1st Week of School Success

Let’s face it. The 2020-21 school year is looks vastly different than years past. Masks. Social distancing. A and B schedules. Remote learning days. However, one thing is not different. TLC students get outside often!

As often as possible, classes will be outside and our Outdoor Learning Center will be utilized to it’s fullest potential.

Freckle New at TLC this School Year

Whether your family has opted for in-person hybrid learning or fully remote learning, we are meeting students exactly where they are academically. Beginning this school year, we are using the online platform called Freckle, that provides differentiated learning.

Freckle continuously adapts to each student’s individual skills and provides inquiry based lessons. It also provides teachers with individual student data which helps to better differential for each child.

Outdoor Learning at TLC

Our school has always put an emphasis on being outdoors. Our teachers take students outdoors for lessons on science, to engage in garden based learning, to read and write in the outdoors, to engage in physical education, and for countless other reasons. It’s part of the reason we have a dedicated outdoor space that we call the Outdoor Learning Center. The outdoors offers an expansion of our classroom walls as well as the space for students to spread out and move their bodies.

As our new school year unfolds during the Covid-19 pandemic, be assured that our students will continue to be outdoors as often as possible.

This specific area will be used often by EC students.

As seen in the Cherokee Scout Campus Round-Up Edition

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, 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 for North Carolina residents.

The school is on track to be an accredited O.W.L. (Open Way Learning) School later this summer. OWL is a framework that encourages educators to create and share best practices to help 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 learning communities. OWL serves an umbrella over the E-STEAM and PBL (Project Based Learning) foundation of the school. Additionally, fundamental principles of the school such as garden based learning, good nutrition and wellness, and a rich arts program that includes a well developed drama department fit under the OWL umbrella.

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 Head of School, Ryan Bender.

More extras including Compacted Math classes for accelerated math students, daily PE for all grades, National Junior Honor Society, wrestling team, ARTrageous and artists-in-residency program, “Mini and Middle REAL” young entrepreneur program, Academically and Intellectually Gifted Program, and the after school program provide students with the opportunities to become all they can be. The school also boasts an upper grade CREW Program, in its fifth year of operation, which promotes character development, goal setting, and responsible behaviors.

Additionally, the school instituted an ECO Ed option several years ago offering a home school flex program. The ECO Ed program works with community partners to create adjustable, flexible schedules for families who want to spend more time together and still be connected with a school for instructional support. Having the ECO Ed option already in place made the sudden transition to remote learning in the spring of 2020 as a result of the global pandemic a smooth transition for both teachers and students as a whole.  Having a system already in place resulted in rich and engaging lessons during the stay-at-home orders and kept students plugged into their teachers, classmates and education.

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.

To learn more about and to enroll your child at The Learning Center Charter School, visit www.naturallygrownkids.org or call (828)835-7240.

Students Get a Jump Start

Teachers and students made a jump start to the new school year at The Learning Center Charter School the week of July 20, 2020.

Rising third and fourth graders at the school took advantage of the Summer Jump Start program that is designed to fill in the learning gaps and help with potential learning loss due to Covid-19.

Students countywide were directed by Governor Cooper to remain home from mid-March through the end of the last school year. The same is true for most all kindergarten through twelfth grade students nationwide.  Although students were participating in remote/virtual learning during that stay-at-home period, the extended pause has experts and educators concerned about the potential impacts on student achievement.

According to the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), a non-profit organization that assesses student academic progress in over 49 countries , 50 states, and 3400 districts, there are projected learning losses that are magnified by the extended  absence from in person instruction that occurs in the classroom. 

NWEA used data of typical summer learning loss and compared the learning loss trajectory for the additional two months of missed in person instruction. They used a national sample of over 5 million students in grades 3-8.

“It’s a statistical fact that students can suffer an academic setback during the summer months and with the extended closure due to Covid-19, we decided to put our Summer Jump Start program in place to lessen that gap,” said Stephanie Hopper, Associate Academic Director at the charter school.

The charter school carefully prepared the campus following DHHS guidelines to assure that students are learning in a safe environment.  Masks and strict safety protocols are in place to protect both students and teachers during the Summer Jump Start.

“Our goal has always been and it remains so during these difficult times to provide our students a high quality, comprehensive, and engaging education,” said Hopper.  “Our Summer Jump Start is ensuring we keep our students on track for a successful new school year.”

Learning More About Us & What the New School Year Will Look Like

School starts in less than a month and we appreciate Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce visiting our school, learning more about us, and making this video.

The 2020-21 school year is definitely going to look different for our students but The Learning Center has solid plans in place to offer our families two options for how students can be enrolled, attend school, and receive the awesome E-STEAM, Project Based Learning (PBL), Open Way Learning (OWL) education you expect and rely on.

Visit our website’s FAQ of our Covid-19 2020-21 School Year page to find the latest, up-to-date information about how school will look this fall at The Learning Center Charter School.

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.

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.”