Lee's Summit Journal

Planners urge moving sixth grade to middle school

Christion Doan, who is new to the Lee’s Summit School District, was passionate about art even as a child.
Christion Doan, who is new to the Lee’s Summit School District, was passionate about art even as a child.

Planners urge moving sixth grade to middle school

A team focusing on the needs of future Lee’s Summit sixth-graders is recommending that those students move from elementary school and join seventh- and eighth-graders in the district’s middle schools. The change is expected to require a fourth middle school that likely would open in 2022.

The recommendation is part of the second phase of the Lee’s Summit School District’s process to create a Comprehensive Facilities Master Plan that outlines the best use of current buildings, what new construction will be needed and how to make sure that all students are learning in “future ready” environments.

The middle school proposal is not final — nor are other recommendations that are emerging during the planning process. But one of the school board’s priorities for this academic year is to identify construction projects in time for voters to consider a bond issue in April. The bond issue would not raise the property tax rate.

In the meantime, the district is inviting families, staff members and community members to a meeting on Sept. 17 where the sixth grade/middle school ideas — and what led to them — will be shared. Officials are seeking feedback on the work thus far.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Missouri Innovation Campus, 1101 N.W. Innovation Parkway.

Information about the planning process is posted at lsr7.org/cfmp. The first phase laid much of the groundwork and resulted in boundary changes to relieve overcrowding in the short term. Planners also adjusted bus routing to reduce the length of trips for secondary students.

The second phase homes in on instructional goals and the facilities needed to achieve them.

“We are living in The Fourth Industrial Revolution, characterized by a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human,” stated a planning document posted on the site.

“In this Fourth Industrial Revolution, learning is changing. In order to prepare our children for success in the real world, opportunity today requires that education embrace a child’s natural development as a human being, meeting them where they are, with an open understanding that every child learns differently, at their own pace, and with inspiration fueled by their own individual interests.”

Considerations in the planning for sixth-graders included a desire to limit the size of middle schools and to “infuse” sixth-graders into the middle school program “while allowing independence within their own spaces and a unique schedule to fulfill their learning needs.”

“No other time, other than toddler years, does a child experience such rapid growth and change and therefore requires support,” the team said in information posted on the website.

R-7, UCM aim to launch avionics program next year

By the fall of 2020, the Lee’s Summit School District and the University of Central Missouri-Lee’s Summit hope to launch a new avionics and unmanned aircraft systems (drones) career pathways program. Classes for high school students would be offered at Summit Technology Academy.

Avionics encompasses the electronic systems used on aircraft, artificial satellites and spacecraft. Those include communications, navigation, monitoring, fuel systems, collision-avoidance systems, flight recorders, radar and sonar.

Lee’s Summit Mayor Bill Baird, the Lee’s Summit Airport Commission and the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council have endorsed the program, which will be designed for both high school and college students. The goal is to feed the local talent pipeline and fill a unique need in the Kansas City area by emphasizing both avionics and drone systems.

A new Avionics Advisory Board met for the first time on Aug. 23 to provide guidance. The group includes representatives from the Aircraft Electronics Association and ULTRAX Aerospace — both headquartered in Lee’s Summit — along with Duncan Aviation, Garmin and officials from the city of Lee’s Summit and the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council.

The board members will work with the university and Summit Technology Academy staff to develop curriculum, help identify and develop industry certifications and offer recommendations related to an entrepreneurial component, internship/apprentice opportunities and career pathways. Joe Mullins of UCM and Summit Technology Academy director/principal Jeremy Bonnesen are leading the effort.

KC SuperStar picks top singer

Before a sold-out crowd at Johnson County Community College, recent Center High School graduate Maurissa Cunningham sang her way on Aug. 25 to a $10,000 scholarship in the 2019 KC SuperStar competition.

At the conclusion of the competition, Cunningham left for Wichita State University for her freshman year studying musical theater.

A fundraiser for the Jewish Community Center, KC SuperStar seeks out the best high school singer in the Kansas City area. A four-judge panel selected the four top finishers, and the final choice was left to the audience.

Winning a $5,000 scholarship for second place was Sam Aubuchon, a 2019 graduate of Blue Springs High School. The audience chose Emma Mathieson, a senior at Shawnee Mission West High School, as the third place winner and recipient of a $2,500 scholarship. Alexa Morgan, a senior at Shawnee Mission South High School, won fourth place and a $1,000 scholarship.

The other finalists received $500 scholarships: Sam Wise, Leavenworth High School; Jacob Collier, Oak Park High School; Rachel Hudson, Belton High School graduate; Miguel Reyes, Turner High School; Sophia Schulte, Olathe North High School graduate, and Erika Kolseth, Blue Valley High School.

Young painter finds fans at art show

Lee’s Summit North High School senior Christion Doan sold four pieces of artwork at the Pro Deo Youth Center’s inaugural showcase, “Structures, Sketches & Strokes: The Story of US.”

He was one of several students to debut art work at the show.

Doan started school in Lee’s Summit after moving from another district, and credits the Youth Center for providing a “friendly, inspiring and helpful environment,” as well as supplies he needs to complete his artwork. Pro Deo is an important part of his life now, he said, “and I appreciate everything they’ve done for me and my artwork.”

His passion for art dates to early childhood.

“When I was a kid, it kind of was just something I did, as most kids do when they color or scribble,” he said.

These days, Doan is inspired by movies or the people around him. Lately, he’s caught himself drawing the same people over and over. “That just comes with their impact toward my life,” he said.

Got sole? Yes, hundreds of them

Students and staff members in the Blue Springs School District have donated 370 pairs of new shoes to this year’s “Got Sole?” campaign.

The annual event is a joint effort involving high school student senate groups and the “The Closet” at the Hall-McCarter Education Center. “Got Sole?’ provides shoes and socks to students and families in need.

R-7 releases new mobile app

The Lee’s Summit School District has developed a new mobile app to help students, parents and others stay informed on everything from bus routes and the calendar, to district news and the latest decisions by the Board of Education.

Users can access the parent portal, the district’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channels as well as updates on the facility planning effort the district has undertaken.

The free app can be downloaded from the Apple or Google Play stores. Search for Lee’s Summit R-7.