Lee's Summit Journal

Lee’s Summit, Blue Springs have some of state’s top 50 high schools

Lincoln Prep parents and alumni concerned about dwindling black student body

Lincoln College Preparatory Academy, the city’s most storied black high school, has seen changing student demographics in recent years. If trends continue, Lincoln Prep will no longer be majority black by the fall of 2019.
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Lincoln College Preparatory Academy, the city’s most storied black high school, has seen changing student demographics in recent years. If trends continue, Lincoln Prep will no longer be majority black by the fall of 2019.

U.S. News ranks local high schools in Missouri’s top 50

Both Blue Springs high schools and two Lee’s Summit schools have been ranked among Missouri’s top 50 high schools by U.S. News & World Report.

The magazine ranked Blue Springs High School at No. 24 and Blue Springs South at No. 28. Lee’s Summit North High School came in at No. 40, followed by Lee’s Summit High at No. 41.

Smithville High School, deemed No. 2 in Missouri, ranked highest among Kansas City area schools. Also in the top 25 were Lincoln College Prep in Kansas City and Truman High School in Independence.

Others in the top 50 were Excelsior Springs, Grain Valley, Park Hill, Liberty, Liberty North, North Kansas City, Kearney and Platte County.

Schools were ranked on the basis of college readiness, math and reading proficiency, math and reading performance, underserved student performance, college curriculum breadth and the graduation rate. Both college readiness and college curriculum breadth were based on the proportion of students taking and passing one or multiple AP and IB exams.

Innovation Track names Student of the Year

Cassidy Robinson, a Lee’s Summit High School senior, is the Innovation Track Student of the Year at Metropolitan Community College-Longview.

The Innovation Track is a dual enrollment program that allows Lee’s Summit students to earn up to 30 hours of college credit for courses taken at a discounted rate at MCC Longview. Career pathway course offerings include business, criminal justice, education and general education.

“Cassidy managed a highly rigorous high school and college schedule throughout the year by taking 27 college credit hours. In addition to academics, she works two jobs, played softball for the LSHS Tigers and maintains a busy senior life,” said Erin Barnett, the Lee’s Summit School District’s coordinator for Innovation Track. Barnett is assigned to the MCC-Longview campus full time to provide support for the students.

Altogether, the school district said, Robinson has amassed more than 50 hours of college credit for general education and business. She is one of 47 May graduates in the Innovation Track program, which enrolled 65 students this year from all three R-7 high schools.

Students can enroll in three to 15 college credit hours per semester, allowing them to stay at their home high school part-time or participate in another off-campus program. Innovation Track courses count for both high school and college credit and cost $51.50 per credit hour, half the regular tuition rate of $103 per credit hour.

The school district provides free transportation to the Longview campus for students who want it, and free tuition and textbooks for those who qualify.

A strong resume in agribusiness

The Missouri FFA Association has recognized Andrew White of the Cass Career Center FFA chapter as one of 16 area Stars in Placement across Missouri.

White, the son of Greg and Mary White of Lee’s Summit, earned the honor for Area 7, which includes 25 chapters in the FFA’s central district. The designation was made at the 91st Missouri FFA Convention in late April.

The award is given for outstanding achievement in work experience in an agricultural business as a part of a student’s supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program, as well as active participation in FFA.

White began his SAE in the fall of 2016, cleaning horse stalls at Faulkner’s Ranch in Kansas City. The following spring, he started working as a customer service representative at Tractor Supply in Lee’s Summit. During the summer, White worked at Sydenstricker John Deere in Hermann, Mo., and returned to Tractor Supply on the weekends. His responsibilities at Sydenstricker included machinery maintenance and grounds-keeping.

White is now participating in the John Deere Technician Program at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas, and has continued his employment with both companies. His future plans include working at Sydenstricker John Deere and starting a row-crop farm.

At the same conference, White and fellow FFA chapter member Hailey Brunner were recognized with their State FFA Degree, the highest possible award which is given to only 3 percent of FAA members each year.

Local students help K-State win international robotics contest

Kansas State University engineering students from Lee’s Summit and Olathe were part of a team that took first place in an international robotics competition.

The Mercury Remote Rover Squad also was recognized with the Best Video Award at the Oklahoma State University Mercury Robotics Challenge held April 26-27 in Stillwater, Okla.

Team members included two Olathe residents – junior Andrew Dunn and senior Brandon Rathburn – as well as Abbey Valentine, a junior from Lee’s Summit.

The Mercury Remote Robot Challenge challenges competitors to design and build a robot capable of performing a mission. The robot must be operated remotely over the internet from at least 50 miles away. Each team’s robot must accomplish tasks such as picking up and launching a ping pong ball, driving through a darkened tunnel, slaloming through obstacles and racing. The pilots are not in contact with the ground team and must drive using only an onboard camera.

UCM partners with Pro Deo to help teens

Teenagers served by the non-profit Pro Deo Youth Center will get assistance with workforce and college preparation from professionals at the University of Central Missouri’s Lee’s Summit location.

Under a recently signed agreement, university staff members will help Pro Deo seniors develop an individualized plan focusing on both higher education and careers after high school. UCM also will provide workforce training as well as advisement and education for Pro Deo students, staff and families about college admission, financial aid and enrollment.

In addition, university employees will work with Pro Deo representatives on a college preparation curriculum designed to teach non-academic skills needed for college success.

One goal of the partnership is to reduce the barriers to upward mobility that limit opportunities for some students.

“Providing young adults with job skills and confidence will empower them as they navigate getting their first job, going to college or completing an internship,” said Elaine Metcalf, executive director of the Pro Deo Youth Center. “There is power in knowledge of the job prospects or college aspirations of the youth served by Pro Deo.”

UCM’s Missouri Innovation Campus isn’t far from the Pro Deo Youth Center, making for a convenient partnership, the university said. Metcalf formerly was principal at Summit Technology Academy, which shares the Innovation Campus with the university.

Pro Deo, formed 10 years ago, serves teens in the ninth through 12th grade. It helps teens set goals and offers after-school and Friday evening programming to give teens a safe place to go.

R-7 revamps financial page on website

The Lee’s Summit School District has updated the web page that outlines district finances. The page, at www3.lsr7.org/finance, uses infographic links to guide patrons to downloadable financial documents and contact information for the business department.

The update grew out of a recent audit of district communications practices.