Confluence Is Hiring Bus Drivers

This is a note from Confluence, which is interested in hiring people to drive buses for Confluence:  The drivers would work for a company called First Student but serve Confluence schools.  GCAA does not have the bus service but as part of Confluence's school network Confluence would like to share this job opportunity with anyone who might be interested.  If interested, see the attached flyers here and here.

Update from Dr. Candice Carter-Oliver regarding 2017 End of Course Results

Good Morning, I wrote you last month that the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) had informed us that the End-of-Course scores for 2017 in Algebra I and English II were not conducted in a way that can give us accurate year-over-year comparisons. As you know, each year Missouri high school students take tests in some key courses to track student achievement. This testing measures student performance in Algebra I, English II, Biology and Government. DESE has been working to create a resolution to this problem and has informed us that 2017 Algebra I and English II data will be removed from the 2017 Annual Performance Report (APR). We can expect the final APR to be released on November 15. The Standard 1 Academic Achievement and Standard 2 Subgroup Achievement will be calculated in a different manner to accommodate this change. In addition to these changes for the 2017 data, DESE is also requiring additional assurances from Questar, the testing vendor, regarding the 2017-18 EOCs. Please read the attached memo for further details. Dr. Candice Carter-Oliver,

Memo from Dr. Candice Carter-Oliver, CEO: Student-led Demonstration Week following the Stockley verdict

As many of you know, the verdict on Jason Stockley issued last week has generated many emotions and important discussions in our community.

Beginning on the day of the verdict, our students and faculty began sharing their thoughts and feelings in their classes. Throughout the past week, students have created and participated in several activities designed to express themselves, discuss issues raised by the verdict and learn from each other. Students coined the term Demonstration Week to describe all these activities. I want to point out that all of these events were entirely voluntary, providing an outlet for students who wanted to make such demonstrations, without requiring participation for any who did not. Activities included reflective writing, a moment of silence, and socratic seminar discussion on how verdicts are determined in our legal system.

Demonstration Week culminated in a downtown demonstration this morning by 125 high school students from Grand Center Arts Academy and Confluence Preparatory Academy. This was a student-driven activity, with students and their Student Council leadership working with the faculty and staff to organize a safe field trip demonstration for those who wanted to participate. This included a written essay by each participating student and, of course, parental permission. All students are safely back at their schools where they are debriefing the experience with school counselors and administrators.

Part of our mission at Confluence Charter Schools is providing our students reasonable opportunities to discuss their thoughts and feelings about important issues, when this can be accomplished within a safe and respectful learning environment—today, with students, teachers and staff working together, we were able to fulfill that mission. We commonly take this approach around significant current issues, whether they be civic, social or scientific. As educators, we are responsible to model constructive behavior, allowing your student to listen, learn from others, and express themselves in respectful community. These values are central to our mission at Confluence.

As always, we will work to bring our students into closer community, and create opportunities for learning that can help to ultimately build a more just society. We encourage our families to continue these discussions at home about important issues of the day. For more information or assistance about how to discuss difficult issues with your student, feel free to contact Dr. Rochelle Bates at 314-588-8554 or Rochelle.Bates@confluenceacademy.org.

Please reach out to me or to your school principal if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you for your dedication to the success of Confluence students and families.

Dr. Candice Carter-Oliver, CEO

Announcement Regarding Upcoming Testing Results by Dr. Candice Carter-Oliver, CEO

Good Morning, Confluence - Each year Missouri students, typically in grades 9 to 12, although some of our students begin in grade 8, take tests in some key courses in order to track student achievement. This testing measures student performance in Algebra I, English II, Biology and Government. In 2017, these tests were conducted by Missouri’s testing vendor, Questar. The results of these tests form the basis for measuring school districts and systems and state performance as a whole—in essence, they are an important measure of how well we are educating our students. On Wednesday, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) announced that the End-of-Course scores for 2017 in Algebra I and English II were not conducted in a way that can give us accurate year-over-year comparisons. Specifically, DESE discovered that Questar’s data will not produce the year-to-year comparison data that we all need, and that Questar is supposed to provide. Please read the attached memo for further details. Your hard work and dedication to Confluence students is valued.  As soon as further information is shared by DESE, we will update the school community. Take care – Dr. Candice-Carter Oliver, CEO

Welcome Message from Dr. Carter-Oliver, CEO, to Teachers and Staff of Confluence Schools

To Confluence Charter Schools Staff, Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year! This year, we will all take on roles that will impact how Missouri education is portrayed in the history books for years to come. From what I’ve seen thus far, we are certainly up to the task. Our new and existing administrative team members have spent a great deal of time determining what educational and support areas require strengthening and need to be revamped or restructured. We also reviewed job assignments and program needs to best utilize the talents of our personnel resources. I want to acknowledge all 12-month staff who have been providing incredible support throughout this process. Some significant partnerships have been developed with area colleges and universities, and with wraparound service agencies, to offer our students more effective STEAM, college and career readiness opportunities and social and emotional support. We are focusing our energy and resources on professional development experiences that will improve students’ academic outcomes. Increasing student achievement will be done with support, hard work, commitment, and a belief from students, staff, parents, the community and the Board of Directors. It is going to take the collective efforts of all of us, using best practices and strategies, to ensure all of our students achieve. Our work and mission is a journey toward excellence. Every day, we aim to be better and greater. I look forward to working with all of you to achieve and sustain success with each of our students beginning on the first day of school – Tuesday, August 15! Sincerely, Candice Carter-Oliver, Ph.D. Chief Executive Officer

A Note from Dr. Carter-Oliver, CEO, June 15, 2017 – The impact of teacher shortages in urban public education”

As schools and districts across St. Louis get ready for the start of another academic year, there’s the excitement of new and returning students, families and staff. Yet, there are also real concerns about having enough qualified teachers in classrooms. As a leader in education, Dr. Candice Carter-Oliver, chief executive officer, shares her observations on the challenges of teacher shortages, and she offers solutions for the community to make a positive impact in public schools. By no means is this intended to cause alarm among parents of Confluence Charter Schools and Grand Center Arts Academy; it’s meant to bring awareness to concerns that many public schools are dealing with, not only in St. Louis, but across the nation.
Dedicated teachers, staff and administrators make a difference in urban public education every day, whether it’s in the classroom with students, through connections with parents, through service in the community and countless other ways.

In a few short weeks, districts throughout St. Louis will welcome the start of another school year. There will be the excitement of new and returning students, families and staff. Yet, there are also real concerns about having enough qualified teachers in classrooms.

As an education leader, it’s concerning to observe the current shortage of teachers, and the growing need to hire talented educators in many urban schools.

[The full article can be read here.]

GCAA Teacher Christine Nobbe Receives Challenger Learning Center award

When she was 10, she knew she wanted to be a teacher. Her interest in space grew from watching the Apollo 11 space rocket land on the moon. “I was riveted to the TV the day man walked on the moon.” Fast forward to present day, and Christine Nobbe, instructional coach at Grand C Nobbe_GCAA Jan 2017 smallCenter Arts Academy, is being recognized as a 2017 Challenger Learning Center Inspiring Teacher. She is among seven teachers who will be awarded in honor of the seven Challenger astronauts who were set to go into space on January 28, 1986, but the spacecraft exploded during the launch. The space shuttle flight included Christa McAuliffe, who would have been the first teacher to go into space. Nobbe has been an educator for 38 years, working in districts both small and large. She was a gifted education specialist in the Rockwood School District before retiring in 2013. She joined GCAA in 2015 as an instructional coach. Her responsibilities range from helping new teachers to curriculum development to guiding gifted students. For entire article, visit the Confluence Site.