When Ron Clark walked into his fifth-grade class in rural North Carolina, he was confronted with a tremendous challenge. The children had little interest in learning, and were sorely lacking in guidance. How would he transform a group of apathetic kids into disciplined, thoughtful, and curious students? He quickly realized that they needed to learn some basic rules. Clark compiled a list of 55 lessons, and soon, his fifth-grade students—who once struggled to read at the third-grade level—were reading at the sixth-grade level . . . and loving it. What's more, they were gaining something crucial-self-respect. Those 55 lessons evolved into what Clark calls The Essential 55 — guidelines for living and interacting with others. The Essential 55 will prepare parents and educators to teach students the rules for life — everything from knowing how to say thank you, to acing an interview.