On Oct. 8, Julie McIntosh, Ed.D., College of Education dean, will take faculty members and students from UF, along with educators from Grandview High School and Van Buren Middle School, to an innovative school in Atlanta, Georgia. The group hopes to glean ideas that they can use in their own classrooms. Dr. McIntosh shared, “We have given our students the opportunity to see Ron Clark speak at the Ohio Middle School Conference however, after speaking to Findlay City School teachers that have attended workshops, I feel that this experience will provide our students and area teachers an invaluable experience to observe the engaging pedagogy that the Ron Clark Academy has to offer.”
The Ron Clark Academy is a nonprofit demonstration middle school that allows visiting educators to engage in professional development by observing tactics and participating in workshops. Academic rigor and creativity are some of its educational hallmarks, which are balanced with a strict discipline code. Students there are encouraged to participate in community service projects, and are involved in extracurricular activities such as the Robotics Team and Georgia Aquarium Research Team. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Scholars.
Ron Clark and Kim Bearden co-founded the academy, and in September 2007 they opened the doors to the inaugural class of 60 students. The academy now has 113 students in grades five through eight. Some live in inner city Atlanta; most are primarily dispersed across a five-county area in and around the city. Currently, there are 22 staff members and more than 3,000 educators who visit each year.
The school said it has trained 27,000 educators in 22 countries within the past seven years.