By: Krystle Crossman
Ron Clark has made a name for himself my helping kids achieve academic success that they may never have dreamed that they would have. He started out as a teacher in a Harlem school with a classroom full of “troubled” kids. His teaching methods inspired and soon he became one of the most sought after teachers in the country. He brought fun to learning and helped kids to become what they dreamed of being. He helped them to know that they can do whatever they dream of as long as they work hard.
In 2007 Clark opened his own school in Atlanta, GA. It is called the Ron Clark Academy and is a private non-profit school. The school caters to grades 5-8 and currently has 113 students. There are 22 staff members and an average class size of 27 students. The purpose of the school is to teach the children language and math skills but there is so much more to it. Clark has taught the children to have a love for learning and a passion for academics. He has passwords that you need to get into each classroom which is decorated in a different theme. The outside of the school looks like a castle and when you step inside you step into Hogwart’s. There are dragons, video game themes, and even a slide that students can take to get to the first floor instead of stairs.
Clark teaches in a very unconventional manner but it works. Students get to sing, dance, and laugh in class. They learn about the core basics but they also learn skills that will help them in the real world. There are 55 rules in the school that the students must follow which include eye contact at all times when speaking and shaking hands of those you meet. Clark teaches them interview skills by holding mock presidential conferences where students must answer questions about current events. He even holds an MVP contest each year where students interview with different companies and do the press conference. From there five winners are selected to move on in the process. The last group of students to make it through got a trip to NYC where they visited CNN and Oprah Magazine where they had a Skype session with Oprah herself. It was then down to the two finalists who had an interview with one of the top real estate moguls in NYC. A winner was chosen after a lot of hard work and the other finalist demonstrated respect and happiness for the winner.
Along with teaching students at the school over 3,000 educators from all over the country come to the school to learn about Clark’s teaching methods. The go back and apply these methods at their schools to inspire their students as well. Test scores soar at the academy. When you ask the students how they feel about going to school they all state that they love it and they can’t wait to go back. Shouldn’t every child have the chance to have that reaction to learning?