LSNHS Student Activity Advisory Council spreads joy — and cookies — through service project

The Lee’s Summit North High School Student Activity Advisory Council (SAAC) recently completed a community-service project called “Late Night Cookies.”

The group of student leaders met at school to bake and decorate cookies that they dispersed to local community locations that are open 24 hours a day. The cookies were delivered on Saturday night, Nov. 18, to Lee’s Summit Hospital, Saint Luke’s East Hospital, Lee’s Summit Police Department and two Lee’s Summit Fire Department stations.

The project’s goal was to thank the people who work to provide community services at all hours of the day and night.

Three LS R-7 schools selected finalists for Battle of the Brains

Online voting available Nov. 17-24 and is 30 percent of judging

Three Lee’s Summit R-7 schools are among 20 finalists for Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains, an academic competition open to students throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Schools selected as finalists are Hawthorn Hill Elementary with Mesozoic Mayhem, Lee’s Summit High School with Perfect Timing and Summit Technology Academy with Science Stadium. More information about each entry is available on the Battle of the Brains website.

All three schools are encouraging individuals supportive of their entries to vote online for their projects at through Nov. 24. The public vote counts for 30 percent of the selection process. Anyone with a valid e-mail address may vote once each day on the site.

A record number 820 school teams entered the challenge this fall.

Through the competition, students have the opportunity to earn $155,000 in grants by designing an exhibit concept for Science City. Over the past few years, Battle of the Brains has grown into one of the nation’s most robust STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) competitions.

The grand prize winner of last year’s competition was Mason Elementary with the school receiving $50,000 and also having their entry become the centerpiece for Union Station’s new outdoor events plaza.

The entries are judged by a Burns & McDonnell/Science City panel of experts in science, engineering and academia. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on Nov. 30 at Union Station.

Dr. Dennis L. Carpenter releases ‘Looking, Listening and Learning’ Superintendent’s 100-Day Report

Report includes LSR-7 strengths and input process as well as immediate, short-term and long-term commitments

Dr. Dennis L. Carpenter, Lee’s Summit R-7 School District superintendent, presented his 100-Day Report to the Board of Education at a Nov. 16 meeting. The report includes information about the district’s strengths and the superintendent’s input process as well as immediate, short-term and long-term commitments.

“My goal since beginning my tenure as superintendent on July 1 has been to work collaboratively to deepen and further cement the district’s well-deserved reputation of academic and extra-curricular excellence,” Dr. Carpenter said. “Throughout my first 100 days as your superintendent, I have sought to look, listen and learn. This 100-Day Report is based on these many interactions, meetings and events as well as my own analysis of the district’s achievement, student demographic and other data sets.”

The complete Superintendent’s 100-Day Report is available at

Since being named Lee’s Summit R-7 superintendent in January 2017, Dr. Carpenter has met with more than 50 individuals including community leaders and district-level and school-level administrators. In addition, he has attended numerous community events and met with organizations such as the R-7 Citizens’ Advisory Committee, R-7 Business Roundtable, PTA presidents, Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council, Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation, Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club and Jacomo Chapter of Retired School Personnel. Dr. Carpenter also spoke to several groups including the district’s All-Staff Kick-off Meetings, new teachers’ orientation, Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon, local clergy and the R-7 District Leadership Team.  

Dr. Carpenter said the overall public sentiments of the school district are positive. “The community believes the school district to be a cornerstone that continues to be recognized as one of the most desirable in our country,” he said. “These positive sentiments are also evident in the greater community’s commitment to serving the district.”

In terms of opportunities, Dr. Carpenter said his community discussions indicated that the district must proactively address enrollment growth and increased diversity, meet the increasingly complex needs of our children, build trust and continue opportunities to listen to the community.

District strengths include outstanding educators and support staff, students who come to school prepared to learn, high levels of parent involvement, excellent curricular resources, outstanding community support and engagement, excellent salary/benefits for employees, top-quality operations and facilities and a strong financial position.

Dr. Carpenter shared that his immediate commitments are driven by his unwavering belief that excellence and equity cannot be divided. “To continue to enjoy the tradition of excellence that has become synonymous with our district, we must honor the fact that some subpopulations of students are not participating in our tradition,” he added.

Immediate commitments included in the report focus on increasing the learning and achievement of each child; addressing disparities and inequities to better serve all students; comparing favorably to Kansas City area Big 5 districts; enhancing workforce development and access to college courses for all students; further defining 21st century learning spaces; addressing facilities in terms of both new schools and improvements to existing schools; and strengthening public trust and enhancing communications.

Dr. Carpenter also discussed his ongoing short-term commitments which include emphasizing equity-focused schooling that maximizes key opportunities to tightly couple the work of the district with schools; addressing opportunity gaps among various subgroups; analyzing and addressing suspension rates in terms of gender, family income and ethnic groups; critiquing the district’s current continuous improvement process to ensure we meet the needs of 21st century learners; removing barriers for all students to rigorous courses and programs in the area of workforce development; forging a culture of equity-focused decision-making that puts students at the center, inclusive of analyzing hiring processes and committing to development of a workforce that mirrors our student demographics; developing strategies to ensure that the superintendent provides instructional leadership within the organization; and implementing a district-wide comprehensive mentoring program.

Long-term commitments presented in the 100-Day Report were maintaining the district’s tradition of excellence; working with governmental entities and citizens to address growth; addressing needs related to new schools and existing schools; enhancing workforce development and the value of the Lee’s Summit R-7 high-school diploma; enhancing, supporting and maintaining a robust digital environment for all students; continuing to merge curricular resources through technology; and focusing on equity in all areas including overall performance and subgroups.

“I have always heard that you are either getting better or you are falling behind,” Dr. Carpenter said. “My commitment to Lee’s Summit R-7 is continuous improvement in all areas, and I am looking forward to continuing to work with our district’s staff, families and community leaders to implement this vision for our schools. There isn’t a community more equipped to do this work than ours and for that reason we should all be very excited about the future of Lee’s Summit R-7.”

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

District-wide scores jump by 5.7 percentage points when compared to three years ago

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District has earned the state’s top rating for academic achievement following the Nov. 15 release of Missouri assessment scores. The district scored 98.2 percent on the state’s rigorous Annual Performance Report (APR) for the 2016-17 school year, an increase of 5.7 percentage points over the past three years.

The Missouri 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.

The Annual Performance Report reflects the high level of instructional effectiveness taking place in our schools,” said Dr. Dennis L. Carpenter, superintendent. “This is reflective of the quality of teachers and students we get to work with in our district. As we look to the future, this data also points to our greatest opportunity and that is ensuring that each student in our district participates in the level of academic achievement that has become synonymous with Lee’s Summit R-7.”

Through the 2016-17 MSIP 5, Lee’s Summit R-7 scored 137.5 out of a possible 140 points. This is an increase over the 2015-16 year.

Since the 2013-14 school year, Lee’s Summit R-7’s score on the Annual Performance Report has increased by 5.7 percentage points. Percentages over the last four years are 92.5 in 2013-14, 96.8 in 2014-15, 97.9 in 2015-16, and 98.2 in 2016-17.

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.

R-7 middle schools recognize Students of the Month for October

Lee’s Summit R-7 School District middle schools recently recognized their October Students of the Month. Students of the Month are recognized based on outstanding citizenship, conduct, attitude and school involvement.

Students of the Month from Bernard Campbell Middle School are Hannah McHenry and William Nieznajko. At BCMS, Hannah is involved in art. Away from school, Hannah enjoys ballet. At BCMS, William is involved in cross country. Away from school, William enjoys running 5K races and video gaming.             

Students of the Month from Pleasant Lea Middle School are Kendall Esely and Ian Murphy. At PLMS, Kendall is involved in musical, awards assembly, cross country, band and jazz band. Away from school, Kendall enjoys church choir and activities and soccer. At PLMS, Ian is involved in cross country. Away from school, Ian enjoys his soccer team and church youth group.   

Students of the Month from Summit Lakes Middle School are Riley McGovern and Wyatt Carlson. At SLMS, Riley is involved in cross country, musical, talent show and awards show tech crew, jazz band, band and Summit Lakes Singers. Away from school, Riley enjoys her softball team, swim team, basketball and church activities. At SLMS, Wyatt is involved in tech crew for all shows, cross country, jazz band and Summit Lakes Singers. Away from school, Wyatt enjoys basketball, baseball, 5K races and his youth group.

LSWHS earns significant recognition from National Speech and Debate Association

The Lee’s Summit West High School speech and debate team was named among the Top 100 schools in the National Speech and Debate Association for the 2016-17 school year. Lee’s Summit West ranked No. 23 out of more than 3,000 schools nationwide.

In addition, the Lee’s Summit West High School speech and debate program was recently ranked among the top 1 percent of schools nationwide by the National Speech and Debate Association.

Through the national honor society, students earn points and degrees based on competitive and service-related activities. The LSWHS chapter earned more than 500 degrees and was presented with the association’s prestigious Pentagon Society Award.

“The designation is remarkable because it demonstrates outstanding commitment to teaching students essential life skills — including communication, research, listening, writing and organization,” said J. Scott Wunn, executive director of the National Speech and Debate Association.

LSHS hosts fifth annual Veterans Day assembly

A total of 69 veterans honored at school

Lee’s Summit High School staff and students commemorated Veterans Day with the school’s fifth annual Veterans Day Appreciation Program, held Nov. 10. A total of 69 veterans from all branches of the military were honored during two student assemblies.

The all-school event included performances by Sounds of Summit, the Symphonic Band and the Concert Choir and presentation of the flags and a flag-folding ceremony by the LSHS Air Force Junior ROTC.

Veterans attending were individually honored during a video, produced by LSHS broadcast students. Artwork displayed at a reception for the honored guests was provided by LSHS art students. Keynote speaker was Brigadier General Dion Moten, who was born and raised in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

The appreciation program was organized by the LSHS Veterans Day Committee, which included Dr. John Faulkenberry, Brady Finch, Paul Hawkins, Angela Hays, Elaine McDonald, Col. Rick Milligan, Stacey Moore and Chris Munce.

Members of the LSHS Symphonic Band join the audience in a standing ovation for the veterans.






Veterans were honored at two assemblies held at LSHS.






Members of the Air Force Junior ROTC during the flag-folding ceremony.

Diane Wolz receives LS R-7 Learning for Life Award for November

Diane Wolz was named the Lee’s Summit R-7 Learning for Life Award winner for November. She is a library media clerk


at Longview Farm Elementary.

The award is presented to one employee each month who is nominated by co-workers and selected by a staff committee.

“She sets a calm positive tone for our building,” said a colleague. “She takes a personal interest in each individual child, helping them find books and making sure they are appropriate for that child.”  

Meadow Lane Elementary hosts annual Veterans Assembly

Meadow Lane Elementary hosted its 24th annual Veterans Assembly Nov. 10. More than 70 veterans from all branches of the Armed Forces were recognized at the event.

Honored veterans were invited to attend by their children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and other relatives as well as family friends. Also honored were Lee’s Summit Police Department officers who are veterans as well as Meadow Lane staff veterans.

The special event included presentation of the colors by the Lee’s Summit North High School Air Force Junior ROTC.

Lee’s Summit R-7 School District recognized at Missouri Project Lead The Way Conference

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District was recognized as a 100-percent student access school district at the Missouri Project Lead The Way annual conference, held Nov. 5-6 in Blue Springs. School districts earning this honor offer Project Lead The Way for elementary, middle and high school students.

Nearly 800 participants attended the annual event including teachers, students, administrators, exhibitors, non-profits officials, industry leaders and dignitaries from state and local government. The goal was to share, collaborate, recognize achievement and increase awareness for Project Lead The Way and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) training throughout Missouri.  

Project Lead The Way is a non-profit organization developed to prepare students for the global economy by providing STEM programs to schools, focusing on project-based curriculum.

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