At Thomas, we believe in every student and staff member's right to feel connected to something. Whether it be a group of friends or colleagues, a particular passion, music, art, a sport, a club, or a movement in the community, we encourage our students to be open to explore what creates joy, within. We believe this type of environment creates space for genuine learning within the classroom. Our goal is for our students to learn from a place of interest, and not from a place of fear. Our dedicated staff are committed beyond the school, and get involved, helping to foster a mindset within our students that no idea is wrong, and every passion is worth pursuing. The world extends beyond our walls here at Thomas, and our students are encouraged to find out what that world is like (more below). Thomas students are always giving back and thinking about the community and how they can have an impact on it, which makes Thomas Middle School an exciting place to learn and grow. This page gives an in-depth look into who we are at Thomas. Enjoy getting to know us and what we are about and if you have any feedback, comments or questions, don't hesitate to contact us!
At Thomas, our doors are always open. The relationship Thomas has with the surrounding community is a two-way connection which makes it incredibly strong and impactful. We create global citizens at Thomas. We do not remain in our own world, only focused on ourselves. We are outwardly focused and know that growing our students as people extends beyond academics. Becoming a human being of impact and candor is what we want for our students, and we know that a dedication to, and a partnership with, our community teaches our students just that. Often times, former TMS students come back to walk the building, say hi to their former teachers, and give back through relationships with our current students. That's unique, and we love it.
We take pride in having an open building. The community uses this building, every day, to hold meetings, park district events, Boy/Girl Scout meetings, etc and that develops the type of connection we want. We are intentional and consciously aware of what's going on in our community and with our families and our students self-run efforts to help the community in any way. Our yearly Adopt-a-Family program, our TMS Den Club, our Pride of the Wolf Pack Assemblies, etc, all help develop a service-oriented student who understands the value of empathy and compassion.
We are connected to the local community and the community is connected to us. Our partnerships are strong and this teaches our students the value of collaboration and the power of relationship. It's how to be a human being. It's how to live with the heart of a T-Wolf.
Passion-driven academic exploration
At Thomas, we believe that passionate learners are engaged learners, and passion develops from a personal place, within. Our staff are encouraged to develop a space where our students feel connected to their learning. They do this by taking student feedback on things like class activities and rubrics. In some classes, students help to design the assessment piece of their course, knowing that a student knowing how he/she will be assessed is a great way to begin your learning on a topic or curriculum. Ownership is at the core of all of this. Our hope is to create a space where students do not feel at the affect of their education, but rather feel in control of and ownership over their education. A passionate student is a more engaged student, and a more engaged student learns from an authentic place.
Our teachers are doing innovative things to better tailor a student's education to them. Our 8th grade social studies students are experiencing simulations within topics, using real-life, real-world situations, making the current content and curriculum real-world applicable and relevant. In language arts, some classes give our students more of a choice in what they are reading, creating the desire to read more in the future. Students at Thomas are also encouraged to, look within themselves, what and how they are doing in the class, and assess themselves.
We want to develop intrinsic motivation (more buy in) and the theory is, when there is greater buy in, there will be greater achievement. We want all of our students to grow. No matter the level or cognitive ability, growth is what we want, and we are proud of how our students are growing through their passions.
Programed to grow...
Thomas believes that every single student can and should grow and our programs here at Thomas are created to meet the needs of all students. From our students with special needs to our advanced learners, our goal is for all students to feel supported by our staff and our programming.
We are extremely proud of our special education programming. The support our students have access to is unparalleled. This program focuses on the individual needs of our students as we provide occupational therapy, physical therapy, health services, and reading and math intervention. We establish spaces for our all of our students to collaborate and interact. Our building is physically built to support ALL students.
Our students in specialized education programming team up with our students not in special education programming - examples include the Pack Club and Buddy Lunch, different field trips, student mentoring, etc. Each student who participates gains perspective, feel acceptance, and, simply, gains a friend.
Pride of the Pack
At Thomas, our Pride of the Pack drives our narrative of who we are. Pride of the Pack (#POTP) is a mentality celebrating our students as people and as achievers. We embrace how wolves do everything in packs. The idea of supporting a fellow student (TWolf) with kind words, assistance in class, a friendship, inclusion, authentic connection, or an ear to lean on, is something we create space for and celebrate here at Thomas.
We encourage our students to aspire to BE THE GOOD in the world. We are all here for that common purpose and honor the hard work ethic, and internal pride in our students which spills over to the school and the community. Pride is an interesting concept. It's contagious. The more our students feel safe to express their pride in themselves and their school, the stronger it will become and the more impactful it will be in the community and beyond. It means something when a student says "I go to Thomas" or "I am a TWolf." Students come back and visit not because they need to or required to, but because they experienced immense growth here and want to revisit it and show it off to their world.
Our Pride of the Wolf Pack assembly and fundraising where we bring back former TWolves who went on to play a collegiate sport and succeed academically oozes with pride that extends into the community. We honor a TWolf of the month and our teachers give out TWolves Tickets to students who demonstrate academic leadership, respect, kindness or who are just warm, caring and dedicated.