LS R-7 to participate in Academic Systems Review during September

Parent survey deadline is Sept. 2

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District will participate in an Academic Systems Review in September. This comprehensive review of the district’s instructional operations, curriculum, assessment and other programs aligns with goals contained in the recently Board of Education approved strategic plan, Destination 2021. After reviewing 10 years of student performance data, the district’s Instructional Operations Team recommended seeking an outside entity to provide feedback to the district for reflection, growth and improvement.

Dr. Kevin Daniel, associate superintendent for instruction and leadership, said, “We are excited about the opportunity to have an outside review team visit R-7, provide us constructive feedback and suggest areas for improvement that will benefit our students and staff. I’m confident they will see great students, staff, leadership, teaching and learning and yet, am prepared to listen for and seek growth opportunities as well.”

A five member team from Curriculum Management Solutions Inc., is conducting the review. The company was selected through a bid process that involved a thorough review by a seven-member team of R-7 staff members. Curriculum Management Solutions has conducted more than 400 similar reviews in 47 states throughout the nation. The review will take place Sept. 12 through 15 and will include school visits to all R-7 schools (to visit classrooms), an analysis of the district’s curriculum and a review of the district’s assessment efforts and plan. A key component of the review is seeking stakeholder feedback through interviews of internal and external stakeholders in focus groups and surveys. Additionally, R-7 district leaders have been providing documentation related to instructional operations throughout the summer for analysis and feedback by members of the review team.

At the conclusion of the review, an exit conference with the Superintendent’s Leadership Team will occur to present preliminary findings from the team. A detailed report containing findings, strengths and opportunities for improvement will be provided to district leadership later into the fall. The district will communicate those findings with the Board of Education, district staff and the community later this school year.

Lee’s Summit R-7 parents are invited to take a survey as part of this review. Survey closes the evening of Sept. 2 and is available at

Pleasant Lea Elementary hosts Coffee Friday for district staff members

Pleasant Lea Elementary recently launched a weekly event to help welcome Lee’s Summit R-7 School District staff members into the school. On Coffee Friday @ Pleasant Lea Elementary, R-7 staff members are invited to drop by for a cup of coffee, visit with staff members and check out classroom activities.

In the photos, Aaron Barnett, principal, greets students as they walk into the building on the first Coffee Friday, Aug. 26, and Pleasant Lea Elementary staff are pictured near the coffee area.

agPLEcoffeeFridayCoffeeTable agPLEcoffeeFridayBarnett-2 agPLEcoffeeFridayBarnett

Race for the Future 5K Run/Walk to be Oct. 8 at LSWHS

Popular event raises money for LS Educational Foundation, Carrie Foresee Memorial Scholarship Fund

The Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation will host its popular Race for the Future 5K Run/Walk, 2016RaceFutureLogoFinal (1)scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Oct. 8 at Lee’s Summit West High School, 2600 S.W. Ward Road. The event is recognized throughout the metro-area as one of the Midwest’s premier run/walk events with more than 1,000 people participating in 2015.

The 20th annual Race for the Future is a fund-raiser for the Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation Inc. and the Carrie Foresee Memorial Scholarship Fund. Over the last five years, the Foundation has awarded more than $2.6 million to Lee’s Summit R-7 students and schools via PEAK Grants, classroom technology, school programs, student assistance and scholarships to graduating seniors.

The 5K race includes hundreds of dollars in prizes. Packet pick-up and late registration will be held from noon to 6:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 7 at the R-7 School District’s Stansberry Leadership Center, 301 NE Tudor Road (on the northeast corner of the Lee’s Summit North High School campus). Free T-shirts will go to the first 850 5K entrants.

The Oct. 8 race morning schedule begins with late registration and packet pick-up from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. at the Lee’s Summit West High School activity complex concession stand. The 5K begins at 8 a.m. with the Kids Dash immediately following at approximately 8:45 a.m.  

Race fee is $25 for entries postmarked by Aug. 30, $30 by Sept. 8, $35 by Sept. 22, $38 by Oct. 7 and $40 on race day. The Kids Dash is for children up to sixth grade, and the fee is $5. Children will run short distances on the track.

Supporters who cannot attend the Race have the opportunity to become Race for the Future Dream Partners. Dream Partner supporters can receive their own commemorative race t-shirt, but can then “sleep in” on Oct. 8. Dream Partner fee is $25 for entries postmarked by Aug. 30, $30 by Sept. 8, $35 by Sept. 22 and $38 by Oct. 7.

Additional Race for the Future information is available at

Since the event began 20 years ago, Race for the Future has raised close to $375,000 for the Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation and the Carrie Foresee Memorial Scholarship Fund.

The Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation is a non-profit, 501c3 organization established in 1993 to raise and manage resources in order to expand and initiate educational opportunities for students at all levels. The Foundation is a way for citizens to invest in today’s youth, tomorrow’s leaders, and the future of Lee’s Summit by making tax-deductible donations.

The Carrie Foresee Scholarship Fund was established in memory of Carrie Foresee, a former Lee’s Summit High School student. Carrie died Sept. 3, 1996, as the result of injuries suffered in a car accident. Funds from Race for the Future help support scholarship opportunities for graduating seniors.

For more information about volunteering, sponsoring, running or walking, call (816) 986-1015.

Lee’s Summit R-7 Connect2Learn begins second year

Successful one-to-one digital device program further engages students, levels the playing field for all

Connect2Learn, the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s one-to-one Chromebook program, is entering its second year and continuing to broaden learning while supporting the individual needs of each student. The program began last August when more than 17,500 Google Chromebooks were distributed to all students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Students turned in Chromebooks at the end of the previous school year and received the same devices again during August in preparation for 2016-17.

“We have appreciated the enthusiasm and support we’ve received from our staff members, students and their families,” said Dr. Kevin Daniel, associate superintendent of instruction and leadership. “Thanks to an outstanding team effort as well as Board of Education support, students have a clear understanding of the importance of this new learning tool and are able to learn both in and beyond the classroom.”

In addition to enhancing learning and critical thinking, Connect2Learn provides equitable access for all students — regardless of family resources. Through the use of the Chromebooks and the Google platform, teachers have an increased ability to electronically provide students with individual assignments or practice, increase student collaboration and offer immediate teacher feedback. Teachers complete comprehensive training related to Connect2Learn to help them design lessons that are empowering and engaging in the one-to-one environment.

During the past two years, the R-7 School has surveyed staff members and parents through the BrightBytes survey, designed to provide insights related to technology’s impact on improving student achievement. The survey used a numeric score and addresses four areas – classroom, access, skills and environment. After Connect2Learn’s first year, the district gained 2.5 percent. This type of growth is considered significantly above average, according to BrightBytes, an educational analysis organization.

Opportunities such as Google cardboard field trips and Google hangouts with students from across the world are another advantage of the one-to-one transition.

For more information about Connect2Learn, visit The website includes resources for students and parents including a frequently asked questions section.

Increasing access to all families

In addition, the R-7 School District is continuing to partner with EveryoneOn to increase home access to the Internet. EveryoneOn is a non-profit organization created to eliminate the digital divide by making high-speed, low-cost Internet service accessible to all. Through partnerships with Internet providers, EveryoneOn is able to offer free Internet service or service for $9.95 per month for qualifying families and individuals. To learn more, visit, text “connect” to 215-45 or call (855) EVRY1ON.  

jlC2L-SLMSpickupStudentVolunteers jlC2L-SLMSpickup1 jlC2L-SLMSpickup2 (1)R-7 staff members and student volunteers assist with Chromebook distribution day at Summit Lakes Middle School on Aug. 3.

Great Beginnings Early Education Center is new home to Free Little Library thanks to Girl Scout project

Great Beginnings Early Education Center has a new Free Little Library thanks to a project by a local Girl Scout. Emily Stull, a freshman at Lee’s Summit North High School, worked on the library as part of her Girl Scout silver project.

Emily worked with Lee’s Summit artist Dave Eames of Fossil Forge who designed and built the metal structure. Emily raised funds for the library and coordinated a book drive. It was installed at Great Beginnings on Aug. 24 and is located in front of the school.

agGBEECgirlScoutFreeLibraryEmily Stull is pictured with the new Free Little Library at Great Beginnings.

Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education approves Destination 2021 strategic plan

Five-year Comprehensive School Improvement Plan developed by staff and community team

The Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education approved the district’s five-year strategic plan, called Destination 2021, at the Board’s Aug. 18 meeting. This Comprehensive School Improvement Plan, which covers 2016 through 2021, was developed by a team of approximately 55 staff and community members who worked together throughout the 2016 spring semester. The district also included approximately 70 participants in focus groups that provided input toward the development of the plan.

The plan focuses on five areas – governance; student performance; highly qualified staff; facilities, support and instructional resources; and parent and community involvement. Destination 21’s major emphasis continues to be on instruction, learning and student success. The complete plan is posted at under “R-7 School District 5-year plan.”

“The R-7 strategic plan is focused on meeting the unique needs of each student in our district and providing the necessary support to the professionals working each day in schools to make that happen,” said Dr. Kevin Daniel, associate superintendent of instruction and leadership. “We were pleased to double the number of stakeholders involved in the development of the new strategic plan from the previous effort. In fact, multiple stakeholders were able to provide additional input into Destination 2021 throughout the course its development. The input, effort and time commitment of our staff and community members to ensure we continue to meet our mission of preparing each student for success in life was both appreciated and impressive.”

Following approval at the August Board of Education meeting, Lee’s Summit R-7 district and school leaders are discussing key components of the newly adopted strategic plan. To ensure accountability, the plan’s components are placed on a timeline and reviewed annually by the community and staff team, the Superintendent’s Leadership Team and the Board of Education. The plan, which is considered a living document, can be updated to reflect changes in areas such as educational technology through the input of these teams.

Information about the new plan is being shared with a variety of district stakeholders, including staff, parents, community members and students.

Lee’s Summit R-7 has a tradition of long-range, comprehensive planning, and the current R-7 document is actually the R-7 School District’s sixth five-year strategic plan. Previous strategic plans were also developed by community and staff members in 1990, 1995, 2001, 2006 and 2011.

Michelle Uptegrove named finalist for Missouri Teacher of the Year

Michelle Uptegrove, life skills teacher at Cedar Creek Elementary, was named one of seven finalists for Missouri Teacher of the Year during a surprise announcement on Aug. 24. She will participate in an interview with the Missouri Teacher of the Year Selection Committee in late August. It is anticipated that the Teacher of the Year will be named soon after the committee’s interviews.

Mrs. Uptegrove was named one of 31 regional Missouri Teachers of the Year during July. The state’s Teacher of the Year, the finalists and and all regional winners will be honored at a ceremony in Jefferson City during October.

Over the last 10 years, Lee’s Summit R-7 has been the home of seven Missouri Teacher of the Year finalists including two who were also named state Teacher of the Year.

Mrs. Uptegrove was named Lee’s Summit R-7 School District Teacher of the Year during April at a community reception hosted by the school district and the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce. An educator for 23 years, she teaches children with special needs at Cedar Creek Elementary. Mrs. Uptegrove previously taught in the life skills program and worked as a resource teacher for learning disabilities at Prairie View Elementary and worked for three years in the Blue Springs School District.

The Cedar Creek teacher shared that her teaching experience with special needs children began at age 10 when her youngest sister was born. “She has cerebral palsy, and I learned to bathe, feed and care for her,” she said. “As she grew, I read to her, taught her the alphabet, how to count and use her letter boards to communicate.”

Nomination forms highlighted Mrs. Uptegrove’s leadership skills, empathy and advocacy for all children. “Michelle’s passion for diversifying and including all students in the public education system goes above and beyond,” said a co-worker. “The pure love she has for these kids is admirable.”

Mrs. Uptegrove has also served as the district’s life skills collaboration host/facilitator, as a site-based team building facilitator, as Red Ribbon Week school coordinator and as a Student Council sponsor. At Cedar Creek Elementary, she worked in cooperation with Lee’s Summit Kohl’s Cares volunteers to create a sensory garden.

“I believe that teaching must always be based on partnerships as well as evidence-based best practices, interpreting formative data and making constant adjustments to meet students where they are functioning, both in academics and daily living skills,” she added.

Within the community, Mrs. Uptegrove has served as a volunteer for Special Olympics-Young Athletes; as a volunteer with the Girl Scout Association, assisting at troop meetings and making modifications for inclusion and positive participation for students needing extra support; and as a volunteer tutor for non-traditional students at Metropolitan Community College-Longview.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in education and her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, both from Avila University. In addition, she has earned certifications in learning disabilities; social, emotional and behavioral disorders; intellectual disabilities; and K-6 elementary education.

agTOYfinalistGroupKids agTOYfinalistGroup1-Blevins (1)Michelle Uptegrove is surprised by Dr. Brent Blevins, R-7 acting superintendent, during a surprise announcement at an all-school assembly.

Lee’s Summit R-7 high schools plan homecoming events

All three Lee’s Summit R-7 high schools are preparing for homecoming events this fall, including Homecoming 2016 - Footballcommunity parades, football games and dances.

Lee’s Summit West High School’s homecoming parade will begin at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 15. The homecoming football game will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 16 with the dance at 8 p.m. Sept. 17.

Lee’s Summit North High School’s homecoming parade will begin at 6 p.m. Sept. 22. The homecoming football game will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 23 with the dance at 8 p.m. Sept. 24.

Lee’s Summit High School’s homecoming parade will begin at 4 p.m. Sept. 30. The homecoming football game will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 30 with the dance at 8 p.m. Oct. 1.

All three parades will take place in downtown Lee’s Summit.

LS CARES to present Love and Logic parenting classes during September and October

Lee’s Summit CARES will present Parenting the Love and Logic Way from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursdays, LS CARES LOGO 2015 (2)Sept. 15 through Oct. 13, at Richardson Elementary, 800 NE Blackwell Road. This class is designed for parents of any age child(ren). Parents will learn how to end arguing, whining and backtalk as well as how to raise children who are respectful, responsible and fun to be around.

Lee’s Summit CARES will present Love and Logic Early Childhood Parenting Made Fun from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Mondays, Sept. 12 through Oct. 10, at Great Beginnings Early Education Center, 908 NE Bluestem. The course is designed for parents of children through 6 years old.

The program is offered in collaboration with the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and ReDiscover.

Cost for the class is $42 per participant. There is no cost for previous participants of the classes. Scholarships are also available for residents of the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District.

For more information, to pre-register or to apply for a scholarship, visit or contact Bev Hatley at (816) 347-3259. The United Way of Greater Kansas City and the City of Lee’s Summit assist with funding and program scholarships.

Lee’s Summit 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 will continue to participate in recycling at each building through the district-wide program.

During the summer, Lee’s Summit R-7 officials were notified by Deffenbaugh 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 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 its 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.

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