Roosa, Catalayah Elementaries reach Great Expectations model status

Roosa Elementary School Principal Glen Abshere shares his admiration for students and staff after the school was certified as a Great Expectations Model School Friday for the 12th year in a row.
Mark Friedel
Great Expectations ambassador/mentor Kita Asbill acknowledges Catalayah Elementary and principal Kellye Shuck for a job well done. Asbill says it is her joy and privilege to certify Catalayah as a GE model school for the second consecutive year.
Mark Friedel

 

by Mark Friedel, Staff Reporter for The Claremore Progress

CLAREMORE —

Two Claremore elementary schools recently achieved Great Expectations model school status. Roosa Elementary received the award for the 12th consecutive year and Catalayah Elementary for the second consecutive year.

Both schools held celebrations in honor of the announcement Friday during separate “Rise and Shine” ceremonies.

Great Expectations is a teaching/training model guided by six basic priniciples that serve as standards for teachers and students in the classroom and beyond.

“GE is further defined by 17 classroom principles and we believe they are the best practices of teaching,” said Great Expectations ambassador Kita Asbill. “I’ve worked with schools all across Oklahoma, Texas and Michigan, and there’s always just a few schools that I can’t wait to get to. Catalayah is at the top of the list.”

As a GE mentor, Asbill travels to schools throughout the U.S. to meet with educators one on one, evaluating teaching styles to determine if they meet GE standards.

To become a GE Model School, 90-100 percent of the teachers must successfully implement 100 percent of the 17 classroom practices daily.

In 2013, there were roughly 82 schools that were certified model schools and that number will more than likely remain the same this year, said Asbill.

“Not a lot of schools reach this status. It is a huge honor and huge level of commitment on the administrators at the district level, administrators at the site level, and on the part of the teachers and parents who have a huge impact on their children’s success.”

Roosa Elementary is one of the few schools in the state to reach GE model status for 12 years in a row.

Lynse Robinson, Roosa fourth grade teacher and Claremore’s 2013-14 Teacher of the Year, said Great Expectations basically informs students on what the teachers and administrators want them to do, not what they do not want them to do.

“We use quotes to relay our expectations to students. We include a school song, class creed and use logical consequences, enabling them to learn to work out their own problems,” said Robinson.

“It’s really about mutual respect with the student. By modeling these GE ideas, you get that respect back.”

The Southwestern Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL) in Austin, Texas, recently conducted a comprehensive year-long research study of Great Expectations.

Through interviews with teachers and classroom observations, researchers determined that the program represents a substantial amount of what the current educational literature suggests are “best practices” of teaching, including the teaching of social skills to students.

The GE elements that impact positive changes in classroom teaching and learning include:

  • creating active, interesting, hands-on lessons that integrate multiple subjects with real-world connections.
  • providing opportunities for students to work in small groups to complete projects.
  • giving students opportunities to have personal input and choices.
  • teaching life principles to students, as well as, facilitating student-to-student dialogues that help them learn social competence and social problem-solving skills.