Summit Christian Academy recently challenged its three first-grade classes to a “Goody, Goody, Gumball” reading competition to prompt students to get excited about reading.
For every 30 minutes they read, students received a gumball sticker. Together, the 39 students read 18,445 minutes, an average of 472 minutes per student.
The top two winners from each class received a Barnes and Noble gift card and gumballs.
Letters — and calculators — go to Jamaica
Students at Underwood Elementary School have been learning more about the world this year through Jamaican pen pals.
Students in several classes — including first, second and sixth grades — have been writing to children at St. Jago Primary in Harmons, Jamaica. The pen-pal program is coordinated by Won by One to Jamaica, an organization serving Harmons.
Sixth-grade teacher Karen Bannister delivered the students’ first set of letters last September when she visited Harmons. The notes included a basic introduction along with questions to initiate communication.
“The opportunity to meet these students made it infinitely more personal, and I was able to bring back lots of stories and information for my students as well as a picture of our pen pal class,” Bannister said in a statement. “Prior to my leaving for Jamaica, Colton, one of my sixth-graders, asked if they had calculators in their classroom.
“Upon my return I was able to share that no, they did not have calculators, and in fact, each student had little more than a pencil and a composition book. As a result, my students collected and sent a class set of calculators along with our second correspondence.”
The Underwood students have received two letters from their pen pals including information about the Jamaican families, their school, celebrations and out-of-school activities. The Jamaican students also sent snacks, currency and a stamp.
“This experience has been mind-opening,” sixth-grader Fayth Nichols said in a release from the district. “We got to explore a new culture and learn about diversity.”
Sixth-grader Jaxon Schreuder added, “This experience makes me thankful for what I have.”
Three Underwood teachers and three St. Jago teachers also have communicated.
“Though the distance between us is nearly 1,800 miles, the challenge of how to reach each and every student remains the same,” Bannister said. “In an effort to help with the lack of materials, we sent lesson plans/activities and accompanying supplies so that these classes might experience something new and different while learning math skills. In a world where communication is constant and immediate, this experience has taught my students the importance of patience and the value of the written word.”
R-7 Kindergarten Roundup slated for March 27
The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District will host Kindergarten Roundup from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on March 27 for children who will be entering kindergarten in the fall.
To be eligible for kindergarten, a child must be 5 years old before Aug. 1. They will participate in Kindergarten Roundup at their home elementary school.
Online enrollment information will be shared at Kindergarten Roundup, and the online enrollment portal will be available after March 27. Kindergarten screenings will be held during June.
History lessons for all
A Lee’s Summit North High School student group called Women of Color teamed up with the school’s Social Studies Department to highlight the accomplishments of great Americans during Black History Month in February.
Women of Color asked fellow Broncos to present daily announcements throughout February that highlight the achievements of African-Americans.
The Social Studies Department organized 250 biographies of great Americans, and one of those stories was shared each day with students who signed up for daily emails about Black History Month, which totaled more than 100 students.
A different outstanding American also was featured on the Lee’s Summit North High School marquee each day.
In addition, the Social Studies Department worked with the National Park Service and the U.S. Civil Rights Trail to highlight parks and historic sites that relate to civil rights and the achievements of African Americans.
Robotics team captures awards
With a small robot named Flipper, the Lee’s Summit West High School freshman/sophomore robotics team came home with a few awards from the Missouri State FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics Tournament on Feb. 24 in Rolla, Mo.
Never mind that Flipper didn’t always behave himself.
Team Titanium Tech, which overcame electrical issues thanks to parts and support from other teams, was seeded first in its division of 24 teams and captained its alliance to win the division and advance to the finals, where Team Titanium Tech finished 1-2 in the best-of-three format.
The team won the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award for the most innovative and creative design solution to the game challenge. The Tournament Finalist Award and the Innovate Award qualified Team Titanium Tech for the Super Regional, which begins March 8 in Georgia, but scheduling conflicts and funding concerns precluded the trip.
Eli Cook, who served as a mentor to this team but was not able to go to Rolla, was one of four Missouri students recognized as a FIRST FTC Dean’s List finalist. He will complete at the South World Championships this April in Houston for the FIRST Dean’s List Award.
Other team members include Logan Dietz, Alex Fitzmaurice, Nina Martinez-Alvarez, Garrett Packer, Nikola Radinovic, Laura Rater, John Rose, Ian Shipley, Grace Wetmore and Josh Wood.
Chinese students visit through exchange program
As part of a long-running partnership with the Chinese school, families from all three Lee’s Summit R-7 high schools hosted 14 students and four teachers from Chang’an No. 1 High School in Xi’an, China, from Feb. 18-24.
The visitors toured only one high school, Lee’s Summit West, because of snow days this year, but the group also saw the Stansberry Leadership Center and met Superintendent Dennis Carpenter.
The Chinese students and teachers also toured Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums and visited Paradise Park, the Lee’s Summit Exit Room, and a laser-tag facility.
Host families also took their guests to local destinations like shopping malls, the Plaza, Union Station, Crown Center, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and Bass Pro Shops.
A delegation from Lee’s Summit will visit China, at their own expense, from March 15-26.
Astronaut speaks to students
Gifted sixth-graders from Longview Farm Elementary School recently attended a presentation by Col. Jack D. Fisher, a NASA astronaut.
The students and their teacher, Tina Miller, were randomly selected for the event, which took place Feb. 23 during Engineers Week, from among students participating in Burns & McDonnell’s Battle of the Brains competition. Battle of the Brains contestants were asked to conceive exhibits for Science City.
During his 2017 mission on the International Space Station, Fisher logged 136 days in space and completed two space walks. He shared experiences as an astronaut as well as how he prepared for that career.
Compiled by Elaine Adams, Special to the Journal