Most of us have heard awesome compliments about the Ron Clark Academy. Well, believe the hype. I went to an open house at the campus, which is located in Southeast Atlanta, not too far from Turner Field. The place is high energy in a great way. The kids are obviously engaged, and the curriculum is infused with hip hop, current events, lessons about respect (for self and for others), and confidence building exercises. I was able to observe a math class led by Ron Clark himself, and it was very intriguing and inspiring. Many of the students there need scholarships, and some of them were “troublemakers” before starting at the academy. But the school has helped to make all these kids successful students. The co-founder informed us that the students only scored in the 4oth percentile during pre-testing. By the end of the year, they were in the 86th percentile. Wow, right?? And being smart is the standard, not the exception. This is a school where kids high-five each other when they give good answers–a far cry from my experience where I was regularly made fun of for being gifted and interested.
By the time these kids leave the academy after the 8th grade, they will have traveled to 6 of the 7 continents. And before they go to any of these places, they learn about the country, the culture, hot topics, religions, etc. These kids are so exposed. But the beautiful part is that they seem so grounded. They are mannerable–they are required to say yes ma’am and no sir. Some of the kids greeted me and welcomed me to the school without prompting from any of the adults. And the parents are engaged as well. The school reaches out to the parents, and the parents participate in community service with their children. This school is living proof that kids have the capacity to learn anything you teach them.
The Ron Clark Academy is doing some amazing things for their our kids, and that will eventually translate into some some amazing impacts on the world.