About 
Our School

We are a small, rural, public charter school located in the westernmost county of the state. We are a Community of Learners who operate within an E-STEAM (Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Agriculture, Math) culture. Our mission is to prepare all of our students to become well rounded, productive, life-long learners in a 21st century global society. 

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Our Approach

For many years, we have worked diligently to make our curriculum and campus a true E-STEAM environment. We teach students that the science, math, and technology skills that are essential for becoming 21st Century citizens are deeply integrated within the activities of entrepreneurship and agriculture, as well as language, music, and visual arts.

 

Our philosophy of education is built upon the idea that young learners need to be exposed to a broad array of rich learning experiences.  As students move into high school and beyond, they will begin to specialize in more specific interests. 

 

However, it will be the early broad-based education that assures the well-rounded, future-ready leaders and citizens who are the foundation of a healthy, productive, creative and sustainable Community of Learners.

 

An incredible team of educators brings this approach to our students on a daily basis, providing these young learners with the tools they need to succeed. 

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What Makes Us Different

We are proud to offer students a truly out-of-the-box education. Our learning space goes well beyond the walls of the classroom, and we strive to develop a strong sense of curiosity in our students alongside knowing the importance of becoming life-long learners. 

 

Cultivating an E-STEAM culture is the guiding philosophy for our school, and within that we offer an amazing array of learning opportunities for our students. Curriculum is taught using Project Based Learning activities that take place in a variety of spaces, both indoor and outdoor, on campus and within our community. As students grow into our middle school and high school programs, they are given the opportunity to take a variety of engaging electives in addition to their core subjects.

 

We want students to graduate from our school knowing they have the broad-based skills to succeed at any project they undertake, in any field they choose to specialize.

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Nutrition

Offering well-prepared, healthy food that nourishes the young learner is a cornerstone of our educational environment. Our award-winning Nutrition program is teaching by example, everyday, by serving up homemade meals rich with nutrients, that look, smell, and taste delicious. 

 

We incorporate ingredients from local farms, when available, and encourage our students to do the same in their households. We often engage students in garden-based learning, using the garden as an outdoor classroom to study both ecosystems and nutrition.

We are pleased to be able to offer students free breakfast and lunches every day!

Thanks to the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, we've joined 18,000 schools across the nation in receiving federal grant money for this program. Good nutrition just keeps growing at The Learning Center.

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Certified OWL Academy

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.  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.

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Healthy Living

The Learning Center is committed to creating and sustaining a healthy school environment that supports student achievement and well-being by encouraging the development of lifelong wellness practices such as healthy eating and physical activity. We believe that a healthy learner is a good learner. We all know the value of a nutrient-rich meal, a little exercise, and a good night's sleep, and we try to instill a deep sense in our students of what it means to have a healthy lifestyle. Healthy living is a core value at TLC and an integral part of our school day.

 

Every day students are offered a free breakfast, an hour of Physical Education, and a nutritious well-balanced lunch. In the classroom, one might find our teachers implementing healthy living in Science, while studying human anatomy, Math, while crunching the numbers on calories vs. workout time, or Social Studies, while studying the history of regional foodways. Like everything at TLC, healthy living is an integrated part of a curriculum that strives to educate the whole child. 

 
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Dear TLC Families,

 

Thank you for being a part of the family of The Learning Center. Our teachers, parents, and students make up a truly special Community of Learners, and we value everyone that is part of our school!

 

Over the last few years, our school has evolved and adapted to meet the ever-changing global needs, while growing and advancing the mission of our school. Our students and teachers have worked hard over the last year to continue to deliver a stellar education under Covid-19 restrictions and regulations. Our community has banded together to support and provide for each other during rough times. I continue to be amazed and humbled by the strong community that our school continues to form and uphold. Through hardship and challenges, we continue to grow and advance our mission for relevant, real-world education for all of our students.

 

This year, we have many developments that are going to continue to propel our school into its next phase. We are officially adding a high school program! Our 9th grade students this year will grow throughout our student-focused high school program and will be a part of our first 12th grade graduating class in 2025! We have also expanded to a second location in the community for our 7-12th grade students. Furthermore, we have added many staff positions with the help of additional grant funding from state and federal sources. Our staff will be working diligently to help move all of our students forward.

 

We are incredibly honored to have the support from our parents, students, and teachers, and are excited to open this new chapter in the school’s history. We appreciate you all for being willing to take this journey with us, and look forward to the joys this upcoming school year will bring us all. As always, if you ever have need to do so, please reach out with your questions, comments, or concerns. We are here to serve you and give your family the best educational experience possible at The Learning Center!

 

Sincerely,

 

Ryan Bender, Head-of-School

828.835.7240

ryan@naturallygrownkids.org

Faculty & Staff

An incredible team of educators brings engaging and meaningful instruction to our students on a daily basis, providing these young learners with the tools they need to succeed. 

 

While our teachers are bringing educational experiences to our students, our Administration, Office Staff, Technology Team and other amazing behind-the-scenes heroes make it possible for learning to happen at TLC.

 

We are proud to have a team of faculty and staff that truly care about supporting, nurturing, and motivating students on a daily basis.

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is the governing body of the school. Our Board is responsible for all TLC policies and procedures that affect the instructional and operational functions of the school.

 

Positive and supportive leadership is the cornerstone of our success as a school.  Without the Board of Directors’ support and time volunteering to our school, we would not be able to have the exceptional instructional program that we have today.

 

All meetings are open to the public both in person or virtually.  Meeting minutes are available below or in hard copy form in the TLC office.  

Board Meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month

To contact the Board, please email board@naturallygrownkids.org

Interested in being a member of our Board of Directors, email the Chairman at board@naturallygrownkids.org