By Steven James of the Tulsa World
Kailynn Aery, a first-grade teacher at Limestone Technology Academy, works with her students. Limestone was named a Great Expectations Model School for the ninth consecutive year.
Every school has a set of expectations for student behavior and best teaching practices everyone is encouraged to follow. But few schools make building-wide consistency in setting those expectations a priority like Sand Springs’ Limestone Technology Academy.
For the ninth year in a row, Limestone was recognized as a Model School by the Great Expectations Foundation.
Great Expectations is a “school-wide (set of) expectations that we set for students, so no matter where they are in our building … it’s all relevant to everywhere they go,” said Limestone Principal Karen Biggs. “If a student is doing something maybe they shouldn’t be doing, you might hear teachers say, ‘Oh, we need to remember we need to use kind words when we’re with our friends,’ and guide kids in that way.”
Teachers take a four-day training class in the summer and learn how to use eight basic expectations, which include valuing one another as unique and special individuals, not laughing or making fun at a person’s mistakes, use good manners and to help, cheer and encourage each other.
Those behaviors are then modeled in a variety of ways by the teacher in every lesson.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a math lesson or science lesson, you’re going to relate the lesson to some of the expectations and practices,” Biggs said.
Observers from the foundation visit classrooms periodically to determine if those values are being taught. At least 90 percent of teachers must be observed implementing those practices.
“I think the school-wide expectation is huge, because it doesn’t matter where I go in this building, people are going to know what is expected of me (as a teacher) and as a child too,” Biggs said. “I think (students) understand they’re going to be treated with dignity and respect in any situation – good or bad. You may get that at other schools, but it’s definitely going to happen here.”
Angus Valley Elementary was recognized as a Progressive School, meaning at least 80 percent of teachers were observed following the practices, according to the foundation website.
Limestone Technology Academy Principal Karen Biggs shows off a flag the school flies for being named a Model School by the Great Expectations Foundation.