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Report includes LS R-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.”
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.”