JMS Weekly Update

May 2, 2021

Hello JMS,

This week's JMS Update contains information about PSSA schedules for all families. Please read the information in the PSSA Information Section so that you know what to expect on testing days. The schedule is rather complex and we want to make sure that everyone knows where they should be on testing days.

This weekly update also contains information about:

  • Congratulations!
  • Safety Drill - Shelter In Place
  • Teacher Appreciation Update
  • 8th Grade Recognition Update
  • Athletics - Football Sign-Ups

We ask that you please stay cautious and follow the CDC guidelines for masking, social distancing, and group gatherings. We know that there are varying opinions in the community about this virus, however if you want to keep the children physically in school, then it is imperative that families follow these guidelines outside of school.

We are doing our best to keep the children and staff safe inside the building, but we need your help to do the same throughout the community.

Please continue to let our nurse, Mrs. Suess, know if anyone in your family is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. This information is critical to the safety of the students and staff at JMS.

Stay Safe,

Dr. Sarah Shaw, Principal

Ms. Katelyn Deet, Assistant Principal

Weekly Schedule

Hybrid A/B/Cyber/D Schedule

Monday - Day 2

Tuesday - Day 3 - Safety Drill (Shelter in Place)

Wednesday - Day 4

Thursday - Day 5

Friday - Day 1

Monday (5/10) - Day 2

Tuesday (5/11) - Day 3 - PSSA ELA - PSSA Testing Bell Schedule

Wednesday (5/12) - Day 4 - PSSA ELA - PSSA Testing Bell Schedule

Thursday (5/13) - Day 5 - PSSA ELA - PSSA Testing Bell Schedule

PSSA Information

We will begin our PSSA testing on Tuesday, May 11th. Our testing days are as follows:

You can find more information about PSSAs in our JMS PSSA Information Newsletter.

Please read the information below so that you know what to expect on testing days. The schedule is rather complex and we want to make sure that everyone knows where they should be on testing days. Click on the description that best represents your family, for specific information about testing days.

Information For Families Who Have Opted Out of the PSSAs

Information For Families Who Are Participating in the PSSAs


If your family has opted out of the assessments, your child will stay home during the testing sessions. They are welcome to join us in-person on their scheduled, non-testing days and after the testing sessions (10:30 a.m or 11:00 a.m.). They are also welcome to stay at home and log in PV on testing days.

If your family is participating in the assessments, your child will be physically present at JMS during the testing sessions. Children who are not scheduled to be physically present at JMS on testing days will return home after the testing sessions are complete.


JMS Lit Mag Cover Winner

Special thanks to all of the students who submitted entries for the literary magazine cover contest. We hope that sixth and seventh graders will consider designing a cover next year.

The following students designed a cover for this year’s contest: Ranya Alkhafaji, Patrick Campbell, Bridget Ely, Jase Engle, Karli Garcia, Katie Harpst, Sophia London, Holly Patterson, Talia Pizzuti, Ellison Resler, Sally Tan, and Trey Wagner.

Thanks to everyone who voted. After 239 votes were cast, we have a winner!

Congratulations to eighth grader Trey Wagner! His design was chosen for the cover of this year's Our Piece of Mind.

Poetry Trivia Contest

Special thanks to the PTA for supplying 48 gift certificates to Betsy's as prizes for our April Poetry Trivia Contest. We had a lot of participation from students (on average roughly 100 entries per day), and everyone enjoyed the challenge and having something fun to try to win.

To celebrate National Poetry Month, on Tuesdays and Thursdays during April, a poetry trivia question was shared on the morning announcements and posted as a Google Form on the JMS Writing Lab Google Classroom. To enter, students had to complete and submit the Google Form with their answer by 3:00 p.m. that same day.

From the correct answers submitted from each grade, two winners were randomly selected and announced on Wednesday and Friday mornings during the morning announcements. Students either picked up their gift certificates from Mrs. Kelly in the Writing Lab or made arrangements with her to get them if they are fully remote.

A special congratulations to our 48 winners!

New Information

Safety Drill - Shelter in Place - 5/4

The Jefferson Complex will be conducting a Shelter in Place Safety Drill on Tuesday.

Shelter-in-place is initiated when school officials believe there is some type of emergency that does not directly impact the interior of the school. Shelter-in-place is typically used when there is a dangerous event outside of the school building. The goal is to keep students and staff safe and indoors. During a shelter-in-place staff and students are instructed to stay inside the building. This measure is designed to prevent anyone from entering the building from outside. During this drill we will not be allowing anyone into or out of the building.

Chipotle Fundraiser

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, May 19. Visit the Chipotle on Cochran Rd between 4 pm and 8pm and let the cashier know your order is in support of Jefferson Middle School.

Staff Appreciation Week Update

PTA encourages all students to write a thank you note to a staff member who has had a positive impact on their school year. Let's not forget all the other helpers as well, like the administrators, nurses, secretaries, food workers, and custodians. A district staff list of emails can be found here:

The Amazon and local wish list has been exhausted thanks to many helpful donations! The teachers have a week of daily treats and gifts to look forward to. Any additional financial donations from families can offset the luncheon catered by Lebo subs, which we have budgeted to cover with PTA funds. Text Melinda Berdyck to inquire about the need and get Venmo. 412-576-4008.

8th Grade Recognition Update

Plans for the 8th grade celebration, June 3, are underway. We will have a pool party and a virtual celebration option. We are seeking 6 more chaperones with all the district clearances (which can be updated very quickly ) 8th grade celebration t-shirts orders will be coming home soon. Deadline for t-shirt orders is May 15. questions: contact Kari Resler at or Melinda Berdyck at

Other Information

PSSA/Keystone Testing Schedule

The district will be administering the PSSAs and the Keystone Exams this year. The results we achieve on these exams provide us with valuable information that can be used to assess our students knowledge of grade level standards, our teaching, and our educational programing.

Our students have been working hard throughout the year and are prepared for these exams. Our testing schedule is as follows:

  • May 11 - 13 - English Language Arts (ELA) PSSA - Grades 6-8
  • May 19 & 20 - Math PSSA - Grades 6-8
  • May 24 & 25 - Algebra I Keystones - Grade 8 only
  • May 26 & 27 - Science PSSA - Grade 8 only

Please understand that during the testing window, pre-approved absences will not be approved.

Resources For Families

Family Resources for Conversations about Current Events

These resources include content on race and racism, the police-involved killing of Black people, activism, equity and social justice. They also include an updated Table Talk family discussion guide that include questions for starting these conversations with your children at home.

Talking To Your Child About Discrimination and Bias

In an effort to continue to educate our students, families and the community about discrimination and bias we wanted to share the following resources with you.

This essential conversation and continued education is imperative if we are committed to creating a school and community that is welcoming and inclusive. These conversations are bigger than JMS and must also take place at home and throughout the community. Please help us, as a school and as a community, continue to grow in our in our understanding about discrimination and bias.

Lunch Menu

The Mt. Lebanon School District will continue serving free Grab-and-Go Meals to any student in the community under the age of 18, with no eligibility requirements, until further notice. The meals will be distributed at the elementary schools.

Meals will be available from 10:45 until 1:15 every day to accommodate all students during their lunch periods.

Families In Need of Technology

As we prepare to start the 2020-2021 school year, we are asking families who need to borrow student technology to please complete the form linked below:

Be sure to list every student for whom you need to borrow a device on this form. Once you have submitted your form, you will receive status emails including device pickup details from an email address. Please also be sure to whitelist email addresses with your email provider to ensure that you receive these communications from us.

Please direct any and all questions regarding loaned equipment to our support address:

COVID-19 Resources

The following resources provide information to help Mt. Lebanon School District families and staff navigate the complexities of COVID-19 and the impact the pandemic it is having on our daily lives. These resources will be updated as more information becomes available.

Local Resources for Families

The MTLSD School Counselors in partnership with The Allegheny Children's Initiative Inc., have compiled a list of social services resources that may be helpful to you and your family. Please take a look and reach out to these organizations. They are here to help with any of the following:

  • Food
  • Rent/Mortgage
  • Utilities
  • Pets
  • Abuse
  • Mental Health
  • General Assistance

Safe 2 Say Something

Safe2Say Something is a youth violence prevention program run by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. The program teaches youth and adults how to recognize warning signs and signals, especially within social media, from individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others and to “say something” BEFORE it is too late. With Safe2Say Something, it’s easy and confidential to report safety concerns to help prevent violence and tragedies.

Here’s how it works:

  • Submit a report through the Safe2SaySomething system
  • Crisis center reviews, assesses and processes all submissions
  • Crisis center sends all submissions to school administration and/or law enforcement for intervention
  • If needed, crisis center may contact tipster anonymously through the app


Football Sign Ups

If your child is interested in playing Middle School or Ninth Grade Football, please fill out the Google Forms below. This information will be used to keep you up to date on upcoming parent meetings, camps, training opportunities and more. If you have any questions, contact Head Football Coach Bob Palko at


We are excited to announce that we are now offering the convenience of online registration for our athletic programs through partner company, FamilyID ( FamilyID is a secure registration platform that provides you with an easy, user-friendly way to register for our programs, and helps us to be more administratively efficient and environmentally responsible. When you register through FamilyID, you enter your information once for multiple uses, multiple kids and multiple programs.

JMS PTA Information

Help JMS Earn Money While You Shop!


If you haven’t used AmazonSmile Before:

  1. Go to and sign in with your regular Amazon username and password.
  2. You will be prompted to choose a charity. You should enter "Jefferson Middle School PTA Inc” into the search box that appears. It will say "Pittsburgh, PA" as the location for the charity.
  3. Make sure whenever you check out, you always go to on your browser.

If you already use AmazonSmile:

  1. Go to and sign in with your username and password
  2. Make sure the charity you’ve selected is "Jefferson Middle School PTA Inc." This information is located under the search bar where it says “supporting”.
  3. If it isn’t, you can change it by clicking on the charity and selecting “change”
  4. This will bring you to a page where you can search for “Jefferson Middle School PTA Inc” and allow you to switch charities.
  5. Make sure whenever you check out, you always go to to checkout.
  6. If you shop on the Amazon app. Please activate Amazon Smile on your mobile app by opening the app and finding ’Settings’ in the main menu (☰). Tap on ‘AmazonSmile’ and follow the on-screen instructions to turn on AmazonSmile on your phone.

Box Tops

Clipping Box Tops is an easy way to earn money for our school. Each Box Top is worth 10 cents, so don't forget to physically and electronically clip the for us! The clipped Box Tops can be turned into the office.

See Box Tops for more information on how to scan Box Tops and to download the app. Receipts must be scanned within 14 days for the Box Tops to be scanned electronically.

Giant Eagle

Giant Eagle Support our students! Enroll your Giant Eagle Advantage Card and earn points for FREE educational rewards with every shopping trip.

Click here to register your card. Our school code is 3369. The Giant Eagle card program is also easy to use - just register your card and shop away as usual!

Office Depot/Office Max

Office Depot/Office Max has a school rewards program. When shopping, remember to ask the cashier to tag Jefferson Middle School. For online orders, enter our school ID (Thomas Jefferson Middle School ID:70088453 Pittsburgh, PA) on the Thank You Confirmation page.

Jefferson Middle School

The Jefferson Middle School learning community has an exceptional reputation for its dedicated teachers, staff and parents working together to provide learning experiences for our children that include high expectations, a challenging curriculum and a shared commitment to provide the best education possible for each and every student.