For the eighth year in a row, Whittier Elementary School on Friday celebrated being awarded model school status by Great Expectations.
Great Expectations is an educational movement designed to improve schools through a focus on good character and professional development for teachers.
Model school status is awarded to schools that score at least 90 percent when they are evaluated by mentors from the program, based on 17 practices characterizing the Great Expectations philosophy. Model school is the highest rank awarded by the program. Schools in Great Expectations must reapply every year to maintain their status.
The school assembly featured musical performances by students and a visit from the MacArthur High School Highlander Regiment, which included the drum corps and a tuba line.
Whittier Principal Brenda Hatch said it takes a conscious effort by everyone to achieve and maintain model school status. She read a letter written by a former student, comparing his positive experiences at Whittier under the GE program with life at a middle school that does not practice Great Expectations.
Barry Beauchamp, superintendent of Lawton Public Schools and a member of the Great Expectations board of directors, presented Hatch with the plaque commemorating Whittier’s achievement.
He spoke about the excellent experiences his two sons had as students at Whittier.
“You are in one of the most amazing places you will ever be,” Beauchamp told the students.
Hatch also was presented with a proclamation of congratulations by Karla Maudlin, director of elementary education at Lawton Public Schools, from the Oklahoma Legislature — issued by Gov. Mary Fallin at the request of Sen. Randy Bass, D-Lawton.
Rep. Ann Coody, R-Lawton, presented a proclamation from the Oklahoma House of Representatives, issued by Speaker of the House Kris Steele at her request.
Following the presentations, the Highlander Regiment performed, then led everyone outside to the flag pole, where the Great Expectations model school flag was raised.
STEPHEN ROBERTSON/ LAWTON CONSTITUTION STAFF The student body at Whittier Elementary School enjoys a performance by MacArthur High School’s Highlander Regiment Friday afternoon during a ceremony celebrating the school’s eighth year of being chosen as a model school by the Great Expectations educational movement. Model school is the highest honor given by Great Expectations.