More About Charter Schools Across the State

Image from National Charter School Resource Center. Visit https://charterschoolcenter.ed.gov/what-is-a-charter-school to learn more.

WHAT IS A CHARTER SCHOOL?

Charter schools are public schools of choice that are authorized by the State Board of Education and operated by independent non-profit boards of directors. State and local tax dollars are the primary funding sources for charter schools, which have open enrollment and cannot discriminate in admissions, associate with any religion or religious group, or charge-tuition. Charter schools operate with freedom from many of the regulations that govern district schools, but charter schools are held accountable through the State assessment and accountability system.

Other interesting facts as of January 2019:

  1. 109,389 students are being served by 185 charter schools across North Carolina.
  2. That represents 7.3% of the total public school population.
  3. 50% are female and 50% are male.
  4. 35 applicants to open a charter school are currently being reviewed by Charter School Advisory Board.
  5. The number of charter school exceeding growth increased from 36 to 46 last year.

Visit the Office of Charter Schools to learn more about charter schools across North Carolina.

What is a Charter School?

What Are Public Charter Schools?

Charter Schools are nontraditional public schools. One of the key differences between charter schools and traditional schools, or district schools, is the way they are governed. District schools are governed by a school district board while Charter Schools are governed by a board specifically for that school. As a result, these schools have more flexibility in their curriculum. This explains why you hear of some Charter Schools with a focus on the arts, science, technology, a certain culture, or a certain educational methodology (i.e. Classical, Montessori, Flipped Classroom). However, because Charter Schools receive public funds, they are still required to meet state testing requirements.

How Are Public Charter Schools Funded?

Charter Schools receive a per pupil allotment from the state, and they receive local funding from each student’s base school district.

Charter schools are eligible to receive funding for children with disabilities and limited English proficiency based on the actual population of such students in their school. Charter schools receive federal funds according to the same formulas as school districts. Unlike district schools, they receive no funding for facilities, buses, or food.

Report Shows Favorable Results for NC’s Charter Schools

The annual report on public charter schools published by the NC Department of Public Instruction found that charter school students outperformed their district school peers in several areas.*

  • More than 70% of charter schools met or exceeded expected growth.
  • A higher percentage of charter schools earned a School Performance Grade of an A or B.
  • A higher percentage of charter school students scored a level three or above on the statewide assessments.

*NC Department of Public Instruction, Report to the General Assembly Charter Schools Annual Report, February 2018.

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!

What exactly is a charter school anyway?

(This post originally appeared on August 30, 2010.  However, it bears repeating now and again.  Be sure to be up to date on all things happening in charter law both in our state and across the nation.  How?  Use the category drop down menu located in the side bar on the right and choose “Charter School Updates” to see all posts relating to the subject.)

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How many of you have been at a summer cookout and have been asked, “I know your kid goes to the charter school over there down from the pool.  What exactly is a charter school anyway?”  How about at Thanksgiving dinner when all your distant relatives are together?  Doesn’t someone invariably ask you to tell them what makes a charter school different from other schools?  I’ve even been asked by the check-out person at the grocery store when they see my kid’s school t-shirt.

So, what do you tell them?

Wikipedia says that,

A charter school is a school that receives public money (and like other schools, may also receive private donations) but are not subject to some of the rules, regulations, and statutes that apply to other public schools in exchange for some type of accountability for producing certain results, which are set forth in each school’s charter.  Charter schools are opened and attended by choice.  While charter schools provide an alternative to other public schools, they are part of the public education system and are not allowed to charge tuition.

Alright.

Um.  Well.  Okay.

What are you going to tell Great Uncle Earl when he asks what a charter school is at your next holiday get together?

A charter school is a public school of choice. It is public.  Public means no tuition.  In other words, it’s free.  And, you choose to go there.

A charter school offers innovation in education. A charter school has to meet the same state academic standards that every other school has to meet.  However, the school itself decides how it’s going to achieve those standards.

Now you know.

So go forth and educate the world.  Or at least your immediate community

Charter School Joins Advocates Across the Country for National School Choice Week

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Local Charter school, The Learning Center!, joined 2.9 million charter school students nationwide last week in support of National School Choice Week.

Held every January, National School Choice Week focuses on increasing public awareness and empowering parents with the freedom to choose the best educational environments for their children. These options include traditional public schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, online learning, private schools, and homeschooling.

The Learning Center! celebrated National School Choice Week on January 22-28, with an on-campus campaign of awareness that included increased social media presence, placing posters around the school, and distributing bright yellow School Choice Week scarves and stickers. “This campaign has sparked many questions about National School Choice week,” said school director, Mary Jo Dyre. “School choice is the movement that offers charter schools as a viable option in education. We are a North Carolina Public School Choice opportunity for education and parents who are seeking a choice for their students’ academic needs have said YES to choosing our school.”

The Learning Center! is among many school choice advocates paying close attention to the annual event. “With more than 21,392 events across the nation in 2017, National School Choice Week is now the world’s largest annual education-related celebration,” said Dana Bolyard, Social Media Director and Charter School Advocate for The Learning Center. “And with School Choice, more parents have the opportunity to choose motivating, challenging, and effective educational environments for their children than ever before.” The school was awarded a School Choice Leadership award last week in recognition of its dedication to providing all children with access to effective education options and it’s participation in the 2017 National School Choice Week.

Started in 2011, National School Choice Week is a nonpartisan, nonpolitical public awareness effort. Advocates for school choice believe that education is not “one size fits all” because not all children learn the same and therefore every child, and their parents, should have the opportunity to choose the best education to suit their needs.

The Learning Center! was one of the first of 34 charter schools to open its doors in 1997 when charter legislation was passed in North Carolina.

Facilities Improvements Continue at Charter School

 

2As the dust settled just in time for the start of the new school year, The Learning Center! Charter School completed another building improvement project. The  newly renovated Dining Commons got a facelift inside and out that students, faculty and parents will enjoy for years to come. The school added a new first aid station to the list of upgrades for the improvement project. Last year, the school completed the construction of a “Gymnatorium” that includes two P.E. workout areas and a stage for drama events. 20160808_075401The school contracted with Denny Laney for the exterior renovation and worked with several others to complete interior work on the Dining Commons. The renovation project began almost as soon as the school year ended in May. The final touches were complete just days before the start of the new school year. Laney Construction Company replaced the roof and Tom Miller did the drywall work. The school’s maintenance team, Bill Brechbill and John Lloyd also helped with the renovations.

TLC Welcomes New Board Member

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The Learning Center! Charter School welcomes new school board member, Anna Ramirez Sharp for the 2016-2017 school year. Sharp has been elected to a three-year term on the Board of Directors of The Learning Center! Charter School in Murphy.

Sharp and her husband, Bob, moved to Murphy in 2008 after working more than 30 years as an educator and educational consultant in Texas. She is bilingual and her professional experiences include serving as an instructional specialist in special education, assistant elementary principal, a facilitator for staff development, instructional intern, personnel recruiter, educational diagnostician, early childhood special education teacher and speech therapist.

Sharp earned a bachelor of science degree in elementary education from Pan American University in Edinburg, Texas and a master of science from Texas A & M

University in Kingsville, Texas. She also holds professional certifications in mid-management, speech-language pathology, early childhood education-handicapped, language and/or learning disabilities, mentally retarded, educational diagnostician and kindergarten.

Sharp and her husband are volunteers for Big Brothers Big Sisters organization of Cherokee County and other community activities in and around Murphy.

“We welcome our newest highly motivated and credentialed community servant to our school board,” said board chairwoman, Cecilia Crawford. “Without the Board’s support and time volunteering to our school, we would not be able to have the exceptional instructional program that we have today.”

The Learning Center! is a tuition-free public charter school that operates independently from the local school district. The school itself is considered a school district and thus reports to a board of directors much the same way that traditional public schools work with and report to their boards. In addition, charter school’s accept students across county lines.

For more information call 828.835.7240 or visit naturallygrownkids.org. Visit the blog (tlcgrowzone.org/blog) and FaceBook page (facebook.com/TLCGrowZonePage).

What exactly is a charter school anyway?

(This post originally appeared on August 30, 2010.  However, it bears repeating now and again.  Be sure to be up to date on all things happening in charter law both in our state and across the nation.  How?  Use the category drop down menu located in the side bar on the right and choose “Charter School Updates” to see all posts relating to the subject.)

mural

How many of you have been at a summer cookout and have been asked, “I know your kid goes to the charter school over there down from the pool.  What exactly is a charter school anyway?”  How about at Thanksgiving dinner when all your distant relatives are together?  Doesn’t someone invariably ask you to tell them what makes a charter school different from other schools?  I’ve even been asked by the check-out person at the grocery store when they see my kid’s school t-shirt.

So, what do you tell them?

Wikipedia says that,

a charter school is a school that receives public money (and like other schools, may also receive private donations) but are not subject to some of the rules, regulations, and statutes that apply to other public schools in exchange for some type of accountability for producing certain results, which are set forth in each school’s charter.  Charter schools are opened and attended by choice.  While charter schools provide an alternative to other public schools, they are part of the public education system and are not allowed to charge tuition.

Alright.

Um.  Well.  Okay.

What are you going to tell Great Uncle Earl when he asks what a charter school is at your next holiday get together?

A charter school is a public school of choice. It is public.  Public means no tuition.  In other words, it’s free.  And, you choose to go there.

A charter school offers innovation in education. A charter school has to meet the same state academic standards that every other school has to meet.  However, the school itself decides how it’s going to achieve those standards.

Now you know.

So go forth and educate the world.  Or at least your immediate community

The Learning Center! Offers Rich Program Across All Districts

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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 designed for rich academic opportunities continue to take place 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, “MusicFriday” guest musicians program, K-5 chorus, links to a variety of instrument lessons, the opportunity to audition as a GrowZone Player in the school’s drama program, and upper-grades electives.

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, upper-grades electives program, Writers Club, “Girls on the Run” and “Girls on Track” provide students with the possibility to become all that they can be.

Designated as a “USDA Healthier U.S. School” (Silver Level), the school places a strong emphasis on its nutrition and exercise programs. Last year, the school built a new Gymnatorium and “Makers’ Space.” The 4,500 square foot building serves as a half court gym as well as useful space for assemblies, drama performances and more.

The Learning Center serves approximately 200 students and is open to both in and out-of-county students. There isno 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 Boot 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).