Last year, my word of the year was actually a phrase. It was “Out of My Comfort Zone”. I spent last year going to doing things that I would typically never do, usually because of my anxiety. On January 10, 2020, I went to the Ron Clark Academy (RCA) in Atlanta, Georgia.
RCA- A Little History
Now, you are probably wondering why this is a big deal. Let me tell you a little about Ron Clark. In 2006, The Ron Clark Story was released on DVD. I remember watching it on TV and was amazed at this man.
Ron Clark was a teacher in a small town in North Carolina. This resonated with me since at that time I was a preschool teacher and owner in North Carolina as well (opposite side of the state) He ended up moving to Harlem and becoming a teacher in a low performing school. The impact he made on the students in that classroom were truly revolutionary.
Honestly, I forgot about him. Every once in a while something about him would pop up. Oprah Winfrey LOVES him. Disney named him teacher of the year.
In October 2019, I heard Ron Clark speak at the Child Care Success Summit. It truly changed the way I saw my business and education. He talked about RCA and all the amazing things they did there. Then he talked about the RCA Experience. Teachers from all over the country and even the world, can come and train in this amazing school.
When I learned that RCA was hosting a day just for administrators, I knew I had to go.
On September 4, 2007, The Ron Clark Academy opened with 60 students. Ron Clark and his co-founder, Kim Bearden spent months hiring the staff that fit their ideal teachers. These teachers were just as excited and passionate about education as the co-founders.
RCA shares the passion of changing education by allowing educators to visit throughout the year. They are able to make an impact on schools all over the world by creating these training opportunities.
So It Begins……
Now, you may remember that I own a child care center. We have children ages 2-12 years of age. While RCA has students 3rd to 8th grade, there is so much to learn that can be used in education facilities of any age.
When I first arrived the line of educators waiting to get in was wrapped around the building. Think Black Friday, but for a much better reason.
After checking in and getting my lanyard and badge, the amazing experience that is RCA began. As I walked into the building, the feeling of community, love and welcome was overwhelming. I actually wanted to cry. The staff, teachers and children WANTED us to be there. They were truly happy to see us and wanted to share their school. It was an an incredible and overwhelming feeling.
We entered the gym and there was so much to take in. Suddenly the lights went down and we were in a Disney movie. I’m not even kidding. The kids were dancing on stage and singing. It was truly like being in a Disney musical. The crowd of educators were mesmerized. When Ron Clark took the stage, the crowd came alive! This magical man that makes education fun and enjoyable was just feet away!
But Wait, There’s More!
The start of my RCA visit was overwhelming, emotional and inspiring. I wanted to bring this level of connectedness to my own school. But how? Can I be this inspiring? Can I create this sense of community?
I learned so many lessons during my 8 hour visit to RCA. So many things I want to share that it will take more than one blog post.
Keep an eye our for more posts in my RCA series. I want to focus completely on all the things I took away from this amazing opportunity I had.
Be sure to check out RCA and learn more about this amazing school and the incredible staff. It is truly a revolutionary place of education!