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Summer 2013

CONFLUENCECONNECTIONS

Dr. Chester Bluette congratulates one of Confluence Preparatory Academy’s newest alumni

Class of 2013 takes the stage graduates encouraged to dream
onfluence Preparatory Academy is a young high school. So young, in fact, that the Class of 2013 is the second graduating class in school history. On May 18, families, friends, teachers and staff celebrated with enthusiasm as 87 graduates crossed the stage into their future; 10 students graduated with honors. The class was accepted to more than 20 colleges and universities, many in the St. Louis area. In total, they earned $165,000 in scholarships. Commencement was held in the Ferrara Theatre in the America’s Center Convention Complex. Sasha Worthy, class valedictorian, is deciding between two colleges – Drury University and Missouri University of Science and Technology. Mary Moore, salutatorian, will attend St. Louis Community CollegeFlorissant Valley. Amira Mellion, senior class president, earned a scholarship to Lindenwood University after she was named

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the Downtown YMCA’s Youth of the Year. Major Brinson is heading to Missouri Baptist University and Ariel Davis-Rayford will study at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Artis “Keith” Turner, president of TurnGroup Technologies, LLC, was the guest speaker. Turner founded the information technology consulting firm in April 2002. He spoke sincerely and candidly to the students, using “real talk” about preparing for their future, giving their best effort and taking responsibility for their lives, education and careers. Turner was raised in St. Louis and graduated cum laude from Morehouse College. Sonya Henry, chair of the Board of Directors of Confluence, encouraged students to continue to follow their dreams and “take risks” but to stay focused on their education and careers. Dr. Chester Bluette, principal, started his first year at CPA in August 2012. As he delivered

his final remarks to the students he “inherited at the start of the school year,” he closed with a simple message. “Failure is not an option,” he said. “Failure is not an option,” he repeated. A wave of applause followed, agreeing with his insistence that students continue to work hard and put forth their best effort. Confluence Preparatory Academy is the first high school in the network of Confluence Charter Schools. It opened in 2008 on the campus of Confluence Academy-South City with ninth grade. In 2009, CPA moved downtown, next to the Central St. Louis Library. The school is sponsored by Missouri University of Science and Technology.

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CHAIRMAN’SLETTER

Summer starts with sights set on future year of change ends with successes
When we started school last August, we started a school year of change. Confluence Charter Schools was starting its first year as a self-managed network of schools. Confluence Preparatory Academy welcomed a new principal, Dr. Chester Bluette. Confluence Academy-Walnut Park had an interim principal, Mary L. Davis. Grand Center Arts Academy grew to serving students in grades 6 through 9, experiencing its first class of freshmen. Confluence set high goals for academic expectations set by its sponsors, Missouri University of Science and Technology and Saint Louis University, and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Our teachers and staff focused on educating our students based on gradelevel expectations. The focus was guided by a caring culture based on Positive Behavior Support systems; a curriculum designed on mastery of essential skills; a highly qualified staff who uses researchbased instructional strategies; customized instruction to build confidence and learning success; a college-readiness and career pathways program; and strengthening connections between home and school. As we end 2012-2013, we will continue to experience change that will impact our future. The Class of 2013, the second graduating class in the history of CPA, will start college, begin career training or join the military on their journey to continued education and success. Confluence Academy-Walnut Park will have a new principal, Sheldon McAfee. He has been part of the Confluence family as an academy director at Confluence Academy-Old North. The Board recognizes and appreciates Mrs. Davis for her leadership as interim principal. We thank her for her dedication to our students, teachers and families. In late summer, we will learn our students’ scores on the annual Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) test and End-of-Course (EOC) exams. We are confident that our scores will show academic growth and

Mission Statement

Confluence Charter Schools provides the highest quality public education for our students. Every day, students are engaged and encouraged to excel in reading, math, science, technology, visual arts and performing arts.
Vision Statement

Confluence Charter Schools will provide a world-class public education to prepare our students for success in college, career and life.

Old North students perform during Missouri Charter Public School Association Tour Day in February

improvement. Our teachers, staff, students and parents worked hard to make sure everyone did their best during statemandated testing. We are proud of their efforts and we look forward to celebrating their achievements. We look forward to a summer of learning, exploration and discovery. Parents, please make sure your child reads every day and practices math facts so that he or she will be ready when school starts on August 12. But most of all, enjoy your summer and make good memories. Thank you for supporting the mission and vision of Confluence Charter Schools.

Board news upcoming board of directors meeting dates
Friday, July 19, 8:00 a.m. Confluence Preparatory Academy 310 N. 15th Street

Sonya G. Henry Chairman Confluence Academy Board

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QUICKTAKES

Little bricks science and creativity come together
Think about what the City of St. Louis looks like today. Now, think about what the city could look like in 50 years. To stretch your mind even further – think about what the city could like in 50 years using a model made of LEGO bricks. That was the task for students from Old North and South City as they participated in a FIRST LEGO Expo in May. They joined other teams at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park for LEGO Care Rebuilding St. Louis – One Brick at a Time. FIRST LEGO League exposes students to math, science, technology and engineering. It is part of FIRST Robotics – For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. The Old North LEGO/Robotics Team has seven members in grades 5-7. The team sponsor is Stanley Johnson, administrative intern and in-school suspension teacher. South City’s team name is COMETS – Committed to Obtaining Mathematics Engineering Technology and Science. The team has eight members in fifth and sixth grade. The team sponsors are Deborah Bertish and Lyndsey Derber, sixth grade science and math teachers. “The students jumped right into the building and construction of the city, coming up with dynamic ideas about what the City of St. Louis would look like in 50 years,” said Bertish and Derber. “A few weeks in, the group decided to try a different approach and began to build the city as it is now and make modifications and additions as they would see St. Louis in 50 years.” Johnson said the experience “reinforced the expectation that higher

level education is the key to future success. Our team didn’t just want to do the basics, they pushed themselves to think deeper, analyze longer and collaborate to reach the common goal.” “I was so amazed by the creativity and expression in all of our scholars and the work of the other schools at the expo,” said Johnson. The enthusiasm and interest in doing well paid off for both teams – they earned awards for their efforts. Old North was presented the Inquiring Minds Award. South City received the High Five award.

Bronze age schools recognized for fostering positive support
When students return to school in the fall, they might notice something new, glossy and bold on display at Old North, South City and Walnut Park. In June, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recognized 312 public and charter schools for their success in implementing Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support. PBS is a systematic approach for improving student behavior and academic performance. The schools were honored at a summer training institute sponsored by DESE and the University of Missouri Center for Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support. Old North, South City and Walnut Park each earned bronze level recognition for their PBS programs. There are three levels of recognition – gold, silver or bronze. Principals and staff from each school attended the institute. They were presented a framed certificate and a banner to display in their building. Positive Behavior Support is a systematic approach to creating safer and more effective schools by structuring the learning environment to support academic and social success for all students. PBS focuses on databased decision-making, encouraging positive student behavior, preventing disruptive behavior and tailoring academic strategies to individual student needs. Confluence schools participate in PBS through the Cooperating School District of St. Louis. In 2012-2013, approximately 740 schools in Missouri participated in the Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support initiative.

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STAFFSPOTLIGHT

New Confluence Academy-Walnut Park Principal Sheldon McAfee

Walnut Park welcomes new principal moves over from Old North
The Board of Directors of Confluence Charter Schools has selected Sheldon McAfee to serve as principal of Confluence Academy-Walnut Park for 2013-2014. McAfee will replace interim principal Mary L. Davis. McAfee has worked for Confluence since 2008 when he started as an academy director at Confluence AcademySouth City. He most recently served as academy director at Old North. He has more than 12 years of experience in education as a classroom teacher and administrator. He worked in the Rockwood School District, Montgomery Public Schools in Alabama and Bay County District Schools in Florida. McAfee has a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Alabama State University and a master of public administration from Auburn University-Montgomery. He has a master’s in education administration from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. “I’m looking forward to working with the unique group of students and staff at Walnut Park,” said McAfee. He describes the staff as unique because they “work hard and they’re really excited to help our students from the surrounding community.” The students are unique because they remind him of his youth. “I feel like Walnut Park is the school I went to on the south side of Chicago. I see the kids and I see myself. I grew up in similar circumstances and I know what the kids are going through,” said McAfee. “I had someone who cared about me, and who cared even more about my success. I had two awesome principals in elementary and high school. I want to give that same care to the students, to believe in them and to encourage them to keep trying.” The parents are significant to McAfee, too. “The parents are important because they are critical piece of the formula for student success. I want them to know that I don’t plan on going anywhere. I want to show parents and students that together we can be successful,” he said.

McAfee said the responsibility of a principal is to “inspire and encourage students, to set examples and to give them something to think about” to influence their daily lives and their future. “This is a dream-come-true job – an elementary school principal.” Davis joined Walnut Park as interim principal in September 2012. She is a retired educator from the East St. Louis School District. She has 34 years of experience, serving 12 years as a principal. She was hired as interim after the resignation of Angela Carpenter as principal. “The Board appreciates Mrs. Davis for her leadership and dedication to our students, teachers and families this school year,” said Sonya Henry, Board chair.

Mr. McAfee working with students at Old North

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