Lee’s Summit R7 is a large school district serving regions in the Kansas City metro area, encompassing 30 schools and enrolling close to 18,000 students. Lee’s Summit is one of several KC districts to partner with the Kauffman Foundation to support real-world learning initiatives for secondary students.
Shannan Booth, the Director of Career Education at the Stansberry Leadership Center within Lee’s Summit R7, is one of the educators responsible for running DiplomaPlus, a district-wide real-world learning program. The program represents a comprehensive effort to ensure students graduate high school with “market value assets” (MVAs): skills and credentials that include work experiences, college credit, industry certification, and/or entrepreneurial experiences.
Shannan and her team use Transeo Jobs as their platform for managing the DiplomaPlus program and the internship experiences they offer their students. Transeo has already helped them substantially increase the percentage of students graduating with MVAs, and more than double their network of local business partners.
The purpose of DiplomaPlus
Lee’s Summit is committed to ensuring that all students graduate with not only a diploma, but employable skills that will allow them to discover and pursue their real-world potential. The DiplomaPlus program provides experiences that help students connect what they are learning in school to the real world. It places learning in context, and enables students to reflect on and explore their interests, passions, and strengths.
“The goal of DiplomaPlus is to help students uncover and understand their natural abilities and interests in order to make educated decisions on how to best use those talents,” Shannan said.
The district has been implementing CTE initiatives for years; in 2021, 49% of graduates earned MVAs. The class of 2022 was the first to graduate students from the DiplomaPlus program, with 72% earning an MVA. Moving forward using Transeo, the district’s goal is to ensure that 100% of students leave high school ready for learning, work, and life. This level of readiness will make graduates more likely to enroll in postsecondary education or training, and successfully navigate the transition from school to employment. The DiplomaPlus program is for all students–regardless of whether they plan to go to college or directly into the workforce.
The DiplomaPlus approach
The district infuses career exploration into the entire K-12 learning experience. In elementary school, students explore RIASEC personality themes that encourage them to identify their strengths and interests, develop a stronger sense of self, and recognize and celebrate all personality types. In middle school, students begin to experience learning pathways that align with different careers. Real-world learning resources for middle schoolers include skills assessments, career exposure tools, elective courses allowing them to pursue alternative fields of study, project portfolios, and advisory lessons that help them develop resumes and job-seeking skills.
In high school, students can choose from 5 different market value assets to supplement their diploma. These include:
- The Early College Asset: 9 or more hours of college credit through the International Baccalaureate Program, the International Baccalaureate Career Program, the Missouri Innovation Campus Program, or the Innovation Track Program
- The Client-Connected Project Asset: meaningful workplace job tasks that develop readiness for work, knowledge, and skills that support entry or advancement in a particular field. Students work with professionals from industry, not-for-profit, civic, or community-based organizations, and workplace activities include at least 24 hours of work, with at least 4 hours engaged with a client.
- Internship Asset: meaningful job tasks performed at a virtual or physical worksite, under the guidance of a qualified supervisor. Students must complete at least 120 hours within a calendar year, and their performance is evaluated by both their work manager and an educator.
- Industry-Recognized Asset: certifications or stackable credentials including CNA, AWS, iCAR, Autodesk, Cisco, CompTIA, TestOut, NIMS, ASK,, MT1, Microsoft, ProStart and more
- Entrepreneurial Experience Asset: students identify a compelling social or market problem and mobilize resources to solve it. The project necessitates interactions with the business community and local industry professionals. Students analyze, prototype, implement, reflect, and adapt potential solutions.
Impact of DiplomaPlus
Already, Lee’s Summit is experiencing huge growth in real-world learning involvement through Transeo. From 2020-2021, they grew their network of business partners by 209%, and now have experiential learning opportunities set up with more than 160 industry professionals. 72% of the class of 2022 will have attained an MVA, an increase of 23% from 2021. Over 300 real-world learning experiences took place in middle and high schools this year, and some form of real-world learning engagement was implemented in each of the 19 elementary schools.
And their plans for growth have only just begun. This school year marks the rollout of a newly expanded career curriculum, which includes an elective wheel, online portfolios, increased support for academic planning, and increased real-world learning opportunities. “Our goal is to graduate 100% of our graduates with a market value asset by 2025," Shannan said.
Lee’s Summit uses Transeo to track all this engagement data, as well as manage their MVAs. Client-connected projects, dual credit, industry-recognized credentials, entrepreneurial experiences, internships, and apprenticeships are all tracked and managed through the Transeo Jobs platform, and the district uses Transeo Journey to track MVA badges and integrate them into students’ graduation plans. Without a robust software platform that can automate communication with business partners, enable time tracking and evaluation for students, and more, the district would not be able to grow their real-world learning engagement so sustainably.
“Transeo has allowed us to gain an accurate picture of where this work is occurring throughout our district,” Shannan said. “It has helped us tell the story of how powerful these experiences are for our students.”
To learn more about how Transeo can transform student readiness through work-based learning, contact us today.