The Edmond Sun

May 17, 2013

2 Edmond schools achieve Great Expectations status

Washington Irving is 7-time winner, West Field is 6

Patty Miller
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Two Edmond elementary schools achieved Great Expectations Model School status this week.

Washington Irving Elementary, the 105th school in the nation to claim this title, was recognized Tuesday, and West Field Elementary, the 106th school in the nation to be awarded the title, followed on Friday.

Washington Irving Elementary students modeled each of the six basic tenets during their assembly to receive the Great Expectations Model School award on Tuesday as they recited poems and passages and sang songs. This is the seventh year in a row for Washington Irving to receive model school status.

Washington Irving’s administration includes Principal Susanne Dougherty and Assistant Principal Karen Morrison.

“It (Great Expectations Model School guidelines) provides the most positive environment for our students so they can learn at their highest potential,” Morrison said.

West Field’s administration includes Principal Cara Jernigan and Assistant Principal Beth Kanaly.

“This is our sixth year to achieve this status,” said Jernigan, who will be principal of the newly opened Frontier Elementary in August.

West Field students modeled some of the eight expectations for living including their Word of the Week, “Excellence.”

“In addition to the basic tenets, classroom practices and expectations for living, we also incorporate a weekly quote and our teachers are observed by representatives from the Great Expectations Foundation to verify we are following the guidelines set forth,” Jernigan said. “I believe it helps our teachers to become better educators as they learn to follow these guidelines Great Expectations sets forth.”

Great Expectations Coach Betty Flurry was a guest at both assemblies, and Great Expectations Foundation Board Member John Harrington was at the Washington Irving assembly to help make the presentation.

Flurry told the West Field students they indeed practiced “Excellence” in their school as well as in their assembly.

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

The Great Expectations teaching/training model is guided by six basic tenets and 17 classroom practices and eight expectations for living. The tenets and practices provide guidelines for program training and implementation and serve as standards for evaluating GE schools/districts.

GE schematics include a vision by teachers and learners working together in a culture of respect with each shareholder striving for academic excellence.

The basic tenets used to teach with include: All children can learn; there must be a climate of mutual respect; there must be high expectations; teachers must exhibit knowledge and skills; the teachers must have an attitude and responsibility; and teachers must continue in the building of self respect.

Findings by the University of Oklahoma’s E-team showed scientifically based findings indicating students in classrooms implementing Great Expectations methodology showed greater gains in student academic achievement during the school year compared with demographically similar students not exposed to GE. Findings from principal, teacher, parent, student surveys and the classroom observations, student achievement all differed in ways that would be expected based on GE implementation.

The fact that parents noticed differences in their children’s behavior indicates that the skills students learn in GE classrooms are also being used outside the classroom. Across all three grades, GE parents were significantly more likely to report that their children show interest, excitement and involvement in learning and enjoying learning activities. This is consistent with teacher and principal self-reports as well as observer ratings.