We Exist to Inspire

Providence Day School exists to inspire in its students a passion for learning, a commitment to personal integrity, and a sense of social responsibility.

An independent, college preparatory school, grades Transitional Kindergarten through 12

Providence Day Magazine

FALL 2016 - On the cover
In our commitment to developing global citizens and leaders, PDS's TK through 12th grade curriculum includes learning about other countries, cultures and global issues, attending multicultural events, receiving leadership training and having opportunities to participate in international travel and exchanges.

Read the full edition by clicking here (PDF file), or read selected Highlights below:

The Center of Innovations

Creative Approaches Employed to Help Faculty Achieve Goals

Faculty and staff wanting to develop or implement new concepts or approaches that enhance teaching and learning now have a go-to resource at “the Center” of their instructional goals.

The Center isn’t a physical place, yet it abounds with tools and possibilities. It is a collective of skilled personnel committed to one of Providence Day’s core tenets — inspiring and supporting others.

More specifically, the group is tasked with empowering their fellow faculty and staff to “take action to close the gap between who we are and who we aspire to be” — the Center’s mantra.

The Center’s support is administered in three specific phases of innovating — opportunity development, solution development and impact development. These are influenced by the principles and practices of human-centered design, a design and management framework that develops solutions to problems by involving the human perspective in all steps of the problem-solving process.

“Opportunity development actively encourages our faculty and staff to seek to better understand any opportunities for growth,” said Matt Scully, Digital Integration and Innovation director. “Solution development is a process-driven phase where we seek to design, prototype, re-iterate and implement solutions.”

Impact development may be the most important phase, noted Scully.

“Here we strive to collect data, stories, artifacts and more that helps us determine the impact of the implemented solution,” he said. “It is our hope that impact development will lead to the opportunity to share our lessons learned with others.”

Centrifugal Motion
The Center’s origins started with the idea that the Technology team needed to re-purpose and re-focus on something “beyond just the tech tools,” said Scully, if they were to continue assisting PDS in becoming a world-class educational institution.

“We were rapidly growing to where we needed to focus on the intentional and deliberate use of tech tools to create the learning spaces necessary to support our students,” he said. “This led to multiple conversations over the last four to five years about the needs of our community and how to best serve them.”

Conversations ensued with school leaders, Board of Trustee members and outside organizations that primarily focused on the question that became the Center’s mantra: “How do we mind the gap between who we are and who we aspire to be?"

A shift was needed, said Scully, “to become more innovative by focusing on the instructional strategies. We must be intentional, deliberate and disciplined in how we pursue our aspirations.”

The Center, then, is the attempt to re-purpose existing resources and personnel to create support mechanisms that can support faculty and staff in designing, implementing and assessing innovative new approaches that narrow the gap.

Hence Scully’s title change from Director of Technology to Digital Integration and Innovation. In his redefined role, Scully focuses on coordinating the Center and developing innovative opportunities and partnerships with organizations that can help PDS and its partners reach desired goals.

PDS’s Instructional Technology Specialists Shannon Welton and Susan Stiefel are now Instructional Strategists who will focus on supporting faculty in achieving their instructional goals.

“The changes in titles mirror the changes to job responsibilities that free these roles to support our faculty in any element of crafting new instructional opportunities — from iPads to crayons,” said Scully.

Joining them in the Center are P.E. teacher Emily Carrara as Community Strategist, who will be focused on human-centered design; and English teacher Ryan Welsh as Design Strategist, who will be focused on design thinking — design-specific cognitive activities applied during the process of designing.

Additionally, all faculty and staff are part of the Center, said Scully. When an opportunity for growth and innovation arises, a group of faculty and staff will be convened to help develop solutions and assist with the implementation.

“It will be different groups for different opportunities,” said Scully.

Thus far the Center has supported several projects, including last year’s 6th grade capstone experience — which resulted in 6th-graders participating in a collaborative, problem-solving event to end their first year in Middle School.

“Through such projects, the Center has helped the Providence Day School community embrace opportunities for innovation, partnerships and collaborative thought,” said Carrara.|

“We anticipate the Center will be partnering with each division to engage in yearlong projects to support each division's instructional goals and needs,” said Scully.

Three-phase Approach
The Center has developed a three-phase approach to supporting innovation in all facets of the PDS community:

1) Opportunity development: Working with teachers, school leaders and staff to identify and understand growth opportunities.
2) Solution development: A team-oriented, collaborative approach to designing and implementing new innovations or solutions.
3) Impact development: Collecting data and stories to understand the effects and outcomes of the implemented solution.

Web Extras
To read more about the 2016 6th-grade capstone experience, click here.

Worldly Pursuits

PDS Reigns as a Leader in Global Education and Initiatives

Providence Day School is committed to developing student leaders who possess the necessary skills, knowledge and character traits to succeed and make a positive difference in our 21st century interconnected world.

PDS’s global emphasis is infused throughout the TK through 12th grade curriculum, through which students learn about other countries, cultures and global issues; have opportunities to participate in international travel and exchanges; attend multicultural events; receive leadership training; and more.

The school’s global-minded journey began in 2002, after then-Headmaster Gene Bratek returned from a global studies conference sponsored by World View, a public service of UNC-Chapel Hill that provides educators with professional development and resources for global education.

He was inspired by what he had learned and eager to introduce a global education program at PDS.

“Dreaming up the elements of such a program was challenging and fun,” recalled Bratek, who discussed his ideas with the Board of Trustees.

“Much to my surprise, the Trustees showed great enthusiasm for this vision,” he said. “I was charged with making it happen.”

The History Department had already been entertaining global endeavors, according to Upper School History Department Chair Ted Dickson — hosting foreign visitors through International House, sponsoring WorldQuest teams and organizing meetings of the S.P.A.M. (Society for the Political Advancement of Mankind) club, which was founded by students as a multi-partisan place to discuss and debate current local, national and international political events and issues.

The department also had been busy updating its curriculum. PDS was one of the first schools to offer the new AP World History course in 2001-02, the first academic year it was created by the College Board.

In 2003 Dickson won the U.S. State Department’s United States-Eurasia Award for Excellence in Teaching and went on a State Department-sponsored trip to Russia, where he worked and lived with teachers and their students to help build understanding between the two cultures.

Bratek wanted to find ways to share international experiences such as Dickson’s with the entire school, so he enlisted Dickson and others to explore options and possibilities.

First Steps into a Larger World
One of the school’s first actions was to introduce a speaker series that addressed global topics and events.

“We had professors from various colleges and universities agree to offer their views,” said Bratek. “These events were free and open to the public.”

Soon Anna Wilbanks was hired as the first Global Studies director. Among her initial goals was to further develop the speaker series and to organize international trips for students and teachers.

In 2004, a committee was formed to re-examine the school’s direction regarding global education.

“We took an incremental and deliberate approach, reading articles and books, researching what we were already doing on campus so we could build on existing strengths, and partnering with global groups in Charlotte and North Carolina, including World View, VIF International Education and International House,” said Dickson. “We focused on why we thought global education was important and what our vision and goals should be.”

That year, Katy Field was hired as the History Department’s first global studies teacher. She and Dickson worked together to design the new Global Issues classes and eventually the Global Leadership course.

The school’s introspective process also led to two of PDS’s most ambitious initiatives — the renowned Global Studies Diploma in 2005 and the Global Educator Certificate (GEC) in 2008.

“Gene Bratek realized that not only was it important to get students traveling abroad to experience different cultures, it was even more important for teachers,” said Dr. Loren Fauchier, PDS’s Global Education director since 2007.

“Teachers who meaningfully travel abroad and bring that experience back to the classroom can influence students to grasp the importance of being curious about and understanding different cultures,” he said. “If teachers are excited about understanding countries, cultures and global issues, their students will be, too.”

To help offset costs associated with overseas travel, Wilbanks had applied to the Edward E. Ford Foundation, which awarded PDS a $50,000 matching gift challenge. Marc and Barbara Desoer, who were PDS parents at the time, saw the value of a global-minded faculty and fulfilled the match by making a commitment of $100,000.

“With the grant funding in hand, the Global Education office began sending Upper School teachers to various parts of the world,” said Fauchier.

The GEC has rigorous certification requirements, including travel experiences in two different parts of the world or cultures.

For each trip, they study the language of the culture; visit a school or stay with a host family, if possible; document their experiences via journals and photographs; and then make presentations to the PDS community about what they’ve learned.

Since its inception, 35 teachers have completed the program, traveling to 20 countries from Japan and Egypt to Russia to Honduras. Twenty-seven are currently in the program.

5th-grade teacher Laura (Hunter) Martin ’99, who traveled to both Japan (in summer 2015) and Jordan (in March 2016) to earn her GEC, said the experiences help her to relate to her students what is going on elsewhere in the world.

“Through my trip to Amman, I was able to connect with many NGOs that are working to aid refugees in the area,” she said. “One of those relationships has developed into a yearlong service project (‘Reading for Refugees’) that the entire 5th grade is participating in this year to benefit the Collateral Repair Project.”

Over time, PDS has become even more strategic in where teachers go and what they learn and experience, said Fauchier.

“As students learn global competencies such as how to investigate and understand different worldviews, or to work and communicate respectfully with different peoples locally and globally, our teachers need to be culturally literate about key countries and cultures that our students will study,” he said. “Traveling there adds a personal dimension for the teacher to share along with all of the information available to students today.”

Broadening Borders
Since joining PDS in 2007, Fauchier has collaborated with colleagues to continually grow and improve the Global Education program.

“He worked with teachers to create new curriculum, including (English teacher) Ian Kutner’s summer art trips to Europe, the P.E. department’s International Games, (History teacher) John Compton’s Comparative Government class and many others,” said Dickson.

Fauchier created a point system for tracking global students’ extracurricular activities and added more student trips and exchanges for Upper and Middle School students.

He also helped foster the evolution of the Global Leadership course, which now includes a trip to Washington, D.C., more leadership training and an on-campus project in addition to the signature final paper. That project focuses on addressing a global issue and is presented to a panel of teachers, parents, trustees and alumni.

“The course identifies and helps develop each student’s leadership vision and skills, and requires them to write a major research and solutions paper that strengthens their global issues thinking,” said Fauchier.

The number and type of global curriculum courses has greatly increased, as have travel abroad opportunities.

“When I first started, there were five trips offered a year. Now we offer nine to 10 trips annually with new ones developing each year, such as to Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar,” said Fauchier. “We also offer Middle School trips to places like Spain, Peru and Japan.”

And in line with PDS’s mission to inspire a sense of social responsibility, PDS has service-learning trips to South Africa, Belize and soon to Tanzania.

Campus and off-campus global activities also have expanded. In addition to the monthly Global Speakers Series, students can hear global speakers downtown at World Affairs Council Charlotte-sponsored events, and they may attend events sponsored by the American Council on Germany or the Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Charlotte.

Over the last few years, the Global Education office has organized a “Global Week” for the entire school with the motto “Excite, Educate, Empower.” Each Global Week is linked to a global theme, such as water or environmental sustainability.

This past year, PDS hosted its first global summit, during which students from Denmark and Nigeria joined PDS GSD students for a week of design thinking to create visions and plans to improve environmental practices on each of the students’ campuses.

“We also find teachers Skyping with their students abroad in such places as Jordan,” noted Fauchier.

Most recently, PDS was officially inducted as a member of Round Square International during the 2016 Round Square International Conference in Güby, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany in October. PDS is one of only three schools in North America accepted into Round Square, a worldwide network of 150 schools in 40 countries across five continents who abide by holistic ideals such as service, leadership and democracy.

Membership offers schools a framework for excellence and continuous improvement, along with structured opportunities to collaborate and share experiences with like-minded peers around the world.

“This network greatly expands the number of schools PDS can partner with for student and teacher interactions, both virtually and physically,” said Fauchier. Fauchier’s Global Ed team has grown, as well.

In 2012, Katie Kirkland ’03 was hired as associate director and, this academic year, Jeremiah Rosenfels was hired as PDS’s third Global Leadership teacher.

Through Fauchier, PDS had a role in helping create the Global Education Benchmark Group, a network of more than 130 schools. The group’s mission is to improve global education practices and promote global citizenship. Fauchier currently serves as assistant executive director of the board for that group.

“That group started out as an organization to look at schools like ours and what we do globally,” Fauchier said. “Now the largest independent school global education group, it’s become a force for change.”

Fauchier’s insights and experiences helped him earn the National Association of Independent School (NAIS) 2014 Global Citizen Award, presented annually to an individual for outstanding contributions to global education.

“It means a lot to me because I’ve worked hard to promote global education,” he said. “But this also brings recognition to our Global Studies Diploma program, which started (in 2005) and is now being copied in different ways by independent schools across the country.”

Web Extras
For more information on PDS Global Education, click here. For more information on the GEC, click here.

Developing Dispositions

PDS Pushes Boundaries with Global Studies Diploma

PDS was the first school in the nation to create a Global Studies Diploma (GSD) for Upper School students in 2005.

The GSD's purpose is to develop within students an ability to appreciate and value differences locally and globally and to develop into active global citizens.

Endorsed by the National Association of Independent Schools, the Global Educators Benchmark Group and UNC-Chapel Hill’s World View initiative, the program has grown over the decade to include a set of global competencies that integrate global knowledge, skills and character dispositions.

Other schools have taken notice.

“It’s telling that a number of independent schools have adopted programs similar to the GSD,” said Loren Fauchier, Global Education director. “This shows both its importance and impact.”

To receive the GSD along with their high school diplomas at Commencement, students must take additional required and elective courses covering all disciplines, attend extracurricular activities on and off campus, and participate in global cross-cultural experiences, including travel abroad and/or hosting international exchange students at home.

“GSD students enhance the experience of all PDS students because they enrich all of their classes — especially their history courses — with their experiences and skills,” said Ted Dickson, Upper School History Department chair.

The program culminates with a Global Leadership course that includes a trip, leadership training, final paper and project that focuses on addressing a global issue and is presented to a panel of teachers, parents, trustees and alumni.

The program’s origins began in 2004, when a committee of PDS faculty and staff examined the school’s direction regarding global education. Among the outcomes was the GSD.

“When we designed the program, we expected that the first students who could complete the requirements and earn the GSD would be members of the class of 2008 or 2009,” recalled Dickson.

However, four members of the Class of 2007 — Colby Anderson, Hannah Carr, John Horne and Brittany Stockman — eagerly requested to pursue the GSD.

“They found ways to complete appropriate course work — including one (Hannah Carr) taking a summer course in Ireland — and they became the first four GSD recipients,” said Dickson.

Eighteen seniors earned their GSDs in June 2016, bringing the total to 157. Currently 93 students are in the program, the highest so far in a year.

The number and type of global curriculum courses has greatly increased, as have the travel abroad opportunities and campus and off-campus global activities.

And with PDS’s recent induction into Round Square International, a worldwide network of 150 schools in 40 countries across five continents founded by German educator Kurt Hahn, the GSD program created a Student Advisory Board.

“In line with Kurt Hahn’s ideal of democracy, these student leaders will be responsible for gathering recommendations from all GSD students to improve the program and increasingly take on responsibility roles for running the program,” said Fauchier.

The newly-elected members are sophomore Rhea Bhagia, junior Hayden Clay and senior Alex Smith.

Other responsibilities include exploring ways for PDS to fulfill the six pillars associated with being a Round Square school — democracy, internationalism, adventure, service, environmentalism and leadership.

Fauchier aims to continue growing the GSD in the context of implementing a TK through 12th grade global curricular framework dubbed the “PD Passport.” Based on Dr. Glyn Cowlishaw’s “Head Strategic Vision 2014-2018” and research by Derrick Willard, Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs, “the famework will ensure every PDS student will gain the necessary global competencies to be an effective global citizen.”

Global Studies Diploma
The GSD's purpose is to develop within the students an ability to appreciate and value differences locally and globally and to develop the understanding, skills and character dispositions to become active global citizens.

In the short term, the GSD guides students to:
-- develop a global citizenship lens by helping them understand commonalities among all cultures
-- appreciate new knowledge systems and ways of thinking
-- promote the value of living to sustain the planet
-- understand that global issues are complex and connected
-- demonstrate tolerance, active empathy and a high proficiency in a spoken world language
-- develop a genuine concern for world problems and commitment to finding solutions

In the longer term, the GSD has helped students:
-- enter prestigious colleges and universities
-- select majors and jobs with global reach and impact
-- work in global fields as diverse as international business, government, teaching, engineering and international justice

From Problems to Positives

Problem-Based Learning Gives Students Essential Real-world Skills

To better help prepare students for college and beyond, Providence Day School is getting creative with its curriculum.

While still stressing traditional literacies in English, history, science and math, PDS also assesses applications of creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication — consistently the “top skills desired by employers,” said Derrick Willard, Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs.

As such, PDS continues to embrace new project- or problem-based learning courses that put students in more authentic, open-ended learning situations, said Willard.

In project-based learning classes, students have a great deal of control over the projects on which they’ll work, but the projects may or may not address specific problems.

In problem-based learning, specific problems are presented by the instructors and students work individually or in teams over a period of time to develop solutions to the problems — these type of courses, which typically have fewer students (10-15), require self-motivation and self-discipline as the teachers typically provide the pace and deadlines but do not lay out specific homework or objectives each day.

“These courses put a premium on creative problem-solving and communicating solutions,” said Willard.

Recently-added problem-based learning courses include Middle School’s Engineering the Future and Upper School’s Computer Assisted Design/3D Printing, STEM Research and Design, Writing in the Digital Age and Social Entrepreneurship. The courses came about in different ways and for different reasons.

“When Upper School students approached us about more STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) opportunities, the Science Department developed STEM Research and Design as well as Engineering Design Challenges,” said Willard. “The CAD/3D Printing course was tied to the school creating a makerspace. Writing in the Digital Age was a teacher’s own idea.”

Charging Collaboratively
After co-advising the Upper School student newspaper club for several years, English teacher Matt Spence saw potential to enhance the process and outcome.

“My co-advisor and I recognized that our student writers were quite good at writing analytical essays, but often didn’t know how to compose and format articles for a news periodical,” he said. “We also observed the students in the club had little knowledge of the principles of layout and design, and there was no time during the school week to teach them these things.”

With tools easily available to enhance articles with photos, video and sound, Spence drafted the Writing in the Digital Age course to help students harness technology and social media to effectively share their work with a global audience.

“I want students to realize their ideas are important, and through digital media they have the ability to share them with a wide audience,” said Spence. “There is power in this, the power to influence the way people think about the world around them. However, there is also responsibility.”

Students play a critical role in their own success. They collaborate to produce monthly editions of The Charger online newspaper, making editorial decisions about content and layout while working under constant deadlines.

The students learn that “one weak article, one poorly-formed sentence, one unsupported assertion can undermine the credibility of the entire edition,” said Spence. “So they realize that the production of a magazine is a collaborative effort, and if the publication is to be successful, everyone has to work hard to help each other.”

PDS’s commitment to social responsibility and global citizenship provides themes for the course, and regular student input is encouraged by Spence.

“Following the publication of our first edition in 2015, a few seniors came to me and asked if the course could take on more challenging topics and add more dynamic elements to the publication,” said Spence.

It was the start of a yearlong project in which Spence and students met frequently to propose new topics, units and policies.

“All of this is important because I want students to have a key role in shaping their own education,” he said.

Living the Mission
The Social Entrepreneurship course was one Willard encouraged into fruition after learning of the “Paperclip Project” of Jesse Downs, Admissions associate director.

The endeavor began due to “small frustrations” that nagged Downs while teaching 9th-grade economics.

“The first was the misconception that economics is only about money,” said Downs. “The second was that, because they are ‘only in 9th grade,’ their involvement in the economy was something that they would have to wait for until they were adults, or at least until they had a job.”

Inspired by the “One Red Paperclip” story of Canadian blogger Kyle McDonald, who bartered his way from a single red paperclip to a house in a series of fourteen online trades over the course of a year, Downs launched the Paperclip Project in 2015.

“I handmade a dozen PDS clock tower logo paperclips and challenged teams of students to ‘trade up’ their paperclips toward making a positive impact on others,” said Downs.

After the students exceeded his modest expectations — they contributed nearly $14,000 worth of goods and services to individuals and organizations in Charlotte, Chicago and South Africa) — Downs attended an entrepreneurial studies workshop last summer to help turn the paperclip concept into a problem-based, experiential learning course, which will be taught this spring.

Social Entrepreneurship is designed to guide and propel students through the knowledge and processes necessary to launch businesses that create social value to collaboratively problem-solve to develop and implement creative business models that sustainably address real-world social problems.

“While I will introduce them to some entrepreneurial processes, the real takeaway for students should be the discovery and cultivation of an entrepreneurial mindset within themselves,” said Downs. “By the end of the course, students should realize their individual and collective capacity to shape their futures and the world around them.”

“And, of course, given my commitment to PDS's mission, specifically with regard to social responsibility, students should leave having made a positive impact on others, driving their passion to do more,” he said.

Willard would like to see project- and problem-based approaches in more Middle and Upper School courses.

“You can already see some of this happening in the 6th grade capstone event that has replaced end-of-year exams,” he said.

The capstone event provides a collaborative, problem-solving experience for the 6th-graders to apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired and practiced throughout the year.

Last May, students were tasked to create a policy, product or experience that would help build a better community at PDS based on their chosen topics. Three “executable” projects were chosen to be nurtured this school year.

Project- and problem-based learning affords students the opportunity to make an impact in the world right now, said Downs.

“Beyond ‘solving’ problems on paper or within the confines of the classroom, I think that it's mission critical that our students test their solutions and get feedback from beyond the limits of our campus,” he said. “It can create opportunities for our students to live the mission and shape our communities — at PDS and beyond.”

Web Extra
To learn more about Jesse Downs’ Paperclip Project, click here.

NetWORK for Success

Program Provides Valuable Work Experience for Alumni

Providence Day School helps Chargers gain valuable real-world skills and abilities needed to be successful — while in the classroom and even after they’ve graduated.

The PD NetWORK, a new program managed by the Office of Institutional Advancement, helps provide internship and mentorship opportunities in various industries for young alumni as a means of developing professional experience.

“We listened to our alumni through conversations and surveys, and internship and mentor opportunities were a common theme,” said Jeffrey Appel, Associate Head of School for Institutional Advancement. “We reached out to our Providence Day community and connected with several companies in need of interns who were willing to provide opportunities for our alumni.”

The endeavor stems from the Institutional Advancement office’s goal of outreach to and engagement with PDS’s alumni community.

Other initiatives include hosting alumni events both in Charlotte and around the country, and establishing chapters in various cities with large alumni populations.

Nine young alumni have already participated in PD NetWORK, having chosen from among 11 internship opportunities this past summer. The feedback has been positive, said Bondurant.

“They gained valuable experience in their respective roles and felt they were better prepared for life after college and the business world,” said Steve Bondurant ’98, Alumni Relations director.

“My experience working for SHARE Charlotte was amazing and fulfilling. I was able to learn new skills and hone old ones,” said Mac Willard ’14, who interned as a writing and social media coordinator.

SHARE Charlotte is a community engagement platform that connects people with nearly 400 local nonprofits and organizes community-wide giving campaigns.

Willard, who is majoring in psychology at Ohio Wesleyan University, got to cultivate a variety of skills and interests, including visual/digital assignments, event photography and marketing strategies while he and fellow Class of 2014 graduate Miah Murphy assisted with the SummerSHARE campaign, a collection drive to benefit nonprofits.

“They handled logistics for events, helped us distribute marketing material around the city and helped us form additional relationships with local businesses,” said Amy Jacobs, SHARE Charlotte’s campaign and sales manager. “They helped us document processes, outline marketing plans, execute social media promotions and with general community outreach.”

The interns “youthful perspective” was invaluable, said Jacobs, because it helped the organization better engage one of their primary demographics — young professionals.

“Their knowledge of social media helped our nonprofit partners expand their abilities to market themselves through that medium during our campaign,” she said. “As a nonprofit, we could never have afforded to pay for all the things they helped us accomplish.”

It was Willard’s first time working behind the scenes on such a campaign.

“This experience will help me work on other marketing and social media campaigns in the future,” he noted.

Likewise, Julia Marx ’15 found her internship with SHARE Charlotte to be beneficial.

“One of my biggest roles … was researching and compiling information about poverty issues from a local to global scale and then presenting my findings,” she said.

Marx, who is majoring in Biology of Global Health and minoring in economics at Georgetown University, worked with Kelly Brooks, SHARE Charlotte’s CEO, to brainstorm and develop a meaningful social responsibility program.

“We took static information, brainstormed and created meaningful strategies and outlines for an effective program,” said Brooks. “ I would have never had the time to do the amount of research Julia did, which made the project deeper and richer.”

Throughout the process, Marx learned much about the charities and organizations that assist people in need throughout the Charlotte area.

“Not only did I gain valuable work experience, but I also felt and saw the need to do good for others,” she said. “I am pre-med and hope to become a doctor, and this internship reinforced my desire to help people.”

Ross Vandermore ’15, who is studying finance with concentrations in banking and risk management at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, undertook an internship with AccruePartners, a Charlotte-area staffing agency, along with fellow Class of 2015 graduate Christian Ortiz.

“What initially attracted me to this particular industry was the substantial amount of learning potential it offered,” said Vandermore. “Not only was I interested in learning about various lines of business and industries, but I also wanted to know how to present myself in a way that attracted employers and what the interview process was like with larger companies.”

Vandemore’s primary duties included locating qualified candidates for various roles across a variety of industries and companies. The experience and insights gained were incredibly beneficial, he said.

“I learned so many valuable skills and lessons that you can’t get in the classroom,” said Vandermore. “I was fortunate enough to learn all I had hoped to and even more over these last few months.”

Ortiz, a business major planning to concentrate in consulting and finance at UNC-Chapel Hill, assisted with candidate searches as well as research projects on specific job markets. He created reports that outlined demographics, job markets, target companies and contracts.

As a college sophomore, he felt his internship with AccruePartners couldn’t have come at a better time.

“It not only gave me insight into the intricacies of landing a job, but also prepared me to start thinking about my future career,” said Ortiz. “The employees at AccruePartners were not solely focused on teaching me how to do the task at hand … rather, they stressed the importance of growth and professional development.”

The rewards haven’t been one-sided. Companies participating in the PD NetWORK gave positive reports about the alumni involved, noted Bondurant.

According to Patty Comer, AccruePartners’ co-founder and partner, PDS alumni have been consistently the “top performers” in her company’s internship program.

“Christian and Ross specifically took great pride in their work, sought out mentors and came to work each day prepared and unafraid to ask questions in a very grown-up world,” said Comer.

Jacobs said SHARE Charlotte’s PDS interns were equally impressive.

“Our nonprofit partners also shared with us that they were particularly impressed with the caliber of our interns,” she said. “Many of the nonprofits got to meet (them) and they wanted to know where they could also find such fantastic, quality interns.”

The Institutional Advancement Office plans to expand the program to provide even more opportunities this coming summer and beyond.

“We are continuing to have conversations with companies and gauging their interests in participating and providing positions,” said Bondurant.

He encourages organizations — especially those owned or managed by PDS parents, alumni parents or alumni — looking for high-level help during the summer months to contact the Institutional Advancement office to discuss the benefits and the process of the program.

Comer recommends that employers consider partnering with the PD NetWORK.

“Each PDS alumni intern has surpassed our expectations, adding business value and creativity, and are so refreshing in the work environment with their thirst for knowledge about the employment landscape,” she said.

Bondurant also wants to hear from alumni.

“If alumni are looking for internships or mentors, please reach out,” he said. “We are excited about this upcoming year and discovering where this program can go.”

Nine young alumni have recently participated in the PD NetWORK:

-- Christian Ortiz ’15 and Ross Vandemore ’15 with Accrue Partners
-- Allison Kelly '13 with Employee Benefits of the Carolinas
-- Nicole Copsis ’12, Mac Willard ’14, Miah Murphy ’14 and Julia Marx ‘15 with SHARE Charlotte
-- Victoria Cassell ‘14 with Classroom Central
-- Guille Henegar ’13 with the PDS Office of Institutional Advancement

Want to Participate?
If you want to participate in the PD NetWORK, contact Steve Bondurant ’98 at 704-887-6039 or steve.bondurant@providenceday.org.

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