AVID Program Encourages College Readiness For TSD Students

Thompson School District is proud to host the AVID program at three of its schools, offering students a unique opportunity to hone their academic skills and prepare for college. The AVID program (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is a college readiness program that supports students in the academic middle who are college bound. At Thompson Valley High School, the AVID program comes in the form of an elective class that select students take all four years, with the same teacher and the same cohort of students. Thompson Valley High School is in the process of attaining full certification, which means that the entire building and all staff members are using strategies which benefit all students. This is also known as “AVID School Wide.”

The AVID curriculum focuses on the hard and soft skills that students need to be fully competitive for college. This includes organizational, time management, note taking and study skills. The curriculum is framed around WICOR (writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization and reading), where students learn how to develop each skill at a deeper level as they move toward graduation and their first year of college. On a typical day, AVID students can be observed using deep reading strategies to understand a news article, and then using evidence from the article to engage in a Socratic Seminar. This class discussion can then lead to students developing their own prompt for an essay writing assignment.

CSU

Through partnerships with Front Range Community College and Colorado State University, students engage in tutoring twice a week with actual college students. During this tutoring time, both the college students and AVID students use Socratic questioning methods to address their points of confusion. This allows students to develop their inquiry skills and it teaches them to solve their academic problems by trying different methods until they figure out the issue, rather than someone simply giving them the answer.

All AVID students are required to take advanced classes, which include pre-Advanced Placement, Advanced Placement or classes at Aims and Front Range community colleges through our concurrent enrollment and pathways programs. Research shows that students who take AP or college classes in high school perform better their freshman year of college. Currently, 100% of returning AVID students are meeting this goal.

Freshman year students are supported as they transition from middle school and the focus of the year is first on developing their organization and time management skills. Then students start to deepen their reading, writing, inquiry and collaboration skills through tutorials, essays, short readings and class discussions.

Starting in their sophomore year, AVID students begin test preparation for both the PSAT and the SAT. During class time, AVID students are getting 15-20 hours of SAT preparation. Through practice tests, learning test taking strategies and analyzing their strengths and weaknesses, AVID students are familiar and ready for the full SAT test.

Junior year students continue to deepen their WICOR skills as they continue preparing for the SAT and it’s in this year that students start working closer to the college level through AP and college classes. Students also complete an in-depth essay unit in which they conduct research at the college level and turn in a paper using requirements similar to that of an introductory English class at any university.

Senior year AVID students receive a large amount of support and class time to apply to college and apply for financial aid or scholarships. This supports the purpose of the program, which seeks to prepare students for college and not just get them to finish high school. Our entire senior class has already applied to multiple colleges and universities and at least ten scholarships.

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AVID school-wide shares strategies and resources with the whole school to support organization and good instructional practices with all students.

The AVID program at Walt Clark Middle School looks very similar to the one at Thompson Valley, in that all students are exposed to the best strategies, with a select number of students enrolled in the AVID elective class.

In order to be a part of the AVID program, students must meet eligibility requirements that include GPA, attendance, individual determination and the completion of a short application. The ideal AVID candidate has a 2.0-3.5 GPA, regular attendance and a desire to go to college.

At Sarah Milner Elementary School, the fourth and fifth grade students participate in the AVID elementary program, which infuses their curriculum with a variety of AVID methods throughout the school day instead of having a separate AVID class.

The AVID program provides students at all levels with access to resources, strategies, and opportunities to become the best students that they can be. AVID becomes like a family, offering students in the academic middle the support and skills that they need to not only survive, but also thrive in college.

By Laura Light-Kovacs, 

Thompson Valley High School, AVID Coordinator / Social Studies Teacher

CU Boulder

Learn more about the schools who offer AVID:

Thompson Valley High School 

Walt Clark Middle School

Sarah Milner Elementary School 

TSD Selects Carmen Polka as Interim Principal at Centennial Elementary School

Carmen Polka-LOW RES

This summer, Thompson School District undertook a search process to locate and hire a new principal for Centennial Elementary.  Although the search committee interviewed many qualified candidates, the process did not ultimately result in the hiring of a principal.

After further exploration, TSD has selected Carmen Polka to serve as principal at the school on an interim basis.  She will fill the position that was vacated by Kim Tymkowych, who was recently named principal at Winona Elementary School in Loveland.

Ms. Polka has been with Thompson for twenty years and is currently serving as Thompson School District’s Elementary Literacy Professional Coach. Her career in education includes teaching experience at the kindergarten, special education and gifted and talented levels.  She has also served as a Teacher on Special Assignment focusing on Critical Thinking.

Ms. Polka earned her Bachelors degree in Social Science with an emphasis in Elementary Education and a minor in Special Education from the University of Northern Colorado (UNC).   In 2001, she completed her work on a Masters degree in Special Education and is currently a doctoral candidate studying Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at UNC.  Ms. Polka was named “Elementary Teacher of the Year” by the Thompson Education Foundation in 2015 and that same year was also named a “Scholar of the Foundation for Critical Thinking,” which is a milestone designation for critical thinking professionals in education.

“I am so thrilled to be returning to Centennial Elementary, a building that means so much to me as a former student,” Ms. Polka said. “This is an exciting opportunity and I look forward to building strong relationships with the students, families and staff members of our Eagle community.”

We hope you will join us in welcoming Ms. Polka as we enter another exciting school year.

TSD Faces Tough Choices and Critical Decisions Ahead

Dr Stan Scheer-2016

June 22, 2017 – Last evening, the Thompson School District Board of Education passed the official district budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.  On behalf of the board, I want to extend our sincere thanks to all of the parents, community members and staff who took part in this complex process.  The development of the budget takes several months to complete.  Department managers begin working with our Business Services team each December to lay the groundwork for the upcoming process and to begin assembling the numbers that will be important in the process. Thousands of hours of collective work goes into the creation of each year’s district budget, including a vast amount of coordination with state and other officials to ensure that it is fully vetted and accurate.

With the passage of the 2017-2018 budget, it has become apparent to the board and administration that a critical path of planning that fully engages the community in an open and transparent way is necessary.  That path will be defined by two important goals the board took action on this week.  Our Master Planning Committee will be focusing their work this coming year on two charges, one of which is to make recommendations regarding district efficiency and the development of a balanced budget by the 2019-2020 school year. A balanced budget is imperative because of the continuing drain that exists on our available reserves.

Beginning this August and through November, we will be hosting a series of community forums and opportunities for families and community members to help us plan for the future and make the serious adjustments that are needed now in order to meet those charges.  These discussions will be tough and complex.  School closures will be under consideration, as well as a variety of other options that are all designed to achieve one critical objective:  To help the district become as efficient as possible, while ensuring that each student truly has access to resources necessary for an excellent education.

More important than the pattern of budgeting we have lived with these past seven years is the significant erosion of programs and services due to the tough choices we have to make, which impacts what we can provide as a school district. We make painful decisions every year that require us to say “no” to things like new curriculum and textbook adoptions, instructional resources, staff training, competitive salaries, replacement of computers, new technology infrastructure, deferred maintenance, career and mental health counseling services and security enhancements.  We have also suffered a drain on our “human capital,” as we have lost many staff members to positions in neighboring school districts.  If you consider the cumulative impact of all of this over the last seven years, you can understand why it is so important for Thompson to no longer agree to maintaining “the status quo.”  It does nothing but make it even harder to climb out of a very negative situation that is only getting worse.  It truly is time to confront these issues head on and make sure our community understands the challenges facing our school district.

None of the items mentioned above include the other budgetary challenges we are also facing.  For example, we have a large amount of growth coming into our district, which is creating an influx of students in areas where we do not have adequate school space to accommodate them.  Over half of our elementary schools now have student populations of LESS than 300 students, which drastically hurts our ability to remain efficient in our operations.  Many of our schools that have open seats are located in neighborhoods where we do not need that extra space. There is also the challenge of the insufficient funding that we receive from the state.  We lose approximately $14.5 million dollars each year due to the state’s budget shortfalls for public education.

We need your help and your participation in this process.  We look forward to talking to the community about this in the coming months. Thank you again for your support.

Dr. Stan Scheer
Superintendent
Thompson School District

TSD Names Brandy Grieves as Principal of Turner Middle School

Brandy Grieves

Thompson School District is pleased to announce that it has named Brandy Grieves as the new principal at Turner Middle School in Berthoud, effective July 1.  She will be filling the position vacated by Derrick Martin, who is departing the district.

Since 2013, Ms. Grieves has served as the principal at Groveport Madison Middle School North in Columbus, Ohio.  Prior to that appointment, she served as the assistant principal of Groveport Madison High School in Groveport, Ohio. Ms. Grieves is already quite familiar with education in the state of Colorado, having worked as an assistant principal at Montrose High School in Montrose during the 2008-2009 school year and as a language arts and reading teacher at Centennial Middle School, also in Montrose.  She began her instructional career at Valley High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, teaching a variety of English classes.

“I am extremely excited to start this next adventure and feel humbled to be the next leader for Turner Middle School,” Ms. Grieves said. “I can’t wait to meet the staff and students and start working with the community.  I am looking forward to getting to know the teachers and staff better in order to ensure that we are providing the best educational opportunities for our students.  In my eyes, a successful school is one that provides a healthy and safe environment for all students and staff, quality instruction for each student and a positive working relationship among students, staff, parents and the community being served.”

Ms. Grieves earned a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Spanish from Colorado State University and has also earned a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University in Las Vegas.

For more information, please contact Michael Hausmann, Thompson School District Public Information Officer, at 970-613-5011 or via e-mail at michael.hausmann@thompsonschools.org.

TSD Announces 2017 Summer Food Locations

Thompson School District’s Nutrition Services Department has announced its sponsorship of the 2017 Summer Food Service program. The program feeds children (18 months – 18 yrs) free of charge during the summer months. It will begin on Tuesday, May 30, and run through Friday, July 28, excluding the week of July 3 – 7. Days of service will vary by site.

A nutritious breakfast and lunch will be served at open sites throughout the district. Serving times will be 8:00 am – 9:00 am for breakfast (no breakfast service available at Conrad Ball Middle School) and 11:30 am – 12:30 pm for lunch. Some enrolled programs will also serve meals. Please check with your specific program site for more information. Here are the locations where the program will be available:

Monroe Elementary
1500 N. Monroe Avenue

Laurene Edmondson Elementary
307 W. 49th St

Conrad Ball Middle School (no breakfast)
2660 N Monroe Ave

B.F. Kitchen Elementary
915 Deborah Drive

Sarah Milner Elementary
743 Jocelyn Drive

Truscott Elementary
211 W. 6th St

Lincoln Elementary
3312 N. Douglas Avenue

Winona Elementary
201 S Boise Ave

The Summer Food Service program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  For a school site to quality for program participation, a number of factors are required, including the school’s student qualification rate in the free and reduced lunch program.  If you have any questions about the program, please contact TSD’s Nutrition Services department at 613-5143.

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USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits.  Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form.

To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights; 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) email: program.intake@usda.gov. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

TSD Names Kimberly Tymkowych as Principal of Winona Elementary School

Kim Tymkowich

Thompson School District is pleased to announce that it has named Kimberly Tymkowych as the new principal at Winona Elementary School in Loveland, effective July 1.  She will be filling the position vacated by Emily MacNiven, who is departing the district.

Since July 2013, Mrs. Tymkowych has served within the district as the principal of Centennial Elementary School.  Prior to her arrival in Thompson, she worked in Weld County School District 6, where she served as an assistant principal at Shawsheen Elementary School.  She also has experience as an instructional math and literacy coach and has taught third and fourth grades.

“I have really enjoyed the last four years as Centennial Elementary’s principal,” Mrs. Tymkowych said. “I look forward to working with another great set of students, families and staff members at Winona Elementary and I can’t wait to meet everyone.”

Mrs. Tymkowych received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with an emphasis in Education from the University of Northern Colorado and a Master of Science degree in Curriculum Instruction and Assessment from Walden University in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  In 2010, she also earned her Educational Specialist degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Northern Colorado.

For more information, please contact Michael Hausmann, Thompson School District Public Information Officer, at 970-613-5011 or via e-mail at michael.hausmann@thompsonschools.org.

TSD Names Jane Harmon as Principal of Mountain View High School

Jane Harmon

Thompson School District is pleased to announce that Jane Harmon has been named principal at Mountain View High School, effective July 1.  She will fill the position that will be vacated by Kim Young, who is retiring from the district.

Mrs. Harmon is currently serving as the principal of Granby Elementary School, located in the East Grand School District in Granby, Colo.  Prior to her appointment at the school, she served as the principal of Middle Park High School, also in Granby.  Her previous career experience as a school principal also includes service at Moffat County High School in Craig, Colo. and at White River High School in White River, S.D. Mrs. Harmon’s additional background in teaching is long and varied, including English and Journalism instruction at the secondary level as well as coursework in Education within the collegiate world.

“I’m very excited to become a part of the Mountain View team,” Mrs. Harmon said. “I’m looking forward to building collaborative relationships with the students, staff, parents and community.”

Mrs. Harmon earned a bachelor’s degree in English Language Arts from Southwest Minnesota State University and a master’s degree in Elementary and Secondary School Administration from Chadron State College. She is currently enrolled in the Human Resource Development doctoral program at Colorado State University.

For more information, please contact Michael Hausmann, Thompson School District Public Information Officer, at 970-613-5011 or via e-mail at michael.hausmann@thompsonschools.org.

Thompson’s “School to Career” Options Continue to Grow and Thrive

Dr Stan Scheer-2016

As a child, I loved cars. I thoroughly enjoyed and anticipated the newest models of automobiles being showcased every year.  As a result, I was drawn to classes in school that focused on all kinds of mechanical systems. I was fascinated with learning to build things and then being proud of what I made. This took me in a variety of directions where I worked with metals, wood, and electrical and mechanical devices.

Living in this great community, I often get a variety of questions from parents and community members about our schools and educational system.  Some of the questions that pop up occasionally focus on the trade skills that we are teaching our kids.  A couple examples include: “Why don’t we still teach kids how to drive a nail?” “Why don’t we teach them how to saw boards and actually build stuff anymore?”

The truth is that we continue to teach students the trade crafts and how to be successful in them. But unlike days past when kids were generally taught the basics with not much of an opportunity for some practical experience, we are now utilizing some amazing technology to teach kids how to actually apply their newfound knowledge.  For example, Loveland High School’s Geometry in Construction program not only teaches students the math and textbook knowledge of how to build a house, it also lets them apply their new skills by building a real home in partnership with Habitat for Humanity.  Welding students in the district no longer only learn the basics of the craft, they also apply that knowledge into some really impressive projects that allow the students to grow and become better prepared than ever for that next step into a trade school or college.  Thompson also assists students who are interested in serving in our nation’s military through a direct partnership with the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.

Thompson’s “school to career” options are very robust.  Our Thompson 2 Life committee assists the district to continuously improve and explore new options for better preparing students for whatever career path they may want to take after graduation.  Our extensive concurrent enrollment program provides students with an opportunity to take college-level classes while still in high school, which ultimately helps guide them in their career decision-making while also saving families significant dollars through this early college opportunity.

Our Agricultural Pathways program is providing a robust curriculum for students who know that they want to pursue one of the many career options in agriculture.  In total, the number of vocational-technical and associate degree offerings that we have throughout the district is quite impressive and significantly more than what was offered when I was growing up.

We continuously dedicate as many resources as we can into efforts like those described above because we know it works well and we understand how important it really is.  Everything that we as a district do is designed around the ultimate goal of helping to mold our students into the great citizens that we as community members need them to be.  We don’t just want our students to graduate from high school with a great opportunity to go to college or get a job, we also want them to be prepared to have the very best quality of life possible.  These programs are a significant enhancement compared to what was offered to middle and high school students in past decades.  I still love cars.  And I would have loved the opportunity to experience the quality of the auto shops that are available to students today.

It is an honor to undertake this important responsibility and I assure you that we will continue to do all that we can to keep doing what is right for all of the students throughout our district.

Thank you as always for your support.

Dr. Stan Scheer
Superintendent
Thompson School District

TSD World Language Students Compete at UNC World Language Day

World Languages UNC Competition

Forty French IV and French V students and German I and German II students from Loveland High School and Thompson Valley High School participated in the annual University of Northern Colorado’s World Language State Competition on April 12. Over 1,200 high school World Language students from Colorado and Wyoming took part in a variety of competitions in the different languages for speaking, poetry, individual talents, small skits and all class cultural plays.

The following TVHS German students placed in the following events: Trent Watson, German I, placed first in the “Who am I” speaking contest; Greta Scavarda, German II, placed first in the “Show and Tell” speaking contest; and Victoria Snyder, German II, placed third in the poetry contest.

Meanwhile, the results for the LHS French students are as follows: Teyha Watson, French V, placed second in the Extemporaneous Speaking in French context. The French IV and French V classes also placed second in the all-class cultural plays. Students write a 10-minute play based on a version of a Francophone piece of literature. This year’s class chose La Belle et La Bête (Beauty and the Beast) as their play. They wrote the script and created a musical. The play was performed entirely in French.

Congratulations to these talented World Language students. Also, congratulations to Dirk Habig, German teacher at TVHS, and Arnaud Garcia, French teacher at LHS, for their hard work in preparing these students to compete at the state level.

Thompson School District Names Angie Geraghty Principal at Stansberry Elementary School

Angie Geraghty-REV

Thompson School District is pleased to announce that Angie Geraghty has been named principal at Stansberry Elementary School, effective July 1.  She will fill the position that will be vacated by Grant Waaler, who is departing the district.

Mrs. Geraghty currently serves the district as an instructional coach and lead teacher at Cottonwood Plains Elementary School.  In addition to her teaching experience at Cottonwood Plains, she also has career experience as a 4th grade teacher at Pinnacle Charter School in Federals Heights, Colo.  Mrs. Geraghty has also served on instructional leadership teams as well as a Math adoption committee and has helped in the process to develop a district science curriculum. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences from the University of Northern Colorado and a Masters degree in Education from Lesley University.  She recently completed work on an Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Northern Colorado.

“I am excited and honored to join the Stansberry community,” Mrs. Geraghty said. “I am very much looking forward to the upcoming school year and the chance to get to know the students, families and staff of this great school.”

For more information, please contact Michael Hausmann, Thompson School District Public Information Officer, at 970-613-5011 or via e-mail at michael.hausmann@thompsonschools.org.