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Hey Stick buddies,

Just HAVE to tell you about an AWESOME SCHOOL I’ve just stumbled upon: The Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, USA. The school is a living and breathing example of the type of school that Stickman champions due to it inspiring students to feel they can take on the world. This school has one of the most refreshingly inspiring and innovative approaches to teaching. It is safe to say that when Ron Clark built this school, conventional practices were thrown out the window.

Ask yourself this.

How many schools have a two storey bungey jump? How many schools have Harry Potter style quirks like passwords to enter classrooms? How many schools have an induction process where students go down a large slide to symbolise that they’ve elected to be part of something different?

The answer? Not many. Or at least, I certainly don’t know of any…until now that is.

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A Ron Clark Academy student enjoying the school’s 2 storey bungey jump

Yes The Ron Clark Academy has all of the above, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s all play.

Far from it in fact.

There is most certainly rigour behind all the fun. A rigour that makes the school “academically a beast” and maintains all of the fun within the boundary of 55 strict rules. Rules that teach students good manners and respect for those around them. Rules that teach authentic social skills that enable students to competently hold their own and interact with others with both ease and grace.

There’s rigour behind all the fun…

The 55 rules include everything from showing students the value of maintaining eye contact, to the importance of answering questions in complete sentences or to the significance of a good hand shake. Furthermore, students are taught to articulate themselves well, being told that they should speak up in class. They’re shown how to maintain their cool under pressure and are put to the test with initiatives such as mock Presidential elections or being interviewed by lawyers and business executives. One student even co-hosted a breakfast show on CBS – one of America’s flagship TV networks.

And the best bit? Ron Clark himself cuts shapes on the dance floor like no Principal has ever been seen cutting shapes before! If you don’t believe me…watch this:

When asked what he wants for his students when they go out into the world, Ron Clark responds simply that “[his students] have a sense of no fear.” When I read this, it reminded me of words that the wonderful late Rita Pearson said when she asked us to imagine “how powerful our world would be if we had kids who were not afraid to take risks and not afraid to think’.

“I want students to have no sense of fear.”

Ron Clark, Headteacher, The Ron Clark Academy

Clark set out to create a school that kids love coming to. I think we can safely say that through a charming and powerful combination of hip hop and good, old-fashioned manners, he’s done just that.

Other schools out there…hope y’all listenin’?

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The Stickman Consultancy are education marketing experts. We work with schools and colleges to tease out those magical moments where student minds have been broadened and passions unleashed and shout about them from the rooftops to ensure parents, staff, governors and the wider community hear loud and clear.  We really like speaking to schools and colleges, especially about how we can help them, so please get in touch at either hello@thestickmanconsultancy.co.uk or here and we’ll get back to you quick sticks. Zoom zoom. Bye for now.

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