Lunch Delivered With Fun!

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.

But, did you know that Chad Johnson, a member of our school nutrition support team, has an extensive collection of hats that he wears each day to school? You might now know  . . . but I bet your student does!

Thanks for keeping us smiling,  Chad!

National School Breakfast Week & Celebrating Dr. Seuss

Studies indicate that students who eat breakfast increase their math and reading scores and improve their cognitive speed and memory, according to the Food Research and Action Center.  Students who are “fueled up” with a nutritious meal increase the chances that their mental and physical stamina is up to par for a great day at school.

 

The Learning Center Charter School celebrated National School Breakfast Week March 5th-9th both as a means to recognize the importance of this meal and to increase awareness of the school’s Early Bird Breakfast Club.

The Learning Center’s Early Bird Breakfast Club begins at 7:15am daily. The nutrition staff offers up both hot and cold breakfast options as well as cereal, fruit, yogurt and milk. The program was the first in the state to win the Breakfast Champion Award in 2012.  Additionally, the program has received two grants – one from No Kid Hungry North Carolina/Share Our Strength, and another from Action for Healthy Kids School Grants for Healthy Kids.

 

As part of the week long breakfast celebration, the school marked the birthday of literary giant, Dr. Seuss. Kitchen staff wore Seuss costumes, the Dining Commons was decked out in Seuss colors and decorations and students were served green eggs and ham.

School Child Nutrition Director, Hilary Dixson, said, “Offering well prepared, healthy food that nourishes our young learners is a cornerstone of our educational environment. National School Breakfast Week was a way to teach the importance of eating a nutritious breakfast and the silly costumes and green eggs and ham made it fun and memorable for our students.”

Learning Center Nutrition Professional Participates in K-12 Culinary Institute

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Jamie Chapman, from The Learning Center! Charter School participated in a K-12 Culinary Institute regional workshop in Cherokee, NC in August. The goal is to enhance culinary skills and improve student health, well-being and academic success through nutritious, appealing meals at school.

School nutrition managers from across the state are participating in the North Carolina K-12 Culinary Institute. Jamie Chapman, from The Learning Center! Charter School participated in a K-12 Culinary Institute regional workshop August 2nd – 4th, 2016 at Cherokee Central Elementary School. The N.C. K-12 Culinary Institute, designed to enhance nutrition offerings, is funded by a U.S. Department of AgricultureProfessional Standards Training Grant received by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) School Nutrition Section.

“The K-12 Culinary Institute is a unique opportunity for school nutrition professionals to enhance culinary skills and glean tools and information critical to their important roles in providing quality, nutritious school meals,” said Susan Blomeley, director for The Learning Center School Nutrition Program.

The face-to-face and virtual institute was developed by the NCDPI, School Nutrition Section, and Chef Cyndie Story’s K-12 Culinary Team, in order to meet five core objectives:

–  Improve student health, well-being and academic success through nutritious, appealing meals at school,

–  Increase participation in high quality, enticing school nutrition programs,

–  Expand capacity of local school nutrition programs to purchase, prepare and serve fresh, locally grown produce,

–  Increase consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grain-rich foods, and

–  Provide continuing education opportunities for school nutrition personnel.

North Carolina K-12 Culinary Institute graduates become chef ambassadors prepared to teach other school nutrition professionals at the local level.

The Learning Center has a long history of placing an emphasis on good nutrition as part of its overall mission – growing some of its own food for educational purposes that provide activities that support the E-STEAM curriculum (Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

The Learning Center! Offers Rich Program Across All Districts

The Learning Center! Charter School continues to break ground with innovations that present parents and their students with high-quality offerings in 21st century education. Ambitious 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.

Director Mary Jo Dyre is particularly proud to announce a Kindergarten Montessori Blend Program. “We have had such consistent, strong success with the feeder Montessori Program that is located on our school campus, that we wanted to continue the Montessori Method into Kindergarten, which we believe works best for young learners.”

Learning Center’s “Above and Beyond” programs include Compacted Math classes for gifted students, “Music Friday” guest musicians program, K-4 chorus, links to a variety of instrument lessons, a highly developed drama program. New this year is the upper grade’s CREW Program that 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, Writers Club, “Girls on the Run” and “Girls on Track” provide students with the possibility 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 is proud to announce it’s 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 “Inventors 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).

Did you see the awesome Dining Commons renovations?

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Over the summer, the Dining Commons underwent some much needed renovation. The roof was replaced, gutters were added, it was power washed, painted, drywall was installed where needed inside, and painted. These renovations ensure the structure remains protected from the elements and that our students can continue to use this integral space for many years to come.

20160622_142334 20160712_133101 20160712_133116 pressurewash1 pressurewash2 Resized_20160614_105508 roof progress- June 15, 2016

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By now you have seen the new Early Bird Breakfast mural adorning the building as well. Be on the lookout for further murals decorating the Gymnatorium in the future.

Free Breakfast AND Lunch to ALL Students

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Everyone knows the importance of a good breakfast. Bottom line, students who are “fueled up” with a nutritious meal are increasing the chances that their mental and physical stamina is up to par for a great day at school.

The Learning Center! Charter School joins more than 18,000 schools across the nation with assistance from a federal program called, Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). CEP allows schools in low-income areas to offer breakfast and lunch at no charge to all students while eliminating the traditional school meal application process.

Authorized as a part of Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, CEP eliminates the burden of collecting household applications to determine eligibility for school meal programs and reduces the potential stigma associated with free meals. No household application means less paperwork for parents, and no worries about lunch accounts.

“For the school it means reduced paperwork and administrative costs,” said Susan Blomeley, Nutrition Director at The Learning Center. “There is no need to track unpaid meal charges and more nourished students are ready to learn and grow.”

The Learning Center’s Early Bird Breakfast Club was created in an effort to give every opportunity for all students to eat a healthy breakfast. Since early 2000, The Learning Center! Charter School has offered a Universal Breakfast where all students eat for free. The big news this year is that all students will now get a free lunch in addition to the free breakfast. The school will not take free and reduced applications this year, as all students will eat free.

Stone Ground Grits Part of Early Bird Breakfast Club

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Nutrition Director, Susan Blomeley, is seen proudly displaying House-Autry Stone Ground Grits.

Did you know that TLC specifically sourced whole grain grits to serve at breakfast? House-Autry Stone Ground Grits are made the old fashioned way using granite stones. They grind the whole kernel of corn to retain the natural oils and produce a more flavorful product. TLC Nutrition Director, Susan Blomeley, likes these grits because, “These stone ground grits retain their natural germ and bran, which means they not only taste better, but also retain the antioxidants, B vitamins, and fiber usually lost in the refinement process.”

As an added bonus, House-Autry is a North Carolina based company!

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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!