The E-STEAM Culture at The Learning Center

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.

Ryan Bender, Head of School, says, “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 eighth 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,” adds Bender.

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. 

5th Grade Class Receives Military Flag

This past school year, our fifth grade students wrote letters to Air Force pilot, Captain Woody.  The class wrote letters to show appreciation for his service throughout his deployment.  As a token of thanks, Captain Woody mailed the class an official military Flag of the United States of America.  The flag will be displayed in the classroom next school year.

Sports Programs at TLC

The Learning Center is firmly committed to providing opportunities for wellness across the board for our students. We believe that in addition to stretching a students mind, they should stretch their bodies too.

Good nutrition, daily physical education and garden based learning have long served as a core value ensuring physical wellness for our students. Offering extracurricular sports programming provides further opportunities for student health, self-esteem, self-confidence, teamwork and leadership building! 

Wrestling became our first official team sport in 2018 and we are hopeful that we can expand our offerings soon.  We plan to partner with Carolina Mountain Athletics to pursue volleyball and cross-country for the fall and basketball in October for our middle school students. 

Why do we emphasize Garden Based Learning?

Students at TLC aren’t strangers to getting their hands dirty.  Why?  Because 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.

Gardening encourages students to become active participants in the learning process.

Although our students were not on campus this spring to bring our gardens to life, Ms. Emily was sure to still plant flowers and vegetables to beautiful our campus during the global pandemic.

3rd Graders Studied Famous Statues

This statue was titled, “Stay Safe, Stay Home”

During remote learning this past school year, third grade students were assigned the task of researching some famous statues across the world, like the Statue of Liberty, Christ the Redeemer, and The Motherland Calls. They were asked to create their own statues to represent the Covid-19 Crisis and Quarantine. These students totally knocked it out of the park!

This student described his statute by saying, “I don’t like staying at home all the time and I don’t like wearing a mask. My statue is six feet tall because you are supposed to stay six feet away from people. The laptop is for remote learning because we can’t go to school. The gloves and mask and antibacterial soap are to keep people safe from getting the virus. The solar light is for essential workers and teachers for helping.”
This student explained, “I chose the apple because it’s a symbol for health and I chose the golf tees because it is a symbol for fun and social activities which have been really limited by Covid 19.  I had it floating in the air because everything is so uncertain right now.”  

Free Online Counseling Sessions Available to Community

The global pandemic and resulting health, economic, and job security concerns along with continued and sustained social distancing are difficult for us all.  How can you cope? How can you help your family and friends cope with the uncertainty of it all?

The Learning Center Charter School in conjunction with DotCom Therapy, is offering four free online Jam Sessions for anyone in the community that would like to attend.  Each session is on a Tuesday evening as follows:  June 16 at 6pm, June 30 at 6pm, July 14 at 6pm, and July 28 at 6pm. Topics will include things like parents’ summer survival tips and helping kids self-regulate as well as cope during these times of isolation.

Participants can expect to have an open, supportive conversation about important topics and tips that impact our daily lives.

Participants can simply log on to listen to the information or take a more active role in the dialogue by asking questions.

The counselor that will be leading the sessions is Michaela Landry.  She earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work in 2015 from University of New England.

These Jam Sessions are funded by The Learning Center Charter School and are available to anyone in the community at no cost. Please visit www.naturallygrownkids.org, https://www.facebook.com/TLCGrowZonePage, or call 835-7240 to find the login information to join these free Jam Sessions.

Michaela Landry, Licensed Clinical Social Worker for DotCom Therapy, will lead four free online Jam Sessions for our community on June 16, June 30, July 14, and July 28th.

Virtual Community Partnerships During Remote Learning

As a parent or guardian, you know how teachers interacted with your students during the stay-at-home, remote learning mandated by the state in response to the global pandemic. Many of our students participated in regular class meetings via Zoom.

Often times, third graders ended their class Zoom meetings by participating in the virtual Lego Club challenges presented by the Murphy Public Library.

Virtual community partnerships at it’s finest!

8th Grade Graduation Parade

On May 27, 2020, teachers and staff lined up around the school to cheer on our twenty one graduates as they paraded around the school and received their diplomas from Mr. Ryan near the front office. The event was streamed live on our Facebook page and although not a traditional graduation ceremony, it was a special way to honor the awesome eighth graders as they “level up” to high school. Congratulations Graduates!

Third Graders Study Lost Cities as Part of Remote Learning

As soon as stay-at-home orders switched daily school to remote education from home, Kathleen Shook, third grade teacher at The Learning Center Charter School, immediately switched gears on how to continue enriching E-STEAM and PBL projects for her remote class.  As a result, students embarked on an extensive project based on lost cities of the world.

A targeted E-STEAM education approach ensures students engage in science, technology, engineering and math regularly. PBL is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, complex question, problem, or challenge.

The premise of the lost cities project came from a book the class read together about cities in history that are no longer inhabited either by means of disappearance, natural disaster, or mysterious episode.  Students researched lost cities and chose ones to focus on depending on their interests.  Petra, Atlantis and Great Zimbabwe were popular choices.

At the conclusion of the project, students designed and built models of their chosen lost city.  Many used recycled materials while others used both technology and materials found in nature to build outside forts.

“Not being able to be in the same room with my students is challenging to be able to gauge how my students are delving into a subject,” said Shook.  “However, I know from experience that PBL projects like this harness student curiosity and allow a deeper exploration and understanding of studies.”

The lost cities project included science, reading, writing and social studies components.

“What we could have learned about lost cities in one lesson on one day is nothing compared to the deeply engaged learning that we participated in during our PBL unit with lost cities as our overall theme,” said Shook.

Want to learn more about the E-STEAM and PBL approach at The Learning Center Charter School? Fill out the form below and we will contact you.

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2nd Grade Studies Butterfly Life Cycle During Remote Learning

As part of remote learning for second graders, students have studied the life cycle of a butterfly. The studies included texts, interactive videos, reading aloud, directed drawing, and digital art. This allowed students to learn science, reading and writing standards!

Additionally, Ms. Stephanie also was able to share the process with her students via photos and video chats of the Painted Lady butterflies that she documented throughout the life cycle process.