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Imagine charter schools

teacher in classroom
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To get an idea about how difficult it can be to interpret test score data when it comes to charter schools, consider Lafayette Preparatory Academy, just west of downtown.

State: 4 of 5 'Financially Stressed' Mo. Charter Schools Are In St. Louis

Oct 16, 2012
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The state says five Missouri charter schools are financially stressed.

Four of the schools are in St. Louis - Carondolet Leadership Academy, Grand Center Arts Academy, South City Preparatory Academy and Jamaa Learning Center. The fifth is Pathway Academy in Kansas City.

This is the first time the state has declared schools financially stressed under a new state law that requires more supervision of the publicly funded but independently run schools. The designation is based on ending balances in two key funds.

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The St. Louis Public Schools have unveiled their plans to cope with a possible influx of students from the shuttered Imagine charter schools.

Superintendent Kelvin Adams says more than 1,200 of Imagine’s 3,500 students have applied to attend St. Louis Public Schools next year. He says if enough parents are interested, the district will open as many as six new buildings that would allow Imagine students to stay together.

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There will be a school fair held Saturday to give parents of children at the closing Imagine Charter Schools a sense of their options next year.

The Missouri State Board of Education voted earlier this month to close six Imagine Schools June 30 because of poor academic performance and financial issues.

The fair will include the St. Louis Public Schools and other charter, private, and parochial schools.

Morning headlines: Friday, April 27, 2012

Apr 27, 2012
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Rams trade down, draft Brockers

The St. Louis Rams drafted LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers in last night's first round of the NFL Draft.

The Rams traded back from the sixth pick to the number 14 pick with the Dallas Cowboys after the Jacksonville Jaguars traded up to the fifth pick to draft wide receiver Justin Blackmon. The Rams also got a second round pick from the Cowboys in the trade.

Morning headlines: Monday, April 23, 2012

Apr 23, 2012
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Police investigating explosive device at downtown federal building

St. Louis police are trying to find the person who threw an explosive device at a federal building in downtown.

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More than 3,500 students will be displaced when a network of St. Louis charter schools run by Virginia-based Imagine Schools Inc. is shuttered in a closure so massive it may be unprecedented nationally.

Todd Ziebarth of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the closure was "definitely" the largest he knew of.

Mo. pulls the plug on Imagine-run charter schools

Apr 17, 2012
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Will be updated.

Updated at 4:44 p.m. with additional reporting.

Updated 2:59 p.m. with additional comment from Imagine's executive vice president.

The Missouri Board of Education voted Tuesday to close six charter schools in St. Louis run by Virginia-based Imagine Schools Incorporated.

The schools will close at the end of this school year.

Imagine's executive vice president, Jason Bryant, calls the decision disappointing and says the company is exploring its options.

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Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education says Missouri Baptist University will relinquish its sponsorship of four charter school systems in St. Louis.

The university’s sponsorship included six schools with the Imagine Academies that had come under fire for poor student performance and deficit spending.

(via Flickr/Lauren Manning)

The Missouri State Board will review Missouri Baptist University’s authorization to sponsor charter schools next month.

MBU holds four charters, which include six Imagine Academy schools in St. Louis.

The board will hold a public hearing April 16 in Jefferson City and is expected to a make a decision the next day.

Department of Elementary and Secondary Education spokeswoman Michelle Clark says the board has never revoked a sponsor or even held a public hearing.

2 St. Louis charter schools to close

Dec 19, 2011
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Two under-performing St. Louis charter schools will close at the end of the school year.

James French, chairman of Missouri Baptist University's Education Division, which sponsors the schools, announced Monday that Imagine Academy of Academic Success and Imagine Academy of Cultural Arts, will close.

The university, which began sponsoring the schools in 2006, said neither school was living up to academic performance standards, was financially sound, or was showing signs of improvement.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 19, 2011 - Citing continued shortcomings in academic achievement and governance, Missouri Baptist University said Monday that it was revoking the charter of one of the Imagine charter schools it sponsors in St. Louis and putting others on probation.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 23, 2011 - With an iPad2, a yellow legal pad, and a bunch of black felt-tip pens, I am trotting around Missouri interviewing people who are in fourth grade. I am doing this to hear what kids think and feel about their experience of school right now. In the book that will result from this research, I will describe the large themes and patterns of what I have heard, as well the experiences and impressions that do not seem to fit into any larger theme. My role model in doing this project is the late great Studs Terkel of Chicago, whom I myself read for the first time in high school back in the 1970s.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 10 2011 - The man chosen to lead Imagine schools in St. Louis to higher levels of achievement, in the face of withering criticism from the mayor and a recommendation from Missouri's top education officials that they shut down, doesn't view his job as a turnaround situation.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 8, 2011 - Missouri's commissioner of education says the Imagine charter schools in St. Louis, under fire for chronically low achievement, should close at the end of the current school year.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 10, 2011 - So you're fed up with hearing about how kids in St. Louis have no quality public schools to attend and you have a great idea for a charter school that will blow the rest of them away.

How do you get started?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 28, 2011 - More than 10 years after the first charter school opened in St. Louis, too many charters have fallen short of their promise and need more financial help, stricter oversight and stronger incentives to improve student achievement, a report released this week by FOCUS St. Louis concludes.

Commentary: Imagine Schools fail their students

Sep 20, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 20, 2011 - Simply put, a charter is a contract to improve student achievement. The Missouri Charter Public School Association (MCPSA) commends the charter public schools in the state who are honoring this contract and operating in the best interest of the students they serve. MCPSA is, however, deeply concerned by the performance trends being displayed by the cluster of charter public schools in St. Louis managed by Imagine Schools Inc. These schools are clearly not meeting acceptable standards of academic performance.

Morning headlines: Friday, September 16, 2011

Sep 16, 2011
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Metro-East contractors delay Mississippi River bridge protest

According to the Belleville News-Democrat, about 200 protesters gathered at the East St. Louis City Hall early this morning, but delayed a protest to shut down work on the new Mississippi River Bridge. The newspaper reports Illinois Governor Pat Quinn promised to call and the state’s transportation secretary is heading to the city to meet them.