A Legacy of Optimism

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

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

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!

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

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

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

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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Extended Day Program Teaches Business Skills

Students in the Cricut Crafting Extended Day program did an excellent job selling their Dear Black Girl/Boy, Africa is the Heartbeat, and Africa is in My DNA shirts for Black History Month. Their project incorporated 4 out of the 7 Nguzo Sabo (Kwanzaa) principles during this project: Umoja (Unity), Ujima (Collective Works and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) and Kuumba (Creativity).

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African-American Family Celebration

As part of Black History Month celebrations, City Academy annually hosts an African-American Heritage Celebration for our students and families. This years’ celebration, “A Kaleidoscope of Excellence: Stories and Portraits that Celebrate African-American Heritage,” was held on February 27, 2020, and offered families a chance to explore different activities and presentations celebrating African-American culture.

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