TJ Today

Thomas Jefferson Middle School

May 2017

May - June

May 5 - 7th Grade G.R.E.A.T. Party - 7:00-9:00 pm

May 8 - NWEA ELA Testing

May 9- NWEA Math Testing 7th/8th

May 10 - NWEA Math Testing 6th

May 15-22 - Book Fair

May 17 - National Junior Honor Society Induction

May 19 - No School/snow make-up day

May 22 - Panera Bread Give Back Night

May 24 - 5th Grade Visit TJMS/PTO Meeting 6:00 pm

May 26 - No School/snow make-up day

May 29 - No School/Memorial Day

May 30 - Incentive Day Trip

May 31 - 8th Grade Picnic

June 1 - Awards Day (Dress Up)/Chromebook and Charger Return

June 2 - Field Day/Last Day of School

Media Center Happenings

Upcoming: A Busy Book Fair Week!

Our Spring Book Fair is scheduled for Monday, May 15, thru Monday, May 22. We added an extra day since we don’t have school on Friday; though, we’ll offer a discount to Friday shoppers who order from our online fair. Stay tuned for those details!

In addition to students being able to browse and shop during their regularly scheduled class visits, students can also visit the Book Fair before school, during lunch and advisory periods. The Book Fair should be the perfect time for your child to choose something to read over the summer months. What’s more, students can just browse and look for new reading options because TJM (and our public library) has many of the books available for check-out.

Mrs. Hurley is passing out numbered book fair flyers to all students, so each student who receives one is automatically entered into a drawing for a Book Fair prize. Encourage your child to participate in one of the Book Fair activities – such as a QR Code Tour or a S’more Reading Reward – so we can all take part in this memorable celebration of books!

Guidance - getting ready for next year

The guidance counselors and Team Peace members will be going to visit the incoming 5th graders over the next few weeks. We will visit 5th grade classrooms at Flint Lake, Parkview, Cooks Corners, and Thomas Jefferson Elementary schools as part of the 5th to 6th transition. Our Team Peace students will have a question and answer session with the 5th graders. We are thankful and proud of our outgoing 8th graders and excited for our incoming 6th graders!

Eighth Grade Parents! Please check to see if your 8th grader qualifies for the 21st Century Scholar Program. This income-based scholarship offers free money toward Indiana colleges and universities, but students must be signed up by the end of their 8th grade year. The enrollment is done online only and can be found at Please contact Mrs. Carlson in the guidance office with any questions.

8th Grade - Busy, Busy, Busy!

8th graders have been learning what it takes to get into college and pursue a career of their choice. With sponsorship from the Valpo Schools Foundation, we recently visited 2 college campuses. Last week, students toured Ivy Tech in Valparaiso. Ask your student which area(s) interested them the most. This week, we traveled to the University of Notre Dame in South Bend. After a walking tour of campus, students enjoyed pizza and several guest speakers at Notre Dame’s Athletic building known as the Joyce Center. On May 11, we will tour the Porter County Career Center located in Valparaiso. The last month of school has many special events.

8th Grade Upcoming Events

May 11 - Porter County Career Center tour (wear Advisory t-shirt)

May 15-16 - Spanish Final Exam / French Final Exam

May 22-23 - Algebra Final Exam / German Final Exam

May 25 - Biology Final Exam

May 30 - Incentive Trip for those who qualify

May 31 - Poetry Contest, Picnic Lunch, Farewell Events

June 2 - Field Day (wear Advisory t-shirt); Last Day of School

7th grade Looking at Careers

As we come to the end of this school year, our 7th graders have the chance to participate in some fun school activities. On Friday, May 5th, the 7th graders will be celebrating their success of the G.R.E.A.T. program with a party at VHS from 7pm-9pm. The fun continues with our annual 7th grade homeroom Kickball competition. The competition runs from now until the end of the school year-as long as the weather cooperates.

As we look ahead to the future of our students, the TJMS 7th grade will host a Career Day on the afternoon of May 25th. Members of the community will share their career experiences with our students. Business owners, military officers, veterinarians, and a host of other professionals will engage our students in small group and hands-on learning experiences. This is a great way of introducing new and exciting career opportunities to our students.

6th Grade - keeping busy!


The 6th grade Poetry Contest takes place this Friday! Students were selected by their peers to compete in the all grade contest. Good luck to our finalists!

Mrs. Janowiak’s and Ms. Coberg’s classes are reading the Latin American novel Becoming Naomi Leon. The entire 6th grade will be celebrating Cinco de Mayo by making worry dolls, crafting flowers, playing Cinco de Mayo bingo, and moving and shaking to Latin music!

Mrs. Strayer’s ELA classes are reading Tom Sawyer and working on our final parts of speech.


Sixth grade students are learning to add, subtract, multiply, and divide positive and negative numbers. This is an essential skill for success as students move forward in middle school and into advanced level math topics. This is the point in the school year that students are excited about the approaching summer. As you look ahead to your summer plans, please consider how you could incorporate some math practice into your schedule. Study Island and Khan Academy offer excellent math lessons for students. Even scheduling an hour per week will help keep math skills fresh over a long summer break.

Science: Science ISTEP is complete! Yeah, it’s over!

As promised we have been working with the scientific processes these past few weeks. Our experiments have allowed us to practice identifying both independent and dependent variables.

We have put our graphing skills back to work showing our experimental data.

We will be testing paper towel brands to see which is best at either strength or absorbency. Ask us which paper towel did the best! We will have scientific data to back up our claims.

Social Studies:

Hola! We are closing in on the home stretch! Our study of Latin America continues with a guest speaker, Mrs. Ennes, on her trip to Machu Picchu and along the Amazon. We are celebrating Cinco de Mayo, and looking forward to a guest speaker on Costa Rica. Thanks for checking Skyward on your child's progress. We want everyone to finish strong. Buenas dias!

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Orchestra News

The last Middle School Orchestra Concerts for this year are Monday, May 15, at BFMS, 6:30pm for 6th grade, 7:30pm for 7th and 8th grades. Come hear Meyer's Night Shift, Handel's Hornpipe, Greig's In the Hall of the Mountain King, and Bach's Brandenburg Concerto. Special guest appearance by Mrs. Strayer for the 8th grade piece Remote Control! Concerts are free for everyone.

Sat., May 20, on the Central Park stage, the VCS Festival Orchestra will perform for the finale of the Spring into the Arts event. Students in 7th through 12th grade are invited to play in this new group.

Summer Orchestra for all current middle school orchestra students will be at BFMS July 31- August 8. Intermediate class is 10:30-11:30am with a performance showcasing the summer learning on Wed., August 9, at 10:30am. Anyone wishing to learn a string instrument and join the orchestra should contact Mrs. Nord ( to discuss the Beginning Orchestra class.

TJM adacemic super bowl champs!!

The TJMS Academic Super Bowl team capped off its competition season in fine fashion on Saturday, April 29, at the Area meet held at LaPorte High School.

Area meet scores are as follows:

Math – 1st place. Team members: Keaton Olson, Ally Bonnell, captain Devishi Jha. Coach – Mrs. Kemper

English – 1st place. Team members: Shannon McCall, Audrey Barriball, Henna Patheja, and captain Sydney Vorrier. Coach – Mrs. Strayer

Science – 1st place. Team members: Tobias Fredrick, Natalie Miller, David Stralnic, Patrick Brogan, and captain Joel Teeple. Coach – Mr. Wassilak

Social Studies – 2nd place. Team members: Amol Verma, Macey Schmetzer, Ari Kessler, Trevor Foster, and captain Lucia Otten. Coach – Mrs. Joll

Interdisciplinary – 1st place. Team members: Lucia Otten, Joel Teeple, Devishi Jha, and captain Sydney Vorrier.

**State placings were decided after results from all 15 Area sites were tallied. TJ’s state placings are:

*Science – 13th

*Social Studies – State Runner-up (decided by a tiebreaker in favor of another team)

*Math – State Runner-up (decided by a tiebreaker in favor of another team)

*English – State Runner-up

*Interdisciplinary – State Champions! (decided by a tiebreaker in OUR favor!)

*No overall state championship team is named at this competition, but the TJMS team outdistanced all other teams for the top score. We are the Class 2 state champions!!

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Great Job, Shannon McCall!

Shannon McCall was the American Legion District Americanism and Government Winner. Her essay was chosen as number one in the entire state of Indiana! Shannon was invited to Indianapolis to receiver her plaque and reward.

Student Council Update

Student Council News

Student Council Elections are coming soon! We will be announcing the candidates running for president, vice-president, secretary, and public relations next week. All students will be invited to vote for the 2017-2018 student council leaders the last week of May.

Upcoming Spirit Days:

May 12 - Viking Pride

May 18 - Throw Back Thursday - represent your elementary school

May 22 - 25 Digital Citizenship Spirit Week

Monday - Know Your Digital Footprint - Crazy Sock Day

Tuesday - Highlight Your Sources - Neon Day

Wednesday - Stand Up to Cyber Bullies - Cyper Hero Day

Thursday - You're Never Hidden Online - Camouflage Day

June 1 - Dress up Day

June 2 - Field Day - Don't forget your sunscreen and gym shoes!

Technology and Student Open Communication Form

As we continue our 1:1 Chromebook initiative at TJMS, we celebrate the successes that we have experienced in providing 21st century technology to help students achieve. While the initiative has been very positive, there are opportunities to learn for all of us. Our goal is to promote good digital citizenship and teach our students to be safe users of technology. Sometimes students may wander to online sites or play games at inappropriate times. To help students honor the pledges that they made when they signed the VCS Acceptable Use Policy, TJMS has implemented a form for open communication between students and staff. The form, available on our website, is anonymous. We want to provide a place where students can report incidents or give suggestions anonymously, so that the school can make informed decisions about technology. The Student Open Communication Form can be found on the TJMS website front page and can be submitted by students or parents anonymously.

Builders Club News

May is off to a fun start for Builders Club! We are in the midst of a fundraiser for the Porter County Animal Shelter. Homerooms are competing for a “puppy chow” treat where the class that raises the most money will win the prize! The animal shelter will also be bringing in a friendly canine for doggie selfies. Lastly, students may bring in a stuffed animal to spend the day with them if they bring in a $1 donation on Friday.

As the year comes to an end, all that remains is one more time to gather and celebrate our year of service to the school and community. The date of the celebration will be determined shortly, so be listening to the announcements for more information.

“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” -C.G. Jung


If a student forgets to charge his or her Chromebook or leaves it at home, there are netbook computers in every classroom for student to use. Parents are encouraged to not bring their child's Chromebook to school, and all chargers should stay at home.

Homework and Study Table Procedures

Here is a link to the Homework and Study Table information that was shared by all Advisory teachers at this year's Open House. As a reminder, all grades are posted on Skyward and homework is posted in the following ways:

  • 6th Grade - Skyward
  • 7th Grade - Canvas
  • 8th Grade - Canvas
  • AA - Canvas

All parents are encouraged to create a parent Canvas Observer account. For more information on this, please follow this link on our website.


During the 2016-2017 school year, the Social Services Team for Valparaiso Community Schools is able to provide food for students in need on the weekends!