• Recess and the End of First Quarter

    Posted by Christi Whiteside on 9/14/2019 1:30:00 PM

    We are entering the final week of quarter one.  It seems like just a minute ago we were welcoming you back for Meet the Teacher!  This quarter has brought us new students, new staff, a hurricane, and a heat wave. We began opening and closing ceremonies for grades 3-8 while K-2 continued their house celebrations.  Our teachers launched the new Istation K-3 reading assessment program despite the state providing little time for them to prepare to do so. We’ve held parent conferences, Board meetings, and our first Coffee and Conversation meeting.  PAWs has held picture day, Terracycle collection, and our first quarterly Teacher Appreciation Day. You’ve attended events, supervised lunch and recess, and chaperoned field trips. 

    The biggest change we made this quarter was scheduling each grade level to its own recess time.  This change was important to us as a safety measure for our students. Should we ever need to evacuate the playground quickly, having half as many students outside makes that much easier.  In addition, we’ve heard from many parents over the last few years that trying to maintain control over so many students, half of whom are from another grade level, was a struggle. We appreciate our lunch and recess volunteers and wanted to respond to that concern. Scheduling this change was tough for us because our recess blocks are adjacent to lunch.  We didn’t want students eating lunch at 9:00 in the morning, so we needed some grade levels to have recess at the same time. This made it necessary for us to use the lower field on alternating weeks for some recesses. It also meant we needed some staff members in addition to Mr. Burt to help supervise. The lower field recess has been a learning curve for us all.  Our Foundation is looking into some options for a shade structure for that field, and we are looking for ways to increase activity options. I appreciate the flexibility Mr. Burt and the kindergarten teaching assistants have shown in tackling this challenge.

    This week we will end the quarter by hosting two special guests.  I was contacted by a graduate student writing his dissertation on successful charter schools and also by a principal selected for a charter school opening next year.  Each wanted to visit Endeavor to see what we are all about, ask some questions, and tour our school. I love having the chance to share our lessons learned and make connections with others in our charter community.  Thank you for helping Endeavor grow into the successful charter school it is!

    Christi Whiteside, Director

    Endeavor Charter School

    cwhiteside@endeavorcharter.com

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  • It's been an interesting week at ECS!

    Posted by Christi Whiteside on 9/6/2019 4:15:00 PM

    After a long weekend and the Labor Day holiday, we returned to great concern about what Hurricane Dorian would bring.  When severe weather threatens, we go through a few steps. Our informal staff “weather team” watches all the weather channels and talks through the forecasts and the possible impacts to our area – over and over!!.  The office staff and administration talk through the impacts of any potential changes to our schedule and the needs for our facility. For this storm, we spoke with the YMCA to verify their coverage, to PAWS to talk through Café Days and picture day options, Mr. Burt reached out to coaches and competing teams, and sometimes we also have to look at scheduled performances and field trips. This week, for our facility, we removed one of the shade structures based on the forecasted wind strength, loose items from the playground and front porch, recycle bins from the parking lot, and toys from the kindergarten playground. We took down our sponsor banners and tipped our soccer benches. As we look at schedule changes, we always err on the side of caution! The fact that we don’t have teen drivers gives us some flexibility that large school systems don’t have, but we still consider safety.  Our goal is to protect every possible teaching moment while also keeping our staff and families safe. Thank you for your patience as we recognize that schedule changes are tough for our families!

    This week our school report card grade came out for 2018-2019, and they showed great success at ECS yet again!  When we exceed our goal for student growth, we are always thrilled!  

    The full article about scores: https://www.wral.com/what-grade-did-your-school-receive-search-our-2018-19-nc-school-performance-database/18608843/#92S000  

    ECS is recognized as one of only 13 charter schools to make the list of the 119 top public schools in the state! https://www.wral.com/these-119-nc-schools-were-the-top-performing-public-schools-in-2018-19/18609402/  

    This week we also held our first Coffee & Conversation meeting.  This is a new opportunity for us to share information, for our families to ask questions during the year as events unfold, and for everyone to enjoy some coffee and pastries provided by PAWS.  This time we talked about the following:

    • Plans for the hurricane
    • The new lane on One World Way and our obligation to keep the road passable
    • The indefinite delay of the Capital Blvd. expansion project and its impact on our future plans
    • The top priorities from all of our stakeholder groups for expansion: gym, performance space, expanded course offering
    • Our hope to increase course offerings specifically through middle school elective choices
    • The reality that all such expansions and/or improvements must be funded 

    The next Coffee and Conversation is November 20 at 8:30. I hope you’ll join us!

    Christi Whiteside, Director

    Endeavor Charter School

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  • Safety Considerations with Student Check-Outs

    Posted by Christi Whiteside on 8/30/2019 2:00:00 PM

    Transition times are the time when safety measures have the most chance of failure.  As we continue to consider our safety, we’ve noticed an area of weakness.  Many parents call the office to ask us to have their child waiting in the office when they arrive in order to quickly leave for an appointment.  We have accommodated such requests in the past.  However, since this year began, such requests have increased significantly creating situations with many students waiting for long periods of time in the lobby and out of class.  This leaves them minimally supervised in the lobby as the office staff handles medical needs, phone calls, students signing in or out, and other situations that arise. 

    One day last week, a parent called the office to have her child ready to go.  As the parent pulled up to the sidewalk, the student waiting in the lobby ran outside alone, jumped in, and the car drove away.  No one signed the child out, and no staff member was able to even verify the driver of the car.  This is an absolutely unacceptable safety risk for us, so we will be making a change.

    Moving forward, we will not call a student out of class until the parent enters the building.  There will, therefore, be no opportunity for the child to be unsupervised or to leave campus without being appropriately signed out. When an urgent matter requires you to sign a student out before carpool, please allow yourself enough time to enter the building, request your child from class and sign them out.  As always, we request that you arrive no later than 2:45 to least disrupt carpool and that you make every effort to avoid early pick-ups to protect our students’ learning time.

    *Many thanks for your patience during the paving on One World Way this week.  The timing of paving beginning while we were welcoming four schools to an on-campus cross country meet was not ideal.  We are not yet sure how this extra lane will impact our carpool as we must continue to be mindful of the others on our roads.  Stay tuned for more information as we see the road changes and their impacts.

    Have a wonderful, safe Labor Day weekend!

    Christi Whiteside, Director
    Endeavor Charter School
    919-848-0333

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  • Recap of Future Plans - Curriculum Night 2019

    Posted by Christi Whiteside on 8/23/2019 4:00:00 PM

    Thank you to the many families that attended the Curriculum Nights this week.  We appreciate you investing your time in our school and the many ways you continue to support Endeavor.  In case you missed it, here are a few key slides from my portion of the presentation in the MPR.  

    success slide

    Endeavor is proud of our successful curriculum and consistently being ranked in the top 3% of schools in the state.

      

    national recognition slide

    Endeavor Charter School is nationally recognized by Niche, an online data reporting group that provides community information across the country.  Endeavor's K-5 program is ranked #8th in the state out of 1466 public elementary schools, and our middle school program is ranked 6th in the state out of 676 public middle schools.

     

    timeline slide

    Endeavor's legacy of support began when we opened our doors in 2008 in a rented facility with very few resources.  A plan was soon formulated to begin looking for more space to expand our program and provide our students with more opportunities. In 2014 we were able to make the move to our permanent home on One World Way completing Phase 1 of that plan.  The question for the past several years has been, "What comes next?". Committees of students, staff and parents have met and responded to surveys to help define our community's future priorities.  The Board of Directors has decided that this is the year to finalized those decisions.

     

    future slide

    The Board and Foundation are now exploring a variety of options for our campus and have set an aggressive three-year timeframe to plan and construct campus improvements.  The goal is to be able to graduate this year's 5th graders (the class of 2023) on our campus.  Whether that means we hold graduation in a gym, an auditorium, or in a new building on campus remains to be seen, but we are exploring all of those options.

     

    Every successful year at Endeavor Charter School has been because of our talented teachers, dedicated staff, committed parents, generous donors and engaged students.  We will continue to ask for feedback from each of these stakeholder groups, and I invite you to become involved.  Our next opportunity for Q&A will be on Wednesday, September 4th with our first "Coffee & Conversations", from 8:30-9:30 in the MPR.  Please stay tuned to ECS!  I will continue to communicate updates via the Director's Blog as well as the Weekly Update emails.  As always, you can email me any time at cwhiteside@endeavorcharter.com.  Thank you again for all of the ways you support Endeavor Charter School!

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  • Reading Assessment Updates for August

    Posted by Christi Whiteside on 8/17/2019 9:30:00 AM

    I will warn you that this blog will answer very few questions about K-3 reading assessments and may possibly leave you more confused than ever.  If so, I sympathize!

    If you’ve been following the news since mid-June, you know that the state decided to end their contract with the company who implemented the mCLass reading assessments for students in grades K-3.  These were the assessments we administered three times per year to assess student growth, strengths, and areas of need. We ended last year intending to continue our use of mClass. 

    In mid-June, over summer break, we found out that mClass would not be available to us.  Instead a new program called Istation had been adopted by NC. I-station is a computer based program which means it will require less time away from teacher-led instruction.   We were fine with the idea of a new program, but concerned about the short time available during teacher workdays for the staff to learn how to administer the new program and assess the data it provided.  Mrs. Ventresco headed to Greensboro for a day of training over her vacation time only to learn that there were still so many implementation questions at the state level and few answers!  

    In July, the teachers returned to campus and were provided some options.  

    1. We’d learned that mClass was still available to us until August 23.  We could test on mClass, one last time to get a beginning of year starting point for reading instruction and then move into I-station when it was ready.  
    2. As a school, we could purchase mClass and continue with it despite the state changing programs.
    3. We could wait to assess until I-station was ready.

    As is typical, our teachers decided to do it all!  They decided to assess on mClass as we waited for more information from the state.  As long as that went smoothly, we’d purchase mClass for the year to ensure consistent data for our students, and also implement I-station when it was ready.

    Well, none of that worked as planned.  mClass ended up only being an option for our new kindergarteners.  Returning students’ mClass accounts from last year were not accessible due to the state’s previous ownership of the accounts and their decision to end the program.  As we moved toward purchasing mCLass for the school and establishing all new accounts, we learned that the historical data from previous years was lost, so we could no longer see an individual child’s progress over time. So, we looked ahead toward I-station.  

    During the MANY calls and emails Mrs. Ventresco and Mr. Lundholm (IT) have had with their support staff, far more questions have been raised than have been answered. We believe that we will finally be able to begin those assessments next week.  Students will be trained on the program prior to assessment. However, we don’t yet know what data we will get or how we will be able to share it with you. We also have not yet been provided information about what the achievement levels will mean.  For example, is a “500”, or a “G”, or a “red star” a third grade “above average” score, or a score that indicates concern at another grade? There is also no information yet on how this new assessment, or staying with the old one, will impact third grade Read to Achieve legislative requirements for promotion to fourth grade. 

    Despite all of this craziness, our teachers are doing all the great things!  They’ve pulled out our end of year data from May and June for a beginning level for individual students in grades 1-3. Kindergarteners are assessing on mClass.  Good reading instruction is happening!

    While we wait for all of this to settle down, we are also beginning to get information on the re-norming of last year’s math EOG and this year’s reading EOG and what those changes will mean to student and school scores.  

    We promise to provide you information about our assessments and your child’s individual results as soon as we can.  In the meantime, please be patient! Thank you for your support!!

    Christi Whiteside, Director

    Endeavor Charter School

    cwhiteside@endeavorcharter.com

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  • Thank you! Thank you!

    Posted by Christi Whiteside on 8/9/2019 4:10:00 PM

    Thank you all for helping fulfill teacher wish lists, making sure your child had all supplies and fees, turning in medications with the correct paperwork, updating your emergency contact information, completing your background checks, and for sending us such great kids!  We’ve asked you for a lot, and we appreciate your prompt response!! We’ve had such a positive, upbeat start to our year!

    Thank you!  Thank you!

    We appreciate your patience with today's carpool!  As a reminder, if our driveway is full, please proceed further down One World Way and make a u-turn on Unicon Dr. to line up on the driveway side of one world way.  It is a challenge dealing with Burlington Mill traffic, business park traffic and construction traffic - and we appreciate your patience with our carpool staff and your fellow carpool drivers! 

    carpool

    By Wednesday of this week, only the sixth day of this school year, we had already returned to our typical 30 minutes for afternoon carpool!  This is the fastest we’ve ever been able to reduce our time.  Thank you so much for helping make carpool so smooth!!  One request from the carpool staff – please keep your carpool tag visible until your child is in the car. If the staff consistently have to walk to your car to see the tag, that means it is not easily visible from the road.  Having that tag visible through the end of carpool helps us find someone on the sidewalk more quickly if we can see your tag!  Even when we know you, sometimes a glare or our tired eyes make it hard to see a driver.

    Thank you!  Thank you, kindergarten families!

    I can see that many of you took our advice and had your child practice opening the car door and climbing in and out over the summer!!  So many are doing this easily and walking in the building independently.  We are really impressed!  If your child is not yet comfortable getting in and out of the car independently, then we need you to adjust your campus arrival times.  If you need to help your child in and out of the car, please plan to arrive for morning carpool closer to 8:10 and arrive for afternoon carpool closer to 3:40. These are low traffic times for us, and our flow will still be able to continue.  Arriving during peak traffic times and getting out of your car slows traffic for everyone. 

    Thank you!  Thank you!

    Thank you for being a part of our Endeavor Charter School family!  It’s going to be a great year!

    Christi Whiteside, Director
    Endeavor Charter School
    919-848-0333

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  • The Start of the 2019-2020 School Year!

    Posted by Christi Whiteside on 8/2/2019 4:00:00 PM

    Positivity Project signs

    It has been a great first week of the 2019-2020 school year!  As we looked toward this year, our staff wanted to make our Positivity Project traits a big focus of the year.  We were excited to install banners defining each trait along our fine arts hall. 

    Students in grades 3-5 and 6-8 enjoyed an opening ceremony this week to start the year strong.  This is something we are planning for each quarter this year.  We spent some time introducing the traits of the quarter and talking about famous people who demonstrate those traits.  I then shared a short video about Walt Disney, the person the staff chose to focus on this quarter, as an example of those traits.  We are excited to focus on other famous people through the year who exceled in the arts, exploration, invention, justice, human rights, etc. Mrs. White spent time introducing the students to Brooks Gibbs, a national speaker on building emotional resilience and managing conflict. We ended by sharing the upcoming events scheduled for this quarter for their grades.  As we near the end of the quarter, we will hold a closing ceremony as well.  We are excited to spend this time working with the kids on their understanding of themselves and those around them. Go to posproject.org for more information about the traits.

    We were also exited to welcome our kindergarten families today for their Meet the Teacher!  If you have a new kindergarten student, remember to practice getting in and out of the car on the passenger side this weekend.  Also, be sure to allow them to go through regular carpool as soon as they are ready.  We will have student helpers ready to help them get to class if needed.  We are looking forward to getting to know them.

    It’s been a big week!  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  Thanks for making the start of our year so wonderful!


    Christi Whiteside, Director
    Endeavor Charter School
    919-848-0333

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  • Celebrate the End of a Great Year at ECS!

    Posted by Christi Whiteside on 6/7/2019 12:00:00 PM

    I have struggled with the topic for this last blog of the year.  How in a few sentences do I summarize the growth and learning of 513 students, the work of 50 ECS staff members, and the tireless support of hundreds of volunteers?  Each year we work together to try and provide our community even more than the previous year, and this year was no exception. Here are some highlights!

    • This year we expanded our Student Support Program with the addition of our Student Services Coordinator, Mrs. White.  107 students benefited from her support or from one of her student groups.

    • Mrs. Colvin and Mrs. Diaz joined our staff this year and dove right in!

    • Students performed in 9 fine arts performances.  

    • ECS hosted its first season of girls volleyball.

    • Our student athletes competed in 160 competitions and won or placed in 91 of them.     

    • We reorganized our emergency lunch system to better protect our students with food allergies.

    • Our third annual Fall Fun Fest raised $22,000 for our Annual Fund.  

    • Student Council raised $775.50 for the Fill Your Bucket List Foundation through the reverse coin drive.

    • Middle school students attended 3 dances.

    • Students attended 65 field trips.  

    • The school enjoyed 4 cultural arts performances.

    • We had our first school-wide book celebration, One School - One Book, focused on The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

    • We celebrated the beauty and history of our country during our Day of National Parks.

    • We hosted our first ECS Stride for the Pride on our campus and raised over $50,000 for the Annual Fund!

    • Over 2,400 individual works of art were created in the art room this year! Students created at least another 1,500 pieces that were part of collaborative projects.  

    • Our Annual Fund exceeded the goal of $150,000!

    • For the first year, students enjoyed water bottle fillers and the blue spinning thing on the playground thanks to PAWS!

    • Our band won a Superior rating at the Carowinds Festivals of Music

    • Our 7th and 8th grade students were named USA Champions for Literacy Planet’s Word Mania Competition for their respective grades.

    • Students and staff participated in 11 fire drills, 2 tornado drills, and 4 lockdown drills.  

    • Families, staff, and students enjoyed the Art Show - Book Fair.

    • The first steps toward the future plans for ECS began with a parent survey.

    • 37,570 Café Days meals were eaten!      

    Wow!  That’s a lot!  Thank you for all you did to help make these events happen and all you did to support your children and our teachers through them all.  We are proud of these kids and are already excitedly planning a great 2019-2020. Have a wonderful, safe summer!

    Christi Whiteside
    Director
    Endeavor Charter School
    919-848-0333
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  • Endeavor's Annual Fund Hits the $150,000 Mark!

    Posted by Christi Whiteside on 5/24/2019 4:00:00 PM
     
     
    Dear ECS Families and Donors,

    The 2018-2019 Annual Fund has received $150,853!  With a combination of your direct donations, business sponsors, corporate matches, proceeds from Endeavor's Family Fun Fest and the Stride for the Pride, the Annual Fund has reached the goal of $150,000 this year!  Thank you to all of our donors for your tremendous support and dedication to the success of our school.
     
    The Annual Fund is Endeavor's way of supplementing the gap in our state and local per-pupil funding. That gap is created by the State's requirement of charter schools to fund their own building and facilities using per-pupil dollars.  
     
    By reaching our goal, the Annual Fund has absorbed enough operational expenses within our budget, which will allow us to address several high priority needs we would have otherwise struggled to afford this year.  As a result, Endeavor has:
    • purchased 60 new iPads to be housed in classrooms
    • purchased two new upgraded IT servers
    • begun much-needed erosion recovery and landscaping improvements to our campus
    • increased funds for our athletics, fine arts and STEAM programs
    • and made important strides to better compensate our talented teachers and staff!
    Your gifts have made a significant difference for our school, our students and our teachers!  On behalf of the Administration, Board of Directors and our entire school community - THANK YOU for your support of Endeavor Charter School and the 2018-2019 Annual Fund!
     
    Christi Whiteside
    Director
    Endeavor Charter School
    919-848-0333
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  • Madagascar!

    Posted by Christi Whiteside on 5/17/2019 4:00:00 PM

    Did you go see Madagascar Junior this week?  Congratulations to the 7th and 8th grade cast, the Behind the Scenes elective crew, the many parent volunteers, Mrs. Tudor, Ms. Tompkins, Mrs. Diaz, Mrs. Tatum, and especially to Mrs. Colvin for her first ECS production!  It was another ECS Fine Arts department masterpiece, and the story is a great parallel to the adventure our 8th graders are soon to embark upon.

    In the play, one of the main characters is tired of life in the zoo and seeks wide open spaces.  His friends follow to help him, and they all end up on a crazy adventure in an unknown land with strange new characters. They form a conga line and exit the stage singing “Together Forever!”

    Well, ECS isn’t quite a zoo, but our 8th graders are also eager for wide open spaces!  They are ready for the opportunities and challenges heading their way.  They are certainly going to meet many new characters, some of whom may seem strange.  They are also eager to stay with and help their friends.  When they head out into the strange new lands ahead of them, they may face difficulties.  They may question who they are and where they belong. Things may seem foreign and scary at first, but if they stay true to who they are, we know they will succeed! 

    Please join us for the 8th Grade Walk on June 6 at around 2:45. It won’t be a conga line, but we’ll celebrate our 8th graders as they parade through our building for the last time before they graduate that evening.  Even though we wish they’d be together forever, we are so proud that they will forever be a part of ECS!

    Christi Whiteside

    Director, Endeavor Charter School

    cwhiteside@endeavorcharter.com

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