GCAA Solves for Tomorrow

Laura Schuhwerk, a makerspace teacher, had a class submit a proposal for Samsung's Solve for Tomorrow Contest and they made it to the statewide finals. Solve for Tomorrow is designed to boost interest and proficiency in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM), this nationwide contest challenges public school teachers and students in grades 6-12 to show how STEAM can be applied to help improve their local community.

While it is a great enough honor to make it to the statewide finals, Ms. Schuhwerk and her class are looking to move on in the competition. From here a state champions is chosen that will then compete against the other state champions for the grand prize. All state winners will receive $25,000 in Samsung technology for their schools, the top ten finalists will receive $50,000 in Samsung technology for their schools and they are invited to attend the Pitch Event. The Grand Prize Winner receives $150,000 in Samsung technology for their school.

As stated above, the purpose of the contest is to help improve a problem within the community. Throughout the years teams have chosen projects that assisted safe driving, supported the free lunch program, and improved pesticide processes. Ms. Schuhwerk asked her class what they felt the greatest problem facing their community was and they responded with crime and safety. Throughout this program they hope to design an app and tracker system to help keep people safe and help crimes be reported quicker.

Good luck to the students! We will keep you posted on any updates.

2017 Confluence Charter Schools Annual Performance Report

Confluence Charter Schools made progress in academic achievement in the 2016-2017 school year, according to Annual Performance Report figures released today by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).  This year’s reporting is in line with performance gains achieved by Confluence Charter Schools students each year since 2014.

Confluence Charter Schools operates two separate Local Education Agencies (LEAs), and since DESE reports annual performance for each LEA, Confluence has two reports. The Confluence Charter Schools LEA represents the figures for Aspire Academy, Confluence Academy—Old North, Confluence Academy—South City, Elite Academy and Confluence Preparatory Academy. The current reporting shows that performance at these schools improved by nine percent, from 54 percent of total performance points in 2016 to 63 percent in 2017. Annual performance increases at these schools has followed a steady upward trend since 2014, with annual increases between nine and 11 percent, earning twice as many Annual Performance Report points this year compared to 2014.

These gains are not by happenstance. They are the result of systematic, foundational improvements which are reflected in the current Confluence strategic plan.  In addition to these central improvements, we have conducted technology and safety audits, increased the number of advanced placement courses, and increased attendance through efforts to drive parental involvement. All these things nourish success in the classroom. That said, as encouraging as this sustained progress is, we still have more work to do to ensure that these figures continue to rise and meet our expectations.

The second Confluence LEA represents the figures for Grand Center Arts Academy (GCAA). GCAA remains the network’s highest-performing school with a 2017 score of 75 percent of total performance points. This number is comparable to the 77 percent score achieved in 2016. Although GCAA remains a high-performer, we are not resting on our laurels and have taken a number of steps to improve performance for all students in the school. GCAA has begun offering ACT preparation after school, added an on-site social worker to the staff and other additional resources to support GCAA students.  In addition, we have recently begun to adjust curriculum and teaching methods to better meet the needs of the current student body, and we have begun providing some Metro transit transportation support since we know that a lack of transportation options can affect attendance and therefore student performance. Finally, we have been talking with our GCAA sponsor, Saint Louis University, about their support for students and families. GCAA has a unique culture and dedicated faculty, and we know it can continue to succeed in a financially stable environment.

All our efforts will continue to be aimed at the success of our students, families and communities and so we look forward to even stronger performance results in 2018. We will keep our Confluence community informed on our ongoing improvement efforts

Thank you for your hard work in helping our students grow and achieve.    

Multiple Congratulations Are In Order

First, Preather Preuitt has made the All-State Honor Choir. This is the highest honor a choir student can achieve in the state of Missouri. He earned one of only four spots for basses in the St. Louis Metro area. Plus, we had three students audition for and make Metro 8, an honors ensemble comprised of the best musicians from each city school, private school and the Fort Zumwalt School District. The three students were Imani Smith (8th Grade, Double Bass), Madison Hathaway Wheeler (8th Grade, Violin) and Kareemah Thomas (11th Grade, Viola). These students and the other members of the ensemble put in a lot of hard work to have a successful concert. As always we are so proud of our students! Keep up the good work!

GCAA Webmaster Moving On . . . Welcome, Standpoint!

I have really enjoyed serving as Webmaster of GCAA, ever since 2011.  Since then, I have had the privilege of posting thousands of photos of GCAA students, hundreds of posts and creating dozens of videos featuring administrators, teachers and students. I hope you have enjoyed these postings.  I have been honored to do this job, most of this work occurring during the years while my daughter JuJu Vieth attended GCAA. But now it is time to move on--I will be tending to my law practice and whatever else comes my way. The new Webmaster for this website will be Standpoint, and I wish them all the best. Erich

GCAA 9th Grade Physics Students Study How to Slow Down Falling Eggs

GCAA Physics teacher Alicia Dunn invited me to her 9th Grade Class to watch her students figure out how to slow down falling eggs.  There is a serious reason to study deacceleration - - it's the principle on which air bags work.  The supplies given to the students were extremely limited (see the instructions here and here). And then the eggs fell.  Everyone seemed to be having a good time in the end, except for the eggs, who were smiling earlier on.  

GCAA Freshman Ashton Patterson to Exhibit at Shaw Art Fair

15-year old GCAA Freshman Ashton Patterson will be exhibiting his work at the Fall 2017  Shaw Art Fair, a large juried art fair held annually in the Shaw Neighborhood.
Ashton has been interested in photography for a few years.  He  took his first photography class in the 2017 spring semester at GCAA.  His interest peaked last summer when his family's food truck was hired to feed the band members of Disturbed and Breaking Benjamin back stage at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre.  Ashton took a photo of two members of Breaking Ben wearing the family's food truck's tee shirts and received many compliments on the composition. Realizing that he could do so much more with a "real" camera than he could with is iPhone, a spark ignited.
After having several photos selected for the GCAA Art Show, Ashton began thinking about participating in larger venues.  Since his family has always attended the Shaw Art Fair and has purchased many pieces there, this was a natural goal.  Ashton submitted four of his photos to be reviewed by the jury and was one of 12 photographers accepted out of more than 20 applicants.  The average score of the selected photographers was 16.6; Ashton scored 17.  Applicants come from all over the US, including some international artists.  Ashton's mother has been told by several people associated with the Historic Shaw Art Fair that Ashton is the youngest artist ever to be selected.
Congratulations to Ashton!
[Information for this story provided by Kimberly Patterson].