Failing local charter schools work to improve poor test scores


by Russell Kinsaul / News 4

Posted on September 18, 2013 at 6:10 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 19 at 6:00 AM

 (KMOV) – News 4 learned a group of area charter schools is doing so poorly, that if they were a standard public school district, they would be considered unaccredited.

The Confluence Charter Schools’ test scores have been so low that the State Board of Education called them in for a special review this week and questioned why they have not closed their doors.

The schools said give them more time as they are headed in the right direction.

The state can’t close a charter school so it called their sponsor, Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla before the board to scold them and tell them the Confluence Schools have got to do better for the sake of the children who go there.

The University of Missouri S & T sponsors four of the five Confluence charter schools, 3,200 students and the vast majority of them perform below the level of the grade they’re in.

"No Confluence Academy Schools, we're not failing our students, we're working, and we’re doing the best that we can with our students,” said Nez Savala, a spokesperson for the school.

This year’s state standardized test scores showed only 24.5 students tested at or above their grade level in English and less than 30-percent in math and less than 15-percent in science.

"It was quite shocking to me to find out they were as low as they were. I would hope some of the staff members and the teachers do what they need to do to get the test scores up,” said Sherry Dunn, a charter school parent.

Confluence Academies say they’ve had too much turnover in principals and that’s changing. Plus teachers are getting more professorial development but the biggest change was breaking ties with their out of town management company two years ago.

"When Confluence took over management of our own schools, it was like starting over; we're charting a new path,” said Savala.

So Confluence said judge them on what they do going forward. Now they know they're under the state's microscope which does have the power to pull their sponsor if scores don't improve and without a sponsor, they'd have to close.