Classrooms and campus grounds of The Learning Center Charter School are filled with art projects from across grade levels and subject areas. This is because the school embraces learning through the arts as an essential part of a holistic, E-STEAM curriculum.
E-STEAM stands for entrepreneurship, science, technology, engineering, arts and agriculture, and math.
“We know the arts are a crucial component of education for 21st Century students,” said Ryan Bender, head of school. “Through our classroom arts emphasis, weekly art instruction, art electives, and extracurricular activities in the arts, we are creating the kind of learners that can excel in any field they pursue.”
Teachers at the school use the arts, both visual and dramatic, in the classroom to teach core standards in an engaging and memorable way. On any given day, students can be found singing their multiplication tables, constructing sculptures in the garden, re-enacting famous scenes from American history, or cutting, pasting, and painting for their latest assignment.
The week of April 12th, students in all grades at The Learning Center Charter School learned about artist Paul Klee as part of the school’s continued emphasis on art as part of their E-STEAM curriculum.
E-STEAM stands for entrepreneurship, science, technology, engineering, art & agriculture, and math. A driving principle of the school’s educational approach is to teach students that science, math, and technology skills are essential and are deeply integrated within the activities of entrepreneurship and agriculture, as well as language, music, and visual arts.
“Our philosophy of education is built upon the idea that young learners need to be exposed to a broad array of rich learning experiences,” said Head of School, Ryan Bender.
“The arts – whether visual, written, spoken or performed, are an incredible venue to put academic lessons into practical use. We strive to bring a variety of arts experiences to our students during their time at our school. We offer opportunities to act, paint, draw, craft, write and participate in performances and competitions,” added Bender.
The school is adding a high school next year with the addition of 9th grade. Each subsequent year, an additional grade will be added to make the charter school a Kindergarten through 12th grade school in four years time. This same educational approach will be implemented in high school grades.
The story of The Learning Center Charter School captured the attention of Atlanta based documentary photographer Chris Aluka-Berry and he visited the school on March 29.
Aluka-Berry is a storytelling photographer that grew up in a biracial family in a small rural South Carolina town. For the past four years he has documented life in southern Appalachia in an effort to bring awareness to “Affrilachia” – a term that refers to people of African American heritage who are native to, or live in, the Appalachian Mountains.
Aluka-Berry is a regular contributor to European PressPhoto Agency and Thomson Reuters News Agency. Berry teaches photography at Pace Academy in Atlanta and works with non-profits and corporations to tell their story.
His work has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and he has worked for the Coca-Cola Company, the Home Depot Foundation, Chik-Fil-A, and more. However, it’s storytelling that is Aluka-Berry’s passion.
“Being a small charter school in rural Appalachia, we were thrilled to be able to work with such a talented photographer as Chris,” said Blu Sky Project Development Director, Mary Jo Dyre. “We serve a diverse set of Appalachian students in our small mountain town and look forward to seeing the story that he captured through his lens as we add value to larger and larger audiences through the unfolding of the Blu Sky Programs and Facility Development Plan.”
Each year, our fifth grade students spend the year doing field work with Muddy Sneakers. The Muddy Sneakers program exists to enrich the standard course of study through experiential education in an outdoor setting where students connect with the land, become more active, and gain self-confidence while improving science aptitude. Muddy Sneakers began as a pilot program in the spring of 2007 with Brevard and Pisgah Forest Elementary Schools in Transylvania County and has grown each year to now serve 36 schools across 12 counties and 13 school districts in the Carolinas.
Spring is here and students had a wonderful spring expedition with Muddy Sneakers in April. Students compiled a list of various indicators that spring has arrived.
Nutrition staff went all out for students on April Fool’s Day and celebrated by creating a brand new “holiday” they dubbed “Merry Thanksgas Val Patrick Fool’s Day!” They dressed equally goofy for the fictitious holiday as part of their ongoing effort to keep school fun and engaging during the pandemic.
Last fall, the Jackie Ward Foundation hosted a Virtual Talent Showcase that featured videos submitted by students across our community and region that showcased their talents. Recently, Mr. Ryan presented awards to student participants from our school.
Our annual BOGO Scholastic Book Fair is next week, May 3-7th. All students will have the opportunity to shop the fair. Scholastic has introduced eWallet – an online account created by parent or guardian to deposit funds for use by a student. Watch the video above to learn more.
Third graders at The Learning Center Charter School are immersing the pop culture phenomenon of graphic novels into their everyday studies and are learning language arts, science, and art as a result.
A graphic novel is a full length story published as a book in comic-strip format. In other words, graphic novels are book length comic books and subject matter can range from mysteries to superhero stories.
Teacher Kathleen Shook noticed student interest in graphic novels and decided to embrace it as a means to teach subjects across the curriculum. In addition to fully embracing graphic novels as a means to learn topics in language arts, students have also created their own graphic novels as part of writing assignments, illustrated them in art class, and included science lessons as part of the novels.
“My class has been really into graphic novels outside of class,” said Shook. “Bringing that excitement into other areas of study has been a fun way to engage my students and deepen their learning in other areas.”
Shook added that students have even been writing comics at home and bringing them to school to share with the class. Plus, Murphy Public Library loaned twenty new novels for the class to enjoy.
“Learning should be fun and my students have been having a blast weaving graphic novels throughout their studies each day,” said Shook.
The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program is a collaboration between the NC Department of Health and Human Services and the NC Department of Public Instruction and is authorized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The P-EBT program helps families with eligible children whose access to meals or buying food has been impacted by COVID-19.
Keep your P-EBT cards as more funds may be distributed.