Teacher and her son go above and beyond for hospitalized student

Prince Charming visits critically ill kindergartener at Children’s Mercy Hospital

Woodland Elementary kindergartener Mira Fencl met the man of her dreams while hospitalized thanks to teacher Michelle Uptegrove and her son. Due to a life-threatening medical condition, Mira is receiving homebound lessons from Mrs. Uptegrove at home and frequently at Children’s Mercy Hospital.dcwlehomeboundandprince1

“Like any 5-year-old girl,dcwlehomeboundandprince2 she loves princesses!” said Mrs. Uptegrove. “Over the past several weeks, she has had to undergo three surgeries, and I wanted to do something special for her.”

After purchasing a Cinderella gown and “glass slippers” for Mira, the teacher recruited her son, Connor, a college student who was home for Thanksgiving break.  

“I worked with the nurses at Children’s Mercy to get her ‘princess ready,’ and then she met her prince,” Mrs. Uptegrove added. “Mira was over the moon and was a true little princess!”

During the special hospital visit, Connor, wearing a Prince Charming costume, and Mira toured her “castle” and “kingdom.” They also played Hungry, Hungry Hippos with Princess Mira beating the prince hands-down, Mrs. Uptegrove added.

Although health issues have kept Mira from attending school this year, she has been able to use her Google Chromebook to log into her kindergarten class each day. Through Connect2Learn, each R-7 student is provided a Google Chromebook to use at home and at school.

Mrs. Uptegrove is a life skills teacher at Cedar Creek Elementary, Lee’s Summit R-7 Teacher of the Year and Missouri Teacher of the Year finalist. Connor is a freshman attending school in South Carolina and a graduate of Blue Springs South High School.

Bob Klausing receives Learning for Life Award for December

Bob Klausing was named the Lee’s Summit R-7 Learning for Life Award winner for December. He is an art teacher at Lee’s Summit West High School.dclflbobklausing

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

“Bob’s ability to encourage and inspire with his techniques brings out the best in each student,” said a colleague. “I am amazed at the grace and empathy he shows to students while still maintaining a rigorous classroom environment, pushing students to achieve what they never thought possible.”

Teachers participate in national conference for foreign-language teachers

Lee’s Summit R-7 School District teachers recently attended the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages annual Convention and World Language Expo, held Nov. 18-20 in Boston. Teachers attending included Elisabeth Hayles, Lee’s Summit High School French teacher; Jeremy Jordan, Lee’s Summit High School Spanish teacher; Rachel Benson, Lee’s Summit High School German teacher; and Julie Hume, Lee’s Summit West High School German teacher.dcforlangbensonandhume dcforlangjordanandhayles dcforlangbensonhumehayles

Mrs. Hume and Mrs. Benson were also featured presenters at the event with a session titled “In the Director’s Chair: Creating Short Films to Learn About Culture.” Their presentation also included how to use iPads, Chromebooks, green screens and other tools for student research on the German culture as well as information on music videos, short documentaries, travelogues and short films.

Mrs. Hayles participated in Tea with BVP, a weekly call-in talk show which features comedy and focuses on second language acquisition and language teaching.

The annual conference included more than 7,000 language educators.  The goal of the event is to provide a comprehensive professional development experience that will have an impact on language educators at all levels of teaching and in turn help their students to succeed in their language learning process.

LSWHS student named finalist for KCP&L’s Community MVP Award

Maxwell McKinney, a student at Lee’s Summit West High School, was recently named a finalist for Kansas City Power and Light’s (KCP&L) Community MVP Award. As one of 10 Kansas City metropolitan area finalists, Maxwell is receiving a $1,000 scholarship. He is also eligible to compete for the grand prize — a $5,000 scholarship. The program is co-sponsored by the Kansas City Chiefs football team.nvlswmaxwellmckinney

The LSWHS student was selected as a finalist from among hundreds of nominees. The 10 finalists are invited to attend a VIP experience at Arrowhead to watch the Kansas City Chiefs vs. the Titans on Dec. 18.

The top winner will be selected based on online voting among the 10 finalists. The website, located at KCPL.com/MVP is open from Nov. 28 through Dec. 1.

“Maxwell is always willing to help out at home with his younger siblings, tutoring a friend for an upcoming test or visiting with senior citizens. He is a respectful young man that is always willing to lend a helping hand,” said a nomination.

Maxwell began volunteering in the community by planting flowers and trees at a local senior living facility at age 5. He currently volunteers with Hope House, Harvesters, YMCA, Lee’s Summit West football camps and Jack and Jill of America, Inc. In addition, he has volunteered his time in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado and North Carolina.

The KCP&L Community MVP program is designed to spotlight youth in the metropolitan area who are making a positive difference in the lives of others.

Reminder: R-7 recycling bins no longer able to accept community recycling

Due to a change from the district’s solid-waste vendor, Deffenbaugh Industries, recycling bins located at Lee’s Summit R-7 schools and facilities are no longer able to accept materials from community members. Schools and district facilities are continuing to participate in recycling at each building through the district-wide program. Items accepted in the bins are restricted to recycling generated at the school.

During the summer, Lee’s Summit R-7 officials were notified by Deffenbaugh Industries that they could no longer offer free pick-ups for community recycling items. Based on this notice of fee increase, the district issued a bid and received two additional bids from solid waste companies (Republic and Town & Country). Both proposed a significant fee to pick up the community recyclables at district facilities. Deffenbaugh also proposed adding more containers and charging a significant monthly fee to pick up both district and community recycling. Their offer was declined by the school district based on the cost and impact on the R-7 budget. Lee’s Summit R-7 continues to be a strong supporter of recycling and green initiatives throughout the district.

Jenny Henry receives Learning for Life Award for November

Jenny Henry was named the Lee’s Summit R-7 Learning for Life Award winner for November. She is the attendance secretary at Lee’s Summit Elementary.nvlfljennyhenry-2

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

“She is a constant positive role model and encourager to the students, staff and families in our building,” said a colleague. “Jenny’s generosity is bountiful, and she gives with a genuine heart.”

From Dr. Benson: Joining together to create an innovative path for student success

By Dr. Dave Benson

Lee’s Summit R-7 Interim Superintendentdave-benson-3-1

The progressive collaboration involving Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, the University of Central Missouri (UCM) and Metropolitan Community College (MCC) is noteworthy example of what can happen when we work together on behalf of students.

With the assistance of business partners, our three educational organizations have joined forces to create an innovative path for student success. Since opening in 2012, the Missouri Innovation Campus has literally reshaped the way students experience education, reduced student higher-education debt and accelerated the time needed to earn a college degree. Thanks to the businesses involved in the Missouri Innovation Campus, students also participate in long-term internships, earning highly sought-after skills for high-paying careers.

The unique partnership allows students to earn an associate degree from the community college just after high-school graduation and a bachelor’s degree two years later. Through an innovative financial structure, students not only graduate from college two years earlier than their peers, they have little or no student debt.

Recognized both regionally and nationally as a model for other education institutions, the Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC) is continuing to grow in student numbers and available programs. In its first year, the MIC included 11 students participating in the systems engineering program. Currently the program includes 80 students within four cohorts involved in systems engineering, drafting and design, software development and cyber security. We expect the MIC to continue to grow and are especially excited about opening our new facility in summer 2017. The new school facility is a mutually beneficial partnership between Lee’s Summit R-7 and UCM, designed to improve our learning environment, share resources and save money.

We recently reached out to a few of our partners and asked them to share their thoughts on this groundbreaking partnership.

“We’re very proud of the exceptional relationship between UCM, the Lee’s Summit School District, MCC and numerous business partners that has made the Missouri Innovation Campus possible,” said Dr. Chuck Ambrose, UCM president. “As public institutions that serve students, we owe much gratitude to our governance boards for providing leadership that allowed us to move forward. Our governance leaders were not only visionary, but they demonstrated tremendous faith in our faculty, staff and administrators to enable us to take this program from an idea stage to implementation in a short timeframe to meet both student and business needs.”

“The Missouri Innovation Campus is an innovative program that has produced demonstrated results – graduates who are ready for the workforce,” said Dr. Kirk Nooks, president of Metropolitan Community College-Longview. “It is just the icing on the cake when you get to look a student in the eye and congratulate him or her on graduating with a high school diploma and associate degree within the same week.”

Dr. Sharon Nibbelink is superintendent of the Center School District, one of 14 school districts sending students to the Missouri Innovation Campus. “Being part of the Missouri Innovation Campus provides our students with enhanced opportunities to be immersed in the real world of experience,” she said. “We have to give our kids opportunities to work on projects with businesses and teams that are solving problems. Our students benefit from this partnership because we’re providing collaborative opportunities preparing them for life after high school.”

Business partners have been essential in the success of the program. Andy Cole, university relations program leader of DST, one of the businesses involved, said, “As one of three original corporate partners, DST Systems continues to see great value in our partnership with Summit Technology Academy and the Missouri Innovation Campus. The curriculum continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of our workforce. Our MIC interns are being taught the skills needed in the classroom that allow them to come to work ready to add value and to help solve real business problems each and everyday.  This program is helping to contribute to the long-term health of the Kansas City Tech Community!”

For more information, check out the open house opportunities on Jan. 12 and Feb. 1 at https://sta.lsr7.org/rsvp/.

Through the work of this progressive collaboration, the Missouri Innovation Campus has become a nationally recognized leader in connecting students to an affordable, meaningful education while providing businesses with a skilled, career-ready workforce. We are proud of our students and staff members and thankful for the individuals and organizations contributing to this success story.

Summit Technology Academy teacher attends launch of NOAA weather satellite

Hope MacKenzie, Project Lead the Way aerospace engineering and digital electronics teacher at Summit Technology Academy, visited Kennedy Space Center to witness the launch of NOAA’s GOES-R weather satellite on Nov. 19. She also attended an educator workshop focused on the GOES-R satellite and its revolutionary instruments.nvstarocketlaunchblast nvstarocketlaunch nvstarocketlaunchwithsign

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R Series (GOES-R) is the nation’s next generation of geostationary weather satellites. The GOES-R series is designed to significantly improve the detection and observation of environmental phenomena that directly impact public safety, protection of property and our nation’s economic health and prosperity.

The satellite will provide advanced imaging with increased spatial resolution and faster coverage for more accurate forecasts, real-time mapping of lightning activity, and improved monitoring of solar activity. The GOES-R series is a four-satellite program (GOES-R/S/T/U) that will extend the availability of the operational GOES satellite system through 2036.

LSNHS student named finalist for KCP&L’s Community MVP Award

Meghan Bell, a student at Lee’s Summit North High School, was recently named a finalist for Kansas City Power and Light’s (KCP&L) Community MVP Award. As one of 10 Kansas City metropolitan area finalists, Meghan is receiving a $1,000 scholarship. She is also eligible to compete for the grand prize — a $5,000 scholarship. The program is co-sponsored by the Kansas City Chiefs football team.nvlsn-kcplawardphoto

The LSNHS student was selected as a finalist from among hundreds of nominees. The 10 finalists are invited to attend a VIP experience at Arrowhead to watch the Kansas City Chiefs vs. the Titans on Dec. 18.

The top winner will be selected based on online voting among the 10 finalists. The website, located at KCPL.com/MVP is open from Nov. 28 through Dec. 1.

Meghan was nominated by Nancy Nokes, current substitute teacher and retired Lee’s Summit North High School art teacher.

“Meghan is the most genuine, unassuming and giving young person I have ever known,” said Mrs. Nokes in her nomination. “I still remember her bringing me a ‘sunshine box’ that she filled with yellow objects just to brighten my day. Her friends shared with me that as soon as Meghan had a little money she would spend it buying gifts for others. I knew she was always giving back, but when I sat down with her to find out more, I was stunned at the level of volunteerism for her age.”

At Lee’s Summit North High School, Meghan developed and initiated a new club, Adopt a Soldier, last year. She has volunteered as a camp counselor at Heartland Camp and also at the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota working with children. She just recently signed up to volunteer for Reach to Read, an organization where she reads to children while they wait for hospital check ups.  

In addition, Meghan has volunteered at John Calvin Manor, a senior living center, in the office as well as serving meals and picnics. At school, she is the community service officer for FCCLA (Family, Community and Career Leaders of America), is on the tennis team, was the Academic Award winner in art her sophomore year and carries an overall GPA of 3.5.

“Meghan also volunteers for various activities through her church and I know, without a doubt, she will continue to make an impact on the lives of others,” Mrs. Nokes added.

The KCP&L Community MVP program is designed to spotlight youth in the metropolitan area who are making a positive difference in the lives of others.

LSWHS hosting sixth annual Holiday Mart on Dec. 10

Lee’s Summit West High School is hosting the sixth annual Holiday Mart from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 10 8179594890_3fb4115dc81at the school, 2600 SW Ward Road. The event will include an assortment of stylish, eclectic products including holiday decorations, jewelry, fashion and gourmet items.  
For any questions, please visit the Lee’s Summit West Journalism Parent’s Group Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/lswjournalism/ or email pbjgirl@aol.com.

 

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