Friday, April 8, 2011

Working with the Ron Clark Academy

Referencing a 1945 edition of Emily Post's Etiquette!

Does the name Ron Clark ring a bell?

It might — Clark won the 2001 Disney Teacher of the Year award, appeared twice on the Oprah Winfrey show (Winfrey named him her first “Phenomenal Man”), and had his story made into a TV movie (starring Matthew Perry) in 2006. Clark is also the author of “The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator’s Rules for Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child” and “The Essential 11: Qualities Teachers and Parents Use to Motivate, Inspire, and Educate Children.”

The private, non-profit Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta opened in 2007, teaching fifth to eighth graders from a wide range of backgrounds.

We have the total joy of working directly with these students.

Since 2009, we have driven from Athens every Tuesday to teach etiquette in the after school program. Ron Clark students learn that table manners are applicable even to afternoon snacks. They keep leadership journals and learn the innate reward of doing things for others, even without acknowledgment. We teach social dance, and the joy of learning new steps — even if it’s a cha-cha or waltz — is universal, regardless of the background of each student.

On our website, Clark has been kind of enough to speak of our relationship with the academy.

“ELI's classes teach our students how to have a high ‘civility I.Q.,’ and they play a supporting role in preparing our students to be future leaders,” he writes. “Their creative, fun and hands-on teaching is relevant and valuable for our students as it teaches them how to be good global citizens, and the students and staff couldn't be more pleased with the results of the program. Truly outstanding!”

We would like to say a big thanks to Ron Clark — not only for his kind words, but for his amazing work, and for the opportunity it gives us to work with some exceptional youth. The pleasure is all ours!

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