Students in Non-Traditional School Setting Thrive with Great Expectations

Methodology fosters a culture of growth with students in accelerated and disciplinary programs

As the principal of a service-provider school, Ron-Marie Johnson works with students of diverse learning backgrounds. Victory Place @ Coppell offers an accelerated high school program as well as a Disciplinary Alternative Education Program. With a wide variety of needs among students, Ron-Marie and her staff wanted to set a standard of behavioral and academic expectations that would allow all students to grow and take ownership of their education.

Four years ago, Ron-Marie and her staff started implementing Great Expectations. The principles and practices create a consistent environment with high expectations for students in both programs.

“We prioritize creating a culture of growth for our students, whether they need the disciplinary program or choose to take an accelerated path,” said Ron-Marie. “Great Expectations helps us hone the life principles we want to work on with our students.”

Since introducing Great Expectations to the campus, students and staff have become more mindful of how they interact with one another as well as their work. Additionally, Victory Place reports increased graduation rates alongside decreased disciplinary interventions since implementing Great Expectations.

A Common Language

Because Victory Place @ Coppell is an alternative campus, students rarely stay at the school for the entire academic year. With the constantly shifting student population, maintaining a steady school culture can be a challenge.

“Great Expectations gives us the common vocabulary we need to bring together best practices in education,” said Ron-Marie. “Now our objectives are clear about how we want to prepare students to be successful in school and life.”

When new students arrive at the school, Ron-Marie says other students help their peers adjust to the school culture by modeling the expectations.

“Now, everything we do is tied to Great Expectations. Our rubrics reflect the expectations and students know how they are supposed to interact and collaborate with staff and each other,” said Ron-Marie.

Academics and Beyond

Recently, Ron-Marie had a student that was new to the United States. Through Great Expectations and a smaller school environment, the staff was able to help her adjust to the culture and become more confident in the classroom.

“With our support and the Eight Expectations for Living, this student excelled in her academics as well as interactions with staff. She ended up graduating a year in advance,” said Ron-Marie.

As students take more ownership of themselves, Ron-Marie frequently sees this growth in confidence as students discover their potential.

“Students tell us that the environment at our school is more like the real world. They feel better prepared for entering the workforce or beginning college,” said Ron-Marie. “Once we set up that foundation for students to succeed in life, the academics just happen because they know how to be great students.”