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Setting and Context: Purpose

Thompson School District


Located in northern Colorado Thompson School District enrolls almost 16,000 students.
Thompson School District has twenty-one elementary schools, six middle schools and five high schools.
They also have two charter schools and early childhood centers. Seven of these schools are Title 1 with
school wide programs and 1 school has a Title 1 targeted assistance program. The graduation rate from
the district is slightly above the state average, with 77.55% of students graduating.
The district has an academic initiative to support college, career and community readiness for
students starting in early childhood education through the 12th grade called Thompson 2 Life. With this
initiative the district practices standards based instruction. Standards based instruction is commonly
used in competency-based education, the goal being to ensure that students are gaining knowledge and
skills that are essential in order to graduate, obtain higher education and be productive in their adult
life. Competency based education gives students the opportunity to personalize their learning. The
standards based scoring provides accurate snap shot of the students growth and achievement. It
provides specific and clear feedback on their ability to grow in the application of content and standards.
SWAP is another district wide program that Thompson School District offers, it stands for School
to Work Alliance Program. This program is a collaborative effort to assist youth in a successful transition
from school to work. It assists youth in finding meaning employment opportunities.
Another aspect of the district that I specifically like is that they have sports programs for both
high school and middle school students. The district houses three aquatic centers and gives the
opportunity for all students to utilize them. The district also has a program called Thompson CARES that
is the Collaboration for the Advancement of resiliency through Empowerment and Support. It is a

district wide resource that support the health and wellbeing of students and families. In addition, they
also have the Thompson Education Foundation which is a nonprofit with the purpose of maximizing
student potential by utilizing educational experiences for both students and educators.

Conrad Ball Middle School


Conrad Ball Middle school, located in Loveland, CO, is one of six middle schools in the Thompson
School District. It serves 659 students in grades 6th through 8th. The teacher to student ratio is 19:1
which is above the Colorado state average. The school has a diversity rating of 0.48 which is higher than
the Colorado average of 0.38. 52% of the student population is male and 48% is female. They have 35
teachers on staff.
Conrad Ball is a next generation learning school and is a member of Colorado Coalition of
Breakthrough Schools. The initiative of this coalition is to design education to help students develop
their academic, professional, entrepreneurial, personal and civic competencies that our society and
economy demand. It wants to support educators in creating learning environments that maximize
student outcomes. Conrad Ball was one of six school chosen for this grant to redesign their teaching
models in 2015.
It is also a 1:1 IPad school that integrates the use of technology in the classroom. Conrad Ball
was awarded a grant from the Erion Foundation that funded 670 IPads for the school. This project has
provided an IPad for each student and teacher which allows new and inventive ways of teaching and
learning in the classroom. They also integrate the use of technology in the classroom by utilizing
Schoology. Schoology is a life management system education programs on all levels that allows students
to collaborate, create and manage their course content.
Another identification for Conrad Ball is that they are a project-based learning school. Projectbased learning allows students to collaborate and gain knowledge by investigating and acting upon

current real-world problems and challenges. The goal of this program is to inspire authentic interest in
relevant topics that students want to learn and experience. It is a dynamic approach in which students
can actively explore the world around them and gain more than surface level knowledge.

The Classroom
As previously stated Conrad Ball has a student to teacher ratio average of 19:1. In the class I am
shadowing is 26:1. It might be higher because it is an elective course. You can see the gender ratio of the
school in the classroom as well as males out number females slightly.
The schools 1:1 ratio is shown throughout the class by the integration of technology into the
lesson plans. I have seen this used by students using them for research, playing games such as Kahoot
and for contacting their teachers. I have not experienced PBL within the specific class I am in but I can
imagine (and hope) that it would be shown in core content areas through the use of inquiry projects and
forming strong guiding questions. I feel that when students can create their own strongly formed
questions they can then take control of their learning. I think Conrad Ball middle school classrooms are
set apart from others by their strong sense of community and relationship building with each specific
student.