Members of the Missouri General Assembly Joint Committee on Education visited The Missouri Innovation Campus Aug. 11 to tour the Lee’s Summit facility and hear from school leaders, students and business partners about this visionary education model.
The Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC) is a collaborative effort involving the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, the University of Central Missouri, Metropolitan Community College and high-tech businesses. MIC began in 2012 and has been recognized at the state and national level. The school was highlighted as a “recipe for success over the long term” in a 2013 speech by President Barack Obama during a stop in Missouri. In addition, MIC representatives were invited to attend this summer’s White House College Opportunity Summit, a working session with U.S. Department of Education officials.
During the Aug. 11 visit by the Joint Committee on Education, which includes members of both the Missouri House and the Missouri Senate, state officials toured the one-of-a-kind program, located within the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s Summit Technology Academy.
Following the tour, the state committee members heard presentations from Dr. David McGehee, Lee’s Summit R-7 superintendent; Dr. Chuck Ambrose, president of the University of Central Missouri (UCM); Mark James, chancellor of Metropolitan Community College (MCC); and Abigail Ventrillo of DST, one of The MIC’s business partners.
Two MIC students û Brian Green and Trey Hecker û also spoke to the committee about their experiences at the school. Brian is a 2014 graduate of Lee’s Summit North High School who is enrolled in the MIC systems engineering program. Trey will graduate from high school in 2015 and is in The MIC engineering technology program.
Through The Missouri Innovation Campus, students receive their associate degree from MCC soon after earning their high-school diploma and are on track to earn a bachelor’s degree from UCM in high-tech, high-demand fields just two years later. Remarkably, students participating in the program will also complete their associate and bachelor’s degrees at almost no cost to the students or their families.
The MIC has three programs: information technology (IT) essentials, digital electronics and software development. The Missouri Innovation Campus is open to students within the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District as well as students who attend any of 19 sending high schools, located within the Kansas City metropolitan area’s Missouri side. Currently, the school includes approximately 60 students from 10 school districts.
The first cohort of students enrolled in The Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC) received their high-school diplomas last spring and their associate degrees this summer. They will begin their remaining two years in the program at UCM in fall 2014. In addition to the program’s accelerated timeframe and financial advantages, students are able to develop job-ready skills through internships with high-tech companies. The MIC has been commended for both the high level of collaboration between the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and higher education as well as the valuable partnerships with industry-leading businesses.