Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The History Behind Giving Tuesday

Like most non-profits, Equality holds our Annual Appeal during the November/December holiday season. You will see a lot of non-profits sharing their Giving Tuesday message today, Tuesday, November 29th. As I thought of that, it crossed my mind this morning that I do not even know where the concept of Giving Tuesday came from.

So I leaned on my trusty advisor... Google.

"Giving Tuesday was created when two organizations, the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation came together in 2012, about a month before that year's Thanksgiving. Their intention was to set aside a day that was all about celebrating the generosity of giving, a great American tradition." (https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/giving-tuesday/). 

Look how this concept has spiraled from two organizations to hundreds of non profits. Most send out their appeals for financial support on this day to their networks. How do they all find success when there is so much "competition" for donors at this time of year? I assume that it is because there are so many big hearts at holiday time there is enough to go around!

I hope if you are giving back, you choose a charity that you are personally invested in. Choose one that speaks to your life and challenges you have overcome. I always find that I feel best when I donate to a cause that speaks to my life and that I may be helping someone through a struggle or issue that I can empathize with.

So, with that said, feel free to check out our school's annual appeal video and our donation page for our Career Center at Equality Charter High School.

Caitlin Franco
Founder & Executive Director
Equality Charter School 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Undefeated Football Team

Equality Charter School Co-Ed Flag Football Team has defeated South Bronx Classical Team 33-12. Our scholars are working extremely hard on and off the field. Congratulations to ECS Eagles. We are so proud of you for balancing both your academics and extra-curricular activities.

Congrats again!

Caitlin Franco
Founder & Executive Director
Equality Charter School

Friday, November 25, 2016

Feeling Thankful

Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity to to stock of your life and what you are thankful for in your life.

And I just want to take a moment to share my gratitude for the Equality staff, scholars, and parents. It is an incredible community we have built.

The idea of Equality came about in 2008 and since then it has pretty much consumed my life. I have been truly blessed to still work with some of the people who started the school with me in 2009, and others who joined in 2010 and 2011. We are a team of co-workers that often times mirrors a family. But a family that has a passion, drive, and laser-like focus on improving the lives of our scholars like I have never seen or experienced before. 

I cannot imagine my life the past 9 years of my life without the blessing that has been Equality Charter School, and today, as I sit in my pajamas on the day after Thanksgiving, I am doing work for the school not because I have to, but because I've committed to a cause that I truly believe in.

Feeling thankful today,

Caitlin Franco
Founder & Executive Director
Equality Charter School

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Equality's Shark Tank

As a school leader, there is never enough time, energy, or money to meet all of our scholars' needs. It's a frustrating, yet ever-present, part of my role. Before our staff came back to school in August 2016 for professional development, I wanted to think of a way to meet some of the needs of our scholars that may not be met by our current school structure and systems. I was also hoping to provide an opportunity for some of our staff to follow passion projects.

I called it, "Equality's Shark Tank."

The purpose was essentially to support innovation and out of the box thinking, to meet our scholars’ needs in new ways, to test out new ideas and follow through on passion projects, and (I mean this statement with all sincerity) to make the world a better place.

I started with the concept of the TV show Shark Tank. If you haven't watched the show yet, you should. 

The show is comprised of:
  • Budding entrepreneurs who get the chance to fulfill their dreams.
  • They present their ideas to the sharks in the tank .
  • The sharks are titans of industry who turned their ideas into lucrative empires.
  • The contestants try to convince any one of the sharks to invest money in their idea.

Equality's Shark Tank was comprised of:
  • A "pot" of $20,000 of SHARK TANK money.
  • A committee of Sharks (5 total) who selected the projects.
  • An invitation to ALL staff to submit their proposals. 
  • A 15 minute in-person presentation to the Sharks.
  • A deliberation using a pre-determined rubric for the Sharks to award the money.
The ideas could range from special speaker series, curriculum materials, technology, afterschool groups, materials for a class project, classroom environment improvements, gardens, murals, artwork, demonstrations, creative experiments, pet projects to complete with scholars, software for a course, overnight field trips, or experiential learning opportunities for scholars.

The projects were rated on a rubic in the areas of:
  • Innovation: a new method, idea, or strategy at Equality
  • Value to Scholars: is seen as useful; it solves a defined problem or meets a need
  • Wow Factor: shows a personal touch that may be unconventional at our school; implements ideas in new, clever and surprising ways
We had numerous submissions and the Sharks had a very difficult, yet rewarding, time deliberating on the best use of this money. In the end, the following projects won:
  • $3,000 to start a robotics club and invest in the proper equipment
  •  $4,500 for a special guest speaker and a full day of activities to speak to our staff and scholars on the power of an inclusive environment
  • $6,000 to provide a funding foundation to launch Equality’s first overseas trip to Costa Rica in summer 2017
  • $500 for a special guest instructor to teach scholars afterschool how to write a beatbox concerto
  • $3,000 to teach a group of our scholars how to invest in the stock market with real money (and at the end they will donate their final amount of money back to Equality in the form of a legacy gift of their choosing)
  • $3,000 to provide additional professional development courses for our teaching staff provided by Equality’s Adult Programming 
All in all, it was a successful launch of Equality's Shark Tank. While we want all of the projects to be successes, we also acknowledge the level of risk to some of them and look forward to seeing what works with our scholars.

If you’d like to donate to Mr. Morine’s Investment Group, he’s currently raising additional funds for technology items needed to support his group. Please donate here!

I’ll report back in a few months to let you know how the projects proceeded.

Caitlin Franco
Founder & Executive Director
Equality Charter School

Monday, November 21, 2016

Equality's Peer to Peer Tutoring Program

At Equality Charter School, we believe in our scholars getting real world opportunities. Through our Peer to Peer (P2P) tutoring program, our scholars get the experience to work for Equality Charter School.

Tutors in P2P are Equality scholars who excel academically, have strong emotional intelligence, and are motivated by a desire to help other scholars improve. They are officially hired by Equality and go through the process of applying and interviewing for a job, onboarding, and getting their first work experience within the safety of our environment.  Reciprocally, scholars matched with a tutor have the opportunity to learn from their peers.  

This model encourages cooperative problem-solving, an invaluable skill with real world application. Our veteran tutors are now serving as paid Teaching Assistants in classrooms.

Check out our video about Peer to Peer tutoring here. 

Caitlin Franco
Founder & Executive Director
Equality Charter School

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Educating Scholars About School Loans

As we prepare our scholars for college, it is our responsibility to also proactively educate them regarding school loans. At Equality Charter School, we take that responsibility seriously. While our scholars will graduate and leave us one day, we are committed to them beyond their graduation day. We are committed to their success for life.

Caitlin Franco
Executive Director & Founder
Equality Charter School

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Learn more about us...

What do you know about charter schools? 

What do you know about Equality Charter School? 

Watch this video here to learn more about what makes Equality unique. 

Caitlin Franco
Founder & Executive Director
Equality Charter School

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Thank you - Mi Garba Fundraising Event!

Thank you to everybody who came to our event last night hosted by Board member Ardian Hasko. What a wonderful event to support our Peer to Peer tutoring program.

If couldn't make it but would like to donate, please go here: https://www.crowdrise.com/peer-to-peer-program.

Thank you, as always, for all of your support,
Caitlin Franco
Executive Director & Founder
Equality Charter School

High Five Lunch

Equality Charter School celebrated the Middle School scholars' achievements in their ELA, Math and Science Interims for their grade level with a pizza luncheon.

Congratulations to our scholars. We are all so proud of their hard work and dedication.

Caitlin Franco
Founder & Executive Director

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Annual Spelling Bee

Equality Charter School hosted its annual spelling bee at the Middle School. 
Congratulations to Shaquille, Roderick, Louis, and Barbara.

Spelling Bee winners are shown here. I am so proud of theird hard work!

Caitlin Franco
Founder & Executive Director
Equality Charter School


Monday, November 7, 2016

Equality Middle School Dance

Equality Charter Middle School had its 1st PBIS Dance for the 2016-2017 school year. 
Great jobs to our top 60 scholars! 

Here are some pictures from the PBIS Dance.

Caitlin Franco
Founder & Executive Director
Equality Charter School

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Halloween Celebration!

Equality Charter Middle School expressed their love and spirit for Halloween. 
Here are a few pictures of our scholars.

Halloween at Equality Charter Middle School

Caitlin Franco
Founder & Executive Director
Equality Charter School