Fresh from a successful 2008-09 school year, the Thomson High School faculty eagerly embraces the new school term and an opportunity to build upon the proud heritage of the "Home of the Bulldogs."
Among the myriad achievements of the previous school year are accomplishments in the fields of fine arts, career and technical education, academics, and athletics. On the rigorous Georgia High School Graduation Tests, Thomson High School's Class of 2010 bested both the Central Savannah River Area Regional Educational Service and state percentages of students passing all of the tests on the first attempt; more than 90% of the students passed in each of the four content area exams, a requirement for earning a diploma in Georgia. THS attributes these gains to a schoolwide system of "bellringers" (practice test questions aired through the central distribution system), to use of the Georgia High School Predictor Tests and other measures to generate data to determine individual students' strengths and weaknesses, to the formation of GHSGT preparation classes, and to a growing number of co-teaching classes in which students with disabilities are placed in settings with a general education teacher and a special education teacher simultaneously.
Increasing the graduation rate and decreasing the retention rate are important goals of THS. Evening school classes and an extended semester option decreased the retention rate and allowed some students to recover credit and others to graduate on time. Moreover, the graduation rate for THS rose again in 2008-09 and continues to improve. Additionally, an advisor-advisee program, complemented by a knowledgeable and caring counseling staff, assists students in making post-secondary decisions.
In an effort to provide a more challenging and appropriate curriculum, THS is expanding its Advanced Placement program this year, adding AP Calculus AB to its list of courses, which already include AP English Language & Literature, AP English Literature & Composition, and AP U.S. History. Some colleges accept AP exam scores of 3 or higher (on a scale of 5) and allow a student to exempt the some required core classes in his/her freshman year of college. Students taking AP classes experience the rigor of a university curriculum with the support of the high school faculty.
The Renaissance Leadership class spearheads the recognition of students and staff. Students anxiously look for the "Biscuit Bandit," who randomly rewards classes in which all of the students are present and on time and the "I'm Calling You Out" visits, which surprise students nominated by their teachers. Several items have been given away during this school year as a result of Renaissance activities, including televisions, computers, class rings, graduation supplies, and "Thirsty Thursday" drinks. With the help of business partners such as Coca-Cola and Arby's of Thomson, THS has been able to recognize its Students of the Month.
Evidence of Renaissance and student achievement is apparent in the halls of THS where the students eagerly search to see if their names have been added to one of the walls of honor. Other "visible, tangible, walkaroundable" items such as "5 out of 5" shirts, earned for passing all five of the GHSGT/GHSWT, are highly prized. Another highly coveted Renaissance reward is the Renaissance card; students earn the cards, which carry privileges, each semester based on their Grade Point Averages and no disciplinary referrals. Pupils who improve their GPAs by a full point from the previous semester are awarded Bulldog P.R.I.D.E. status and recognition also. Another treat for students is the A-B breakfast and the Straight-A luncheon, both held to honor students who have earned top grades.
In the area of fine arts, the Bulldog Brigade continued to earn top honors at numerous festivals, participated in UGA leadership camp and JanFest, and had several members named to the District Honor Band. In the coming year, the band plans a trip to Hawaii to perform for the anniversary of Pearl Harbor's bombing. The choral branch of the fine arts department presented its annual musical, Footloose, with props created by the art and construction departments. The musical theatre class also performed Schoolhouse Rock, Jr., for elementary and middle school pupils. Additionally, the drama classes entertained the district's lower grades with performances of Big Bad, a trial based on the adventures of the fairytale Big Bad Wolf.
In the area of career and technical education, SkillsUSA construction students advanced to national competition as did the state champion Ford AAA Auto Skills Challenge team. FBLA students advanced to the state competitions in their respective areas, and several THS technology-driven entries advanced to the International Student Media Festival.
Moreover, THS activated its first Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps unit, which included more than 180 cadets at the junior and senior high schools. The NJROTC created a presence both on campus and in the community. They could be spotted presenting the colors at a variety of events, parking cars at the home football games, working graduation and the prom, and serving at the administrative services banquet, and assisting disabled veterans at the state ponds on Memorial Day weekend. Additionally, the NJROTC hosted a variety of events ranging from field day to the Cadet Ball and the NJROTC awards banquet. Over the summer, students have participated in leadership training and will be competing in a variety of athletic, drill, and academic competitions in the coming year.
Athletically, the THS Bulldogs continued their winning ways, advancing to the post-season competition in football, softball, basketball, and track and field. The baseball team ignited the community, capturing the school's first region title in 40 years, and the women's golf team won the region title for the second straight year. Student-athletes earned accolades for their sportsmanship and excellence on the field as well as their work in the classroom, with several students signing college scholarships to further their education.
The THS community believes in giving back as well. The students and staff joined together to support Relay for Life with a variety of fundraisers. The healthcare science classes organized the school's annual blood drive, and agriscience students operated the cannery during the summer. "Alone," as Helen Keller said, "we can do so little; together we can do so much." This is a tenet the THS faculty tries to instill in its students.
Though proud of its history, Thomson High School, which is accredited with quality by the Georgia Accrediting Commission and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, never rests on its laurels. The THS faculty has developed high expectations for its students for the new school term.
With a shared commitment to the success of its many diverse students whose abilities are far-reaching, it is the goal of THS to develop life-long learners who accept the challenge to develop fully their talents. After all, as the writer noted, "The woods would be very silent if the only birds that sang there were those that sang best."
It's Important to Know
As a Professional Development School, THS partners with Augusta State University to offer laboratory and apprentice teaching experiences for pre-service teachers.
In order to participate in graduation exercises, students must earn all required units as outlined in the program of study and pass all parts of the GHSWT and GHSGT.
New this year
- AP Calculus AB has been added as a course.
- Math Support classes continue to be added as an intervention for struggling students.
- The rigorous math curriculum continues to be phased in with the Class of 2012.
- Increased academic graduation requirements are required of students who entered grade 9 in 2008 or later.
- An expanded construction lab, with the help of funding from the Workforce Investment Agency, will be open for students.
Thomson High School dress code for 2009-2010
In order to foster a climate conducive to academic achievement, students will be required to follow the guidelines of the Thomson High School Dress Code.
With the understanding that a student's behavior is influenced by the way the student is dressed and with the understanding that no student should dress in a manner that is disruptive or has an adverse effect on the ongoing school activities, the following guidelines have been developed with input from the councils, faculty, administration and students.
- Hats, head coverings, headbands, bandannas, curlers, picks, hairnets, and sunglasses are not to be worn during the school day. No body piercing except in ears. No grills are to be worn.
- No see-through, mesh, or sheer garments are allowed. Torn or ripped clothing is not allowed.
- Proper and acceptable undergarments must be worn and must not be visible to others. Cleavage must not show.
- Shoes or sandals must be worn. Thong-styled shoes, bedroom shoes, mesh shoes and athletic sandals are not allowed at school.
- Shirts or blouses must have sleeves; shirts and blouses must be tucked in. Off-the-shoulder garments are not allowed. Belt line must be visible at all times. Any shirts or blouses that cannot be tucked in may not be worn.
- Skirts must be fitted at the waist. Skirts and dresses must be knee-length or longer. Slits in skirts, dresses, or jumpers can be no higher than the point where longest extended finger ends when student is standing up straight.
- Pants must be knee-length or longer. Pants must be fitted at the waist and not be baggy or frayed at the bottom. Pants with holes above the knee or with frayed bottoms are not allowed. Belts must be buckled and through belt loops in pants if pants have loops, sashes tied, straps strapped, and suspenders and other fasteners fastened. No sweat/wind pants are allowed. No hoods are to be worn in the building.
- Clothing or jewelry with obscene or provocative language, profanity, or with any references of a sexual nature is not allowed.
- Clothing, jewelry, or other articles which promote/advertise alcohol, tobacco, guns, violence, drugs, or gang-related activity are not allowed.
- All high school students must wear identification badges properly at all times.
- Pregnant girls will wear properly fitting maternity clothes if they attend THS.
- Personal grooming should be done at home, not at school.
- The interpretation and decision of this policy by the principal shall be final.
- The principal shall have full discretion to schedule special dress days.
- The principal of the school has a right to prohibit any item of clothing he/she deems to be inappropriate.
Failure to comply with dress code - penalty:
First offense: Correction if possible or ISS and 3 hours of detention.
Second offense: Correction if possible and one day of Saturday School.
Third offense: Three days OCS and required parent conference.
Fourth offense: Defiance Level III: - 3 days suspension minimum.