Today, February 21, 2017, Confluence Charter Schools and our sponsor, University of Missouri-Columbia, met before the Missouri State Board of Education in Jefferson City to request approval for a charter renewal.
The renewal was approved. While it wasn’t easy, it was made very clear to us that our focus should be on results and accountability. We have to be committed to excellence to ensure academic success for all students.
In Missouri, public charter schools operate under an agreement with a sponsor; the agreement, or charter, has to be renewed every five years. The last renewal for Confluence was in 2012 with Missouri University of Science and Technology. In 2014, the sponsorship agreement was transferred to MU.
Since partnering with MU, we have made positive changes such as strategic planning, new leadership on the board of directors, and newly written curriculum. We have instructional coaches in every school, and teachers use data to guide the best ways to help student growth. Future plans include teacher recruitment and more opportunities for students in science, technology, engineering and math.
Our emphasis is on student achievement and student success. The sponsors have made it clear that they will monitor our performance to ensure students receive a quality education, and they’ll take corrective action as needed.
It’s important that we continue the steps it will take to become a successful school network. With support from the Board, we will meet the academic needs of our students through:
- Consistency in assessments that align with the Missouri Assessment Program. Each year, public school and public charter school students in grades 3-8 are tested in English language arts and math. Students in grades 5 and 8 are tested in science. High school students take End-of-Course exams in English II, Algebra I, Biology and Government.
- Formative tests like DIBELS and Galileo in math and English language arts to learn where our students are in grade-level and course-level expectations, and to work on ways to help them improve.
- Meeting performance goals set by MU, as required by the state for sponsors. MU will work closely with us to monitor our schools, and they will recommend sanctions, if necessary. MU could also recommend closing a school, or schools, if we can’t demonstrate the ability to meet standards.
- Working toward full accreditation as a public charter school, earning at least 70% on MSIP ratings. Although public charter schools in Missouri do not legally fall under the accreditation process by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the state does include charter schools in annual accreditation comparisons. In 2016, Confluence Charter Schools earned provisional accreditation by earning a score of 54.6% on MSIP5 ratings. That’s an improvement from our APR score of 28.3% in 2013-14.
We believe that all resources should have a positive impact on classroom instruction.
From a financial perspective, we have planned for the next five years for a solid foundation for academic achievement and financial management.