SLMS student presents Truman Readers Award to 2016 state winner
Tommy Cuezze, eighth-grader at Summit Lakes Middle School, recently presented the 2016 Missouri Truman Readers Award to author Alan Gratz. Mr. Gratz’s winning book, “Prisoner B-3087,” was recognized during a special presentation March 27 at the Missouri Association of School Librarians Spring Conference.
from Lee's Summit R-7 Schools
The novel is based on the life of Holocaust survivor Jack Gruener.
Tommy was recommended to serve as the award’s presenter by Christie Brown, library media specialist at Summit Lakes Middle School. He was a Truman Reader selector at SLMS the last two years, served as a library assistant and is active in numerous reading programs at his school.
During the presentation at the state conference, Tommy shared that serving as a Truman Reader selector encouraged him to read more. He also shared information about the winning book, saying, “One of the largest difficulties in educating kids about history is often, history is a topic that can seem boring on the surface. Most people don’t read history textbooks for fun. ‘Prisoner B-3087,’ by creating a synopsis of a true story, manages to convey an important meaning, while still being an enjoyable read.”
LS West archery team takes second at Missouri NASP State Championships
The Lee’s Summit West High School Titan archery team finished second at the Missouri National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) State Championships, held on March 24-25 in Branson. Some of West's top shooters, included personal best scores by Tucker Thompson with a 291 tie, forcing an exciting five-arrow tie-breaker shoot off; Savannah Fate with a 285; Jenna Schwager with a 284; Devin Ingersoll with a 283; and Noah Taylor with a 280.
Lee's Summit West captured three individual high school podium spots with freshman Tucker Thompson taking fifth for high school boys, junior Isabelle Smith taking fifth for high school girls and senior Shelby Winslow taking first for high school girls and overall female champion which included scholarship awards. Shelby will finish her NASP career with four state champion titles.
This outstanding overall team performance gave West their highest ever state score of 3,412 in the team’s short four-year team history. This marks three consecutive years for the West archery team to reach a top three podium finish at state.
The Titans will move on to compete at nationals in Louisville, Ky., on May 12 and 13.
LS, LSN & LSW robotics teams qualify for World Championships
Robotics teams from Lee’s Summit High School, Lee’s Summit North High School and Lee’s Summit West High School have qualified for the 26th annual FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) World Championship, scheduled for April 26-29 in St. Louis.
Each team earned spots at the prestigious competition by winning qualifying contests during the annual robotics season. This is the fifth time in the past 11 years that all three Lee’s Summit R-7 high schools have qualified for the World Championship.
The Lee’s Summit R-7 high-school robotics program’s success is unique at both the state and national level with at least one R-7 team qualifying for the World Championship each year since the schools began competing. LSHS has qualified for the World Championship 10 times since 2006. LSNHS has qualified seven times since 2007, and LSWHS has qualified nine times since 2009.
This year's game, called "Steamworks," features three major tasks. They include rapid firing pickle balls into an open funnel, catching giant gears and placing them on spring pegs and climbing a free hanging rope. All FIRST teams had six weeks in January and February to analyze these objectives, design solutions, fabricate, wire, program and iterate on their designs.
Lee’s Summit High School’s Team Driven qualified for the World Championship by winning the Regional Chairman’s Award at the Greater Kansas City Regional. The team also won the Entrepreneurship Award at the Bayou Regional in New Orleans.
Lee’s Summit North High School Broncobots were named a regional winner at the Greater Kansas City Regional, qualifying the Broncobots for the World Championship. At this same event, Levi Madden of LSNHS was named a Dean’s List finalist and the Broncobots won the Excellence in Engineering Award. In addition, LSNHS won the Safety Award and the Regional Engineering Inspiration Award at the Iowa Regional at Cedar Falls, Iowa. The Regional Engineering Inspiration Award award includes a $5,000 grant from NASA.
Lee’s Summit West High School Team Titanium earned a wildcard entry into the World Championship by serving as finalist captains at the Midwest Regional, held in Chicago. At this event, LSWHS also won the Quality Award for robot design and fabrication. Team Titanium has one more regional competition this season -- April 12-15 in La Crosse, Wis.
Lee’s Summit R-7 citizens’ groups host legislative breakfast
A group of Lee’s Summit R-7 School District community members recently participated in a legislative forum with state representatives serving in the Missouri General Assembly. Approximately 45 members of the Lee’s Summit R-7 Citizens’ Advisory Committee, Business Roundtable and Board of Education attended the March 31 event.
All 12 state legislators representing the school district were invited to attend the forum with the following attending: Sen. Shalonn “Kiki” Curls, Rep. Mike Cierpiot, Rep. Gary Cross, Rep. Rebecca Roeber, Rep. Rory Rowland, Rep. Joe Runions and Rep. Dan Stacy.
The discussion focused on education topics such as funding for public schools and concerns about legislation expanding charter schools within the state and initiating a voucher tax credit program.
The meeting also included a performance by a string quartet from Lee’s Summit High School; a presentation about R-7 demographics from Rexanne Hill, director of student services; a student panel; and concluding remarks by Rick McDowell, Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council president and CEO. Mr. McDowell emphasized that quality public schools are a key economic development driver in our community.
Student panelists included Maleah Ahuja, Lee’s Summit North High School; Christian Moreno, Lee’s Summit High School; David Treece, Lee’s Summit West High School; and Colby Huser, a 2016 graduate of the district’s Missouri Innovation Campus. A video from Daniel Mathews of LSNHS was also included with Daniel representing students with special needs.
The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District legislative platform is available at http://www.lsr7.org/district/2012-legislative-platform/. This webpage also includes contact information for local legislators, a toolkit for advocacy and sign-up opportunities for the R-7 School District’s advocacy electronic newsletter. The 12-point platform includes the following
- Support providing appropriations for fully funding the Foundation Formula and maintaining the integrity of the current Foundation Formula.
- Support fully funding early childhood education through an increased appropriation in the Foundation Formula.
- Support fully funding the transportation formula, including modifying the provision that penalizes school districts when they transport highly mobile students back to their original school of attendance.
- Support local school district authority to make the decisions about matters such as, open enrollment; employee compensation and working conditions; class sizes; curriculum and instruction materials; professional development; program and employee evaluations; and school calendar. We strongly support local control.
- Support the creation and development of a system of interventions that leads to improvements in achievement for provisionally accredited and unaccredited school districts.
- Support legislation that annually reviews the effectiveness of tax credits and appropriates the funding based on the review.
- Support legislation that seeks an equal opportunity for all taxing jurisdictions to support economic development.
- Support legislation that requires the unanimous support of all taxing jurisdictions for any tax abatement project or otherwise provide an opt-out provision.
- Support a change in the Missouri Human Rights Act that would realign the Missouri Act with federal standards.
- Oppose any legislation that would divert revenue from the public schools to non-public educational entities.
- Oppose legislation which reduces the benefits provided by the current state public school retirement systems (PSRS and PEERS).
- Oppose legislation that authorizes open enrollment.
- Oppose any legislation that would make summer school funding a separate line item.
The Citizens’ Advisory Committee, assisted by the Business Roundtable, has hosted a legislative forum for several years with the emphasis on educational topics.
Ken Hill of Hilltop School takes stand against child abuse through Bikers Against Child Abuse™
Ken Hill, a paraprofessional at Hilltop School in Lee’s Summit, shares his time and talents to assist and support children who are victims of abuse. Through Bikers Against Child Abuse™ (B.A.C.A.), Mr. Hill helps the charitable organization meet its goal of creating a safer environment for abused children.
“I have a B.S. in Education, and am a former teacher, as well as having had a long career in the pharmaceutical industry.” Mr. Hill said. “I am currently working at Hilltop School as a paraprofessional. This is a challenging position, but along with the many challenges come many rewarding moments. My work at Hilltop got me thinking about volunteering my free time with an organization that helps abused children.”
Mr. Hill added, “I am a long-time motorcycle rider, and thought Biker's Against Child Abuse™ might be a good place to devote my time.”
B.A.C.A.™ is an international organization with chapters in most states in the U.S. as well as numerous foreign countries. B.A.C.A. International, Inc.™ is a tax exempt 501 (C) (3) corporation. The mission statement for B.A.C.A.™ states: “Bikers Against Child Abuse, Inc. (B.A.C.A.)™ exists with the intent to create a safer environment for abused children. We exist as a body of Bikers to empower children to not feel afraid of the world in which they live. We stand ready to lend support to our wounded friends by involving them with an established, united organization. We work in conjunction with local and state officials who are already in place to protect children. We desire to send a clear message to all involved with the abused child that this child is part of our organization, and that we are prepared to lend our physical and emotional support to them by affiliation, and our physical presence. We stand at the ready to shield these children from further abuse. We do not condone the use of violence or physical force in any manner, however, if circumstances arise such that we are the only obstacle preventing a child from further abuse, we stand ready to be that obstacle.”
“One example of what we do as an organization is to accompany our wounded heroes to court,” Mr. Hill said. “Our presence in the courtroom gives the child the courage to not be afraid to testify against their abuser. This helps fulfill our mission of helping wounded children to not be afraid of the world in which they live. I am proud to be affiliated with this group of dedicated men and women whose goal is to help abused children. It is an honor to ride alongside all of them.”
For more information about Bikers Against Child Abuse™, an international tax-exempt organization, visit www.bacaworld.org.
Hilltop School is a residential facility operated by the Jackson County Court System. Since the facility is located within the boundaries of the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, all educational services are provided by the R-7 School District.
Lee’s Summit R-7 Community Connections highlights the many contributions to the community made by school district employees. If you would like to recommend an R-7 employee for this feature, please send the employee’s name and a few sentences about how he or she contributes to the community to Janice Phelan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contributions featured should be made by the employee in an area outside of the staff member’s job.