8th Grade Visits Hazel Creek and Proctor, NC

Hazel Creek, located on the North Shore of Fontana Lake, is one of the most remote areas of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  It was the location of many thriving communities until the Tennessee Valley Authority forced the residents to leave their homes to make way for the Fontana reservoir in 1943.  Although the TVA never used this 44,000 acres of Swain County as part of the Fontana project, they did not offer to return it to the original owners.  Instead they gave it to the National Park Service and it became the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

TLC! 8th graders visited the Hazel Creek area as part of their Venture Out Program.  North Carolina curriculum requires 8th grade students to study our state history and our school’s Venture Out Program couples the study of North Carolina history with travel and real life experiences.

Proctor is a former town located on Hazel Creek named after the first white settler to the area.  Not only do these students get to learn this history but they get to see and touch actual artifacts as well.

I look forward to seeing this nearly inaccessible area when my children are in 8th grade!

 

7th Grade Travels to Study Lichen

7th grade classroom for a day!


There are many species of algae and fungi, but when certain species of fungi join with certain species of algae in a symbiotic relationship, they become a unique organism called lichen.

 

Our 7th graders had the unique opportunity through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park Service to participate in the Lichen Program.

Lichens are used as bioindicators of poor air quality. Monitoring lichen composition is important in order to detect the loss of biodiversity as pollution intolerant species die and are replaced by more tolerant species.

 

 

During this study students observed and identified the growth forms of the lichens on assigned trees and determined the percentage of coverage of each form.

TLC! 7th graders were incredibly fortunate to spend a day in this diverse outdoor classroom.

Pinwheels for Prevention

 

April is National Prevent Child Abuse month.  Prevent Child Abuse America has launched a campaign called Pinwheels for Prevention to promote awareness about child abuse prevention.  The pinwheel represents their efforts to change the way our nation thinks about prevention, focusing on community activities and public policies that prioritize prevention right from the start to make sure child abuse and neglect never occur.

 

On April 1, 2011 TLC! students participated in the Cherokee County Pinwheels for Prevention ceremony.  Our school, along with other community organizations, met on the courthouse steps and then walked to the Hiwassee Valley Pool and Wellness Center and planted pinwheels.

Students remaining on campus even planted pinwheels on the front lawn.  They made the pinwheels with Ms. Carrie in art class and then “planted” them on the front lawn.

 

8th Grade Visits Forensics Lab at WCU

Eighth grade students at The Learning Center! Charter School recently traveled to Western Carolina University’s Forensic Lab as part their Venture Out Program. They met with undergraduate, graduate and doctorate students in the WCU forensics department to learn about how forensics is used in solving crimes, learning about history and anthropology. They toured the lab and saw fascinating DNA extraction equipment. These eighth graders explored the processes of taking a small piece of bone or tooth and determining the DNA sequence of the animal or person that it came from.

Ms. Emily, 8th grade science teacher at The Learning Center! Charter School said, “These students learned about the art of dusting for fingerprints, lifting the prints and analyzing them. We even got to set up a mock crime scene that required us to analyze mystery fingerprints.”

The Venture Out Program offered to all eighth graders at the charter school focuses on exposing students to a cross-curricular, in-the-field study of our state. Over the course of the school year the eighth grade class tours many areas of the mountain region of North Carolina and spends time learning about and touring the Piedmont and Coastal regions through the Upper-Grades Class Trip offerings.

Charter School Parade of Innovation

 

Individual charter school exhibits at the first annual Charter School Parade of Innovation.

On March 24, 2011 The Learning Center! presented at the First Annual Charter School Parade of Innovation at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, NC.  At the Symposium, charter schools demonstrated “Chartering the Road to Success” as they exhibited successful innovative strategies and paraded student achievement.  The Learning Center! was one of eight schools invited to participate.

 

The TLC! exhibit.

 

Below are the slide shows that were running on each of the laptops.

The Learning Center! Charter School was proud to participate and show off our award winning physical fitness and nutrition programs. Among distinguished speakers, other school exhibits, student talent and the amazing science museum, The Learning Center! was a shining star.

Because it’s St. Patrick’s Day!

These students were given about three weeks to work on a Leprechaun Trap at home.  They had to design and build an actual model of their trap.  They also had to create a poster to explain how their trap works and why they decided to make it the way they did.

 

 

The students had to answer questions asked and explain their trap to the many visitors that came to take a look.

 

Even Ms. Mary Jo and Ms. Karen came in to see the 2nd graders awesome work!

At the end of the day the students presented their traps and posters to the class.  The project stretched the creativity, problem solving and public speaking skills of the super talented 2nd graders!

More on Senate Bill 8 – Talking points

 

(***Parents:  Our state representative is  Roger West. Representative Roger West can be reached at (919)733-5859 or by email at Roger.West@ncleg.net ***)

 

 

8 Myths of Senate Bill 8

Talking Points

Myth # 1 “Charters are way to racially segregate public schools.”

  • Law requires open enrollment, bars discrimination; lottery used in case of over-subscription
  • Charter Act specifically designed to target at risk students
  • 31 charters over 60% minority; of these, 30 meet state growth and proficiency standards
  • 247 district schools with over 90% minorities enrolled and 11 historically black colleges in NC

 

Myth # 2 “Charters are underperforming and we do not need more”.

  • In North Carolina, 52.2% are Schools of Distinction or Honor Schools of Excellence v. 38% district
  • In North Carolina, 76.8% of charters made AYP v. 57.8% district
  • Studies of charter success: Stanford’s Caroline Hoxby, Florida State’s Tim Hass, and Harvard’s Tom Kane
  • Parents compare their choices: local charter versus local district school; less interested in national studies

 

Myth # 3 “Charters take money away from public schools”.

  • Charters are public schools.
  • Ball State study said average 400 child charter gets $365,000 less than district school
  • Charters don’t get buildings so local taxpayers save money
  • Bill allows charters to share only in a new and limited definition of the “General Fund” of school districts

 

Myth # 4: “Charters must have cafeterias and bus service to be fair to every child.”

  • 39 charters provide transportation service; others devise parent carpooling and other transportation plans
  • Several charters have children from up to 9 counties versus the compact attendance zones districts have
  • Bill mandates that lack of meals or transportation cannot be a barrier to attendance for students
  • First priority in a charter school is quality education and by necessity they may forego other services
  • Best option is to expand charters so they are closer to where the family lives in the first place

 

Myth # 5: “New charter legislation will create an unneeded and unconstitutional commission.”

  • Need a dedicated and charter-knowledgeable body to oversee the charters; state board duties too broad
  • Charters in states with separate charter oversight bodies have fared better
  • Charters more accountable if outcomes attributed to one body
  • Volunteer board; costs negligible

 

Myth # 6: “Charters are not accountable to anyone.”

  • Actually have more oversight, including, most importantly, parent oversight by their choice of the school
  • Subject to all the state testing requirements, constantly monitored by the state, and have CPA audits
  • State standardized student and financial reporting, NC Wise and ISIS, school’s independent board of directors

 

Myth # 7: “Charters do not serve children with disabilities and at risk youth.”

  • Law requires the same standards for charters as district schools

 

Myth # 8: “Charters want to take even more money from district schools in the new bill”.

  • LEAs supposed to share funds in their “Current Expense Fund” with charters but did not do so for years
  • LEAs got caught in the “Sugar Creek” law cases and had to pay back the money kept from charters
  • 2010 Legislature buried in Budget provision to allow LEAs to continue to retain certain funds from charters
  • SB 8 earlier version corrected this but last version allows districts to keep many funds from  charters

 

Jim Stegall, Lobbyist for the North Carolina Alliance for Public Charter Schools   704-221-1958

 

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.