Morning Spotlight: Confluence Academy-South City
Morning Spotlight: Confluence Academy-South City
Posted on 09/10/2013

From the time the school bell rings in the morning, the day is filled with learning and activity at Confluence Academy-South City. The school has two buildings and approximately 840 students. The Compton campus has kindergarten through second grade. The Meramec campus has students in third through eighth grade.

On Friday, September 6, South City students and teachers were in full swing with writing, reading, music and more. Take a glimpse into their morning.


The Compton Campus

8:35 a.m. - Tiffany Bickel’s first-grade classroom is bright and colorful. The whiteboard is full of details – the date, spelling words and writing tips. Students are at their desks, pencils in hand, writing in their journals – a spiral notebook. Some are writing slowly and thoughtfully; others are looking around the room as if they are searching for an idea or a thought, and some are chatting to help each other. A poster-size sticky note with ideas to help the creativity of the young writers is hanging at the front of the room. Bickel is enthusiastic. She is praising the writing she reads and complimenting the handwriting she sees. She makes an announcement. “It’s time to re-read your writing.” She reminds the class to look for capitalization at the beginning of each sentence. She reminds them to use proper punctuation – a period, a question mark or an exclamation point. Bickel asks them to make sure their writing has a focus and an idea, all while moving quickly around the room.

South City

8:45 a.m. – Kindergartners are sitting on the reading carpet listening to Kimberly Holmes read a version of ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears.’ The family of bears has discovered that someone has been in their house, eating their porridge.

8:46 a.m. – The sound of jazz from a small CD player is part of the lesson. “Listen to the music. Make sure you stay on beat, and watch me.” Music teacher A.J. Reid is sitting in a chair, tapping the palm of his hand to the beat. Kindergartners try to keep up and do the same thing, like a game of Simon Says. “Listen. Stay on the beat,” reminds Reid. “Watch me.” The motion changes and they are tapping the side of their head. Some students are smiling and concentrating; a few seem to be confused but determined to keep trying. “Freeze!” said Reid. The music stops.

8:50 a.m. – Second graders are sitting at their desks. Each person has a folder propped up like a screen to keep their eyes on their own work. They are taking a spelling test in Robert Greenhaw’s class. “Okay, these are bonus words. Number 14 is pond,” said Greenhaw. He repeats the word and pauses. The next word is step. He pauses. The next word is stump. Another pause. “Tap it out if you need to,” said Greenhaw. It’s a tactic to help listen for letter sounds. A student asks him to repeat the word. Greenhaw uses it in a sentence. Then he announces the last bonus word. “This word is a little bit tricky,” he warns. “The word is hunting,” he says slowly. A girl squeaks with excitement. She looks at her teacher and says “I know how to spell it.”

In the hall, first graders are finishing their restroom break before heading to the gym for PE. Teachers are leading the way, reminding students of their line basics and expectations for behavior in the halls. “I like the way _____ is being respectful.”

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The Meramec Campus

9:10 a.m. – Chris Stevens, the librarian, is talking to a class about library expectations. He explains a new incentive for students to encourage their interest in reading. The incentive includes an element of competition among classrooms.

9:15 a.m. – Fourth-graders in Ryan Checkett’s class are about to begin a writing lesson after listening to a story. Yvette King, writing lab teacher, just finished reading ‘A Bad Case of Stripes” by David Shannon. It’s the story of a girl who gets sick with a case of colorful stripes. Her classmates at school aren’t making her feel any better by teasing her. Each student is writing the main character a letter. “Write her a letter. Be creative and think about what you would say to her to make her feel better,” said King. “Think about what you would like to hear from your friends if you were sick.” 

9:25 a.m. – Fifth graders are writing a creative narrative about going to the zoo and seeing a strange animal. Brionne Smith walks around the classroom, looking at her students’ work and giving suggestions. A few hands are in the air waiting patiently for Smith to come by and help. Cynthia Theodorou, English as a Second Language teacher, also helps students with their writing.


South City

South City

In the Junior Academy, students are changing classrooms. They chat and mingle with each other in the hall, waiting in line, leaning against lockers and walls. They are carrying notebooks and folders for their next class.

Downstairs, the sounds of fitness drift up from the gym as students run and shuffle on the old wooden floor.

The front office is busy, too. Parents are asking questions while waiting for their daughter. The phone is ringing. The office manager answers, “Good morning, South City…” A buzzing sound lets her know that a visitor is waiting outside at the door. A video surveillance camera shows the visitor’s image on a TV screen above the desk. Seconds later, a girl bounces into the office, happy to see her parents.

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