Lee's Summit Journal

LS school board invites community to give their perspective on equity, diversity

Savannah Meyer and her award-winning work, “Deity.”
Savannah Meyer and her award-winning work, “Deity.” Courtesy photo

R-7 creates online forum on equity, diversity, inclusion

As the Lee’s Summit school board heads into mediation with Superintendent Dennis Carpenter over disagreements about hiring an equity consultant, the R-7 School District has created an online forum for patrons to give their perspective on diversity, equity and inclusion. The Thoughtexchange.forum will be open until June 16.

The forum “seeks to hear perspective from multiple voices to use as data, feedback and research in our work moving forward,” the district said in a news release. “We want to provide a community platform to discuss equity while garnering areas of support and identifying areas of challenge. In short, we want to include you in the conversation.”

To join the forum, go to https://my.thoughtexchange.com/#313922098. Participants will be asked to respond to one open-ended question, consider and assign stars to some ideas shared by others and learn what’s important to the group. Those participating are encouraged to access the forum more than once to consider new ideas that are posted. Each person’s thoughts and stars are confidential, the district said.

The Lee’s Summit School District has been trying to close what’s commonly called the “achievement gap” between white and minority students. The school board approved an equity plan, but last month voted down Carpenter’s second proposal to hire a firm to lead equity and inclusion training.

Carpenter, the R-7 district’s first African-American superintendent, responded by essentially asking the board to buy out his contract and “find somebody this board can trust.”

Last week, the district announced that Carpenter had accepted the board’s invitation to enter into mediation “for the purpose of addressing and improving the relationship between the Board, the Superintendent, and staff of the school district.”

Read more here: https://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article231201983.html#storylink=cpy

National award for young artist

Savannah Meyer, who attends Lee’s Summit West High School, has earned a National Silver Medal for her original painting, called “Deity,” from the non-profit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.

Savannah’s work was deemed to be in the top 1 percent of nearly 340,000 submissions for the alliance’s 2019 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Past award winners include artist Andy Warhol, writers Sylvia Plath and Truman Capote and film maker Ken Burns, according to the Lee’s Summit School District.

Meyer submitted five works of art. Each won a Gold Key at the regional level in addition to “Deity” winning a national medal. Meyer explored the concept of Greek mythology through self portrait, with each figure representing a goddess.

“This piece was always special to me. Because it was made of small, detailed, intricate ink lines, it took forever! So much so, that I had to take it home over winter break and promise Mr. Briscoe that I’d finish it,” Meyer said, referring to art teacher Brandon Briscoe.

Meyer wants to attend art school and become an animator.

“I have a long future of making art ahead of me, but getting awards like this while in high school will always remind me where I came from, and what I was able to achieve while still growing and learning,” she said.

A new Air Force Academy graduate

Former Blue Springs South High School student Chris Yong graduated May 30 as a second lieutenant from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, the Blue Springs School District announced on its Facebook page.

Yong is a 2015 graduate of Blue Springs South, which serves students from northern Lee’s Summit.

SCA names Summa Cum Laude graduates

Faith Dickey, Maggie Munsterman and Alyssa Pemberton are the Summa Cum Laude recipients from the Class of 2019 at Summit Christian Academy.

To achieve SCA’s highest academic honor, students must have been at the school for four consecutive semesters, demonstrated a transcript of 30 credit hours, have taken four years of both high school science and math, attended school at least seven hours during their senior year and have no academic modifications in achieving a cumulative percentage that is in the top 5 percent of their class.