Lee’s Summit R-7 School District approves approximately 12-cent decrease in tax levy

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District Board of Education recently approved a property-tax decrease amounting to 11.80 cents per $100 assessed valuation, when compared to the previous year’s tax rate.  The decrease in the tax rate was necessary to make up for the increase in existing property values as determined by the county assessor through the 2017 reassessment process.

The Lee’s Summit R-7 tax rate for tax year 2017 will be $5.8777 per $100 assessed valuation.  The Board of Education made the decision at its annual tax-rate hearing, held Sept. 28. The district’s rate for tax year 2016 was $5.9957.

For the owner of a $191,300 home (the average for Lee’s Summit R-7), the decrease will result in a savings of approximately $43 on the homeowner’s tax bill due in December 2017. The decrease will also reduce tax payments for personal property and other properties by approximately 2.11 percent.

The Missouri Constitution allows school districts to maintain a consistent level of property tax funding from year-to-year. When property values decrease, the tax rate increases.  If property values increase, the tax rate decreases.  

Families to receive electronic grade cards for first quarter

In an effort to streamline and improve communication, Lee’s Summit R-7 families will be receiving an electronic grade card for children enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade. Grade cards will be sent to the first three parent e-mail addresses provided by families during school registration. If your family’s information has changed since registration, please contact your child’s school office and update the e-mail addresses.

As in previous school years, parents will have the opportunity to discuss first-quarter grade cards at parent-teacher conferences, scheduled for the week of Oct. 16.

The electronic grade cards are more efficient, saving time and money as well as paper. It also provides for more timely delivery of grade cards to families.

LS R-7 students named National Merit commended students

Ten Lee’s Summit R-7 School District seniors were recently named National Merit Scholarship Corporation commended students through the national program. Students recognized are Haylee Hudson and Andrew Mitchell, Lee’s Summit High School; Anna Bilton, Lee’s Summit North High School; and Taylor Clewell, Chad Fischer, Katarina Liddell, Mikayla Odell, Kimlan Phan, Samuel Stott and Caroline Williams, Lee’s Summit West High School.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation conducts the program for academically talented seniors. About 34,000 commended students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2018 competition for Merit Scholarship awards, commended students placed among the top 5 percent of more than 1.6 million students who entered the competition by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Founded in 1955 to conduct the annual Merit Scholarship competition, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation is a privately financed, not-for-profit corporation that operates without government assistance. The organization announced its semifinalists earlier this fall, and commended students were just recently named.

Cedar Creek Elementary celebrates 20th anniversary

Cedar Creek Elementary School celebrated its 20th anniversary during a special events held Sept. 22. Celebrations included an all-school assembly and a PTA-sponsored picnic. The assembly included a presentation from Dr. Dennis L. Carpenter, Lee’s Summit R-7 superintendent; performances by the Lee’s Summit West High School drumline members and cheerleaders; and other presentations. Cedar Creek Elementary opened in fall 1997 with a second phase completed during the 1998-99 school year.

Mason Elementary raised more than $3,000 for hurricane victims

Mason Elementary School recently raised $3,087 to send to a Houston School District. The money will provide assistance to victims of Hurricane Harvey. The school’s fundraiser, which included a coin collection, was organized through the Mason Elementary Student Council.

Pictured (from left) are Mason students Skylar Watson and Makayla Watson, nieces of Dr. Rodney E. Watson, superintendent of Spring Independent School District, located just north of downtown Houston — a Texas connection for the school. Dr. Watson is also a former Lee’s Summit R-7 elementary school principal. The group photo includes members of Student Council.

The Spring Independent School District’s webpage highlighted the Mason donations on the school district webpage.

Dr. Emily Miller of LS R-7 recognized by Missouri Council of Administrators of Special Education

Dr. Emily Miller, assistant superintendent of special services, was recently named the 2017 recipient of the Missouri Council of Special Education Administrators Recognition Award.  This award is given to honor significant individual contributions to the field of special education administration.

Dr. Miller has worked for the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District for 16 years and also has experience as a director of special education in the Harrisonville School District and as director of the Santa Ynez Valley Special Education Consortium in Buellton, Calif. She previously worked as a special-education process coordinator at Pleasant Lea Middle School,  taught special education at Bernard Campbell Middle School and taught elementary students with special needs in Virginia. Dr. Miller earned her bachelor’s degree in history from George Mason University, her master’s in education and human development from George Washington University and her doctorate in educational leadership from Saint Louis University.

The award was presented at the council’s awards banquet, held Sept. 24 in Osage Beach. Dr. Miller was praised for being a professional who demonstrates the highest standards in her commitment to ensure the school district meets the vast array of student needs in an effort to help children realize their potential.

In nomination forms, Dr. Miller was praised for her work in establishing a viable response to intervention process for identifying and addressing student needs within a district-wide multi-tiered system of support. She has shared educational structures, processes and the lessons learned from implementations with many others across the state. In addition, the state organization officials stated that Dr. Miller’s efforts are fully inline with the council’s initiative to “reinvent” special education as a part of a unified system of education which benefits all students, including those with special needs.

Lee’s Summit R-7 publications honored in state communications contest

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s Communications Department won several awards during the Missouri School Public Relations Association’s annual communications contest.

The Our Schools community newspaper received an award of excellence (receiving at least 96 percent of possible points) in the magazine category. The district’s weekly electronic newsletter won an award of commendation in the contest’s newsletter category. In addition, a video produced in August 2016 won an award of commendation in the video category.

Our Schools is published five times annually in partnership with the Lee’s Summit Journal and is distributed to approximately 47,000 households. The Journal is responsible for coordinating advertising in the newspaper. For information about advertising, e-mail dmelton@kcstar.com or call (816) 234-4376. The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District is responsible for all news content within the publication.

The award-winning video, called “We Are Lee’s Summit R-7 Proud,” featured approximately 25 community leaders, staff members and students sharing their thoughts about the school district.

The Lee’s Summit R-7 electronic newsletter, known as “R-7 News Update,” is published weekly on Thursdays and has around 17,000 subscribers. Any interested individual may subscribe to the free newsletter by visiting this webpage. You may also keep up with school district news via the district’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, website and YouTube channel.

The newspaper, e-newsletter and other district-wide communications are managed by the Lee’s Summit R-7 Communications Department which includes Janice Phelan, executive director, and Janie Rohlfing, administrative assistant.

LSHS celebrates homecoming

Students, staff and families celebrated homecoming with the annual Lee’s Summit High School parade Sept. 15 in downtown Lee’s Summit. The LSHS Homecoming football game was held Sept. 15 with the dance Sept. 16.  

LS R-7 student selected for Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassador Summit

Maya Binder, a seventh-grader at Pleasant Lea Middle School, was selected to attend the annual Fuel Up to Play 60 Ambassador Summit this past summer. The national event was held July 24-27 in Minneapolis.

Maya was among 183 students from across the nation attending this event. She was selected based on her involvement in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program while a student at Sunset Valley Elementary. Maya was accompanied by Karen Reynolds, physical education coach from Sunset Valley Elementary.

Lee’s Summit R-7 schools have participated in the Fuel Up To Play 60 program for six years. Through this program and with assistance from the Midwest Dairy Council, schools were able to implement grab-and-go breakfasts at all elementary and middle schools.

The students, their teachers and the three sponsoring partners — Land O’Lakes, Ecolab and Quaker — participated in the three day event. Students worked with teachers and mentors from the partner organizations to create farm-to-table ideas included in a challenge event. Through the Innovation Challenge, the students developed student-led, innovative ideas to improve healthy eating in their schools and communities. A panel of judges selected the winning entries which were awarded grants. The Ambassador Summit also included leadership and communications training opportunities from subject matter experts and business leaders.

Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school health and wellness program, developed by the National Football League and National Dairy Council in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Maya Binder and Karen Reynolds at the Student Ambassador Summit.

LSNHS social studies students participate in Missouri Bar’s annual meeting

Thirty social studies students from Lee’s Summit North High School participated in the Sept. 14 annual meeting of The Missouri Bar, held in Kansas City. The students, accompanied by teachers Jennifer Mooney and Tavish Whiting, attended two plenary sessions of professional development seminars and met with members of the Missouri Supreme Court and Western Court of Appeals as well as a federal judge.

The students learned about the judicial profession and the importance of an independent judiciary within the United States. The two plenary sessions focused on artificial intelligence and the importance of storytelling to enhance legal arguments in the courtroom.

Students attending included Ahilyn Aceves-Cortes, Ally Banks, Miranda Chaffin, Anna Donaldson, Hannah Edwards, Emily Gerber, Alexis Griffin, Gigi Harris, Sabra Hasek, Victoria Jamaleddin, Amy Kilgore, Cheyenne Kitzmann, Brooke Lally, Nia Lange, Ayaan Musse, Regan Potts, Samuel Pratt, Cameron Riffle, Addy Ross, Michael Schwetz, Zakiyyah Winston, all seniors; Sarah Ahern, Danielle Barnette, Megan Carlson, Tia Kahwaji, Xavior Lewis, Olivia Little, Wyatt Thompson, Simon Zoroya, all juniors; and Keegan Pohl, sophomore.

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