A fourth-grade teacher at Totoket Valley Elementary School in Northford, CT, Shelly Thompson creates the change she wants to see through her profession. A leader in her school, community and district, Thompson’s multi-pronged approach to education has garnered significant results in the classroom. Thompson differentiates instruction, uses data-based decisions and consults with special education teachers. Well-known for helping move the gifted students to their fullest potential, she adds relevance by incorporating students’ backgrounds into her lesson plans, utilizing different research-based intervention models and encouraging student collaboration and discussion. Thompson’s students perform exceptionally well on state tests, with 95 percent earning the end-of-year benchmark in all assessed areas. Thirty percent of students started fourth grade with below-goal scores, and all but one met the year-end benchmark.
From guiding the formation of her school’s gifted and talented program, to helping acquire motion sensor lights to save electricity, to banning Styrofoam in the cafeteria and ramping up recycling, Thompson is an advocate for positive change. Author of the district curriculum for the writing, science and world language gifted and talented committees, Thompson has been involved in a variety of educational initiatives: Positive Behavior Support Intervention Team, TEAM mentor, Young Writers of America Contest, Keep Connecticut Cool Climate Change Challenge and Young Architects Night. Additionally, she has led professional development training on the SMART Board, and has worked on various community service projects.