On Feb 23-26, Ms. Phillips (language arts teacher) and Mr. Addison (science teacher) joined me on a district wide professional development visit to the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Ga.
Educators from all over the world visit the Ron Clark Academy each year to learn more about his ground breaking and highly successful instructional methods. Ron Clark is a highly celebrated and extremely motivating teacher and campus leader. His 5th grade through 8th grade campus is made up of various types of students - low income, high income, African American, Hispanic, high achiever, low achievers and even special education students. Yet, his students are some of the most successful students in the nation.
The school is full of life! We were amazed by the level of academic rigor and the behavior of the students. We were greeted by students who shook our hands, looked us in the eye and spoke with such conviction about who they were, what they believe and what their future holds. The teachers were just as impressive. The demanding academic culture is well balanced with instructional innovation, creativity, passion and relationship building. There is no doubt in our minds (or the students' minds) that these teachers LOVE their students.
The most amazing part of the visit was the opportunity to sit in a 5th grade math classroom while Ron Clark taught math. He teaches 5th grade students 7th grade math curriculum! That's raising the bar! We also attended workshops presented by other faculty members that included Writing the using the Blues, How to have a creative classroom, Connecting with parents and Ten Free Websites No Teacher Should Be Without.
The number one message we learned from our time there was that all students can achieve at high levels. We should continuously set the bar high and challenge everyone to be better - teachers, students, parents and administrators.
We are extremely thankful for the opportunity to learn more about the Ron Clark Academy. Keep your eyes open for some state-of-the-art changes that will be implemented here at Worley! Ready or not...Here it comes!