McAlester campus celebrates becoming Model School

·3 min read

May 11—Students cheered as they reached for confetti falling from the gym ceiling in a celebration of another achievement.

Parker Intermediate Center students, staff and guests gathered Monday in the gym to celebrate the McAlester school becoming a Great Expectations Model School faster than all but one other campus.

"There was only one other school that made Model School in one year and now you did — and you are the first Model School in McAlester and will always be the first GE Model School in McAlester," GE CEO Linda Dzialo told students and staff.

Great Expectations is a professional development program founded in 1991 to provide teachers and administrators with skills to manage a classroom and inspire students to pursue academic excellence.

The science-based educational reform model focuses on innovation to pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade in public and private schools nationwide.

Six basic principles guide schools through the training and serve as standards for evaluating districts. The principles include setting high expectations for students, promoting positive teacher attitudes and responsibility, remembering all children can learn, building self-esteem, creating a climate of mutual respect, and ensuring teacher knowledge and skill.

Those principles become further defined through 17 classroom practices for GE classrooms and districts. The program aims for classroom practices to help students become self-directed learners, productive citizens, effective communicators, critical thinkers, and cooperative contributors in the classroom — with the ultimate goal of teaching those same principles for students to carry into society.

The program also recognizes classrooms, schools and districts that meet certain criteria.

"And to become a model school with Great Expectations the first year is very good," GE Instructor Sue Early said.

"Not only are we a Model School this year, we are also in the top 5% of Oklahoma schools in being recognized as an A school so they have worked very, very hard," Parker Intermediate Principal Jamie Price said.

Parker also received an A overall rating when The Oklahoma State Department of Education Office of Accountability publicly released the 2021-22 school report cards.

It marked the first release of Oklahoma School Report Cards since the U.S. Department of Education granted a two-year waiver during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each school's report is available online at

"It's a big accomplishment," Superintendent Robert Steeber said. "You're looking at a campus that did this, is A rated, let's look across the state and see how many schools have done that."

MPS Board of Education President Joy Tribbey said she remembers the school's transition under Price while her son attended Parker.

"She has so much composure and there was so much respect from the students for her and that was four years ago so this doesn't surprise me at all," Tribbey said. "I think it raises the bar and we can keep going, McAlester's that good."

Price, who's in her fourth year at Parker, has credited teachers for preparing students to overcome daily challenges and adjusting to new technologies and strategies to better serve students during the COVID-19 pandemic.