Third grade visits the post office

<div class=\"postavatar\">Third grade visits the post office</div>

Yesterday the third graders took what they have been learning about the community in Social Studies out to the field.

They got to see first hand how the local post office operates.

Everything from entering where the trucks deliver the mail . . .

to how the post office recycles all the extra paper . . .

and seeing the big mail sorting machine in action.

I heard more than one student say “cool”  or “awesome”.  I even heard a few parents say, “Hey, I didn’t know that.”

I’d say that is what field work is all about.

Education in the US

We are lucky to have quality education available to us at The Learning Center! Charter School. Not everyone is so fortunate. Though it is not an issue in our community, it is an issue for our country. And we must join the conversation . . . and the solution.

Join the movement. Click here.


The Learning Center! Charter School’s sole intent is to provide our  school community with information about what is happening politically in  our state regarding charter school law.  We solely seek to inform.

Farm to Fork

Learn about the  NC 10% campaign and pledge to spend 10% or more of your food dollars locally.  This is an initiative of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems and is supported locally by SAFF (Southern Appalachian Family Farms) and Cherokee County Cooperative Extension Office.  The website contains good information about seasonal availability and links to a wealth of food-related information.

Click HERE to find out how it works and to sign up!

You can even follow them on Facebook HERE.

Visitors on campus

<div class=\"postavatar\">Visitors on campus</div>

TLC! was happy to host North Carolina Senator John Snow and House Representative Roger West on our campus Friday, September 17, 2010.   Senate hopeful Jim Davis visited the day before.

These state legislators were invited to tour our school and be reminded of all the great things we are doing for our students and our community.  Mary Jo Dyre, Karen Brinke and myself presented numbers and successes to the candidates and communicated the value of choice in education.  We also clearly relayed our hopes for positive legislation concerning charter schools.

It was a pleasure to have each of them visit.

Kindergarten meets Johnny Appleseed

<div class=\"postavatar\">Kindergarten meets Johnny Appleseed</div>

Apples and fall go hand-in-hand.  What could be better than learning about both out in the field?

Our brand new kindergarten class got to do just that when they visited the Georgia Mountain Research and Education Center last week.  They learned about apples, where they come from,  played games and got to meet Johnny Appleseed himself.

Little do those cuties know how much apples will become part of how they learn math, reading and writing in the weeks to come.

Sister Terry: The Learning Center’s “Mother Teresa”

<div class=\"postavatar\">Sister Terry:  The Learning Center's "Mother Teresa"</div>

Soon after The Learning Center! Charter School had relocated to what possibly may be at least a part of our permanent location on Conaheeta Street, formerly the Old Pallet Plant, formerly an old lumber yard, Sister Terry showed up in the front office.  White hair framed a smile that not only filled her face but the entire area around the front desk. She introduced herself to me as a nun from the local Catholic Church, explaining that she spent a great deal of time just right up the road at the Community Center in Texanna. Of course, she had noticed our move to the location between Joe Brown Texaco and the old Rock Gym, for she drove by it on a regular basis.  She immediately explained to me that one of her contacts up North had sent her several boxes of books. She wondered if we would be interested in making use of them. I don’t always accept books sight unseen, but in this case I found myself saying that we would love to have them.  Sister Terry grinned even larger, as her eyes twinkled, and added, “I am sure glad your school is here.”

Over the next few months, Sister Terry would show up unannounced, always bearing gifts. From popcorn to ice cream cones, from art supplies, to recycled products that we turned into art, she never came empty handed.  As our friendship grew and blossomed, she confessed to me that she would love to teach a science lesson to some appropriate grade about the science behind fall leaves. Of course, I said yes. Next, she told me about college students that would be arriving during Spring Break needed a project to sink themselves into.  I soon came to expect that Sister Terry would simply show up. I also soon learned to never try to figure out what she may bring or what service she may offer on any particular occasion.  I could, however, always count on the fact that we somehow are eventually in need of whatever gift she brings our way.

Of course, Sister Terry, herself, is the gift of greatest value. I often find myself thinking that joy and happiness spill out of her pockets wherever she walks. Just a week ago, she brought a bag of teddy bears ranging in size from hand-size to big enough to make one take notice.  Additionally she brought a much needed drafting table and two pairs of ladies shoes. I haven’t quite figured out all the details of the role the bears will play, but I know for certain it will come to me and be a part of some rich, diverse multi-method lesson that makes the learning experience so amazing to our students.  I also would not be at all surprised if we soon hear of some woman in need of size 9 dress shoes. Yes, I have learned to simply be open to Sister Terry.  I suspect she is in direct communication line with Life itself.  I am certain that she has and will continue to make richer the lives of all she touches. 

May we continue to bask in the smile and generosity of our own Mother Teresa….Sister Terry.

Did you hear about the salad bar?

<div class=\"postavatar\">Did you hear about the salad bar?</div>

Recently I sat down with Ms. Debby to talk about the new salad bar option in our Dining Commons.  This is what she had to say . . .

Normally I wouldn’t declare any new program a “success” so early in the year, but the response to our new daily salad bar has been so positive I think it is safe to say that it is a real hit.

Our salad bar includes lettuce (romaine at present, but it varies with the season and availability), various freshly prepared vegetables,  a variety of protein sources such as cheese, chopped eggs, meats and beans,  wheat crackers, croutons and several choices of individually portioned dressings. Students choosing the salad bar option also receive  milk and fruit qualifying this as a complete meal for everyone whether or not the student qualifies for free or reduced meals.

The salad bar is available as a choice to students in grades 4-8.  We have been delighted and a little bit surprised that so far more of these students are choosing the salad bar option than the hot option.

With our younger students we offer salad a little differently.  Their hot meals are plated and served at their assigned tables.  Tossed salad with dressing is available to them as an “extra” each day that the salad bar is offered to the upper grades.  Our hope is that by making salad available to them daily, these younger ones will learn to consider greens an enjoyable part of a good meal.

Thanks Ms. Debby.   You’ve got the best lunch in town!

Meet our newest teachers

L-R: Ms. Jamie, Ms. Gale, Ms. Ashley (4th grade), Ms. Ashley (2nd grade)

The Learning Center! Charter School  has added 3 new teachers and one new assistant this year, increasing their staff to an all-time high of forty two teachers and staff members. New this year are teachers Ashley Gibbs, Jamie Hill,  Ashley Tate, and assistant, Gale Oliphant.

Ashley Gibbs, from New York, is a second grade teacher with a focus on language arts. She also works as an E.C. teacher. Ashley has a B.A. in elementary special education and a Masters in Literacy and is a Reading Specialist.

Jamie Hill hails from New York and serves as one of  a team of 3 intervention teachers at the school. In addition to elementary certification, Jamie is presently completing a master program for Exceptional Children.

Gale Oliphant is an assistant with physical education after school activities and assists the intervention team. She comes to the school from Weaverville Primary in Weaverville, NC.

Ashley Tate teachers fourth grade and hails from Marion VA. In addition to elementary certification, Ashley holds a B.A. in English literature and a M.A. in Educational Psychology.

The dining commons staff was also increased to enable the school nutrition manager to continue to develop the Nutrition Based Learning Program that is unique to the school.  School financial officer Patty Ferguson said the increase in staff was due in part to the increase in enrollment this year. “We are up 15% from last year and now serve 180 students,” said Ferguson. When asked to what she attributed the increase, she replied, “ I think its because we have a great program here like our strings program and Odyssey of the Mind. We also have a great reading intervention program and after school program. One of the big things that parents respond well to is the one-on-one attention our tailored curriculum affords their child.”