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Mutual Respect Leads to Academic Excellence at Oklahoma Elementary School

Methodology helps Lincoln Elementary School staff and students meet high expectations

Natalie Griffin of Ardmore, Oklahoma took some time off to stay at home to raise her family. The summer before she returned to teaching full time, her principal asked her to attend a Great Expectations workshop to help her transition back into the classroom and approach teaching in a new way.

“When I first started teaching, it was very structured with little flexibility,” said Natalie. “The Great Expectations training helped me realize that all children learn differently. For children to have the confidence that they can succeed, teachers have to genuinely believe that all children can learn.”

Now a fifth-grade social studies and language arts teacher at Lincoln Elementary School, Natalie has fully integrated the Great Expectations methodology in her teaching philosophy. She has developed high expectations for her students, and maintains a climate of positivity and mutual respect in her classroom.

By utilizing the 17 Great Expectations practices, Natalie has made a positive impact on both instruction and her students’ learning.

Smooth Transition

With the Great Expectations guidelines in place, students know exactly what kind of behavior is expected of them. Students are able to quickly adjust to the standards in Natalie’s classroom.

“I had two students that were prone to disrupting learning at the beginning of the school year. After the first nine weeks, they became a part of the success story,” said Natalie.

Natalie is also responsible for preparing her students for the transition to middle school. By practicing life principles of good citizenship with students early on, Natalie helps students flourish in the next school level.

“The transition from fifth grade to the middle school is a success,” said Natalie. “Our students are prepared to move on to middle school because they are accustomed to the high expectations in behavior and learning at Lincoln Elementary.”

A Positive Place

Lincoln Elementary School has been recognized as a Great Expectations model school for the past seven years, meaning that the methodology is practiced by 90 percent of the staff. The community has taken notice of the school’s respectful and friendly environment.

“Our community is very involved in the school and everyone is amazed when they walk through the halls. They feel the pride our students have for the school,” said Natalie. “Every student is excited to come to school and learn every day.”

Student and teacher interactions provide the foundation of the school’s well-mannered atmosphere.

“All of the practices in Great Expectations are life goals,” said Natalie. “Over the course of my career, I’ve found that the bonds that teachers form with students are what makes a classroom truly successful.”