Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education considers launch of Innovation Track to increase value of high-school diploma and decrease cost of college

Proposed 2017-18 program would allow students to earn up to 30 hours of college credit at limited cost to families

The Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education is considering implementation of a new program known as the Innovation Track during 2018-19. Through the unique program, students would have the opportunity to begin earning up to 30 hours of off-campus college credit during high school. A partnership between Lee’s Summit R-7, Metropolitan Community College-Longview and the University of Central Missouri, the Innovation Track would provide high-school juniors and seniors with college credits at limited or no cost to the students’ families.

If the program is approved by the Board of Education this winter, sophomores and juniors at all three R-7 high schools will receive comprehensive information about the program in time for 2018-19 enrollment, which takes place during January/February at all high schools. Families of current sophomores and juniors would also have the opportunity to learn more about the program at school events, pending Board of Education approval.

  • The Innovation Track is designed to offer:
  • Full or partial district sponsorship of up to a full year of college credit with MCC
  • Affordable programs leading to two-year and four-year degrees with certificate completions
  • A plan designed to focus on specific four-year college academic pathways
  • Reduced cost and time to degree completion
  • Greater flexibility for students
  • A competitive advantage for R-7 students among their peers.

Under the proposal, the credits earned by local students would be guaranteed to transfer from not only Metropolitan Community College (MCC) to the University of Central Missouri (UCM) but to virtually any public post-secondary institution in Missouri. The program is also designed to attract students who are currently not enrolled in other Lee’s Summit R-7 dual credit such as the district’s existing high-school/college dual credit options.

The proposal calls for Lee’s Summit R-7 School District to pay all or a portion of the cost of college tuition and textbooks at Metropolitan Community College with MCC working to extend the dual credit rate for this special on-campus program. In addition, the proposal includes plans for the district to begin paying a portion of the cost of non-MCC dual enrollment credit and a portion of the cost of annual exams for International Baccalaureate students.  

Under the plan, students participating in the Innovation Track would take classes on the MCC-Longview campus with the district providing bus transportation from the high schools to the Longview campus. Students would also have the opportunity to drive to Longview. The proposal calls for classes to be held in two sessions with students attending the morning session or afternoon session on either Mondays-Wednesdays-Fridays or Tuesdays-Thursdays. Students also have the option of attending all week in the morning and afternoon if their schedule allows.

The proposal includes a Lee’s Summit R-7 teacher liaison who would be available throughout both morning and afternoon sessions to assist with academic support, while students would have the opportunity to take classes from Metropolitan Community College instructors. Lee’s Summit R-7 and MCC-Longview have also agreed to collaborate throughout the school year to ensure academic support and engagement with students and families. If approved, the proposal would be funded through existing school district budget resources.

The Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education will be discussing the Innovations Track at a 3:30 p.m. work session on Dec. 13, and it will be an agenda item for decision at the 7 p.m. Dec. 14 meeting. Both meetings will be at the Stansberry Leadership Center, 301 NE Tudor Road. If the Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education approves the item, it will also require UCM and MCC approval as well as a Memorandum of Understanding. The new program is expected go to the MCC Board of Trustees for approval in January.

Preliminary information about the Innovation Track was presented at a Nov. 29 Board of Education special meeting. The slides from this meeting are available here. The executive summary presented at this meeting is available here.