POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Board of Education recently approved to send two Mason County staff members to the Ron Clark Academy.
Stacy Bissell, Ashton Elementary and Point Pleasant Primary School (PPPS) assistant principal, and Judy Browning, title one teacher at PPPS, will be attending the academy for a one day staff development session on Friday, May 11.
The board approved both paid professional leave and out-of-state travel for Bissell and Browning.
“We are both very excited for the opportunity to attend the Ron Clark Academy. We appreciate the board allowing us the chance to get to see this, then come back to our county and share it with others,” said Bissell.
Bissell explained Browning sees several students during a single school day and thus co-plans with several of the teachers and plans on sharing what she learns at the academy with them.
Bissell explained she is currently an assistant principal of curriculum and instruction and part of job is to lead out professional development for teachers.
“Ultimately, I would love to return to the classroom one day and I could use what I learn at the Ron Clark Academy to increase rigor in my lessons and improve student achievement,” said Bissell.
Bissell shared the Ron Clark Academy is a private school in Atlanta, Ga. The academy was started by Ron Clark and Kim Bearden who were both former Disney Teachers of the Year. Bissell explained the pair wanted to start a school where both rigor and student engagement were present in each lesson and also wanted to be a demonstration school for other educators.
“We plan to employ many of the techniques we are going to get to witness in classrooms when we return,” said Bissell. “The Ron Clark Academy information would be great professional development for any and all teachers, so I will share what I learn with as many as possible.”
Bissell said Clark is an author of several books, one of which is the Essential 55 which is a list of “rules to live by” that he developed in his early years of teaching in an inner-city school in Harlem, N.Y. She explained he used the revenue from the sales of this book to buy the 100 year old factory that houses the academy.
“Both Mrs. Browning and myself have read his books and embrace his philosophy of education. We both desired to visit this school and see it for real,” said Bissell.
Erin Perkins is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.