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​Amber Brandt

Amber works tirelessly with NHA staff members to create captivating, insightful articles that are relevant to both parents and teachers alike.

Author's Articles

Principal Kerry Chisnall Interview

by: Amber Brandt

posted: 11/30/17

Every person has a unique story to tell, and when Principal Kerry shares his, you can’t help but be intrigued — partially because his thick New Zealand accent is so fun to hear, but especially because his story is all about overcoming. Principal Kerry knows what it means to persevere and adapt. He’s experienced first-hand what a difference education can make in the life of a child....(Read More)

#STEM is now #STEAM

by: Amber Brandt

posted: 11/13/17

For several years, great emphasis has been placed on incorporating STEM-based initiatives into classrooms across the country. This push to integrate more “Science, Technology, Engineering and Math” has helped educators find new and innovative ways to present curriculum, creatively blurring the lines between the four subjects to demonstrate how they work in tandem, and a fresh approach to future careers students can consider....(Read More)

Coding for Kids - it's never too early to learn!

by: Amber Brandt

posted: 10/23/17

Many people think programming is too difficult or technical for everyday people to learn. Not only is this untrue — it’s disproven each day by children busy building digital worlds online. Coding isn’t reserved for computer nerds geniuses, it’s accessible to everyday people online or in a classroom down the street.
With the advent of games like Minecraft and countless apps that make coding entertaining, computer programming has never been more popular or easy to learn. Experts recommend encouraging children to learn coding for a variety of reasons:

...(Read More)

How to Raise a Respectful Kid

by Amber Brandt
posted: 10/10/17

"One of the best lessons a child can learn is “a little kindness goes a long way.” Respectful people have an easier time building healthy relationships, navigating through tough decisions (because they realize their behaviors directly impact others) and ultimately help them earn respect from others. Raising a respectful kid does them a true favor. As a parent, you can set your child on course toward developing empathy and respect simply by demonstrating the behavior yourself. Here are a few ideas to consider:...(Read More)

Finding a better future though a charter school education

by: Amber Brandt

posted: 9/26/17

Did you know National Heritage Academies students gain the equivalent of 70 additional days of instruction over traditional public schools? While this statistic sounds staggering, it’s just one of the impressive findings from Stanford University’s 2017 CREDO study of charter schools.   
CREDO, the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford, is an organization that focuses solely on analysis and strategic planning for improving public education. Their insights are highly regarded and often used to help educators audit the effectiveness of programs and initiatives, while determining how to strengthen policies and accountability. In this particular study, CREDO compared the performance of a charter school student with their “virtual twin” at a traditional school to compile their research analysis. We couldn’t be more thrilled with the results...(Read More)

Play-Doh and its Distant Cousin, Slime

by: Amber Brandt
posted: 9/15/17

​Play-Doh has provided countless hours of fun and smiles to kids the world over. It even has it’s own national holiday, September 16th! …But do you know its history?
Sold originally as a wallpaper cleaner by inventor Joe McVicker, the malleable modeling compound quickly found small-town popularity after a teacher told McVicker that many of her students found modeling clay too difficult to work with.

Realizing his cleaning product could serve as a great substitute, McVicker began sending samples to local Cincinnati schools. Students and teachers alike loved the product and McVicker eventually showcased the clay at a national education convention in 1955.... (Read More)

Trade Kindergarten Jitters for Success

by Amber Brandt

posted 8/29/17

The process of growing up is full of “firsts.” Many firsts feel very nerve-wracking, and all carry at least some measure of uncertainty. At some point, every person faces a “first” that leaves them wondering if they’ll be good enough, if they’ll fit in, if they’ll know what to do. These experiences can stir up all sorts of emotions and require a good dose of bravery.

Your Kindergartener is no different. They’re facing one of the biggest “firsts” of their young life — starting school. Separation anxiety can be a real beast, but there are a few things you can do to help lessen your child’s worries...(Read More)

Summer Reading Challenge - Take on a Classic

by Amber Brandt
posted 8/4/17

This summer we’re featuring reading ideas for the whole family. In June, we brought you reading recommendations based on age, and last month we wrangled some of the best summer reading challenges from around the web.
This month we thought it would be fun to close out the summer with a few good old classics no one should miss! Here are a list of award-winning must-reads for everyone under your roof (or those lying leisurely in your hammock). As a fun bonus, almost all of these books have been made into movies, or are scheduled for release very soon. Read then cozy up together to watch your favorites come alive on-screen. Enjoy...(Read More)

Ten Free Things to do with Your Kids This Summer

by Amber Brandt

posted: 7/17/17

  1. Go bowling, for free! Have you heard of Kids Bowl Free? Register your child to receive 2 free games of bowling everyday this summer! Check the site for participating locations near you.
  2. Go to the library. There’s nothing better than curling up with a good book on a rainy day, except for spending a whole day at the library! Check your local branch (or those in nearby towns) for special events including puppet shows, summer reading programs, parties, special readings or musical acts...(Read More)

Take on a Summer Reading Challenge

by Amber Brandt

posted: 7/10/17

In May we brought you some great summer reading recommendations for the whole family. 

Want some more ideas for great poolside reads? Here are a few summer reading lists for adults:

  • Your Summer Reading List Recommended by Bill Gates
  • The Ultimate Summer Reading List from BookBub Blog
  • 2017 Reading List from Goodreads
  • Ultimate Summer Reading List from Harpers Bazaar
  • An Unusual Summer Reading List from The Washington Post...(Read More)

Our Ultimate Summer Grilling Guide

by Amber Brandt

posted: 6/26/17

Have you ever looked forward to an afternoon with friends and family over a delicious summer meal — only to be served a tough piece of meat or blackened veggies? Huge bummer.
Grilling doesn’t have to be intimidating with these tried-and-true tips and recipes. We promise you delicious, inventive barbecued food that’s cooked perfectly every time. Behold our Ultimate Summer Grilling Guide! We’ve wrangled some helpful tips, as well as a few suggestions sure to please even the pickiest little eater under your roof...(Read More)

Summer is a Great Time to Read!

by Amber Brand

posted: 6/8/17

Looking for an excuse to relax with a good book this summer? Here are three great reasons:

  1. A good book makes a great summer companion — lounging poolside or in a hammock. It even reduces stress!
  2. Summer learning loss is a real risk. Reading is an excellent way to fight it.
  3. Reading not only stimulates your child’s brain and helps them develop better speech skills, it can actually h​elp your relationship and improve their concentration. Even 5 minutes a day is an investment in your child, and you!...(Read More)

6 Ways to Inspire a Love of Poetry in Your Kids

by Amber Brandt

posted: 3/21/17

Poetry is one of the most powerful forms of literature and yet also one of the most neglected. But it doesn’t have to be! Reading poetry is a wonderful way to express emotion and explore culture together with your children. Here are some great ways to help your child become more familiar with poetry and cultivate a special appreciation for it....(Read More)

March - the Perfect Month to read

by Amber Brandt

posted: 3/6/17

Did you know March is National Reading Awareness Month? In honor of one of our favorite pastimes — reading — we’ve created a list of five books that honor
several special events happening throughout this month: Dr. Seuss’ birthday, Pi Day, St. Patrick’s Day, the First Day of Spring and World Poetry Day. Enjoy these books with your family or curled up in a cozy corner...(Read More)

9 Ways to Eliminate Stress at Drop Off and Pick Up

by Amber Brandt

posted: 2/20/17

Some of the most stressful moments of a parents’ day are behind the wheel… in the school parking lot. We’ve all been there. It’s early morning and you’re running late — or it’s the end of the day and you just want to get home. It’s easy to forget simple parking lot etiquette when you’ve got a lot on your mind, or worse yet the person in front of you clearly does!...(Read More)

Help your child with homework, without losing your mind

by Amber Brandt

posted: 2/6/17

Tired of homework headaches? Between busy work weeks and the pressure to get dinner on the table each night, it can be especially tricky to make room for homework without becoming stressed. Plus, there are actually quite a few benefits your child receives by completing homework.... (Read More)

National Winnie the Pooh Day

by Amber Brandt

posted: 1/18/17

Did you know today is National Winnie the Pooh Day? January 18th is the day chosen to celebrate our favorite “chubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff” in honor of his creator’s birthday, author A.A. Milne, born January 18, 1882.... (Read More)

Easy Lunches on the Go

by Amber Brandt

posted 1/5/17

Now that the holidays are over, many people are shifting their focus back to healthy eating, exercise and even re-prioritizing their lives. With so much on your plate, we thought it might be easy to make lunches mindless for a bit! Below we’ve pulled together some options that make assembling a healthy and tasty lunch a snap — for you and the kids.... (Read More)

Winter Reading Recommendations for the Whole Family

by Amber Brandt

posted: 12/19/16

Whether you live in a region that experiences snow or not, holiday break is a great time for families to hunker down, get cozy and spend time reading together, or alone. We’ve taken the guesswork out of this winter with a short list of book recommendations for every person in your home....(Read More)

Have Fun with Gingerbread this Season

by Amber Brandt

posted: 12/5/16

Not many confections symbolize the holidays quite the gingerbread house. First created in Germany during the 16th century, the elaborately decorated cookie-like houses quickly became associated with Christmas traditions and gained broad popularity after the story of Hansel and Gretel was published...(Read More)

Five Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Celebrations

by Amber Brandt

posted: 11/21/16

For many people the holiday season signals nostalgia — for others stress. But who says you have to do everything ‘just so?’ It’s important to remember that ultimately, Thanksgiving is about pausing to feel gratitude for the things and people in your life; making time to slow down and say “thank you.”... (Read More)

Principal Steve Pond Interview

by Amber Brandt

posted: 11/4/16

Even though his professional life has taken him from corporate training to professional sports management, Principal Steve Pond claims it was the “education bug” that bit him early in life and wouldn’t let go. But that’s just one of the reasons he’s so excited to open Peak Charter Academy in Apex, North Carolina....(Read More)

Make Learning Feel Like a Game

by Amber Brandt

posted: 10/24/16

Mary Poppins was definitely onto something when she said “Find the fun, and *snap* the job’s a game!” Everyone can agree that learning turns a fun corner when it’s incorporated into playtime. Plus, educational games are a great way to stimulate your child’s mind, or provide a fun opportunity to connect as a family.....(Read More)

Stop Bullying in its Tracks

by Amber Brandt

posted: 10/10/16

It’s no secret that bullying is one of the biggest threats to a child’s emotional and physical well-being, and has been for many years. Perhaps you’ve experienced it yourself. It’s painful, alienating and scary. Add in the prevalence of social media outlets available today, and suddenly bullying becomes an exponentially larger problem....(Read More)

Homework Help is Here

by Amber Brandt

posted: 9/27/16

It’s homework season, and even though evenings are particularly busy for most families, your support at home can make a huge difference for your child. According to research conducted by the Center for Public Education, Programs and interventions that engage families in supporting their children’s learning at home are linked to higher student achievement.” Here are five ways you can help your child get the most out of studying at home....(Read More)

Easy Weeknight Dinners

by Amber Brandt

posted: 9/14/16

Starting a new school year can feel hectic, no matter how well you planned ahead! And while there would probably be no complaints if you ordered takeout every night this week, intentionally sitting down around the table with a yummy dinner is a great way to debrief from the day and find your new fall family rhythm....(Read More)

What is Parental Partnership

by Amber Brandt

posted: 8/24/16

If you’re new to National Heritage Academies, the term “parental partnership” may be new to you — and it may sound daunting. But we assure you, it’s not! At NHA, we believe a student’s education begins at home — and that our schools should strive to build a strong connection between home and school for each scholar....(Read More)

Principal Christy Morrin Interview

by Amber Brandt

posted: 8/17/16

While Matthews Charter Academy will be opening its doors for the first time this fall, its roots in the educational landscape of southeastern North Carolina run deep — largely due to Principal Christy Morrin....(Read More)

Celebrate Book Lovers' Day in Style

by Amber Brandt

posted: 8/9/16

Did you know August 9th is National Book Lovers’ Day? (As if we needed another reason to celebrate our love of books!) Here are some fun ways you can celebrate a day between the pages with your kids or loved ones!....(Read More)

8 Tips to Transition from Summer to School

by Amber Brandt

posted: 7/25/16

The beginning of a new school year can be very exciting, and also overwhelming. It’s a lot for kids (and their parents) to trade long summer evenings, camping and cookouts for routines, early bed times and homework. Here are a few tips that might help to smooth out the transition....(Read More)

Interesting and Fun 4th of July Facts

By Amber Brandt

Posted: 6/28/2016

As we’re all keenly aware, “patriotism” can sometimes be a loaded or fuzzy word — especially during an election year! Hopefully, we can all agree the annual celebration of Independence Day is a good time to set partisanship aside and honor what makes our country great. But beyond parades, boating and fireworks, what does the 4th of July really mean? Here are some simple facts you can share with your kids about what the holiday represents!... (Read More)

Stop Summer Learning Loss in its Tracks

By Amber Brandt

Posted: 6/14/2016

Everyone knows kids need a healthy balance of learning and play, but maybe never as much as during the summer months. As temperatures rise, so does the risk of learning regression. Without an intentional focus on keeping your child’s brain engaged during their summer vacation, the natural “break... (Read More)

9 Ways to Finish the School Year Strong

Finding Your Summer Rhythm

By Amber Brandt

Posted: 5/17/2016

Transitions can be hard — and moving gracefully from the school year to summer break is no exception. Adjusting to new schedules, pressures, dynamics or obligations can sometimes clash with a litany of mixed emotions, causing frustration and stress... (Read More)

9 Ways to Finish the School Year Strong

By Amber Brandt

Posted: 5/4/2016

If you’ve ever put in a two-weeks’ notice at a place of employment, you know how difficult it can be to stay plugged in, even with the best of intentions. Your heart has already moved on to what’s ahead and your brain is struggling... (Read More)

What is "Blended Learning"?

By Amber Brandt

Posted: 4/18/2016

If you’ve heard the term “blended learning” and wondered what it meant, you’re not alone. In fact, this concept is new for many parents and even teachers! (Read More)

How to Raise a Compassionate Kid

By Amber Brandt

Posted: 4/07/2016

Each month at National Heritage Academies, we emphasize a moral focus throughout our curriculum. We incorporate the theme throughout class discussion, and do our best to personally recognize when a student exemplifies the quality in action. April’s focus is Compassion. (Read More)

15 Ways to Make Reading Fun

By Amber Brandt

Posted: 3/29/2016

Reading provides countless benefits including increased vocabulary, stronger analytical thinking skills, improved focus and stress reduction. But for some, it can also be a source of frustration. Here is a list of 15 ways you can help eliminate obstacles for your child and make reading fun! (Read More)

Boost Learning With One Simple Key

By Amber Brandt

Posted: 3/16/2016

As parents and caregivers, our role includes guiding and nurturing our children’s development in all areas of their life - which can sometimes feel like a tall order! Our lives are hectic and we’re bombarded with conflicting advice on the best way to parent. The good news...(Read More)

Everyday Learning Your Child Will Love

By Amber Brandt

Posted: 2/16/2016

If you’ve spent any significant time around children, you know they’re inquisitive. (Who knew it was possible to ask “why” six thousand times in one day!?) And while the “why” stage can feel draining at times, your child’s natural inclination toward curiosity and wonder is a really good thing...(Read More)





By Amber Brandt

Posted: 11/12/2015

In our schools every October our students study respect in class, what it means and why it’s important. This year we challenged our students to tell us in their own words what respect means to them in our Respectober Contest...(Read More)

What is Respect?

By Amber Brandt

Posted: 10/22/2015

During the month of October schools across the nation will be talking about National Bullying Prevention Month. Showing respect to each other is one way students can take an active role in preventing bullying...(Read More)

Science As You’ve Never Tasted It

By Amber Brandt

Posted: 7/15/2015

Many parents are on the lookout for clever ways to sneak vegetables into their kids’ favorite dishes. But did you know that some of their favorite snacks are actually sneaking in a science experiment, too? While most of us...(Read More)

Ten Simple Crafts to Boost Summer Creativity

By Amber Brandt

Posted: 6/15/2015

Remember the endless summer days you spent playing outside as a child? Technology had yet to advance much past the Nintendo, and if you were one of the lucky kids who actually had a gaming system, your mother was most definitely not going to let you sit in front of it all afternoon...(Read More)


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