“Reading is the key to success.” It’s a mantra that English teacher Tracee Thompson reiterates daily to her 10th and 11th grade students at Jim Hill High School. Thompson develops creative, engaging lessons that inspire students. Helping them to develop effective reading skills, she takes the time to tailor instruction to individual needs. She introduces students to productive new learning tools by incorporating strategies such as note taking, mnemonic devices and peer mediation, Students consider her demanding, but they also know she truly cares that they’re prepared to go on to college.
Through the Middle Years Program Personal Project, Thompson challenges students to amp up their imaginations and create a project they think can change the world. She meets in the spring with incoming 10th graders and their parents to explain the program; then checks in with students or parents throughout the summer. Come fall, students present their often ingenious projects and hit their sophomore year prepared to learn.
This desire to help kids stay excited about learning has paid off. For the last six years, all but three students at Jim Hill High School have been successful on the English II state exam. As a corollary to this success, the student retention rate has diminished. Thompson herself has earned accolades as a Star Teacher—a designation made by a Star Student, one who has achieved a high score on both college entrance exams and GPA.
Thompson’s impact reaches far beyond the classroom. She chairs the Jim Hill English Department and is a member of the National Council for Teachers (English), the School Leadership and School Improvement committees, and is sponsor of the sophomore class and Drama Club. She holds one master’s degree in secondary education and is currently pursuing a master’s in English, which serves as a role model for students and colleagues of the importance of lifelong learning.
2012-2013 - Jackson Public Schools Teacher of the Year
2003 BA - English from Florida Atlantic University
2011 Master's of Arts in Teaching from Jackson State University
2017 Master's of Arts - English from Jackson State University
National Council of Teachers of English - Member