The last eight weeks or more have proven a challenging time for the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District.
And that doesn’t have a thing to do with the barrage of winter that has stolen a day or more every week since Christmas break.
But even as district leaders navigate the rocky news cycle, they are compelled to zero in on the positive district news encompassing all students and parents — especially when scores of this magnitude can be celebrated.
R-7 announced recently it had scored 99.3 percent on its 2018 Annual Performance Report issued by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Second Education.
And while the numbers may read like something scholars and attorneys came up with, the raw figures point to an encouraging academic trend in our district. R-7 earned 119.2 out of a possible 120 points on the report — numbers that are its highest in the six years of DESE measurement.
These numbers are vitally important to DESE measurements and how they should be roundly celebrated as moving the needle in a positive direction for our district. Having just come off a year of DESE work on a team of educators and parents reviewing fine arts curriculum, I can tell you they take their numbers and measurements seriously in Jefferson City.
And these numbers are seriously exceptional for Lee’s Summit.
The district scored 100 percent of the possible points on standards that included “college and career ready,” “attendance” and “graduation rate” as well as 100 percent on academic achievement in measuring testing performance of all students.
And in a time when our district needs to shout good news from the rooftops, this is a victory we can not only rejoice, but one speaking volumes about the outstanding work going on in our buildings, in our classrooms and in one-on-one work with our students. In fact, it even has our superintendent dreaming higher for future reports.
In a statement to the media, Dr. Dennis Carpenter said, “As we further commit to district-wide improvement and providing future-ready learning experiences for all of our students, we can expect 100 percent on subsequent APR reports and higher levels of overall college/career readiness.”
It’s a bold statement, but one of confidence and conviction you like to hear from the district leader.
Another Stansberry Leadership Center administrator, Katie Collier, said the APR data clearly shows the commitment to concentrated efforts toward improvement are working in the R-7 District.
“The increase in APR is a testament to the daily focus and efforts of our teachers, students and school leaders who are committed to learning and continual success,” said Collier, the associate superintendent of academic services.
Success stories and triumphant tales abound in our district. Elementary students are showing innovation and collaboration, junior high and high school students are taking the lead in many areas of math, science and the arts in R-7.
And when teachers are given the autonomy to teach, students the freedom to learn and the community — all of us — offer the support both need to succeed, you can bet you will see scores like these posted time and again in our district.
Editor's Note: John Beaudoin is a Lee's Summit resident and award winning writer and former newspaper publisher in the Lee's Summit community. Views and opinions expressed in his columns do not necessarily reflect those of Link 2 Lee's Summit, it's employees or any other guest contributors.