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Four Lawton schools among best in state

Lawton_Four Lawton schools are among the best in the state, and they are recognized as model schools in the Great Expectations Professional Development Program.  Woodland Hills Elementary was the first to celebrate last week, and on Friday, MacArthur Middle School, Hugh Bish, and Whittier Elementary Schools also were honored.  It's Whittier was the first Lawton Public School to earn the honor, and marks its fifth time with a ceremony.

There are only 52 Great Expectations schools in the United States, and Whittier Principal Brenda Hatch says there is a reason they were honored five times.  "There's 17 classroom practices that the teachers need to be engaged in every day," she said.  While the practices may make for hard work for the teachers, they need the knowledge and skills to motivate, inspire, and challenge students.  "Our students are very used to getting up in front of a crowd, and used to being at assemblies and doing memory work," she said.

Former educator and current state Representative Ann Coody says the intelligence of the students jumped out at her.  "One of the most important things I learned is that they're very smart," said Coody.  "They have a lot to learn...a lot to do.  They do it cooperatively."  She says all of their hard work now will pay off in a big way later.  "It'll help them to be happier more successful students, and prepare them for life, for the giving to others," she said.

Hatch says she couldn't agree more.  "It's the little things, like looking people in the eye, shaking their hand firmly, helping to celebrate instead of putting people down," she said.  All of that preparation makes for stand-out students now, and down the road.  "They're going to find out they'll be the leaders in the middle school," she said.

MacArthur Middle School is only the third middle school in the state to be named a Great Expectations model school.  The basic tenants of a Great Expectations Program are - mutual respect, self-esteem, and responsibility.  The program was founded in 1991.
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