February 6, 2017
Dear Staff and Families of Confluence Charter Schools,
As a public charter school in Missouri, we operate under an agreement with a university sponsor. Every five years, the agreement, or the charter, must be renewed. In about two weeks, we will meet with the Missouri State Board of Education in Jefferson City as part of this process.
On Tuesday, February 21, 2017, Confluence Charter Schools will go before the state board with our sponsor, University of Missouri-Columbia, to request that we continue to pursue our mission of providing the highest quality public education for our students. Our application for charter renewal was submitted to the state board in December 2016, after months of preparation and planning.
If you’ve been with Confluence for more than five years, you may remember the concerns we faced in 2012 when it was time to renew the charter with our former sponsor, Missouri University of Science and Technology. The concerns centered on academic achievement for our students. Although we haven’t made the gains hoped for in our current charter agreement, MU believes in the changes we’ve made since they became our sponsor in 2014. Some changes include strategic planning, new leadership on the board of directors, and newly written curriculum. Future plans include teacher recruitment and additional science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, opportunities for students. We have instructional coaches in every school, and teachers use data to help guide the best ways to help student growth.
MU acknowledges that we are facing our challenges in effective ways, and they believe, as we do, that we will continue the steps it will take to become a successful school network.
- Confluence will have 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.
- We will continue to use 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.
- We will work to meet 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.
- 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. Our immediate goal is to move toward full accreditation, reaching at least 70% on MSIP ratings.
- From a financial perspective, we have planned for the next five years for a solid foundation for academic achievement and financial management. We believe that all resources should have a positive impact on classroom instruction.
Our emphasis is on student achievement and student success. Our 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. We agree with University of Missouri-Columbia’s expectations and Confluence is focused on making sure we meet expectations.
We want you to know that we are looking toward the future. We know there will be some adjustments as we move toward positive change, but the Board of Directors and Confluence leaders are committed to our students and their education.
Candice Carter-Oliver, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer