Summer school equals learning mixed with fun at Confluence Charter Schools
Summer school equals learning mixed with fun at Confluence Charter Schools
Posted on 07/12/2013

In July, most students are finished with summer school. But at Confluence Charter Schools, students are in the middle of a summer program filled with instruction and enrichment.

“Research shows that when students aren’t engaged in learning during the summer, they fall behind in math and reading at an average loss of two months in math skills,” said Joyce Jefferson, summer school principal. “Part of our academic focus is to increase the number of seventh and eighth grade students who are algebra ready.”

The summer program began July 1 and ends July 26. Students in grades K-8 are involved in a full day of school. Nearly 760 students attend every day from the Confluence campuses of Old North, South City and Walnut Park. Summer school is open to all students, from those experiencing academic challenges to those who are exceptional students.

The summer session is designed to look different from the regular school year and classes are held at Confluence Academy-Old North.

“Our core intensive instruction is in reading, writing and math. Camp activities and regular field trips add enrichment to the summer school experience,” said Jefferson.

Enrichment activities include photography, art and etiquette.

Community partnerships with Junior Achievement, the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Museum, the Saint Louis Science Center, Pinx Dance Studio and the University of Missouri-St. Louis also influence the summer experience.

“We believe that our summer school program is second-to-none,” said Jefferson.

So, what’s happening in summer school at Confluence? Take a glance into some of the classes to get a hint of the fun and excitement of learning.

Third Grade, Orlando Payton

The whiteboard glows bright in the dim classroom. A computer game and the shadows of students are cast on the board. It’s a matching game. The blank squares hide an image. The objective is to pick two squares that match to win points. A child’s voice says “This one, and this one,” as she chooses the cards to turn.

The cards match and the class claps and cheers. The game is over.

“Who’s going to be my next contestant?” asks Payton.

 Summer school


Second Grade, Emily Hileman

Second graders in Emily Hileman’s class work on math packets. The focus is on place value and addition with double digits.

Students scribble their pencils across the pages in their packets working through problems. Some flip their pencils upside down to erase an answer to try again, and a few quietly whisper to themselves, counting out sequences like “seven, eight, nine...”

summer school math


In the hall

Downstairs, kindergartners line up for a restroom break. Little bodies try to stand still, but some wiggle and giggle. Untied laces drag along the floor until someone says “tie your shoe, please.”

First graders follow their line leaders to the cafeteria for lunch, to the computer lab or outside to the playground.

Second Grade – Sharmell Bemin, Netosha MacDonald

Sharmell Bemin and Netosha MacDonald work with their second-grade class through a writing lesson. A list of work is outlined on the whiteboard. It includes writing a summary of a book read in class, writing spelling words and writing a paragraph about a caterpillar.

Everyone has sheets of classic-style writing paper – the kind with red and blue solid lines and dashed lines – and a pencil.

Kenetria Taylor wrote a summary of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle.

“Once upon a time there lived a caterpillar. The egg was on a leaf. One day the egg hatched,” wrote Kenetria. She was thinking of details from the story to finish writing. She needs five sentences to complete a paragraph.


Computer Lab, Dionne Cooley

In the computer lab, Dionne Cooley holds the attention of rising first-grade students. She demonstrates a reading activity, followed by a math game about number values. She picks students to come to the board to demonstrate the game, too. The rest of the class sits at laptop stations, ready to get started.

computer lab


On the Playground

Outside, the air is filled with sounds of fun - squeals and shrieks from the swings and slides, and girls and boys chasing each other in games of tag in the grass and trees.