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Learning Commons

The Learning Commons is a bright and open space providing students a place for individual study, collaborative work, tutoring, and research that fosters inquiry, critical thinking, and analysis.

The St. Thomas High School Library supports and participates in the educational mission of St. Thomas by providing access to information resources, teaching students to be independent users of information, and encouraging familiarity with academic library settings. The librarian provides information literacy instruction and database research assistance to individuals and classes. The library’s holdings of print books, magazines, and newspapers, as well as almost fifty online subscription databases, provide the St. Thomas community access to thousands of books, primary sources, as well as journal and newspaper articles on a wide range of subjects that support curricular needs and encourage leisure reading.
The St. Thomas High School Archives collect and preserve the rich history of St. Thomas to ensure its accessibility to future generations. Material in the Archives includes school publications, photographs, scrapbooks, annual records, memorabilia, architectural blueprints, audio-visual items, and collections donated by alumni. The archivist curates rotating exhibits of materials throughout the campus and provides reference services to members of the St. Thomas community.

The mission of the Learning Enrichment Center (LEC) is to support all St. Thomas students in their efforts to grow as independent, thoughtful, and responsible learners so that every student reaches his potential. Free to all students and open throughout the school day as well as before and after school, the LEC includes an executive functioning program, a Writing Lab, a Math Lab, a Language Lab, and a Student-Athlete Academic Mentor, all devoted to reinforcing the work of our faculty and counselors. Please contact Dr. Teresa Shaffer if you have any questions.

The Director of the LEC, Teresa Shaffer, Ph.D. (B.A., University of New Orleans; M.Ed., University of St. Thomas, Ph.D. Texas A&M University) previously served as Academic Dean at Pope John XXIII High School and Principal at Mount Carmel High School. She joined St. Thomas in 2012 as the Director of the Learning Enrichment Center and holds Texas teaching certificates in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, English as a Second Language, Mid-Management and passed the state exam for Superintendency.
St. Thomas High School Provides students with documented learning differences three accommodations:
  • Assisted note-taking
  • Extended time
  • Preferential seating
Please contact Dr. Teresa Shaffer if you would like further information about accommodations at STHS.

The LEC's Executive Functioning Program seeks to improve students’ planning, prioritizing, organization, and time management skills through the individual and small group practice of research-based strategies. Students also explore strategies to increase their ability to focus, efficiently prepare and complete tests, and reduce test anxiety.

Please contact Dr. Teresa Shaffer if you would like further information on this program.

The Math Lab provides one-on-one assistance for all levels of math, from Algebra to Calculus. By focusing on understanding rather than rote routines, students not only learn the material but also how to learn and that they can learn. Students help each other, and some come to do more math, since – who wouldn’t?

Our Math Specialist, Steven Fuchs (B.A., University of Houston), taught mathematics at St. Thomas from 2001-2013. He joined the LEC in 2015.
The Writing Lab provides support for student writers of all skill levels with one-on-one and small group conferences. No matter what the assignment or subject, the writing specialist neither writes nor merely edits the student’s work, but instead, through the Socratic Method, helps him internalize the writing process and strengthen his skills.

As the writing specialist at STH, Laura Speck (B.A. English with Special Honors, University of Texas-Austin; M.A. Rice University) assists students of all levels with writing assignments in any subject and at any stage of the writing process. In order to support STH students as they develop as writers, she draws on her experience as a writing consultant at the Undergraduate Writing Center while attending the University of Texas at Austin. Her graduate education at Rice University focused on Reading and Writing methodology in the High School classroom. She began working at St. Thomas as a Freshman English teacher in 2012.
The Language Lab offers individualized tutoring in Spanish, focusing on the first- and second-year courses, which are especially challenging for many students. As he currently teaches two sections of Spanish I, the Spanish-language specialist is especially well placed to tailor his help to each student's needs.

Fr. Mitchell G. Dowalgo, CSB (B.A., St. John Fisher College, M.Div., University of St. Michael’s College, M.A., University of Notre Dame, plus post graduate studies at several universities.) Fr. Mitch is a Basilian priest who joined the faculty in 2015. He teaches Spanish I and works with students in the Learning Center. Prior teaching assignments include: Assumption College School in Windsor, Ontario; Andrean High School in Merriville IN and the Aquinas Institute in Rochester, NY. Fr. Mitch has extensive experience in university ministry, serving at the University of Alberta, St. John Fisher College, and New Mexico State University where he was pastor.
The Student-Athlete Academic Mentor offers specialized support for our student athletes by developing individualized, structured plans for student athletes who are struggling academically and/or recovering from a concussion. He also assists in identifying colleges and universities that will provide individual student-athletes the best experience for the next stage of their educational journey.

Bobby Merritt (BA in Criminal Justice / Psychology from Adrian College; MLS in Education from University of Toledo) Mr. Merritt was hired at St. Thomas in July 2016 as the Student Athlete Intervention Mentor. Bobby also works as the offensive coordinator / QB coach for our football team. He spent last season at the University of Tennessee as the Director of Football Recruiting. Prior to his time at Tennessee, he worked twelve years as an NFL college scout with the Detroit Lions and Houston Texans.
AIM is our weekly, student-to-student peer tutoring program led by the National Honor Society. If you have questions or would like more information on this program, please contact Steven Fuchs or Dr. Pete Nordloh