TJ Today

Thomas Jefferson Middle School

February 2016

Upcoming Dates:

Feb. 4 - Check your child's Backpack - See below for more information.

Feb. 8 - World Language 6th Grade Parent Presentation, 6:30 pm @TJMS

Feb. 9 - PTO Meeting at 6:00 p.m.

Feb. 9 - Chipotle Fundraiser 5:00-9:00 pm

Feb. 12 - 15 Mid-Winter Break

Feb. 19 - Cabin Fever 3 - 4:30

Feb. 22 - TJMS Skate @ Central Park

Feb. 27 - Science O Regionals

Mar 5 - TJM choir - Circle the State

Check your child's Backpack on Thursday, February 4th

  • 6th Grade students - World Language or Communication Arts recommendations.
  • 7th and 8th Grade students - PSAT results
  • All students - NWEA Map Test Results

Yearbook orders can still be placed online!

Yearbook orders can still be placed online at:

  • Be sure that you select Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Valparaiso, as there are several other TJMS options.
  • Order now to avoid disappointment on delivery day in June!
  • Questions? Email Mrs. Strayer:


If you ordered a yearbook for your child using a nickname ('Cathy' instead of 'Catherine') or a name other than the name recognized by TJMS, you may have received a post card stating that you have not yet purchased a yearbook. The yearbook company does not realize that the name you used is the same as the name on the post card. You can ignore the post card! Rest assured that your order has been placed. It's always a good idea to print out the online yearbook receipt. Thanks for supporting our school yearbook!

If you have any questions, email Mrs. Strayer:

Parent Advisory Group to form a PTO and Other Updates

  • The next parent advisory meeting will be Tuesday, February 9th from 6-7 PM. This will be designated as a meeting specifically for parents who are willing to form a PTO now.
  • Thank you so much for coming out to our recent fundraiser! We were able to raise $200.00 from Papa John's
  • Join us February 9th at Chipotle from 5-9 to have dinner and donate money to TJ at the same time! Click here for a link to our flyer
  • Stay tuned for more information on a give back night for TJMS at the Central Park Plaza Ice Rink set for Feb. 22.
  • February 19th is our Cabin Fever party for our students. The cost is only $3.00 and all students are invited to the Gym and commons from 3:00-4:30 for games, music and fun!
  • Check out the TJMS Facebook page for more information on all of our exciting up coming events!

Magazine Fundraiser

Students and Parents - Please work together to fill out your address booklets. You only need 7 address to get your prize ducks! Reminder get your booklets in by Friday to get your duck and candy bar! Funds raised will be to create a game room for students!

ISSMA Solo and Ensemble Contest - Vocal and Piano Results

WOW! What an amazing weekend! Everyone in TJMS choirs, whether as part of an ensemble or as a soloist, earned a gold! These results are a true testament to their work, practice, and musical talents. A special bravo goes to our 8th grade girls ensemble who earned a perfect score! A big congratulations go out to our piano players on all their successes! We are blown away and very proud of every single one of our performers! Way to go TJMS music!


Student show is Wed. March 9 at 4

March 11 at 7 pm

March 12 at 2 pm

Survivor- 8th Grade Style

No one was kicked off the island, but unfortunately, some students did not survive. As part of a week that focused on many different issues to recognize and commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the TJMS eighth grade students took part in an Economic Survivor Game on January 20th.

In this game, under the direction of Mrs. Joll, students were “born” with labor, labor and education, or labor, land and education. Those students with land and education were at an advantage over the other students in the game. Using these labor, land, and education tickets, students had to acquire food, shelter, and clothing to survive. Some students were also able to accumulate more wealth and buy material items such as multiple cars and televisions. Points were given at the end of the game based on what students acquired. Some survived and became richer; while other students did not survive or became poorer. Each homeroom then crowned a winner- the student who accumulated the most points.

The purpose of this simulation was to model what happens in American society. Everyone is born with the ability to work. Twenty percent of the population has the advantage of wealth and education. Over a lifetime, additional skills and economic advantages make it easier for these people to accumulate more than the rest of the population. This game attempted to simulate those realities.

In addition to the economic game, students saw a video about the Children’s March during the Civil Rights Movement and watched the movie, Remember the Titans, to make students more aware of integration and overcoming adversity by working toward a common goal.

The theme of the week of activities was respect- respect regardless of race, socioeconomic status, gender, or social group. Hopefully, through these activities, the eighth graders took this life lesson to heart.

7th Grade Transitioning

With two weeks of the third quarter under their belts, the 7th grade students and teachers at TJMS are pushing forward with our daily endeavors. From solving proportions and reading chapters in novels to dissecting cow eyes and earning pesos, our 7th graders are engaged in a plethora of academic activities designed to challenge and enrich. With 8th grade and high school on the horizon, the development of skills to increase success at these ensuing levels is essential.

7th grade is a transitional time when students begin to look ahead to high school. Change is a fact of life. Friendships may change, study habits may vary, but stability is important in the life of a 13-year old. Meaningful consequences and family support can go a long way in assisting a 7th grade student to find success.

As our 7th grade students strive for independence, it can be a struggle to determine how much support should be given to them. Regularly checking Skyward may provide much insight into the academic success of your child and may give you an opportunity to speak with your child about their current successes or failures. Advisory teachers send home weekly grade sheets that help monitor your child’s progress. Ask your child about the weekly grade sheet. It is also okay to occasionally, or regularly, check your child’s assignment notebook to stress the importance of organization and work completion. Parental involvement is essential for academic success.

6th Grade Happenings

  • Sixth graders will role play on February 18th at Castle Jefferson. Our traditional interdisciplinary Feudal Day is thatThursday. All students will have a role to play, as well as watch the Royal Falconer, Sir Mark, work with some of his hunting birds, and talk with Sir John, our local Knight, about all his armor. Feudal assignments will be shared with the students this Friday--giving them two weekends to pull together a costume. Pictures of previous kingdoms are posted for the students to get ideas. Please know that we encourage the kids to piece it together from items they already have at home and do not require any costume rental. Feudal Day is a very fun way to give the students a small glimpse into the Middle Ages. Thanks for all your help and support in making this a great experience!

  • All 6th graders who qualified for the PRIDE reward at the end of the 2nd grading period enjoyed an afternoon of entertainment on Friday, January 29. To be eligible for the PRIDE activity at the end of the 3rd grading period, students must have completed at least 80% of their homework during the third quarter. Let's try for 100% participation in our next PRIDE outing!
  • Students will continue preparing for the ISTEP+ Applied Skills test, coming up next month. Addressing writing prompts and perfecting textual citations will occupy the pens and papers of the 6th graders during February.
  • Language Arts students are polishing up their poems for the annual Poetry Contest to be held next week. Classroom contests this week will determine the contestants. Students are also finishing up their Poetry Collections, the memory books of their 6th grade year.

Student Council - Things are getting busy

Upcoming Spirit Days

Friday, February 5 - Show Your Super Bowl Support

  • Wear Orange for Peyton Manning and the Broncos
  • Wear Blue for Cam Newton and the Panthers

Thursday, February 11 - Show Your LOVE for Valentine’s Day

  • Wear Red, Pink, or a shirt you LOVE!

Thursday, February 18- Getting Ready for Cabin Fever

  • Wear your Favorite Scarf to promote Cabin Fever on Friday

Friday, February 19 - Cabin Fever party from 3:00-4:30.

  • Come enjoy dancing, games, and a photo booth!!

Friday, February 26 - Twin Day!

  • Find a friend or two or three or four and dress alike for the day!

School Supply Store

Low on pencils, erasers, paper, pens, or just need a locker mirror or a new folder? Visit the Student Council School Supply Store!

National Junior Honor Society Happenings

TJM’s National Junior Honor Society members have been vigorously working to better our school and our community. We have given 886 Hours of Service so far this school year! We help run the concession stand for multiple events, provide childcare for Parkview and Flint Lake PTO Events, provided support for the Color Run, and the list goes on. In our school, we have recycling crews who are responsible for collecting recyclable materials from each of the classrooms. We have a dedicated crew of office helpers each week, as well. We have another committee responsible for putting up the amazing academic competition locker signs(shout out to ACME Printing for providing the signs!). Under the wings of Mrs. Joll and Mr. VanLaan, this excellent group of students are demonstrating how to make the world a better place!

NJHS Members at a recent Chapter Meeting.

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Breakfast Food Drive Coming in March

Did you know that March 7-11 is School Breakfast Week? Every single morning your child can come to school and get a hot breakfast. In honor of this week, the student council will be sponsoring a Breakfast Food Drive from March 1 -11. The food donated will support local food banks. As you're shopping this month, watch for sales on cereal, oatmeal, breakfast bars, granola bars, peanut butter, jelly etc. and stock up for this great cause! Sixth, seventh, and eighth graders will be competing against each other to see which grade level can bring in the most food.

Technology Tidbits - brought to you by the TJMS Technology Committee

Report Cards
It is hard to believe, but we are already well underway in the 3rd Grading period. If you have not yet checked your child's report card for GP 2, please do so soon. This is a good opportunity to talk to your child about their grades and goals for the remainder of the school year.

- Login to Skyward
- Open Family (or Student) Access
- From the menu on the left, select Report Cards
- Select the S1 Report Card 2015-2016 (this will show you grades for GP 1 & GP 2)
- IF a teacher submitted comments, you will see these under the course name. These comments will be for GP 2.
- IF your child is an 8th grader in Algebra and/or Biology, you will also see their Final Exam Grade from Semester 1 and their Semester 1 Grade.

Please contact the office if you are unable to login to Skyward or have any questions about accessing your child's report card.

Connect with Thomas Jefferson Middle School’s Facebook page and follow us!
• Go to:
• Log-in if needed.
• Click “Follow.”

EasyBib and Eighth Grade Research Project

Mrs. Ellenson’s and Mr. Znika’s eighth grade students visited the media center to take advantage of our access to the premium features of EasyBib. Working with Mrs. Hurley, students established accounts, cited sources, created note cards, exported to Google Docs, and much more! EasyBib improves the learning experience by giving students a way to manage their citations and work with their sources in a more meaningful way. Students can use this tool to focus on both giving credit to the source and on more closely analyzing the information presented in the source.

TJMS Blood Drive

On January 29th TJMS hosted a blood drive by the American Red Cross. The turnout was exceptional. TJMS usually has around 30 donors. This time we had over 50 donors on a friday evening. The Red Cross would like to than the generosity of the donors. We also had 6 first time donors. The life saving blood products make such make an enourmous difference. It might mean a father will walk his daughter down the aisle or a couple will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversay. The Red Cross truly counts on TJMS's annual drive in January. They are grateful for the support and good work of the donors.

TJM Bike Winner

Every month at TJMS students can earn pride cards given to them by staff for demonstating excellent behavior and model citizenship. These cards are then placed, by students, in several designated boxes. Students then have a chance to win gift cards to Subway, Itunes, Game Stop, Dairy Queen, and Best Buy. Each month a winner is picked from one of the boxes and students come down to pick up their gift cards. During the month of December, TJMS was lucky enough to have a brand new bicycle donated to the school. This was a special prize beyond the gift cards. The winner of the bicycle was 6th grader, Dylan Howder.

Below are our January PBIS Pride Card Winners!

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Past Information

Bring the Library Home

Low cost internet service if your child is eligible for the National Lunch Program.

21st Century Scholars

Have you completed a Twenty-First Century Scholar application for your child? The applications must be completed during your child's seventh or eighth grade year. If your child qualifies for the program and follows the Twenty-first Century Scholars Pledge, he or she can get up to four years of undergraduate college tuition to attend an eligible Indiana college or university. The online application can be found at If your family income does not exceed the income maximums, complete each section of the enrollment form. The Twenty-first Century Scholars website can also be accessed on the Thomas Jefferson Middle School website. Please contact Mrs. Carlson in the Guidance office with any questions.

Late Bus

Two late buses run Monday - Thursday for all BFMS, TJMS, and VHS students. Both buses pick up at at our front entrance on Roosevelt Road. Below are details about the route and approximate pick up times.

  • South Bus #15, 3:50 - begins at TJMS and then goes to VHS, and then to BFMS.
  • North Bus #30, 4:05 - begins at BFMS, then goes to VHS, and then comes to TJMS.

Box Tops Update

We have already earned over $600 from Box Tops this year. Thank you!

Remember to keep sending them in. Each little bit adds up to a lot when everyone contributes!

Before and After School Tutoring and Computer Usage

We are excited to let all of you know that we our offering more support for your child's academic success at TJMS! The Media Center will be open Monday through Friday before and after school. Late Start Wednesday morning sessions will take place in the Cafeteria. Morning sessions will run from 7:10 - 7:40 am, and the afternoon sessions will be from 3:00 - 4:00. Students will be able to get assistance with their homework, study for upcoming assessments, and use our computers for school work. Students will be able to ride the late bus(Except for Fridays) if they stay after school for this program or remain at school for a scheduled extracurricular event. We hope that students will take advantage of this opportunity, which will be supported by TJMS teachers, Americorps volunteers, and the Valparaiso University Study Buddy Program. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs. Krutz, Mr. McKay, or your child's teacher.

Thomas Jefferson Middle School

I am Mrs. Elizabeth Krutz, principal of Thomas Jefferson Middle School.