First Ron Clark Academy Clinical Experience Awarded

Greenville, NC – Carla K. Watson was selected to be the first East Carolina University (ECU) student to participate in a junior clinical experience at the Ron Clark Academy (RCA) in Atlanta, Georgia.  Watson is majoring in middle grades education with concentrations in mathematics education and social studies. Watson will return to ECU to finish her degree and complete her senior year internship after her clinical experience in Atlanta, Georgia.  While Watson is at RCA she will also be full time online student.

Watson is originally from Martin County where she graduated with honors from Jamesville High School in 2006.   Watson was a tutor for ECU’s Project HEART (High Expectations for At Risk Teens) during her senior year of high school.  Project HEART aims to increase the number of students who succeed academically, reduce the dropout rate and increase the number of students who graduate from high school in 4 years. In addition, Watson also works part-time with the North Carolina Early Mathematics Placement Testing Program (NC EMPT). The NC EMPT Program offers teachers, students, and their parents information for successful math course placement during the first semester of college.  NC EMPT’s goal is to reduce the number incoming freshmen that place into remedial mathematics at the fifteen UNC campuses.

The Ron Clark Academy Clinical Experience is designed specifically for an ECU student who is currently in their junior year.  The goal of the program is to engage students who have a passion for education in a unique school environment, where innovation meets discipline. 

RCA is a private, nonprofit middle school in Southeast Atlanta that promotes innovation and inspires its students through energetic teaching balanced by a strict code of discipline.  Each year, 3,000 educators from around the world visit the Academy to learn how to replicate the school’s style, philosophy and success in their own classrooms.  Since training teachers is a core part of the mission of East Carolina University, the Academy (with generous support from several community partners) has decided to pilot

an clinical experience specifically designed for East Carolina University students.  As an alumna of ECU, Ron is thrilled to welcome a fellow Pirate into the RCA family.  ECU envisions this opportunity to be a life-changing experience for each student who is selected to participate.

Watson will receive full credit for a full-semester if she completes the program. She will also be expected to take on-line classes (approved by ECU) in order to receive all academic requirements for the semester.  Watson will pay a normal semester of tuition and will be given a $2,500 stipend.  The majority of funding for this program, including partial room and board is provided for by a generous supporter of ECU.

The clinical experience will begin on Monday, January 5, 2009 and end on Sunday, May 10, 2009.  During the clinical experience, Watson will be housed in a single dorm room on Oglethorpe University’s campus.  Mid-way through the clinical experience, Watson will receive an observation visit from Dr. Ann Bullock, Professor of Middle Grades Education at ECU.  Watson will also be assigned a mentor/advisor from Oglethorpe University.  Watson has been invited to participate in education-focused “Lunch and Learns” in order share her experience at Oglethorpe University.  Watson will wrap up her time with RCA by traveling with 5th grade students on an educational trip to New York City, New York.

 For questions about the internship opportunity, please contact Dr. Mark L’Esperance at