Regents Renew Lift for Life Academy Charter

Board of RegentsCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Oct. 19, 2012 — The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents today renewed the charter for the Lift for Life Academy in St. Louis through June 30, 2018.

The renewal extended the charter from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2018.

An ad-hoc committee of University administrators and faculty reviewed the application for renewing the charter. The committee – including Dr. Bill Eddleman, vice provost and dean of the School of Graduate Studies; Dr. Tamela Randolph, then interim dean of the College of Education; and Dr. Bill Bratberg, associate professor of middle and secondary education — was unanimous that the Academy met all criteria required for charter schools and recommended the new charter for approval and consideration by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, said Dr. Ron Rosati, Southeast provost.

He said a rigorous set of performance measures, complete with assessment protocol and a timeline, will be implemented to ensure accountability for improvement in student academic performance.

The Lift for Life Academy serves the needs of an at-risk population with about 94 percent who are African American and 90 percent receiving free and reduced price lunch. The school’s performance has been mixed according to outcomes assessment, Rosati said.

“The school has performed in an exemplary manner with some measures such as school attendance rate, student persistence and graduation rate,” he said. “However, academic performance has been uneven.”

Southeast has been working with the Academy’s administration to improve student performance, Rosati said. State resources provided for sponsoring charter schools have been used to hire additional instructional support staff and coaches. The University also has hired assessment and evaluation experts to assist with identifying ways to improve the school’s performance.

“Recent assessment measures show that efforts have been yielding some results,” Rosati said. “Trends generally show increasing academic performance but additional improvements are required to reach acceptable performance levels.”

The Board of Regents approved the Academy’s initial charter April 12, 2000, for five years. The Board granted a one-year extension April 19, 2005, to allow for a new charter to be developed, submitted and reviewed following the completion of a biennial evaluation. The Board of Regents approved the first renewal of the charter Dec. 16, 2005, and a one-year extension of the renewed charter on Oct. 22, 2010. A subsequent contract between Lift for Life and the University extended the charter through June 30, 2013.