Lee's Summit Journal

Lee’s Summit-based Missouri Innovation Campus among finalists for national award

A word on a staircase describes the mission of the new Summit Technology Academy/Missouri Innovation Campus building.
A word on a staircase describes the mission of the new Summit Technology Academy/Missouri Innovation Campus building. Photo provided

The Missouri Innovation Campus in Lee’s Summit is among 10 finalists in the South by Southwest Learn by Design competition, which recognizes efforts to enhance the physical learning environments for students.

The winner will be chosen in March during the South by Southwest Education Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas.

As part of the competition, Elaine Metcalf, principal of Summit Technology Academy/Missouri Innovation Campus, and Kevin Gresichar, DLR Group designer, will present the story behind the school’s design and talk about its impact on learning. The architectural firm submitted the nomination.

The school, which opened in August, houses Summit Technology Academy and Missouri Innovation Campus programs, as well as graduate and undergraduate programs offered by the University of Central Missouri.

Summit Technology Academy, which operated by the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, prepares high school students from several school districts for careers in areas such as engineering, computer science, health care and creative sciences.

The Missouri Innovation Campus program allows students to get started on college at Summit Technology Academy, where they can earn an associate degree from Metropolitan Community College. Students can then complete their bachelor’s degrees at the University of Central Missouri or another four-year school.

The collaboration substantially reduces the time and cost required for a four-year degree, lowering college debt while graduating highly-skilled students who are needed in the workplace. Local businesses provide internship opportunities for Summit Technology Academy students.

President Barack Obama highlighted the program in 2013 during a visit to UCM’s campus in Warrensburg, Mo.

Construction of the building was financed collaboratively, too.

The R-7 district provided up-front financing through a 2015 bond issue and now owns the building. The university is paying its 60-percent share of construction through lease payments to the district.

The Missouri Innovation Campus contains 60 classrooms, including shared spaces for the school district and university programs as well as spaces designated for each organization. It takes advantage of exterior light with corridors that can double as learning areas at some locations.

The campus houses skilled nursing labs and simulation rooms like those found in medical schools; professional quality digital media technology; high-tech engineering, biomedical and computer science instruction areas; and an international studies area with distance-learning technology.

Inside a second-floor testing center, people can take GED exams and other tests, such as those for computer software certification. The center also provides electronic monitoring of individuals taking the exams.

Defending faith speaker coming to Summit Christian

Sean McDowell, a nationally recognized youth speaker and Christian apologetics expert, will speak at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 1 about defending the Christian faith at Lee’s Summit Community Church, 1440 S.W. Jefferson St.

Summit Christian Academy is hosting the talk.

McDowell is an associate professor in the Christian apologetics program at Biola University and the resident scholar for Summit California. He holds a double master’s degree in theology and philosophy, as well as a doctorate in apologetics and worldview studies.

The program is free to the public, but registration is encouraged through www.summit-christian-academy.org or by calling 816-525-1480. On the webpage, scroll down and click on the McDowell announcement.

Principal honored by regional group

Brooke Morehead, assistant principal at Summit Pointe Elementary School in Lee’s Summit, was named Outstanding Assistant Principal by the Kansas City Suburban Elementary Principals Association.

“She has a strong belief in growing others, which is evident in her work with both students and teachers,” wrote a colleague, who described her as always willing to help. “She is a strong listener and provides creative ideas to those who seek her advice. Brooke is always willing to learn and pushes herself and those around her to improve. ... She’s persistent, consistent and displays perseverance.”

Morehead has been assistant principal at Summit Pointe for two years and previously taught for 12 years at Richardson Elementary School in Lee’s Summit. An educator for 18 years, Morehead previously taught fifth grade in the Belton district.

Donations due soon for Taste of Lee’s Summit

The Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation will host the 19th annual Taste of Lee’s Summit on March 3 to raise money for local education. Donated auction items are due Feb. 7.

The event, a salute to the foundation’s 25th birthday, will include live and silent auctions, entertainment, board games and food from more than a dozen local restaurants. It will begin at 6 p.m. at The Pavilion at John Knox Village and is for adults 21 and over.

Advance tickets, which cost $75, are required.

For more information about donating or buying tickets, visit www.lsedfoundation.com or call 816-986-1088.

The foundation is sponsoring the event in cooperation with the Lee’s Summit R-7 Music Parents and Great Beginnings Early Education Center.

Compiled by Elaine Adams, Special to the Journal