With the books closed on the 2016-2017 school year, it’s a good time to celebrate student success in Thompson School District. One of my goals as a member of the Board of Education is to ensure we provide many paths and opportunities for our students to succeed. A traditional measure of student success is, of course, a high school diploma. Graduation rates in TSD have been increasing over the past several years and over 1,000 students earned their diplomas this Spring. They were offered a total of over $19 million in scholarships to further their educations.
This is all good news. But there are lots of other student successes that I have observed throughout Thompson School District this past year that don’t get the kind of attention that graduations get. Here are some, but by no means all, of the successful students and programs I’ve seen this year.
Dual Language Immersion at Truscott Elementary and Cottonwood Plains Elementary – Nearly 90 kindergartners learned their lessons in both English and Spanish this year. Both schools will add second grade to their dual language program in the fall.
Community Connections – This program, which is designed for students with disabilities who have completed high school but haven’t yet reached age 21, recently moved into a new and improved location. A total of nineteen students participate in the program, working hard to learn independent living skills and a variety of other items that they can use in the workforce.
Presentations of Learning – Many of our middle school students successfully gave presentations to an audience of parents, teachers, other students and community members that included highlights of their learning or a problem-based solution. The presentations are an excellent way for students to demonstrate their academic growth over the past year and also learn a little bit more about themselves along the way.
Entrepreneurship “Pitch Night” – High school student groups “pitched” their products to community judges in a competition sponsored by local Rotary club members to earn funding to carry their business plans to the next level. This year, two groups successfully convinced “investors” to back their proposals.
Performing Arts – In the statewide competition for the Bobby G Awards in high school theater arts, Mountain View High School’s production of Children of Eden was nominated in six categories, while Loveland High School was nominated for the outstanding choreography of their production of Guys & Dolls.
Culinary Arts – Two teams of culinary arts students from Thompson Valley and Mountain View high schools participated in a cooking challenge at Disney resorts in Florida, with one of the teams earning two first-place medals. At Berthoud High School, catering students held a “food truck cook off,” with their classmates judging their creations on presentation, taste, creativity and practicality.
When I proudly walked across the stage many years ago with my high school diploma in hand, I couldn’t have imagined any of these opportunities for success. Our students are all unique individuals with different interests and abilities who have a wide variety of goals for their futures. It is our mission in Thompson School District to provide them many pathways to success. I am very proud of the guidance that we as a community provide to all of our students and I hope you will join me as we continue to do all that we can to support the approximate 16,000 students who make Thompson the incredible district that it is.
Lori Hvizda Ward
Thompson School District Board of Education