ECS Staff Update April 5, 2019Posted 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!
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!
…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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parent Survey Results and UpdatePosted 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 email@example.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
One School, One Book - The Boy Who Harnessed the WindPosted by Christi Whiteside on 3/9/2019 11:00:00 AM
Yesterday was a great example of a special ECS day! It was the culminating day from our school wide study of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. This was our first participation in a One School, One Book event in which all grades enjoy the same book written in picture book, early chapter, and adult chapter versions.
The books tell the true story of the life of William Kamkwamba and the transformation of his life in Malawi after he reads a book about creating electricity from a windmill. Can you imagine a more perfect true story for a school to feature? His life was transformed because he read! We’ve gotten great feedback from students of all ages who’ve been caught up in William’s story. If you haven’t heard about it, ask your child today!
For our culmination of our book study, each grade spent time today honoring William and his journey. Some grades created collaborative collages (the style of the picture book’s illustrations) featuring scenes from the book. One grade viewed the movie of William’s life which was released just last weekend on Netflix! Other grades tried their hand at building purposeful creations from throw-away items as William did. We saw marble tracks, miniature windmills created with circuits and motors, solar ovens, anemometers and pinwheels, inventions to help crops grow, kites, and much more. Thank you for sending in so many of these recyclable items for our use today. We heard many students say they were planning to continue building at home this weekend!
This was a fun STEAM day with a bonus of a literary focus. It was a great day to be at ECS! Enjoy the photos of the day below!
A Day in the Life at ECS!Posted by Christi Whiteside on 3/1/2019 4:00:00 PM
Photos from my travels around ECS this week!
Paving, More Paving, and CarpoolPosted by Christi Whiteside on 1/27/2019 12:00:00 PM
Thank you for your patience during the paving on Burlington Mill Road this week. We were happy to be able to hire a Wake Forest police officer to ensure everyone’s safety. Your patience has been much appreciated!
There is another paving project coming soon. While this may be more of an inconvenience for us, it will also bring greater rewards! The land across One World Way from ECS has been sold to Moffat Pipe Company which is currently around the corner from us. As an effort to improve traffic flow on One World, part of their construction will include adding a left turn lane into OUR PROPERTY! This is such exciting news for us! This improvement will come with some necessary lane closures along the way. As their construction begins, it will also mean the additional vehicles on One World. During this time, we again ask for your patience as our neighbors move forward with improvements which will benefit us all.
Since we are already talking about traffic, I need to send a few carpool reminders. Please note that our carpool procedures have not changed. We still need every car to display their carpool tag all the way through carpool, stay in the assigned lane, exit the curb in a single file line, re-enter the carpool line if your child does not come out, and be kind to our carpool staff. We’ve seen several drivers forgetting these expectations recently. Most upsetting are those who have forgotten to be kind to our staff. Our staff works hard every day to keep every child safe. Please be nice to them!
The carpool policy which is broken most often is when a child does not come out and the parent is told to re-enter the carpool line for a recall. We’ve seen drivers enter the parking area from the wrong direction and from the right direction to avoid the line. We’ve seen cars park in the overflow lot and parents walk through the middle of carpool. We’ve even seen drivers simply refuse to move from the sidewalk, basically shutting down carpool. All of these actions take our carpool staff’s focus off of the children they are supervising. All of these actions cause our staff to shift focus to overseeing and adjusting for parent behavior rather than child safety. Every one of these actions impacts the flow of our line which impacts every other family. Please don’t be this person. Know that every person in line behind you has somewhere they need to be, too. Every person working in carpool wants to go home as soon as possible. Most importantly, every person involved in carpool wants every child to be safe every day. Following our procedures is your investment in the safety of every child at our school. For those rule followers out there – thank you! We appreciate your support!
Christi Whiteside, Director
Endeavor Charter School
UPDATE: Field Trips at ECSPosted by Christi Whiteside on 1/18/2019 4:00:00 PM
Much time and thought has been put into field trips over the last several months. In the fall, the Board of Directors’ Student Life Committee (now Community Engagement Committee) extended an invitation to interested staff and parents to come together to talk about field trips. This committee provided a great opportunity for many stakeholders to share their opinions, experiences, and concerns about field trips with one another. I am grateful to all participants for their time and input!
One core focus of the group was to consider the reasons for field trips. At ECS, we believe that field trips should provide a learning experience that cannot happen in the classroom or that will be greatly enhanced by the field trip experience. Some of the reasons we take field trips include: educational experiences, expanding the established curriculum, hands-on learning, team building, and community service.
As our staff has continued to examine our trips, we have come to accept that our sixth grade Space Camp field trip no longer aligns with the North Carolina Standard Course of Study Science curriculum. When the state rewrote the curriculum, the space goals that were once part of the sixth grade curriculum were rewritten such that those goals were no longer focused on at Space Camp. Accordingly, the trip no longer serves the educational benefit it once did. For this reason, we have made the difficult decision that this year will be the last year we participate in a Space Camp trip.
In preparation for this change, the sixth grade teachers have been seeking new trips which better meet our criteria for field trips. The trips planned for next year include:
- Duke University- Students will experience learning in a college environment through demonstrations and experiments in the Physics, Chemistry, and Math departments led by professors and a tour of Duke University led by a current college student.
- Project Catch - Students will go fishing at Falls River to identify parts of the ecosystem in the lake. They will also identify what fish they caught and what part of the food chain that fish fits into. The site staff is working with our staff to determine a second ecological activity for this trip.
- NC Museum of Art - Students will first participate in a scavenger hunt around the museum with the Goose Chase app encouraging students to closely study the art while experiencing a new technical tool. Then, a docent will instruct students in the exhibits for Ancient Egypt, Rome, and China which are the focuses of much of the 6th grade Social Studies curriculum.
- Morehead Planetarium and Science Center- Students will experience a planetarium show about the colors of the different planets and how scientists use the Electromagnetic Spectrum to learn more about the planets. They will participate in an activity on the Science Stage named “Phenomenal Physics” where there are demonstrations and hands on activities about physics and a discovery class named “Solar Systematics” where students are able to closely look at and study planets using tools and materials similar to NASA. A restaurant lunch on the way home will focus on calculating percentages for tips.
- Betsy-Jeff Penn 4H Center - This environmental education center has a recently expanded selection of course offerings. Students will participate in an astronomy class at night with telescopes to look at the stars and planets. They will canoe to locations in the natural environment where they will observe and identify parts of the ecosystem. They will also participate in a plant class where they will identify the different parts of plants and then identify the plants in the forest. All of these classes directly correlate with the 6th grade Science goals.
Thank you for supporting our teachers and administrators and for believing in our ability to plan educational experiences for our students that meet the criteria outlined above. As an administrator, I appreciate the time and energy all of our stakeholders put into field trips. I would like to thank PAWS, our Community Engagement Committee members, and our parent chaperones for all the time and energy they have put into the field trips we have had and all those to come. I would also like to thank our talented teachers who put tremendous thought and research into planning field trips for the benefit of their students. We learn by doing!
I am glad to further discuss our thoughts about field trips. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christi Whiteside, Director
Endeavor Charter School
New Procedures Focus on Food Allergy AwarenessPosted by Christi Whiteside on 1/11/2019 2:00:00 PM
We are always looking for ways to improve our student safety. In December, we were made aware of a weakness in our food allergy safety. In the rush of MANY students coming into the office for “emergency” food, a student with a food allergy accidentally took an item containing her allergen. Fortunately, her reaction was not life threatening, but she was quite ill for a period of time. We’ve looked at our protocols and will be making two changes beginning immediately.
- Only students who need lunch food will be provided food from the office. Previously, we’ve also allowed students who want a snack to come to the office. Decreasing to providing lunch food only will significantly decrease the number of students and make it even easier for us to supervise who is taking what food.
- Moving forward, we will only be offering 4 items which are all nut, dairy, and egg free: applesauce, fruit cups, individual bags of UTZ pretzels (this brand only), Nutri Grain Cereal Bars (this brand only). While we know these are not the only allergies in our building, they represent the vast majority of our allergic students and make it easier to address specific allergy needs.
As we transition through this change, we have separated these “clean” foods from the previously donated items. We will offer those other items to students who do not have known allergies until they run out.
While this system does not address every scenario, it will help us improve our system.
As you consider whether these changes will impact your family, please have a conversation with your child to determine how often he/she has needed food from the office. Sometimes we find that students have grown and need more than they used to. We also sometimes find a parent packing a good lunch that the child doesn’t like. Sometimes what used to be a big enough Café Days order now could use some supplemental food from home. We also see students who pack their own lunches may or may not pack an appropriate amount of food. Please talk to your children about how lunch is working for them to ensure that the amount packed is appropriate and appealing!
We are open to feedback on our emergency food procedures. Thank you for your support!
Welcome 2019!Posted by Christi Whiteside on 1/5/2019 4:10:00 PMWelcome to second semester, ECS families! It’s hard for me to believe that we are already at the mid-point of the year, but here we are! As I look ahead through the quarter, I am reminded of our odd spring track out and wanted to take a minute to explain the calendar. At the end of this third quarter, we will have a ONE week track out. We will then start fourth quarter and have three weeks of classes. We will then have another ONE week break. When we return we will have approximately five weeks of classes before End of Grade testing begins, and our year will end.
This is an odd calendar. We had a similar calendar two years ago. To be honest, none of us love it. However, this calendar is important for a couple of reasons.1. When ECS opened we committed to trying to match WCPSS holidays as much as possible to support our families who also had children in those schools. Having a common spring break is an important part of matching those calendars. Wake County’s spring break always aligns with Easter, so in years like this one where Easter is late, their spring break will also be late.2. One option we considered was delaying our entire two week track out to align with this late Easter. However, this would create a very long third quarter which would be exhausting for students and staff alike. Even more problematic is that it would also create a very short fourth quarter. For our upper grades, it would be very difficult to have a good balance of grades during an extremely short quarter. With too few days and too few grades, each grade would become very heavily weighted and report card grades could be negatively impacted.For these reasons, we opted to compromise. One week off acknowledges the end of third quarter, provides everyone a well deserved break, and supports our academic calendar. The other week supports our families with children in Wake County schools and allows them a chance to spend time together as a family.We are excited to start the second half of our year. We have much to teach and many great experiences to share! Thank you for being a part of our adventure!Christi WhitesideDirector, Endeavor Charter School
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