High expectations of students and teachers are an anchor for each day at Tahlequah Public Schools. The elementary schools implement the tenets of Great Expectations to support the culture of an effective school. Greenwood Elementary was recently awarded Model School status for the eighth year. Thank you to all Greenwood staff for inspiring our students and each other to strive to better the school culture through the practices of Great Expectations. Learning these skills makes for a wonderful learning environment but also prepares students to be the best when conquering the challenges that lie ahead in their lives.
Greenwood Elementary chose fourth grade teacher, Barbie Casey as a wonderful example of a Great Expectations Model Teacher and as the Greenwood 2016-2017 Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Casey is always willing to go the extra mile to reach a student and holds high expectations for herself and students. She is an exceptional teacher, mentor, and colleague.
Another factor influencing school effectiveness is community partnerships. The Tahlequah Rock and Mineral Society recently donated a Celestron Hand-Held Digital Microscope to our science classrooms. Another important community partnership supporting Tahlequah Schools is the Tahlequah Public Schools Foundation. The Foundation funded many grants this year including eight grants for Greenwood. Deena Jones was awarded a grant to fund her project “STREAM: Locating the Einstein in Every Child.” Lori Freymuth will be facilitating a Mobile STEM Enrichment classroom that will be available for colleagues to check out and use in their classroom. Shelli Cox will be introducing a mobile engineering lab that will also be available for other grade levels.
Kym Tinsley received a partial-funded grant for her efforts to transition to a One-to-World classroom where every student has an IPad to use in whole group and small group instruction. Math Reads was awarded to Brooke Anderson and her 4th grade math students. Lorie McGee received a grant called Building Classroom Libraries. Emily Freise wrote and received a grant for all of the district speech pathologist to provide speech buddies for speech therapy. Wrapping it up was Chrissy Waldhoer with an innovative approach to instruction with active learning through mobility. Tahlequah Public Schools thanks all of our community partners.
Effective schools also challenge students through additional educational programs. The Greenwood robotics program is in full swing and continues to bloom. Students have worked diligently throughout the year designing, testing, and presenting. Teams have had great success and are eager to continue modifying designs and developing new approaches to this year’s challenge. In addition to building and driving a robot, students complete Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) projects and present to judges at competition. Projects include Compound Gearing, Surface Tension, Earthquakes and Its Effects on Soil, and Grading Gardening: Hydroponics…Grow light….Greenhouse. Another educational program offered is Cherokee Culture. Greenwood’s Cherokee Challenge Bowl teams are gearing up for their next competition. A big thanks to Tonia Weavel for working with Greenwood’s students and presenting Cherokee Culture and language in a new exciting way.
One way to ensure school effectiveness is by cultivating a growth mindset. In the growth mindset, people believe that success is a result of effort rather than just raw talent. People with the growth mindset work hard to constantly grow and improve. Success is earned and never taken for granted. On the flip side, setbacks are seen as the inevitable side-effects of pursuing any endeavor. They are treated as opportunities for further improvement. We want to teach our students that strength does not come from what they can do. It comes from overcoming the things they once thought they could not do.