Meet Our Teachers – Jay Ward

As part of our ongoing series called “Meet Our Teachers,” here is what Ms. Jay had to say:

Hello beautiful people! My name is Jay Ward; I am married with 2 grown kids, a granddaughter, and another grandbaby on the way. I graduated from Campbell University, Buies Creek NC, with a Bachelors in Elementary Education (K-6) in 2009. I taught for 3 years in Harnett County, NC as a 5th grade teacher then switched to 3rd grade. I moved to Murphy in 2011 and was hired as a 5th grade teacher here at TLC shortly after. I have taught 5th, 3rd, 4th Writing, 6th Math/Science,and 7th Math over the years. I currently teach the 6-8th Middle School regular Math classes. 

My favorite teaching is STEM/ STEAM/ PBL (project based learning) where I can incorporate a topic/idea like the Titanic and include all subjects into that topic.  I also love teaching coding, 3-D printing, and Computer Technology. Incorporating hands-on/ real world activities into the classroom will get our students ready for their future in Society and makes learning fun!

Future Engineering Program

Starting in the 2021-22 school year, The Learning Center Charter School will be participating in the Amazon Future Engineer Program. This program provides resources and support to teachers and students in the field of computer science.

The school is expanding to include high school grades.  For the upcoming school year, ninth grade will be added.  Tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades will be added in each subsequent school year.

“The engineering program offered in partnership with Amazon will be a valuable tool we offer both our high school and middle school students,” said Ryan Bender, head of school.  Bender added that the partnership will allow teachers to introduce students to a variety of technological resources.

“This will allow us to introduce the basics of computer science including Scratch coding language,” said teacher Jessie Adams.  Adams is the current sixth – eighth grade science teacher. However, with the addition of ninth grade next school year, she will be the seventh-ninth grade science teacher.  Adams added that the curriculum provided through the partnership will also allow students to explore robotics, artificial intelligence, app development and more.

“We are excited that our middle and high school students will develop these skills and have amazing experiences like virtual visits with Amazon engineers, field trips to Amazon facilities, and ongoing opportunities for real-world experiences,” said Adams.

1st Grade School Maker Faire Project

Students in first grade worked together on a School Maker Faire project all about birds. They had been learning about the building and nesting of Cardinals and Vogelkop Bower birds and took what they learned and ran!

First, students each build a cardinal nest. They learned that the birds use pine needles, weeds, twigs, tree bark, and roots to make their nests. They collected nesting material outdoors and used their engineering skills to build replica nests.

The second project was Vogelkop Bower bird nests. Students learned that this bird uses sticks for the nest roof and moss for the floor. The male bird collects colorful and shiny items to present on the “bower”, or stage, to attract females.


Meet Our Teachers – Cheryl Catuto

Meet Cheryl Catuto! Here is what she had to say.

My name is Cheryl Catuto.  I am the School Success Coordinator at TLC.  My family and I moved to Murphy in 2006 from Cape Coral, FL where I joined the TLC staff.  While working here, I have taught 2nd-6th grade and PE. I am currently in my 19th year in education. My husband, Mike, and I are blessed to have two amazing kids, Carlee (an alumni of TLC) who is a sophomore at TCEC and Tony a 5th grader at TLC.  Mike, Mr. Sean and I started TLC’s very first sport, the TLC Wrestling Club.  I am certified in Elementary Education and Physical Education, but my favorite subject to teach is Math.  In my current role, I handle all of our testing for state tests, MAP testing, teacher licensure and anything else that is needed.  I love analyzing data and making plans to improve our school and help our amazing TLC teachers.  Some fun facts about me: I hate bananas because the smell makes me sick, my favorite color is teal, I love Harry Potter, I coach a muggle quidditch team and I have a sweet little dog named Bella.

Abstract Art – Wassily Kandinsky

Fifth grade students have been doing amazing stuff in art! They have been learning about Wassily Kandinsky and his abstract art. Kandinsky experienced synesthesia – he could hear color and see music! The kids have been using a program that allows them to choose colors and shapes and create pieces of music. They have also been listening to pieces of music and creating art based on what they believe the music looks like.

3rd Grade Science – Plant Life Cycle

Third graders recently studied plant needs and life cycle. They were so excited to germinate seeds in their desk, dissect and label parts of the seed (seed coat, epicotyl, radical, embryo, and cotyledon) and then learn the parts of a flower by dissecting daffodils.