Lee’s Summit R-7 School District Special Services to host informational meeting Sept. 28 for parents who homeschool their children

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District Special Services Department will hold an informational meeting for parents who homeschool their children or who enroll their children in private/parochial schools located within the R-7 School District boundaries. The purpose of the meeting is to provide information on how they may access special education services if needed.

This meeting will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sept. 28 in the Loyalty Conference Room located at the Stansberry Leadership Center, 301 NE Tudor Road, Lee’s Summit.

Lee’s Summit CARES to present Parent University

Focusing on ‘Understanding Adolescent Brain Development’

Lee’s Summit CARES will present a Parent University session focusing on “Understanding Adolescent Brain Development’ from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13 at Summit Lakes Middle School, 3500 SW Windemere Drive. The event will be held in the school’s library media center.

Cost for the class is $10 per person, and individuals may register online at www.LSCares.org.

The course will feature a discussion of brain development during a child’s transition to adulthood including how the process of brain maturation influences behavior. Also included will be methods parents can use to provide safeguards during this critical time.

Lee’s Summit R-7 to fund ACT college-entrance exams for all high-school juniors

State of Missouri recently dropped funding for this annual testing

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District recently announced that the district will be covering the cost of ACT college-entrance testing for high-school juniors during spring 2018. In the past, Missouri state government provided funding for all juniors to take the ACT during the spring at no cost to the student or his/her school district.

With the state’s announcement that state funding would end during 2017-18, district officials made the decision to pick up the cost, estimated at $74,000, for this year. Families with Lee’s Summit R-7 high-school juniors received an e-mail during late August informing them of the district’s commitment to funding the ACT college-entrance test.

As in past years, this administration of the exam will continue to count as an official ACT exam. Students will continue to have the opportunity to send the scores to four colleges of their choice at no cost to the student.

This spring 2018 ACT exam can also be used to help  post a qualifying math score to achieve A+ funding. There is one difference between the R-7 administration of the ACT exam and the previous state administration — Lee’s Summit R-7 juniors will no longer be required to sit for the writing portion of the exam. Due to the optional nature of the writing component combined with the additional cost it would require, Lee’s Summit R-7 will simply offer the four required subject tests: English, math, reading and science.

The e-mail to all families with juniors stated: “In an effort to best prepare our students for the ACT, each R-7 high school will continue to hold an all-school testing day in October. The purpose of this day is to provide each junior an opportunity to take a practice ACT and receive diagnostic feedback.”

For additional tips regarding the ACT exam, please visit: http://www.act.org/content/act/en/products-and-services/the-act/test-preparation.html.

Celebrating the opening of the Missouri Innovation Campus

Trailblazing facility is partnership between LS R-7 and University of Central Missouri

Hundreds of Lee’s Summit R-7 community members celebrated the grand opening of the district’s new Missouri Innovation Campus on Sept. 5. Thanks to a voter-approved bond issue and a trailblazing partnership involving the R-7 School District and the University of Central Missouri, the school opened during mid-August.

The new facility includes the Missouri Innovation Campus program, a nationally recognized program reshaping the way students experience education; Summit Technology Academy (STA), a unique high-school program that prepares students for careers in areas such as engineering, computer science, health care and creative sciences; and UCM-Lee’s Summit, the university’s main off-campus learning facility, offering graduate- and undergraduate-level completion programs to metro-area students. Students enrolled in Summit Technology Academy as well as the Missouri Innovation Campus are from 14 metro-area school districts.

“This Missouri Innovation Campus is a shining example of what happens when organizations and individuals work together for a greater good,” said Dr. Dennis L. Carpenter, Lee’s Summit R-7 superintendent and a speaker at the Sept. 5 opening. “Thanks to our partnership with higher education and the support of our community, we are able to save money for taxpayers and, most importantly, better prepare our students for success in life.”

“The opening of this new facility really represents game on,” added University of Central Missouri President Charles Ambrose. “Now our challenge is to take something we have demonstrated is actually possible and make sure it is accessible,  not only to students and their families who take full advantage, but for future talent across our region to make Kansas City more competitive.”

The Sept. 5 grand opening celebration included presentations by Dr. Carpenter and Dr. Ambrose as well as Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens; R-7 Board of Education President Bob White; UCM Board of Governors President Dr. Gus Wetzel; Dr. Kimberly Beatty, Metropolitan Community College chancellor; and Ashionna Morehead, Missouri Innovation Campus student. Following the ceremony, a Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting was held on the school’s main stairway.

During the governor’s visit to the school, he met with Dr. Carpenter and Dr. Ambrose and watched a demonstration in one of the school’s nursing labs. In addition, the governor heard from the following Missouri Innovation Campus students as part of a student roundtable: Quinn Cosgrove, an MIC graduate from the program’s first cohort; Jeffrey Scarborough, a second-year MIC student in the cybersecurity program; and Ashionna Morehead, a third-year MIC student in design and drafting who also spoke during the grand opening ceremony. Andy Cole of DST and Abby Ventrillo from VML represented business partners during the roundtable, and Dr. Beatty also participated.

The Missouri Innovation Campus program is a progressive collaboration between the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community College (MCC) and UCM. By engaging business partners and community organizations, the MIC offers an accelerated program that shortens the time it takes students to complete a four-year degree, significantly reducing college debt and providing job-ready skills that are highly sought after by business. The MIC program was highlighted by President Barack Obama during a visit to UCM’s Warrensburg campus in 2013.

Through the groundbreaking partnership, the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and UCM joined forces to construct and operate this state-of-the-art, cost-saving facility. Under a plan developed by the two educational institutions, Lee’s Summit R-7 is paying for approximately 40 percent of the new school with UCM paying the remaining 60 percent. Through this agreement, Lee’s Summit R-7 is the sole owner of the facility with UCM paying its portion of costs through lease payments.

The R-7 School District’s portion of the facility’s cost is funded through a no-tax-increase bond issue, approved by approximately 80 percent of voters in 2015. This $40 million bond issue is also funding renovation and maintenance projects that are positively impacting each R-7 school.

The new two-story building totals 135,000 square feet and is designed so that Lee’s Summit R-7 and UCM will share interior learning and conference spaces as well as parking, saving money for both organizations. The two partnering organizations have also worked collaboratively on procurement to help generate additional savings on furniture, fixtures and technology. Groundbreaking for the new school was held during March 2016, and the facility was completed within budget and in time for the first day of classes for the 2017-18 school year.

Through the MIC program, students begin their junior year of high school while attending Summit Technology Academy. By approximately the same time they earn a high-school diploma, they will have completed an associate degree from MCC, finishing their four-year bachelor’s degree from UCM two years later. The graduates will also have completed three years of paid internships with prestigious Kansas City metro-area companies, which helps defray the costs of their education. Many students who complete the MIC program land permanent jobs with these companies. In all, the MIC program is linked with 40 corporate partners with industry representatives assisting in development of curriculum that prepares students to immediately succeed in the workforce.

The new school features 60 classrooms including shared spaces for the school district and university programs as well as spaces designated for each organization. The facility takes advantage of exterior light with corridors that can double as additional learning areas at some locations. The Missouri Innovation Campus also features medical school-caliber skilled nursing labs and simulation rooms; professional quality digital media technology; high-tech engineering, biomedical and computer science instruction areas; and an international studies area with state-of-the-art distance learning technology. A testing center is located on the second floor and will provide everything from GED to computer software certification testing as well as electronic monitoring of individuals taking the exams.

Community members celebrate at the school’s grand opening and ribbon cutting Sept. 5.







Following the grand opening ceremony, guests had the opportunity to tour the new school.

Aaron Layendecker of PLMS receives $4,000 educational scholarship

Aaron Layendecker, a Spanish teacher at Pleasant Lea Middle School and Lee’s Summit North High School, recently received a $4,000 scholarship from Western Governors University Missouri. He was surprised with a check from the university in his PLMS classroom during late August.

Mr. Layendecker is completing his graduate program with WGU Missouri and will earn a master’s degree in English language learning (pre-kindergarten through 12th grade) in December 2018. He is in his fourth year with the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District.

The scholarship was awarded in honor of the fourth anniversary of the creation of WGU’s Missouri campus. Mr. Layendecker is pictured during the presentation with Dr. Angie Besendorfer, chancellor of WGU Missouri.

LSNHS Feed-a-Need Pantry benefits students

Several Lee’s Summit North High School students recently used their Bronco Time to organize donations to the school’s Feed-a-Need Pantry. The school’s staff members had donated the food being arranged by the volunteer students. The Feed-a-Need Pantry food items are loaded into bags that are sent home with students in need of this type of assistance on Friday afternoon. LSNHS students may also request snacks for the school day or to take home in the evenings.

Kim Blevins featured in state-wide magazine

Kim Blevins, an English teacher at Summit Ridge Academy, was recently published in the Missouri National Education Association (MNEA) Something Better state-wide magazine.

Ms. Blevins’ article is titled “The Externship” and shares her experience in a summer internship with the GO-CAPS program. GO-CAPS stands for Greater Ozarks Centers for Advanced Professional Studies. The article is available at this link on page 8.

Kim Blevins is pictured with “Ozarks Live!” host Jeremy Rabe.

Summit Lakes Middle School library adds ukuleles to check-out options

Summit Lakes Middle School recently added an unusual and noteworthy item to the school’s library check-out options — ukuleles.

Our strings teacher Gail Rowland got these for us after I shared an article about several libraries throughout the nation offering non-traditional items — including musical instruments,” said Christie Brown, SLMS library media specialist. “We had a contest where the entire student body worked in homerooms to generate names for the five ukuleles. The only naming requirement was it should be a character from a young adult novel.”

The students selected the following names: Ponyboy from “The Outsiders” by S. E. Hinton; Harry from the “Harry Potter” series by J. K. Rowling; Percy from the “Percy Jackson” series by Rick Riordan; Katniss from the “Hunger Games” series by Suzanne Collins; and Tobias from the “Divergent” series by Veronica Roth.

The musical instruments, which are Waterman ukuleles, were donated by KALA  Brand Music Company to both the Summit Lakes and Lee’s Summit West High School Ukulele Clubs. The ukulele cases were donated by Legacy Music of Lee’s Summit.

For the last few years, Summit Lakes has offered a popular Ukulele Club, sponsored by Gail Rowland with the assistance of Darla Nelson, sign language interpreter at Lee’s Summit West High School. Ms. Nelson, who also sponsors the Ukulele Club at LSWHS, initiated requests for the ukulele donations.

Students checking out ukeleles from library clerk Beth Akins are (from left) Morgan Bicknell, Thomas Andrews, Andrew Zoellner and Katie Carroll.

Lee’s Summit R-7 schools continue to emphasize safe learning environments through anti-bullying efforts

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District is continuing its emphasis on a safe learning environment for all students through ongoing anti-bullying efforts. The school district prohibits all forms of bullying as well as reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an act of bullying among or against students.

Through Missouri House Bill 1583, approved during spring 2017, all school districts are required to make changes to their bullying policies. The district’s Policy JFCF (bullying and cyberbullying) and JFCG (hazing) are the specific policies that address these situations. All Board policies are available at this link.

Lee’s Summit R-7 staff members provide education and information about bullying prevention and reporting to students annually. This also includes information about the numerous ways available for students and others to report bullying. In addition to contacting the school principal or other staff members, reporting may take place anonymously by selecting the Safe Schools Alert icon on each school’s website. Confidential reporting may occur via text, e-mail, phone or website and can include reporting of tips as well as praise for staff members.

Each Lee’s Summit R-7 staff member is participating in online training focusing on prevention of bullying as well as how to appropriately address suspected or reported bullying.

For more information about bullying, cyberbullying, student lessons related to bullying and reporting of bullying, visit the Lee’s Summit R-7 bullying awareness website.

Mary Hayde receives LS R-7 Learning for Life Award for August

Mary Hayde was named the Lee’s Summit R-7 Learning for Life Award winner for August. She is a paraprofessional at Highland Park Elementary.

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

“Our students love Mary because it is obvious that she cares deeply about them and their success in the classroom,” said a colleague. “She is always positive and willing to give a helping hand.”  

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