During the 21-22 school year, we had the opportunity to take 5 teachers to the RCA EXP at the Ron Clark Academy. This experience was transformational and gave us ideas for how to better build school culture, engage students and families, and provide rigorous learning opportunities to our students. RCA EXP was life changing for the team that was able to attend.
Ron Clark is the founder of the Ron Clark Academy and has written best selling books about how he built relationships and sat high expectations for students which then allowed for him to create magical memories with the students he has worked with over the years. There is even a movie that has been made based on the amazing practices he utilized as a teacher in Harlem, New York. We want to do this at Weller! We want to transforms students and families at Weller by building relationships, setting high expectations for learning, and giving our students magical memories.
Weller is the most diverse school in Springfield, with a free and reduced lunch rate of over 90% and 14 languages spoken! Next year we are going to have several new staff members. The mission at Weller is “Loving Weller, Building Scholars.” We want to provide as many Weller teachers as we can with the opportunity to attend the RCA EXP in Atlanta so that they too can see how to best love the Weller students and community and how to build lifelong scholars.
- Need Represented: We need financial support.
- Academic Impact: RCA EXP has the potential to have a tremendous impact on the academic success of the students at Weller. One of the foundational principles of the Ron Clark Academy is that structure, discipline, and respect must be balanced with creativity, passion, and enthusiasm, and that they all must be rooted in relationships. When these pieces are balanced evenly, learning will occur. Another key teaching at the RCA EXP is high expectations for all students, which would help our new teachers see what is possible and what students can accomplish when teachers believe that all students can achieve at high levels. Another system that has the potential for huge academic impact at the RCA EXP is the House System they use. The House System creates 4 families within the school that are set up in a way that students are intermixed by grade level. For example, each team will have students from all grades on their team. This House System allows for relationships to be built across the school and will allow for celebrations and accountability to occur beyond the classroom teacher. It gives students another purposeful connection that will help keep them in school and desire to learn. The House System also allows for intentional connections to be established with parents. All research suggests that if parents are a part of their child's learning, their child is more likely to be successful in school.
This website below give a lot of details about the Ron Clark Academy, RCA EXP, and the House Systems. We would like to implement these ideas at Weller but in order to do so, we need as many of our teachers as possible to be trained.
- Student Population: Weller is the most diverse elementary school in Springfield, Missouri. We have a free and reduced lunch rate of over 90% and 14 languages spoken. Nearly 1/3 of our students are English Language Learners and are refugees or immigrants to the United States. Families are hopeful for their students to learn and have an opportunity for success and want to engage with the teachers in ways that will support their children. We also have many children effected by childhood trauma. The adverse complications of childhood trauma interfere with learning and often cause extreme behaviors as well. Weller has tended to be in the middle of the Title I schools as far as performance goes, but Covid-19 has really had a negative impact. Our scores declined last year. We are hoping that this opportunity will help to improve learning for our student population.