Lee’s Summit R-7 to cancel school on Monday, Aug. 21, due to solar eclipse

Lee’s Summit R-7 School District officials announced today (Aug. 16) that all classes will be cancelled on Monday, Aug. 21, due to the solar eclipse. The decision is based on two factors — concerns related to long-term vision safety and supervision of groups of students during outdoor viewings as well as the growing number of families and staff members expressing interest in traveling to the nearby path of totality for this momentous event for our area.

Cancellation of this school day will result in a change to the 2017-18 calendar with the last day of school moving from May 17 to May 18.

A message to parents with additional explanation is included below.

Lee’s Summit R-7 cancelling school on Monday, Aug. 21, due to concerns related to safety and solar eclipse viewing

After listening to concerns related to school being in session on Monday, August 21 — the day of the solar eclipse, the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District is announcing a change in plans for next Monday’s solar eclipse. All Lee’s Summit R-7 schools will be cancelled on Monday, August 21. This will result in a change in our school calendar with the last day moving from May 17 to May 18.

We understand that this may be inconvenient for our families but are making this decision based on several factors.

  • After considering the wealth of information recently becoming available related to vision safety and long-term eye health, parents, staff members and medical professionals have raised concerns about supervision of children during school-time outdoor viewing of this natural phenomenon. We have further considered the glasses purchased by the district earlier this summer and find it will be difficult for teachers to ensure that they are being used correctly at all times by all students during the viewing.
  • Staff members and families had expressed interest in being able to travel to the nearby solar eclipse path of totality, especially considering that this total eclipse is considered once-in-a-lifetime for most North American residents.
  • By cancelling school, families will be able to make the decision on eclipse viewing in the path of totality with no loss of instruction.
  • Teachers will have the opportunity to provide meaningful lessons related to the August 21 eclipse both before and after the event.
  • The district will be making eclipse shades available to all students and staff members on Friday, August 18. Although these shades meet the ISO 12312-2 safety standards, parents are encouraged to thoroughly read and observe the safety instructions from the NASA website listed at the end of this message.

Parents with children in the Before- and After-School Services program will be receiving communication this evening from BASS. Individual schools will be communicating with their students about athletic practices and events although all athletic activities will not begin before 3 p.m. Monday.

We  appreciate your understanding and your support of our schools.


Please review the following guidelines before using the safety shades.

  • Inspect the glasses before using them, and discard them if they are scratched or damaged. Read any instructions that accompany them.
  • Children should be adequately supervised during the eclipse.
  • Cover your eyes with the glasses before looking up at the sun. Do not remove the glasses while looking at the sun.
  • Do not look at the sun through a camera or binoculars even with the glasses on.
  • Since the Lee’s Summit R-7 area is slightly outside the path of totality, do not take off the glasses even when the eclipse is at its peak. The glasses can be taken off only if you are in a location within the path of totality, and only when the moon completely covers the sun’s bright face. As soon as the bright sun begins to reappear, put the glasses back on.
  • If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on and put your eclipse glasses on over them.

LS R-7 students benefit from events designed to help them make successful transition to new school year

Activities include Elementary Meet Your Teacher and Transition Days for seventh and ninth grades

Thousands of Lee’s Summit R-7 School District students had the opportunity to participate in special activities designed to help students make a successful transition into the new school year. Students beginning seventh grade and ninth grade participated in Transition Days, held Aug. 14, two days before the first day of school on Aug. 16.

Elementary Meet Your Teacher Night provided all elementary students with the opportunity to visit their schools, and it was also held Aug. 14. Students and their families visit their new classrooms, meet their teachers for 2017-18 and tour the school.

During Transition Days for seventh- and ninth-graders, students ride the bus to school, go through their regular school day, eat lunch in the school cafeteria and participate in special transition activities.

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District has more than 18,000 students this school year in grades kindergarten through high school.

Students participate Transition Day at Pleasant Lea Middle School.







Returning students share information about student clubs and activities during Club Rush at Lee’s Summit High School.






Meet Your Teacher Night at Westview Elementary School.

Lee’s Summit R-7 launches new mobile app to better connect with families and community

Lee’s Summit R-7 School District families and community members have an additional way to connect with the district through a new mobile app, launched during August. By downloading the app, individuals can stay better informed about their schools and district news. To download the mobile app to your smartphone, search for “LSR7” or “Lee’s Summit R-7 School District” in the App Store for your Apple device or in Googleplay for your Android device. The Lee’s Summit R-7 app includes a school directory, the school calendar, district news, Nutrition Services and Transportation information, PowerSchool, Board of Education, Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation and much more.

Within the next few months, plans call for an alert feature to be added to the school district’s mobile app. This will allow individuals to customize alerts so that they can receive notifications regarding school closings or other news.

The app was developed by Rusty Richards, Lee’s Summit R-7 web developer, with the assistance of student MIC interns Drake Eckles and Zach Burton.

The launching of a mobile app was included among goals within the district’s Destination 2021 five-year strategic plan. The new app is an addition to the variety of methods available to stay informed about the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District. Lee’s Summit R-7 is on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and has a YouTube channel. Interested individuals may subscribe to the district’s weekly e-newsletter by selecting this link, and the district’s Our Schools community newspaper is bulk mailed to all R-7 residents five times each year. For more information about the district, you may also visit its webpage at www.lsr7.org.


Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education reviews Destination 2021 strategic plan

Five-year Comprehensive School Improvement Plan developed by staff and community team

The Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education approved the district’s five-year strategic plan, called Destination 2021, at the Board’s July 20  meeting. This Comprehensive School Improvement Plan, which covers 2016 through 2021, was developed by a team of approximately 55 staff and community members who worked together throughout the 2016 spring semester.

The district also included approximately 70 participants in focus groups that provided input toward the development of the plan. District administration provides an annual update to the Board of Education after review of progress in the defined focus areas. Annually, the Board reviews and approves any recommended amendments to the original plan.  

To ensure accountability, the plan’s components are placed on a timeline and reviewed annually by the community and staff team, the Superintendent’s Leadership Team and the Board of Education. The plan, which is considered a living document, can be updated to reflect changes in areas such as educational technology through the input of these teams.

The plan focuses on five areas – governance; student performance; highly qualified staff; facilities, support and instructional resources; and parent and community involvement. Destination 21’s major emphasis continues to be on instruction, learning and student success. The complete plan is posted at http://www.lsr7.org/district/news-publications/ under “R-7 School District 5-year plan.”

“The R-7 strategic plan centers on improving the student experience and overall student achievement.  Each focus area is designed with those goals in mind.  We continue to be grateful to those members of our community who have chosen to participate in the CSIP review process.  ” said Dr. Katie Collier, associate superintendent of instruction and leadership.

Following approval at the July  Board of Education meeting, Lee’s Summit R-7 district and school leaders will continue to work towards realization of the goals and action steps articulated in the plan. Information about the plan is being shared with a variety of district stakeholders, including staff, parents, community members and students.

Lee’s Summit R-7 has a tradition of long-range, comprehensive planning, and the current R-7 document is actually the R-7 School District’s sixth five-year strategic plan. Previous strategic plans were also developed by community and staff members in 1990, 1995, 2001, 2006 and 2011.

Lisa Shepard of LSNHS featured in podcast focusing on foreign language instruction

Lisa Shepard, a French teacher at Lee’s Summit North High School, was featured in the “We Teach Languages” podcast during August.

Ms. Shepard has been a teacher for 29 years, and this is her second year with the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District. According to the “We Teach Languages” podcast episode, Ms. Shepard “has successfully transitioned from verb conjugations and traditional tests to authentic resources and performance assessments.” In the 16-minute podcast, the LSNHS teacher shares her own journey as well as practical advice for teachers interested in teaching proficiency.  

Ms. Shepard also shares her insights on her blog, Madame’s Musings at http://madameshepard.com/. The “We Teach Languages” podcast is available here.  

Lee’s Summit R-7 families invited to use My School Bucks to track their children’s school meals

Web-based program provides records of student purchases, account balances and payment options

Lee’s Summit R-7 School District families have the opportunity to track their children’s school lunch and breakfast purchases, check meal account balances, receive low-balance alerts and pay for meals through a web-based program known as My School Bucks. The convenient meal online payment and monitoring program is available on the R-7 Nutrition Services webpage (upper right portion of page) at http://leessummitschoolnutrition.com.

By using My School Bucks, families have a safe and secure option for managing their children’s school breakfast and lunch payments via their digital devices. Parents receive their own secure login and create a password. The option to track accounts, monitor student cafeteria purchases, check balances and receive low-balance e-mail alerts is free. A $1.95 transaction fee is charged for online payments.


Lee’s Summit R-7 ranked among Missouri’s top 10 by national organization

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District was recently ranked in the top 10 among “Best School Districts in Missouri” by Niche. Only two Kansas City metropolitan-area districts were ranked in the state’s top 10.

The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s overall Niche grade was A+.

According to Niche officials, the rankings are based on statistics such as state test scores, college readiness, graduation rates, SAT/ACT scores and teacher quality as well as ratings from students and parents. Niche helps families find places to live, work and attend school based on statistics and online ratings.

Community invited to attend Missouri Innovation Campus grand opening Sept. 5

Trailblazing facility is partnership between LS R-7 School District and University of Central Missouri

The community is invited to attend a grand opening of the new Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC) at
4 p.m. Sept. 5 at 1101 NW Innovation Parkway, Lee’s Summit. The celebration will include a brief program, a Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting, tours of the new facility and refreshments.

The new facility includes the Missouri Innovation Campus program, a nationally recognized program reshaping the way students experience education; Summit Technology Academy (STA), a unique high-school program that prepares students for careers in areas such as engineering, computer science, health care and creative sciences; and UCM-Lee’s Summit, the university’s main off-campus learning facility, offering graduate- and undergraduate-level completion programs to metro-area students. Students enrolled in Summit Technology Academy as well as the Missouri Innovation Campus are from 14 metro-area school districts.

“This Missouri Innovation Campus is a shining example of what happens when organizations and individuals work together for a greater good,” said Dr. Dennis L. Carpenter, Lee’s Summit R-7 superintendent. “Thanks to our partnership with higher education and the support of our community, we are able to save money for taxpayers and, most importantly, better prepare our students for success in life.”

“The opening of this new facility really represents game on,” added University of Central Missouri President Charles Ambrose. “Now our challenge is to take something we have demonstrated is actually possible and make sure it is accessible,  not only to students and their families who take full advantage, but for future talent across our region to make Kansas City more competitive.”

The Missouri Innovation Campus program is a progressive collaboration between the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community College and UCM. By engaging business partners and community organizations, the MIC offers an accelerated program that shortens the time it takes students to complete a four-year degree, significantly reducing college debt and providing job-ready skills that are highly sought after by business. The MIC program was highlighted by President Barack Obama during a visit to UCM’s Warrensburg campus in 2013.

Through the trailblazing partnership, the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and UCM joined forces to construct and operate this state-of-the-art, cost-saving facility. Under a plan developed by the two educational institutions, Lee’s Summit R-7 is paying for approximately 40 percent of the new school with UCM paying the remaining 60 percent. Through this agreement, Lee’s Summit R-7 is the sole owner of the facility with UCM paying its portion of costs through lease payments.

The shared facility reduces operating expenses for both organizations and allows the school district to move both the Missouri Innovation Campus and Summit Technology Academy programs from leased space into a building owned by Lee’s Summit R-7.

The R-7 School District’s portion of the facility’s cost is funded through a no-tax-increase bond issue, approved by approximately 80 percent of voters in 2015. This $40 million bond issue is also funding renovation and maintenance projects that are positively impacting each R-7 school.

The new two-story building totals 135,000 square feet and is designed so that Lee’s Summit R-7 and UCM will share interior learning and conference spaces as well as parking, saving money for both organizations. The two partnering organizations have also worked collaboratively on procurement to help generate additional savings on furniture, fixtures and technology.

Construction manager for the new school is McCownGordon. Design architect is Gould Evans, and architect of record is DLR Group, all from the Kansas City area..

Through the MIC program, students begin their junior year of high school while attending Summit Technology Academy. By approximately the same time they earn a high-school diploma, they will have completed an associate degree from Metropolitan Community College, finishing their four-year bachelor’s degree from UCM two years later. The graduates will also have completed three years of paid internships with prestigious Kansas City metro-area companies, which helps defray the costs of their education. Many students who complete the MIC program land permanent jobs with the companies in which they interned. In all, the MIC program is linked with 40 corporate partners with industry representatives assisting in development of curriculum that prepares students to immediately succeed in the workforce.

The new facility has been a goal for Lee’s Summit R-7 and UCM leaders since the MIC program was in the concept stage. This type of facility partnership between a public school district and a university is unique both regionally and nationally and provides a high-school/college environment that includes non-traditional teaching spaces designed to mimic the workspace of the various fields.

The new school features 60 classrooms including shared spaces for the school district and university programs as well as spaces designated for each organization. The facility is designed to take advantage of exterior light with corridors that can double as additional learning areas at some locations. The Missouri Innovation Campus also features medical school-caliber skilled nursing labs and simulation rooms; professional quality digital media technology; high-tech engineering, biomedical and computer science instruction areas; and an international studies area with state-of-the-art distance learning technology. A testing center is located on the second floor and will provide everything from GED to computer software certification testing as well as electronic monitoring of individuals taking the exams.

Lee’s Summit Chamber, UCM sponsor annual LS R-7 New Teacher Breakfast

Close to 100 educators were welcomed to the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District during an Aug. 7 special event hosted by the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce and the University of Central Missouri-Lee’s Summit. The Chamber has hosted the annual New Teacher Welcome Breakfast for several decades.

During the event, teachers heard from Tyler Morehead, Chamber chairperson; Lee’s Summit Mayor Randy Rhoads; Dr. Nicole Nickens of the University of Central Missouri; Dr. Dennis L. Carpenter, superintendent; and Seth Moses, Chamber Education Committee chairperson.

Michelle Uptegrove, a teacher at Cedar Creek Elementary and Lee’s Summit R-7 2016-17 Teacher of the Year, was the featured speaker at the breakfast.  

Following the breakfast, the new teachers received “goody bags” filled with gifts donated by a number of Chamber member businesses.

Dr. Carpenter speaks to new teachers at the Chamber’s annual event.







Michelle Uptegrove shares her story with new teachers at the Chamber breakfast.






New teachers receive goody bags following the annual New Teacher Breakfast.

LS R-7 teachers honored at Missouri Scholars Academy

Sara Witteman and Mindy Haesemeyer, both Lee’s Summit North High School, and Melissa Woody, Lee’s Summit HIgh School, were recognized at Teacher Appreciation Day, held this summer at the Missouri Scholars Academy.

Ms. Witteman was selected by Scholars Academy participant Megan Carlson. Ms. Haesemeyer was selected by participant Kameron Robinson. Ms. Woody was selected by participant Alexandria Mesz.

Missouri Scholars Academy is a three-week academic program for approximately 330 of Missouri gifted students. Close to 330 sophomores statewide are selected from among approximately 65,000 students. Acceptance is based on a student essay, teacher recommendations, PSAT scores and IQ tests. The academy is a residential program held on the University of Missouri-Columbia and funded by the State of Missouri.

Pictured at Missouri Scholars Academy are (from left) Megan Carlson, Sara Witteman, Mindy Haesemeyer and Kameron Robinson.







Teacher Melissa Woody is pictured with a student.

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