Thompson Sixth Grade Center prepares for inaugural year

Alabaster sixth-graders need not be fearful of upperclassmen this fall, for they will have a school all to themselves.

Finishing touches are being applied to the new Thompson Sixth Grade Center, housed in what used to be the Linda Nolen Learning Center on Alabama 119. The school bell will sound Aug. 13 – the first day for all Shelby County students. Teachers report to school Aug. 10.

Brent Tolbert, principal of the Sixth Grade Center, said the $400,000 project should be complete by early August.

“I believe it’s going well and we’re pretty much on time,” Tolbert said of the construction. “The contractor told me several teachers’ rooms will be ready to move in to by the end of this week.”

Tolbert said the Sixth Grade Center will accommodate 500 students, eliminating 22 of the 29 portable classrooms at Thompson Middle School.

Relieving school overcrowding is not the only benefit of the Sixth Grade Center, Tolbert added. Research shows students who are at high risk for dropping out of school can be identified as early as sixth grade. The Sixth Grade Center, among other ambitions, will serve to ease the transition from elementary school to middle school.

“Sixth-grade is a major transition year for a student,” Tolbert said. “In elementary school, you have your one teacher for all subjects. Then in middle school you have teachers for each subject and you’re changing classes … that’s just one of the transitions they have.”

With the academic year fast approaching, Tolbert said parents of children attending the Sixth Grade Center are required to attend summer registration July 30 from 3-7 p.m. at Thompson Middle School.

Parents must provide two proofs of residence to verify their child’s placement at the Sixth Grade Center. Utility bills, such as water and power bills, are accepted as proof of residence, Tolbert said.

For more information, call 682-5790 or visit the Web site www.shelbyed.k12.al.us/schools/thsc/info.htm.