Thursday, May 25, 2017

Ron Clark Academy Visit....My Experience

In December I found out I would be getting to visit the Ron Clark Academy for a Professional Development opportunity. 
To say I was ecstatic is putting it mildly. 

I watched The Ron Clark Movie. I read many of his books. I even follow Ron Clark, his school and his teachers on social media. 

I told you I was ecstatic. 
I couldn’t wait to see this amazing school. 

However I have to admit, I was also skeptical. 
Thats right, I said skeptical.

I was visiting a middle school. 
A private middle school! 
A private middle school in the middle of Atlanta! 

How could I possibly implement anything THEY do in MY first grade classroom in a Title I PUBLIC school?? 

Let me say that again. 
I teach First Grade in a Public School that is Title I.

Well today marked 51 school days since my visit to Ron Clark and let me tell you about the impact of that visit!

I am a different teacher. 
My classroom is a different place! 
My students are different.

You would not believe the things these six year olds are doing! 
It is all because of what I experienced at Ron Clark.

I implemented Ron Clark’s Essential 55 Rules the day I got back from Atlanta. Yes, he has 55 rules! As a school and as teachers it is our responsibility to create responsible, respectful, well rounded students who will become independent, successful adults. Ron Clark’s 55 rules embody that philosophy.  

A few of the rules are making eye contact, answering questions with Yes Ma’am and No Sir, and standing when you speak. 

My first graders are doing this!

They are now taking ownership of their behavior and their learning!

ALL of my first graders! 

You would not believe the rigorous discussions they are having in Science, Math and Reading! 

It is because I raised the bar!

Other teachers, administration and visitors on campus are noticing the difference in my students inside the four walls of our classroom as well as around campus. 

As a result, the entire first grade team has implemented the Essential 55. We are even holding a book study and Twitter Chat this summer so we can reach more teachers and more students next year!

When you walk into the Ron Clark Academy you can just feel the energy and excitement. 
You feel it from the students, the teachers, the secretaries and the custodians! 

I want my students to feel that same energy and excitement every single day at school! 

Guess what?  It’s happening!

When I came back from visiting the Ron Clark Academy, friends, family and colleagues asked me what it was like. 

It wasn’t really something I could put into words. I just kept saying it is amazing and telling them they HAVE to go! 

It is the same for what is happening in my classroom. I can’t explain the energy, excitement and culture in my classroom to you with just a few words. 

What I can tell you is that energy, excitement and culture is because of my visit to the Ron Clark Academy.

This isn’t just happening in my classroom. Other teachers from my school have been lucky enough to also visit the Ron Clark Academy.  If you visit my school you will see these changes and this difference throughout classrooms and around the campus.

I have been teaching in my school district for 13 years. I have been to many, many different types of Professional Development in those 13 years all around the United States. 

I can honestly say my visit to the Ron Clark Academy made the biggest impact on my teaching, my students and my school. 


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