Tavish Whiting named Missouri VFW Teacher of the Year

Tavish Whiting, a social studies teacher at Lee’s Summit North High School, received the Missouri Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) High School Teacher of the Year Award during a June 9 ceremony, held in Springfield. Earlier this year, Mr. Whiting was honored as High School Teacher of the Year by both the VFW Post 5789 of Lee’s Summit and the VFW District 5.

Mr. Whiting has worked for the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District for 22 years. At LSNHS, he teaches American government, comparative government, contemporary issues and economics. He serves as the coordinator for R-7 Votes, a mock election conducted in all R-7 schools during presidential elections. In addition, Mr. Whiting was  member of the R-7 curriculum writing team for American government, contemporary issues, economics and comparative government; served on the writing team for the state-mandated constitution exams; and has been actively involved in The Missouri Bar Education Program.

Mr. Whiting was praised for his leadership, teaching style, dedication and passion for his subject. “He is willing to continuously work for his students and to set an example for the staff he works alongside,” stated the nomination form. “He is an exceptional role model.”

Tavish Whiting receives the VFW state award.

LS R-7 Board of Education offers videotaping of regular monthly meetings

Videotaped meetings available on district’s YouTube and City of LS access channels

Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education regular monthly meetings are broadcast online and via the City of Lee’s Summit’s governmental access channel. The meetings are available on the district’s YouTube Channel and on the district’s BoardDocs webpage.

The Board of Education meetings have been broadcast online since December 2016. Beginning in summer 2017, they are also available on the City of Lee’s Summit governmental access channels — AT&T U-verse 99, Spectrum (previously Time Warner) 2 and Comcast 7. The Board meetings are being broadcast on the LSTV, Lee’s Summit governmental access channel, on the following schedule: noon Tuesdays, 7 p.m. Saturdays and 9 p.m. Sundays.

For a schedule of Board of Education meetings, visit our Board webpage.


PLMS students visit Washington, D.C.

Pleasant Lea Middle School students, accompanied by three social studies teachers, visited Washington, D.C., June 5-8. The bi-annual trip is funded by the students’ families and organized by the Social Studies Department.

The group, including 21 students, walked throughout the Washington area, visiting historic sites, memorials and museums. For the first time, the Washington group visited Monticello, the home and farmstead of President Thomas Jefferson.

In addition four students from PLMS — Elaina Twenter, Josh Evans, Christian Hess, and Riley Neff — presented a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.

PLMS students tour historic sites in Washington, D.C.

LS R-7 Board of Education approves service agreement for significant savings on school bus fuel

Agreement reduces surcharge for CNG fuel from $1.12 to 40 cent per gallon, saving $1.5 million over next 10 years

The Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education approved a fuel service agreement with the district’s compressed natural gas (CNG) provider that will save approximately $1.5 million over the next 10 years. The agreement with Clean Energy reduces the district’s existing fuel charge from approximately $1.12 per gallon to 40 cents per gallon.

Through the agreement, Lee’s Summit R-7 is purchasing the infrastructure used for the slow fill of its school bus fleet to significantly reduce the cost per gallon. Since transitioning to CNG-powered school buses, Lee’s Summit R-7 has been recognized as a model school district in terms of CNG power and environmentally friendly practices. The district has continued to work closely with Clean Energy to ensure a successful program.

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District began using CNG-powered school buses in 2013. At the time, the district’s move to CNG was the nation’s largest school bus transition to compressed natural gas. In addition to reducing the district’s carbon footprint, CNG-powered buses provide a quieter and cleaner ride for students and save money for taxpayers.

  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.

Through the CNG initiative, the district operates a public compressed natural gas filling station, located at 500 SE Transport Drive in Lee’s Summit. In addition to the CNG school buses, the district has transitioned to CNG-powered facility maintenance trucks.

Buses parked at the slow fill stations.

Lee’s Summit R-7 staff members honored by Greater KC Association of School Librarians

Two Lee’s Summit R-7 staff members were honored by the Greater Kansas City Association of School Librarians (GKCASL) during the organization’s spring banquet, held during May. Recognized staff members were Jaci Hurley, library media specialist at Longview Farm Elementary and Trailridge Elementary, and Laura Maxwell, Lee’s Summit R-7 director of library media services and Partners In Education.

Mrs. Hurley was named the GKCASL Librarian of the Year. The award recognizes a librarian’s distinguished service and leadership in the school library. Winners have made a significant impact on their students and co-workers and have demonstrated a commitment to school libraries.

Mrs. Maxwell received the 2017 GKCASL Friend of the Library Award. This award recognizes individuals who support the library media services in an exemplary manner to the point that without the services there would be a void in services.

Jaci Hurley (left) and Laura Maxwell.

Lee’s Summit R-7 changing facility scheduling software

Community and staff scheduling facilities for meetings, activities and events will use rSchoolToday beginning July 1

Beginning July 1, the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District will transition to a new facility scheduling software program. The change will impact staff members who schedule conference rooms, gymnasiums, performing arts centers and other facilities for school activities as well as community members who lease school facilities.

With the change, scheduling done via the Meeting Room Manager software program will be done with rSchoolToday software. The change offers several advantages for the school district including the following.

  • The district’s agreement with Meeting Room Manager is expiring, and the software is outdated.
  • The program is already being used to manage school athletic games, practices and activities and will allow better communication among all district schools and departments.
  • rSchoolToday provides the district with numerous enhancement features such as automated client billing and a calendar overview.

Community members who lease facilities from the school district may find more information at the Facilities Services website, http://facilities.lsr7.org/facility-rental/. Training for district staff members who use the software and work with facility management is being conducted during summer 2017.

Lee’s Summit R-7 high schools announce 2017-18 theatre schedules

All three Lee’s Summit R-7 School District high schools are planning for an exciting theatre season with productions beginning in September and running through next spring. Theatre schedules follow, including contact information and websites for each school.

Lee’s Summit High School will kick off their season this year with a children’s show (TBA) that will take the stage Oct. 13th and 14th.

This year’s musical takes us to the city of Paris for “The Hunchback Of Notre Dame” on Nov. 10, 11 and 17-19. Based on Victor Hugo’s original novel and using an Alan Menken score with both new songs and songs from the animated movie, the audience will experience the story of Quasimodo, Esmerelda and more through the use of story theatre. This moving story explores the value of the beauty that is found on the inside of people.

The LSHS season will continue Feb. 23-24 and March 2-4 with a winter comedy play. This show title is yet to be announced!

To close out the Lee’s Summit High School season on April 20 and 21 the Repertory Theatre class will be presenting their stage play. The Repertory Theatre class choses this piece as part of their class, and the title will be announced during the school year.

Additional smaller performances throughout our year are also scheduled. The Repertory Revue Show on Feb. 2 and 3 are cabaret-style performances with refreshments and fun. On April 6 and 7, upperclassmen present the Student Directed One-Acts with students selecting one acts, casting underclassmen and preparing these short plays.

Tickets for all LSHS shows are available at www.lshstheatre.com on the box office web page or you may contact (816) 986-2055 or tickets@lshstheatre.com for more information or group reservations.

Lee’s Summit North High School leads off their season with the children’s musical, “Sleepy Hollow,” a show alive with action, excitement and dynamic music. When an inane schoolmaster, Ichabod Crane, comes to the farming community of Sleepy Hollow, he brings with him all his worldly possessions as he seeks a well-to-do wife.  He’s sure his dream will come true when he spots the striking Katrina Van Tassel. Sadly for poor Ichabod, the boisterous Brom Bones is Katrina’s extremely jealous boyfriend. Matters are complicated even more as the ghostly graveyard is haunted by a host of tense spirits, including the Headless Horseman, the most renowned phantom of all. This suspenseful musical is filled with a variety of songs that fit the bill and is suitable for all age groups (rated – G). Performances are at 7 p.m. Oct. 13 and 14 and at 2 p.m. Oct. 15.

North’s season continues with a true story based on the Dreamworks film and brought to the stage in musical form, “Catch Me If You Can.”  This high-flying musical comedy is about chasing your dreams and not getting caught. Seeking fame and fortune, precocious teenager, Frank Abagnale Jr., runs away from home to begin an unforgettable adventure. With nothing more than his boyish charm, a big imagination and millions of dollars in forged checks, Frank successfully poses as a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer – living the high life and winning the girl of his dreams.  When Frank’s lies catch the attention of the FBI his cross-country chase begins. (Rated – PG)  The show runs at 7 p.m. Nov 10, 11, 17 and 18 and at 2 p.m. Nov. 12.

LSNHS will conclude its season with a family favorite, “Lion King, Jr.”.  Disney’s “The Lion King” has captivated the imagination of audiences around the world and now, audiences have the opportunity to witness this one-of-a-kind musical on the LSNHS stage. The African savannah comes to life on stage with Simba, Rafiki and an unforgettable cast of characters as they journey from Pride Rock to the jungle… and back again, in this inspiring, coming-of-age tale. (Rated – G)  This musical treat will be offered at 7 p.m. Feb. 9, 10, 16 and 17 and at 2 p.m. Feb. 11.

For tickets and information about any of the three LSNHS shows, visit www.lsntheatre.net or call (816) 986-3031.

Lee’s Summit West High School will open its 2017-18 season with the hilarious comedy “Boeing Boeing.”  Bernard is a bachelor with a beautiful apartment in Paris and three equally beautiful girlfriends from around the world who know nothing about each other.  What happens when these three stewardesses all end up in Paris on the very same day?  This show will run at 7 p.m. Sept. 1 and 2.

LSWHS continues the year with the hilarious classic musical, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”  The musical follows the rise of J. Pierrepont Finch, who uses a little handbook called “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying” to climb the corporate ladder from lowly window washer to high-powered executive, tackling such familiar but potent dangers as the aggressively compliant “company man,” the office party, backstabbing co-workers, caffeine addiction and, of course, true love.  “How to Succeed in Business…” runs at 7 p.m. Nov. 3, 4, 10 and 11 and at 2 p.m Nov. 12.

West’s main-stage season will conclude with two plays in February. The first is the hilarious comedy, “The Odd Couple: Female Version.”  Unger and Madison are at it again! Florence Unger and Olive Madison that is. Ms. Madison has invited the girls over for an evening of Trivial Pursuit. Florence is forced to move in with disorganized friend Olive. How will these two such unlikely friends survive living together?  What follows is a hilarious evening of comedy centered that is sure to leave you in stitches.  “The Odd Couple: Female Version” runs at 7 p.m. Feb.  2 and 3 and 2 p.m. Nov. 4.  The second production is a stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”  This production will be produced in conjunction with the Lee’s Summit West English Language Arts Department. Scout, a young girl in a quiet southern town, is about to experience the dramatic events that will affect the rest of her life. She and her brother, Jem, are being raised by their widowed father, Atticus, and by a strong minded housekeeper, Calpurnia. Wide-eyed Scout is fascinated with the sensitively revealed people of her small town, but, from the start, there’s a rumble of thunder just under the calm surface of the life here. If you love the book, this is a must see production for you. “To Kill a Mockingbird” runs at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 and 24 and at 2 p.m. Feb. 25.

In addition, LSWHS will present two children’s shows on Oct. 14 and 15, “Tuna Christmas” and “The Game’s Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays” Dec. 15-17, a Revue on Feb. 16 and 17, a series of student-directed one-act plays March 15 and 16, and a repertory theatre murder mystery dinner theatre on April 20 and 21.  Information about all LSWHS productions is available at www.lswtheatre.net. Tickets for all plays will be $6 in advance and $7 at the door. Musical tickets will be $9 in advance and $10 at the door.

All three high schools will also present yet-to-be-announced productions at the school district’s One-Act Play Festival to be performed on the LSWHS Stage, scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 1 and 2.

Rotary members from Argentina and Paraguay visit LS R-7 schools

Rotary Club members from Argentina and Paraguay recently visited two Lee’s Summit R-7 schools through the Rotary Group Study Exchange program. The members toured both Summit Technology Academy and Bernard Campbell Middle School on May 15.

Members from Rotary District 4845 Argentina/Paraguay exchanged with a Missouri Rotary District to share vocational, educational and cultural information. The purpose of the exchange is to promote better understanding between the various countries. The Argentina/Paraguay group spent several weeks in the United States with the Missouri Rotary members visiting the South American countries later in the spring.

Visiting Rotarians with staff members at Bernard Campbell Middle School.






Visiting Rotarians with staff members at Summit Technology Academy.

Pleasant Lea Middle School sculpture is memorial tribute to Scott Wilkinson

Lee’s Summit R-7 teacher and coach passed away during September 2016

Students and staff members from Pleasant Lea Middle School collaborated with a local artist to create a unique memorial for Scott Wilkinson, a well-respected teacher and coach who passed away on Sept. 14, 2016.

Mr. Wilkinson taught industrial technology at PLMS and coached football and girls track at Lee’s Summit High School. After he passed away last fall, school staff members and students wanted to create a lasting memorial to his generosity and strength as well as his teaching and coaching skills.

Several students in Mr. Wilkinson’s classes and on his teams, along with his colleagues, began meeting with Lee’s Summit artist Dave Eames last winter. Mr. Wilkinson’s fellow teachers and his students shared what was special about the teacher and coach, said Dr. Janette Miller, PLMS principal.

After listening to the students’ and teachers’ thoughts, Mr. Eames developed several drawings of potential sculptures. The group selected a design emphasizing Mr. Wilkinson’s background growing up in a small town, his work with metal and tools as an industrial technology teacher and his love of athletics through the sculpture’s moving parts.

The resulting moveable, metal sculpture was installed by the last day of school when it was featured during the PLMS all-school awards assembly. The event included a student-produced video about the sculpture design process and a photo of the finished piece. The video was followed by a presentation by Joe Oswald, PLMS teacher, who talked about Mr. Wilkinson and his life.

“It was a meaningful way to honor his memory,” Dr. Miller added, “involving a sad — but inspiring — process with students and teachers.”

Funding for the memorial sculpture was provided by the school as well as two student organizations — Student Council and Tiger SMART.

Missouri Innovation Campus students graduate from Metropolitan Community College

Seven students from the Lee’s Summit R-7 Missouri Innovation Campus recently participated in graduation ceremonies at Metropolitan Community College, earning their associate degrees. Students pictured with Dr. Kirk Nooks (back row), president of MCC-Longview, are (from left) Spencer Werremeyer, Lee’s Summit North High School, software development major, employed at NIC; Cody DeMent, Lee’s Summit West High School, software development major, employed at NIC; Shane Tenorio, Raytown South High School, software development major, employed at Cerner Corp.; Natan Garcia, Raytown South High School, software development major, employed at DST Systems; Thilon Berry, Center High School, software development major, employed at AWNIX; Jack Bliss, Blue Springs South High School, systems engineering major, employed at Alexander Open Systems; and Matthew Feith, Raymore Peculiar High School, systems engineering major, employed at VML.

Through the Missouri Innovation Campus, located within Lee’s Summit R-7’s Summit Technology Academy, students are able to accelerate the time it takes to graduate from college and participate in high-tech paid internships while dramatically reducing the cost of a four-year degree. The MIC is a partnership of the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community College, University of Central Missouri and area businesses.

For more information about the nationally recognized program, visit http://sta.lsr7.org/missouri-innovation-campus/.

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