Bath Elementary teachers visit Ron Clark Academy

Published 6:45 pm Monday, November 27, 2017

BATH — Bath Elementary is the latest Beaufort County school to pay a visit to the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta.

Less than 10 teachers were selected to make the trip this month, and the experiences gained were rewarding, according to media coordinator Alice Faucette.

“We experienced many different teaching styles, which were all centered around discipline, (rigor) and fun. The school is beautiful, the students are amazing, and the staff is incredible,” Faucette said. “I can’t wait for more teachers from Bath Elementary to have this rewarding experience and bring back the excitement, enthusiasm and knowledge that we have gained.”

Ron Clark is known nationally as an education expert, and grew up in Chocowinity. Clark founded the Ron Clark Academy with Kim Bearden in 2007 in Atlanta, focusing on education for underprivileged students.

Ten years later, the academy is known as a model school, which focuses on rigorous lessons, while also creating a sense of place for its students.

“Their mission was not only to lift up their students; they wanted to lift up a community as well,” reads the RCA website.

Bath Elementary Principal Spencer Pake said this was Bath’s first trip to Atlanta, and the school was able to use staff development funds, along with assistance from the Parent Teacher Organization, to pay for it.

“As the previous assistant principal of (Chocowinity Primary School), I got the chance to make the same trip, and it was one of the best workshops that I have ever attended in my career, so it is my goal to make sure the staff at Bath Elementary has the same opportunity,” Pake said.

Chocowinity Primary has already begun to implement some of Clark’s suggestions over the past couple of years — from covering the school’s walls in murals and creating a platform in each classroom on which teachers can teach, to establishing four “houses,” Isibindi, Amistad, Altruismo and Reveur.

“At the workshop, the teachers learned different motivational strategies that can help motivate all students to be their best. They also learned techniques on how to ‘bring a lesson to life’ and make it more meaningful and interesting for students,” Pake said. “These teachers have come back and brought a new energy with them that is contagious and spreading throughout the school.”

Pake said the teachers who went to Atlanta will create a presentation to share with their coworkers at the next staff meeting.