New Superintendent Shares Entry Plan For District

Thompson’s new superintendent, Melinda Smith, submitted her three-month entry plan to Board of Education members recently. That plan will examine district revenues and costs, the high school curriculum’s alignment with community college courses and programs, curriculum expansion – including online options for students, and the establishment of career pathways for high school students. Verifying student data information is a top priority. Smith wants to make sure numbers are accurate for students receiving free and reduced lunches, that medicaid reimbursement for special education costs are maximized, and that money spent on outplaced students in Killingly’s Agricultural Education Center, Ellis Tech, Quinebaug Middle College, and other secondary schools is correct. “We want to be sure we’re maximizing on all state aid coming in,” Smith said. Smith and the BOE are in a holding pattern until the General Assembly passes a state budget. Nothing but essential supplies have been ordered. Three teachers have not been called back yet. Technology purchases the board hoped to make have been put off until the town knows what the state aid will be. Smith was superintendent of North Providence for five years prior to her appointment in Thompson. She was in charge of nine schools, 3,500 students, and 525 staff. In Thompson, she will oversee three schools on one campus, 975 students, and approximately 200 staff. Board of Education Chair William Witkowski said Smith’s experience in curriculum development made her stand out from among 40 applicants. A committee will develop a three-year phase-in plan to increase offerings of advanced placement courses. That could include virtual options for students. A survey of student interest in specific careers...

Skype Visit with Author Kate Messner

Skype Visit with Kate Messner On May 2, 2017, the fourth grade participated in a Skype visit with author Kate Messner.  Ms. Messner is the author of the extremely popular Ranger in Time series.  In preparation for the visit the fourth grade teachers read a Ranger in Time book to their classes.  The children discussed potential questions for Ms. Messner, and two to three children of each class were selected to read the questions during the question and answer period of the presentation. Ms. Messner’s presentation was interesting and informative.  She presented her writing process, research techniques, and actual historical landmarks that she utilizes in her books.  The children were enthralled, and student feedback has been overwhelming positive.  Each child received an autographed copy of Ms. Messner’s latest book title Ranger in Time, Journey through Ash and Smoke.  The school was able to pay for the Skype visit with Scholastic Dollars which were earned at the book fairs.  The visit was a very successful, and we hope to be able to visit with a different author next...