LSWHS Science Knowledge Bowl captures third place in state contest

The Lee’s Summit West High School Science Knowledge Bowl Team took third place in the state competition on March 4 at Avila University. The team, consisting of senior captain Alex Wood, senior Marie Reuss and juniors Joshua Foster, Tim Nguyen and Cole Perry finished with a 5-1-1 record. Team 2 consisting of sophomores Molly Wooster (captain), Stephanie Richardson, Maryam Khalil, Lauren Smith and Grace Stewart finished pool play with a 2-3 record.

The third-place team (from left) Coach John Gray, Cole Perry, Joshua Foster, Alex Wood, Tim Nguyen and Marie.

Special-education students participate in annual Job Olympics

Students showcase skills for prospective employers

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District sponsored its annual Job Olympics on April 7 at Unity Village. The popular event includes students from Lee’s Summit R-7 as well as the several other area school districts.

During the event, 77 students enrolled in special-education courses competed in job-related activities, such as child care, computer skills or food preparation. Volunteers from the community serve as judges for the events, and Lee’s Summit R-7 high-school students also volunteer their time to assist with Job Olympics.

The students are able to practice job-related skills and also demonstrate their own abilities to prospective employers. Job Olympics includes opening ceremonies, a luncheon and closing ceremonies with awards.

In the photos, Robert Abbott of Lee’s Summit North High School is doing data entry event, Morgan Bryan of Lee’s Summit West High School is cleaning a table, Thomas Clapp of Lee’s Summit West is rolling silverware, and Zack Beckwith of Lee’s Summit High School is stocking shelves.    

Several LS R-7 schools to change start/end times for 2017-18 to increase efficiency and save money

District focus is to provide high level of service while being fiscally responsible to taxpayers

Beginning with the 2017-18 school year, several Lee’s Summit R-7 schools will change their start/end times in order to increase bus routing efficiency while saving significant dollars for our schools.

Half of the district’s 26 elementary, middle and high schools will see no change in their start/end time. Start/end times for eight schools will change by just five minutes. Pleasant Lea Middle School will start and end 20 minutes earlier next year, and Summit Ridge Academy will begin and end 30 minutes earlier. Three elementary schools — Cedar Creek, Lee’s Summit and Trailridge — will begin and end 40 minutes earlier in 2017-18.

The changes are designed to allow the Lee’s Summit R-7 Transportation Department to continue to offer a high level of service to families while reducing the number of school bus routes required to transport students to and from school. The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District will save approximately $120,000 in anticipated additional transportation staffing in 2017-18 while avoiding the purchase of several new school buses, estimated at $520,000.

These transportation savings are especially important since the state continues to reduce funding for public school transportation. State reimbursement for public school transportation continues to be significantly underfunded with Lee’s Summit R-7 funding 71 cents of every dollar spent on student transportation while the state contributes 29 cents toward every dollar spent. Full state transportation reimbursement would result in state funding of 75 cents of every dollar spent with Lee’s Summit R-7 responsible for 25 cents of each transportation dollar.  For the R-7 School District, the state underfunding of transportation results in a loss of $3 million this school year.

The changes also provide for a more consistent schedule among schools. Instead of three start/end times for elementary schools, there will be two next year. The three middle schools will start and end within 10 minutes of one another next year instead of the 20-minute span in start/end times this year. For the three high schools, the change will result in all three schools starting and ending at the same time.

The district’s Before- and After-School Services (BASS) program is adjusting its schedule to fit changes at schools. The decision to make the changes to the start/end times involved district administration, principals, transportation staff and BASS employees. Staff members worked together to develop the plan, emphasizing excellent service for students as well as the necessity of being fiscally responsible.

The current and 2017-18 start/end times for all schools are listed in the following chart.

Tier 1








Tier 2








Tier 3


Author Alan Gratz visits Lee’s Summit R-7 schools

Author Alan Gratz visited the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District March 30-31, sharing information about his books and the writing process. The author has visited hundreds of schools and libraries throughout the United States.

Mr. Gratz’s books have included “Samurai Shortstop,” “Something Rotten,” “The Brooklyn Nine,” “Prisoner B-3087.” “Projekt 1065,” “The League of Seven” and “Code of Honor.” Several of his books have been recognized by the American Library Association, and “Prisoner B-3087” won the 2016 Truman Readers Award.

During the two-day visit, Mr. Gratz visited Bernard Campbell Middle School, Pleasant Lea Middle School and Summit Lakes Middle School. He also presented to sixth-graders from all 18 Lee’s Summit R-7 elementary schools during two sessions at Lee’s Summit North High School.

At the student presentations, the author used a “choose-your-own-adventure” style, encouraging the students to make choices along the way to guide his talk.

“Alan Gratz’s presentation fit in perfectly with our unit on ‘The Power of Story,’” said Emily Hobbs, Summit Lakes Middle School English language arts teacher. “I was able to teach my classes all day using his presentation as a springboard as we analyzed how authors intentionally use plot, conflict and characters in the stories they write. He made it clear there is form and intentionality to putting a story together. I even had a student share with me the start of his first novel a couple of days later!”

Dr. David Carlson, Summit Lakes principal, said the author began his presentation describing how when working around his family’s schedule he began to write with a structured and intentional process. “It was a powerful message to begin with priorities of family and then move to his work as an author during his child’s naps,” Dr. Carlson said. “Mr. Gratz set the stage for how any person can organize a story to become an author. Students were hooked and love his books!”

Rodger Wolverton, SLMS teacher, said the author was an outstanding role model who made a tremendous impact on students. “Growing up as a son of a coach who always envisioned his son to be a star athlete, Alan Gratz is a true example for all of us to follow our heart and to not let anyone define us, even our parents,” he said. “He parlayed his immense imagination into a successful career that has made reading fun for so many kids.”

LS R-7 Aquatic Center to host Gators Swim Team Open House April 22

Wibit play area also available on April 14

The Lee’s Summit R-7 Aquatic Center will host a Gators Swim Team Open House from 10 a.m. to noon April 22 at the center, 3498 SW Windemere Drive. Those attending the free event will have the opportunity to speak with league coaches, try on swimsuits and learn more about the popular community program.

The Aquatic Center offers American Red Cross swim lessons for a variety of levels, swim team conditioning, aqua aerobics and diving instruction. The center also has an inflatable Wibit play area available from 10 a.m. to noon April 14, a day when school is not in session.

The center offers open swim times and is available for birthday parties and special events. For more information, visit or call (816) 986-1465.

LSHS football players volunteer during deep clean at Hillcrest Thrift Store

Several Lee’s Summit High School football players and coaches spent the afternoon donating their time and their strength at the Hillcrest Thrift Store of Lee’s Summit. Proceeds from the store help support the non-profit Hillcrest Transitional Housing program.

Hillcrest officials contacted LSHS to ask if several student athletes would be willing to volunteer at the charitable organization during a deep clean. The cleaning project involved moving items throughout the store, including everything from racks of clothing to large furniture.

LSHS Coach Eric Thomas organized the community-service project, offering football players not involved in a spring sport the opportunity to volunteer after school on April 6. A total of 14 players spent around two hours moving items from place to place as the store was thoroughly cleaned.

Summit Pointe Elementary celebrates 10th anniversary

Summit​ ​Pointe​ ​Elementary​ ​students,​ ​staff​ ​and​ ​families​ celebrated​ ​the​ ​school’s​ ​10th​ ​year with a special event April 5. The evening included student artwork, facepainting, refreshments and a performance by the school’s choir. Summit​ ​Pointe​ ​Elementary​ ​opened​ ​in​ ​August​ ​2007.  

PLMS tech crew students visit local theatres in preparation for school’s Awards Assembly

Sixteen students from Pleasant Lea Middle School had the opportunity to tour several local theaters on April 5 to help them prepare for the school’s Awards Assembly. The students, part of the backstage and tech crew for the annual assembly, toured Digital Sound System’s (DSS) warehouse, the Kauffman Center, Midland Theater and Starlight Theater.

At each location, students had the opportunity to meet and talk with professional stage managers, sound mixers, costume designers and other back stage crew about their profession. Students received a first-hand view into the theater profession and learned tips about starting a career in the arts.

Students and staff at Greenwood Elementary to host Alex’s Lemonade Stand fundraisers to fight childhood cancer

Students and staff members from Greenwood Elementary are taking a stand to help fight childhood cancer. The school is hosting five Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) events during late April with all proceeds going to this Foundation.

The stands are planned from 4 to 6:30 p.m. April 21 and 9 to noon April 22 at Casey’s in Greenwood, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 22 at the Greenwood Antique Garden Show, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m April 23 at Greenwood Fellowship Church and 5 to 8 p.m. April 25 at Greenwood Elementary’s Fine Arts Night.

The school is planning a student assembly that will include brief videos of Alex Scott, founder of the organization; a video about a young girl who benefitted from research funded by ALSF; and a skit by sixth-graders about the benefits of donating to this cause.

Donations may be made by attending any of the Alex’s Lemonade Stands, which accept cash as well as checks made payable to ALSF. You may also donate by texting LEMONADE LS E1312742 to 85944 to make a $10 donation or by visiting

Funds raised through ALSF pay for medical research to find cures for childhood cancer. Through donations to the Foundation, $50 will pay for one hour of research, $400 pays for one day, $2,000 pays for one week and $8,000 pays for one month.

All three LS R-7 high-school robotics teams qualify for World Championships

Robotics teams from Lee’s Summit High School, Lee’s Summit North High School and Lee’s Summit West High School have qualified for the 26th annual FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) World Championship, scheduled for April 26-29 in St. Louis.

Each team earned spots at the prestigious competition by winning qualifying contests during the annual robotics season. This is the fifth time in the past nine years that all three Lee’s Summit R-7 high schools have qualified for the World Championship.

The Lee’s Summit R-7 high-school robotics program’s success is unique at both the state and national level with at least one R-7 team qualifying for the World Championship each year since the schools began competing. LSHS has qualified for the World Championship 10 times since 2006. LSNHS has qualified seven times since 2008, and LSWHS has qualified nine times since 2009.

This year’s game, called “Steamworks,”  features three major tasks. They include rapid firing pickle balls into an open funnel, catching giant gears and placing them on spring pegs and climbing a free hanging rope.  All FIRST teams had six weeks in January and February to analyze these objectives, design solutions, fabricate, wire, program and iterate on their designs.

Lee’s Summit High School’s Team Driven qualified for the World Championship by winning the Regional Chairman’s Award at the Greater Kansas City Regional. The team also won the Entrepreneurship Award at the Bayou Regional in New Orleans.

Lee’s Summit North High School Broncobots were named a regional winner at the Greater Kansas City Regional, qualifying the Broncobots for the World Championship. At this same event, Levi Madden of LSNHS was named a Dean’s List finalist and the Broncobots won the Excellence in Engineering Award. In addition, LSNHS won the Safety Award and the Regional Engineering Inspiration Award at the Iowa Regional at Cedar Falls, Iowa. The Regional Engineering Inspiration Award award includes a $5,000 grant from NASA.

Lee’s Summit West High School Team Titanium earned a wildcard entry into the World Championship by serving as finalist captains at the Midwest Regional, held in Chicago. At this event, LSWHS also won the Quality Award for robot design and fabrication. Team Titanium has one more regional competition this season — April 12-15 in La Crosse, Wis.


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