WE Schools Shoe Drive

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Our sixth grade scholars have been working hard since January to develop a Global Campaign surrounding water. Working with a local nonprofit, they will be collecting shoes to support the building of wells in communities across the globe that do not have access to clean water. They have formed committees to tackle communication through artwork in the school building, through social media, and via presentations to advisories and the Board of Trustees. Parents can support the campaign by helping students gather gently used shoes that are no longer being utilized in your household to donate to the campaign. You can also help your student spread the word to family and friends, and collect more shoes for the program.

The campaign will run from April 1 through April 30. Each class that reaches their goal will receive a prize, and the grade that has the most pairs of shoes will have a pizza party outside in May. 

Our partnership with WE Schools supports our commitment to empower City Academy students to become global citizens. Through project-based learning like this campaign, our students are able to step outside of their own experiences and develop empathy for their neighbors here in St. Louis and across the globe. Engagement in these spaces allow continued growth of character and skills they will carry with them on their paths to success. Leadership, program development, community engagement, team building, and creative thinking are just some of the tools they will utilize as global thinkers to effect change on a small and larger scale. Our students are understanding that through service-learning projects, hope is given, and there is nothing more powerful than hope.

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2021 Brightman Award Winner – Najaah Muhammad ’15 (MICDS ’21)

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At the 2021 Virtual Annual Luncheon, we were thrilled to present alumna Najaah Muhammad ’15 (MICDS ’21) with this year’s Brightman Award. The Brightman Award is named for John Brightman, one of City Academy’s original board members and supporters. John was integral in the start of the school, and this award, including a $1,000 scholarship, honors and carries on his legacy. Najaah is brilliant, determined, and a fierce community advocate, and a wonderful example of the long-lasting impact of City Academy. Read Najaah’s speech below for more on what this award, and City Academy, mean to her.

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An Important Message from Don Danforth

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Dear City Academy Family,

I am writing to share that Nikki Doughty has accepted a position at Washington University’s Institute for School Partnership. Nikki will be “graduating” from City Academy at the end of this school year, after 15 amazing years.

At Washington University, Nikki will continue the important work of removing barriers to transform lives through exceptional education, by working with multiple schools and districts. This will no doubt make our community and region stronger. I am pleased that Nikki’s new role at WU will allow her to continue to help broaden City Academy’s impact by building a collaboration between two amazing institutions, City Academy and Washington U, and helping implement our Strategic Initiative of building an institute for educators. Like our City Academy graduates, Nikki is fully prepared for her next exciting challenge. Nikki shares about her next steps in the video below.

Jeff Horwitz, our Interim Principal, will be our Interim Head of School for the 2021-22 academic year. We will not fill the Principal role. A search process will begin late this summer to identify our next Head of School.

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A Legacy of Optimism

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This year’s celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King is especially timely as our country tries to heal from the recent events in Washington and all of the challenges that we faced in 2020.

While dedicating his life for racial equality and justice for all, Dr. King was also an optimist who, even in the darkest of times, saw a bright future for our country and all its people. In accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, Dr. King said this, “I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history.”

Martin Luther Mathews is also an optimist. As founder of Mathews-Dickey Boys’ and Girls’ Club in 1960, he shaped generations of young St. Louisans. Mr. Mathews, who will celebrate his 96th birthday next month, often speaks to the importance of “preparation, opportunity and possibility.” I heard these words again and again while volunteering and working at Mathews-Dickey beginning in 1989. When children are prepared and receive equal opportunities, their possibilities are endless; their futures are bright; and we all benefit. Mr. Mathews’ ideals helped spark the idea for City Academy. More than two decades and hundreds of success stories later, we can be proud of what we’ve accomplished, but we must not be satisfied. We must remain steadfast in our ongoing pursuit of educational excellence and racial equality.

City Academy attracts optimists. Not the kind who naively hope for the best, but those who are willing to be bold and shape the future. We all do this in our own way, as students, alumni, parents, educators, administrators, trustees, supporters, friends. Together with different backgrounds, perspectives, stories and approaches, we shape our school and transform our community.

This weekend, as we honor Dr. King and his legacy, we can also share his hope for our country and community. We can’t ignore our current and ongoing struggles, but we can imagine the exciting and endless possibilities for our children. For me, these feelings are bolstered as I walk our halls, join a Zoom class or have lunch with a group of alumni college freshmen. I am energized and inspired by our young people – their thoughtfulness, their determination and their optimism!

There is much hope for our future.

Don Danforth III
President & Co-Founder

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Squid Science – Hands-On Learning in 4th Grade

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Engaging hands-on experiences are a hallmark of City Academy’s STEAM program, and our faculty are finding creative ways to make that possible during virtual learning. This week in 4th grade science, our scholars dissected squids as part of the biology curriculum. Each student was given their own specimen to dissect, following along with 3rd and 4th grade science teacher Ann Luciani on Zoom.

Before the dissection, students were asked to draw a squid from memory. This helped them identify questions they had about the structure and form of the animal, which they were then able to answer during the dissection. On Monday, students completed an external examination of squids, and on Tuesday they completed the internal examination.

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Introducing Our Onsite Learning Team

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Alison Slama – Onsite 3- and 4-Year-Old Teacher

Alison came to City Academy in 2019 to launch the first three- and four-year-old classroom in the newly expanded Early Childhood Center. Alison has over 10 years of experience in early childhood education.

Alison is a St. Louis local and a graduate of MICDS. She went on to earn a BA in Psychology and Early Childhood Education and a Teaching Certificate from Webster University, and a MA in Special Education, also from Webster University.

In her free time, Alison enjoys hiking, playing and watching sports, and spending time with her friends and family.

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Congratulations Class of 2020!

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Last Friday was our last day of virtual learning for our graduating sixth graders, and while graduation has been delayed, we still found ways to celebrate the class of 2020!

Teachers and staff visited graduates to deliver yard signs, mementos and gifts to each sixth grader, and even got to see most of them (from a safe distance).

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Third and Fourth Grade Scientists Zoom with Fox 2 Meteorologist Chris Higgins

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Students in third and fourth grade science classes wrapped up their ecology unit this week with a livestream Q & A with Fox 2 meteorologist Chris Higgins.

The unit began with creating nature journals to record daily abiotic elements of weather such as temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind and clouds. After students practiced recording data, they incorporated analysis in small ways by looking at how the weather/abiotic elements interacted with the biotic elements such as the plants, animals, and us!

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Learning at Home – Tips from Our Counselor

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As the City Academy community moves online, our faculty and staff are hard at work making sure that students and families are supported through these challenges. Counselor Joan Bates shared these tips for setting a schedule for learning at home that works for each family:

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Third Grade Wax Museum Project

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Every year, City Academy’s third grade class completes a Wax Museum project. Each scholar chooses a historical figure to research and eventually portray in the living Wax Museum. To prepare for the presentation, students write a research paper, draw a portrait, and create a display backdrop about their chosen historical figure.

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