Thompson Middle School

Jun 27, 2022 by Anita Reid

Laying the Foundation: Building a Middle School Electives Program for All Students

Alabaster City Schools

School of Distinction Award

Principal, Dr. Neely Woodley

Superintendent, Dr. Wayne Vickers

For the past five years at Thompson Middle School (TMS), there was a focused effort to provide more elective opportunities for all students regardless of talent, interest, and ability. Administrators viewed electives as vital as the core classes. Electives also allowed students to connect with teachers who shared a similar interest and supported core content standards. The Thompson Middle School daily schedule allowed for core classes, physical education, and the opportunity for students to choose one class of their choice. Elective options included classes in fine arts, career technical, foreign language, and other exploratory options. Except for some performing arts classes, there were no prerequisites for TMS electives allowing for full participation from the diverse student body. During the 2020-2021 school year, Thompson Middle School provided the most electives in the school’s history, adding three new courses (dance, theater, and ocean sciences) for a total of 12 new courses within the past five years, many of which were offered to grades 6-8 and had a three-year pathway feeding high school programs.  Additionally, there were a total of 6 fine arts courses in which students could earn a high school credit. With TMS and Alabaster City Schools’ focus on every student’s well-rounded education and future plans, students were able to pursue their passion or discover a lifelong interest that enriches their leisure time or leads to a career.