Real World Learning in LSR7

FAQ about RWL

What is Real World Learning?

Through a new initiative and partnership with the Kauffman Foundation, the district is making significant strides toward providing “real world” learning experiences to its entire student body.

The metro-wide initiative, called Real World Learning (RWL), calls for districts to help students access internships, client projects, industry-recognized credentials, dual-college credit and other entrepreneurial experiences across a range of interests, industries, and employers.

These efforts are all part of a larger RWL goal for high school students across the Kansas City region to graduate with at least one of these assets, in addition to their diploma.

Community connections are an essential part of this important work to prepare today’s students to be leaders in our future workforce. When employers give students opportunities to work in business/industry, students connect to the core principles and skills being taught in our classroom. Employers get early access to talent through interacting with students on projects or internships. RWL experiences help employers build their hiring pipeline, especially in high-demand industries.

How do Real World Learning and Diploma Plus support student success?

LSR7 graduates leave high school ready for learning, work, and life. Real World Learning work is important because it engages students, providing them experiences and opportunities to increase the value of their high school diploma.

FAQ about Diploma Plus

What is Diploma Plus?

Diploma Plus is defined as high school graduation AND a market value asset (PDF) for every graduate.

What is the “plus” you ask?  It is the diploma plus a marketable asset, such as work experience, extensive college credit, industry certification, or entrepreneurial experience.

The Diploma Plus signifies that our graduates have social capital. This social capital among our graduates will manifest itself through the active connections within the community and through observable target behaviors. All of this to develop a skilled workforce needed to ensure economic prosperity.

This initiative will positively impact elementary and middle school innovative learning, as well as program offerings and structures at the high school level.

Is Diploma Plus mandatory?

Diploma Plus is not a graduation requirement as much as it is an achievement for certifying “I had experiences in high school beyond the requirements that give me a leg up in the workplace, in college, and in building a resume or portfolio.” 

Is the Diploma Plus just for those students who aren’t going to college?

No, the goal behind Diploma Plus is for 100 percent of all Lee’s Summit School District graduates will have the Diploma Plus credential.  Whether a student has a plan for college or a plan to go into the workforce, the Diploma Plus will give him or her the value add to boost confidence and self worth in accomplishing a credential worthy of a resume or college application.  The Diploma Plus is the credential that means “I am prepared for school, work, and life.”

Stakeholders for Diploma Plus recognition include: students, parents, pre-K through 12 teachers, and employers. Throughout a student’s educational journey from Pre-K through 12th grade, they will have the opportunity to document and engage with the business/industry professionals in our community. The exploration of careers starts in the elementary years, continues to ignite excitement in middle school, and culminates with any one of 5 ways to experience real world learning in high school and earn the Diploma Plus.

Students who leave high school with the Diploma Plus will be more likely to enroll in postsecondary education/training and successfully navigate the voyage from school to employment without getting lost along the way.

Why would my son/daughter want to earn the Diploma Plus? Isn’t a regular high school diploma enough?

Let’s talk about real world learning. Students want to know that what they are learning in our classrooms will matter in the rest of their lives. They want the problems they solve with us to help them solve the problems they will face on the job. They want to learn to use language because they have something to say. They learn our history to understand their present and imagine their future. The “why” becomes the application of core skills, and students can find a passion that becomes the beginning of a career. Lee’s Summit School District is going to recognize the students who not only met the graduation requirements to earn a diploma, but also recognize them for their real world learning experiences through the Diploma Plus.

When is the first opportunity to earn the Diploma Plus?

Starting with the class of 2022, students who have completed at least 1 of the 5 market value assets will be awarded the Diploma Plus.  The assets are defined as 

1) Early College Asset  

2) Client-connected Project Asset

3) Internship Asset

4) Industry Credential Asset

5) Entrepreneurial Experience Asset

Do I have to apply to earn the Diploma Plus similar to the A+ program?

No, completion of assets will be tracked through a portal called Transeo that is linked to a student’s Powerschool login.  Just as students and parents can check on grades, they can also check on the status of earning the Diploma Plus.

What work has LSR7 done to support the goals of Diploma Plus?

LSR7 has been doing this work for years through career and technical education (CTE), Partners in Education, or such programs as Summit Technology Academy or the Innovation Track. Moving forward the goal is to have 100 percent of our graduates leave high school ready for learning, work, and life. To do, means approaching this work through a journey.

FAQ about Market Value Assets

What are market value assets?

Market value assets are referred to as marketable assets for students to earn while in high school. The term market value asset is tagged to the Kauffman Foundation’s Real World Learning initiative. Lee’s Summit School District has joined in with 45 other school district who believe that these “assets” add value to a high school diploma and give students a leg up on entering the workforce or entering college with a purpose aligned to their passion.  Besides earning credits towards graduation, students get to experience real world learning through one of the following market value assets:

  1. Early College Asset  
  2. Client-connected Project Asset
  3. Internship Asset
  4. Industry Credential Asset
  5. Entrepreneurial Experience Asset

Teachers can help students answer the why by making connections between business/industry to the core principles and skills being taught in our classroom.  Students can have experiences beyond what is shown on a transcript as credits earned or GPA achieved.  Students will be building a resume or portfolio of marketable skills that are in demand by employers.  

The Kauffman Foundation refers to these connections and opportunities as market value assets.  In LSR7, our belief is that 100 percent of our students in high school can graduate with a market value asset; therefore, our district has chosen to outline the Portrait of a Graduate as any student who earns the Diploma Plus as part of the high school transcript.

Why are market value assets important?

They set the stage for the “why” behind real world learning.  How many times have students asked teachers or parents the question:  “Why do I need to know this _____ concept?”  You fill in the blank with any subject offered in our schools.  Many students are compelled to know the why before they commit to memorising the content or applying the concepts.   The why becomes the application of core skills or career skills to what’s happening in the business and industry.  

Teachers can help students answer the why by making connections between business/industry to the core principles and skills being taught in our classroom.  Students can have experiences beyond what is shown on a transcript as credits earned or GPA achieved.  Students will be building a resume or portfolio of marketable skills that are in demand by employers.  

The Kauffman Foundation refers to these connections and opportunities as market value assets.  In LSR7, our belief is that 100 percent of our students in high school can graduate with a market value asset; therefore, our district has chosen to outline the Portrait of a Graduate as any student who earns the Diploma Plus as part of the high school transcript.

How does a student earn the Early College Asset?

Mortar board iconNine (9) or more hours of college-level credit, progressing toward an industry-recognized degree or credential from any of our postsecondary partners (MCC, UCM, UMKC, MSU, MST). 

 

One way LSR7 students can earn diploma plus assets is through completing college level coursework. 

International Baccalaureate Program

LSN | LSHS | LSW

 

International Baccalaureate Career Program 

(see above)

 

Missouri Innovation Campus Program

 

Innovation Track program

 

Listing of Dual Credit Courses

Culinary Arts II (Pro-Start 2) 

Network Engineering, I/II

Accounting II 

IB Visual Art/Portfolio I/II

College Credit English Chemistry II

Technical English 

Teacher Educator Academy

French IV and V 

Principles of Biomedical Science

German IV and V 

Intro to Engineering

Spanish IV and V 

Principles of Engineering

Mandarin Chinese IV/V 

Allied Health

IB History of the Americas 11th & 12th 

IB Environmental Sys & Societies

IB Psychology 

Summit Int’l Studies Academy

Anatomy & Phys 

Human Body Sys 

IB Math SL 11th * 12th

Professional Nursing 

Medical Interventions/Bio Innovations 

Advanced Video Technology

College Algebra 

Advanced Broadcasting

Calculus/AP 

IB Film

Digital Electronics/CIM

Engineering Design & Development

Business Administration

IB Business Management SL

Software Development

Entrepreneurship w/Creative Marketing

Sports & Entertainment Marketing

Digital Media Technology

Cyber Security

How does a student earn the Client-connected Project Asset?

Briefcase iconStudents complete meaningful workplace job tasks that develop readiness for work, knowledge and skills that support entry or advancement in a particular career field.  Learners analyze and solve authentic problems, working in collaboration with other learners and professionals from industry, not-for-profit, civic or community-based organizations. 

  1. Work involves authentic methods and tools used by professionals in work environment. 
  2. Experience includes mentoring and evaluation by working professionals. 
  3. At least 24 hours of work with at least 4 hours engaged with a client.
  4. Output is viewed as value-add by external stakeholders and resume-worthy.

 

Students complete meaningful workplace job tasks that develop readiness for work, knowledge and skills that support entry or advancement in a particular career field. Learners analyze and solve authentic problems, working in collaboration with other learners and professionals from industry, not-for-profit, civic or community-based organizations. 

  1. Work involves authentic methods and tools used by professionals in a work environment.  
  2. The project originates through a person or company called a Project Sponsorship. 
  3. Experience includes mentoring and evaluation by working professionals. 
  4. At least 24 hours of work with at least 4 hours engaged with a client.
  5. Output is viewed as value-add by external stakeholders and resume-worthy.
How does a student earn the Internship Asset?

Briefcase iconStudents complete meaningful workplace job tasks that develop readiness for work, knowledge and skills that support entry or advancement in a particular career field.  Learners perform meaningful job tasks at worksite, virtually or approved location, under the guidance of a qualified supervisor. 

  1. Should qualify for high school and/or college credit and/or be paid. 
  2. Minimum 120 hours within a calendar year, at least 60 onsite. 
  3. Performance evaluated by work manager in addition to educator. 
  4. Internship completion substantive enough to be included on students’ resume.

Examples of Internship Asset:

Internships are currently offered at all three high schools with area businesses as well as at STA:

CCE, Marketing, SBE, STA 

LSHS Internship Reception

 

IBCP (International Baccalaureate Career Program)

LSHS, LSNHS, LSWHS, STA

Students currently complete 50 hours of service learning and this could be expanded into this internship

Videos promoting internships

 

Internships build a passion

Is school enough?

Internships offer RWL Meaning

Career Navigator at each school to work with community to develop additional internships in all areas

 

 

How does a student earn the Industry Credential Asset?

Document iconCurrent lists published by state education departments will be reviewed with employers and validated for applicability and relevance as either a Industry-recognized Credential (IRC) or a stackable credential. There may be a small number of regional ‘custom’ credentials identified that also become part of this category.  Examples of certifications or stackable credentials available to LSR7 students include:  CNA, AWS, iCAR, Autodesk, Cisco, CompTIA, TestOut, NIMS, ASK, MT1, Microsoft, ProStart


Current lists published by state education departments will be reviewed with employers and validated for applicability and relevance as either a Industry-recognized Credential (IRC) or a stackable credential. There may be a small number of regional ‘custom’ credentials identified that also become part of this category.  Examples of certifications or stackable credentials available to LSR7 students include:  CNA, AWS, iCAR, Autodesk, Cisco, CompTIA, TestOut, NIMS, ASK, MT1, Microsoft, ProStart

How does a student earn the Entrepreneurial Experience Asset?

Lightbulb iconStudents identify a compelling social or market problem and mobilize resources to research and solve it. The project originates with the student or group of students but must include interactions with business community.  Professionals who might  help solve the problem include  a Project Sponsorship, Project Reviewers, and/or Informational Interviews with a Subject-matter Expert (SME).  Leveraging input and support from multiple stakeholders, students iteratively analyze, prototype, implement, reflect and adapt potential solutions. Outputs of MVA-level entrepreneurial experiences include a market and stakeholder research summary, a ‘business plan’ that includes an assessment of costs and benefits associated with development or operation of their solution, and feedback from relevant external stakeholders obtained through exhibition or ‘shark-tank’ type pitch opportunities. 


Students identify a compelling social or market problem and mobilize resources to research and solve it. The project originates with the student or group of students but must include interactions with the business community.  Professionals who might  help solve the problem include  a Project Sponsorship, Project Reviewers, and/or Informational Interviews with a Subject-matter Expert (SME).  Leveraging input and support from multiple stakeholders, students iteratively analyze, prototype, implement, reflect and adapt potential solutions. Outputs of MVA-level entrepreneurial experiences include a market and stakeholder research summary, a ‘business plan’ that includes an assessment of costs and benefits associated with development or operation of their solution, and feedback from relevant external stakeholders obtained through exhibition or ‘shark-tank’ type pitch opportunities.

What’s the difference between client-connected projects and an entrepreneurial experience?

Both are types of market value assets that all metro-wide school districts will be using as a common language to make it simpler and easier to understand the market value assets.  The bottom line on the difference starts with the originator of the problem statement.  Clients (employer associates) identify an authentic problem to be solved by a group of students.  Entrepreneurial experience projects originate with the student identifying a compelling social or market problem. Check out this document that explains the difference:   Client Project versus Entrepreneurial Project.

FAQ about Portrait of a Graduate

What is Portrait of a Graduate?

The district cast a vision of the Lee’s Summit School District graduate of the future by identifying key characteristics that are foundational skills for all students, this is known as our Portrait of a Graduate. 

What is done to achieve the Portrait of Graduate?

In order for our graduates to leave with these skills and dispositions, we need to provide authentic learning opportunities beginning with our youngest learners all the way through until they graduate.

How can I learn more about workforce development and the collaboration between schools and businesses for a common goal?

Click here to watch video: (22 mins)  Workforce Development in Kansas City “Getting to Yes with Innovative Learning - American Graduate”