Academic Growth Award

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The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has awarded The Learning Center Charter School their Academic Growth Award for 2016-2017.  This is it’s first year presenting awards for achieving and exceeding expected academic growth.

Academic growth refers to academic progress made over a period of time.

Academic growth represents an impressive amount of hard work by students and educators and our school is proud of this recognition!

Our Odyssey of the Mind Teams All Advance to State Competition

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The Learning Center! Charter School sent four teams to the Western Region North Carolina Odyssey of the Mind tournament on February 25th. Schools across Western North Carolina came together to compete in various problem-solving events for this competition held at McDowell High School in Marion, NC.

The line-up included a primary team (1st and 2nd graders) an elementary team (grades 3-5) and two middle school teams (grades 6-8).

The primary team received an honorary award called “OMER’s” for their incredible teamwork. The OMER’s Award is given to teams and individuals for showing Odyssey of the Mind spirit. It can be awarded to an individual or team who showed some type of artistic talent, good sportsmanship, teamwork, or for going beyond expectations to help others.

The elementary team won first place for their problem and division and they will advance to the State Competition to be held April 1st in Greensboro, NC.

Both middle school teams will also advance to State. Ms. Cheryl Catuto’s team took first place for their problem and division while Ms. Judy Coleman’s team took second place.

Odyssey of the Mind (OM)  is an international educational program providing creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Thousands of teams throughout the U.S. and from approximately 25 other countries participate in the program. Students apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. They then bring their solutions to competition on the regional, state, and world level.

Students participating in the program work together as a team preparing for months before the competition, learning valuable skills such as creative/critical thinking, global awareness, cooperative planning, and complex technical and artistic problem solving.

To raise money for the expenses needed for all of these teams to travel to State, be on the lookout for several ways you can help. This will include a Zaxby’s Fundraiser Night later this month.

Year Long Celebration of “Academics and the Arts”

20160526_113442The Learning Center! Charter School’s “Academics & The Arts” – originally a two-day event – has morphed into a year-long celebration of the arts. 20160526_113750The event, now in its eighth year, includes year-round, cross-curriculum activities combining art and academics. 20160526_114028

Students create a wide variety of art, music and creative writing, in addition to using tools for projects and conducting science experiments.20160526_114345Designed to stretch minds, senses and creativity to its limits, the event culminates in an end-of-year awards day for student art and writing. 20160526_114717On May 26th, students were awarded ribbons and also a “basket award” drawing for any student who participated in the annualAcademics & The Arts contest. 20160526_114945Although Learning Center Director, Mary Jo Dyre coordinates both the writing and visual arts contests, she maintains the event could not be the success it has always been without teachers in participating grades (2ndthrough 5th) and the assistance of art teacher Carrie Dyer for Kindergarten though 8th graders. 20160526_115140 20160526_115401 20160526_121630 20160526_123553

TLC Advances Odyssey of the Mind Teams to State Competition

2016 Cheryl team at RegionalFive teams from The Learning Center! Charter School participated in the Western Region North Carolina Odyssey of the Mind tournament on February 27th at Enka-Candler High School in Enka, NC.2016 Jay team

Schools across Western North Carolina came together to compete in various problem-solving events for this competition.

The line-up included two middle school teams (grades 6-8), two elementary teams (grades 3-5) and one primary team (K-2). “All of our students performed exceptionally well,” said Odyssey of the Mind coordinator and coach, Judy Coleman.  “I am so proud of what our students have accomplished.”  Both middle school teams coached by Cheryl Catuto and Judy Coleman and one of the elementary teams, coached by drama director Ryan Bender, took 2nd place in their respective problems and divisions

2016 Judy team at Regional 2016 OM banquet_all teams

Odyssey of the Mind (OM)  is an international educational program providing creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Thousands of teams throughout the U.S. and from about 25 other countries participate in the program. Students apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. They then bring their solutions to competition on the regional, state, and world level.

Students participating in the program worked together as a team preparing for months before the competition, learning valuable skills such as creative/critical thinking, global awareness, cooperative planning, and complex technical and artistic problem solving.

2016 Primary at Regionals

Congratulations to all the teams and their coaches for their countless hours of hard work and dedication!

2016 Ryan team at Regional

Charter School Earns USDA Award for Nutrition Program

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The Learning Center nutrition director, Susan Blomeley (left) accepts the USDA’s “Silver Level Award.” The award was presented by Veronica Barnes, (right) Branch Chief, School & Family Nutrition Programs, USDA/FNS – Southwest Region, Atlanta, GA.

The Learning Center! Charter School has a long history of dedication to good nutrition and believes it is the cornerstone for building better students. With that high priority and commitment, it’s no surprise the school has won multiple awards over the years.

The latest was an impressive “Silver Level Award” plaque presented to the school during the 2015 Annual Conference for School Nutrition Administrators held in Durham, NC. on October 29. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) presented the award as part of their “HealthierUS School Challenge” Program. The distinction also included a $1000 cash award and a banner that hangs in the school. The Silver Level Award recognizes the school for healthier school environments through promotion of nutrition and physical activity. The Learning Center is the only charter school in North Carolina to earn this prestigious recognition to date.

Charter School Wins Prestigious USDA Award for Nutrition Program

IMG_2543The Learning Center! Charter School has a long history of dedication to good nutrition and believes it is the very foundation for building better students. With that high priority and commitment, it’s no surprise the school has won multiple awards over the years. The latest was an impressive “Silver Level Award” banner and plaque presented to the school on May 3rd by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as part of their “HealthierUS School Challenge” Program. The distinction also includes a $1000 cash award. The Learning Center is the only charter school in North Carolina to earn this prestigious recognition to date.

In February, the school received a congratulatory letter from First Lady, Michelle Obama for the recognition. The HealthierUS School Challenge: Smarter Lunchrooms (HUSSC: SL) is a certification initiative that recognizes schools for their efforts to create healthier school environments through promotion of nutrition and physical activity. Some of these efforts include improving food and beverage offerings, teaching kids about nutritious food choices, providing opportunities for physical activity, and having supportive school wellness policies. The HealthierUS School Challenge program supports Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign by recognizing schools that are creating healthier school environments through these activities.

To qualify for the award, nutrition director, Susan Blomeley worked with nutrition education coordinator, Debby Intemann and curriculum coordinator, Cheryl Catuto to submit a formal application and document criteria set forth by the USDA Food and Nutrition Services. The program’s criteria reflects the recommendations of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published recommendations (April 2007) for foods that should be served outside of the organized school meals program. The HealthierUS Schools Program must meet additional criteria demonstrating its commitment to a healthy school environment, as well as implement a local school wellness policy, as mandated by Congress. Schools receiving The HealthierUS Schools award commit to meeting the criteria throughout their four-year certification period.

The Learning Center, designated an “A+ Fit School” in 2010 by The North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund, adds this award to numerous others over the past five years. These include recognition and awards by the USDA and the NC Dept. of Public Instruction for its dedication to maintaining the highest standards in child nutrition.

USDA Silver Award

IMG_2543In December 2014, our school was awarded the Silver Award from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as part of their HealthierUS School Challenge.  The Learning Center Charter School is the only charter school in North Carolina to earn this prestigious recognition to date.

The HealthierUS School Challenge: Smarter Lunchrooms (HUSSC: SL) is a certification initiative that recognizes schools for their efforts in improving food and beverage offerings, teaching kids about nutritious food choices and being physically active, providing opportunities for physical activity, and having supportive school wellness policies. It supports First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign by recognizing schools that are creating healthier school environments through their promotion of good nutrition and physical activity.  Sponsored by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), the initiative encourages all schools take a leadership role in helping students to make healthier eating and physical activity choices that will last a lifetime.

To qualify for an award, a school must submit a formal application and meet basic criteria set forth by the USDA Food and Nutrition Services.  The HUSSC criteria reflect the recommendations of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published recommendations (April 2007) for foods that should be served outside of the organized school meals program.  HealthierUS Schools must meet additional criteria demonstrating its commitment to a healthy school environment, as well as implement a local school wellness policy, as mandated by Congress.  Schools receiving a HUSSC award commit to meeting the criteria throughout their four year certification period.

Congratulations TLC!

 

Learning Center Wins Award at Science Expo

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Three seventh grade Learning Center students and their math teacher, Chris Crayton traveled to The Arboretum in Asheville, NC on April 11 to present a class project at The Mountain Science Expo 2015. That project, a summary poster about tree phenology, ended up winning in the poster competition category. Phenology is the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by variations in climate and elevation.

The event, which took place at the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville, hosted over 2600 visitors and featured science fair exhibits from 22 Western North Carolina schools that participated in Project EXPLORE (Experiences Promoting Learning Outdoors for Research and Education). The Expo’s theme is learning how Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) are incorporated into our everyday lives.

In this year-long project, students collected data on their trees and submitted their data to Nature’s Notebook, a national database accessible to scientists.

Citizen science coordinator, Trudie Henninger of the North Carolina Arboretum congratulated students for their work on the creative and inspiring poster, and the judges awarded them first place in the phenology poster competition. Teacher Chris Crayton commented, “Project EXPLORE was a great way for our students to get a feel for science through regular data collection. They did a great job on their project overall, and their winning poster was a reflection of their hard work. I’m very proud of them!”

Learning Center! Teacher Awarded “Teacher of the Year” by Local VFW

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The Learning Center Charter School teacher, Judy Coleman, was awarded Local & Regional VFW Teacher of the Year from VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) Murphy Post 10222.  VFW Commander, Larry Reid presented the award at a ceremony at the school on January 14th. Judy Coleman teaches fifth through seventh grade social studies and is also the kindergarten through fourth grade chorus teacher.

Coleman, who also acts as music coach for the school’s annual spring play, directs the Veterans Day program and serves as both coordinator and a coach for the Odyssey of the Mind team and humbly accepted the award. “I am very honored, and humbled, to receive this award.  I am proud to represent The Learning Center! as well as my fellow colleagues. We all pour our heart and soul into working with our students and it’s nice to be recognized for doing something you love to do.”

Additionally, teacher Shirley Kephart was given the Assistant Teacher Recognition Award and the school was presented with an award for Excellence in Promoting Americanism and Patriotic Principles.

Judy Coleman will travel to Canton, North Carolina on January 17th to receive the District Teacher of the Year award and her name will then be submitted to the state level.

Learning Center! Continues Experiments with Aquaponics

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More than a year ago, a grant by the NC Farm Bureau enabled students at The Learning Center! Charter School to have the opportunity to experiment with an agricultural technique called aquaponics.

Aquaponics is a system for farming fish and plants together in a mutually beneficial cycle in which the waste produced by farmed fish supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purifies the water.

Bill Coleman, a parent of a student at the school, got interested in aquaponics around the same time and experimented and perfected his own system. Coleman, whose wife Judy is a teacher at the school, decided in January of 2014 to offer his volunteer efforts long-term to an“Aquaponics Elective” course at The Learning Center! and built on the previous success of the initial project.

“The design went from 4 square feet of growing area to about 120 sq. ft. of growing area,” said Coleman. “There were issues that took a few months to iron out, and the whole process was two steps forward and one step backwards. The students, however, never faltered and we learned a great deal.”

Since summer, the project has added a few fish to the system and the students, however, are looking forward to the spring planting season.

“We are excited about the community involvement in this important project,” said Coleman.” Materials were donated from local stores such as Lowe’s, TEAM Industries, Wilson’s, Hughes Electric and individuals just wanting to help the kids.

Coleman also noted that there is a student from The Early Collage working on her Senior Exit Project in hydroponics who is helping out.

In this student run system, students explore the feasibility of producing sustainable, organic food for their own school while integrating science and math skills used in everyday life in a STEM learning environment.