Case Study – OKCPS Andrew Johnson Elementary
Andrew Johnson Elementary | Oklahoma City Public Schools
Oklahoma City Elementary School is a Small Town School in A Big City
Great Expectations gives Andrew Johnson Elementary School a desirable family atmosphere
Many years ago, leaders at the PreK-6 school, Andrew Johnson Elementary School in Oklahoma City, knew there had to be a drastic change in how it operated.
During Margaret Simpson’s first year as the principal at Johnson Elementary, she gathered a leadership team of educators to sit down and discuss how the school was going to change. The team created a three-year plan that included becoming a Great Expectations Model School. The first step was for staff members to attend a Great Expectations methodology course in order to be trained in the best practices and classroom principles.
The school didn’t waste any time and within the first year of implementing Great Expectations, it was named a Model School.
From Night to Day
The achievement of becoming a Model School was impressive and exactly what the school needed.
“Great Expectations is not just another program, it is a process,” Simpson says. “It is how we do things in the classroom, how we treat other people. It goes hand-in-hand with any other discipline programs a district implements because it is high expectations for the entire learning community and builds a culture of respect and academic excellence that our students deserve.”
Building A Skyscraper
Before Simpson became principal, a solid foundation was built at the school. When the leadership team gathered her first year as principal, everyone agreed they wanted to become a “wow” school. But what does being a “wow” school mean? They answered, everywhere the community looked around, they would say “wow” at everything.
With Great Expectations, they have achieved yet another goal. All across the building, students are on task, look at each other in the eye, speak in complete sentences and teachers don’t waste a second of the school day. Learning is fun.
“The curriculum is what we teach and Great Expectations is how we do everything,” Simpson says.
An Accepting Atmosphere
Johnson Elementary has a large population of students with special needs—almost a quarter of the students have individualized education plans (IEPs). But Simpson stresses that the methodology has even greater success with those students.
The program gives the students a routine and provides them the security that school is a place to come to learn and excel. The teachers want the children here. “We have a family atmosphere, a small town school in a big city.”
“We are very proud to be a Model School, a school that people from all across the state want to come and visit,” Simpson says. “At Johnson, we are a family and provide a place that gives our students the optimal atmosphere to succeed.”