PTA Kids First Town Hall meeting to be March 3 in Lee’s Summit

A Kids First Town Hall Meeting will be held at 7 p.m. March 3, hosted by Missouri PTA and the Lee’s Summit Council of PTAs. The meeting will be at Longview Historical Mansion, 1200 SW Longview Park Drive in Lee’s Summit.

RSVPs are appreciated for this event as refreshments will be served. To RSVP or for more information, please contact A moderator will be facilitating the meeting and will be asking questions related to Missouri PTA’s top priorities for local control of schools, increased parental engagement and tax credits for tuition to parents of nonpublic school children.

Missouri PTA represents more than 70,000 members statewide and is a member of the National PTA organization. The mission of the Missouri PTA is to positively impact the lives of all children and families by using a powerful voice for all children; being a relevant resource for all families and communities; and being a strong advocate for the education and well-being of every child. For more information, go to

Lee’s Summit R-7 dashboard provides quick-reference, go-to website

Site includes facts about student achievement, finances, human resources, support services and community involvement

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District website features a quick-reference dashboard as part of the district’s efforts to better inform the community about student achievements and district statistical fbDashboardGraphicinformation.

The dashboard, which features interactive numerical displays and graphs, is available at It features six screens – student achievement, student data, human resources, finance, support services and community involvement. Examples of information are ACT college-entrance scores, graduation rates, district enrollment, cost per pupil comparisons and student technology.

The R-7 dashboard was recommended several years ago by the district’s Comprehensive School Improvement Plan Team, a broad-based group that helps develop the school district’s five-year strategic plan. School district groups involved in providing feedback for the dashboard included the Citizens’ Advisory Committee, Business Roundtable and PTA Council. District staff members from a variety of departments helped provide information for the dashboard.

Summit Technology Academy / Missouri Innovation Campus highlighted at LS Economic Development Council meeting focusing on workforce development

Summit Technology Academy / Missouri Innovation Campus were among the outstanding programs recently featured in a Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council Advisory Board meeting. The Feb. 3 event focused on workforce development and was hosted by the Economic Development Council with support from the Lee’s Summit R-7 Business Roundtable.

The meeting included a panel of workforce development experts including Dr. Chuck Ambrose, University of Central Missouri (UCM) president; Bill Brown, Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council chairperson; Stan Elliott, Missouri Innovation Campus director; Dr. David McGehee, Lee’s Summit R-7 School District superintendent; Elaine Metcalf, Summit Technology Academy director; and Dr. Kirk Nooks, Metropolitan Community College-Longview president.

Dr. McGehee discussed the R-7 School District’s new Summit Technology Academy / Missouri Innovation Campus, currently under construction and scheduled to open in August 2017. A partnership with the University of Missouri, the 140,000-square-foot facility is located near Ward and Tudor Road. It will provide both Lee’s Summit R-7 and UCM with the opportunity to expand their successful programs already operating in Lee’s Summit.

Mrs. Metcalf shared information about the R-7 School District’s approach to workforce development, which begins in kindergarten and continues through high school. Students are able to explore various career paths, selecting an area of focus in high school. In addition, students may participate in a variety of workforce internships through programs operating at the three high schools as well as Summit Tech and the Missouri Innovation Campus.

Dr. Nooks discussed the Metropolitan Community College (MCC) program which includes five campuses throughout the Kansas City area. He shared the college’s completion rate, its many internship and work/study programs and MCC career fairs. In addition, Dr. Nooks talked about the Institute for Workforce Innovation, Metropolitan Community College’s customized training programs, which partners with area employers to enhance economic development.

Dr. Ambrose talked about the importance of a well-trained, quality talent pool for area employers. A successful example of this type of workforce development is the Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC), a partnership program involving the R-7 School District, UCM and MCC. Goals of the MIC include lowering the cost of higher education, accelerating the time to degree completion, providing applied learning experiences for students and graduating students with little or no debt and a direct access to career.

Mr. Elliott focused on the unique three-year internship offered through the Missouri Innovation Campus. Students involved in this program are highly motivated and sought-after by employers with skills that the businesses value. In fact, the student competencies at the Missouri Innovation Campus are developed with assistance from the business partners.

Following each presentation, the meeting included a question-and-answer session involving the audience. For more information about the workforce development program and local efforts in this area, visit

fbBRt-EDCNooksAmbroseMcGehee (1)Dr. Nooks, Dr. Ambrose and Dr. McGehee (pictured from left) at the Economic Development Council meeting.





fbBRt-EDCpanelPanel members included (from left) Dr. Nooks, Dr. McGehee, Mrs. Metcalf, Dr. Ambrose and Mr. Elliott.

Trailridge Elementary students use school-grown herbs to create high tea event

With cold weather outside, fifth-graders at Trailridge Elementary have been growing herbs in their Tower Garden. They selected onion and garlic chives, sage, peppermint, catnip and gingermint as their choice herbs. They did research on the herbs and wrote scientific questions on whether direct light impacted the growth of herbs. When the herb crop was mature, the students wanted to try their hand at making their own tea. They had been studying the Boston Tea Party and wanted to see what a high tea would be like. With a little help from their teacher, Pam Wining, the students studied the technique of tea making and the art of high tea. The students were surprised at how difficult it was to drink tea in a high tea style, Mrs. Wining said.

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R-7 staff members receive Reflections of Character Awards

Several Lee’s Summit R-7 staff members were among 12 local citizens receiving Reflections of Character Awards at the Jan. 21 Lee’s Summit Mayor’s Character Breakfast. The awards are presented to community members who are nominated based on character traits. R-7 employees presented with the award were Kevin Holman and the Lee’s Summit High School staff and Willard Parks.

Mr. Holman, campus supervisor at LSHS, coordinated a team of school employees who worked together to assist Sighris Sharber, a highly involved LSHS senior with special needs. Sighris was named homecoming king in fall 2015, and high-school staff members joined forces to create a memorable experience for Sighris including purchasing new clothing, arranging for a convertible for the parade, coordinating a video, taking Sighris out to dinner and taking Sighris’ mother for a make-over. The LSHS staff members were recognized for the character trait of cooperation.

Mr. Parks, a Lee’s Summit R-7 bus driver, was nominated by a student and a teacher at Hazel Grove Elementary, one of the schools he serves. Known as “Big Will” to the students, he was praised by students and staff members for his caring attitude as well as the way he positively interacts with each student. He serves as a role model to students at the school and exhibits numerous positive character traits. Mr. Parks received the Reflections of Character Award for kindness.

Several Lee’s Summit R-7 students were also recognized with Reflections of Character Awards including Charity Hathcock of Lee’s Summit North High School for compassion, Brian Galvez of Highland Park Elementary for courage and Trevor Allen and Tyler Butler of Lee’s Summit West High School for citizenship. Retired Lee’s Summit R-7 staff member Roby Little, who retired as director of Lee’s Summit CARES last year, received the Lifetime Achievement Award.   


LS R-7 teacher selected to participate in study tour of Japan and Okinawa

Curtis Cook, international studies teacher at the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s Summit Technology Academy, was recently chosen as one of 12 teachers from Missouri who will participate in a ten day study tour in Japan and Okinawa.

“Because of what we do in international studies, I was able to put together an application that really stood out,” Mr. Cook said. “ There are not many programs like ours in the state, and I think that uniqueness was a major reason I was chosen.”

In the past, Mr. Cook’s program has offered many opportunities for students to study the Japanese fbSTA-CurtCooklanguage and culture. In 2014, the program co-hosted a seminar on Japan, partnering with the University of Central Missouri and the Japan-America Society of Kansas City.

“Many of my students are first introduced to Japanese culture through Manga, so we have had many students come to international studies with a specific interest in Japanese culture,” he said. “One of those students is currently studying in Tokyo.”

The study tour is being financed through a grant from the Japan-America Society of St. Louis. Mr. Cook will attend a number of background sessions in St. Louis conducted by faculty at the University of St. Louis.

“One of my goals is to make connections with people from Tokyo and Okinawa so that we can videoconference with them throughout the year in international studies,” he added.

The main focus on the study is to look at the culture of Okinawa, specifically how it differs from the culture in mainland Japan, and how the Okinawan culture was impacted by the Battle of Okinawa in World War II where 25 percent of the Okinawan population was killed. In addition, since the Battle of Okinawa was a factor in President Truman’s decision to use the bomb, the group will also visit the peace museum in Okinawa, ground zero for the second atomic bomb.

“I am honored that I was chosen to participate in the work study,” Mr. Cook said. “This is such a great opportunity for me to experience the Japanese and Okinawan cultures. Plus I can bring those experiences back to my students through discussion and videoconferencing opportunities.”

Summit Technology Academy  is a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) based school that combines core academic training with high-tech industry needs. The one-of-a-kind facility is a top training and recruiting school for area firms and colleges that want highly focused curricula and students.

Nancy Frick receives LS R-7 Learning for Life Award for February

Nancy Frick was named the Lee’s Summit R-7 Learning for Life Award winner for February. She is a fbLFLNancyFrick (1)secretary at Lee’s Summit High School.

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

“Nancy has a way of making each student feel important and valued,” said a colleague. “I have honestly never met a more sincere, genuine person in my life. She epitomizes kindness and sincerity.”

LS R-7 students named candidates for Presidential Scholars recognition

Jordan Hoffman, Emily Franciskato and Jarod Snook of Lee’s Summit High School and Vance Kelley of Lee’s Summit North High School were selected as candidates for the United States Presidential Scholars program. The national program was established in 1964 to recognize and honor some of the nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors. Annually, up to 161 students are chosen from among outstanding graduating seniors to become U.S. Presidential Scholars, one of the nation’s highest honors for high-school students.

Scholars are chosen on the basis of their accomplishments in many areas — academic and artistic success, leadership and involvement in school and the community. They are invited to Washington, D.C., in June to participate in a national recognition program.

Students selected as candidates must submit an online application as well as information from their schools. Semifinalists for the national honor will be announced in early April, and the Presidential Scholars will be selected during May.


Trailridge Elementary hosts Generation Z Family Night

Trailridge Elementary recently hosted a Generation Z Family Night for students and families. The event, held Feb. 1, was designed to help parents learn more about the new generation of tech-savvy students, including the applications they are using in school to enhance learning as well as the R-7 School District’s Connect2Learn one-to-one digital device program.

Presentations included information from a Google certified educator, a Lee’s Summit Police Department officer, the Trailridge library media specialist and the school’s robotics teams. Trailridge students also shared information about Connect2Learn and the benefits of having their own Google Chromebook. In addition, those attending were invited to enjoy a complimentary pizza dinner.

More than 250 students and parents attended the special event.

Students and families participate in Generation Z Family Night.

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