Students at The Learning Center Charter School have been participating in the school’s summer program called LEAP. LEAP stands for Learning Education Activity Program.
The summer program at the school was created as a result of the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and how two school years were affected by it. The 2019-2020 school year abruptly forced students nationwide into online learning. The 2020-2021 school year saw a mix of remote, online learning and limited in-person learning. Plus the addition of social distancing and masks when in-person learning was an option created obstacles as well.
“For absolutely no fault of their own, the last few years of school have been incredibly challenging for students to meet expected academic growth,” said Ryan Bender, head of school for The Learning Center. He added, “Our summer LEAP program was designed as a way to meet students where they are and really help fill gaps and move them forward.”
The LEAP program at the school is running different sessions depending on grade level. Each session lasts four weeks. Students spend time daily learning reading, writing, and working on math fundamentals. Each day includes time outdoors as well as “making” activities including music and visual arts.
Last school year, our Kindergarten students learned about birds. This included learning facts, reading books about birds, counting and measuring bird things as part of math lessons, and more. However, Ms. Louise was sure to engage the students further with plenty of hands-on activities.
One of the fun hands-on projects these students did was make their own birdfeeders. Students had learned about what birds eat and the importance of high density nutrients to sustain all the things that busy birds do. This was evident when listening to the conversations students had during the making of the bird feeders as they excitedly noted the importance of “more peanut butter” in order to attach “more birdseed!”
First grade students recently completed a PBL project that focused on bugs!
PBL stands for Project Based Learning and 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.
In Guided Reading, students read non-fiction books about the differences of insects and bugs. To apply what they learned, they each created clay insects to show the three segmented body parts (a head, thorax, and abdomen) of an insect.
As part of their writing lessons, the students worked on comparing and contrasting insects and bugs using a Venn Diagram.
Using topics that students are naturally interested in, like bugs, provides opportunities to use that subject matter across the curriculum and Ms. Katie was sure to do that!
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.
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.
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.
To celebrate the 100th day of school, students in first grade were tasked with building animals with 100 found objects. These fun creations were showcased during the virtual School Maker Faire in March.