BCMS, PLMS students participate in field trip focusing on technical side of theatre

Students from Bernard Campbell and Pleasant Lea Middle Schools recently participated in a field trip focusing on the technical side of theatre. The students had the opportunity to see how the highly marketable technical skills they are learning by serving on the crew for school productions can be applied to the workforce.

Each stop of the tour provided students with a first-hand look behind the scenes of professional theaters around the metropolitan area as well as an opportunity to hear from technical professionals about the work that goes into putting on a top-notch show. Students toured the Music Hall, Midland, Kauffman Center and Folly Theatre.

Teachers participating in the trip included Kenny Taylor of BCMS and Kent Tipton, Travis Payne and Courtney Williams of PLMS.

“In this trip we got to see how theater stages and backstage areas have changed over time by going to different theaters made in different time periods,” said Zoey Hurst, a student at BCMS. “It also showed us how much work goes into putting on productions.”

“The benefit of this trip was learning more about the stage crew and how I can use it in my future,” said Regan Martinez, a student at BCMS. “They told us job opportunities as well as how they work. The tour guides gave us personal and professional experiences everyone enjoyed. It got me more intrigued into possibly going into this career field. I had a lot of fun with my friends and teachers and I think this is a field trip every crew member should take once in their school career.”

Lee’s Summit R-7 Before- and After-School Services reduces tuition for 2018-19

Decrease ranges from 18 to 34 percent for school district child care

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s award-winning child care program is making significant reductions to tuition rates for the 2018-19 school year with the changes designed to provide affordable access to quality care to more families. Known as BASS (Before- and After-School Services), the program serves children in preschool, elementary and middle school. BASS enrollment for 2018-19 begins April 30.

Tuition for full-time before- and after-school care is decreasing by 18 percent. Tuition for families choosing before- or after-school care will be reduced by 34 percent. Tuition for the 2018 summer program has also been reduced, and the deadline to enroll in Summer Learning Institute and BASS Summer Camp is April 23. In addition, enrollment fees will decrease from $80 to $40 per child with the family enrollment fee dropping from $105 to $65.

Monthly tuition fees will vary depending on the number of days that children are enrolled in Before- and After-School Services. For example, monthly fees for next year will range from $239 for December to $387 for April.

Other changes include the following.

  • Families that do not use BASS on non-school days will not be charged for child care on these days. The rates for non-school days have decreased to $25 a day.
  • The spring break tuition fee has been reduced.
  • BASS will no longer offer a part-time tuition rate for families needing care just a few days a week. Although this rate has been eliminated, the cost for full-time care in 2018-19 is just $44 more per month than the part-time rate this school year.  

With the changes, BASS will be on the lower end of costs when compared to before- and after-school programs in the Lee’s Summit area. BASS will continue to be a self-supporting program as required by the Board of Education.

For more information about the tuition reductions for Before- and After-School Services, visit http://bass.lsr7.org/programs/ and select “2018-19 Bass Enrollment Flyer.” BASS offers Kids Country at all elementary schools, 3LYNX for middle-school students and KC Cubbies for preschool students as well as SummitRise, a free service for elementary students on late-start Wednesdays.  

Jon Ellis receives Missouri Business Leader Advocate Award from state alliance

Jon Ellis was recently selected to receive the Business Leader Advocate Award from the Missouri Alliance for Children, Youth and Families. Mr. Ellis will receive the award at the 36th annual Missouri Child Advocacy Day, scheduled for April 3 in Jefferson City.

Mr. Ellis has been a supporter of the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District for several decades. He was nominated by Kerry Boehm, principal of the Great Beginnings Early Education Center, who praised Mr. Ellis for his positive impact on children and families involved in the district’s early childhood programs.

His partnership with the early education program began when his children were enrolled in Parents As Teachers. Both Jon and his wife, Juli, have made numerous donations to the early childhood program ranging from a copy machine to funding for a speech/language pathologist to better serve children. The speech/language pathologist funded through the Ellis family has benefitted close to 3,600 children and their families since 2002.

Mr. and Mrs. Ellis served as co-chairpersons for the Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation’s capital campaign that raised approximately one third of the funding for Great Beginning Early Education Center. One-third of the cost of the center came as a matching grant challenge from an anonymous donor with the remaining third funded through a voter-approved no-tax-increase bond issue. This charitable capital campaign for a school district facility is unique among public school districts.

Currently, Mr. Ellis serves on the Community Advisory Board for Great Beginnings and has served as a Lee’s Summit R-7 School District business partner for more than 20 years. Through Paradise Park, Mr. Ellis frequently hosts professional development opportunities for school staff while allowing Lee’s Summit R-7 early childhood programs access to Paradise Park at a reduced or no-cost rate.

“Jon’s continued connectedness brings our early education community grant and advocacy opportunities on a very regular basis,” said Mrs. Boehm in the nomination. “ We believe his knowledge, passion and dedication to early education has and does significantly impact families and children in our community.”

A Lee’s Summit resident, Mr. Ellis is the owner of Paradise Park. He has also been active in the community for many years including serving as an officer and member of numerous civic organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Council, Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation, Rotary Club, Commerce Bank Advisory Board, Lee’s Summit R-7 Citizens’ Advisory Committee, City of Lee’s Summit strategic planning committee and Lee’s Summit R-7 Business Roundtable. Mr. and Mrs. Ellis are also active members of the Lee’s Summit Optimist Club and participate in numerous organization efforts designed to assist schools and students.

Jon Ellis is pictured with Tracy Halphin, Lee’s Summit R-7 lead parent educator, following the state presentation.

PLMS selects April High 5 Award winners

The Practical Arts Department at Pleasant Lea Middle School selected the High 5 winners for April. Winners are (from left) Ethan Solognier, Most Improved Seventh-grader, Maggie Emerson, Outstanding Seventh-grader; Landon Clouse, Most Improved Eighth-grader; and Makayla Clark, Outstanding Eighth-grader.

The school’s Partners in Education, Lee’s Summit Medical Center and Mazuma Credit Union, sponsor the award. The High 5 Award was designed to promote academic excellence among students of PLMS. Mazuma Credit Union presents the students with a gift card for Chipotle, and Lee’s Summit Medical Center provides an Andy’s Custard gift card.

Pleasant Lea Elementary, LSHS collaborate on art and sculpture project

Art students from Lee’s Summit High School recently worked together with Pleasant Lea Elementary students to present a Collaborative Art and Sculpture Project.

High-school advanced art students in Manning Williams’ and Melissa Woody’s classrooms created a list of 40 different animals. Students in Trish Williams third-grade class at Pleasant Lea Elementary pulled the names of animals from a bag, choosing two animals per student.

Using the animals selected, the third-graders drew a picture combining them. Once the pictures were complete, the advanced art students added their own artistic interpretations to create sculptures based on the younger students’ drawings.

School staff members plan to continue the collaborative project annually.

Lee’s Summit R-7 students receive Missouri Outstanding Achievement in Citizenship Award

Students are among seven recognized by state

Maggie O’Connor of Lee’s Summit West High School and Cara Cha of Lee’s Summit High School were recently selected to receive the Missouri Outstanding Achievement in Citizenship Award. They are among seven high-school students being honored this spring by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The winners will be recognized at an April 16 banquet in Jefferson City. As part of the nomination process, Maggie wrote about an individual who exemplified exceptional civic engagement and duty. Her award-winning essay featured Matt Good, Lee’s Summit West debate and forensics teacher. Cara wrote about Paul Chapa, the founder of the Friends in Service of Heroes program, otherwise known as FISH. Her writing highlighted the accomplishments of the veteran-assisting organization and the quality citizenship exhibited by the featured individual.

Dr. Tressa Wright named Greater KC Assistant Principal of the Year

Dr. Tressa Wright, assistant principal at Bernard Campbell Middle School, recently received the Greater Kansas City Missouri Principals Association’s Dr. Dan Kahler Assistant Principal of the Year Award.

The regional award recognizes secondary school administrators for their dedication to helping students and staff. Dr. Wright was selected from among the many metropolitan area assistant principals. As the metro-area winner, she will compete against other regional winners for the Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals Association Assistant Principal of the Year Award.

In nomination forms, Dr. Wright was praised for her ability to connect with students, provide support for staff members and involve parents and community members in the school.

Tressa ensures each day that the school is a positive place where students and staff are proud to attend,” said a colleague. “Dr. Wright is willing to take risks to improve student learning and she is a driven to develop inspiring programs for her students. She involves the community in the life of the school and uses community resources for students.”

Colleagues added that Dr. Wright demonstrates creativity and imagination in bringing about positive change.  

“She has even been known to sing, dance and wear a banana costume in order to support her school,” added a co-worker.

Dr. Wright has served as the BCMS assistant principal for five years and been a Lee’s Summit R-7 employee for 19 years. Before becoming assistant principal, she worked as a math teacher and math LABS instructor at BCMS including serving as mathematics lead teacher and implementing the Campbell Academy, a program for at-risk students. In addition to her experience in Lee’s Summit R-7, Dr. Wright previously worked as a math teacher for both the Raytown and Mountain View-Birch Tree School Districts and is an adjunct instructor for the University of Central Missouri.

Within the R-7 School District, she has served on the Teacher of the Year Selection Team, the Insurance Committee and the Destination 2021 strategic planning team. She also coordinated the 2017 Lee’s Summit R-7/China student exchange program.

Dr. Wright earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Missouri State University, her middle school certification from the University of Missouri-Rolla, master’s degree in teaching from Webster University and her doctorate in educational leadership from Baker University.

Campbell students participating in the school’s WEB leader program celebrate Dr. Wright’s regional award with her at the school.

Darci Willis featured in LS R-7 ‘Equity Minute’ video

Videos highlight staff members for outstanding work in area of equity

Darci Willis, early childhood teacher at Westview Elementary, is highlighted in the lastest “R-7 Equity Minute,” a video series available on the district’s YouTube channel.

Mrs. Brown’s 60-second video is available at this link.  The videos highlight Lee’s Summit R-7 staff members for outstanding work in the area of equity and ensuring that every student is successful.

Pleasant Lea Elementary students participate in school-wide Serve Day

Community-service activities tie to Leader in Me program

Pleasant Lea Elementary students from kindergarten through sixth grade participated in a school-wide Serve Day April 6. The special day was tied to the school’s Leader in Me program and is designed to teach children about the importance of helping others.

During the event, various grade levels spent the morning serving at locations throughout the community including child care facilities and retirement homes. During the afternoon, the school’s approximately 525 students participated in in-school service activities. Examples include making sandwiches for a homeless shelter, picking up trash on the school campus and assembling treat bags and making thank-you signs for local police and fire stations.

With the help of local businesses and the school’s families, many of the materials used for the sandwiches and treats were donated.

This is the second year for the school’s Serve Day, which is closely linked to Pleasant Lea Elementary’s Leader in Me program. Through the program, which is based on Stephen Covey’s seven habits of effective people, Pleasant Lea has achieved Lighthouse national certification.

In addition to the April 6 Serve Day, Pleasant Lea students and staff members have a year-round focus on giving back to others. Activities this school year have included collecting items to donate to emergency responders, deployed soldiers, NICU babies, LS Animal Shelter, Hope House and LS Social Services. Students are also writing notes of encouragement, birthday cards and thank you cards to be delivered the following week to the places they visited.

Kindergarten students assemble treat bags to donate to local police and fire departments.

Lee’s Summit R-7 students participate in the 2018 Night to Shine Prom

More than 500 VIPs enjoyed an evening of walking down the red carpet, face painting, karaoke, limousine rides, dancing and being crowned prom king and queen at the third annual Night to Shine Prom, held Feb 9. Night to Shine, part of the Tim Tebow Foundation, is held annually around the world on the Friday evening before Valentine’s Day.  

A number of high school students in the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District participated as VIPs and/or volunteers/buddies.

Deidra Atchley, parent of Joe Atchley from Lee’s Summit West High School, said, “This was our second year to attend. We have participated in many events and this by far has the best volunteers. No person is left out. All of the kids are encouraged to participate in some way, and there is not a person in the place without a smile on their face.”   

She added that Joe is completely free to hang with his friends with very little help from her, a goal they have been working towards.  

CJ Hernandez, another local student and VIP, has attended with his mother for the past few years and has a wonderful time ripping up the dance floor.

His grateful mother added, “We look forward to the Night to Shine Prom every year! My son isn’t able to attend his high school prom and Night to Shine is the night when God’s love shines down on him and all the amazing attendees. He loves to see the decorations, eat the amazing food, dance and laugh with his friends. His favorite part is to feel like a rock star when he walks down the red carpet.”

Rachl Aguirre, a teacher at Hilltop School, has volunteered with her family for the past three years. Her children, Eladia, Jonathan and Ella Rada, are present and previous students of the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District.  This year, one of her students, Anna Williams, volunteered for the first time.

“It was a great opportunity for everyone involved,” Anna said.

CJ Hernandez and his mother, Sonia







Joe Atchley with Chick-fil-A cow at Night to Shine.

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