Winter Weather WishesPosted 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!
Director, Endeavor Charter School
Amazon Smile Shopping Benefits ECS!Posted by Lauren Manfreda on 11/7/2017 10:00:00 AMIt’s that time of year when the days start moving rapidly toward winter break. I find that each fall not only do I have holiday shopping to do, but there also seem to be an increased number of birthdays, weddings, and other gift giving occasions. With the dark coming earlier and the temperatures dropping, I always prefer to go home and shop on my computer rather than run around town. Each time I go online I have to remind myself that if I am shopping through Amazon, I should instead go to Amazon Smile.This small change costs me nothing more than what I’d already spend through Amazon, but it portions off a bit of my total expense and directs it to a non-profit. Endeavor is one of the approved non-profit organizations! If you haven’t set Endeavor as your non-profit of choice on Amazon Smile, please do so today. Please also encourage your extended family and friends to use Amazon Smile and Endeavor as they do their on-line shopping. Using Amazon Smile with Endeavor as the non-profit focus is really doing a service for the school. So, you’ll be helping us out when you buy yourself that extra treat as well!Thank you for all you do to support Endeavor Charter School!Christi WhitesideDirector, Endeavor Charter School
World Record Announcement!Posted by Lauren Manfreda on 11/3/2017 11:35:00 AM
The Day AFTER Halloween!Posted by Christi Whiteside on 11/1/2017 4:20:00 PMWhat is ECS like on the day after Halloween?After the bleary eyed students dragged themselves in the doorway this morning, it was business as usual. The kids brought us their best as did the teachers! Take a look!...and even some crab walk practice...Isn't it great to know that no matter how tired you feel, no matter how much more candy was eaten last night than you'd hoped, and no matter how late the bed times were, today your kids had a great day of learning at Endeavor! Thanks for getting them here on time and without candy! Have a great Wednesday!
Signs, Signs, Everywhere SignsPosted by Christi Whiteside on 10/27/2017 12:00:00 PM
There are lots of signs and cones on and around our campus. You’ve probably noticed and wondered about them. We are always looking for ways to make our campus more safe. Usually our ideas center around increasing the safety inside our building. However, we’ve been looking outside our walls as well and a few recent situations have motivated us to move forward with some ideas.
The signs along our carpool route serve a few purposes.
- The signs on the road remind everyone not to block One World Way waiting to turn left into our driveway when the driveway is full, our carpool should proceed further down One World and line up on the left side of the road. This is a good reminder for our regular carpool drivers, all the substitute grandparent drivers, and visitors to our campus who arrive during carpool for special events.
- Some of the signs within our carpool loop on campus remind drivers to stay in their lanes so that the sequence of cars transmitted to the classrooms matches the sequence of cars when they arrive on the sidewalk.
- The remainder of the on-campus signs remind drivers to turn off cell phones. Please turn off your phone and keep your full focus on the sweet children and hardworking carpool staff around you!
The other change you’ve seen is the addition of cones at morning carpool. We’ve had a few incidents of near misses in the mornings with one driving taking the short cut at the first turn while another driver comes around the full carpool loop. Taking out the short cut option removes this risk. We also hope that taking out this shortcut decreases the number of parents parking in front of school to let students out there. It is much better for our carpool flow and for student safety for everyone to follow the carpool line process. As this is a new practice, we have not been consistent with remembering to put the cones out or to put them away, but we are working on it!
And finally, our new permanent sign on the corner of Burlington Mill and One World Way is complete! Thank you to the ECS Student Council for raising the majority of the funds needed for this project, and to the Endeavor Foundation for providing the remaining funding. Special thanks to Indy Harris for coodinating the project with our vendors, Carolina Sunrock for donating the rock, Fred's Towing and Transport and North State Signs & Wraps!
As we look toward Halloween next week, remember that Tuesday is an early release day with carpool beginning at noon. Please share this information with any new carpool drivers. Please also be sure your child’s costume is reflective and all trick-or-treat plans involve supervision and safety! Happy Halloween!
Director, Endeavor Charter School
The Social Institute at ECS - Wrap UpPosted by Christi Whiteside on 10/17/2017 11:05:00 PMSOCIAL MEDIA & OUR KIDSPAWS Presents: THE SOCIAL INSTITUTEMany thanks to PAWS for funding a visit today from Laura Tierney of The Social Institute!Laura spoke to the entire middle school this morning about using social media in a positive manner. Her philosophy is that social media is not going away, so we need to train our students to use it in a positive way. She spoke to the students about thinking about who they really are and ensuring that their social media presence shows that. She also talked to them about protecting their online reputations as carefully as they would if they were famous. She talked about using social media to build people up and not to tear them down. As adults who did not grow up with social media, we consider it something kids can choose to participate in. The kids just consider social media the way they communicate and have friendships.After the middle school assembly, the 7th grade students had smaller group workshops with Mrs. Tierney to discuss ways to "cyberback" rather than cyberbully. The students created scenarios about a person being cyberbullied and then had peers describe how they'd respond if the scenario happened to them. The kids had great solutions and ended by writing contracts with groups of peers describing how they will cyberback those being cyberbullied. What a powerful force that could be!The 8th graders next met with Mrs. Tierney to discuss their online reputations and ways they can be positive social media role models for others. Their online reputation is already being built, and it is theirs to develop positively or to develop negatively. The students considered whether their current online reputation would help them get into National Honor Society and a good college or whether it would hurt them. They considered advice they would give a younger person about how to have a good social media presence. Many students spoke about wishing their parents would not check their phones while driving or at a family event and chose to write their advice to a parent. Please remember that they are watching you!Our students face so many difficult decisions! Many are very quick to make and very difficult to undo. Please be involved in your child's online life and help guide them through the challenges they face!ABC11 News interviewed a few of our students about the session today! http://abc11.com/techno
logy/duke-alumnus-teaches- students-about-cyberbullying-/ 2544967/At the parent session tonight, Laura provided lots of practical ways that we as parents can help "coach" our kids to use social media for good. Here are a few tips to consider:
The parent session was a great opportunity for our community to learn more about the challenges and opportunities that social media creates for our kids, we will continue to share additional resources with you. Thank you for continuing these conversations at home!Christi Whiteside, DirectorEndeavor Charter Schoolcwhiteside@endeavorcharter.com
- Help your child identify social media role models that are using social media positively
- Pick three apps that your child is using to become familiar and create "social standards" (the top three apps that ECS students use to socialize are YouTube, Instagram and SnapChat)
- Work together as a team, consider using a "Family Social Standards Agreement"
- We only get one reputation and it carries over into our digital profile - how can that affect our students in the future...college admissions...potential employers
- "Play to your core" - a student's values and character; their short and long term goals; and their interests, hobbies and strengths...keep these in mind while deciding who to follow and what to share
The First Dance of the Year!Posted by Christi Whiteside on 9/19/2017 10:15:00 AM
First Dance of the Year!
If you don’t have a middle school student, you may not know that the first middle school dance of this
school year was last Friday night. If you do have a middle school student, you probably heard about the
dance – maybe more that you wanted to hear!
I love our dances for so many reasons!
- The kids look so nice all dressed up!
- It is really special to see the kids out of their comfort zone and in a unique situation. They act
just a little more grown up at the dances!
- Having fun and dancing with their friends is a great opportunity for the kids to let loose in a
healthy, active way. I’m sure they all slept well Friday night!
- It takes such courage to ask someone else to dance! I’m so impressed by the boys and girls who
work up that nerve!
- We have a real DJ! The new kids are always surprised that it’s not someone’s dad playing music.
- The Student Council does a great job executing all aspects of the dance from concept, to
decorations, to money collection. They are such hard workers!
- Some kids are so excited to buy snacks at the concession stand. It is fun to watch them making
- The students are always willing help clean up when the dance is over. They are so helpful!
- The older kids coach the younger kids through the dramas that dances can bring – how to ask
someone to dance, how to say yes or no when someone asks you to dance, how to dance,
where to get band-aids when your new shoes give you blisters, etc.
- Each dance is a great fundraiser! The profits go to a project for the sponsoring teacher team.
The first two dances of this year are being sponsored by the sixth grade teachers. The proceeds
will go toward the cost of space camp. After a long week of teaching, the teachers spend an
evening chaperoning the dance to ensure that the families don’t have to pay quite so much for
this memorable field trip.
I’ve attached a few pictures below to give you a glimpse of the “City at Night” dance. Our multipurpose
room has never looked better!
I am looking forward to next quarter’s dance and another chance to see our middle schoolers at their
polite, dressed to impress, best!
Director, Endeavor Charter School
Teacher Visits & Instructional TimePosted by Christi Whiteside on 8/25/2017 3:05:00 PM
Teacher Visits & Instructional Time
I spoke with a teacher last week who was concerned about the amount of instructional time she was losing due to unexpected drop-ins. These are the unscheduled visits from parents or other staff members during the teaching day. I know that I am sometimes guilty of dropping in to ask a “quick” question of a teacher, so this concerned me. Are our drop-ins impacting learning?
I asked around and many teachers have 2-5 unscheduled parent drop ins during a typical week. I had no idea that this practice was so common, so I am going to ask for your help in changing this trend! Let me start by explaining some of the impacts of an unscheduled drop in.
- The teacher loses the momentum and classroom calm that he/she has worked so hard to establish and will lose additional teaching time while getting it back.
- The morning arrival time, a common drop in time, is one of the most important times of day for helping students get off to the right start. Many students need help getting organized in the morning. Some need support navigating this less structured, more social time. The teacher may need this time to set up materials, collect field trip forms, etc. This time sets the tone for the whole day, and the teacher needs it!
- A young child may be upset when the parent leaves and an older child may be worried about what the parent and teacher are talking about. This can throw a good day off to a bad start for the child.
- There are other students around within hearing distance. A classroom full of students is not the place for a private conversation, a heated conversation, or an emotional conversation.
- When someone stops in during instructional time, it may feel to the teacher that his/her time is not respected. No one would stop in a doctor’s office without an appointment and expect to have a conversation. The teacher’s time is often very tightly scheduled and a loss of even a few minutes can disrupt the planned activities for the day.
I want to be sure to protect that valuable teaching time and to ensure that the teachers know that I respect what they do and the time it takes to do it. I will schedule my meetings or email my questions moving forward. I hope you will join me!
Director, Endeavor Charter School
Eclipse, Traffic Patterns, Carpool - Oh My!Posted by Christi Whiteside on 8/18/2017 9:20:00 AM
Next week will bring us some challenges. Please read this information fully and plan accordingly.
On Monday 8/21, we’ll join a good part of the country in witnessing a true natural phenomenon - The Great American Eclipse! Please join us in talking to your students about the importance of the eclipse glasses! We know that many of you are planning to pick your student up early and watch the eclipse as a family – this will be considered an excused, educational absence if you write a note explaining that this is your purpose. We will omit the usual lengthier educational absence paperwork for this occasion! If your child comes that day and stays until at least noon, we will send their eclipse glasses home with them!
If you do plan an early pick up, please do so before 2:00 when our eclipse plans will begin. Our entire staff will be outside with the students, so the phones will be on voice mail during this entire time. If you choose to join us for the eclipse, don’t forget to bring official ISO certified glasses for yourself! Please park in the carpool line, but know that we will expect all students to release through our regular carpool routine. We will not release students between 2:00 and 3:15 on this day due to our heightened concern for the safety of all students. Students will not have their materials outside at the eclipse and will not be released from the viewing. All students will return to the building after the eclipse and will be dismissed through carpool. Bring your patience to carpool on this day!
We will also be hosting our first home Cross Country meet later that afternoon, so feel free to join us to cheer on the runners!
We have been told that the road closure on Burlington Mill Road will begin at 9:00 Tuesday morning 8/22. We have not yet been able to get specific information other than that which is available to the general public, so we don’t have many answers for you. We can assume that there will be significant delays in the mornings and afternoons as many, many regular travel routes will be disrupted by this closure. Please plan for a longer travel time on Tuesday afternoon and for many days thereafter. Please know that we will adjust our procedures as needed to help maintain our school routine and maintain safety for you and for our students. Once the closure is in effect we will provide additional information as it becomes available. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the town engineer for Wake Forest, Eric Keravuori at 919-435-9441, email@example.com or call the NCDOT District Office at 919-733-3213.
Remember that “we learn by doing,” and we will be doing a lot of learning next week!
Director, Endeavor Charter School
The Positivity Project!Posted by Christi Whiteside on 8/4/2017 7:00:00 AM
We all have character strengths!
For the last 9 years we have searched for some sort of character education program for our students. We’ve tried a few things over the years, but nothing seemed like an especially good fit. Things that seemed good for the lower grades seemed too corny for upper elementary and middle school. Things that fit middle school were too edgy for the younger kids.
I am so excited to share that we’ve finally found a good K-8 fit! Last year, Mrs. PF mentioned The Positivity Project as a potential fit for us. She and three other teachers attended a day of training and came back to ECS excited about the possibilities. As we investigated further and included more staff in the conversation, the decision was made to move forward.
The Positivity Project is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to empowering America’s youth to build strong relationships and to understand, appreciate, and exemplify the character strengths in us all. We accomplish this by partnering with schools across the country and equipping educators with the knowledge, resources, and confidence to teach their students positive psychology’s 24 character strengths. https://posproject.org/
Some of those other character trait programs describe a very limited number of positive traits. This is a good start; however, the problem with those programs is that some kids don’t see themselves in the short lists of words like sweet, kind, and helpful. The Positivity Project teaches students about 24 character strengths (not traits) that are all positive. Every single one is a strength to be proud of. The list is diverse enough for all of our students and teachers to find themselves within it.
Dr. Peterson took a three-year sabbatical to better understand character and its manifestations. Through extensive research and analysis, he found 24 character strengths that are evident in the most widely influential traditions of thought in human history: Confucianism and Taoism in China; Buddhism and Hinduism in South Asia; and ancient Greece, Judeo-Christianity, and Islam in the West. Ranging from bravery and forgiveness to integrity and gratitude, these character strengths are the foundation of The Positivity Project’s model. https://posproject.org/
Our students in grades K-8 will spend the entire year learning about a new trait every week or so. They will read books, watch video clips, and participate in activities to learn about the trait. They will have conversations about those traits as they see them in current events, movies, and their own reading. Morning announcements will talk about the weekly trait as well.
In addition to the school-wide study of the 24 strengths, our older students will add an extra component to their study. This week our middle school students took the first step in learning about The Positivity Project by taking self-assessment quizzes. Fourth and fifth graders will soon take the self-assessment as well. The self-assessment requires students to respond to a series of questions. Once complete, each student is provided a list of the 24 strengths ranked from the strength that is the strongest to the one that is the weakest. The teachers took their own self-assessments recently and were fascinated by their own personal results!
Everyone has all 24 strengths in varying proportions. Your greatest strength might be my weakest- I have things I can learn from you! We share all 24 traits – we have common ground! I have one greatest strength – I am proud to shine in this area. What a positive twist this common language can bring to our conversations about behavior! “I know that humor is your greatest strength, but let’s find a better time than during the middle of math to show your humor!”
We are thrilled to bring this wonderful program to our students this year!
Christi Whiteside, Director