How we celebrated National School Lunch Week

National School Lunch Week was October 14-18th and The Learning Center Charter School celebrated with a cultural culinary exploration each day for lunch.

The National School Lunch Program serves more than 30 million children every school day.  In 1962, President John F. Kennedy created National School Lunch Week to promote the importance of a healthy school lunch and the impact it has inside and outside of the classroom.  During the annual weeklong celebration, schools across the country celebrate in their cafeterias with special menus and events.

Hilary Ehlers, Child Nutrition Director at the charter school, decided that this year’s celebration would be a cultural exploration of food found around the world.  The nutrition staff and teachers worked together in the planning to ensure that students would learn about the highlighted global cultures while getting the opportunity to try the corresponding foods at lunchtime.

Each day a new country and its foods were presented to the students.  Greece, Italy, Thailand, Mexico and the Caribbean were all part of the week.  Ravioli, egg rolls, fried rice, fajitas, jerk chicken, pineapple salsa and coconut rice were just some of the delicious things on the menu.

“Our goal was to introduce new foods and flavors to our students,” said Ehlers.  She added that the enthusiasm about trying new foods far exceeded her expectations. 

“Food is such a fundamental part of the human experience and exposing our students to cultures around the world through food has been so much fun for everyone at our school,” said Ehlers.  She added that many of the new foods will become regular features on the school’s lunch menus.

Farm to School Produce at The Learning Center Charter School

Offering well prepared, healthy food that nourishes students is a cornerstone of the educational environment at The Learning Center Charter School.  Using locally grown produce is icing on the cake.

The charter school is part of the NC Farm to School program which affords the school ample opportunity and access to healthy North Carolina produce.

The NC Farm to School program is run through the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Food Distribution.  During the 2011-12 school year, the NC Farm to School program delivered over one million dollars worth of NC produce to NC schools, reaching 1,003,921 students in 1,599 schools.

NC Farm to School gives North Carolina farms a viable market for their crops while providing schools a local source of fresh, seasonal produce.  Produce includes watermelons, cantaloupes, tomatoes, apples, cucumbers, red potatoes, grape tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, romaine lettuce, apple slices, collards, sweet potatoes, strawberries, squash, zucchini and blueberries.

Hilary Ehlers, Child Nutrition Director at the school, said, “The Farm to School program not only provides easy access to foods grown locally but also opportunities for agriculture, nutrition and health education.”

Ehlers added that when a student makes the connection between agriculture and food, they realize that food comes from a farmer and not magically from the grocery store.   

“Nutrition education is a key part of our mission at our school,” said Ehlers. “Our students tend vegetable gardens on campus and the produce we buy from local farmers through this program reinforces the lessons we teach daily.”

Want to know more about the nutrition program at The Learning Center Charter School? Fill out the form below and we will get in touch with you!

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National School Lunch Week Oct 14th – 18th

Did you know that the week of October 14-18th is National School Lunch Week? It is!

To celebrate, our nutrition staff is planning a week of “cultural tastings”.  New foods and recipes will be introduced to students from around the world. Some of these new items will become regular features on our breakfast and lunch menus as well.

Do you want to know more about our awesome nutrition program? Fill out the form below and we will be in contact!

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Nutrition High Priority at The Learning Center

Nutrition High Priority at The Learning Center Charter School

The Learning Center Charter School knows that good nutrition is the very foundation for building better students.

Over the years, the school has won numerous awards and recognition by the NC Department of Public Instruction for its dedication to maintaining the highest standards in child nutrition including Award of Excellence, Breakfast Champion Award, as well as the Silver Level Award from USDA HealthierUS School Challenge Program, and the Twentieth Annual “Best Practice Awards” in the categories of National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program and Food Distribution Program from the Southeast Regional Office of the USDA.

Hilary Ehlers, Child Nutrition Director at the school, notes that for the first time this fall, Montessori preschool students on the charter school campus will be offered meals through the school.

“We are excited that our Montessori preschool students will be eating the same delicious, nutritious meals that our kindergarten through eighth grade students have always enjoyed,” said Ehlers.

Breakfast will be served in the Dining Commons while lunch and snacks will be served directly to the Montessori classroom using the school’s moveable hotbox for delivery.

Ehlers added that she and the nutrition staff have great new menus lined up for the new school year that include some new and exciting foods. The nutrition team already has several weeks planned focusing on a food cultural exchange where foods from different parts of the world are served.  “Offering foods from different cultures helps broaden our students’ taste bud horizons,” said Ehlers.

Click or tap here to learn more about the importance of nutrition at The Learning Center Charter School.

Annual School Round Up Feature in the Cherokee Scout

Each August, our school is featured in the special edition section of the paper from the Cherokee Scout called the Annual School Round Up.  It’s always a wonderful summary of all the great things happening on campus and the vast array of programs and services available for your students.  Take a look…

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, daily P.E., 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 and accepts students across all counties.

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 school director in training, Ryan Bender.

The school’s programs include Compacted Math classes for accelerated math students, daily PE for all grades, a highly developed drama program, and frequent garden-based learning opportunities across campus and in the school’s Outdoor Learning Center. The upper grade’s CREW Program, in its fourth year of operation, promotes character development, goal setting and responsible behaviors.

More extras including National Junior Honor Society, wrestling team, ARTrageous and artists-in-residency program, “Mini and Middle REAL” young entrepreneur program and AIG After School Program provide students with the opportunities to become all they can be.  The school will field a soccer team this fall and looks to expand their sports program to include cross country as well.

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.

Lunch Delivered With Fun!

The Learning Center! Charter School has a long history of dedication to good nutrition and believes it is the cornerstone for building better students. With that high priority and commitment, it’s no surprise the school has won multiple awards over the years.

But, did you know that Chad Johnson, a member of our school nutrition support team, has an extensive collection of hats that he wears each day to school? You might now know  . . . but I bet your student does!

Thanks for keeping us smiling,  Chad!

School Kitchen Works to Reduce Waste

(From left) Chad Johnson, Alaina Wright, Hilary Dixson, Robyn Dyer, and Lori Anderson, kitchen staff at The Learning Center Charter School, work diligently to reduce waste at the school. This fun crew also goes above and beyond to provide a fun dining experience as seen by the Luau they threw for lunch last May.

The Learning Center Charter School knows that good nutrition is the very foundation for building better students.  The school also knows that reducing waste is equally as important for the planet.

For all meals at the charter school, students eat healthy, freshly prepared foods served on real china and silverware. All meals are eaten family style and the school uses as much food from local sources as possible.

Over the years, the school has won numerous awards and recognition by the NC Department of Public Instruction for its dedication to maintaining the highest standards in child nutrition including Award of Excellence, Breakfast Champion Award, as well as the Silver Level Award from USDA HealthierUS School Challenge Program, and the Twentieth Annual “Best Practice Awards” in the categories of National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program and Food Distribution Program from the Southeast Regional Office of the USDA.

In addition to the emphasis of healthy eating, Hilary Dixson, Child Nutrition Director at the school, is equally dedicated to the reduction of waste in the school’s food program.  This focus includes reducing wasted food as well as wasted resources.

Kitchen staff has reworked recipes to reduce general food waste which include items on the daily salad bar. With the “offer vs. serve” approach, students get to choose items they prefer to eat rather than food being plated and wasted.  The school adheres to federal and state guidelines that require some food must be plated regardless of preference.

“We take waste reduction seriously around here,” said Dixson. “For example, our previous use of to-go paper cups has been eliminated to cut back on waste. Reusable water cups and real coffee mugs, in my opinion, change the mood on campus and make school a homier place to be.”