Did you see us in the paper? TLC! Offers Rich Program for All Area Students

The Learning Center! Charter School has broken ground on the beginnings of an ambitious facility improvement plan designed to make the school “future-ready.” This summer, the school moved into it’s newly renovated administration office with plans for more expansion and improvements through a recently procured USDA loan.

The school offers a learning environment rich in academics balanced with the arts, music, an award winning nutrition program, daily P.E., and unique electives. This tuition-free public charter school (K-8th) has NO district restrictions and accepts students across all counties. The school’s curriculum blends healthy living, community involvement and an academic program rich in Common Core standards for well-rounded future-ready citizens.

The Learning Center! is piloting a STEM program — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics- for the new school year. The STEM program will complete what will be defined as an E-STEAM approach to education. “E” stands for entrepreneurship and the “A” is representative of a strong arts/language arts emphasis. “It is our goal,” said Mary Jo Dyre, director of The Learning Center “that all facility improvements  provide the ideal setting for students to be involved in the hands-on, problem solving approach that is characteristic of a quality E-STEAM education. We will have a stage for our drama program, OM/STEM workspace and a multi-purpose gym included in our up-coming construction plan.”

The school offers a rich music and drama program and will soon have a stage as part of it’s new facilities plans. The highly developed music education program offers chorus, guest musicians and instrument lessons that include bowed string, fiddle, guitar and piano.

The Learning Center! also offers Jr. Beta Club, Odyssey of the Mind teams, “Academics and the Arts” Artists-in-Residency program,  “Mini and Middle REAL”  young entrepreneur program, compacted math classes for gifted students, and pottery. “Girls on the Run” and “Girls on Track”, and “Chick Challengers Club” are among some of the rich electives and extra-curricular programs available through the charter school program. Recently, the school announced a Partnership with Western North Carolina Pacesettters that will significantly enhance the education experience for Learning Center students by supplementing P.E., STEM, and Aftercare programs with Pacesetters activities, plus offering engaging wilderness outings with qualified staff.

The Jackie Ward Foundation provides both funding and in-kind support for the school’s extra academics and arts programs. Students benefit from a rich cultural environment that complements academic offerings of the highest caliber.

Designated an “A+ Fit School” by The North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund, the school places a strong emphasis on its nutrition and exercise programs. Students eat healthy, freshly prepared food (served on real china and silverware) much of it from local sources.

The school also has a rich social media program to better communicate and interact with students, parents and faculty. Visit their new website (naturallygrownkids.org), blog (tlcgrowzone.org/blog) and FaceBook page (facebook.com/TLCGrowZonePage) to get a comprehensive overview of student opportunities.

The Learning Center!, serves approximately 200 students and is open to both in-and out-of-county students. There is no tuition for grades K through 8th and students can attend from any county.

The school also features a Montessori private preschool that is included in all the exciting development of becoming a STEM SCHOOL.  Tuition is charged and prices and hours are parallel to local childcare centers in the county. The pre-school program is eligible for subsidized funds.

The Learning Center! is located in downtown Murphy at 945 Conaheeta Street, Murphy NC 28906.
Call 828-835-7240 or email tlccs@naturallygrownkids.org for more information and to schedule a tour.

TLC! Receives Grant from North Carolina Farm Bureau

Science teacher Emily Willey, Cherokee County Farm Bureau President Mae Clay, and Science teacher Rachel Roberts
Science teacher Emily Willey, Cherokee County Farm Bureau President Mae Clay, and Science teacher Rachel Roberts

Science teacher Rachel Roberts introduced an ongoing project, Envirothon Aquaponics,  to TLC! in the spring of 2013 and was recently awarded a $500 grant from North Carolina Farm Bureau.  Cherokee County Farm Bureau President, Mae Clay, was on hand along with Farm Bureau District Field Representative, Jimmy Cowan, to present the award.

Envirothon Aquaponics project is designed to impact a small team of 6th-8th grade students, presenting them with opportunities to investigate environmental sciences in our local mountain region of North Carolina; to learn more about aquaponics and the role of the farmer/food producer in our state through studies that are committed to meet environmental improvement standards; to design and conduct experiments based on our investigations, to provide opportunities for a multi-disciplined approach (STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts/Language Arts, and Math) to problem solving and the development of critical thinking skills. Students with staff supervision will design, build, and maintain an aquaponics system that integrates the growing of plants and fish in an environmental system with as few inputs as possible.  Specific goals as related to this project include:

  • To grow edible plants.
  • To test different plants in our hydroponics systems and examine what grows best.
  • To raise 10 fish to maturity for consumption.
  • To investigate and understand local aquaculture systems and business in NC agriculture.
  • To conduct feasibility studies for extending /expanding the aquaponics so that it produces food for larger populations.
  • To create “student taught” grade appropriate (K-8) lesson plans to share with other students who did not participate directly in the project.

 

These specific goals are “repeat goals” that can be used for upcoming school years with different sets of students.

Students will learn types of plants and fish able to be grown in an aquaponics system in the mountain region of NC.  Students will learn about the local fish farm industry in our county, as well as local farmers that grown and produce their own edible greens.  Cherokee county is a rural area with a heritage of farming and self-sustainability.  Students will explore the possibilities of small scale agriculture and discuss the feasibility of producing fish and vegetables for their local school.  This will also be an experiment to see how successful a small student run system can be at a local school.

 

 

 

STEM in Action in First Grade

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Last Friday, students in first grade were challenged to create a plant using four different materials. The finished product had to have two movable parts and have all parts labeled.

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This lesson also included a time for them to evaluate their products to determine if they met the criteria and to speculate on what they would do differently if they did this lesson again.

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They enjoyed the lesson a great deal and worked together well.

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STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.  Students at The Learning Center are exposed to STEM lessons frequently as part of our school wide emphasis on STEM.  However at TLC, STEM is taken further by expanding it to E-STEAM which stands for Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics.

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More About Nutrition Education at TLC!

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Some things to know

  • The nutrition education program here at TLC! is called “Small Bites”

It includes, but is not limited to the following.

  1.  Pick of the Month—we highlight and celebrate a specific vegetable or fruit each month based on what is locally available.  You will see a blog post on the featured food and “ads” on the morning e-bulletin board.  We follow ASAP’s Get Local @ School calendar, highlighting foods when they are generally locally available.
  2. Monthly Emphasis-In addition to a “Pick of the Month” we also choose a nutrition-related topic to emphasize using the nutrition bulletin board in the Dining Commons and information is posted in the teacher workroom.
  3. Education on the serving line—you will see information about making healthful food choices posted directly on the serving line in the Dining Commons.  Students are given guidance based on My Plate guidelines and USDA regulations about what constitutes a reimbursable meal.
  4. Menus—A colorful  breakfast and lunch menu is posted on the school website.  In addition to answering the “what’s for lunch?” question, it contains recipes and information about healthy living.
  5. Lunchtime Read Aloud—We have a growing library of farm and food related literature,  mostly appropriate to a PK-4th audience.
  6. In-Class Activities
  7. STEM-foods and cooking can become part of a STEM project.
  8. Farm Field Trips

 

Learning Center Preps for Future, Pre-K Blossoms

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As The Learning Center! Charter School prepares to open its doors for the new school year, students will see lots of changes. With the goal of creating “future-ready” students, the school has made a commitment to providing a “21st Century Classroom” experience that will affect everything from the physical campus to the curriculum. In addition to an ambitious facility improvement plan made possible through a recently procured USDA loan, The Learning Center! is initiating this “21st Century Classroom” philosophy in every aspect of its curriculum, and electives from its Montessori Preschool program to eighth grade.

“We are retooling our private Montessori Pre-K program,” said Mary Jo Dyre, Director of The Learning Center. “We are including even our youngest learners in the STEM-based 21st Century Education program that is being introduced school-wide in the K-8 Charter program this year.”

The Learning Center! is piloting this STEM program (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) that will complete what will be defined as an “E-STEAM” approach to education. “E” stands for entrepreneurship and the “A” is representative of a strong arts/language arts emphasis.

Some highlights of the re-tooled private Montessori Pre-K program, now in its 30th year, include a second semester “Transition-to-Kindergarten” program for all age-appropriate Montessori pre-schoolers, and a year-round program with a schedule reflective of the full-service day-care schedule yet it maintains the high-quality Montessori educational program. Plans to include the Pre-K program in all aspects of the “21st Century Classroom” experience are well underway. In addition, the school is announcing a new, reduced registration and supply fee of $100. The Montessori preschool is private and tuition is charged. Prices and hours are parallel to local childcare centers in the county. The Kindergarten through eighth grade program is tuition-free as The Learning Center! is a public charter school.

This summer, the school broke ground on the beginnings of an ambitious facility improvement plan as it moved into it’s newly renovated administration office. “It is our goal,” said Mary Jo Dyre, director of The Learning Center!, “that all facility improvements  provide the ideal setting for students to be involved in the hands-on, problem solving approach that is characteristic of a quality E-STEAM education.” Construction plans include a stage for the drama program, Odyssey of the Mind program workspace and a multi-purpose gym.

The school offers a learning environment rich in academics balanced with the arts, music, an award winning nutrition program, daily P.E., and unique electives. A multitude of new opportunities (in-classroom, extracurricular and electives) for all students is being introduced this year. You can find out about these offerings and school plans at a parent meeting that is open to the public on August 15 starting at 5:30pm. If you miss the meeting, you can call the school for information and schedule a tour at 828.835.7240.

As seen in the Cherokee Scout’s School Round Up Addition

The Learning Center! Charter School

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Murphy – The Learning Center! Charter School has broken ground on the beginnings of an ambitious facility improvement plan designed to make the school “future-ready.” This summer, the school moved into it’s newly renovated administration office with plans for more expansion and improvements through a recently procured USDA loan.

The school offers a learning environment rich in academics balanced with the arts, music, an award winning nutrition program, daily P.E., and unique electives. This tuition-free public charter school (K-8th) blends healthy living, community involvement and an academic program rich in Common Core standards for well-rounded future-ready citizens.

The Learning Center! is piloting a STEM program — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics- for the new school year. The STEM program will complete what will be defined as an E-STEAM approach to education. “E” stands for entrepreneurship and the “A” is representative of a strong arts/language arts emphasis. “It is our goal,” said Mary Jo Dyre, director of The Learning Center “that all facility improvements  provide the ideal setting for students to be involved in the hands-on, problem solving approach that is characteristic of a quality E-STEAM education. We will have a stage for our drama program, OM/STEM workspace and a multi-purpose gym included in our up-coming construction plan.”

The school offers Jr. Beta Club, Odyssey of the Mind teams, bowed string, fiddle, guitar and piano lessons,  “Academics and the Arts” Artists-in-Residency program,  “Mini and Middle REAL”  young entrepreneur program, compacted math classes for gifted students, and pottery. “Girls on the Run” and “Girls on Track”, and “Chick Challengers Club” are among some of the rich electives and extra-curricular programs available through the charter school program.

The Jackie Ward Foundation provides both funding and in-kind support for the school’s extra academics and arts programs. Students benefit from a rich cultural environment that complements academic offerings of the highest caliber.

Designated an “A+ Fit School” by The North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund, the school places a strong emphasis on its nutrition and exercise programs. Students eat healthy, freshly prepared food (served on real china and silverware) much of it from local sources.

The school also has a rich social media program to better communicate and interact with students, parents and faculty. Visit their new website (naturallygrownkids.org), blog (tlcgrowzone.org/blog) and FaceBook page (facebook.com/TLCGrowZonePage) to get a comprehensive overview of student opportunities.

Construction Changes – What’s It All About? Read about E-STEAM & STEM Education at TLC!

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Exciting things are happening on campus while students and their families are on summer break.  If you were to stop by the school right now you would find this sign on the door that normally would lead you to the front office.  However, the front office is in transition.  Why?  The Learning Center! Charter School is making some big changes in order to be a 21st Century campus!

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What is a 21st Century campus?  One that is future ready!  One that is equipped to give students all they need to succeed in today’s world!  This means that over the summer the main office will be relocated to the area in front of the Dining Commons.  It means that 3rd and 4th grades will now occupy the modular formally occupied by the front office.  It also means that 5th and 6th grades will now occupy the former 3rd & 4th grade modular.  It means that the campus computer lab is being relocated and outfitted with furniture that works better for our students.  It means that when your students return in August you will soon see evidence of some BIG construction going on that will add to and remodel our current Dining Commons building.

For the past several years TLC! has been working towards a shift in curriculum that focuses on STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  But TLC! takes it a step further by focusing on E-STEAM — Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics.  Use the search bar in the right hand column of this blog to select “STEM”  and “STEAM” to see what teachers have been doing in this regard for the last several years.   These construction changes are just the beginning of other changes that you will soon see on campus that will more visually embrace our E-STEAM approach.

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Stayed tuned for more!

Mini Mall Fun!

The Learning Center prides itself on their long standing Middle REAL program offered to 5th through 8th graders.  Middle REAL stands for the Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning.  Additionally, TLC also has a Mini REAL program that serves kindergarten through 4th graders.  Both the Middle REAL and Mini REAL programs are a component of the North Carolina REAL program that is dedicated to helping bring entrepreneurship and small business creation to our state.

 

The Mini and Middle REAL programs work together to hold two annual Mini Malls, an event that has students writing business plans, conducting marketing surveys, and devising effective advertising in order to create a successful marketplace.

Mini Mall is a hugely popular event on campus but Middle REAL and Mini REAL achieve far more than just that at TLC!  These programs also educate in the following ways:

·         Community Problem Solving – Students focus on the basic rules of safety at home, in the community and on the Internet. Students create dramatizations of problematic situations then model effective solutions. Students compete for “best” solutions much like real-life contractors.

·         Community Environmental Design – Students are involved in the design and construction of a miniature “green” community and the design and creation of a Japanese garden.

·         The Global Community – Students learn Internet safety as they develop an awareness of the world that is accessible with the click of a mouse. Student research will support other Middle REAL classes and Friday activities.

·         Community Wellness –With a focus on overall health of humans and the good earth, students experiment with good-tasting, nutritious, “kid-friendly” snack recipes. These recipes are then be distributed to grades K-4 for classroom use.

 

Mini Mall Fun!

The Learning Center prides itself on their long standing Middle REAL program offered to 5th through 8th graders.  Middle REAL stands for the Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning.  Additionally, TLC also has a Mini REAL program that serves kindergarten through 4th graders.  Both the Middle REAL and Mini REAL programs are a component of the North Carolina REAL program that is dedicated to helping bring entrepreneurship and small business creation to our state.

 

The Mini and Middle REAL programs work together to hold two annual Mini Malls, an event that has students writing business plans, conducting marketing surveys, and devising effective advertising in order to create a successful marketplace.

 

 

Mini Mall is a hugely popular event on campus but Middle REAL and Mini REAL achieve far more than just that at TLC!  These programs also educate in the following ways:

·         Community Problem Solving – Students focus on the basic rules of safety at home, in the community and on the internet. Students create dramatizations of problematic situations then model effective solutions. Students compete for “best” solutions much like real-life contractors.

·         Community Environmental Design – Students are involved in the design and construction of a miniature “green” community and the design and creation of a Japanese garden.

·         The Global Community – Students learn Internet safety as they develop an awareness of the world that is accessible with the click of a mouse. Student research will support other Middle REAL classes and Friday activities.

·         Community Wellness –With a focus on overall health of humans and the good earth, students experiment with good-tasting, nutritious, “kid-friendly” snack recipes. These recipes are then be distributed to grades K-4 for classroom use.