Kindergarten students learn about plants by creating garden

Hazel Grove Elementary kindergarten students learned hands-on lessons about plants this spring by creating a garden. The students, along with the school’s recess supervisor Kathy Lotspeich, planted  salad greens, carrots, sugar snap peas, broccoli and cauliflower as well as a strawberry patch.

The students’ first harvest took place April 27, and students had the opportunity to have salad from the garden they planted. The students’ experience correlates with the kindergarten science curriculum which includes the needs of plants and  weather’s impact on plants.

LS R-7 online registration to open July 6

Through InfoSnap online software, process is streamlined for families and school employees

Lee’s Summit R-7 families may begin online registration for the 2017-18 school year on July 6. The school district transitioned to online registration in summer 2016. The online procedures replaced paper enrollment in 2016 and are designed to make it easier for families to register and prepare for the school year.

Families may use their 2016-17 Powerschool username and password. Families new to the school district are asked to contact their child’s school for enrollment and registration.

In addition to the time-saving advantages, online registration improves the accuracy of data since parents will enter their children’s information directly into the program. The previous enrollment and registration process required parents to submit paper copies with school staff members entering data from these forms into the database. For convenience sake, families also have the opportunity to pay any school fees online.

Birth certificates (for new students only), proof of residency and immunization records are uploaded by families using the online program. More information about residency and other requirements for enrollment are available on the Lee’s Summit R-7 website at

Graduation dates; livestreaming planned for three high schools

Lee’s Summit High School, Lee’s Summit North High School and Lee’s Summit West High School will be livestreaming their graduation ceremonies this year. The schools’ graduations are all held at the Community of Christ Auditorium, 1001 W. Walnut in Independence. They are planned for:


  • 7 p.m. May 12 for Lee’s Summit North High School
  • 7 p.m. May 15 for Lee’s Summit High School
  • 7 p.m. May 16 for Lee’s Summit West High School.


During each ceremony, the livestream for each school will be available at

LS R-7 teams do well at KC Regional BattleBOTS competition

Teams from Lee’s Summit North High School and Summit Technology Academy participated in the third annual BotsKC competition, held March 24-25 at Olathe Northwest High School. LSNHS qualified for nationals at the event and will compete at the National Robotics League (also known as BattleBOTS) competition, scheduled for May 18-20 in California, Pa.

A team from Lee’s Summit North, called Plan A, qualified for nationals by winning all battles at the March 25 regional contest. LSNHS also received a $1,000 grant from the National Tooling and Machining Association, a sponsor for BotsKC, to assist team members in traveling to Pennsylvania.

The Summit Technology Academy team, called Cere Vis (Brain Power), finished fifth among the 19 teams.

The competition is a gladiator-style robot battle. High school and college teams work for approximately six months to design and build their lightweight robots with the creations competing against each other in three-minute matches.

Teams work closely with area manufacturing companies on their robots. BotsKC, sponsored by the Kansas City Tooling and Machining Association, is designed to introduce students to high-tech careers in a fast-paced competition. There are two Missouri regional competitions held each spring — one in St. Louis and one in Kansas City.

For more information, about BotsKC, visit

The LSNHS team includes (from left) Thomas Carr, Xander Higgason, Joe Carr, George Noll, Josh Wilson, Jack Gavin, Skylar Horvath and Cameron Clover (advisor).




The Summit Tech team includes (from left) Kyle Greenwald, Kalub Ford, Tyler Wascom, Alex Johnson, Sam Galarnyk and Eric Walters (advisor).

Students build intergenerational bridges with John Knox Village residents

Students from the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and residents from John Knox Village recently had the opportunity to build intergenerational bridges and interact in a meaningful way thanks to a session sponsored by the school district and retirement community.

High-school members of the district’s Student Advisory Group met for lunch, discussions and a game session on April 21. The activity was facilitated by Dr. Emmanuel Ngomsi, president of All World Languages and Cultures of Lee’s Summit, a training and consulting corporation.

The students and senior citizens had the opportunity to interact and learn from each other. In addition, the participants were able to better appreciate the cultures of the various generations represented throughout the community. Dr. Ngomsi led a get-to-know-you session and provided the participants with practical tools to break age barriers and build efficient relationships.

“It is such an awesome intergenerational activity when residents of John Knox Village and Lee’s Summit school students come together,” said Kelli Snell, John Knox Village director of resident life. “These two groups are more alike than they are different and have so much to learn from each other. Building relationships and community is what it is all about.”

During the meeting, the young adults and senior citizens played a game called Yan-koloba, which has African roots. This group activity promotes respect and acceptance of all participants and builds trust in a relaxed environment.

“It was so much fun to be with fellow residents and enjoy the experience with the students,” said Marjorie Stowell, resident at John Knox Village. “The students were wonderful and genuinely interested in spending time with us. We played the game as well as had the opportunity to learn about each other. It was fantastic and I would love to do it again.”

The Lee’s Summit R-7 Student Advisory Group includes approximately 40 students from all R-7 high schools and middle schools. The student group is sponsored through the district’s Instructional Operations Team. It was formed in 2014-15 to help school district leaders receive student feedback and hear student perspectives on a regular basis.

“Our students and staff thoroughly enjoyed connecting with the residents of John Knox Village,” said Dr. Kevin Daniel, associate superintendent of instruction and leadership. “The collaboration was impactful and a meaningful experience about diversity for our students. We continue to appreciate the great relationships we have with our friends at John Knox Village and Dr. Ngomsi. What a great experience for our students.”

Students and senior citizens participate in intergenerational discussions and activities.

Jenn Mooney of LSNHS participates in George Washington Teacher Institute

Jenn Mooney, a social studies teacher at Lee’s Summit North High School, traveled to George Washington’s Mount Vernon to participate in a four-day, residential professional development program, March 30 to April 2.

Ms. Mooney attended The George Washington Teacher Institute’s Slavery in George Washington’s World program, which included an intensive study led by noted public historian Richard Josey of the Minnesota Historical Society and Dr. Kathryn Silva from Claflin University. Participants collaborated with Mount Vernon’s knowledgeable historians, curators and educators while on site.

A Lee’s Summit North High School teacher for 15 years, Ms. Mooney serves as the school’s A+ coordinator and teaches Advanced Studies American History and International Baccalaureate History of the Americas.

Ms. Mooney shared that the Teacher Institute “was a great experience, and I would encourage anyone who is interested to apply. It is not limited to secondary school teachers. Our group was also made up of elementary teachers, librarians and curriculum/professional development specialists.”

In addition to studying the context of slavery in the 18th century and Mount Vernon’s enslaved population, participants learned about Washington’s ideas about slavery. Participants used primary historical sources and archaeological evidence to explore ways to broaden students’ understanding of slavery and the challenges of teaching slavery and race in today’s classroom.

While at the Institute, Ms. Mooney lived on George Washington’s estate, within view of his mansion and attended daily sessions in the 45,000-square-foot Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington. She will develop and conduct a professional development workshop for her education community in order to share information from the Institute.

Institute participants from around the country included K-12 teachers, librarians, and media specialists selected by the George Washington Teacher Institute in a competitive application process. The George Washington Teacher Institute, founded in 1999, provides K-12 educators with professional development opportunities throughout the year through residential, online, and regional programming, as well as Teacher Fellowships. Private funding supports full-scholarships for residential program participants, including a transportation stipend, to qualified educators from select states. In 2017, 160 educators from across the nation will benefit from the George Washington Teacher Institute Residential Programs. For more information about the George Washington Teacher Institute, please visit

Jenn Mooney (center) listens as library staff discuss George Washington’s ledger.

BCMS Math Department donates 1 million pop tabs to Ronald McDonald House Charities

Students and staff members at Bernard Campbell Middle School combined math lessons, community service and tradition in a recent project benefitting Ronald McDonald House Charities.

In 1994, the Bernard Campbell Middle School Math Department challenged the school community to collect 1 million pop tabs so students could visualize a million. BCMS math teachers said they realized students could envision 10, 100 or even 1,000, but what did one million look like?  

In just over two years and with the help of the BCMS community, 1 million pop tabs were collected and displayed at BCMS. While it was truly a community effort, Carol Dunn (retired BCMS math teacher) was instrumental in facilitating the collection and storage of the pop tabs.

The pop tabs have been housed in the BCMS math hall since the original collection. Over the years, the idea of donating the pop tabs has been discussed on several occasions. This year,  BCMS is celebrating its 25th anniversary and as part of the celebration, staff and students have focused on giving back to the community.  

After discussion, school staff and students made the decision to make a donation to Ronald McDonald House Charities, an organization dedicated to helping kids and their families. On April 24, representatives from the BCMS student body and Shayla Winslow, current BCMS math teacher (and one of the original pop tab collectors), were greeted by Alan Lubert, community relations manager from Ronald McDonald House Charities.  

Before loading 41 boxes onto the truck, Mrs. Winslow shared her memories of collecting the pop tabs.  Winslow said, “We had two-liter bottles lining the walls of our classroom. For years following the collection, families would still bring me ziplock bags of pop tabs.”  

While it was difficult for Mrs. Winslow to see the pop tabs go after so many years, a smile came across her face when Mr. Lubert shared the donation was one of largest they’ve received this year and it would easily support a family for a week at the Ronald McDonald house.

Luke Petersen with the BCMS pop tabs before the donation.







Mr. Alan Lubert, community relations manager from Ronald McDonald House Charities,  presents a certificate of appreciation to representatives of BCMS staff and students.





Mrs. Winslow shares the pop tab collection story.

LSWHS and LSHS bowling teams advance to state competition

Bowling Club teams from Lee’s Summit West High School and Lee’s Summit High School are advancing to state competition after excelling at the Zone Tournament, a Missouri qualifier tournament held April 23 at Gladstone Bowl.

The two teams will be competing for a share of $10,000 in scholarships on May 27 in Union, Mo. Judy Keltner is coach for the Lee’s Summit R-7 bowling teams. Dave Adams is LSWHS coach, and Dave Estes is LSHS coach.

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

Citizens share district’s legislative platform, discuss public education funding and issues

Members of several Lee’s Summit R-7 School District community groups traveled to Jefferson City April 20 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 and Citizens’ Advisory Committee. The group consisted of Phyllis Balagna and Jackie Clark of the Board of Education; Dr. Dave Benson, interim superintendent; Dr. Brent Blevins, deputy superintendent; Elaine Bluml, Jaime Lyon, Mark Van Blaricum, Genevieve Boehm and Carrie Williams, all of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee.

The group met with the following legislators: Sen. Will Kraus, Sen. John Rizzo, Rep. Rick Brattin, Rep. Mike Cierpiot, Rep. Gary Cross, Rep. Donna Pfautsch, Rep. Rebecca Roeber, Rep. Rory Rowland, Rep. Joe Runions and Rep. Dan Stacy.

During the meetings, the community members focused on the district’s legislative priorities for the 2017 Missouri General Assembly session and discussed pending legislation.

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 and contact information for elected officials. Community members are also invited to sign up for the district’s legislative electronic advocacy newsletter by visiting .  

The Lee’s Summit R-7 community members are pictured with Sen. Will Kraus.

LSHS art students capture awards in spring competitions

The Lee’s Summit High School Art Department was recently recognized at the MOSAIC Project, held during the April First Fridays in Kansas City’s Crossroads District. Students from LSHS had more than 80 tiles on display through the project. More than 110 LSHS students participated in the art show including students in National Art Honor Society and numerous art classes.

In addition, a number of LSHS art students received awards from Congressman Emanuel Cleaver at the Congressional Art Competition, held April 15 at the the Kansas City Public Library. Senior Jocelyn Sands also captured fifth place. The competition included more than 300 works of art on display.

LSHS students honored at the April 15 Congressional Art Competition were Patricia Gonzalez Amigo, Miara Brown, Katelyn Caldwell, Evan Clarke, Luke Coopert, Wren Cooper, Kennedy Elliot, Alyssa Harmon, Tressa Humbird, Kaiden Leonard, Alexandria Mesz, Emma Oesterley, Jerrica Patterson, Jocelyn Sands and Emily Williams.

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