NEWS

Welcome to the 2017-2018 School Year!

We are so happy to welcome our scholars and staff back for this new school year!  This week students have been meeting their teachers, learning the school’s expectations, and discovering what they need to do to succeed! We are excited about the new year and what it will offer our young scholars! Click here for some first day photos as we begin the new year together.

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SCHOOL OPENS SEPT. 5TH!

We are excited to welcome our students back to school on Tuesday, September 5th. Lower House students are expected at 7:45 am and Upper House at 8 am –  in regular school uniforms (not the physical education uniform). We are anticipating an excellent 2017-2018 school year!

Young engineers at Link take on real world learning

In June, Link’s 6th and 7th grade classes transformed into STEAM learning labs as scholars were immersed in a one week of hands-on, innovative learning experience in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) using the i2 Learning curricula.  Link scholars learned about the engineering design process and course content as they collaborated with their peers through a series of design challenges that lead to a final project. During the week, 6th graders completed a course in Kinetic Sculptures – 2D and 3D movable sculptures, and 7th graders completed one of two courses – Digital Game Design or Building a Lunar Colony.

Sixth graders learned about kinetic sculpture artists, such as Alexander Calder, and explored concepts of balance, gearing, energy sources and design-oriented thinking. They excelled at real world design challenges collaborating with their peers, mastering engineering concepts, and applying storytelling and artistic design as they built mobiles, automata, marble runs, and turbines.

In game design, 7th graders used coding to design an original video game with custom graphics, sound effects and music. They integrated player feedback and refined their game before sharing it at the showcase. In lunar colony, 7th graders imagined a world in which the Earth’s resources could no longer sustain life and humans would have to relocate to another planet – the moon.  Students investigated impacts of the lunar environment, debated whether moon colony was viable, and constructed models of possible colonies to meet specific criteria and constraints.  Mid-week all 72 seventh graders learned more about the moon in a videoconference with Lindsey Jones, a distance learning specialist with National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Goddard Space Center in Maryland.

STEAM is an educational approach that uses science, technology, engineering, math, art and design as tools for learning to encourage critical thinking, creativity, inquiry, and collaboration so they can thrive in school and beyond.  Link Education Partners collaborated with Link Community Charter School to pilot STEM Week in June 2016 in its efforts to expand learning beyond the traditional classroom, equip students with tools to be lifelong learners, and broaden students’ horizons and career pathways. In response to positive feedback from students and teachers, Link expanded the program this year to include both 6th and 7th graders and incorporated the arts and design (thus the A in STEAM).  Eight Link teachers (four in each grade) joined Newark Public Schools educators for a two-day training in March 2017 with i2 Learning as part of the launch of the first annual Newark STEM Week.  Special thanks to the partners, i2 Learning and Schools That Can, and funders, PSE&G Foundation and Link Education Partners, who made the 2nd Annual Link STEAM Week possible.

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Linkers facilitate team building for Toyota

Five Link 7th graders led approximately 40 employees from Toyota North America in team building initiative games and exercises last month. The students were readily able to take this on, as all Link scholars participate in a four-year program that builds confidence, leadership and team spirit. Now they had the opportunity to put their skill and knowledge to use to help others!

After a visit to Link, Toyota North America General Manager Jeff Buchanan expressed interest in providing a team building event for employees that would include the building of bicycles, something he had experienced earlier in his career. Link’s staff stepped in with a suggestion: utilize Link scholars, guided by staff from Project U.S.E., the school’s partner in experiential learning, to conduct the event. Impressed with the Linkers he had met on his visit, Mr. Buchanan made it happen!

The Link students involved were well prepared for the event. While they had actually experienced some of the initiative games and challenges over their tenure at Link, Project U.S.E. staff members provided additional training in how to actually lead others through a day of activities. They learned how to explain clearly, how to encourage and praise, and how to deal with problems which might arise. They were absolutely ready to take this on!

After a “get-to-know-you” lunch, the adults were divided into five groups with a student facilitating each group. As they completed each of the games or challenges, they “earned” parts to the bicycles that they would eventually assemble. One adult mentioned that the some of the exercises were more difficult that the actual building of the bike!

The students did an amazing job moving the adults through the day, helping them navigate the challenges of the exercises and the bike building tasks. One student commented that at first he was anxious, but then realized that some of the adults were even more nervous than he was!

Gathering together at the end of the day, all has the opportunity to reflect on what they experienced and what they learned. Everyone – adult and student alike – walked away feeling a sense of achievement: in building a bike, in connecting with new people, and with feeling empowered to meet challenges.

Employees from Toyota presented the bikes to the five students who led them so professionally. We are grateful for our partnerships with both Project U.S.E. and Toyota for this wonderful opportunity to help our students grow!

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SCHOOL BUILDING CLOSED 7/31 – 8/11

Link Community Charter School will be closed between July 31 and August 11. Administrative staff will be on vacation for those two weeks, but will be ready to assist you beginning Monday. August 14. Enjoy the remaining days of the summer!