From Dr. Benson: Joining together to create an innovative path for student success

By Dr. Dave Benson

Lee’s Summit R-7 Interim Superintendentdave-benson-3-1

The progressive collaboration involving Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, the University of Central Missouri (UCM) and Metropolitan Community College (MCC) is noteworthy example of what can happen when we work together on behalf of students.

With the assistance of business partners, our three educational organizations have joined forces to create an innovative path for student success. Since opening in 2012, the Missouri Innovation Campus has literally reshaped the way students experience education, reduced student higher-education debt and accelerated the time needed to earn a college degree. Thanks to the businesses involved in the Missouri Innovation Campus, students also participate in long-term internships, earning highly sought-after skills for high-paying careers.

The unique partnership allows students to earn an associate degree from the community college just after high-school graduation and a bachelor’s degree two years later. Through an innovative financial structure, students not only graduate from college two years earlier than their peers, they have little or no student debt.

Recognized both regionally and nationally as a model for other education institutions, the Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC) is continuing to grow in student numbers and available programs. In its first year, the MIC included 11 students participating in the systems engineering program. Currently the program includes 80 students within four cohorts involved in systems engineering, drafting and design, software development and cyber security. We expect the MIC to continue to grow and are especially excited about opening our new facility in summer 2017. The new school facility is a mutually beneficial partnership between Lee’s Summit R-7 and UCM, designed to improve our learning environment, share resources and save money.

We recently reached out to a few of our partners and asked them to share their thoughts on this groundbreaking partnership.

“We’re very proud of the exceptional relationship between UCM, the Lee’s Summit School District, MCC and numerous business partners that has made the Missouri Innovation Campus possible,” said Dr. Chuck Ambrose, UCM president. “As public institutions that serve students, we owe much gratitude to our governance boards for providing leadership that allowed us to move forward. Our governance leaders were not only visionary, but they demonstrated tremendous faith in our faculty, staff and administrators to enable us to take this program from an idea stage to implementation in a short timeframe to meet both student and business needs.”

“The Missouri Innovation Campus is an innovative program that has produced demonstrated results – graduates who are ready for the workforce,” said Dr. Kirk Nooks, president of Metropolitan Community College-Longview. “It is just the icing on the cake when you get to look a student in the eye and congratulate him or her on graduating with a high school diploma and associate degree within the same week.”

Dr. Sharon Nibbelink is superintendent of the Center School District, one of 14 school districts sending students to the Missouri Innovation Campus. “Being part of the Missouri Innovation Campus provides our students with enhanced opportunities to be immersed in the real world of experience,” she said. “We have to give our kids opportunities to work on projects with businesses and teams that are solving problems. Our students benefit from this partnership because we’re providing collaborative opportunities preparing them for life after high school.”

Business partners have been essential in the success of the program. Andy Cole, university relations program leader of DST, one of the businesses involved, said, “As one of three original corporate partners, DST Systems continues to see great value in our partnership with Summit Technology Academy and the Missouri Innovation Campus. The curriculum continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of our workforce. Our MIC interns are being taught the skills needed in the classroom that allow them to come to work ready to add value and to help solve real business problems each and everyday.  This program is helping to contribute to the long-term health of the Kansas City Tech Community!”

For more information, check out the open house opportunities on Jan. 12 and Feb. 1 at https://sta.lsr7.org/rsvp/.

Through the work of this progressive collaboration, the Missouri Innovation Campus has become a nationally recognized leader in connecting students to an affordable, meaningful education while providing businesses with a skilled, career-ready workforce. We are proud of our students and staff members and thankful for the individuals and organizations contributing to this success story.

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 superintendent search proceeding on schedule

Search includes comprehensive community feedback

The Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education is continuing its search for a permanent superintendent. Plans call for the Board to select the district’s 2017-18 superintendent by late January or early February. Applications closed on Nov. 11 with a total of 36 individuals applying for the job by the deadline.

The Board of Education is working with BWP and Associates on the search process. The consultants are currently screening the 36 candidates and will present a slate of qualified candidates to the Board of Education by early December. BWP and Associates is determining this list using a screening process that incorporates feedback from the community and the Board of Education.

More than 750 community members shared their opinions earlier this fall through focus groups and an online survey. In the survey and the focus groups, participants were asked to help identify critical attributes for the district’s next superintendent.

Dr. Bert Kimble of BWP and Associates presented community feedback gathered from the surveys and groups at an Oct. 13 Board of Education work session. Using this feedback, the consultants and Board of Education developed a leadership profile for the superintendent.

Board of Education members plan to begin interviewing candidates for the permanent superintendent position during December.

The new superintendent will begin working within Lee’s Summit R-7 during summer 2017. Dr. Dave Benson was named Lee’s Summit R-7 interim superintendent on Aug. 16. He began serving in this role on Sept. 1 and will serve as interim through June 2017.

The latest news about the superintendent search is available on the district’s superintendent search webpage.

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.”

 

Community feedback valuable in search for permanent LS R-7 superintendent

Surveys and focus groups help create a culture for positive results

By Bob White
Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education President

On behalf of our Board of Education, I want to thank our community and staff for an overwhelming response to our request for feedback regarding our search for a Lee’s Summit R-7 permanent superintendent. More than 500 individuals completed an online survey earlier this fall with almost bobwhite250 participating in a total of 17 focus groups.

This type of community involvement is much greater than what is normally received in this type of process, and we truly appreciate each person who took the time to share opinions. This feedback, presented to the Board of Education by BWP and Associates at our Oct. 13 work session, is helping Board members identify and prioritize critical attributes for our new superintendent.

Your involvement and support is especially vital as we continue involving the community in order to a achieve positive results. BWP and Associates noted that based on the survey and focus groups Lee’s Summit R-7 citizens are very proud of the school district and the quality of administration and teachers supporting our students.

Our school district is currently accepting applications for the position of superintendent with the application process closing on Nov. 11. In early December, the Board of Education will receive a slate of qualified candidates as recommended by BWP and Associates. The consulting firm will determine this list using a comprehensive screening process that incorporates feedback from the community and Board of Education.

Throughout December and January, the Board of Education will continue to narrow the list of candidates. Following further screening and interviews, the goal is to name the new superintendent by late January or early February. The permanent superintendent will begin his or her duties in July 2017.

I also want to thank the many staff and community members who have welcomed our interim superintendent, Dr. Dave Benson, to Lee’s Summit R-7. We have been pleased with Dr. Benson’s leadership and his focus on student success as well as community engagement and open communications. On the job since Sept. 1, Dr. Benson has been working with R-7 staff on tasks such as implementing our district’s new five-year strategic plan, known as Destination 2021. Our Board of Education has also been working with administration to strengthen Board policy and has approved contracts in accordance with newly revised Board policy DGA that has given greater guidance as to how to comply with state statutes.

I want to call your attention to an additional effort to enhance communications with our public. Beginning in December, we plan to begin videotaping our Board of Education meetings with videos available via our district’s webpage. More information about how to access these videotaped meetings will be included in district communications later this fall.

I hope you are having an outstanding school year and a wonderful autumn. Our students and staff members are accomplishing great things both in the classroom and beyond. Just recently, we learned that our 2016 graduates scored above the state and national averages on the ACT college-entrance exams. In addition, Lee’s Summit R-7 students performed well on the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) tests, scoring above the state average in each subject area and each grade level tested.

Please feel free to contact our Board of Education — or any school district department — via our “contact us” webpage, available at https://contact.lsr7.org/. We welcome your feedback and are grateful to serve our students, staff and community as Board members.

LS R-7 Nutrition Services seeks employees

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District is currently accepting applications for employment within the nutritionserviceshelpwanted-3district’s nationally recognized Nutrition Services Department.

For parents of R-7 students, the job offers several advantages. These include being off work on the same days children are out of school, leaving for work after students go to school and getting off work before children come home from school.

For more information, contact Donita Zehr at (816) 986-2207 or apply online at lsr7.org.

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.

ocsta-drawing-hallway2 ocsta-drawing-front-view

More than 750 community members participate in superintendent search focus groups and survey

LS R-7 Board of Education hears community feedback at Oct. 13 work session

More than 750 community members shared their opinions about the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s superintendent search earlier this fall. Close to 250 participated in 17 focus groups, held Oct 4 and 5, and more than 500 citizens completed an online survey.

The R-7 Board of Education has retained BWP and Associates to assist with the search. The consultants conducted the community focus groups and have compiled results from both the group sessions and the survey. Through the survey and the focus groups, participants were asked to help identify critical attributes for the district’s next superintendent. The survey closed Oct. 7.

Dr. Bert Kimble of BWP and Associates presented community feedback gathered from the surveys and groups at an Oct. 13 Board of Education work session. Using this feedback, the consultants and Board of Education are developing a leadership profile for the superintendent. The report from BWP and Associates is posted on the district’s BoardDocs website.

The deadline for candidates to apply for the Lee’s Summit R-7 superintendent position is Nov. 11. The Board of Education’s goal is to recruit superintendent candidates and conduct interviews during this semester with the permanent superintendent being named in January 2017. The new superintendent will begin working within Lee’s Summit R-7 during summer 2017.

Dr. Dave Benson was named Lee’s Summit R-7 interim superintendent on Aug. 16. He began serving in this role on Sept. 1 and will serve as interim through June 2017.

Lee’s Summit R-7, University of Central Missouri celebrate milestone in construction of new Summit Tech / Missouri Innovation Campus

Officials from the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and the University of Central Missouri gathered together Oct. 13 to celebrate a milestone in the construction of the new Summit Technology Academy / Missouri Innovation Campus, a partnership involving both organizations.

At a Topping Out the Beam ceremony, Lee’s Summit R-7 and UCM marked the placement of the final steel beam on the 140,000-square-foot building. The beam event is a tradition among steel workers and construction firms and marks a significant milestone in the construction process.

The event included brief remarks from Dr. Dave Benson, R-7 interim superintendent; Dr. Chuck Ambrose, UCM president; and Dr. Brent Blevins, R-7 deputy superintendent of operations. Immediately following the brief ceremony, the approximately 40 people attending had the opportunity to sign the final beam before it was hoisted onto the building via a large crane.

Dr. Benson praised the unique partnership between the two educational organizations. “We look forward to sharing this space with the University of Central Missouri as our joint mission to serve students and the community goes forward,” he said.

The 1,169-pound final beam tying the structure together joins nearly 942 tons or 72 truckloads of steel that have gone into the building project, under the management of McCownGordon Construction. Architectural firms for the new facility are DLR Group and GouldEvans.

The new Summit Tech / MIC is scheduled to open in August 2017. The school is made possible thanks to a trailblazing partnership that was established by the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and the University of Central Missouri. The agreement led R-7 leaders to place a $40 million no-tax-increase bond issue on the April 2015 election ballot. This bond issue, which is also funding numerous facility improvements at all R-7 schools, was approved by approximately 80 percent of voters.

The new Summit Tech / MIC will be owned by the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District. Through the unique partnership, the University of Central Missouri will pay for 60 percent of the building through a lease agreement with Lee’s Summit R-7 funding the remaining 40 percent. The facility will house Lee’s Summit R-7’s Summit Technology Academy; the Missouri Innovation Campus, a partnership involving R-7, UCM, Metropolitan Community College and approximately 40 businesses; and the UCM-Lee’s Summit.

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.

Thanks to the partnership and the use of shared spaces and resources, the new building will save money for both Lee’s Summit R-7 and UCM while providing students with a state-of-the-art facility for learning.

ocsta-blevinsambrosebensonA brief ceremony included comments from (from left) Dr. Brent Blevins, Dr. Chuck Ambrose and Dr. Dave Benson.

 

 

 

 

ocsta-topbeam1The final beam makes its way to the top of the structure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ocstatopbeamdoneThe beam is placed on the building.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ocstatopbeamthebeamSignatures on the final beam.

Tips for parents related to communicable diseases and school

Autumn tends to be the time of year that families and schools begin to see more incidences of communicable disease including pertussis, which is commonly known as whooping cough.

As of Oct. 6, a total of seven confirmed cases of pertussis have been found in one Lee’s Summit R-7 school —  Hazel Grove Elementary. Families in schools with cases of pertussis confirmed via the Jackson County Health Department would notified via our Health Services Department. As with all communicable diseases, our school nurses work closely with the Jackson County Health Department and follow the department’s recommendations.

With pertussis and other communicable diseases, the district’s Facilities Services staff members work closely with schools to provide additional cleaning and disinfecting of targeted classrooms or areas.

Although this number of confirmed cases would not be considered especially unusual for this time of year, we wanted to communicate additional information about pertussis to R-7 families. Symptoms of pertussis include a long series of coughs or coughing fits followed by a whooping noise that may last for at least two weeks. Occasionally severe coughing episodes can cause vomiting, turning blue and/or difficulty catching one’s breath. The cough is often worse at night and cough medicine usually does not relieve the coughing.

It is possible for an individual who has received the pertussis vaccine to contract pertussis. In these cases, the case tends to be milder, shorter in duration and symptoms are considerably less severe.

If you child comes down with cold symptoms that include a cough, please talk to your child’s doctor. If your child is in a school with a confirmed case of pertussis, please share this information with your doctor. Additional information about pertussis is available at www.whoopingcough.net.

Get Social

Facebook

 

Instagram

 

YouTube

 

District Newsletter Signup

mail


Other News Publications