By Pam Henry
The Lee’s Summit R7 School District has been in the news lately for situations that have saddened and angered many residents. As a result, the Superintendent of Schools has resigned, the Board of Education President has stepped down from the position, and many in the community are wary of the Board of Education (BOE) and upper administration.
People are left wondering what happens next.
The BOE will hire an Interim Superintendent so Acting Superintendent Dr. Brent Blevins can do the job he was hired to do, the administration will focus on getting ready to start the 2016-17 school year, and the process will begin to find the best person to lead the district forward as the next Superintendent.
LSR7 has been and will continue to be a great school district. There are things that need to be done but those things rest with the Board of Education. But that’s not how it became strong in the first place.
It became and remains strong because of phenomenal teachers, librarians and counselors in the schools who work hard to share their passion with students so they become lifelong learners.
It is strong because of parents who support their children by working with them at home and attend their concerts, plays, art shows, athletic events, and Meet Your Teacher night.
It is strong because of caring secretaries, nurses, bus drivers, custodians, aides, para-professionals and cafeteria workers who strive daily to make every child feel welcome, safe, and comfortable while at school.
It is strong because building administrators work diligently to provide leadership that promotes a positive, productive and safe learning environment.
And yes, it is strong because the personnel at the Stansberry Leadership Center works towards ensuring all students get a quality education regardless of which building they attend.
So what can you do? Volunteer and/or attend board meetings and work sessions.
Find the schools in your attendance area and make yourself available to help. You can join and participate in PTA, listen to struggling readers read out loud, share your expertise on Career Day, judge a talent show, work with Career Pathways or speak to a class and share your expertise. Some teachers even have “take home tasks” for people who work during the day.
How will you know how you can help? Call the school and ask what they need.
If you are involved with a business, consider becoming a Business Partner.
If you’re not comfortable with working around students, contact the Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation. They are always looking for help with their fundraisers – Race for the Future and Taste of Lee’s Summit. All the money raised after paying for event expenses goes straight to students in the form of scholarships, classroom technology and PEAK grants.
Volunteering not what you want to do? Attend the BOE meetings and workshops. Get on the agenda and make your opinion known.
Your school district needs you. Become involved and you will learn how the R7 School District operates.
Pam Henry retired in 2008 as the K-12 Coordinator of Music and the Band Director at Pleasant Lea Middle School.