ANDERSON, Ind. —
THB: So what would you like to build on at Anderson High School and what are some of the challenges the school is still facing?
Thompson: Well, let me focus on build on because one of my expectations here is that we will build the Anderson High School College Career Readiness Center. Ebbert will reopen in August 2014. We have a moral, ethical responsibility to make sure that’s successful. And what I mean by moral and ethical is that there is no excuse for students graduating from Anderson High School not being prepared to enter the workforce if they choose to do that. ... And then we can provide the community the workforce that they need for businesses to be brought in. ..
I think the main challenge, I’ll just focus this way, is literacy. I think a challenge for the entire corporation is to make sure that we have students entering high school that are at grade level when it comes to reading and comprehension.
THB: Are there any particular student success stories that have really stuck with you over the years?
Thompson: Back in 2005, I had a young Hispanic girl come to me crying and she said, ‘I want to withdraw from school. I just can’t take it any longer.’ She was probably a level two or three with her English skills so she didn’t comprehend real well. And she was also getting a lot of pushback from the Hispanic community because she was working really hard in school. So some of her friends were teasing her about that and some boys starting teasing her. She didn’t feel safe so she just thought ‘well, I’m going to withdraw.’ I said, ‘you’re absolutely not going to withdraw.’ So I hooked her up with some adult mentors as well as student mentors. She ended up graduating near the top of her class in 2006 and she’s gone on and graduated from college and is doing very, very well. I can tell you about a hundred stories.