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
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.