Why the Emphasis on E-STEAM?

Students are seen building bird houses as part of our school’s E-STEAM approach to daily education.

Students at The Learning Center Charter School engineer, build, test, design and troubleshoot every day. Why? Because STEM education extends to every student at the school no matter the age.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.  Our school takes it a step further by including entrepreneurship, arts and agriculture – E-STEAM.

Cultivating an E-STEAM culture is the guiding philosophy for our school and within that we offer an amazing array of learning opportunities for our students – each and every student from kindergarten through ninth grade.

For many years, we have worked diligently to make our curriculum and campus a true E-STEAM environment. We teach students that the science, math, and technology skills that are essential for becoming 21st Century citizens 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.  As students move into high school and beyond, they will begin to specialize in more specific interests. 

However, it will be the early broad-based education that assures the well-rounded, future-ready leaders and citizens who are the foundation of a healthy, productive, creative and sustainable Community of Learners.

An incredible team of educators brings this approach to our students on a daily basis, providing these young learners with the tools they need to succeed. 

Charter High School Expansion Bringing Top Notch Educators Home

As you know, our school is expanding to become a full kindergarten through twelfth grade school in the next four years. The upcoming 2021-22 school year will see the addition of ninth grade with tenth, eleventh, and twelfth being added each subsequent school year.

The school has recently added the impressive team of Steve and Debby Kurti to serve as educators and innovators for students both on campus and within our community as well as provide professional development and support to the school as a whole.

Steve grew up in Franklin, NC. He has a PhD in physics, is the owner of several federal patents, and loves to help teens and young adults discover their curiosity, develop skills, and find the value in learning new things.

Debby pursued graduate work in educational technology leadership at Pepperdine University.  For almost 25 years, she has taught everything from kindergarten to graduate school, as well as facilitated hundreds of professional development experiences for teachers. Debby has developed powerful learning strategies backed up by the best research and educational theory.

In 2013, Steve and Debby started a small education company dedicated to “developing REAL Innovators on Purpose”.  Every year since then, they have run an Innovation Tech Camp in Murphy at The Learning Center (except during the 2020/2021 COVID season).  They created summer tech camp programs, teen mentoring programs, and home school creative tech and science classes during the fall/spring semesters.  Their business has kept them mostly in their small town in southern California, but every summer they have taken their tech camps on the road across America (western NC, TN, GA, FL, Washington DC, WI, northern CA, and WA).

Steve is excited to see how applying new educational and technology ideas can prepare the school’s high school students for solid careers both pre- and post-college.  He will be working closely with teachers to create tech laboratories, practical tech experiences, and connections to local and regional businesses for students to explore. 

Debby will bring a strong focus on excellence in teaching and learning.  She will work closely with the already naturally-gifted TLC teachers to do “on purpose” what they have already been doing intuitively. Debby will bring her passion to help every classroom teacher become a catalyst for creativity and innovation. 

2nd Grade Science – Whales

Second grade students were learning about whales and conducted an experiment about how blubber keeps them warm. The students put one hand in a double Ziplock bag that had Crisco between them and another two bags with nothing between them. Students learned that whales have blubber which is an adaptation they need in order to survive living in colder places and diving down to extreme depths in the ocean.

Field Day 2021

For over 20 years, Field Day has been the hallmark event signaling the end of the school year at The Learning Center Charter School.

This school year certainly looked different but the smile on student faces as they played ball, fished, had potato sack races, and more sure felt like that same end-of-year fun that Field Day always has been.

2nd Grade – STEM Storybook Tents

Second grade students made tents during “Storybook STEM” the last week of school. They were having a camping themed day and in addition to other fun camping related activities, that meant that students designed and built tents! Students read nature, camping, and outdoor adventure books as part of the fun activities as well.

Students Build Square Foot Garden

Students are seen here creating a new Square Foot Garden on our campus.

Square foot gardening is a simple method of creating small, orderly, and highly productive gardens and was invented by Mel Bartholomew as a better way to grow a vegetable garden. It became a huge hit when he introduced the idea to the gardening public in 1981 in his book Square Foot Gardening.

This endeavor is teaching many things including math, science, teamwork, and an understanding of where food comes from. Students will be planting vegetables, herbs, and flowers in these garden beds.