Throughout this school year I have kept you updated on what is happening in our state with regard to charter schools and proposed charter school legislation. You might recall from these past updates that since charter schools were allowed in North Carolina, state law has capped the number of charter schools allowed to 100. Much of this legislative term in Raleigh has been spent on efforts to remove that cap and to strengthen charter law in our state.
Earlier this month the cap on charter schools was lifted thanks to Senate Bill 8 and Governor Perdue. The business of lifting the old cap is behind us thanks to Sen. Stevens’ bill and others’ hard work.
As NC Alliance for Public Charter School President Eddie Goodall says, now it’s time we move the ball faster and farther downfield and address the serious lack of knowledge about charters on behalf of the public and even the legislators that we witnessed during the last five months. Per Mr. Goodall:
This “charter (information) gap” is the subject of the attached call for the education policy makers of the state to ask for a study committee to get to the truth about public charter school education. Rather than partisan rhetoric we need more fact-based data.
The charter gap of today is now the charter cap of the last 15 years. Join the NC Alliance in calling for a study of charters so the public has the facts!
The gap now needs lifting!
Clearly strides have been made this legislative session but more work needs to be done. I will continue to keep you updated on where our state is headed in regard to charter school law.
Near the end of each school year, fourth and fifth graders at TLC! take a trip together. This year the trip was to the aquarium in Gatlinburg, TN and this is what fourth grader teacher Ms. Ashley had to say about the trip:
We went to the Oconaluftee Indian Village in Cherokee first and learned all about Cherokee village life. They had craft and tool demonstrations and reenacted traditional Cherokee ways of life. It was very cool – we even got to go inside the council house! We then headed to Gatlinburg where we shopped downtown for a few hours. We had a wonderful dinner at Bennett’s Pit BBQ. We finally checked into the aquarium. The kids played a jeopardy game to test their knowledge about marine life. We got to watch a dive show, where a guy dove with tons of stingrays and sharks. After that the diver let us go to the top of the tank and pet the stingrays! There were several different kinds and they were hypnotizing to watch! The kids did “fish printing’ with paint on t-shirts and pillowcases, followed by a scavenger hunt around the aquarium. Finally, we got to sleep in the shark tunnel underneath all the beautiful fish and sharks. The next morning we got an up close and personal look at a “spa fish” that actually eats dead skin off humans! We got to stick our hand in and let the fish clean us! What a strange but cool sensation! It was a great trip!
This year TLC’s Parents Involved group recognized year long honor roll achievers as well as students with perfect attendance. Each was presented a medal and wore them with pride!
Recently, eighth graders at TLC! had the fantastic opportunity through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park Service to participate in the Water Quality Program. This program is geared towards eight grade students and is combined with the Park’s salamander inventory program.
So what did they do?
The Smokies has over 2,100 miles of rushing mountain streams and rivers that flow through the park. In each mile lives a diverse community of native fish, amphibians, insects, and larvae, some of which are found only in the Southern Appalachians. Park fisheries managers and university researchers monitor water quality, fish populations, and watersheds to better understand the dynamics of water running through diverse ecosystems. During their trip, the eighth grade students assisted the park in collecting data from the stream and identifing the quality of the stream using water quality test parameters and bioindicators.
Something tells me they found ways to get up close and personal with the water quality while there. What do you think?