How do we make decisions about schedule changes when extreme weather situations occur?Posted by Christi Whiteside on 12/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
First, please know that our priority is always the safety of our staff and students. We watch weather forecasts from multiple sources to best understand the weather situation before, during, and after the event. We look to our local leaders and official weather statements for guidance as well.
Whether the impending storm is snow, hurricane, tornado, etc. we try to plan ahead as much as possible and prepare our campus for the wind or precipitation to come. Loose items are brought inside, canopies are removed, doors are sandbagged, shovels and ice melt are gathered, snow plows are reserved, and more.
After the storm, staff members are asked to report the conditions in their neighborhoods. This serves a few purposes. Our teachers live in Durham, Apex, downtown Raleigh, Rolesville, and everywhere in between. They are representative of where our families live and what conditions they might be facing. These staff reports give us a personal view of road conditions across the area. They also gives us an idea of which staff members will be able to safely attend school under their conditions. If the majority of teachers can’t safely make it to school, we must close.
Next, we consider the condition of our campus. Were we able to get snow plowed? Did standing water freeze or flood? Do we have power? Is the campus safe for driving and walking? Someone from the office staff will visit campus and report their findings.
The impacts of a schedule change to school calendar and events must also be determined. Will the change impact a school performance or field trip? Cafe Days? Sports? YMCA? Before care? All impacts must be determined and families, staff, volunteers, and vendors must be notified.
Finally, we spend some nervous time and often a sleepless night hoping we’ve made the best decision for our community. We know that schedule changes are difficult for working families and for our teachers’ plans. We don’t take such changes lightly and respect each family’s decision about when they can safely return to school.
Thank you for your patience and support as we move through the weather yet to come!
Director, Endeavor Charter School
Thankful 2018Posted by Christi Whiteside on 11/20/2018 2:15:00 PM
Fall at ECSPosted by Christi Whiteside on 11/9/2018 9:30:00 AM
Fall is finally here! This is easily my favorite time of year! The trees are changing, and the holidays are coming! As we move into this cooler season, please consider a few suggestions below for keeping life as positive and productive as possible!
- Be sure your child dresses for the changing weather. Temperatures vary significantly this time of year. Check the weather each morning so your child is appropriately dressed for outdoor recess each day.
- Don’t forget to label those coats and jackets so we can return them to your child if they are lost!
- It’s flu season! Be sure your child is washing hands frequently and showering each evening to remove all those germs accumulated during the day.
- Please also wash water bottles daily!
- If your child runs a fever, vomits, or has diarrhea, they must be fever free (WITHOUT MEDICATION) and symptom free for 24 hours before returning to school. We want your kids to share everything except their germs!
- Double check your child’s school supplies and make certain there is still enough paper, pencils, etc. for success.
- As you schedule holiday events, please be mindful of homework and sleep needs! Consistent routines during this busy time of year help all students maintain their focus and their academic progress.
Thank you for your help in making this fall a healthy, happy season for all at ECS!
Director, Endeavor Charter School
Hurricane Florence Recovery CollectionPosted by Christi Whiteside on 9/18/2018 8:50:00 AM
We were so very lucky to have been spared the brunt of Hurricane Florence. The storm seemed to be aimed straight at us, and we prepared for the worst. This week, as we dry out and recognize our good fortune, we also see our neighbors to the east suffering tremendously. We’d like to help. Yesterday as we discussed how to get involved, I was contacted by one of our parents, Liz Mahoney - CJ(6), Emma (4) and Grace (K), who has been in contact with several local charities to determine their biggest needs. For now, the charities are seeking:
- non-perishable foods (canned fruits, vegetables, meat, and soup - Pop-top cans and low sodium a plus!)
- whole grain pasta, brown rice, dried beans, and cereal
- peanut butter
- for infants: pedialyte, infant cereal, diapers (sizes 0-5), baby wipes, jarred food (cannot be loose, jars must be packaged together, no glass)
- snacks such as: fruit cups, juice boxes, granola bars, crackers, popcorn
- hygiene items
- paper products (towels, plates, etc)
- cleaning products (bleach, disinfecting wipes, etc.)
- bath towels
- new underwear for boys and girls.
If you would be willing to donate any of the items listed above (no other items, no glass containers), Liz will arrange delivery this weekend. ECS Student Council members will be on the sidewalk this week during morning carpool on Thursday and Friday to help carry items from your car. We will also accept items during the Fun Fest on Friday.
Each donation will receive two raffle tickets for Friday's Family Fun Fest!
Thank you for supporting those in need and for setting a great example of service to your children! We appreciate your generosity!
Director, Endeavor Charter School
#OtherPeopleMatterPosted by Christi Whiteside on 9/13/2018 10:00:00 AM
“I can sum up positive psychology in just three words — Other People Matter. Period. Anything that builds relationships between and among people is going to make you happy.” -Dr. Chris Peterson
The Positivity Project is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to helping America’s youth build stronger relationships by recognizing the character strengths in themselves and others. Their vision is to create citizens and leaders who will enhance our communities and country by internalizing the belief that “Other People Matter.” Positive psychology’s scientifically validated 24 character strengths serve as its foundation. Positive psychology teaches that people have all 24 strengths within them – and that character is not just skills or behaviors, but rather an intrinsic part of each of us. – posproject.org
A few weeks ago, five members of our staff had the opportunity to hear Mike Erwin, President and Co-Founder of the Positivity Project (P2), talk about the science behind positive psychology. While we’d spent last year beginning our adventure with P2, learning about the traits and teaching them to the students, our team had the chance to dive deeper into the idea that through focusing on our character strengths and those of the people around us, we can help build strong, respectful relationships. We talked about the Golden Rule: Treat others as you want to be treated. We also talked about the Platinum Rule: Treat others as they want to be treated.
We know that healthy relationships are a big part of a healthy life. During our workshop we talked about the care and attention that it takes to build and maintain healthy relationships. We also talked about the challenges that students face today in developing those relationships. Social media provides a false sense of relationships and of ways people should interact. It is so easy to be mean through a screen! One of the changes to P2 this year is a focus every few weeks on #otherpeoplematter. During these weeks we will try to view the strengths through the experiences of real people.
To personalize our focus on the character strengths, each staff member has taken the assessment and we are posting our top three character strengths outside our doors. We hope this will be a way to connect with students, parents, and colleagues alike.
We hope that you will seek opportunities to talk about these character strengths and strong relationships with your students throughout the year and in the years to come! As we assess the impacts of Hurricane Florence this weekend, we will all I’m sure there will be many opportunities for us to show our belief that other people matter!
Director, Endeavor Charter School
School attendance is a predictor of future success.Posted by Christi Whiteside on 9/7/2018 2:50:00 PM
School attendance is a predictor of future success.
Last year at Endeavor, there were 70 students with 6 or more unexcused absences - 14% of our population! Last year 20 students of those students had 10 or more unexcused absences - 4% of our population! Those are staggering numbers which represent a tremendous loss of education. Those numbers prompted us to set a school goal focused on decreasing such excessive absences.
Goal: At the end of 2018-2019 less than 10% of our students will have 6 or more unexcused absences.
We recognize that many absences coded as unexcused may have actually been excused, but the school was not notified. This year, please notify your child’s homeroom teacher or the front office if your student is absent for an excused reason. Absences are considered excused for the following reasons:
1. Illness or injury 2. Quarantine 3. Religious observation 4. Death in the immediate family 5. Medical or dental appointment (with a note from the doctor) 6. Court proceedings 7. Absence related to military deployment activities 8. Educational experiences equivalent to what will be missed and that have been approved by the Director two weeks PRIOR to the absence. Please refer to the Family Handbook for more details.
As per NC Compulsory Attendance Law, families must be contacted when their child’s unexcused absences become excessive. This year, Mrs. White, our Student Assistance Program Coordinator, will contact you if your child reaches 3 or 6 unexcused absences for the purpose of offering support to ensure your child attends ECS regularly. The first batch of those letters goes out today. Our goal in these letters, other than in complying with the law, is to share our concern and offer support.
If a child reaches 10 unexcused absences, I will reach out to schedule a meeting with that child’s family and our new truancy committee. The purpose of this meeting will be to offer the family the opportunity to explain the reason for the excessive absences. The committee will determine whether your child will need to repeat the current grade level, whether we will need to involve the district attorney and/or the director of social services of the county where the child resides, or whether there is an alternative. As a committee, we will also consider whether the absences warrant requiring the child to repeat the current grade level.
Why is it so Important to attend every day?
• Learning is a progressive activity; each day's lessons build upon those of the previous day(s).
• Reading the material and completing work independently does not compensate for the loss of insight gained during class discussion or the loss of competency acquired through explanation or supervised drill.
• Many classes use lectures, discussions, demonstrations, experiments and participation as part of the daily learning activities, and these cannot be made up by those who are absent.
• Relationships with teachers and other students are built through shared experiences. Missing school means missing those experiences.
• Regular student participation in daily classroom activities plays a significant role in a student's school success.
• Regular school attendance patterns encourage the development of other responsible patterns of behavior.
• Students who develop an "on the job" attitude toward school will be more desirable to future employers.
This year as you make decisions about your child’s school attendance, please consider the experiences and opportunities in each school day. Schedule your child’s appointments and vacations for track out days rather than school days. Notify the school of the reasons for your child’s absences.
Look forward to a year of great attendance!
Director, Endeavor Charter School
Rain or Shine!Posted by Christi Whiteside on 8/3/2018 2:50:00 PM
Have you ever seen so much rain? I cannot remember the beginning of a school year ever being so wet! Thank you for being patient and kind to our carpool staff who’ve worked so diligently to keep everyone safe in this crazy weather! To those of you who’ve offered umbrellas and said supportive things, we thank you!
For those of you who are new to ECS, I want to give you a few reassurances.
1. The sun does usually shine on our campus! You just haven’t seen much of it yet.
2. Our carpool staff members do own shoes! They’ve just been barefooted in the recent flood waters.
3. If you and your child have been able to handle these torrential days of carpool, you’ve survived the worst of it!
The beginning of the year is always our slowest carpool, even in good weather. Our kindergarteners and other new students are learning our system. Many new families are also still figuring out carpool. However, the biggest reason that the beginning of the year carpool is slow is that many families have
not yet joined a carpool group. If you are a parent who only drives your own children, please consider joining a carpool! Less cars in our line makes carpool faster for everyone. For help locating ECS families near you, go to the Volunteers tab on our website. Locate the ECS Family Carpools option and the Carpool World choice on that page. Enter your information and you will be matched with families near you.
We are happy that you are a part of our community! Hopefully, we’ll enjoy some sunny days together soon!
Director, Endeavor Charter School
THANK YOU VOLUNTEERS!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!
May 16th at ECSPosted by Christi Whiteside on 5/10/2018 1:20:00 PM
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
Field Trip Planning at ECSPosted 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 email@example.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.
Director, Endeavor Charter School