Tag Archives: Thomas MS

Thomas MS prepares for new students with building facelift

Thomas Middle School is getting a facelift this summer thanks to the help of the Houston Independent School District Facilities Services team.

The school is being updated to accommodate incoming middle school students from Woodson, which is transitioning this summer from a prekindergarten through eighth-grade campus to a prekindergarten through fifth-grade academy.

“I am excited for the students,” newly appointed Principal Vernitra Shivers said, noting that she was excited to see the dated campus get an update. “We will be growing in numbers over the summer, so this is needed.”

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Vernitra Shivers named new principal of Thomas Middle School

 (Milton Durango)Vernitra Shivers has been selected as the new principal of Thomas Middle School. Shivers has more than 15 years of experience in public education. She began her career as an elementary teacher in Orleans Parish Schools in New Orleans. In 2004, Shivers joined Team HISD as an ELA teacher at Williams Middle School. Shivers has worked as a literacy coach at Jane Long Middle School and assistant principal at Patrick Henry and Deady middle schools. For the past three years, Shivers has served as assistant principal and dean of instruction at Madison High School. Shivers earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Xavier University of Louisiana and master’s degree in Educational Administration from Prairie View A&M University.

Connie Smith named new principal of Thomas Middle School

Connie Smith poses for a photograph, January 13, 2016. (Dave Einsel/Houston ISD)Connie Smith has been selected as the new principal of Thomas Middle School. She brings to the position more than 18 years of experience in secondary schools. She began her career as a high school biology teacher in the New Orleans Parish School System before moving to Houston and becoming a science teacher at Jackson Middle School. In 2010, Smith became assistant principal, and later she was the dean of instruction at Ortiz Middle School. In 2014, she was promoted to the principal of Kelso Elementary School, where she served the district for two years. Smith has a bachelor of science in biology from Dillard University and a masters in educational mid-management from Prairie View A&M University. 


AVID program supports low-income students’ quest for college

The desks in seventh-grade teacher Zachary Cummings’ AVID classroom at Hamilton Middle School are arranged so that students can work in groups. Collaboration is one of the five hallmarks of AVID, along with reading, writing, inquiry, and organization.

Cummings’ students recently quizzed each other on Cornell notes they took on a PowerPoint presentation about the history of Apple Inc. Cornell notes are just one example of college-level study techniques students learn in AVID, a global nonprofit organization directed at students who are capable of completing a college-preparatory path if they receive the proper support. The focus is on low-income students whose families don’t traditionally attend college.

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Grier urges using Your Voice as school improvement tool

Annual survey inspires campuses to use valuable feedback

HISD campus administrators have been busy using the feedback from the district’s Your Voice survey to improve their schools and relationships with students and parents.

“After we realized the valuable data we would receive from the survey, we advertised it better,” said Neff Elementary Principal Amanda Wingard. “We did call outs to our parents to remind them to turn it in.”

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Summer program gives rising sixth-graders a taste of middle school life

Incoming sixth-grader Taylor, 10, believes it’s important to protect the bee population, and she thinks she knows ways to do so. “Planting flowers will help attract bees so they can make more honey,” she said as she put marigold seeds into a small decorated pot.

This was only one of the many lessons she and several other soon-to-be sixth-graders learned during their two weeks in the Summer Bridge program, made possible by the federally-funded Race to the Top grant the district received, at Holland Middle School.

Students planted flowers as one way to help improve the bee population, discussing the reasons bees were threatened, and ways they could help save them. It was all part of a day’s work that integrated the mini-ecology lesson into other areas such as mathematics, reading, improving critical thinking skills, leading discussions, and other subjects. Continue reading