Internet Safety, Meeting Individual Learning Needs

Through Technology and Hour of Code


Choose ONE date/time that works for you:

  • Monday, November 30, 2015 at 8:00am


  • Monday, November 30, 2015 at 5:00pm


  • Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 1:00pm


All parent training sessions take place in the Gymnatorium. You will sign in directly in the gym.

Training sessions will last approximately two hours. Snacks will be provided.

Please take this opportunity to become partners with the school in your student’s academic accomplishments. I strongly recommend all parents attending this HIGH PRORITY PARENT TRAINING.

                                                                                                       Mary Jo Dyre, Director

Update on Construction and Happenings on Campus

Lowe’s Heroes….and other heroes making things happen at The Learning Center! Charter School ! in conjunction with the SOON TO START BUILDING PROGRAM

Now two and a half years ago we first began to plan with our architect, David Lisle of Lisle Architecture our of Wilmington, NC, the next building phase that would be made possible through a USDA loan. A requirement of the USDA loan application includes some in-kind project. When the board concluded that we needed to do as much as possible to improve the public perception of our campus, the architect came up a low-cost project idea that could be accomplished by volunteer help, with some seed monies from community organizations: the Terraced Planting Space, phase 1 of which has now been completed thanks to volunteer efforts of Lowe’s Heroes, Cherokee County Farm Bureau, Nehemiah’s Neighbors, and some of our awesome parents.

The architect had helped to establish THREE GOALS to accomplish with the Terraced Planting Project:

Goal 1: To create with minimum outlay of cash raised through community seed funds, small gardening grants and private donations a “green space” in the front of the school that gives the public a “first impression” of our school based on a cause and an approach to education that is dear to The Learning Center heart. In other words, when fully developed ( hopefully sometime in the late spring of 2015) modules are not the first thing the public notices about our campus.

Goal 2: To solve a safety problem that has exists each and every day students are meeting parents in cars during pick-up. The vertical planting space forces the use of one of the three exit path rather that students running out directly into traffic. Even though we will not get the final steps put in until another small grant arrives for outdoor space, the safety problem has already been solved.

Goal 3: To provide a secure, fenced area for raising food for School Nutrition Program use while also providing space for ongoing school-wide STEM lesson that will be carried out year after year. We anticipate having a portion of this goal complete in late Spring 2015 and Fall of 2015.

In short, what an accomplishment from volunteers and grant and community seed funds.

PLEASE NOTE: Although not linked to the USDA loan requirements, we have already started beginning steps of a complete renovation of the Dining Commons. We will know soon as to whether we have the grant funds to see this project to completion sooner as opposed to later.

HOT OFF THE PRESS: We are gearing up to the official ground-breaking for the long-awaited Gymnatorium/Makers Space that is to be located behind the Dining Commons. As of today, November 18, 2014, we anticipate ground breaking to occur Monday, November 24 or soon thereafter.

If you ever have questions about our long-range building plan, do not hesitate to ask. I had a booth set up at the Parent’s Fair and the first Director Under the Tent session for just such questions and will continue to provide information throughout the school year at key presentation times.

Join us in being excited about all of the many signs of growth that are happening here on The Learning Center! Charter School campus.

Mary Jo Dyre, Director


In the summer of 2013 when The Learning Center! Charter School began to prepare for the 10th annual Monster Mash Bash, those of us involved, made a commitment to see the next ten years of -Monster Mash history grow into an even greater community -wide entertainment piece.   Simultaneously, the Jackie Ward Foundation made the commitment to support a weekend arts entertainment event that would enrich the Murphy, NC area.  It was immediately concluded that the annual Learning Center Monster Mash provided the ideal foundation on which to accomplish the Jackie Ward Foundation goal. Jackie Ward board members, working with Barbara Hughes and Jon and Tammy Fleisher, drawing on the rich historical research of the Cherokee County Paranormal Society, moved forward to create the Legend Has It Weekend.  On Friday, October 24, 2014, the Legend Has It Weekend will kick-off with a 2 hour Legend Has It Walking Tour of Murphy under the direction of David Vowell working with a talented group of regional actors who will make history and lore come alive.  Saturday, night, October 25, 2014, the Learning Center’s annual Monster Mash Bash event will conclude the Legend Has It Weekend. This year’s Monster Mash theme is Harry Potter, including the area-acclaimed Hogwart’s Revisited MAZE , booths, costume contest, bounce houses, cake raffles, and more. See details of both nights of the Legend Has It Weekend below:

  • Legend Has It Walking Tour of Murphy: Friday, October 24, 2014. Starts at 8:15 SHARP in front of the Daily Grind in downtown Murphy. Ticket Price: $20 includes 2 hour walking tour, end-of-tour refreshments at the Parson’s Pub, and small group “after hour’s tour” of a surprise historical site in the downtown area.  Tickets can be purchased in advance at The Learning Center! Charter School office, online at www.naturallygrownkids.org or the downtown Murphy Curiosity Book Store. Arrive early enough to retrieve your  reserved ticket at the All Call table. We do not guarantee that tickets will be available the night of the event.
  • The Learning Center’s MONSTER MASH BASH: Saturday, October 25, 2014. 6:00 pm-10:00pm.

NOTE THESE CHANGES IN ADMISSION PRICE:  $5 Admission Bracelet: all booths, all night.  $10 Admission Bracelet, all booths, contests, Bounce House and Slide, all night.

 Cake/stuffed animal walks, raffles, silent auction, the Hogwart’s Revisited MAZE and food  vendors are all separate cash events.

2014 Spring Academics and the Arts Emphasis

For those of you who have long been a part of life at The Learning Center! you are very familiar with our annual spring emphasis on the Academics and the Arts. If you are new to the campus or if you just want to know the latest, you may want to check out the information on our website www.naturallygrownkids.org , under Events, then click on Academics and the Arts.  Additionally there is more detailed, related information: https://tlcgrowzone.org

Historically, the Spring Academics and Arts emphasis started as a two-day celebration, then expanded to a week-long event, to several weeks, and next to a semester. It is so exciting to realize that we are pulling off an arts emphasis that happens all year long. Check out our ongoing accomplishments for the 2013-2014 school year:

  • Beginning of fall semester: Introduced Get Exposed to Music Friday and The Beat Goes On, private music lessons. Both programs will be ongoing.
  • K-4 Chorus Program
  • GrowZone Players participate in the annual Street Drama event through Cherokee County Arts Council Art Walk.
  • Annual Veterans’ Day Program, K-4 Chorus
  • Annual Tree Lighting Program, 2nd-4th Chorus
  • Annual Murphy Christmas Parade, GrowZone Players
  • Elective Program, 6th -8th, Art and Design(Carrie Dyer, instructor), Pottery (Julie Johnson, instructor) Knitting and Crochet,( BJ McFalls and Carol Jean Smith, instructors)
  • K-4 Visual Arts Program, Carrie Dyer, instructor
  • New “arts connection” with Elm Street Cultural Arts Village, Woodstock, GA, Gay Grooms, Director. GrowZone Players and Jackie Ward Foundation representatives were recent guests at an Elm Street performance of Treasure Island.  It is through the Elm Street connection and the drive of our own Music Education Program Director, Judy Coleman, that we are beginning a K-4 Drama Education Program, starting late spring with grades 3rd-4th.
  • Annual Talent Show, K-8
  • Jo Kilmer, clogging instructor, is finishing up today the 2014 Artist in Residency stint here on our campus. This residency offering is made possible through a Grassroots Arts Grant promoted through the Cherokee County Arts Council. Kelly and I have enjoyed the number of parents coming into the office asking for more details about the dance classes that Jo offers at the nearby Wellness Center. We have also enjoyed students coming in to tell us that they have bought tap shoes for clogging.
  • Annual Spring Concert, K-4, Judy Coleman, Director
  • Annual Spring Play, THE BIG BAD MUSICAL, Lisa Maliska, Director, Judy Coleman, Music Director, The GrowZone Players,
  • Group of 5th-8th graders attended NORTH CAROLINA BAROQUE ORCHESTRA concert sponsored by Brasstown Concert Association, with special thanks to Roberta Rankin, Jackie Ward Foundation.
  • K-8TH YOUTH ARTISTS, working with Carrie Dyer and Julie Johnson submitted entries in the Valley River Arts Guild 2014 Student Art Exhibit.

From Our Director



Learning Center Families,

Please be assured that your students are safe and having a great Friday at school.  The lead for the article that has recently appeared on WKRK’s Facebook page refers to a gun threat that did not happen on our campus, rather at a residence.  The situation which spilled over to our campus, was brought under control immediately thanks to competent staff and a prompt, reliable response from Murphy Police Department.  Your students were safe yesterday and remain so today, Friday, March 7, 2014.  Thanks again to all the related Cherokee County entities that worked together to keep our students safe.    Click <<<HERE>>>  to read the full press release issued by Town of Murphy Police Department.

Mary Jo Dyre

Director, The Learning Center! Charter School



Information covered and available includes the following:

Introducing Tammy Fleischer, our new President of Parents Involved. Please take this opportunity to find out ways you can get active in your student’s education.

Revealing ALL you need to know about the upcoming 10th anniversary celebration of Monster Mash….BIG NIGHT FOR FAMILY FUN FOR ALL AGES.

Signing up for Beginning-of-the-Year Parent Meetings HIGH PRIORITY.


Mary Jo Dyre, Director

The Early Bird Breakfast Club

Start your day in a powerful way!

Good food… homeroom activities…and the latest information…ALL in one COMMON location

Here are the details:

The Dining Commons is where all K-8 students will begin their day.  (Preschoolers are welcome to eat breakfast; however, they do NOT sign-in through the Commons.

  1. All K-8 morning traffic must enter the pick-up line at the driveway between the Dining Commons and the railroad tracks.  (See sign at entrance..) The line loops around the side of the school where students will be dropped off at REAR ENTRANCE of the Dining Commons (See sign near back entrance.) No drop-offs prior to 7:15 a.m., please. 
  2. Upon entering through the back doors ALL students must first begin the “check in” process at one of three stations to which they will be directed:   K-2 or 3rd-5th or 6th– 8th.  At these grade appropriate stations, ALL students will :

  • Sign in

  • Give lunch and/or snack orders

  • Pay for lunch and/ or snack orders

  1. At 7:35  First Bell (a warning bell) rings indicating that a second bell will ring in five minutes.
  2. At 7:40: Second Bell rings. ANY STUDENT ARRIVING AFTER 7:40 IS TARDY.
  3. 7:45: Rooster Crow/ or some audible notifier will indicate that breakfast will no longer be served. (continued)
  4. NO EXUSES FOR ABSENCES WILL BE TAKEN IN THE DINING COMMONS. All excuses for absences should be written on a separate piece of paper and turned in to the homeroom teacher OR emailed to the homeroom teacher. 
  5. If students are not eating breakfast they must still start their day in the Dining Commons. However, they will be sent on to homeroom immediately following the completion of sign-in/lunch and snack orders.  Students who are eating must go to homeroom as soon as they are through eating.
  6. Students and parents will find all the latest information and reminders projected for easy access. Parents may also have access to a computer station to check on student data.
  7.  Classroom instruction will begin promptly at 7:55.

** Mandatory Parent Meeting **

Hello Parents!  The 2012-2013 school year is fast approaching with our first day being August 9th!

We have some mandatory parent meetings coming up.  The meetings will go over the new “Common Core Curriculum” for the new school year affecting all grade levels and the NEW TLC! Early Bird Breakfast program being implemented this year.  We have planned three times for these meetings but you only need to attend which ever one is more convenient for you.

Meeting Dates and Times:

Location: Dining Commons TLC!

 July 17th :  10:00am

July 26th :  5:00PM

July 31st :  6:30PM

Call the school at 835-7240 with questions or ask them on our Facebook page by clicking <<<HERE>>> 

Thinking about children’s toys this holiday season . . .

Recently, fifth through eighth grade science teacher Ms. Emily pointed out some safety information regarding toys and toy recalls to our TLC staff.  I thought it a good idea to bring this same information and resources to you.  Here is what Ms. Emily had to say.

Unfortunately there are constant reports and recalls going out on children’s toys and jewelry saying they have dangerous levels of lead and cadmium – two very poisonous and carcinogenic chemicals.  I was reading about it today in the New York Times – an older article.

In case you want to do a little research before buying babies and kids toys here are some very helpful websites.

http://www.healthystuff.org/ this has a pop up thing when you first go to it, just hit Esc and it will go away.  This lists toys with high medium and low levels of cadmium and lead.





Community of Learners

Here at The Learning Center! Charter School we often refer to ourselves as a Community of Learners. If you listen to enough of our conversations you will begin to recognize that many of the adults that make up our school population are prime examples of being “learners for life.” One of the examples that comes to mind first is our Ms. Nancy: classroom assistant, Community Involvement Coordinator, sometime fundraiser, in general, the person who keeps us all informed about any and all seasonal celebrations and historical events. I often describe her as the equivalent of a full wing of the library when it comes to knowledge that she has gained through travel. Impressed as I am with her travels, more importantly Ms. Nancy has recognized the importance of instilling in her granddaughter an awareness of the world and the endless ideas that can be learned by crossing geographical boundaries. In short, Ms. Nancy’s example was my inspiration to provide travel experiences to our students. Several events of the past few weeks have heightened my awareness of the “Ms. Nancy personalities “of our campus that provide an endless sense of possibility and richness of experience:

Monster Mash is an annual event here on our campus that takes place the two Saturdays prior to Halloween. It seems to have a life of its own, growing, becoming, and most importantly bringing together a creative community that begins planning for the next year sometimes as soon as the morning after . The majority of the key people behind this event are already starting many of their sentences with “Next year, we could….” I love that I have a second grade student that never fails to ask me in November if I have a plan for the next Mash and to let me know that he has a few ideas if I need some. What an inspiration it was today to receive an email from one of the high school volunteers that helped with the acting in the Maze. She was so enthusiastic as to suggest that we do a Christmas event of some sort and that she would be more than willing to help out. It is my hope that Monster Mash continues to bring out creative learning in this community for years to come.

As part of their Venture Out Program, a cross-curricular study that extends the classroom into a variety of mountain locations, our 8th graders, some staff and several interested adults from the community headed out this past Friday for our annual trek to Hazel Creek, the site of one of many displaced communities that exists as a result of TVA dams being built. Although an early snow stopped us just outside of Topton, our “learning spirit” just could not be stopped. In the course of trying to make the decision as to whether we could possibly go on to Robbinsville and cross Fontana Lake on a pontoon, we had the privilege of talking to the aunt of one of our students whose mother was a Hazel Creek resident. A parent, Nanette Davidson, shared stories that her husband knew of the history of the TVA dams. We headed back to Murphy with plans to go to Hazel Creek in the spring. As Tipper Pressley pointed out, “That will give us a chance to see all the spring flowers that the Hazel Creek folk planted so long ago, especially the hardy daffodils.” Ms. Christy, writing and literature, was busy planning interviews with Hazel Creek folk and how community people could be used to enrich student learning in folklore and journalism skills. I also found myself thinking of other ways we could bring the “Hazel Creek history” to life for our students. What a productive learning experience and we never even made it past the turn to Robbinsville!

As a Community of Learners we create many rich opportunities for learning. Saturday morning brought another such opportunity in the form of an “adults only” workday on Project Creek Bank, an effort to rid the creek that flows by our school of invasive plants while leaving the natives to thrive and protect the creek bank. Tony Ward, with Hiwassee Rivershed Coalition, brought several helpers and joined with Learning Center staff and parents to make this a productive learning work experience. We spent a great deal of conversation time as we worked learning from Tony about the many plants that grow in this area. However, our conversation also turned to other topics including the postponed trip to Hazel Creek the day before since a couple of the workers had also gone on that trip. As it turned out, one of the Creek Bank parent volunteers is a Proctor descendant, with stories to tell of family members that once lived in the neighboring, displaced community next to Hazel Creek.

In conclusion, learning is contagious. It thrives on our campus. The examples are endless, from Odyssey of Mind volunteers and participants, to four more string scholarships made available recently, and so many more. I cannot imagine a day without learning. If you are not involved in a Community of Learners, I suggest you give it a try.