Whatever their post-graduation plans might look like, Confluence Preparatory Academy equips students with the tools, the knowledge and the foundation they need to face the future head-on, proving to them that if they can dream it, they can achieve it.
A nonprofit public charter school system founded in 2003, St. Louis-based Confluence Academies strive to provide a high-quality education for students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. One of five University of Missouri Columbia-sponsored campuses (along with Old North, South City, Aspire Academy and Grand Center Arts Academy), Confluence Preparatory Academy was established in 2008 and now accommodates a student body of around 400 and a dedicated team of 50 teachers, staff and administrators.
“Our four-story building is attached to the St. Louis Libraries offices right in the heart of downtown, which is pretty neat,” says Dayle Burgdorf, now in her third year as principal of Confluence Preparatory Academy. “From the outside, we look like a downtown office building until the buses pull up. People are often surprised to find out that we’re a school!”
Confluence Preparatory Academy distinguishes itself among the other Confluence Academy sites by offering curriculum focused on career preparation and technical education, specifically in the areas of computer science, culinary arts, business, child development and biomedical study. Of course, fundamental subjects like reading, math, science and technology are always emphasized across all grades. Over 90% of students enter a profession and school of their choice.
“If you want to go on to college, we’ll make that easy for you,” Burgdorf says. “Or if you want to enter a trade profession after graduation, we’ll help you prepare for that. And if you want to go straight into the workforce, we can support you in that direction as well.”
A variety of clubs, student government, a debate team, an e-sports gaming group and other extracurricular activities are available to round out the overall student experience at Confluence Preparatory Academy.
“We’re the only Confluence Academy high school that has an athletics program,” Burgdorf says. “Our other high school focuses more on visual and performing arts; between the two of us, we make a perfect pair.”
Beyond its educational efforts and offerings, Confluence Preparatory Academy works to improve its inner-city surroundings by partnering with local groups and organizations. In addition, it has a number of partnerships with local colleges and universities.
“We have an outreach program in which one of our kitchen chefs started distributing extra food to a nearby park where a lot of homeless folks hang out,” Burgdorf says. “At our back-to-school bash, we offered free physicals for anyone who wanted one, and we’ve also had a vaccine clinic open to the community.”
While Confluence Preparatory Academy leaders and teachers feel strongly about the importance of making positive contributions to the community, inspiring students to succeed remains the school’s top priority.
“Really, we aim to expand our students’ life experiences,” Burgdorf says. “That’s what high school is all about — figuring out where you want to go from here. We’re proud that we can introduce opportunities to help our kids make those decisions.”
For more information about Confluence Preparatory Academy and other Confluence Academy locations, call 314.480.4700 or visit confluenceacademy.org.