Lee’s Summit R-7 Academic Systems Review findings shared with staff members

Results from the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s Academic Systems Review are being shared with all district instructional staff members during late February and March. A comprehensive review of the district’s instructional operations, curriculum and assessment was conducted with the assistance of an outside entity last fall. The goal was to provide feedback to the district for reflection, growth and improvement.

A five-member team from Curriculum Management Solutions Inc. conducted an on-site review during September 2016. During the review, the team visited all R-7 schools, analyzed Lee’s Summit R-7 curriculum and evaluated assessment efforts and planning. In addition, the Curriculum Management Solutions experts gathered stakeholder feedback by interviewing internal and external stakeholders in focus groups and by conducting community surveys. All Lee’s Summit R-7 parents were invited to take the online survey with approximately 3,500 participating.

An overview of findings from the Academic Systems Review were presented to the Board of Education at a Jan. 19 work session. Contracting with the outside entity for the review was recommended by the Lee’s Summit R-7 Instructional Operations Team after a comprehensive review.

“Lee’s Summit R-7 is a high-functioning, successful school district, and this review emphasizes our focus on continuous improvement,” said Dr. Dave Benson, interim superintendent. “We are especially grateful to the many staff members and parents who took the time to provide feedback for this review through the focus groups and surveys.”

The Academic Systems Review final report is designed as an exception report, which does not emphasize all of the aspects going well in a school district. Instead, an exception report highlights opportunities for improvement in an effort to move the entire school district forward with the ultimate goal of improving student learning.

“While the Academic Systems Review final report was an exception report, the review team shared several strengths about the district that included a supportive community, our professionals working in schools and the continued excellent academic results of our students when compared to the highest performing districts in the state,” said Dr. Kevin Daniel, associate superintendent of instruction and leadership.

The complete report and recommendations, totaling more than 350 pages, are being integrated and aligned to the district’s Destination 2021 five-year strategic plan. Examining the report’s recommendations and determining implementation is a multi-year process that will involve many staff members from throughout the district.

Lee’s Summit R-7 staff members from several schools participate in the Feb. 22 Academic Systems Review presentation. Dr. Kevin Daniel, associate superintendent for instruction and leadership, discusses the review with the group.

Five LS R-7 School District students named National Merit Scholarship Corporation finalists

Lee’s Summit R-7 School District students recently named National Merit Scholarship Corporation finalists are Paige Maxwell, Lee’s Summit High School; Stacey Edmonsond, Lee’s Summit North High School; and Simone Jacoby, Marie Reuss, Jacob Schnitzlein, Lee’s Summit West High School. The students were named National Merit Scholarship Corporation semifinalists last fall.

Recognized students have the opportunity to continue in the competition for approximately 8,200 National Merit Scholarship Awards, worth close to $33 million, to be offered this spring. There are approximately 15,000 finalists throughout the United States.

Paige Maxwell is the daughter of Dale Maxwell and Laura Maxwell. At Lee’s Summit High School, Paige participates in robotics, student senate, Tiger Smart, tiger mentoring, Lee’s Summit CARES Youth Advisory Board, soccer and is an International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate.

Stacey Edmonsond is the daughter of Steve Edmonsond and Brenda Edmonsond. At Lee’s Summit North High School, Stacey participates in math club, National Honor Society, robotics, science knowledge bowl, National German Honor Society, medical club, German club, medical explorers, co-founder of Young Aspiring Student Scientists  and is an International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate. She has also scored a perfect 36 on the ACT.

Simone Jacoby is the daughter of Dr. Michael RK Jacoby and Rayma Vinyard Jacoby. At Lee’s Summit West High School, Simone participates in speech and debate, Gay-Straight Alliance, National Honor Society, book club and Anime Club.

Marie Reuss is the daughter of Janet Reuss and John Reuss. At Lee’s Summit West High School, Marie participates in National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, cross country, track, Earth club and is an International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate.

Jacob Schnitzlein is the son of Fay Schnitzlein and Rex Schnitzlein. At Lee’s Summit West High School, Jacob participates in robotics, student mentor-FTC robotics team at LSWHS, mentor to elementary FLL robotics teams, scholar bowl, Missouri Math League and chess club.

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. Scholarships awarded through the program are underwritten by nearly 500 independent sponsor organizations and institutions as well as with the corporation’s own funds.

Nearly 1.5 million students throughout the United States entered the 2017 Merit Program as juniors by taking the preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which serves as an initial screen of program entrants.

New LS R-7 Summit Tech / MIC facility continues to take shape

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s new Summit Technology Academy / Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC) continues to take shape thanks to the district’s 2015 no-tax-increase bond issue. Approved by close to 80 percent of voters, the $40 million bond issue is funding the new school as well as facility improvements at all Lee’s Summit R-7 schools.

To view a drone video of the progress at the new Summit Tech / MIC, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-A7II0hgIP8. The new school is scheduled to open in August 2017.

Summit Technology Academy is an innovative and advanced experience that prepares high-school juniors and seniors for college and career success. The Missouri Innovation Campus is a progressive collaboration between the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community College and the University of Central Missouri. The Missouri Innovation Campus, established in 2012 at Summit Technology Academy, is a nationally recognized program that accelerates the time it takes students to complete a four-year degree, significantly reduces college debt and provides job-ready skills that are highly sought after by businesses.

Thanks to a unique partnership with the University of Central Missouri, Lee’s Summit R-7 and the university are constructing and making plans to operate this cost-saving new facility. Under the plan, Lee’s Summit R-7 is paying approximately 40 percent of the new school with UCM paying the remaining 60 percent. The new facility is located near Ward and Tudor Road.

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 information.

The dashboard, which features interactive numerical displays and graphs, is available at http://dashboard.lsr7.org/. 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.

Dr. Dennis L. Carpenter named new Lee’s Summit R-7 superintendent

New superintendent’s experiences include improving student achievement and building community

Dr. Dennis L. Carpenter, currently Hickman Mills School District superintendent, will serve as the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s 2017-18 superintendent, according to a Jan. 9 announcement by the Board of Education. Board members and Dr. Carpenter are finalizing the new superintendent’s contract and expect to approve it by the Jan. 19 Board of Education meeting.

“We are fortunate to have a leader of Dr. Carpenter’s caliber, experience and integrity joining our school district,” said Bob White, Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education president. “He has a solid record in improving student achievement as well as extensive experience in strategic planning and facilities and budget management.”

Dr. Carpenter has served as superintendent of the Hickman Mills School District since 2013 and previously served as deputy superintendent of operations and the associate superintendent for human resources for Newton County Schools in Covington, Ga. An award-winning district, Newton County Schools includes approximately 20,000 students in a growing community southeast of Atlanta. In addition, he has worked as an assistant superintendent for support services in Baxley, Ga.; and as an elementary school principal and middle school assistant principal, both in Georgia school districts. He has nearly 21 years of experience in public education.

“We believe we have found the perfect fit for Lee’s Summit R-7,” Mr. White said. “Our Board of Education was especially impressed with Dr. Carpenter’s extensive experience in instructional leadership, student success, fiscal management, operations and school renovation/construction.”

Under Dr. Carpenter’s leadership, Hickman Mills School District has made significant improvements in areas such as student attendance, graduation rates and ACT composite average scores. The district’s annual performance report increased by 18.9 percent in 2014, the largest increase of any K-12 urban or suburban school district in Missouri during that year.

Additional accomplishments in Hickman Mills under his tenure have included implementation of full-day pre-kindergarten for all district 4-year-olds, school renovation projects, a successful community-wide strategic planning effort, successful passage of a 19 million dollar bond issuance, and a substantial increase in the district foundation’s fundraising efforts.

“I am both humbled and honored to be selected by the Lee’s Summit Board of Education to serve as superintendent of a district with such a rich history of academic and extracurricular excellence,” Dr. Carpenter said. “I trust that my commitment to student-centered, inclusive leadership will assist in furthering the district’s commitment to an equitable educational experience for all students.”

Dr. Carpenter will begin his new job in Lee’s Summit R-7 on July 1. Dr. Dave Benson, who is serving as interim superintendent from Sept. 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017, will be working with Dr. Carpenter to ensure a successful transition.

The Board of Education began its search for a permanent superintendent in summer 2016 and has worked with BWP and Associates. The search process emphasized community involvement with more than 750 staff members and citizens participating in focus groups and an online survey. During the survey and focus groups, participants were asked to help identify critical attributes for the district’s next superintendent.

“We have been grateful for the involvement and support of our community during this search process,” Mr. White added, “and believe this feedback and support helped us select an outstanding leader for our schools.”

Darrell Curls, president of the Hickman Mills Board of Education, shared his Board members’ thoughts regarding the announcement. “As a Board we want to congratulate Dr. Carpenter on his plans to take the next step in his career. We are grateful to Dr. Carpenter for his four years of service to our district and its children. We have made significant progress under his leadership. Lee’s Summit is the recipient of a great leader who cares about all children.”  

Dr. Carpenter earned his bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Georgia Southern University, his master’s degree in educational leadership from Augusta State University, an education specialist degree and a doctorate degree in educational leadership and educational administration, both from Georgia Southern University. Georgia Southern University is a land grant college located in Statesboro, Ga., and part of the University System of Georgia. The university is classified as a doctoral and research university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and has been recognized as a top undergraduate and graduate university by both U.S. News and World Report and Forbes magazine. Augusta State University, located in Augusta, Ga., is also part of the University System of Georgia. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

He has received the South Kansas City Alliance Innovative Educational Program Award, received the Friend of the Council for Exceptional Children Award, was named Phi Beta Sigma Educator of the Year in Savannah, Ga., and was named an Emerging Leader by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

In addition, Dr. Carpenter has been a presenter at numerous state and national educational conferences on topics such as STEM education, student achievement, racial equity, professional development and parent/community involvement. Dr. Carpenter is married to Dr. LaQuanda Carpenter, and they have two children, Landen Drake and Layla Dee.

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District is recognized as one of the top educational systems in this region. The district has grown steadily throughout its history with current enrollment at 17,927 students. The district employs 2,652 staff members. The 117-square-mile district includes the cities of Lee’s Summit, Greenwood, Lake Lotawana and Lake Winnebago as well as unincorporated areas of Jackson County. The district’s mission is “We prepare each student for success in life.”

Lee’s Summit R-7 ranked among top 10 by national organization

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District was recently ranked in the top 10 among “Best School Districts in Missouri” by Niche. Only two Kansas City metropolitan-area districts were ranked in the state’s top 10.

According to Niche officials, the rankings are based on statistics such as state test scores, college readiness, graduation rates, SAT/ACT scores and teacher quality as well as ratings from students and parents. Niche helps families find places to live, work and attend school based on statistics and online ratings.

LS R-7 Destination 2021 five-year strategic plan available on district website

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s Destination 2021 five-year strategic plan is available on the destination-2021-logo-finaldistrict’s webpage at http://www.lsr7.org/district/csip-destination-2021/. Also known as the Comprehensive School Improvement, the plan was developed by a team of community and staff members.

The plan was approved by the R-7 Board of Education during August 2016. The team of approximately 55 employees and citizens worked together throughout spring 2016 to develop the plan with an additional 70 participants providing input into the plan via focus groups.

The plan focuses on five areas – governance; student performance; highly qualified staff; facilities, support and instructional resources; and parent and community involvement. Destination 21’s major emphasis continues to be on instruction, learning and student success.

To ensure accountability, the plan’s components are placed on a timeline and reviewed annually by the community and staff team, the Superintendent’s Leadership Team and the Board of Education. The plan, which is considered a living document, can be updated to reflect changes in areas such as educational technology through the input of these teams.

Lee’s Summit R-7 has a tradition of long-range, comprehensive planning, and the current R-7 document is actually the R-7 School District’s sixth five-year strategic plan. Previous strategic plans were also developed by community and staff members in 1990, 1995, 2001, 2006 and 2011. Destination 2021 covers 2016 through 2021.

Know the facts about head lice

Common occurrence among children

Head lice, which are small parasitic insects, are a common occurrence among children with approximately one in 100 U.S. elementary-age children getting head lice during any given year. The peak infestation time for head lice are generally during summer and other back-to-school periods, such as early January.

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District Health Services Department is providing the information in this article to help inform families about this issue. Head lice infestation within the R-7 School District and at individual schools is not above normal this school year.

Generally found close to the scalp, usually around the ears and back of the neck, the adult louse is about the size of a sesame seed and can be the color of a child’s hair. Nits, or eggs, are smaller and silver in color. It is noteworthy that head lice do NOT spread disease and are NOT related to hygiene or cleanliness.

How do children get head lice?

Children acquire head lice mainly by direct head-to-head contact with an infected person. If someone in your child’s class at school develops head lice, there is no reason to automatically assume that your child will “catch head lice.

How can head lice be prevented?

It is virtually impossible to prevent all head lice infestations. Parents should be aware of the signs and symptoms of head lice and are encouraged to check their children’s heads for lice periodically, before and after sleep-overs and if the child is symptomatic. If a person is identified with head lice, all household members should be checked for head lice.

What are symptoms of head lice?

Most cases of head lice in children begin without any symptoms. The most common symptom is itching, which is caused by an allergic reaction to the louse saliva. However, itching may not occur until after four to five weeks of infestation.

How are head lice diagnosed?

Diagnosis of head lice is confirmed through the identification of a live louse on the head. If your child is scratching his or her head and you see bugs or nits on the scalp, he or she should be examined by a medical professional.

What is the treatment for head lice?

Treatment should occur only when active (crawling) lice or viable eggs (nits that are ¼ inch or closer to the scalp) are observed. Effective treatments include over-the-counter products and prescription medication. Alternative therapies, such as natural and herbal remedies, also exist but they have not been proven effective and are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In addition, nit picking (hair combing) with a fine-tooth comb is often used to remove the nits from the hair. This combing takes time and patience. While nit picking may remove the eggs or empty shells, it is not considered an effective treatment for head lice if used in isolation.

Please note that many approved products are safe and effective but, like all medical treatments, must be used as directed. Studies have also shown that head lice are developing resistance to pesticides used in over-the-counter products in much the same way that some bacteria have developed resistance to antibiotics.

For more information

For more information about head lice at your child’s school, please contact your school nurse. You may also visit the R-7 Board of Education policy database and search for JHC-AP2: “Student Health Services and Requirements (Head Lice).”

Lee’s Summit R-7 School District earns state’s top ranking through MSIP 5 accountability system

District-wide scores jump by 5.4 percentage points when compared to two years ago

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District has earned the state’s top rating for academic achievement annual-perf-report-graphic-fall-2016following the Nov. 7 release of Missouri assessment scores. The district scored 97.9 percent on the state’s rigorous Annual Performance Report (APR) for the 2015-16 school year, an increase of 5.4 percentage points over the past two years.

Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education annually issues a state report card for public schools through the Missouri School Improvement Program. This assessment system, established in 1990, is now in its fifth cycle and is often called MSIP 5. Performance standards used through MSIP 5 are designed to recognize the achievement and growth of all Missouri students.

Through the 2015-16 MSIP 5, Lee’s Summit R-7 scored 137 out of a possible 140 points. This is a 1.1-point increase over the 2014-15 year.

“We are very pleased with the results in our Annual Performance Report that showed an increase for the second consecutive year and the highest APR score achieved over the last three years,” said Dr. Kevin Daniel, associate superintendent of instruction and leadership. “The professionals in our schools kept the focus on our students, their success and learning. These results are a credit to our students, families and the continued dedication and commitment of our staff members.”

Since the 2013-14 school year, Lee’s Summit R-7’s score on the Annual Performance Report has increased by 5.4 percentage points. Scores over the last three years are 92.5 in 2013-14, 96.8 in 2014-15 and 97.9 in 2015-16.

The MSIP 5 Annual Performance Report includes five major standards — academic achievement, subgroup achievement, college and career readiness, attendance rates and graduation rates. Lee’s Summit R-7 students scored well in all five categories.

“While district leadership is pleased with the continuing improvement and sustained excellent results, we are not completely satisfied,” added Dr. Daniel. “The target in Destination 2021, the district’s newly adopted five-year strategic plan, is to achieve an Annual Performance Report score of 100 percent by the time the R-7 strategic plan has run its course and hopefully before.”


Summit Technology Academy / Missouri Innovation Campus recognized by Association of Learning Environments for outstanding design concept

The building design for the new Summit Technology Academy / Missouri Innovation Campus was honored during the 2016 LearningSCAPES Conference, held Sept. 28 through Oct. 1 in Philadelphia.

Summit Tech / MIC received the top award for a secondary school in the design concept category at the event, hosted by the Association for Learning Environments. The new facility, currently under construction near Ward and Tudor, is funded by a 2015 no-tax-increase bond issue as well as a partnership with the University of Central Missouri. The building will be complete by summer 2017.

Architects for the project are Gould Evans and DLR Group. McCownGordon Construction is the builder. The new building will house the Missouri Innovation Campus, Summit Technology Academy and University of Central Missouri-Lee’s Summit.

Unique features of the project highlighted in the nomination packet included the regional partnership involving the R-7 School District, higher education and industry-leading businesses; the incorporation of contemporary workplace environments into the design; and flexible spaces that allow for Lee’s Summit R-7 and the University of Central Missouri to share spaces, furnishings and equipment. Throughout the initial design stages, there was a high level of involvement from educators, students and business partners during visioning round table discussions.

Examples of innovative spaces include an “ideation commons” at the heart of each department as well as flex open learning studios designed to support a wide range of learning styles and modes ranging from individual to team-based activities.

Summit Technology Academy, established in 1999 by the R-7 School District, is a unique secondary school that prepares students for careers in engineering, computer science, health care and creative science. UCM-Lee’s Summit is the university’s main off-campus learning facility, offering graduate- and undergraduate-level completion programs to metro-area students. The Missouri Innovation Campus, established in 2012 at Summit Technology Academy, is a nationally recognized program that accelerates the time it takes students to complete a four-year degree, significantly reduces college debt and provides job-ready skills that are highly sought after by businesses.

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