Posted by Christi Whiteside on 6/5/2018 11:40:00 AM

    Let's talk about ECS Volunteers - they don't get NEARLY enough credit and thanks!  There are MANY volunteers that give countless hours throughout the year - but there are few that truly go above and beyond week after week, behind the scenes and in the trenches!  If you see these parents, give them a HIGH FIVE and a THANK YOU!

    We're talking to YOU Angie Isaac - for your many years of dedication to Cafe Days - you are the CAFE DAY's QUEEN!! THANK YOU for spending so much time and energy making this program what it is today!

    We're talking to YOU Shannon Eddleman - for your commitment to Terracycle, Cafe Days, Lunch Duty and the Parent Ambassadors!  Your enthusiasm for helping Endeavor in any and every way possible is inspiring!  THANK YOU!

    We're talking to YOU Laurie Russo - for your leadership as President of PAWS this year, with many many hours behind the scenes, leading meetings, emails, the list goes on!  THANK YOU!

    We're talking to YOU Jodi Sheldon - for your time as PAWS Treasurer, crunching the numbers, cutting checks, countless meetings, emails - we know your deep commitment to ECS and it shows! THANK YOU!!

    We're talking to YOU Colleen Icenhower - for your time coordinating picture days, box tops, Terracycle, passive fundraising throughout the years and supporting Cafe Days!  We value all of the time and energy you spend on ECS!  THANK YOU!

    We're talking to YOU Indy Harris - for your leadership of and dedication to Boosters and all of the behind the scenes work you've done year after year for spirit wear, Boosterthon, sports teams, concessions, Sports Awards - it's amazing!  THANK YOU!

    We’re talking to YOU Susan White – for your enthusiasm, energy and foresight to lead the charge for lunch duty this year!  Your tremendous work getting the Parent Ambassador program up and running was second to none!  THANK YOU!!

    We're talking to YOU Minh Graham & Terri Schaffer - for creating many years of AMAZING YEARBOOKS!!  Your beautiful work shines for each student in the wonderful keepsake you pour your heart and soul into!  THANK YOU BOTH!

    We’re talking to YOU Michael Reinhardt – for your commitment to our building and campus, for being our handy person on call, and for your countless hours spent on Dodads Workdays! THANK YOU!

    We're talking to YOU Kim Benton, Christina Arkin, Elle Coe, Christen Stevens, Lisa Fore, Natalie Newell, Kim Kroll, Deanna Munt, Meg Harvey, Marina Adams, Leslyn Kim, Lana Aberant, Missy Lewis - THE LIST GOES ON!!  You are truly an inspiration to current and future parents!  You continue to go above and beyond for ECS, there is no way we can thank you enough for the MANY MANY hours you've spent giving selflessly of your time for the betterment of our school. 

    To this year’s 27 PARENT AMBASSADORS (PA’s) – what an amazing year you’ve all given ECS!  You’ve served as a liaison between the school and other parents, you’ve helped teachers with events and supplies for their classrooms, you’ve helped the school fundraise in many different ways, you’ve jumped in when needed, you’ve filled the lunch calendars for our teachers, you’ve sent email after email, encouraging your fellow parents to engage, connect and support the school.  You’ve all done a fantastic job, and Endeavor is so lucky to have your support!

    Everyone listed above, and every single person that serves at lunch duty, or on the Board, or the Development Committee, or Café Days, or Field Trips, events, the book fair, art show, Fun Fest, weekend work days, sports events, teacher luncheons, celebrations – YOU’RE MAKING A DIFFERENCE at ECS!  All of your selfless acts of kindness and gifts of your time bring life to our school, to our students and teachers – and create this community.  THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR A FANTASTIC YEAR!

    ~ECS Staff

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  • May 16th at ECS

    Posted by Christi Whiteside on 5/10/2018 1:20:00 PM

    Dear parents,

    On May 16th teachers across the state are planning to attend a rally in Raleigh to advocate for better funding for education.  The movement is called Red 4 Ed. Many educators show their support for this movement by wearing red on Wednesdays.  

    Although some ECS teachers have chosen to attend the rally on May 16, we will have a regular school day at Endeavor.  We have many scheduled events that cannot be delayed including opening night of our spring production of Lion King, Jr. 

    From an educator's perspective, there are many aspects of this movement that align with our school's values: 

    • We support charter schools and recognize their unique funding challenges.
    • We believe all public schools, including charter schools, need increased funding in order to meet current and evolving needs.
    • We believe that educators deserve to be compensated in line with other professions requiring their same level of education and time commitment.
    • We believe fine arts education is essential for all students.
    • We believe small class sizes are important and should be funded as such. We believe appropriately funded public schools are crucial for the future of North Carolina.

    We appreciate and support our ECS teachers' choice to attend the rally or to be at school that day.  Most ECS teachers will be in place conducting their usual engaging classes.  Teachers who attend the rally will go through the process of seeking a substitute and leaving appropriate lesson plans.  May 16 will be another great day at ECS!

    As with all issues involving our school, please reach out if you have questions, concerns, or suggestions.  I value your input! 

    Christi Whiteside, Director
    Endeavor Charter School


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  • Field Trip Planning at ECS

    Posted by Christi Whiteside on 4/27/2018 3:00:00 PM

    Field trips are a part of a student’s experience at ECS.  Over the years, our teachers have developed an assortment of trips that help teach academic content and/or build team spirit.  Students graduate from Endeavor and often recall field trip experiences among their favorite ECS memories. Many of our parents also recall great memories as they’ve attended field trips with their kids.

    As our field trip options have grown and changed, so has the world around us.  We’ve spent a lot of time this year talking and researching ways to keep our campus safe.  Recently we’ve begun to ask some of those same questions about our off-campus events. We are realizing that we need to have an evolving set of guidelines or expectations for our off-campus events as we do for on-campus events.  A few of the many questions we are thinking about include:

    • What academic or team building qualifications should a trip serve to justify missing in-class time?
    • Everything is getting more expensive. What amount is our maximum money limit for a year of trips?
    • How many overnights (consecutive nights or through a year) are too many or not enough?
    • Many of our chaperones are not fully prepared for getting groups of kids to sleep, handling emotional needs, 24 hours responsibility, etc.  Is there some type of training we could provide to support their success?

    The Board of Directors began committees this year comprised of teachers, parents, and Board members.  One of those, The Student Life Committee, has agreed to tackle these issues. They are currently seeking parents and staff interested in serving on a focus group which we anticipate running through first semester of next year.  This group will discuss, research, and develop a set of guiding principles by which current and future field trips will be evaluated. If you are interested in working with this group or sending feedback, please contact Kim Keith at kkeith@endeavorcharter.com.

    As we’ve begun talking about these topics, the rumor mill has grown through our community about how such guidelines would impact specific favorite trips.  I understand this concern. I don’t know yet what the final set of guiding principles will look like, so I don’t know how our current field trips will be impacted.  However, I do know that in order to reserve optimal dates at many of our preferred destinations, we need to book field trips for next year now. For that reason, trips such as Space Camp, Haw River, Jamestown, and more will continue for next year.  As we go through the next few months, if those guiding principles indicate that some trips should be changed for future years, we will communicate those changes to you and keep you informed. I am confident that next year, after developing and applying such guiding principles to our trips, our community will be even more reassured about the value, safety, and purpose of every trip we attend.

    Christi Whiteside

    Director, Endeavor Charter School


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  • 10th Anniversary Speech

    Posted by Lauren Manfreda on 3/15/2018 3:00:00 PM

    Mrs Whitside's 10 Year Anniversary speech from March 9, 2018:

    To make our world record attempt official, we needed some special guests to serve as observers. I’d like to introduce our special guests:
    State Senator John Alexander
    Wake Forest Mayor Vivian Jones
    Dave Machado -Director of Office of Charter Schools
    Joel Medley, Director of NC Virtual Academy and our original Office of Charter Schools consultant
    Tom Miller, founder of Leaders Building Leaders, our former Office of Charter Schools consultant
    Cory Draughon, CEO of Charter Success Partners
    Paul Davis, regional Accountability Coordinator with the Dept of Public Instruction
    Liz Simpers, Associate Branch Director for Youth Programs with YMCA and a new Commissioner for town of WF
    Ross McVeigh, a Youth Director for YMCA
    Ralph Whitehurst & Shawn Southard, Whitehurst Strategic Partners
    Jeff McCarthy, Nicole McCarthy, and Samuel Perrin from Mathnasium

    I would also like to recognize Steve McAdams and Maija McAdams with whom I am very proud to have founded this wonderful school.

    Thank you all for helping make Endeavor great! This year we celebrate 10 years, a decade, of excellence at Endeavor. Every one of you here today has been a part of our success! More than 425 Endeavor graduates are in high schools and colleges across the state and the country – Endeavor Alumni please wave to the crowd! Almost 100 educators have served the students of Endeavor – current and former Endeavor staff - please wave!

    Hundreds of volunteers – Board of Directors, PAWS, Boosters, Foundation, lunch/recess support and field trip chaperones have helped create our culture– please wave! And of course our wonderful 510 students. You are why all of the adults here do what we do! During our 10 years together we have educated around 1000 students. Together we have created a school known throughout the county and across the state as a place of excellence. This year we had 1437 applications for around 15 open seats for next year. If we had a time capsule from our first year to open today, we’d see the beginning of Endeavor. We’d see a small rented building with a parking lot for a playground. We’d see tiny classrooms. We’d see families and teachers scrubbing the 2 semi-trucks of used furniture we were so happy to purchase. We’d see the entire ECS community coming together to figure things out. How could we offer hot lunches? Could we have sports teams? What fine arts courses were best to offer? Would anyone apply to teach here? Would any students apply?

    Now, 10 years later we know how all of those things turned out. And we are proud! Now we embark on our next 10 years, and I can’t wait to see what they bring! But for now, we will leave some memories of life in 2018. Today we will dedicate a time capsule of what life is like right now at Endeavor and in our community.

    The teachers have gathered and contributed items on display here. Mrs. Rogerson, Mrs McConnell, Mrs. Ketchum, Mrs Haught, Mr Burt, Mrs. Gaines and Ms Mosca contributed items about Endeavor including ECS shirts, photos of our campus, space camp souvenir, an audio of kindergarten students talking, posters from the art show and book fair, ECS team photos, a class photo, a basketball uniform, and a copy of last year’s yearbook. Officer Graham contributed a DARE shirt and bear. Mrs. Dalton, Mr Ezzell, and Mrs McAdams contributed items about Wake Forest including maps, newspapers, restaurant menus, and brochures. Mr Raitano, Mrs Carson, Mrs Clemmons, Mrs Wilson, Mrs Dougherty, Ms Nielsson, and Ms Comstock contributed items about the world around us including world news, current technology, transportation, sports winners and music favorites. Mrs Hester, Ms Starkey, Mrs Johnson, Mr Clemmons and Mrs Rafferty contributed items about fun and entertainment including an entertainment magazine, a fidgit spinner, Pokemon cards, Mickey Mouse ears, current music favorites, and pictures of students traveling. Ms Keune and Ms Mueller contributed items representing daily life including current clothing and photos of student homes. We invite you all to join us on or around March 9, 2028 when this time capsule will be opened and students 10 years from now will see what life was like at Endeavor in the year 2018.

    I will now turn the time over to Lauren Manfreda, our talented Director of Development to help us with an aerial photo to commemorate this occasion. At the conclusion of our photo, we will disperse, so this is my final opportunity to thank you all for what you have helped us build here together.

    Thank you!

                  10 formation 030918    aerial photo 030918

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  • Lock-down Drills and Walk-outs

    Posted by Christi Whiteside on 3/1/2018 4:00:00 PM


    The world seems to be moving very quickly lately. As we look for ways to keep up, we find comfort in clarity. We spent some time as a staff Monday afternoon discussing our lockdown drill procedure and reviewing new guidelines sent by the Department of Public Instruction. In preparation for this drill, the teachers walk a fine line between preparing students for the drill and not scaring them about the reasons for such drills. Our goal as a staff is to ensure that we have thought about many different scenarios and how we’d respond to each. When we hold our lockdown drill tomorrow we will “lockdown in place” which means each classroom will be secured, darkened, and students will be moved to the safest spot within the room to sit silently. We will announce this as a drill over the speaker, so all in the building realize that we are not in danger. Some students will be in a fine arts class, the book fair, or the restroom when this happens. They will be directed how to respond in each situation. We fully expect that Endeavor will never encounter the type of emergency that would require a real lockdown. However, we want to prepare our students for all situations. If any of our students or staff are ever in such a situation at our school or out in the big wide world, we want them to be prepared!

    As I am discussing our school response to recent events, I also want to talk about our student response. A group of our 8 th graders approached me about finding a way for our school to support the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida who experienced last month’s horrible attack. That horror took place during the same week that our 8 th graders were hearing about their acceptances or wait list status at charter and magnet high schools, so it felt very close to them. After hearing the student wish to show support and be involved in making the world a better, safer place, the teachers and I worked with them to make a plan. So, on March 14, our 8 th graders will participate in the national walk-out. Our walk out will be little bit different than some others. Our group is not walking away from something; they are walking toward something. The 8 th grade teachers and students will walk outside together to meet with a panel of local experts. Our experts are still being confirmed, but we’ve reached out to a guidance counselor, mental health professional, DARE officer, and high school administrators. Next week, the week prior to the walk out, morning meetings in 8 th grade will focus on ways students can change the world, become involved in a charity, be an advocate, etc. The message we hope they take from this experience is that they have powerful voices individually and collectively; and that they absolutely can make the world a better place. We hope this may begin a tradition of speaking with our 8th graders about making their mark on the world. If you have any questions, please email me at cwhiteside@endeavorcharter.com.

    Christi Whiteside

    Director, Endeavor Charter School

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  • A message from Christi Whiteside

    Posted by Christi Whiteside on 2/23/2018 2:55:00 PM

    The news out of Florida last week has weighed on our staff as much as I know it has weighed on every parent in our nation. The horror experienced by those students and that community is more than I can bear to think about. However, please know that we ARE thinking. Monday’s staff meeting will focus on re-examining our lockdown procedures in light of new recommendations. We will hold our annual lockdown drill soon and will begin holding them more than once a year starting next year.

    As you are in our building, if you see vulnerabilities in our security or have ideas for increasing the safety of our building, please email me. I appreciate fresh eyes! I also encourage you to be engaged in your students’ social media and speak to them (or us) about any concerns that arise. I believe in our staff’s ability to respond to an emergency. I also believe in your children’s ability to respond to urgent directions. Please know that the staff and I will never stop examining our practices and seeking ways to be ever vigilant. We love your children and appreciate your support!

    Christi Whiteside

    Director, Endeavor Charter School


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  • Morning Meeting at ECS

    Posted by Christi Whiteside on 2/16/2018 11:30:00 AM

    Morning Meeting has been an essential part of ECS since its opening. This opportunity for staff and students to interact in a casual way is a part of the familial environment we strive to create. This year we added a new focus to our meetings. The Positivity Project is a movement to help students recognize the good qualities in themselves and in others because, as their hashtag says, #otherpeoplematter. Each week our school focuses on one of twenty-four character strengths. These are not just character traits, which can be positive or negative. These are all character strengths and great qualities anyone would be proud to show.

    I am hoping to visit every grade during their Morning Meeting this quarter to document some of the best practices out there and share them with you. This week I visited 4th grade and Mrs. Haught’s kindergarten class.

    In Kindergarten, students work on polite greetings, how to be patient, and how to participate in a conversation. They also work on understanding the Positivity Project (P2) character strength words through stories and videos. They even tie in their phonics lessons and model letter formation.



    In 4th grade, Morning Meeting starts to look a bit different. The entire grade level often meets together to ensure that all students hear the same messages of encouragement and support. They also focus on the character strength of the week and its meaning. They use stories and videos to explain them. However, at this grade level, there is a lot of conversation between peers when students are asked to turn and talk to a partner and get everyone engaged. The teachers share examples from their own lives to explain the character strengths in the real world. It is important at this age that the students understand what these character strengths look like within the context of real lives.

    4thmorningmtg        4th mtg

    Finally, I’ll leave with a great message from the 8th graders. One of their recent morning meeting tasks involved a current event. The photo of alligators with their snouts sticking out of frozen ponds reminded Mrs. Clemmons of the character strengths hope and optimism. Her students were challenged to create a caption for the photograph below that provided a message of hope or optimism. This was the winner:


    head up


    I hope you keep your head up and have a great weekend!

    Christi Whiteside

    Director, Endeavor Charter School




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  • Safety at Endeavor

    Posted by Christi Whiteside on 2/2/2018 8:25:00 AM
    ECS families,
    Many of you may have seen the story on WRAL last night about charter schools and emergency drills.  The story stated that charter schools are not required to hold emergency drills.  I want to reassure you that Endeavor does hold emergency drills.  We obviously want to meet any state requirement, but our greater focus is on the safety of our students and staff.  
    Here are some of the safety measures we take:
    • We hold a fire drill each month.  These drills are held at varying times of day including during lunch and recess.  The teachers follow the posted emergency escape map to lead their students to exit quickly.  Students are taught to exit silently. Once in their designated evacuation site, teachers quickly take attendance using our specially designed attendance sheet which has teachers identify students who are present, those who are missing, those who are absent from school, and extra students who have evacuated with the class.  To add some challenge to each drill, the office staff generally “borrows” a few children to simulate students being missing during the drill.  They then compare the attendance sheets to ensure that the missing child was noticed.  After evacuation, a staff member verifies that lights were turned off and doors were closed on each hall.
    • Each year we also hold two lockdown drills.  The first is a “tornado” drill during which all students are relocated to an interior room with no windows such as the interior office area and the drama room.  Again, attendance is taken using the same emergency form. The second lockdown drill secures students inside their classrooms.  This is “lockdown in place” type of drill.  Teachers lock classroom doors, shut the blinds we installed in all windows, and close the curtains we made to cover each door window.  Lights are turned off and students are gathered away from the door.  Both these drills are timed and supervised by office staff.  
    • Over the last few years, we have installed the front door buzzer and two emergency buzzers which silently call the police.  We have a series of video cameras which provide views of the interior and exterior of our building.  These are monitored at the front desk. We are currently seeking an upgrade to our front door buzzer which would allow us to speak with visitors without opening the door.  
    • The background check service we use provides constant monitoring.  This means that if a volunteer has a vehicular or criminal report filed, we will be notified.  Many schools do an annual check which only provides a glimpse of a volunteer’s legal status up until that date, but not moving forward. 
    • We require any carpool driver that we do not know by sight and who does not have our school issued carpool tag to show a driver’s license which we compare to the emergency contact names each family provides at the beginning of each school year.  If the driver is not listed, we call and get verbal consent from the parent before we release a child. We follow the same practice when someone comes to the front window to pick up a student.
    • In addition, we seek opportunities to invite local first responders into our building.  The members of the Wake Forest police, fire, and EMS teams are incredibly generous in their desire to serve and support us.  We have sought their advice on many situations and have never been disappointed.  We have established a relationship with a DARE officer who teaches a middle school elective with Mr. Burt. We also have a three minute response time when we call 911.
    School safety is a subject dear to my heart.  Every person on staff at Endeavor values the safety of our students. We will continue to evaluate our procedures and welcome your suggestions.
    Christi Whiteside
    Endeavor Charter School
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  • Endeavor's Mission and Vision

    Posted by Christi Whiteside on 1/25/2018 1:20:00 PM

    ECS Families,

    We are eagerly anticipating the final step in our 18 month Charter Renewal process.  Each charter school goes through this process at the end of their charter cycle.  Our original charter (permission from the state to operate) was issued for 10 years, which was the longest time allowed, so last year was time to begin the renewal process.  Many forms, interviews, and site visits later we were happy to receive a recommendation from the Charter School Advisory Board for another 10 year renewal.  Charter schools that have not shown stability in finance, academics, safety, etc. can have their charters revoked or can be issued charters for a shorter period of time. We have shown stability in all areas.  Go team, ECS!

    Next week when the State Board of Education meets, we anticipate their acceptance of the recommendation for another 10 year charter.  This is an exciting time!  As we celebrate 10 years of excellence, we also begin to look at what has led to that success, how we can maintain those successful qualities, and how we can move forward.  

    One thing that jumped out at me during the renewal process was the outdated sound of our mission statement.  It is fine, but was written for the charter application in 2007 when our school was just an idea.  If it were one of many mission statements, it would not stand out as representing ECS.  Over the last ten years, this school has developed an identity that should be reflected in our mission statement.  

    I believe that mission and vision statements are important tools in guiding the decision making and future direction of any organization.  I reached out to the Board to discuss the possibility of updating our mission statement.  With their full support, I’d like to also include you in this process. At the top of the page, you’ll find two brief questions about ECS.  Pease take a moment to respond.

    Thank you for your input!

    Christi Whiteside

    Director, Endeavor Charter School


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  • Winter Weather Wishes

    Posted by Christi Whiteside on 12/8/2017 8:35:00 AM

    It is the time of year I most dread… the time when snow is in the forecast! I like a beautiful snow fall as much as anyone else; however, I dread having to make decisions about closing or delaying school. It seems that snow usually falls in NC during the middle of the night, so I spend those snowy nights jumping out of bed every 5 minutes to check the roads and the weather updates! I go from window to window peering into the darkness as if there will be some new information on one side of my house that I couldn’t see from the other side. The children want to make such nights easier for me, so they always suggest I just go ahead and cancel school and make it easy on myself. They are sweet to care so much! I take the safety of our staff and our students very seriously, but I also realize how difficult such decisions are for our working parents. It is also difficult for our teachers to replace a regular school day with a snow make-up day when attendance is notoriously low. We make weather decisions in as timely a manner as possible while trying to wait for the most accurate information.

    This week’s potential wintry weather is not expected to impact us much. However, it is a good time to remind you of our procedures and to ask for your help. If we have a schedule change due to weather, we will post this information on WRAL’s closings list, on our website, and on Facebook. We will also send an email out to our entire community. Please check those locations if any wintry weather is forecasted.

    I hope you will join me in my winter wish every year – for snow to only fall on Friday evenings or Saturdays when school won’t be impacted and to always be gone by Sunday evenings. So far, I have not convinced the kids to share this wish! Here’s hoping for a mild winter!


    Christi Whiteside

    Director, Endeavor Charter School


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