Internationally-renowned middle school officially begins construction on newest wing
To commemorate the start of its newest construction project, the Ron Clark Academy held an intimate groundbreaking ceremony at its campus. With construction helmets and shovels by their side, RCA co-founders Ron Clark and Kim Bearden, who serves as the executive director, were joined by current students, alumni, board members, and loyal supporters as they proclaimed the Ryan Marshall Performing Arts Center as the biggest and most important undertaking the school will embark upon.
With the addition of the center, named in honor of the late RCA alumnus from the class of 2013, Ryan Marshall, the school will be able to increase the capacity for its educator training program, explore additional opportunities for customized workshops, and train an estimated 150,000 educators over the next 10 years.
The ceremony featured an opening welcome by RCA student Jasmine Stewart, appearances by employees from the project’s contracting company (JE Dunn Construction), recognition of board members and one RCA alumni from each class, as well as remarks from Clark and Bearden. When talking about the increased impact RCA will be able to have, Bearden shared, “With this new facility, we will have the ability to train up to a 1,000 educators every single time we open our doors – so the reach of that will affect even millions of more children around the world.” She concluded by expressing, “This isn’t just a facility for the special students who come here, it is a facility that’s going to be built [to affect] children around the globe.”
While speaking about his grand vision for the center, Clark stated, “We are so proud that the community of Atlanta has come together to help us build a state of the art facility that will enable us to provide a training experience for educators like none other in the world. The facility we are building is going to be simply jaw dropping, but the true beauty of it will be that we will be able to finally meet the demand of educators from around the world who want to visit RCA to learn about our methods and techniques to help all children succeed.” While recognizing the late Marshall’s family in the audience, Clark added, “It is our goal to create a revolution in the education profession and the Ryan Marshall Performing Arts Center is going to be an integral part in helping us achieve our dream.”
The Academy, a nonprofit school well known for the aforementioned professional development program, The RCA Experience, has trained approximately 60,000 teachers to date since the school’s inception in 2007. Through this opportunity, RCA has provided an immersive, hands-on experience for educators to witness classroom innovation in action led by the school’s very own master teachers.
With the addition of the Ryan Marshall Performing Arts Center, RCA will add a 42,000 square foot multipurpose facility, which features a large auditorium, grand rotunda and multiple classrooms. All areas of the center are designed to welcome more students into the classroom and more educators into RCA’s halls. Also, an added parking lot will assist with parking for training guests and attendees.
With the additional excitement of adding 4th graders to the student body this fall, the Academy is positioning itself to continue revolutionizing education with its impact reaching unparalleled heights once construction of the center finishes in spring 2020.