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Tomlinson Middle School

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Tomlinson Middle School
File:Tomlinson Middle School.jpg
200 Unquowa Road

School districtFairfield Public Schools
PrincipalAnthony Formato
Number of students775
Color(s)Red and Black
Magnet SchoolNo
Charter SchoolNo
Year-round scheduleNo

Tomlinson Middle School (TMS) is a secondary school located in Fairfield, Connecticut. TMS serves 775 of Fairfield's students in the middle school age group. Its current principal is Mr. Anthony Formato.

Tomlinson Middle School History[edit]

By 1914, 78 adolescent Fairfield students were attending high school in Bridgeport and Westport with Fairfield paying the bill since the town offered education through grade eight only. In February 1914, the Board of Education asked Fairfield residents to make contributions towards the creation of a high school. The School Board voted to establish the first year of a high school course. The forty-six freshman students operated out of the basement of the new brick and concrete Sherman Elementary School (built on the current site of the town's gazebo), a gift to the town from Mr. and Mrs. Samuel H. Wheeler replacing the old cupola topped wooden building that stood before it. In 1915, a second class was added on with the forming of a tenth grade.

In November 1916, Miss Annie Burr Jennings, prominent "outstanding" citizen and the first lady of Fairfield, bought the Brown Estate on Unquowa Road and donated the building to the town of Fairfield to be used as a high school. The old wooden house had twelve rooms and six acres of land. It had porches on the front and street sides with a cupola on top, (Jennings Beach was also 'Miss Annie B'—as many called her—property which she gave to the town.

The Brown Residence was referred to as the "Little Red Schoolhouse" by the students for many years. By this time a third class, the eleventh grade, was beginning and in 1917 the fourth class of twelfth graders was added.

After appropriate renovations, the 'Little Red Schoolhouse' consisted of two long rooms separated by a wide hall, both downstairs and up with restrooms in the basement. Two small rooms off both the east and west rear were used; One was the office of the principal, William E. Smith, who also taught classes in math and music. The other room (formerly the kitchen) became the library and history room. The attic rooms were used as science labs. A small room on the second floor front was the teachers' room where they often ate lunch.

Students enjoyed the porches and school grounds which included a latticed gazebo on the front lawn. Classes were held from 9 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. with a half-hour for lunch and sometimes one study period. Two to three hours of homework were required. Students from Southport and Stratfield came by trolley car and Greenfield Hill students came by bus.

Graduation exercises were first held in the American Legion Hall on Reef Road. The first graduates in 1918 were required to take college entrance exams, but after that, Fairfield High School students were considered to be so well prepared that they were accepted to all Ivy League Colleges by certificate alone.

The school continued to grow under the leadership of William E. Smith. It was necessary to construct two portables in the back of the school to take care of the increasing student body. Later these portables were removed to Holland Hill School. (However, once again to ease overcrowding one of the portables was returned out of necessity and used in the 1960s as an annex to house the art and mechanical drawing departments.) In March 1924, ground was broken for the south wing of the school. This was the first in a series of additions, designed by O.C.S. Ziroli. This wing was attached to the original wooden building and completed in one year's time, It included the original gymnasium (presently the Tomlinson Library).

The main building was the next addition and it consisted of six large rooms:,the principal's office and teachers' rooms with corridors that led to the old building in the rear and to the gymnasium wing. The second floor housed biology, history and science departments. The basement held the Sewing and Domestic Science rooms and a cafeteria.

On September 3, 1925, Roger Ludlowe High School (named after Fairfield's founder) was dedicated. The original building plans included a north wing onto the main building which would include an auditorium, but this project was delayed to cut down on expenses.

Starting in the spring of 1930, the proposed building of the north wing began. It took just over a year to complete. This addition consisted of the auditorium, new cafeteria, and ten classrooms plus additional basement rooms.

Named after William E. Smith, the Superintendent of Schools and the first principal of the high school, the auditorium was designed to harmonize with the main building and the south wing. The north wing addition completed in 1931 also included an "L" on the rear. The ten classrooms were on two floors, each with a main corridor which was at right angles to a corridor that extends from the main building to the old wooden building at the south end.

The third floor of the original building was used for storage and the first and second by the Commercial department (typewriting) and for study halls. The west room on the second floor was used as a library and the former school board room was outfitted as a dispensary. The school at this point had a capacity of 850 students, the projected enrollment for 1932-33.

By the year 1938, the school again was overcrowded and it became necessary to send members of the Art, mechanical drawing, and General Shop classes to the old Sherman School downtown. Three classrooms were reserved for the high school. In the spring of 1942, the 'Little Red Schoolhouse' was demolished and the east wing complete with shops, a library, and additional classrooms added. This addition included three floors on the north and south sections, but no second and third floors in the center. First and second floor connecting corridors were added.

In 1944 a second floor was built on the west center section. This addition included the Health Department and the Electrical Shop with new corridors connecting east and west wings.

In 1952 due to crowded conditions it was necessary to hold two sessions of school. This arrangement continued until June 1956. In September of that same year, a second high school, Andrew Warde Senior High (now Fairfield Warde High School) was opened. Sometime in the late 1950s, the second and third floor center section was completed.

1962 marked the last year Roger Ludlowe High School existed as a high school on the old Brown property. Mill Plain School, down the road, was converted to a Senior High School retaining the name of Roger Ludlowe High School (Now Fairfield Ludlowe High School).

The first high school in Fairfield became Tomlinson Junior High School, named after Gideon Tomlinson, a prominent resident of Fairfield that served as a member of Congress, Governor of Connecticut, and as a U.S. Senator. In 1977, the south wing was completely renovated—the gymnasium became the library and a new gymnasium and more classrooms below the original basement level were added.

With the beginning of the school year in 1984, the sixth grades from several of the surrounding schools were added to the school and it became known as Tomlinson Middle School.

On January 26, 2004, the Representative Town Meeting gave their approval for the renovation of Tomlinson, which began in June 2004.

TMS Administration[edit]

  • Mr. Anthony Formato, Principal
  • Mr. Matthew Narwold, Dean
  • Mrs. Amanda Kirik, Assistant Principal
  • Mrs. Alyson McLaughlin


TMS Athletics[edit]

TMS has both girls' and boys' varsity and junior varsity basketball teams. Basketball is the "largest" sport and is the focus of the annual Pep Rally, which takes place the day before Thanksgiving. Tomlinson also has a girls' field hockey team, a track and cross-country team, cheerleading, and golf.

Construction and renovation[edit]

Tomlinson Middle School was recently renovated to a 'Like New' state. The entire building was reconstructed into a state-of-the-art learning facility to serve 609 of Fairfields students in the middle school age group. The renovation included an update to ADA and building codes, as well as life safety systems. An addition at the east side of the school added new and needed classroom and locker space. The library was moved to the fourth floor, and a new auxiliary gymnasium was constructed at the old library location. Upgrades to the buildings HVAC system and mechanical systems were also included with the renovation plan to improve the air quality in the building. The auditorium was mostly left untouched to preserve its original style when it was constructed in the early 20th century. The town of Fairfield also invested in an artificial turf field for the school.

Tomlinson Middle School renovation photos[edit]

~ TMS Interior/ Exterior Photos ~

Unified Arts Classes[edit]

Tomlinson's non-core classes are called unified arts classes, or UA's. Sixth grade UA's are Health, Art, Computers, and Home Ec. For Home Ec. the 10-week marking period is split into two five-week classes- cooking and sewing. In seventh grade the schedule is much the same, however Computers is substituted for "Tech Ed."- one half of the marking period is Woodshop, and the other is Computers/Manufacturing/Construction. Eighth grade UA's are electives, ranked at the end of the seventh-grade year. Students typically get their top two or three classes, and a mandatory health class takes up the marking period left. Eighth grade students can choose from 3-D Art, 2-D Art, Foods, Sewing, Computers, Manufacturing and Construction, Transportation Technology and Alternative Energy, or Design and Communication Technology. All TMS students have gym twice a week, where they are exposed to numerous enriching units such as Project Adventure (rock climbing), Fitness Room (weights, stationary bikes, etc.), as well as the typical gym units- volleyball, football, capture the flag, etc. Students also take a music class three times a week. Music options are: Orchestra, Band, Chorus, Music Tech (keyboard), Orchestra-Chorus, and Band-Chorus. Midway through the year there is a concert for each grade (the Winter Concert) and one at the end of the year (the Spring Concert).

Leveled Classes[edit]

TMS resource classes (or "Reading") are available during homeroom, in place of music, or in place of a language. Guidance and teachers help to make the decision to move a student to resource along with the student's parents. Math is leveled throughout all three grades, and classes available are Math (sixth grade), Transition to Pre-Algebra, Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, and Geometry. Most math teachers teach two levels to one grade level- sometimes referred to as 6-1, 6-2, 7-1, 7-2, and on. Certain advanced eighth grade students take the bus to Ludlowe Middle School during homeroom and first period, to be taught Geometry (high school course) along with advanced students from RLMS ( Roger Ludlowe Middle School ) Starting in seventh grade there have been options of "Language Arts Workshop" and "Extended Language Arts Workshop". (Classes were the same length, the content was extended. However, with the 2009-2010 school year seventh grade has phased back into writing and reading "workshops", and eighth grade will follow in the 2010-2011 school year. ([1] Article from the Fairfield Sun)

Coordinates: 41°08′38″N 73°15′27″W / 41.144°N 73.2576°W / 41.144; -73.2576

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