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We’ve had a spate of negative news about St. Louis schools. Starting with the focus on the Normandy district after the Michael Brown shooting, it continued with the heart-wrenching story of kids trying to get access to accredited schools (profiled on the NPR program “This American Life”) and included the high profile struggles of some charter schools. The local education news seems to be relentless, boding ill for the future of our town and its most vulnerable citizens.

However, every time I set foot in City Academy I find it to be a perfect counterpoint to all the negative stories. Every week when I visit, I witness joy. I see kids who are plugged in and who are thriving. I see kids who are challenged to excel and who respond in amazing ways. When you see City Academy, you can’t help but to be full of optimism for these kids and their futures.

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The Color of Love

Our teachers have bold expectations for students. For our music teacher, Mr. Laren Loveless, these bold expectations provide students a creative environment and safe place where they can fuse every day life with music. One of the results from this environment is that sixth graders had the opportunity to write an original song first performed at City Academy’s 2016 Black History Month Assembly.

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Building Robotic Arms While Developing a Love for Science

Seven years ago, City Academy embarked on a new program in innovation and design. Robotics was added to our science curriculum for fifth and sixth graders. However, students expressed so much interest in learning more about robotics and programming that our science teacher, Mr. Erik Taylor, provided them the opportunity to further develop their skills every Thursday in Robotics Club.

For the past six years, our robotics curriculum and club have included fifth and sixth graders building, developing, and enhancing robotic vehicles throughout the school year. However, Mr. Taylor wanted to increase the robotics program this year. He decided to add robotics to the third and fourth grade curriculum. While third and fourth graders are now building vehicles in science class, fifth and sixth graders are working not only on developing vehicles but also robotic arms!

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Bold Expectations Challenge Students

We’re living in a pivotal time in history. For those of us in St. Louis, we often feel like we’re in the epicenter. Our children, our families, and our community have been and continue to be directly affected by events in our region from the past nineteen months.

This semester, sixth grade students have studied a pivotal time in world history, World War II. For many elementary school teachers, it’s often easier to gloss over the infractions, events, and deaths that occurred during this time rather than teach about this chapter in history to young students. However, City Academy teachers have bold expectations for our students and do not often take the easy road.

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Sophie the Therapy Dog

Sophie is awesome
In so many ways,
She visits City Academy
On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

With energy to spare
She’s a small ball of joy,
She helps students communicate
Both girls and boys.

Sophie has been around the block
Helping all kinds of people,
From students to patients
She’s visited all the townspeople.

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St. Louis Walk of Fame

City Academy has always celebrated Black History Month by recognizing individuals who have made a difference in society. Students typically study historical African-American leaders in the classroom and honor these leaders at school assemblies. But this year, we decided to bring awareness to great local African-American leaders. We want our students to know there are amazing leaders in St. Louis making a real difference in the community.

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A Visit From Andrea Davis Pinkney

“Practicing peace while others showed hatred was tougher than any school test.” Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney

These words are from Andrea Davis Pinkney’s award-winning book, Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down, based on the 1960 peaceful protest led by four students at a Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in in Greensboro, NC. City Academy students had the privilege of hearing Ms. Pinkney read selections from this book and other works while visiting the school for Black History Month.

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City Academy is Restoring the American Dream

City Academy was recently honored by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) by being featured in their blog post, “Restoring the American Dream.” This was written by John Chubb (former President of NAIS who passed away in November 2015) and discusses how the American dream is at risk. We may all agree that everyone in America should have equal opportunity to get ahead, but there are certain barriers associated with geographic location and income that makes this unrealistic for many Americans today. However, City Academy is making great strides to restore the American dream by transforming children, families, and the St. Louis community.

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Math Word Problems

Quick! What’s your first reaction when you hear the following phrase?

“Math Word Problems”

Many people respond with something sounding like, “Uuuuugh!”

It’s understandable how there can be an aversion to these types of math problems. But word problems are beneficial and necessary. Like math in general, word problems enhance critical thinking. Additionally, they provide real life anecdotes of using numbers. Much frustration with word problems derives from not having a logical way to find the answer. One solution to overcome this is to use bar modeling. 

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Family Literacy Night

Family Literacy Night is a great opportunity for families to spend time together, interact with other families, and learn more about literacy opportunities for the home. For our second annual Family Literacy Night, families with children in grades pre-kindergarten through third grade were able to spend an hour participating in multiple literacy activities together. Since the theme was “Bedtime Stories,” children were invited to come dressed in their pajamas! Everyone had a great time and learnt more about literacy activities that can be used as great literacy tools for the home. 

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