On March 26, 2013, Wilson Elementary School received the distinction of Great Expectations Model School.
Great Expectations is a program that is designed to give teachers the skills needed to add excitement to the atmosphere and to create a climate of mutual respect. It improves self esteem, attendance, and discipline which improves academic excellence. To earn a Model School status, ninety to one hundred percent of the teachers must use all of the Great Expectations’ classroom methods on a daily basis.
Wilson Elementary attained the Model School status within one school year whereas normally it would take five years to complete.
“We were looking into a new program to make a positive change in our school. We did our research and believed in the same ideals as this program so we thought we’d take the challenge and do this in one year. We were already doing a lot of the things this program requires, but it gave us more ideas and principles,” Wilson Elementary teacher Crickett Roberts said.
In June 2012, the teachers attended a four day training session with the Great Expectations Institute. In September 2012, Principal Chris Nester entered the paperwork to apply as a Model School. Later, a representative from Great Expectations came to visit the school to review it. Throughout the school year, the teachers went to many meetings with the Great Expectations development team.
The students at Wilson also worked hard to follow the expectations and rules of the program.
“The atmosphere has changed so much because our learners feel safe yet are celebrated for their accomplishments. Our learners are consistently practicing their life principles. (leadership, honesty, friendship…etc) Teachers had to change just a little. We made sure that we had a climate of mutual respect. When our learners answer or ask questions, they speak in complete sentences by addressing the class and restating the question. We’ve seen an improvement in their writing as well. Our learners are also greeters, they have learned to greet guests and look them in the eyes while shaking hands, which is a life skill. It was a change for our learners, but once they realized that all the educators had bought in, they did too. They like to be celebrated for their ideas and accomplishments. Believe it or not, they like to meet their teacher’s expectations. They also love to have their work displayed with immediate and positive feedback.” Roberts said.
Wilson Elementary is the first and only school in North Texas to be a model school, and is one of five Model Schools in the entire state of Texas. Wilson has become a role model for other schools in the area, and is an inspiration for other schools to receive Great Expectations in the future. It’s a great honor, and has positively changed the education students are receiving.
“It feels great to receive this award. All the educators in our building worked really hard. We were evaluated on a daily basis with walk throughs and peer observations. We worked as a team to accomplish one goal, which brought us together as a tight knit family. And to know, that we are the second school of many that were able to achieve this goal in only a year. I believe this is only the beginning of many great things for our school. This will improve our relationships with our learners and parents. We are creating respectable leaders at our school,” Roberts also said.
As of April 23, Mayor of Coppell Karen Hunt declared April 29 as Wilson Elementary day.
Congratulations Wilson Elementary on this great accomplishment!