The Herald Bulletin

May 15, 2013

I-Read scores down; Thompson named AHS principal

Former AU adjunct prof looks forward to challenge

By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — Anderson High School will now be led by the PTA's 2005 Indiana Principal of the Year.

Terry Thompson was named the high school principal Tuesday night in an Anderson Community Schools board meeting at Anderson High School. Thompson has spent his career around the state, including Anderson. He served as adjunct faculty professor for Anderson and Indiana Wesleyan universities for a few years.

Thompson, who has mentored more than 75 principal candidates over his career, said he is looking forward to the challenge of working in Anderson.

“I felt like I wasn’t being challenged enough [before now]. And I like diversity,” said the new principal. “There were things that could be done, and I felt like I could do them well.”

After the meeting, Thompson shook hands and spoke with some of the AHS faculty he will be working with in the coming months. He described himself as a constant planner, and said he has every day from July 1 to Aug. 7 mapped out as he tries to prepare himself and his staff for the next school year.

“I think we have a good situation here with good people, and they have a system that’s working. We just have to challenge the kids and hold them accountable,” Thompson said.

And he realizes he’s walking into a challenging time for the school system as a whole.

His hiring came on the heels of an announcement of across-the-board drops in the I-Read test scores for third-graders. Ryan Glaze of Anderson Community Schools announced Tuesday that information gathered from five elementary schools indicated a 9 percent overall drop in test scores from last year.

In 2012, 80 percent of ACS students passed. That number dropped to 71 percent this year. Glaze said it wasn’t the result they were looking for, but measures would be taken to try to improve the scores.

Glaze said the students who didn’t pass would have summer remediation courses. Last year, remediation lifted the passing rate to 91 percent, and he said he’s hoping for similar results this year.

The results only covered one group over two years. Glaze and outgoing Superintendent Felix Chow both said that while the results are disappointing, they don’t necessarily indicate trends. Chow said there are four components to successful learning; increasing quality of instruction, parental support, student motivation and student effort. Chow said unless all four are addressed, you’ll get unpredictable results like the ones from I-Read.

“I’m not making excuses, but intellectually, these unpredictable results happen in big cities, too,” Chow said. “Why? Because we keep focusing on improving quality of instruction. That alone is not enough.”

Also announced at the Tuesday meeting was the promotion of Kelly Durr from acting principal of Highland Middle School to principal. Durr, who’s been working as the principal at Highland for the past year, said she wants to continue positive-behavior initiatives at Highland and build on what she did as acting principal last year.

“I’m excited and honored. Obviously I’m experienced, and I have a great staff, and we’re just ready to keep working hard,” Durr said.

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