6th-8th Grade CREW “Sorting” Ceremony

Sixth through eighth grade students at The Learning Center Charter School are divided into four multi-grade CREW groups at the beginning of each school year.  This year the process mimicked the sorting ceremony from the popular Harry Potter book series.

The CREW selection process was like the Harry Potter sorting ceremony where each student wore the hat and it was revealed to them which CREW had been selected for them.

Each CREW meets weekly throughout the school year and are designed to build relationships and a sense of community.  CREW allows students to have a safe place with peers to share both triumphs and defeats.  CREW encourages peer facilitations wherein students take active leadership roles and teachers serve as moderators rather than leaders of the groups.

Ms. Jessie said, “Our CREW concept is based on the idea that we are all in the same boat.  We work together like a crew of a ship.”

After the sorting ceremony, each CREW participated in get-to-know-you icebreaker games.  As the school year progresses, each group will work on goal setting, community service and social development.

 

Kindness in the Classroom

Keep an eye out for these bear paws popping up all over campus. . . maybe even in your child’s backpack!

What are they? They are part of a new program we are kicking off this year at The Learning Center called Kindness in the Classroom.  On the reverse side of each paw print, you’ll find the following:

Teachers and staff are implementing a Kindness in the Classroom program that addresses and teaches important life skills such as assertiveness, caring, compassion, fairness, gratitude, integrity, helpfulness, perseverance, respect, responsibility, self-care and self-discipline. These concepts are presented in ways that are differentiated for each grade to account for students’ developmental levels.

This will be an on-going campaign.

Be sure to ask your student about what they are learning!

Charter School Students Play in the Dirt

 

Students at The Learning Center Charter School regularly play in the dirt.Students at The Learning Center Charter School regularly play in the dirt.  Whether working on the school’s vegetable garden, building miniature homes in the school’s Outdoor Learning Center, taking soil samples for science class or turning the school compost pile, being in the dirt is a regular part of any school day.

Garden based learning at The Learning Center Charter School.

Kindergarten through eighth grade students at the school do everything in the garden from weeding, planting, watering and harvesting fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers.

Director in Training, Ryan Bender, believes that gardening engages students by providing a living environment to observe, discover, experiment, nurture, and learn. “Gardens are living laboratories where our students learn everything from team work to food production and lessons can be taught across the curriculum,” says Bender.

Emily Willey, elementary science and outdoor learning coordinator at the charter school, makes gardening a regular part of the daily routine for students at the school.

“Playing an active role in food production teaches young people everything from agriculture to nutrition. These kids love seeing the fruits of their labor and are willing to eat unfamiliar vegetables as a result.”

Willey also has her first through fourth grade students continuously engineering, building, trouble shooting and redesigning miniature houses out in the woods for imaginary fairies and trolls.

“It is helpful for students who are intimidated in a classroom setting to be outdoors and have unstructured play and creative freedom while interacting with nature,” says Willey. “There is no wrong way to build these miniature homes and to watch students who may be timid in class slowly come into their own as they get to build outside has been nothing but inspiring.”

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How Teachers Spent Their Summer Break

Teachers and staff at The Learning Center Charter School have spent the last several weeks prepping classrooms, campus and curriculum for the start of the new school year this week.

Annual Parent Fair at The Learning Center Charter School

Ryan Bender, Head of School in Training, pointed out all the steps necessary to get ready for a new school year.  “Building and site maintenance is crucial during the summer months,” said Bender.  “More importantly, however, our teachers spend much of their summer break attending training in order to be sure our school continues to offer an outstanding academic program.”

Bender said that some of the most exciting training teachers experienced this summer was OWL trainingOWL stands for Open Way Learning and is the brainchild of local educators Ben Owens and Adam Haigler. This way of teaching/learning has been the foundational approach at Tri-County Early College High School. 

According to openwaylearning.org, “Open Way Learning (OWL) offers a set of principles that can transform schooling through leveraging the power of open communities. It is a framework that encourages educators to create, tweak, and share best practices to help education keep pace with a rapidly changing economy, society, and environment. OWL encourages educators to prioritize shared vision, distributed leadership, collaboration, freely exchanged knowledge, and innovation in creating customized solutions for their learning communities.”

“Tri-County Early College High School has an impressive and proven track record of success,” said Bender. “We are here to take this revolutionary educational model to the kindergarten through eighth grade level.”

To learn more about the Community of Learners at The Learning Center Charter School, visit www.naturallygrownkids.org or call 835-7240.

#OpenWayLearning  #OpenUpEducation

Annual School Round Up Feature in the Cherokee Scout

Each August, our school is featured in the special edition section of the paper from the Cherokee Scout called the Annual School Round Up.  It’s always a wonderful summary of all the great things happening on campus and the vast array of programs and services available for your students.  Take a look…

The Learning Center Charter School, a tuition-free public charter school, continues to break ground with high-quality offerings in 21st century education. On-going facility improvements are designed for rich academic opportunities on this “future-ready” campus.

The Learning Center Charter School offers an E-STEAM (Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts/Agriculture, and Math) learning environment.  Students are exposed across the curriculum to 3-D Printers, robotics and coding. 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.

The Learning Center’s Montessori Blend Kindergarten program has proven to be a strong approach to instruction for even the youngest learners. “We’ve had consistent success with the feeder Montessori Program that is located on our school campus,” said school director in training, Ryan Bender.

The school’s programs include Compacted Math classes for accelerated math students, daily PE for all grades, a highly developed drama program, and frequent garden-based learning opportunities across campus and in the school’s Outdoor Learning Center. The upper grade’s CREW Program, in its fourth year of operation, promotes character development, goal setting and responsible behaviors.

More extras including National Junior Honor Society, wrestling team, ARTrageous and artists-in-residency program, “Mini and Middle REAL” young entrepreneur program and AIG After School Program provide students with the opportunities to become all they can be.  The school will field a soccer team this fall and looks to expand their sports program to include cross country as well.

Designated as a “USDA Healthier U.S. School” (Silver Level), The Learning Center Charter School places a strong emphasis on its nutrition and exercise programs. The school also has a free breakfast and lunch program available for ALL students.

The charter school 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 Innovation Tech Camp and intervention programs are also offered.

Odyssey of the Mind Teams Succeed at The Learning Center Charter School

The Learning Center Charter School fielded two Odyssey of the Mind teams for the 2018-2019 school year and both teams earned 2nd place finishes at the regional competition in February.  The middle school team advanced to the state level competition and placed 4th in March.

Odyssey of the Mind (OM) is an international educational program that provides creative problem solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members use creative problem solving skills in a range of scenarios from building mechanical devices to presenting dramatic interpretations of literary classics.

Thousands of OM teams across the U.S. and from approximately 25 other countries participate in the program. Students in the program work together as a team preparing for months before the competition. Team members learn valuable skills such as creative and critical thinking, global awareness, cooperative planning, and complex technical and artistic problem solving.

Judy Coleman, OM Director at the school, said, “I am incredibly proud of all of our teams. They all performed exceptionally well!”

Coleman, who also serves on the OM Western Board of Directors for North Carolina as well as the State Board of Directors, added that the 2019-2020 school year will see a creative interplay between the OM problem solving approach and the Project Based Learning approach at the charter school.

“Our students will be presented with ongoing scenarios that will truly stretch their creative problem solving skills!” said Coleman.

8th Grade Service Projects

Eighth grade students at The Learning Center Charter School know how to give back to the community.  That’s because throughout the school year they have developed service projects in conjunction with the Lead2Feed program.

Lead2Feed is a student leadership program that blends leadership lessons with community service.  The program is designed for 6th-12th grade students and integrates robust leadership lessons with a project based learning model.  The goal of the program is for students to increase their understanding of practical leadership skills as they take action to make a positive impact within their communities.

The eighth grade class was divided into four teams with the goal of creating service projects within our community.  One team donated over 300 units of food and supplies to REACH in Murphy.  Another group was able to raise money and donations for The Friendship House in Murphy.   A third team scheduled three liter clean up days.

Teacher Ryan Bender noted that the students worked through all the necessary steps of each service project.  “These student groups created team names and logos and worked diligently to determine attainable goals for their projects,” said Bender. “I am proud of their work and they are happy to have made a difference in our community.”

Living History Museum 2019

Back in May, upper grade students “opened” a Living History Museum to the younger grades. These older students each selected a historic figure, event or place and presented information about it. Many students essentially “became” that historical figure as they dressed, acted and spoke as though they were that person.

For this project, these upper grade students had to synthesize the information they learned to create an exhibit representative of their subject. In order to select pivotal events or recreate significant circumstances in an individual’s life, students had to research the person but also critically evaluate the people, places, and events surrounding them in order to develop a powerful exhibit.

Deciding on a format, selecting key material for younger students to understand, and putting it all in context required active learning and encouraged creative interpretation. As they worked, students needed to understand the subject and the world in which he or she lived.  Additionally, this Living History Museum introduced younger students to subjects relevant to their history studies beyond their reading ability.

What Does 1st Grader Collect and Put in His Pocket?

Children collect all sorts of things as they travel through their days. Lots of it ends up in their pockets. Playing on the theme of the sweet photo series by San Francisco photographer Melissa Kaseman, first graders recently made artful designs after their rainbow scavenger hunt across campus.