J.C. THOMPSON ELEMENTARY
AMERICA'S CHOICE SCHOOL
J.C. Thompson Elementary was selected by Northwest ISD to participate in the America's Choice School Design Program. Organized around America's Choice Five Design Tasks, Thompson Elementary joins hundreds of schools around the nation focused on high quality instruction and increased student achievement. America's Choice was founded as a subsidiary of the National on Education and the Economy, a Washington, DC-based non-profit organization and a leader in standards-based reform. The Five Design Tasks are:
- High Performance Leadership, Management, and Organization
- Standards and Assessments
- Aligned Instructional Systems
- Professional Learning Communities
- Family and Community Involvement
Teachers have engaged in four days of intense staff development to learn and deepen their understanding of teaching reading and writing in the context of a workshop model. Classrooms are designed in structured learning environments with purposeful rituals, artifacts, and routines to engage students in reading and writing.
We will launch a Million Words Campaign with the expectation that all students will read enough books to reach the goal of reading one million words by the end of the school year. In May, all students who achieve this goal will participate in a school field trip celebration. It is a clear expectation that all Thompson Trailblazers will reach this reading goal and participate in the celebration.
The Trailblazer Book of the Month will became a part of the Thompson culture as a result of America's Choice affiliation. Each month every classroom will receive a copy of a specially selected book. Students, teachers, and families will engage in a community wide celebration of literature through the books that are shared. Teachers and children will play vocabulary games and write reflections of the life lessons in the book while families will be encourage to engage in dinner time conversations regarding the Book of the Month. Watch the Thompson web page and weekly newsletter as books are posted each month with suggestions for families.
Each K-5 classroom will implement systematic, shared practices for language arts instruction. You will find organized classroom libraries, reading and writing notebooks, browsing boxes for each child, anchor charts as instructional tools, and processes for students to share, record and document their reading and writing. All instruction will take place within a workshop model with the result being predictability and structure for students.
Standards Based Bulletin Boards (SBBB) are an integral piece of the America's Choice Design. The standards consist of TEKS (Texas Essential knowledge and Skills) and NCEE standards (The National Center on Education and the Economy). NCEE standards are beyond that expected within TEKS. Both sets of standards document at each grade level what it is that a student should know and be able to do in order to be academically successful and ready for the next grade. Every six weeks, teachers will display work on SBBBs that reflect the standards that were taught and the work produced by students. The work of four students who meet the standards per classroom will be showcased on bulletin boards each six weeks. While the SBBBs are designed to clearly demonstrate expected learning, the showcased work will motivate other students and create school pride.
The Thompson Elementary America's Choice Literacy Team is comprised of teacher leaders who meet every week to lead school progress. Staff ownership of school success will be evident as this team discusses reading and writing instruction and student progress. This team will plan and coordinate reading incentives and Book of the Month activities. The team will discuss on-going needs for staff development and arrange opportunities for teachers to visit other classrooms to observe lessons and best practices for instruction. This team keeps a portfolio of photos and work samples to chronicle the Americas Choice implementation journey. This notebook will be located in the office for public review.
We are excited about our schools participation in the Americas Choice Design.
If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Blazing Trail of Success!
Mrs. Leigh Anne Romer