.

Dr. Judy Hedrick has worked in the R-7 School District for 27 years and has more than 37 years of
experience in education. During her career with Lee’s Summit R-7 Business Services, she has served as accounting supervisor, director, executive director and is currently assistant superintendent. Previously, she worked for approximately 10 years for the
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s School Finance and Student Transportation
Department. Dr. Hedrick earned her bachelor’s degree in business education from Lincoln University,
her master’s degree in secondary school administration from Lincoln University, her specialist degree in
school administration from the University of Central Missouri and her doctorate in educational leadership from St. Louis University.  

Dr. Katie Collier has served as Lee’s Summit R-7 assistant superintendent of elementary instruction since 2012. She has worked for the R-7 School District for 19 years and as an educator for 22 years. Her experience in Lee’s Summit includes teacher at Underwood Elementary,
assistant principal at Cedar Creek and Pleasant Lea Elementary, principal at Lee’s Summit and Underwood Elementary and coordinator for elementary gifted education. Dr. Collier earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and special education from Northwest Missouri State University, her master’s degree in education administration from the University of Kansas City-Missouri and her doctorate in educational leadership from Baker University.

Dr. Kevin Daniel has worked for the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District for since 2014 and previously served as assistant superintendent of academic services in the Raymore-Peculiar
School District. Dr. Daniel also has experience as a high-school and middle-school principal and teacher. He earned his bachelor’s, master’s and specialist degrees from Northwest Missouri State University and his doctoral degree from Saint Louis University.

Dr. David Sharp has served as principal at Lee’s Summit West High School since 2011 and previously worked as director at Summit Technology Academy and as assistant principal at LSWHS. He has 16 years of educational administrative experience. Before coming to Lee’s Summit R-7, Dr. Sharp worked as associate principal/activities director at Fort Osage High School and as an assistant principal and teacher for the Independence School District. He also served for two years in the U.S. Army. Dr. Sharp earned his bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Central Missouri, his master’s and specialist degrees in educational administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and his doctorate in educational leadership from Baker University.

Dr. David Carlson has served as principal at Summit Lakes Middle School since 2011. He previously
served as assistant principal at Bernard Campbell Middle School and as director of summer school, summer school principal and teacher at the Liberty School District. Dr. Carlson
earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Midland University, his master’s degree in educational administration from Northwest Missouri State University and his doctorate in educational leadership from St. Louis University.

Katie Whaley, has worked at Meadow Lane Elementary since 2014 and
previously worked as a teacher at Summit Pointe Elementary and as a teacher in the Raytown and North Kansas City districts. Mrs. Whaley earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary
education from Stephens College, her master’s degree in elementary education from Walden University and her specialist degree in educational leadership from the University of Central Missouri.

Two LS R-7 middle schools recognized through KC Healthy Kids’ I Am Here photo contest

Bernard Campbell and Pleasant Lea Middle Schools were both recognized in the KC Healthy Kids’ I Am Here photo contest. Through the competition, each school is receiving $100 to be used for health and wellness.

Receiving honorable-recognition were seventh-graders in Stu Reece’s class at Campbell Middle School and seventh-graders in Joel Staponski’s class at Pleasant Lea. The entries included photo stories showing how their community helps or hinders healthy habits.

Photos submitted by the BCMS students depicted a proposal to support healthy incentives throughout the school. “Rather than candy/donut incentives, the group of students proposed a plan to install a school vending machine that contained items from our Mustang Garage school store,” Mr. Reece said. Under the proposal, students could earn tokens instead of junk food with tokens redeemable in a vending machine for T-shirts, earbuds and other healthy items.

The PLMS healthy photos included playgrounds, crosswalks, sidewalks, Lee’s Summit Farmers’ Market and Sprouts. Photos illustrating items that hinder health submitted by the students included old, cracked sidewalks, streets without sidewalks and fast food restaurants.  

Through the contest, teachers helped students think critically about how their surroundings – walking trails or broken sidewalks, safe playgrounds or blighted lots, schoolyard gardens or fast food restaurants – impact their health. Third- through eighth-grade students from six counties in the metro area were invited to participate.

KC Healthy Kids, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the health of Greater Kansas City’s children presented honorable mention awards during the Champions for Health youth summit on March 2, and students were recognized during the I Am Here Awards, held over lunch at the summit.  

Champions for Health is an all-day conference where 200 students who participated in the contest learned to speak out for healthier food in schools, walkable communities, urban farms and gardens and more.

Find out more about I am Here Awards at https://www.kchealthykids.org/2017-champions-health-youth-summit-awards/





About I Am Here and KC Healthy Kids

KC Healthy Kids’ I Am Here Photo Contest started in 2013. It has since evolved into a comprehensive youth advocacy program for schools and community groups. The program teaches students how their surroundings impact their health and how to create change through advocacy. The I Am Here Photo Contest is a fun and easy way for students to get a feel for advocacy and have a chance to win $2,500 for health and wellness projects at their schools.

KC Healthy Kids rallies the people in our communities to improve access to affordable fresh food and safe places to walk and play. When our neighborhoods support healthy habits, we are less likely to suffer from obesity, which is linked to Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and poor mental health. To make a lasting impact, we shape policies that improve our food system and physical surroundings, and, ultimately, the places where we live, work, learn, and play.

LSNHS, LSWHS music students perform at Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

Music students from Lee’s Summit North High School and Lee’s Summit West High School had the opportunity to perform at the world-renowned Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts on March 12.  Thanks to a collaborative effort between the Kauffman Center, area businesses, music directors and music parents, students in the band, choir and orchestra performed in the beautiful Helzberg Hall with more than 1,200 people at each school’s concert.

The LSWHS groups performed in the afternoon and the LSNHS groups performed that evening.

Area businesses provided sponsorship funds covering the rental cost of the hall.  Thanks to this support, the Kauffman Center was able to return all of the net ticket proceeds to the schools’ Music Parents organizations as a fundraiser. Music Parents officials estimated that each school would earn close to $10,000 to benefit their music programs.

Hawthorn Bank was a diamond sponsor for the concert. Platinum sponsors were Meyer Music; Brad and Sandy Cox; B&B Theaters; Gale Communities; Henderson Engineers; Rockhill Orthopaedics; Stinson Leonard Street; and Unemployment Insurance Services.

A full list of sponsors is available at titanmusic.lsr7.org/sponsors.

The LSWHS choir performs.







The LSWHS orchestra performs.







LSNHS choir members perform.







The LSNHS orchestra performs.








After a concert at the Kauffman Center.








LSWHS band members perform.

Pleasant Lea Elementary celebrates 50 years

Current and former students, staff members and families celebrated Pleasant Lea Elementary’s 50th anniversary at a reception held March 12 at the school. Several hundred people attended the special event including former principals Byron Keith, Barb Standridge and Trish Alexander.

Those attending had the opportunity to tour the school and reminisce about Pleasant Lea’s history. A number of historic displays were available throughout the school for visitors.

Pleasant Lea Elementary opened in 1966 with 17 teachers and 325 students. Today, the school has 37 teachers and 574 students. It is estimated that Pleasant Lea Elementary has served more than 28,000 students over the past 50 years.

The cost of the original school in 1966 was estimated at $367,000. The school, named after Dr. Pleasant Lea, is located near the district’s highest point or summit.

Students Lanie Prier and Graham Elbert at the celebration event.







Aaron Barnett (right), principal, and Derrick Hartley, assistant principal, greet visitors.  






Principals attending the event included Charles Byron Keith (front), 1966-1984; (back row, from left) Barb Standridge (1988-2000), Trish Alexander (2000-2016) and Aaron Barnett (2016-present).

R-7 School District seniors named to Missouri Scholars 100

Four Lee’s Summit R-7 School District high school seniors were recently selected for the 2017 Missouri Scholars 100, a statewide program that honors 100 of Missouri’s top academic students in the graduating class of 2016. Students will be recognized at a luncheon in Columbia on April 23.

R-7 students selected are Connor Lovelace and Paige Maxwell of Lee’s Summit High School; Stacey Edmonsond of Lee’s Summit North High School; and Collin Thompson of Lee’s Summit West High School. In addition, Kaitlyn Owens of Lee’s Summit North High School received the Missouri Scholars 100 honorable mention award.

Missouri Scholars 100 is sponsored by the Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals. Schools across Missouri are invited to nominate candidates for this state-wide recognition. The selection is based primarily on a formula using the student’s grade-point average (GPA) and ACT or SAT college-preparation score. Each nominated student had to first meet criteria of an “academic decathlon,” which included 10 events designed to assure the academic strength of the student. To meet the decathlon requirements, the student must have a minimum GPA of 3.75, a minimum ACT score of 29 or a minimum SAT score of 2,400, be ranked in the upper 10 percent of the class and have taken upper-level courses in mathematics, science, English and foreign language. The student must also have excellent attendance, be an exemplary school citizen and be involved in school activities.

Sunset Valley Elementary celebrates National School Breakfast Week

Sunset Valley Elementary was among a number of Lee’s Summit R-7 schools celebrating National School Breakfast Week during early March. On March 10, special guests during breakfast included KC Wolf of the Kansas City Chiefs and representatives from Coldwater and Abundant Life.

Coldwater and Abundant Life are involved in active food pantries within Lee’s Summit and visited the school to learn about the breakfast program. This information will help the food pantry representatives inform families with children about the availability of the Lee’s Summit R-7 school breakfast program.

The representatives told school staff members that they were impressed with the breakfast program, which is available at all schools. The guests also toured classrooms to observe students eating breakfast at their desks. Students are able to pick up their breakfasts, go to classrooms, sit down to eat breakfast and work on homework or read books. Teachers shared that the students are much calmer since they have the opportunity to sit down, eat breakfast and be ready to start the day.

In addition to visiting during breakfast, KC Wolf stopped for a visit with students in the school’s medically fragile program.

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