Meridian Star

August 3, 2013

Getting ready for the students

By Brian Livingston /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     A principal's retreat last week and a gathering of all Lauderdale County School District teachers and administrators Friday should, according to LCSD Superintendent Randy Hodges, get the fresh school year that begins Tuesday off to a rousing start.

    "A good start sets the tone for the rest of the school year," Hodges said. "We are really looking toward to this year and look to continue improving the way in which our children learn."

    Helping to get the teachers and administrators fired up Friday morning at the Temple Theater was Kim Bearden, co-founder of the Ron Clark Academy, who was selected from more than 70,000 nominations to be honored as the Disney American Teacher Awards Outstanding Middle School Humanities Teacher. The Milken Family Foundation selected her as one of 155 teachers from across the nation to receive the Award for Excellence in Education, and she was chosen from among 7,000 teachers as Teacher of the Year in Cobb County, Ga.

    Bearden said there are four types of teachers. One that all the students loved for their passion and excellent teaching techniques; the second who is a solid performer in class; the third, a teacher who students wonder how they ever earned their license to teach; and finally the last, the teacher that no one remembers at all.

    "Which one do you want to be?" Bearden asked of the audience. "Clearly we all want to be that teacher that the students love, who makes that huge impression on the students' lives, and who will be remembered for making a big difference."

    Bearden's message was a challenge to the teachers to begin from day one of school to exhibit the passion for teaching, the willingness to communicate with other teachers, in order to make the learning process as successful as possible.

    "Her message was excellent," Hodges said. "We always strive to make the learning experience fun and enjoyable while at the same time ensuring we give the students the best educational experience as possible."

    The Ron Clark Academy is a SACS/CASI accredited, which promotes innovation and engages its students through energetic teaching balanced by a strict code of discipline. The school has received both national and international recognition for its success in educating students and promoting academic rigor, passion, creativity, and increased student engagement in the classroom.  

    RCA serves as a model school whose goal is to extend their reach beyond their own student body by having an impact upon students everywhere. Each year, thousands of educators participate in RCA's educator training programs to learn how to replicate the school's style, philosophy and success in their own schools.

    For students enrolled in the Meridian Public School District and the Lauderdale County School District, school begins Tuesday. Hodges said the students in the Lauderdale County School District will notice some improvements at the campuses especially in the rest rooms areas.

    "We have been putting off these projects because of the tight budgets but we finally made a commitment this summer to get these done," Hodges said.

    Hodges also said the common core curriculum will be different than in years past with the school district going to more stringent methods in testing and concentrating much more on reading and writing.