Principal's Weekly Update
11/16/2018Dear Parents:Our new advisory period will start on Monday, November 19 and continue throughout the year on cycle day 2. During the advisory period, teachers will be using Second Step. This is a middle school program that is web-based and responsive to the needs of today's students. This curriculum helps students succeed socially, emotionally, and academically. We are excited to have a curriculum to help build a strong, POWERful TMS.From the Second Step website...."Second Step is a program rooted in social-emotional learning (SEL) that helps transform schools into supportive, successful learning environments uniquely equipped to encourage children to thrive. More than just a classroom curriculum, Second Step’s holistic approach helps create a more empathetic society by providing education professionals, families, and the larger community with tools to enable them to take an active role in the social-emotional growth and safety of today’s children. It’s a difference you can feel the moment you step through the doors to a Second Step school: a sense of safety and respect grounded in the social-emotional health and well-being of the entire school community." The Second Step Middle School Program focuses on skills and concepts that are designed to help students both in and out of school. These include:
Mindsets and Goals: Students learn about ways to grow their brains and get smarter, along with research-based strategies for achieving goals and handling difficult situations.
Values and Friendships: Students learn to identify their personal values and use those values to make good decisions and build strong, positive relationships.
Thoughts, Emotions, and Decisions: Students learn the positive role emotions play in their lives, how to handle unhelpful thoughts and strong emotions, and specific strategies for calming down.
Serious Peer Conflicts: Students learn how to identify and avoid serious conflicts, resolve conflicts that can't be avoided, think about other people's perspectives, and help stop bullying and harassment at school.Additional information can be found on their webpage: https://www.
secondstep.org/Thank you for your continuing support,Laurie Sullivan
PRINCIPAL'S LETTER TO PARENTS
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
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.
Afternoon Announcements - 11/19/2018
There will be NO Rhody Squash this week. Students will take their normal transportation home after school.
We will resume on Nov. 26th.
Boy’s Basketball practice is tonight @ 5:45.
Today is day 2
There will be a special School Committee session/workshop to discuss this year's Thompson schedule tonight, November 19th at 6:30pm in the TMS cafeteria. We welcome your involvement.
Newport Community School
There will be NO program this week due to the holidays! Students make sure to take your regular transportation home after school. Everyone have a great Thanksgiving!
Congratulations to Coach McGloin and the Rogers High School Girls Varsity Volleyball Team for winning the Division III State Championship on Saturday at Rhode Island College. They defeated St. Raphael.
Upcoming Half Day times for November 21HALF DAYSRHS- 10:45TMS -11:15PES-11:45Lunch still providedNO PM PRE-K
November 27, 2018
3:15 PM - 5:00 PM Restorative Practice Implementation
November 28, 2018
3:15 PM - 5:00 PM Instructional Rounds Professional Development