The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents today renewed the charter for the Lift for Life Academy in St. Louis for five years through June 30, 2023, and endorsed a plan to expand the school’s service to include Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade.
The Lift for Life Academy currently serves students in grades six through 12. The new plan will be presented to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for approval at its December meeting.
Dr. Karl Kunkel, Southeast provost, said students entering the Academy in grade six are generally two, three or even more years behind grade level, making it difficult for the school to achieve state academic requirements at the middle school level. Expanding the school’s grade levels would allow the Academy to provide support to children beginning early on and over the lifetime of their academic career, Kunkel said.
Current data, he said, shows that students matriculating and staying at the Academy meet state exit requirements. However, by expanding the school to begin at the Pre-K level, the Academy could reduce the number of children with significant academic deficits by starting support for them at a younger age, he said.
The Lift for Life Academy, whose charter was initially approved by the Board of Regents in April 2000, serves an at-risk population in urban St. Louis. The school has performed well on such measures as student attendance, student persistence and graduation rate, Kunkel said, and with today’s charter renewal, a rigorous set of performance measures, including a timeline, will be implemented to ensure accountability for improving students’ academic performance.