Convocation 2019

‘Ellen’ guest star speaks at Back-to-School Convocation
Posted on 08/20/2019
Michael Bonner

The consensus among R-I educators who participated in the Back-to-School Convocation was that this year’s keynote speaker was the most engaging in recent memory. 

Special guest Michael Bonner, the author of the book “Get Up or Give Up: How I Almost Gave Up on Teaching,” shared with Poplar Bluff faculty and staff his focus areas for the school year during which he will teach at the internationally renowned Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta. 

“They’re saying we’re becoming obsolete,” said Bonner to over 700 in attendance on Monday, Aug. 12, at the Black River Coliseum. “There’s more information [available] than we’ve ever had in the history of the world.” 

In a changing education system, Bonner said that school officials need to continue to focus to whole brain teaching. A 4.0 grade point average is not the only factor that guarantees success in the 21st Century, he continued, using wealthy YouTube reviewers as an example.   

Bonner became known on the national stage in 2017 when comedian Ellen DeGeneres featured the award-winning educator on her talk show for making an impact at an impoverished elementary school in North Carolina by using innovative approaches such as rap music in order to teach reading. 

“Taking action and not taking action are both still actions,” concluded Bonner before receiving an ovation from the crowd. “Nothing is neutral.” 

Earlier in his presentation, Bonner stressed the importance of building healthy relationships with students, echoing a theme that R-I Superintendent Dr. Scott Dill hit on in his state-of-the-school address. “Without a significant relationship, there cannot be significant learning,” Dill stated. 

The Convocation is an annual tradition of the Poplar Bluff School District held prior to the start of the school year. The High School’s JROTC presented the colors and Eugene Field third grader Gracyn Bridgewater led the Pledge of Allegiance. Over a dozen vendors set up booths and gave out raffle prizes. 


Cutline: Guest speaker Michael Bonner delivers the keynote during the annual Back-to-School Convocation held last week at the Black River Coliseum.

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