Claremont Elementary & Will Rogers Junior High Receives Great Expectation Model School Status
It is a goal of Claremore Public Schools to become a Great Expectations Model District.
Superintendent Bryan Frazier said they planned for this goal to take five to seven years. The district is one step closer to accomplishing its goal and three years ahead of schedule.
Will Rogers Junior High and Claremont Elementary both received their Great Expectation status this month — leaving Claremore High School to receive the status.
“The high school will be next,” Frazier said.
Frazier said when he came to CPS four years ago, he brought two major goals to the board: becoming a Great Expectations Model District and creating professional learning communities.
“They're literally part of what we need to do in order to increase our student learning,” he said.
Great Expectations is an organization with the mission to motivate, inspire, and challenge individuals to achieve excellence in learning and living.
When Frazier came to the district only two CPS schools — Catalayh Elementary and Roosa Elementary — had Great Expectation status.
In the last three years, three schools have received Great Expectations — Westside Elementary, Claremont Elementary and Will Rogers Junior High.
“It is a process that normally takes four to six years,” Frazier said. “It’s intense; it’s very specific. It requires a culture of teachers that are all in and willing to change.”
Schools must meet six basic tenets and 17 classroom practices in order to become a Great Expectations Model school.
Those tenets include high expectations, teacher attitude and responsibility, all children can learn, building self-esteem, climate of mutual respect, and teacher knowledge and skill.
Ninety to 100 percent of teachers must successfully implement 100 percent of these classroom practices daily.
“It is truly an accomplishment,” Frazier said. “If you achieve it, you’ve truly achieved it.”
Will Rogers Junior High was one of four Oklahoma middle schools to receive Great Expectations status this year.
“Outside of adopting my two boys, I can’t think of anything that I’ve ever been a part of that’s made me more proud,” said WRJH Principal Brian Young. “I can’t think of anything I’ve done that was more difficult, and at times I thought unachievable.”
Young said they began the process in the 2018-2019 school year.
“It was rough that first year,” he said.
Young said he stayed focused and slowly chipped away at the mountain of a goal.
Last year, WRJH made progressive status.
“I was happy with progressive,” he said. “That means you're not there yet, but you're progressing to that level. But it’s still second place and second place is last place in Great Expectations.”
Frazier said the process in receiving the Great Expectation status includes years of coaching, monitoring, practice, and the implementation of new practices.
“To be able to do something that large with that many teachers at the junior high in three years is an amazing accomplishment,” he said.
Frazier said this process of working toward becoming a Great Expectations District model has transformed the culture and climate of the individual buildings.
“That was kind of the beauty we were able to see with our site is that this common goal we have,” he said.
Claremont Elementary Principal Randa Fay said it feels incredible to have received the Great Expectations status.
“Great Expectations, and it being a district goal, is so incredible because we are going to have that common language, that consistency and that vertical alignment throughout our entire district,” she said.
Fay said they needed a common language and unification within the overall structure of the district.
“Coming together and working as a team has made all the difference for our students and will make all the difference for our district,” she said.
Fay said when she started four years ago she had 233 discipline referrals. This year she has 41.
Fay said that’s 192 less or 82% less than four years ago.
“Great expectations and coming together as a team has made the difference,” she said. “I’m so thankful for our kids to have that structure and to have that leadership and guidance.”
Frazier said he knew this was a lofty goal when he set it, but he wants to be able to look back in five years and see what a Claremore Zebra looks like after experiencing Great Expectations every day, in every class, in every grade.
“The reality is, the reason we do it all is because it’s going to increase student learning and our district wins,” he said. “Those are the winners. We’ve got the status, but the winners are the families, the students, and all the kids that are going to come out of Claremore Public Schools.”
Reprinted: Claremore Progress April 17, 2021, Chelsea Weeks