Bridenstine Visits

by Mark Friedel of the Claremore Progress

First District of Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine and guests attended Catalayah Elementary's Rise and Shine program Wednesday morning. The visit provided an opportunity for Bridenstine to learn about the school's learning cli­ mate and its recognition as a Qwl1 Expectations model site.

The Great Expectations Foundation was developed in 1991 by Charlie Holler, a retired insurance executive from Ponca City. Since then, the foundation has worked to develop a teacher training model, which has spread to thousands of educators throughout Oklahoma. Today, more than 410 Oklahoma school sites in more than 155 dis­ tricts have been named GE Model Schools, including Catalayah and Claremore's Stuart Roosa Elementary.

GE's basic tenets include high expectations, teacher attitude and responsibility, building self-esteem, mutual respect and teacher knowledge and skill. Lessons encourage critical thinking skills and are reviewed consistently, said Catalayah Elementary principal Kellye Shuck.

"Students are taught to learn from their mistakes and correct them," Shuck said.

During the daily Rise and Shine program, Catalayah students recite the "word of the week," classroom quotes, creeds, positive poetry andliterature and the school's eight expectations for success.

"I am uplifted and thrilled to see what is going on here at Catalayah," said Bridenstine. "Students at this school have given me a bright hope for the future. I look at the direction this school is heading and I can't help but think our country has a great future ahead of it."

Bridenstine said the fact that the students exemplify strong core val­ ues is a testament to the teachers, faculty and administrators.

"The message of Catalayah is something that needs to be shared as we go back to Washington D.C. to talk about education and the direc­ tion we need to go," he said.

Joining Bridenstine and guests at Catalayah Wednesday were Pelco Structural, LLC, President Phil Albert and Claremore Public Schools Foundation Executive Director Marla Lillie. Pelco Structural was named Catalayah's partner in education at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year. As part of their support, Pelco frequently invites leaders from across the state to Catalayah in an effort to promote excellence and encourage students to be successful.