Q-and-A: Get to know Aspire Academy and Elite Academy

Aspire Academy and Elite Academy are both familiar and new to Confluence Charter Schools.

Aspire Academy is the new name of Confluence Academy-Walnut Park. In spring 2015, the school went through a rebranding initiative to choose a new name to reflect positive changes for the future of the school. A restructure plan for the campus originally started in 2014 with approval from the Board of Directors. Aspire Academy educates students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade.

Seventh and eighth graders who would have attended the former Walnut Park campus are now students at Elite Academy. The middle school is a pilot program for 2015-2016, which means it’s in the beginning stages of developing into a long-term program. Elite Academy is housed on the third floor of Confluence Preparatory Academy. It’s focused on academics and preparing students to be successful in high school, and it’s an option for those who want to stay within Confluence for their education.

The principals at Aspire Academy are familiar to students and families - Angela Carpenter and Leslie Muhammad. Ms. Carpenter leads grades preK-2. Mrs. Muhammad leads grades 3-6.

Dr. Ronald T. Ferrell is the principal at Elite Academy. He was an assistant principal at CPA.

So, what would you like to know about Aspire and Elite academies?


Aspire Academy

Aspire Academy now educates students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. What are three differences in working with fewer grade levels after years of K-8?
A focus on early education and balanced literacy; smaller class sizes and a narrower focus; and having a true elementary school.

What can students expect from the changes at Aspire Academy?
Students can expect to be more enlightened with the use of technology and hands-on experiences. They can expect a curriculum that will enhance their interests and provide opportunities toward career development, and they can expect 21st century innovative approaches in all our subject areas.

What can parents expect from the changes at Aspire Academy?
Parents can expect that their students are involved in project-based learning, lessons that are enhanced by technology and students who’ll become more engaged in school. Children will be happy about learning and education, and we are providing more services that assist with helping the whole child such as wraparound services from academics to mental health.

How are teachers adjusting to the new name and new outlook for Aspire?

“I think people are adjusting well to the new name. There seems to be a renewed sense of excitement. Our PBIS assemblies have been great and there are a lot of procedures that have worked much better this year already.” ~ Shannon Bockmiller, sixth grade science

“Aspire Academy’s name speaks for itself. Teachers are directing students’ hopes and ambitions toward achieving their ultimate goal.” ~ Loreal Wilhite, second grade

“I am so excited and feel very honored to be a part of this new direction for Confluence. Just the name, Aspire Academy, motivates me even more to push my students to higher levels of expectation.” ~ Janice Smith, first grade

What would you say was the biggest challenge in the effort to rebrand from Confluence Academy-Walnut Park to Aspire? What challenges do you still face?
Our challenges were logistical and cosmetic. We had to work hard to prepare the school before the new school year started. For example, coming up with a plan to redesign our school to be customer-friendly and providing ongoing professional development related to the new innovative approaches.

Using only ONE word, describe the future for Aspire. Innovative!

A grandparent sent a positive comment to Aspire Academy at the time this story was being developed, and Mrs. Muhammad proudly shared it with us. It reads:

“I wanted to let you know that both of my grandchildren are so excited about the 2015-2016 [school year]. They love the new changes in the building and are excited about coming to school every day. Keep up the great work!!! The teachers are great.” ~ Sandra Terry and family


Elite Academy at CPA

How do students feel about their new school setting?
Elite Academy students are really excited about their new school. They really seem to enjoy the atmosphere of their surroundings and the technology being used in our classrooms.

One aspect of Elite Academy is academic rigor. What does that mean for students? What does it mean for parents?
When you speak about academic rigor, you have to address higher-order questioning and grade-level content. These components require students to break apart new information and examine it, then use the information in a new and creative way and make judgments that can support a position or stance. Parents can expect their children to move toward grade level proficiency. 

What does a typical school day look like at Elite Academy? What classes do students take?
The school day starts at 7:25 a.m. and ends at 3:00 p.m. Elite Academy students take math, math lab, English, reading lab, science, social studies, choir, nutrition, speech, informational technology, eighth grade transitions and a mentoring session.

What kind of technology is used in the lessons?
Teachers use Chromebooks, computers and smartboards in the daily lessons and activities.

How are the teachers adjusting to the smaller academy setting?
The teachers are adjusting well, even as our student numbers have increased.

What do you expect students to achieve in the first semester at Elite Academy? In the first year?
During the first semester, it is my wish that the students become more familiar with the new structure of the school, along with our Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports expectations. In the first year, we would like to improve upon last year’s Missouri Assessment Program scores.

What can parents expect for their children as students at Elite Academy?
Parents can rest assured that their children are receiving a quality education at Elite Academy.

Using only ONE word, how would you describe Elite Academy? New!

Why do you think Elite Academy is a good choice for students?
Elite Academy is a good choice because the instruction is first rate. The building is newer and inviting, and our staff is fully committed and eager to help our students learn.