Pioneer School was recently named a Great Expectations Model School for the fourth consecutive year.

Of the 45 model schools in Oklahoma, Pioneer is the first K-8 model school to receive the honor.

“Great expectations is a way to motivate teachers to be more positive in the classroom as well as in their methods of teaching,” said Elementary Superintendent Jackie Grass. “Teachers attend a four-day summer institute and meet with other teachers from across the state. They go over classroom activities and learn techniques for them to use in the classroom.”

Grass said that even teachers who previously showed signs of burnout have become positive about teaching again after attending the summer classes.

“It’s turned several of my burned out teachers around. They were ready to retire and now they are staying,” said Grass.

Great Expectations Mentor Curt Parker, a teacher and coach for 20 years, was an instructor for Great Expectations for four years before becoming a mentor.

“We work with the schools to see what they want to see by using observations and then giving teachers feedback on how to enhance what they are doing,” he said. “We tell teachers ‘you are a model for the classroom and if you’re not modeling what you teach, you’re teaching something else.’”

“I didn’t think they’d teach this old dog any new tricks, but this class should be taught in college; it motivates like a coach,” said Grass, a former coach himself. “It gives you a lot of things to use in the classroom.”

The program incorporates what is called the “Magic Triad,” which includes a smile, a kind word and a kind touch.

It takes a school from three to five years to become a model school, with 90 percent of the teachers implementing 100 percent of the suggested classroom practices daily.

“And because all teachers and staff are trained, what goes on in the classroom doesn’t stop in the classroom,” said Parker.

Two Chickasha schools, Southwest Elementary and Grand Avenue Elementary, have begun using the program this year.

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