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In Partnership with Huntington National Bank, 30 Educators from CCS are Heading to the Ron Clark Academy

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April 18, 2024 — Thirty Columbus City Schools educators, generously supported by scholarships from Huntington National Bank, are gearing up for an immersive professional development experience at the renowned Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Georgia. The group of educators and administrators from CCS will embark on a two-day PD program to explore new methods to enhance their teaching skills, increase student engagement, cultivate relationships, and foster innovative approaches to climate and culture within the classroom.

"Teachers have the biggest impact on our communities' future leaders," said Brant Standridge, President of Consumer and Regional Banking at Huntington. "We feel that teachers are heroes, and we cannot be successful in our communities if they are not equipped to develop the next generation of leaders."

Renowned for its distinctive and immersive teaching methods, the Ron Clark Academy (RCA) is a non-profit teaching laboratory and actual school conceived by trailblazing educator and author Ron Clark. Through the generous support of Huntington National Bank, CCS staff will have the opportunity to experience this transformative environment. The academy is meticulously crafted to impart rigorous strategies and techniques for educators to employ in their classrooms. These methods are meant to challenge students academically and cultivate a sense of belonging, familial connection, and excitement for learning. By setting high expectations, RCA fosters an environment where students are eager to engage and thrive.

"He is very exuberant," said Catherine Zelke. “I hope to take some of the ideas I learn and institute them back into my classroom to get students more excited about learning. Education is important; it is fun but also hard. To give them the belief in themselves that they can persevere through it."

For the Columbus City Schools staff, this opportunity represents a chance to gain valuable insights and strategies that can benefit students across the District. The Professional Development experience will focus on creative teaching techniques, building a positive school culture, and nurturing students' passion for learning.

"[At Columbus Gifted Academy], we have students joining us at all grade levels and from diverse groups, said Columbus Gifted Principal Amanda Reed. "How can we be responsive? How can we craft and cultivate a sense of belonging? What can we do purposefully? Ron Clark does this and does this well."

This professional development opportunity is poised to have a far-reaching impact, benefiting the participating educators, the students they teach, and other educators in the District. By implementing new strategies and approaches learned at the academy, teachers can create a more engaging, effective, and inclusive learning environment, ultimately leading to improved academic outcomes.

"The strategies from Ron Clark Academy give us a platform to tighten those connections between students and create a community with a distinct identity, said Reed. "As we implement some of the strategies from Ron Clark, we hope to see an even greater sense of connection and engagement among our students."

Huntington National Bank's investment in CCS educators will further strengthen the District's commitment to continuous professional growth, enriching students' educational journey. Columbus City Schools congratulates the educators heading to the Ron Clark Academy this summer and eagerly anticipates the impactful student successes that partnerships and initiatives like this will have on student outcomes.

Power of One

Priority 1 - Whole Child FocusedPriority 2 - Equitable Opportunities for AllPriority 3 - Strong Learning Communities in Every RegionPriority 4 - Authentic Engagement