About Kestrel Heights Charter School

WELCOME

TO KESTREL HEIGHTS CHARTER SCHOOL

Kestrel Heights Charter School is a small, diverse, and inclusive learning community in Durham that empowers our Scholars to sharpen academic knowledge, demonstrate creative expression and expand leadership abilities to prepare for success in high school, college, and beyond.

We Are Intentionally Small

Parents, families, and staff are appreciative of our school’s relatively small size.  We have no plans to expand enrollment substantially over the roughly 500 students we have now.  Our small size ensures that there are no strangers in our building.  Every student feels like they are part of a close community.  Every student has multiple adults looking after him or her.

We Are Diverse and Inclusive

Kestrel Heights is diverse in the most literal sense of the word.  We are diverse racially and ethnically. Indeed, we have students and staff from North Carolina, different parts of the country, and from many different continents. We are diverse in our religious beliefs, some of our scholar’s families are very devout while others have no religious beliefs at all. We are diverse in the age and experience range of teachers on staff.  We celebrate our diversity in everything we do, and our community is truly an inclusive one where each person has an opportunity to succeed, be supported, and have his or her voice heard. As much as we value our diversity, it is our inclusiveness that makes our community a good and just place to learn.

Durham is Our Home

We are proud to be located in Durham. Durham has a compelling, rich, and multifaceted history that inspires the work we do every day. We believe that our school and our students will play a vital role in shaping Durham’s future. That is a responsibility that we accept with optimism and sincerity.

We Empower Our Scholars

We teach our students, we work with them as they grow physically and emotionally, and we aspire to be positive role models for our students. The desired end result of that work is scholars who are truly empowered to navigate this complicated world as they grow into adolescence, into teenage years and young adulthood. Our students are not just passively along for the ride of elementary school and middle school. Our scholars are empowered and have agency over their thoughts, choices, and actions.

We Sharpen Students’ Academic Knowledge

Naturally, the primary responsibility of any school is student learning. Student performance in literacy and numeracy are the ultimate benchmarks upon which our school is evaluated by local and state authorizers. At Kestrel Heights, however, we are more motivated by each individual student’s educational growth than we are by the average test score of all our students.  Since all of our students arrive with skills to grow upon, we will empower our scholars to sharpen their academic knowledge.

We Encourage Creative Expression

We value traditional academic subjects and we are committed to expanding each child’s knowledge base. We are also focused on educating the whole child. Our specials classes, our electives courses, our extra-curricular club activities, and our athletic teams provide students with the vital outlets to learn and grow outside of the classroom.  Our scholars employ these outlets to problem solve, think differently, and work with teammates to accomplish common goals.  Thus, our scholars are empowered to demonstrate creative expression.

We Build Confident Leaders

Finally, our scholars are empowered to expand leadership abilities.  We believe that every child in the Kestrel Heights community has innate leadership ability.  That ability can be manifested in many different ways.  We have scholars who are more reserved and quietly lead by example.  We have scholars who are more gregarious and inspire their peers with their charisma and enthusiasm.  We have some scholars who lead by wisely choosing who to follow and when.  Everyone has a role to play, and everyone has an opportunity to step up and be a leader in one way or another.

Download Welcome Message

Dear Kestrel Families,

Welcome back to the 2021-2022 school year!  We truly hope that you had a safe and relaxing summer.  We are very much looking forward to working with you and your child(ren) this year.  At Kestrel we are committed to sharpening the academic knowledge of all scholars, providing a space for them to demonstrate creative expression, and support them in the development of leadership skills.  At Kestrel we take tremendous pride in developing meaningful relationships with all our families and moving our scholars no matter where they start.  

We welcome back all returning families, but also welcome over 110 new scholars to the Kestrel community.  This year we are starting the school year with just over 460 scholars enrolled in K-8, this is a growth of over 30 scholars from the previous school year.  While we are committed to remaining a small charter school located in the RTP area of Durham, we are excited to see increased enrollment at our school.   

At the bottom of this letter, I have included the contact information of the leadership team here at Kestrel.  Feel free to contact us anytime via email or telephone.  We are able to set up scheduled meetings if needed throughout the school year (virtual).  For now, here is some important information we will share with you throughout the school year. 

School News

We will use a variety of electronic forms to communicate with you throughout the year.  Our primary mode of communication will be Class Dojo, so it is important that you sign up for your child’s classroom.  While Dojo is an effective tool, we will be sending a virtual Newsletter every two weeks to keep you informed of the key information.  We will utilize SwiftK12 (phone call and email system) to make important announcements (weather closures, key information), we try not to use this method a lot because we use Dojo as the primary mode of communication.  Finally, be on the lookout via Social Media.  Ms. Vargas, our Marketing and PR Coordinator, posts on a frequent basis to keep you and the greater Durham community informed about all the great activities going on at Kestrel. 

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Changes for the 2021-2022 School Year

Staff at Kestrel Heights engage in Mind Brain Education (MBE) in partnership with Neuroteach Global and the Center for Transformative Teaching & Learning (CTTL). MBE equips Kestrel Heights staff with the knowledge and skills to design instruction with the latest brain science in mind. Through MBE, we will be able to develop strategies to improve scholar achievement, well-being, and the whole-school experience. 

After two decades of pioneering work in brain research, the education community has realized that understanding the brain can help open new pathways to improve teaching, learning, working memory, and executive functioning. In addition, neuroscientists have established that the brain has a highly robust and well-developed capacity to change in response to environmental demands, a process called neuroplasticity. By strategically addressing the learning environment, curriculum design, pedagogy and assessment, and scholar well-being, Kestrel Heights staff are empowered to be brain-changers. 

Guided Reading and Guided Math are methods by which teachers can re-teach or reinforce specific skills or strategies with a small group of students who have similar needs. Both guided Reading and Guided Math foster critical thinking and deepen conceptual understanding. Through small-group instruction, teachers’ educational decisions are based on student achievement data to plan the Guided Reading and Guided Math lessons.

Guided Reading and Guided Math:

  • Allows students to practice with the direct support of the teacher
  • Provides an environment where students can work towards independence with support and feedback
  • Allows teachers to choose texts, math problems, or objectives that specifically meet the needs of each individual learner
  • Creates smaller learning communities within the classroom; these groups are flexible and change as needed

We have a lot more to share about the positive changes to Kestrel this year.  We will be sharing in many different ways; from newsletters, on-campus events, and virtual events.  I am very much looking forward to a wonderful year at Kestrel.  I encourage you to get involved with Kestrel through our PTA (pta@kestrelheights.org).  Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can answer any questions or assist you and your family.  This year we will all SOAR together!

Sincerely,

Dr. Mark Tracy
Executive Director/Middle School Director
tracy@kestrelheights.org
(w) 919-484-1300 ext 201
(c) 240-535-6362

WELCOME

TO KESTREL HEIGHTS CHARTER SCHOOL

Kestrel Heights Charter School is a small, diverse, and inclusive learning community in Durham that empowers our Scholars to sharpen academic knowledge, demonstrate creative expression and expand leadership abilities to prepare for success in high school, college, and beyond.

We Are Intentionally Small

Parents, families, and staff are appreciative of our school’s relatively small size.  We have no plans to expand enrollment substantially over the roughly 500 students we have now.  Our small size ensures that there are no strangers in our building.  Every student feels like they are part of a close community.  Every student has multiple adults looking after him or her.

We Are Diverse and Inclusive

Kestrel Heights is diverse in the most literal sense of the word.  We are diverse racially and ethnically. Indeed, we have students and staff from North Carolina, different parts of the country, and from many different continents. We are diverse in our religious beliefs, some of our scholar’s families are very devout while others have no religious beliefs at all. We are diverse in the age and experience range of teachers on staff.  We celebrate our diversity in everything we do, and our community is truly an inclusive one where each person has an opportunity to succeed, be supported, and have his or her voice heard. As much as we value our diversity, it is our inclusiveness that makes our community a good and just place to learn.

Durham is Our Home

We are proud to be located in Durham. Durham has a compelling, rich, and multifaceted history that inspires the work we do every day. We believe that our school and our students will play a vital role in shaping Durham’s future. That is a responsibility that we accept with optimism and sincerity.

We Empower Our Scholars

We teach our students, we work with them as they grow physically and emotionally, and we aspire to be positive role models for our students. The desired end result of that work is scholars who are truly empowered to navigate this complicated world as they grow into adolescence, into teenage years and young adulthood. Our students are not just passively along for the ride of elementary school and middle school. Our scholars are empowered and have agency over their thoughts, choices, and actions.

We Sharpen Students’ Academic Knowledge

Naturally, the primary responsibility of any school is student learning. Student performance in literacy and numeracy are the ultimate benchmarks upon which our school is evaluated by local and state authorizers. At Kestrel Heights, however, we are more motivated by each individual student’s educational growth than we are by the average test score of all our students.  Since all of our students arrive with skills to grow upon, we will empower our scholars to sharpen their academic knowledge.

We Encourage Creative Expression

We value traditional academic subjects and we are committed to expanding each child’s knowledge base. We are also focused on educating the whole child. Our specials classes, our electives courses, our extra-curricular club activities, and our athletic teams provide students with the vital outlets to learn and grow outside of the classroom.  Our scholars employ these outlets to problem solve, think differently, and work with teammates to accomplish common goals.  Thus, our scholars are empowered to demonstrate creative expression.

We Build Confident Leaders

Finally, our scholars are empowered to expand leadership abilities.  We believe that every child in the Kestrel Heights community has innate leadership ability.  That ability can be manifested in many different ways.  We have scholars who are more reserved and quietly lead by example.  We have scholars who are more gregarious and inspire their peers with their charisma and enthusiasm.  We have some scholars who lead by wisely choosing who to follow and when.  Everyone has a role to play, and everyone has an opportunity to step up and be a leader in one way or another.

Download Welcome Message

Dear Kestrel Families,

Welcome back to the 2021-2022 school year!  We truly hope that you had a safe and relaxing summer.  We are very much looking forward to working with you and your child(ren) this year.  At Kestrel we are committed to sharpening the academic knowledge of all scholars, providing a space for them to demonstrate creative expression, and support them in the development of leadership skills.  At Kestrel we take tremendous pride in developing meaningful relationships with all our families and moving our scholars no matter where they start.  

We welcome back all returning families, but also welcome over 110 new scholars to the Kestrel community.  This year we are starting the school year with just over 460 scholars enrolled in K-8, this is a growth of over 30 scholars from the previous school year.  While we are committed to remaining a small charter school located in the RTP area of Durham, we are excited to see increased enrollment at our school.   

At the bottom of this letter, I have included the contact information of the leadership team here at Kestrel.  Feel free to contact us anytime via email or telephone.  We are able to set up scheduled meetings if needed throughout the school year (virtual).  For now, here is some important information we will share with you throughout the school year. 

School News

We will use a variety of electronic forms to communicate with you throughout the year.  Our primary mode of communication will be Class Dojo, so it is important that you sign up for your child’s classroom.  While Dojo is an effective tool, we will be sending a virtual Newsletter every two weeks to keep you informed of the key information.  We will utilize SwiftK12 (phone call and email system) to make important announcements (weather closures, key information), we try not to use this method a lot because we use Dojo as the primary mode of communication.  Finally, be on the lookout via Social Media.  Ms. Vargas, our Marketing and PR Coordinator, posts on a frequent basis to keep you and the greater Durham community informed about all the great activities going on at Kestrel. 

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Changes for the 2021-2022 School Year

Staff at Kestrel Heights engage in Mind Brain Education (MBE) in partnership with Neuroteach Global and the Center for Transformative Teaching & Learning (CTTL). MBE equips Kestrel Heights staff with the knowledge and skills to design instruction with the latest brain science in mind. Through MBE, we will be able to develop strategies to improve scholar achievement, well-being, and the whole-school experience. 

After two decades of pioneering work in brain research, the education community has realized that understanding the brain can help open new pathways to improve teaching, learning, working memory, and executive functioning. In addition, neuroscientists have established that the brain has a highly robust and well-developed capacity to change in response to environmental demands, a process called neuroplasticity. By strategically addressing the learning environment, curriculum design, pedagogy and assessment, and scholar well-being, Kestrel Heights staff are empowered to be brain-changers. 

Guided Reading and Guided Math are methods by which teachers can re-teach or reinforce specific skills or strategies with a small group of students who have similar needs. Both guided Reading and Guided Math foster critical thinking and deepen conceptual understanding. Through small-group instruction, teachers’ educational decisions are based on student achievement data to plan the Guided Reading and Guided Math lessons.

Guided Reading and Guided Math:

  • Allows students to practice with the direct support of the teacher
  • Provides an environment where students can work towards independence with support and feedback
  • Allows teachers to choose texts, math problems, or objectives that specifically meet the needs of each individual learner
  • Creates smaller learning communities within the classroom; these groups are flexible and change as needed

We have a lot more to share about the positive changes to Kestrel this year.  We will be sharing in many different ways; from newsletters, on-campus events, and virtual events.  I am very much looking forward to a wonderful year at Kestrel.  I encourage you to get involved with Kestrel through our PTA (pta@kestrelheights.org).  Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can answer any questions or assist you and your family.  This year we will all SOAR together!

Sincerely,

Dr. Mark Tracy
Executive Director/Middle School Director
tracy@kestrelheights.org
(w) 919-484-1300 ext 201
(c) 240-535-6362

Life is a learning process; learning is a life-long process. You can’t separate the two.
Vivienne Forrester