Summit Technology Academy earns national recognition as a 21st Century Learning Exemplar

// Posted By Janie Rohlfing

Designation is from P21, The Partnership for 21st Century Learning

Summit Technology Academy was recognized as an exemplar school for 2016-17 by P21, The Partnership for 21st Century Learning. The Lee’s Summit R-7 school received this honor for exemplary 21st century learning practices in preparing students for success in college, career and life.

P21’s 21st Century Learning Exemplar Program searches for and shares the stories of schools and districts that have successfully transformed student learning through innovative practices such as distributed leadership and community partnerships. Summit Technology Academy is the first secondary school in Missouri to earn this designation.

Elaine Metcalf, director of Summit Technology Academy, explains that the school is an off-campus opportunity for high school students seriously interested in computer science, engineering, health sciences or creative sciences.

“College credit is attached to all of the programs,” Mrs. Metcalf said. “Also, IT students can earn industry certifications offered by Cisco. Health science students can choose to go the extra mile and earn industry certifications as part of their course work.”  

Summit Technology Academy partners with the University of Central Missouri to deliver an early college, internship-driven Missouri Innovation Campus program.

The typical student at STA is usually focused on a specific career path and has the determination to explore that field through in-depth studies and practical application.  

“Our students want a rigorous program of study to help prepare them for college,” Mrs. Metcalf added. “For example, students don’t just read about what an emergency room nurse does, but actually experience it in some small way as part of the pre-professional nursing program. Engineering students, on the other hand, work side-by-side with engineers to research, design and solve a problem. All of the programs at STA have some type of field experience, shadowing, clinicals, industry mentors, etc. tied to them.”

The mission and vision of STA perfectly aligns with the P21 Framework for 21st Century Learning.

Thanks to a 2015 no-tax-increase bond issue and a unique partnership with the University of Central Missouri, a new facility for the Summit Technology Academy / Missouri Innovation Campus programs will open in August 2017. The new building is under construction near Tudor and Ward Road.

“All learners deserve to grow in a 21st Century Learning environment,” stated Dr. Helen Soulé, P21 executive director. “It is P21’s vision for the innovative practices in education exhibited by all P21 Exemplars to be replicated across the country and world.”

In the spring of 2017, a case study on Summit Technology Academy and other 2016-2017 P21 Exemplars will be released and available at

spstadrawingAn architect’s drawing of the new Summit Technology Academy / Missouri Innovation Campus, scheduled to open in August 2017.

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