Thompson Middle School

Providing Students Opportunities and Access to the World through Quality Education

  • Principal's Update 1/18/19

    Congratulations to the following students who have been awarded prizes in the Aquidneck Land Trust's 2018 Art and Writing Contest.  They will be receiving their prizes at the ALT Annual Meeting in February.  Because TMS had a first place winner, we will also be receiving a prize to further the environmental science curriculum with the school.
    Art Contest:
    First place: Nichelle Collier, grade 7
    Second Place:  Jazelle Ramos, grade 5
    Third Place:  Tess Margolis, grade 5
    Writing Contest:
    Honorable Mention:  Aspen Pearson, grade 7
    Honorable Mention:  Madison Biastre, grade 7
    ~Our new Assistant Principal, Mr. Nick Vockerodt, will be starting at TMS on February 4.  We are excited to welcome him to the the TMS family!
    ~The PTO will be meeting on Thursday, January 24, 2019 at 5:30 in the Main Office conference room.  New members are encouraged to attend!
    ~The next meeting of the TMS scheduling group will be on Monday, January 28, 2019 from 4:15-5:30 in the TMS library.  All are welcome.  Please contact Susan Genga at to confirm your attendance.
    ~Thank you to Mrs. Turner and 5 cluster 2 for this great photograph of oreos being used to teach the phases of the moon. 
    Ms. Turner
    Thanks for your continuing support,
    Laurie Sullivan



    August 3, 2018

    Dear Parents and Guardians of TMS Students,

    I trust that you have been enjoying all of the great things that a New England summer brings!  The purpose of this letter is to update you on the progress of our new schedule and some of the changes that it will bring.  Over the past few weeks, 15 TMS teachers (representing various grades and disciplines), building administrators, and district administrators have met and engaged in some lively, collegial discussions around what is best for our students.  With guidance from the Great Schools Partnership and the District Management Group, a schedule has been created that will open up opportunities for ALL students as we work towards a true middle school model. While the schedule is still in development, and will need to be presented to the School Committee on August 14, here are some highlights that are unfolding based on our work:

    • Six-day cycle rotation ( This will align with the Rogers High School schedule.)

    • Students in grades 5-8 will have each core subject daily, plus:
      • New Specials/Exploratory opportunities and rotation
      • Power Hour 3 times per cycle (Enrichment choices will change each quarter.)
      • Advisory 1 time per cycle (Teachers will work with students on career and academic pathways and follow an advisory curriculum...more to come on that.)
      • Opportunities for both acceleration and intervention during designated Support periods with both core teachers and specialists

    • Accelerated math class in each cluster as approved by the Newport School Committee

    • Science, Social Studies, and ELA classes that will offer challenging and advanced opportunities for students through differentiation to reach their highest levels. All children at all grade levels will be grouped heterogeneously - as the teachers felt was a best practice - and the classes will be flexible for the cluster teachers to move children to meet their academic strengths and needs. Teachers will challenge all students. (We heard from several parents they want a top content area for each grade. This format will allow more challenging work and allow other students to have the opportunity as well. RIDE has advised NPS to keep this open for all.)

    • Student compacts on behaviors and school expectations that will clearly define the academic excellence and good citizenship we expect of all our students.

    This new schedule, combined with the 330 additional Chromebooks that we will be receiving, will begin to pave the way for exciting things at TMS.  Your support, coupled with the energy, creativity, and experience of our staff, will be vital as we work to transform our school and address our district’s strategic planning goals. Our teachers will be utilizing differentiated instruction, interdisciplinary planning, and flexible grouping to ensure that all students are being challenged and allowing for the opportunity for advanced work in their classes. It is critical that we meet the needs of all children and assure that those who are very bright have the opportunity to soar.  Our new support periods will allow additional time for both intervention and acceleration in the content areas to meet the needs of each individual student. One of our overarching district-wide professional development goals this year will be to revisit curriculum. As such, it is a perfect opportunity for our teachers to consider how they are marrying great teaching with new technology to push ALL students to the next level.

    Also, this year, we are adding both an Advisory period as well as a block that we are calling Power Hour. These will provide our students with an opportunity to dive deeper into areas of their interest, whether it is academics, hands-on learning, sports, or simply time to refocus themselves on the world around them.  During Advisory, students will meet in small groups with an adult to begin to build what we hope will be lasting relationships within the building and, ultimately, work on their individual learning plans (ILP) to map out their academic and career pathways. Every student will have at least one adult who they know well and can go to if they need help or guidance.   Power Hour is a time for our staff to continue forging those relationships by sharing their talents and interests with them. From mindfulness techniques to Zentangle to book clubs, the more experiences we are able to give our students, the wider their opportunities become. Students will be given the chance to sign up for what interests them and they will rotate to new choices every quarter.   Perhaps you are involved with a community group, such as 4H or Junior Achievement, and would like to partner with a staff member. We welcome your involvement!

    Our school wants every child to be his or her best and be allowed access to all opportunities.  We want to be a school that challenges and raises our students to new levels. As with anything, some parts will work just as planned, while others will need more refining in the future. We welcome your input and want to work with and for you to support your child the best we are able.    As Walt Disney once said, “If nothing changed, there’d be no butterflies.”

    I look forward to meeting all of you in the very near future and to an exciting new year at TMS!

    Laurie G. Sullivan





    Elizabeth Gibbs, TMS Grade 7 Science Teacher Teacher of the Year

    2018-2019 Newport Public Schools Teacher of the Year

    It is with great pleasure that we congratulate Elizabeth Gibbs, Grade 7 Science Teacher, as the 2018-2019 Newport Public Schools Teacher of the Year.

    Gibbs’ enthusiasm as a lifelong learner shines brightly and inspires people of all ages to explore the world through a scientist’s perspective.

    Gibbs began her teaching career at TMS in 1998 as a Grade 8 Science Teacher and moved to Grade 7 in 2000. During her twenty years as an educator, she has dedicated significant effort to student engagement, community outreach, and professional development.

    Gibbs is actively engaged at Thompson. Over the years, she has served as a student council advisor and a Co-Chair of the School Improvement Team. She currently serves as Co-Advisor for the SMILE after-school program (Science and Math Investigative Learning).

    Gibbs connects students with learning outside the classroom by working with local partner organizations, writing grants, and fundraising. Community partners include Casey Farm in Saunderstown, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, the Norman Bird Sanctuary, and URI.

    Gibbs shares learning in global contexts as well. During three expeditions as a scientist for Earthwatch and the ARMADA Project, Gibbs engaged her students in field research while studying in faraway destinations, including Antarctica and New Zealand. She continues to share these experiences with current students.

    Gibbs’ excels in professional development. She learns perpetually and shares knowledge generously. As a Newport Early Adopter for FuseRI, she works with a team of educators to implement blended and personalized learning into her classroom. She co-presents staff development sessions using knowledge gained from FuseRI and from NPS Digital Literacy Team experiences. She presented to wider audiences during several conferences for the National Science Teachers Association as well.

    Many of Gibbs’ experiences have connections to environmental awareness and study. Her past employment includes work as a marine outreach scientist for the University of Rhode Island, writer/editor/educator for the Rhode Island Sea Grant Communications Office and Coastal Resources Center at URI, and education coordinator at Save the Bay.

    In addition, Gibbs holds professional membership in and serves on committees for several organizations, including Southeastern New England Marine Educators, Norman Bird Sanctuary, Clean Ocean Access/Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, and the National Science Teachers Association.

    Elizabeth Gibbs exemplifies the definition of an outstanding educator. Her efforts in the classroom and outside the school’s walls demonstrate the highest standards of lifelong learning. Her connections to local and global communities provide opportunities for her students and colleagues to see beyond immediate situations and apply learning in larger life contexts. Her enthusiasm prompts others to experience the wonders of the world through a scientific lens.

  • Due to the National Grid situation Newport Schools and Pell Pre-school will be closed for the remainder of the week.

    We want to update you on a few supports to assist you during this situation.

    Starting tomorrow Chartwells our food provider will be serving breakfast at the Florence Gray Center from 7:30-9:00 am and Lunch from 11:30 am -1:00 pm Wednesday, January 23 through Friday, January 25.

    Also, tomorrow on Wednesday, January 23rd, Pell School staff will distribute food backpacks to all participants that are already enrolled in the backpack program at the Pell elementary school lobby from 1:00 – 2:00 pm. For those already participating in the program please come to Pell to get your backpack.

    At 2:30 pm tomorrow we will have additional food for any additional families in need of assistance. Families may come at 2:30 pm and food will be distributed on a first come first served basis until 3:30 pm.

    We also want to remind families that there are warming centers around the city and Gaudet is still set up as a warming center for families in need of shelter at Gaudet Middle School on Aquidneck Ave. Vouchers for rooms may be picked up at the Gaudet Middle School. As of tonight, (January 22, 2019), Gaudet Middle School is the only location to get vouchers for rooms. People who have the funds or credit cards may go to any hotel and get a reimbursement form online or at National Grid’s Center at Gurney's to get refunded.  Please take advantage of the services such as hotel rooms, warming centers, and transportation (call 211) to keep your families safe and warm.

    Other Updates:


    RHS student-athletes will still have practices and games and students need to be in contact with their coaches for locations and times. You can also contact Jim Cawley at his email

    TMS student-athletes should contact their coach for updates on practice and game locations, you can also contact Laurie Sullivan for additional information. Practices will be held at St George’s tomorrow and Thursday 9:30-11.


    All schools will be posting activities and updates for students to stay current in their studies. Please check in daily on your school website.

    Parents, we are asking that all students continue to work on school projects, studying for exams, and interacting with their reading assignments. The following information is from each Principal:

    Rogers High School Students:

    ·        Once schools have re-opened we will be having Mid-Term Exams

    ·        Students should continue to review their notes and provided materials in order to prepare for their upcoming mid-term exams

    ·        For Juniors - use this time to complete the PreparRI Internship Application. The deadline is a week away- check your school email or contact Ms. Clarke @ for more information.


    ·         Students who are on the Summit Platform can continue to work on the Summit platform while out of school. Part-time students should continue to study for midterms and research summer jobs and internships.

    Thompson Middle School:

    ·        Students should be reading daily.  

    ·        Students can practice skills through any of the online programs that you use regularly.

    ·        Students should check Google Classroom and/or Aspen and complete any lessons that may still be outstanding.

    ·        Any assignments that were due this week should be ready to be handed in on the day we return to school.

    Pell Elementary School:

    ·        Students should be reading daily

    ·        Students may access their login codes and passwords for Reflex. Squiggle Park, Lexia and Spelling City to help with their reading and phonics

    ·        Students can keep a journal to share with the class what they did over the days off

    We will continue to update you through social media and phone calls.

    This message will be posted on our district website and on the One Newport app.


    Comments (-1)
  • Due to the National Grid situation, the Newport Public Schools will be closed for the rest of this week, January 23-25, 2019. Services for our backpack programs for our Pell Elementary families as well as a place to provide food services beginning tomorrow morning for those families impacted by this is being coordinated and an update on times and locations will be provided as plans are finalized. We urge all families to find a safe warm place to stay and to take advantage of the hotel rooms, warming centers, and transportation services available by calling 211. 

    We will send a further update out before 6:00 pm today with more information to help support families impacted by this situation.

    Comments (-1)
  • Please see below for important news regarding Newport Little League's 2019 season.


     for spring baseball, softball and T-ball is now open. The cost is $70 for the first player and $40 for each additional player, with a maximum fee of $150 per family. Scholarships are available. Click here to learn more and register.

    Save the Date

    * Player evaluations for ages 8-12: Saturday, March 23 at Thompson Middle School
    * Opening day: Saturday, April 27 at Goldberg Field
    * Annual fundraiser: Friday, May 3 at O’Brien’s Pub

    Follow Us on Facebook!

    For the latest news and information, follow Newport Little League on Facebook at

    Board Members and Volunteers Needed

    Newport Little League has three open board positions for the 2019 season: equipment coordinator, sponsorship/fundraising officer and umpire coordinator. In addition, parents are needed to serve as coaches and volunteers. Click here for more information.

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