Educators in Oklahoma City Create Plan for Great Expectations

Training reignites passion for teaching, improves student achievement and behavior

 A Career Focused on Great Expectations
Looking back, Carol Berry, interim principal at Kaiser Elementary School in Oklahoma City, believes Great Expectations changed her life. A competitive person by nature, Berry has always tried to go above and beyond requirements. Berry thinks she sets the bar high, but Great Expectations sets it even higher. Because of the coaching, classroom tenets and key practices, she is continually determined to rise to the expectations set before her as an educator.

A Great First Impression
When she was a principal at Nichol’s Hills Elementary, Berry attended a Great Expectations Principals’ Academy. At the conclusion of her training, she and the other principals attended the closing ceremony of the teachers’ training. What they saw blew them away.

“The atmosphere was electric, and the teachers were on fire,” Berry said. “I looked at the principal next to me and said, ‘I want that in my building.’”            

Great Expectations for All
While Berry had one or two teachers who had attended Great Expectations training, she wanted the entire staff to experience it. She applied for a scholarship to offset the cost of attending, and got it. Most teachers were excited about the opportunity, but one was so disenchanted with the profession she told Berry that she was quitting.

“Hearing that, I decided to strike a deal with her. I told her that if after one day of training she wanted to be completely done, then she could be.”

That one-day deal at Great Expectations was pivotal. The educator was reinvigorated and ready to try the techniques the following year. In fact, she has since become a nationally recognized principal.

Acquiring Excellence
After having all of her educators trained through Great Expectations, Berry applied to have her school be designated a Great Expectations Provisional School, one level from being named a Model School. Although close, the school didn’t qualify. She and the staff were shocked, and were determined more than ever to effectively implement the practices in order to earn that accolade. The following year, they surpassed Provisional and earned Model status instead—and remained a Model School for the next seven years. The school also achieved the highest test scores in the state of Oklahoma.

Facilitating Great Expectations District-Wide
As she advanced in her career, Berry wanted to take the use of Great Expectations to the next level, spearheading an initiative to make Great Expectations the preferred professional training opportunity for all Oklahoma City schools. While some districts were looking at other options, she submitted data from schools that had already implemented Great Expectations, which showed marked improvement in everything from students’ test scores to behavior referrals. The program sold itself.

“Since my first experience with Great Expectations, I firmly believe that it offers a refreshing and positive model to make impactful changes. The applied classroom expectations and tenets provide students with a solid foundation of respect, communication and set of essential skills for success beyond the classroom. As for teachers, it provides the support and tools to make learning and teaching enriching every single day.”

About Great Expectations
Great Expectations is a school transformation model that emphasizes a climate of mutual respect and academic excellence. Founded in 1991, the non-profit foundation provides intensive professional training to teachers and administrators that promotes improved student self-esteem, attendance, discipline and parent participation – all of which result in improved student achievement. Great Expectations has a presence throughout Oklahoma and seven other states.