Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A summer to remember -- bond issue progress, Connect2Learn and even tornadoes

From bond issue progress to new student technology to tornadoes, the summer of 2015 has definitely been one to remember.

On July 1, our schools and our community faced an unexpected challenge caused by weather.  For Lee’s Summit R-7, the storm -- which featured thunderstorms, high winds and two tornado touchdowns -- impacted several schools, most notably Lee’s Summit North High School, Sunset Valley Elementary and Great Beginnings Early Education Center (see photos on our website). Our staff members both at the schools and at our Facilities Services Department are to be commended for quickly addressing the damage and initiating cleanup and repairs. We are also grateful to the Lee’s Summit Fire Department for their assistance during the storm and as we began assessing damage and cleaning up.

At LSNHS, the main building received minor exterior damage and a fireworks tent was knocked down. At the school’s athletic complex, the storm damaged bleachers and a scoreboard. Sunset Valley Elementary’s roof received minor damage, and the storm created a sinkhole at Great Beginnings playground. We are working with our insurance company on damage estimates at this time. Fortunately, no one was injured by any of the storm activity (volunteers had evacuated the fireworks tent before it collapsed), and the damage did not impact summer school or any scheduled back-to-school activities.

On a more positive note, we are seeing significant progress thanks to the voter-approved April no-tax-increase bond issue. The $40 million bond issue is funding a new Summit Technology Academy / Missouri Innovation Campus as well as facility improvements at each R-7 school. Planning is underway for our new Summit Tech / MIC with work beginning on the site’s infrastructure. By next spring, we will officially break ground on the new school with the scheduled opening date during August 2017. The numerous school improvement projects have already started at several school sites with plans to complete all work by fall 2016. For more information, including photos of progress and a timeline, visit our website.

Finally, excitement is building throughout our district about Connect2Learn, a program providing a Google Chromebook for each student from kindergarten through high school. Students will be receiving their new digital devices later this summer with all Chromebooks distributed by Labor Day. Since announcing Connect2Learn this spring, we’ve heard from staff, parents and students who are looking forward to having increased access to this powerful learning tool. Families are receiving more detailed information from their schools within the next few weeks. For more information, visit our website and follow the #r7connect2learn hashtag on Twitter.

I hope you are having a safe and enjoyable summer. The first day of school is Aug. 19, and we are looking forward to a great 2015-16 school year!