BCMS Student Leadership Council contributed 506 items to Ronald McDonald House

The Bernard Campbell Middle School Student Leadership Council collected 506 items during December as part of a holiday donation to the Ronald McDonald House. The goal of the student effort was to bring joy to families facing difficult situations during the holiday season. Students pictured are Skylar Stubblefield, Raina Baker, Amelia Yanez, Savannah Jackson, Haley Reed, Joel Kilgore, Skylee Narron and Ashlyn Bandelier.

Peer playgroup friends make a difference at Sunset Valley Elementary

Students in the CLASS program at Sunset Valley Elementary are partnered with students in other classrooms through a peer playgroup. Through this weekly activity, the students are creating friendships that change their lives for the better, said Carrie Connatser, CLASS teacher.

CLASS stands for Communication, Language and Social Skills. Each student in the program for children with special needs gets together each week with three to four peers from their regular education classrooms. The peer groups remain consistent throughout the year, providing the students with the opportunity to build friendships with others.

Students are pictured during a holiday party to celebrate the friendships.

Goals are priority for Before- and After-School Services: KC Cubbies, Kids Country and 3LYNX

In preparation for next year, Before- and After-School (BASS) administration has established goals to pave the way for BASS to continue to be the top choice for families. Friendly staff, a safe environment, quality programming and staff training are just a few reasons to choose a BASS program.  

The National AfterSchool Association’s fall newsletter highlights several ways before- and after-school programs benefit children including building self confidence, critical thinking, teamwork skills, problem solving skills and communication skills. Activities that lead to the development of these skills at BASS are STEM/STEAM, opportunities for leadership, choice time and clubs (such as photography, cooking, knitting, technology, book, adventure, sports and theater/dramatic play).

BASS focuses on continuous improvement in order to meet the needs of families. Goals for this year include a reasonable and comprehensive fee structure with comprehensive programming, inclusion, organizational restructure, early childhood, collaboration with school/community liaisons, professional development, reading/literacy and continued focus on STEM/STEAM.

To contact Before- and After-School Services, call (816) 986-3440 or visit bass.lsr7.org.

Max George, a first-grader at Hawthorn Hill Elementary, knitted his hat during BASS.

BCMS celebrates Computer Science Education Week with Hour of Code activity

Bernard Campbell Middle School recently celebrated Computer Science Education Week, held annually during December, by offering an Hour of Code activity.

Students met in the library before school to learn more about coding. The school offered several coding activities to choose from this year. Sphero robots were a big draw, and the students enjoyed using a Chrome app to block code these robots.

Several students also created apps using BitsBox. This website teaches students how to write code in an online app environment. In addition, students learned about variables and functions. Code.org provides many options for students to learn more about coding, and students may choose from block coding or coding javascript.

School officials shared that students are excited about coding and looking forward to continuing to explore on their own.

Lee’s Summit R-7 launches Innovation Track to increase value of high-school diploma and decrease cost of college

New 2017-18 program allows students to earn up to 30 hours of college credit at limited or no cost to families

Thanks to a new program beginning next fall, Lee’s Summit R-7 students will have the opportunity to begin earning up to 30 hours of college credit during high school. Known as the Innovation Track, the partnership between Lee’s Summit R-7, Metropolitan Community College-Longview (MCC) and the University of Central Missouri (UCM) provides high-school juniors and seniors with college credits at limited or no cost to the students’ families.

The Board of Education approved the Innovation Track at the organization’s Dec. 14 meeting. Also approved was district funding for participation of Lee’s Summit R-7 students qualifying for the federal free/reduced lunch program (based on family income) in the Innovation Track as well as other dual-credit courses and International Baccalaureate courses/exams. The new program is expected to go to the MCC Board of Trustees for approval in January. The UCM Board of Governors, MCC and Lee’s Summit R-7 will also be required to approve a memorandum of understanding among the three partnering organizations.

The R-7 Board of Education approved expenditures totaling approximately $396,402 for the 2018-19 school year. This includes the following.

  • Approximately $167,107 for the Innovation Track including scholarships for tuition and textbook costs for qualifying students, a full-time R-7 staff member housed at the MCC campus and student transportation from home schools to MCC-Longview.
  • Approximately $200,595 to begin partially funding non-MCC dual credit classes for students qualifying for the scholarships.
  • An estimated $28,700 to begin partially funding International Baccalaureate exams for students qualifying for scholarships.

Sophomores and juniors at all three R-7 high schools will learn more about the program in early January 2018 with enrollment for 2018-19 taking place Feb. 20, 21 and 22.

The Innovation Track is designed to offer the following to students.

  • A jump start on higher-education degree completion thanks to reduced cost and time to degree completion.
  • A quality education provided by partnered institutions.
  • Access to college and university resources including full student privileges at higher-education institutions.
  • A seamless transition to becoming a MCC or UCM full-time student.
  • Greater flexibility and a competitive advantage for R-7 students among their peers.

In addition to saving students money and time, the Innovation Track has a number of advantages for students and the partnering organizations. The credits earned by the local students will be guaranteed to transfer from not only Metropolitan Community College (MCC) to the University of Central Missouri (UCM) but to virtually any public post-secondary institution in Missouri. The program is also designed to attract students who are currently not enrolled in other Lee’s Summit R-7 dual credit options.

“The Innovation Track maximizes the partnership between Lee’s Summit R-7, Metropolitan Community College and the University of Central Missouri to provide matriculation in educational institutions that jump starts the college, workforce and career opportunities for all students,” said Dr. Dennis L. Carpenter, Lee’s Summit R-7 superintendent. “This is good for students seeking a two-year or four-year degree as well as students interested in workforce development. Ultimately, our entire community benefits from the district’s commitment to providing multiple pathways for students to leave us career and/or college ready. The Board’s votes in support of the Innovation Track and broadening students’ access to existing Lee’s Summit R-7 post-secondary credit opportunities is demonstrative of the district’s commitment to our collective, long-term viability.”

Bob White, R-7 Board of Education president, added, “We are grateful to be able to enhance our partnership with MCC and UCM, especially the in-kind donation of MCC facilities and student support systems as well as the reduced tuition. The Innovation Track provides a collective advantage to our students, families, our community and our higher-education partners. Students who participate in this option will have the opportunity to potentially complete internships at an earlier rate than college peers and leave college with less debt — all while fully participating in the high-school experience.”

During early December, approximately 2,200 Lee’s Summit R-7 high-school students who would be eligible for the program had the opportunity to participate in a survey to determine student interest. Among the 621 students responding to the survey, a total of 444 students  or 71.4 percent indicated they would be interested in participating in the Innovation Track.

To qualify for the Innovation Track, students must have a high-school grade-point average of 2.5 and have scored 18 on the ACT college-entrance exam. Under the plan approved by the Board of Education, the school district will offer scholarships for the cost of tuition and textbooks for students who qualify. Other students in the Innovation Track will pay for their tuition and books with MCC working to extend the dual credit rate for this special on-campus program allowing them to experience a 50 percent reduction in cost. In addition, the R-7 School District will begin offering scholarships for qualifying students for a portion of the cost of non-MCC dual enrollment credit and a portion of the cost of International Baccalaureate exams.

“From training our community’s workforce to preparing students to earn degrees and certifications, MCC’s work today is at the heart of our community’s success tomorrow,” said Dr. Kimberly Beatty, chancellor of Metropolitan Community College. “This partnership is yet another example of how working together can address educational access and equity challenges, by providing the entire community with access to higher education and higher earning potential. I am excited about our future.”  

Dr. Kirk Nooks, MCC-Longview campus president, added, “With our MCC-Longview campus embedded in the Lee’s Summit community, I am proud of the educational ecosystem we have created and the strong allies we have forged with the business community.  We are honored to work alongside such strong and valuable community partners.”

Dr. Chuck Ambrose, UCM president, emphasized his university’s commitment to the program. “We look forward to taking our collaboration to a new level of significance with the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and Metropolitan Community College on the Innovation Track initiative as a guided pathway to help high school students get a jump start on a college degree,” he said. “UCM launched its first Innovation Track program with Warrensburg High School in 2016, and our goal has been to extend similar opportunities to surrounding school districts. The R-7 School District and MCC continue to be exceptional partners when it comes to innovative ways to make higher education more accessible and affordable. This allows the value of the Missouri Innovation Campus to extend to all students in Lee’s Summit.”

Students participating in the Innovation Track will take classes on the MCC-Longview campus with the district providing bus transportation from the high schools to the Longview campus. Students will also have the opportunity to drive to Longview. Classes will be held in two sessions with students attending the morning session or afternoon session on either Mondays-Wednesdays-Fridays or Tuesdays-Thursdays.  

Teachers from Metropolitan Community College will be instructors for the college courses. A Lee’s Summit R-7 teacher liaison will also be available throughout both morning and afternoon sessions to assist with academic support. Lee’s Summit R-7 and MCC-Longview will collaborate to ensure academic support and engagement with students and families to help ensure that students succeed in the college courses.

It is anticipated that up to 200 Lee’s Summit R-7 students will have the opportunity to participate in the Innovation track in 2018-19. Plans call for the enrollment capacity to increase in future years.

State statute has allowed local school districts to pay for students’ dual-credit college tuition since 1990.

Families interested in the program will be receiving complete information from their children’s high schools by early January.

Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education approves 2018-19 school calendar

The Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education approved the school district’s 2018-19 calendar at its Dec. 14 meeting. The complete calendar for the 2018-19 school year as well as the 2017-18 calendar may be viewed at http://www.lsr7.org/district/district-calendar/quick-view/.

The first day of school for 2018-19 will be Aug. 15. Winter break will be Dec. 20 through Jan. 2 for students. School staff members will return to work Jan. 2 with classes resuming Jan. 3. The last day of school — pending snow days — will be May 17. Any snow days will be made up beginning May 20.

Story Project: LS R-7 graduates become engaged in unique setting — middle-school Spanish classroom

Former BCMS students credit their LS R-7 education for opening up countless opportunities

Sixteen years ago, eighth-graders Jillian Dent and Mukul Sharma met in Cathy Nalivaiko’s Spanish class at Bernard Campbell Middle School and began a relationship that has lasted through high school, college and adulthood. On Oct. 7, the couple returned to this classroom where Mr. Sharma proposed to Miss Dent.

The 2006 Lee’s Summit North High School graduates both live in Chicago where Miss Dent is an attorney at Sidley Austin and Mr. Sharma is a credit investor at EquiTrust Life Insurance Company. At LSNHS, she was ranked third in her class and was National Honor Society president, and he was valedictorian as well as Student Senate president. Both attended the University of Pennsylvania where they earned bachelor’s degrees with Miss Dent earning her juris doctor from the University of Missouri School of Law and Mr. Sharma earning his master’s in business administration from Northwestern University.

Mr. Sharma said the weekend of Oct. 7 fell close to Miss Dent’s 30th birthday, so the two returned to Lee’s Summit to celebrate with family. “I told her that we had plans to have dinner with some of her family,” he said. “That cover was quickly blown after I told Jillian that I had a surprise for her inside of Campbell as we were driving by the building!”

Dr. Sherri Lewis, principal, opened up the school that Saturday evening so Mr. Sharma could officially propose in the classroom where they first met. He also had the opportunity to decorate the classroom in preparation for the special moment. The couple is planning a wedding in fall 2018.

They shared that they believed the education they received within the school district opened up countless opportunities. “We left Lee’s Summit schools extremely well prepared to attend Penn and graduate school beyond,” Mr. Sharma said. “Our Lee’s Summit education set a strong foundation (from an academic, extracurricular and professional perspective) for our lives.”

The Story Project features personal stories about our students and their accomplishments in school. If you would like to submit a story about your child, visit www.lsr7.org/static/projects/story/.

Submitted by Jillian Dent and Mukul Sharma.

Jillian Dent and Mukul Sharma just after the proposal at Campbell Middle School.

LSNHS student captures first place in VFW Voice of Democracy essay contest

Grant Godard, a junior at Lee’s Summit North High School, won first place in the Lee’s Summit Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5789 Voice of Democracy audio essay competition. He was honored Dec. 13 by the local chapter.

Schools competing at the local level included all Lee’s Summit R-7 high schools, both Raytown high schools and several area private schools. Grant’s essay moves to the district competition. Theme for this year was “American History: Our Hope for the Future.”

R-7 middle schools recognize Students of the Month for December

Lee’s Summit R-7 School District middle schools recently recognized their December Students of the Month. Students of the Month are recognized based on outstanding citizenship, conduct, attitude and school involvement.

Students of the Month from Bernard Campbell Middle School are Sydney Burnett and Keaton Mays. At BCMS, Sydney is involved in cross country and cheerleading. Away from school, Sydney enjoys tumbling classes, trap shooting and horseback riding. At BCMS, Keaton is involved in football and basketball. Away from school, Keaton enjoys video games.             
Students of the Month from Pleasant Lea Middle School are Kailee Loffer and Aidan Cronin. At PLMS, Kailee is involved in Tiger Travelers, orchestra, robotics, talent show and Black and Gold Choir. Away from school, Kailee enjoys all types of music. At PLMS, Aidan is involved in cross country and band. Away from school, Aidan enjoys his soccer team.   

Students of the Month from Summit Lakes Middle School are Karis Guilfoyle and Jack Dumler. At SLMS, Karis is involved in cross country, band, basketball, reader selector and the stage crew for the musical and awards assembly. Away from school, Karis enjoys softball and her church youth group. At SLMS, Jack is involved in jazz band, scholar bowl, talent show, musical, student council and the awards show. Away from school, Jack enjoys his swim team, jazz band camp and piano and drum set lessons.  

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