Limestone Technology Academy celebrates 16th year as Model School | News

After 15 years of being named a Model School through the Great Expectations teaching and learning program, Limestone Technology Academy might have been forgiven had the honor been taken in stride when it was bestowed for the 16th year this year.

No forgiveness was necessary, however, as Limestone students, faculty and staff members were joined Friday by district administrators and school board members to celebrate 16 years of academic achievement.

“We are excited to celebrate 16 years” as a Model School, Principal Terri Lee said. “COVID precautions prevented a 15-year celebration, so we wanted to make this one special.

“Great Expectations is the backbone of our school,” Lee continued. “Our entire school environment focuses on high expectations and positive reinforcement.”

The Great Expectations teaching model is guided by six basic principles, or tenets, according to its website. The tenets provide guidelines for program training and implementation and serve as standards for evaluating schools and districts.

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The tenets are: High expectations; teacher attitude and responsibility; all children can learn; building self-esteem; climate of mutual respect; and teacher knowledge and skill.

To be considered a Great Expectations Model School, at least 90% of the staff must be implementing 100% of the classroom practices daily.

At Limestone, “we start each morning together as we begin with Rise and Shine,” Lee said. “This allows us to reinforce school expectations and start each day in a positive light.”

She said the students, including kindergarteners, lead the school’s assembly each morning, which allows them to practice good speaking skills and interpersonal skills.

“Walking in classrooms, you’ll find students working on recitations, vocabulary building and writing practices,” she said, adding that students’ work is proudly displayed throughout the building.

Limestone is the only Great Expectations Model School in Sand Springs, although some of the district’s school sites have adapted the program to their needs and use some aspects of its philosophy, Lee said.

“Limestone has been lucky to have administrators before me that believed in the Great Expectations philosophy,” she said. “With their guidance and a pretty amazing staff, the program has just been an integrated part of our school.”

Lee said teachers gave up a week of their summer to be trained and that most have given up additional days to attend further training.

“We would most definitely not be able to continue our Model School status without the work by our entire staff,” she said.