Each Halloween students at The Learning Center Charter School participate in the school’s annual Makers Mash. Students make decorated or carved pumpkins and create “monsters” from up cycled materials. Judges are always on hand to pick winners in a wide variety of categories and award prizes.
“Our Makers Mash is a natural extension of the Maker spirit on our campus,” said Ryan Bender, head of school. Bender explained that the school emphasizes an E-STEAM environment and teaches students that the science, math, and technology skills that are essential for modern life are deeply integrated within the activities of entrepreneurship and agriculture, as well as language, music, and visual arts.
E-STEAM stands for entrepreneurship, science, technology, engineering, agriculture and arts, and math.
“Our philosophy of education is built upon the idea that young learners need to be exposed to a broad array of rich learning experiences. Our Makers Mash event allows students to celebrate the holiday and learn, design, build, and create cool things as they do so,” added Bender.
The school became a certified OWL Academy earlier this year. OWL stands for Open Way Learning and the designation is only extended to schools that have shown dedication toward building a culture of innovation through collective leadership, systemic collaboration, open sharing, and a willingness to adopt and sustain innovative teaching and learning practices.
“Everything we do at The Learning Center from garden based learning, art education, an emphasis on health and wellness, E-STEAM, project based learning, experiential outdoor education, and more falls squarely under the Open Way Learning umbrella,” said Bender. “Our Monster Maker event is just one example!”
The Learning Center Charter School has earned the distinction of being an Open Way Learning (OWL) Academy as of September 15, 2020.
OWL is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with the singular mission to help schools develop, sustain, and grow cultures of innovation that better prepares students for our modern world and workforce. According to openwaylearning.org, OWL is a framework that encourages educators to create, modify, and share best practices to help education keep pace with a rapidly changing economy, society, and environment.
The OWL Academy designation was granted by the OWL Board of Directors as a way to highlight schools that have demonstrated a commitment to authentic innovation. Specifically, the designation is only extended to schools that have shown dedication toward building a culture of innovation through the principles of Open Way Learning: living mission, collective leadership, systemic collaboration, open sharing, and a willingness to adopt and sustain innovative teaching and learning practices.
Head of school, Ryan Bender, is proud of the OWL Academy designation and said, “Engaging in shared vision, collaboration, and the free exchange of ideas ensures that our school will continue to create customized solutions for our students and community.
“We were able to continue the work on becoming an OWL Academy school despite the challenges that Covid-19 has presented and I think that the OWL Board of Directors recognized that as clear evidence of our true commitment to an innovation culture,” added Bender.
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 servesapproximately 200+ students and is open to both in and out-of-county students. There is no tuitionfor 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.
This summer teachers have continued OWL training that they first began last summer. OWL stands for Open Way Learning which serves as a set of principles that transform education by leveraging the power of open communities. According to openwaylearning.org, OWL is a framework that encourages educators to create, modify, and share best practices to help education keep pace with a rapidly changing economy, society, and environment.
Our school is on track to become an OWL certified school this summer. OWL will allow us to continue engaging in shared vision, collaboration, and the free exchange of ideas ensures that our school will continue to create customized solutions for our students and community.
Third grade students have studied bones, muscles and skin systems of the human body as part of their science curriculum. Ms. Kathleen and Ms. Emily co-taught the unit and kept students engaged with an extended Project Based Learning (PBL) approach to the subject.
Students played games, made art, made graphs, made models and read a variety of material on the subject as part of the extended project.
Want to know more about Project Based Learning (PBL) at our school? Fill out the form and we will get back to you shortly.
Teachers and staff at The Learning Center Charter School have spent the last several weeks prepping classrooms, campus and curriculum for the start of the new school year this week.
Ryan Bender, Head of School in Training, pointed out all the steps necessary to get ready for a new school year. “Building and site maintenance is crucial during the summer months,” said Bender. “More importantly, however, our teachers spend much of their summer break attending training in order to be sure our school continues to offer an outstanding academic program.”
According to openwaylearning.org, “Open Way Learning (OWL) offers a set of principles that can transform schooling through leveraging the power of open communities. It is a framework that encourages educators to create, tweak, and share best practices to help education 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 their learning communities.”
“Tri-County Early College High School has an impressive and proven track record of success,” said Bender. “We are here to take this revolutionary educational model to the kindergarten through eighth grade level.”