As Seen in the Cherokee Scout: Tuition-free Public Charter School Offers Rich Program Across All Districts

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Murphy – The Learning Center, a tuition-free public charter school, continues to break ground with high-quality offerings in 21st century education. On-going facility improvements – including a newly renovated dining commons – are designed for rich academic opportunities on this “future-ready” campus.

The Learning Center! offers an E-STEAM (Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts/Agriculture, and Math) learning environment. The school’s education philosophy includes the belief that all young learners have the right to experience a broad, rich, and rigorous range of academics during the formative K-8 years. Additionally, the school offers an award-winning nutrition program, daily P.E., unique electives and extra-curricular opportunities. The school’s emphasis on healthy living, community involvement and high academic standards is designed to produce future-ready citizens. This tuition-free public charter school (K-8th) has NO district restrictions and accepts students across all counties.

The Learning Center’s Montessori Blend Kindergarten program has proven to be a strong approach to instruction for even the youngest learners. “We’ve had consistent success with the feeder Montessori Program that is located on our school campus,” said school director, Mary Jo Dyre.

The school’s “Above and Beyond” programs include Compacted Math classes for gifted students, Flexible Grouping in Math, K-4 chorus and a highly developed drama program. The upper grade’s CREW Program, in its second year of operation, promotes character development, goal setting and responsible behaviors.

More extras including National Honor Society, Odyssey of the Mind teams, “Academics and the Arts” artists-in-residency program, “Mini and Middle REAL” young entrepreneur program and Writers Club provide students with the opportunities to become all they can be.

Designated as a “USDA Healthier U.S. School” (Silver Level), The Learning Center! places a strong emphasis on its nutrition and exercise programs. The school also has a free breakfast and lunch program available for ALL students.

The Learning Center! serves approximately 200+ students and is open to both in and out-of-county students. There is no tuition for grades K through 8th. The school also features a Montessori private preschool, serving ages 3-5 years. After School programs are available for all ages. Summer Enrichment Programs such as “Engineering Camp” and Intervention programs are also offered.

For more information or to schedule a tour, call 828.835.7240. Visit www.naturallygrownkids.org, their blog (tlcgrowzone.org/blog) and FaceBook page (facebook.com/TLCGrowZonePage).

Why We Encourage Collaboration Between Grades

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We are proud to offer students a truly out-of-the-box K-8 education. Our learning space goes well beyond the walls of the classroom, and we strive to develop a strong sense of curiosity in our students alongside the importance of becoming life-long learners. This also means that we find opportunities to combine classes on special projects so that students are working with peers of different ages. After all, it is rare in life that you will only be with people of your own age!

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These photos show third grade students working with kindergarten students.  Kindergarten students had been learning about penguins and taught the third graders what they learned. The third graders then helped brainstorm and develop penguin habitats according to the younger students’ ideas. Not only did this collaboration encourage team work, sharpen problem solving and compromising skills, but students also had fun!

SolarFest August 20-21, 2017 at The Learning Center! Charter School

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Why Celebrate the Eclipse?

As educators, we know that learning by doing is the best teacher. This incredible, rare event gives us the opportunity to bring our Community of Learners together to witness the awesome effects of planetary motion! How could we pass that up?

We hope SolarFest gives our students and community a memorable, educational, and safe viewing experience!

Our educational booths

3D Printed Pinhole Projectors

Cross-Cultural Constellation Projectors

Solar Selfie Photobomb Booth

  • See a 3D printer make pinhole projectors – we got the design from NASA!

  • see other examples of pinhole cameras, and learn how they use light to capture an image

  • See examples constellations and learn how other cultures name them

  • create your own constellation projector to take home with you!

  • Act out the eclipse with your friends for the best eclipse selfie in town!

  • Sweet costumes will help you make this selfie pop!

Community Resources — Georgia Mountain Research and Education Center

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In May, third grade students visited the Georgia Mountain Research and Education Center. They learned about tree identification.  When they returned to school, they teamed up with Ms. Emily and began identifying trees in The Outdoor Learning Center. Students identified many varieties including Peach, Sassafras, Sycamore, Oak and Poplar trees.

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Teachers use community resources like the Georgia Mountain Research and Education Center to show students real life applications of things they learn in the classroom.  Of course a student can learn about a tree from a book, but it’s not until they are in the woods learning about leaves, bark, flowers and seeds that they make the deep connections that lead to life long learning.  Community partnerships are an integral piece of your child’s education at The Learning Center!

Living History Museum

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Back in May, upper grade students “opened” a Living History Museum to the younger grades. These older students each selected a historic figure and not only presented information about that person, but dressed like them as well. They essentially became that historical figure.

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For this project, these upper grade students had to synthesize the information they learned to create an exhibit representative of their subject. In order to select pivotal events or recreate significant circumstances in an individual’s life, students had to research the person but also critically evaluate the people, places, and events surrounding them in order to develop a powerful exhibit. Deciding on a format, selecting key material for younger students to understand, and putting it all in context required active learning and encouraged creative interpretation. As they worked, students needed to understand the subject and the world in which he or she lived.  Additionally, this Living History Museum introduced younger students to subjects relevant to their history studies beyond their reading ability.

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1st & 3rd Grades Build Garden Fairy Houses Together

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Before school let out for summer, students in first and third grades collaborated to construct fairy houses in the woods. Students found once they built a house they got other inhabitants such as ants, spiders and grasshoppers!
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Engineering Camp & Mini Maker Expo Coming Soon!

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The Learning Center! in Murphy, NC is one of nine stops across the U.S. for Engineering Camp, for rising sixth graders to twelfth graders. For four days, from July 17-20, from 9am to 4pm, Murphy area Engineering Camp students will be immersed in hands-on learning, using emerging technologies such as 3D printing, 3D CAD design, artificial intelligence, programming and physical computing in a fun and challenging environment.

AND, Mini-Maker Expo is Monday, July 17th from 6:00 – 8:30pm at our school and is geared for young inventors and makers from 1st grade through rising 5th graders.  The Murphy Mini-Maker Expo grabs kids by the eyeballs and sucks them into the world of inventing–2017 style!  No boring books or lectures or videos. Kids get their hands on 3D printers, Blinking LED art, and digital design software for making their ideas come to life.

The Mini-Maker Expo is designed as an eye-catching introduction to the world of innovation and inventing.  For two hours, kids are immersed in hands-on simulations designed to spark curiosity.  The energy in the room is crackling with excitement.  Sign up now before the seats are all taken.

Spots are limited, so call The Learning Center! Charter School at 828.835.7240 for more information and sign up your bored teenager now!

Visiting Artist Creates Giant Beetle at Learning Center

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Who knew what an old trampoline, some creativity and old-fashioned know-how could turn into? That’s what 5th grade students at The Learning Center! Charter School were saying after they teamed up with visiting artist, Jeff Menzer.

 

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Asheville based artist, Jeff Menzer, visited the school back in February to plan projects he and students would be implementing on campus this spring. Menzer specializes in creating “Re-Art” Sculpture, figurative sculpture, and environmental installations using found objects and industrial discards.

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Menzer worked with the students to brainstorm some ideas for the project with the idea that it would eventually be a bug or insect themed art piece.

 

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Menzer returned to the school recently to turn discarded trampoline parts into art pieces that will become part of the school’s “Outdoor Learning Center” program. The large-scale art piece project serves to involve students in the design process, involve students in collaborative problem-solving of environmental issues through the creative process, and to complete an art piece that has now been permanently installed on campus.

 

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As the trampoline was being taken apart and the parts rearranged, the idea for a beetle began to develop. This concept tied into the 5th grade science ecosystems unit and also the math curriculum as students had to figure out lengths for sections of the beetle structure and the size the beetle needed to be relative to the garden area.

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Each student contributed a name for the beetle sculpture. The two names that were chosen were a common name: The Junkyard Beetle, and the scientific name: Schoolias Beetilus. School director, Mary Jo Dyre has her own nickname for the beetle sculpture. “I like to call it ‘VW.’”

2nd Grade Learns About Alaska

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Ms. Leslie presented her many Alaskan experiences with second grade students. They learned to count to 10 as well as other words and phrases in the Inupiaq language. The children also learned how the local Inupiaq work and live. Ms. Leslie was able to show local craftsmanship, including clothes and trinkets made from local wildlife. The children were given first hand experiences trying on clothes and observing items made by the Inupiaq people.

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