Confluence Charter Schools | St. Louis Public Radio

Confluence Charter Schools

The University of Missouri College of Education has been told to step up its oversight of charter schools – or stop sponsoring them.

On Tuesday, Assistant Education Commissioner Chris Neale told the State Board of Education that while MU’s Office of Charter School Operations does a good job of vetting applications to open new schools, clear policies on site visits and school closures are needed.

“We look for a system, and we look for how those decisions actually end up being made,” Neale said. “We’d like to see better written documentation.”

Samuel Williams helps his two children onto the Jefferson Elementary School morning shuttle bus Friday, March 2, 2018. Williams said since it started in January, the shuttle provides safety and a routine for getting to school.
File Photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s not unusual to see several school buses crisscrossing St. Louis neighborhoods early in the morning, each carrying just a few kids.

There’s a chance that soon, students who live in the same neighborhoods but attend different schools, whether KIPP or Confluence charter schools or St. Louis Public Schools, could all pile onto the same bus.

Andy Sminds / Flickr

Updated 9:40 a.m. — This story and the accompanying photo have been corrected to reflect the charter sponsors of the Confluence Academy network.

Missouri’s State Board of Education has limited power when it comes to charter schools, mostly making sure they meet the state’s requirements, such as staying open a certain number of days. Academic performance is out of its hands.

Tax credits | Flickr

St. Louis is backing charter school parents in a legal dispute over how money from a 1999 city sales tax is distributed.

St. Louis officials  argue that the money from the sales tax was designed to help all students attending public schools in the city, not just those in district schools.

The St. Louis Public Schools and the NAACP, which filed the lawsuit, say the money should go only to the school district, not to charters, and they want to recover more than $50 million that has gone to the charters since 2006.

Far Lft, Brian Owens; Middle Lft, Sara Michaelis; Middle Rt, Stanley Johnson; Far Rt, Sonya Murray
Alex Heuer

The St. Louis Symphony and Maryville University collaborated to create an 8-week music therapy program called “Life Compositions” to help students at Confluence Academy Old North deal with the challenges and trauma of growing up in urban neighborhoods. Graduate students in Maryville’s music therapy program worked with the youth to write and record songs, which they will highlight in a concert titled “Courage Counts” on June 4.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 7, 2013: Grand Center Arts Academy says that despite protests, it will not rehire Lynne Glickert as its principal, but Louise Losos will not be principal beginning next month either.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 21, 2009 - On hot summer days in Clayton during the '40s, the clop-clop sound of the horse-drawn milk wagon on Arundel Place brought with it a rush of children, all racing to catch the driver and ask for ice. In this crowd of eager youngsters was a girl no taller and seemingly no stronger than the rest, but her friends remember that she'd usually outrun everybody and then bring back enough ice to share with them.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 25, 2009 -The St. Louis Public School system is accustomed to getting much of the attention, good and bad, each year when a new school year begins. But that's changing as more innovative charter schools open their doors. The latest one is Confluence Preparatory Academy downtown.

This new charter high school has set up shop appropriately enough across the street from Central Library. The building the school occupies is the old TWA Reservation Center, 310 North 15th Street.

Confluence Prep principal John Diehl 2008
Photos provided by Confluence Academy

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 30, 2008 - The logo is Matisse-like in its simplicity and complexity: a crescent, a circle and a few other geometric shapes that form a human body floating in space and reaching for a star. The image was created for Confluence Academy to evoke the charter school's mission of helping kids learn to believe, achieve and reach their dreams.

Parents and students already believe in those dreams enough to make Confluence the largest K-8 charter school system in St. Louis. This support, along with grants from groups like the Walton Foundation, has paved the way for Confluence's first high school, Confluence Preparatory Academy, which opens in mid-August.