• 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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  • ECS Staff Update May 9, 2019

    Posted by Christi Whiteside on 5/10/2019 2:45:00 PM

    Welcome…

    LaShonna Smith will be joining our Exceptional Children’s team as the new upper grades EC teacher.  She comes to us with 7 years’ experience as a talented special education teacher as well as a creative classroom teacher.  We are happy to have her!

    Nguyet Ng will be joining us as the new first grade teaching assistant working with Ms. Ammons.  She has 8 years’ experience as an elementary school teacher.  Her skills in organization, tutoring, and classroom management will be an asset to the class! 

    Farewells…

    Tiffany Carson will be leaving ECS at the end of this school year for a new teaching opportunity.  She will be missed! 

    Seeking…

    …a passionate, NC certified, middle school science teacher.

    …a passionate, NC certified, middle school math teacher.

    As always, we value your recommendations. Please forward this job information to excellent candidates you may know.  Full job descriptions are posted on our website. Thanks for your help!

    Christi Whiteside

    Director

    Endeavor Charter School

    919-848-0333

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  • Want to talk?

    Posted by Christi Whiteside on 5/3/2019 4:00:00 PM

    We struggle sometimes with communication -  personally, professionally, on social media, in front of a crowd, in our own hearts.  At ECS we constantly struggle with the best means and the best frequency for our communications with you.  We hear from some folks that we send way too much information, and it is overwhelming. We hear from other folks that they don’t feel they ever hear what is happening on campus.

    We also struggle sometimes with the best topics to discuss.  As a staff, we always have one topic or another that we are working on and thinking about.  These are not always the same topics that parents are thinking about. Some topics are perfect for taking time and gathering input from all stakeholders. Other decisions just need to be made by the party in charge – staff, PAWS, Foundation, etc.

    When we host events intended to share school wide information, we struggle with the timing and format.  What works for one family does not work for another. Is carpool time good to host a meeting? Mornings? Evenings?  Virtual meetings? 

    As we look toward next year, we are looking at the ways we communicate with you.  We are considering what works well and what could be better. We’ve gathered feedback over the last few parent surveys and have found some ways to respond.  There are two main improvements we are working on right now.

    Meet the Teacher is one of the most exciting days on campus for students and staff.  We’ve come to understand that it can also become long and tedious for parents. This July, we will try a new format. Rather than the three shifts of class visits we’ve previously held, we will follow an open house format next year.  Our building will be open on July 29 from 9:30-11:00 for families with students in all grades above kindergarten. During this time all classes will be open for all students and families to visit at their convenience. We will also open the multipurpose room for informational booths and the opportunity for parents to learn about other aspects of our program – Student Assistance Program, early literacy support, athletics, curriculum, and more.  We are excited to share some of the ways we enrich opportunities for students that you may not know about. As we plan this event, we recognize that if all families arrive at 9:30, parking will be a big mess, so as we continue to share this information, we will also ask families to stagger their arrival times throughout that time span. Kindergarten Meet the Teacher will be held on August 2nd, following their staggered entry days.

    We are also going to start hosting a Carpool Coffee each quarter next year.  During morning carpool once per quarter, we will invite parents in to hear about what is going on at Endeavor, to ask questions and share comments.  This will provide us an opportunity to get together and keep in touch in a new way. We hope this time will be well attended and will offer some of our working moms and dads a more accessible time to be on campus.  Perhaps the smell of coffee and pastries will lure some folks inside!

    As we are rapidly heading toward the end of this year, please know that we appreciate your support.  The ways you invest in our school allow us to do what we do!

    Christi Whitside, Director

    Endeavor Charter School

    cwhiteside@endeavorcharter.com

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  • ECS Staff Update April 5, 2019

    Posted by Christi Whiteside on 4/5/2019 4:15:00 PM

    ECS Staff Update April 5, 2019

    Our thanks go out to those leaving ECS for all they’ve done for us over the years!

    Farewells…

    Erin Fulk, 1st grade Teaching Assistant, will be leaving ECS to spend more time with her family.  We wish her well!

    Katie Clemmons, 7th and 8th grade science teacher, will be leaving ECS to return to a larger middle school.  We send our best wishes with her!

    Seeking…

    …a 50% 1st grade teaching assistant preferably with teaching or related experience.

    …a passionate, NC certified, middle school science teacher

    Please send these two job openings to those you know.  Full job descriptions are posted on our website. Thanks for your help!

    Help Wanted! 

    We are still looking for a few parents representing all grades to help review the responses from the parent survey and begin to form recommendations about the future of ECS.  If you are interested email cwhiteside@endeavorcharter.com.

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  • Parent Survey Results and Update

    Posted by Christi Whiteside on 3/29/2019 4:30:00 PM

    This year’s parent survey was the first significant step in future planning for Endeavor.  We want to gather as much data as we can from our community because we want to start painting the picture of what the next 10 years of Endeavor Charter School will look like.

    Top Parent Preferences for K-5: STEAM, Service, Science and SS as year-long courses, Separation of reading and writing

    Top Parent Preferences for Middle School: STEAM, Increased elective choices, Expanded core courses, Add academic clubs

    Top Parent Preferences for Additional Fine Arts: Technology and PE

    Top Parent Preferences for Facility: Gym, Computer lab, Science lab, Performance space

    Our next step is to take the ideas from the parent survey and the results of the staff survey and talk through what they might look like in reality and how they’d impact learning and working at Endeavor.  Every idea that brings something new or bigger or different to ECS will impact other aspects of our school, and we will need to determine which ideas will best allow us to maintain what we love about Endeavor while enriching the students’ and teachers’ experience.

    If you’d like to be a part of a group to consider the pros and cons of our many options, please email me at cwhiteside@endeavorcharter.com.  This group will flush out options and their impacts.  This essential information will go to the decision makers who will determine the next ten years of Endeavor. 

    Stay tuned!  It’s an exciting time to be a part of Endeavor!

    Christi Whiteside, Director

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