TJ Today

Thomas Jefferson Middle School

April 2018

  • April 12 - Honor Roll Ice Cream
  • April 18 - ELL Parent Night
  • April 20 - Students 1/2 day
  • April 21- TJMS Roller Skating at BF - 6:00 - 8:45 pm
  • April 24 - PTSO Meeting 6:00 p.m.
  • April 23 - Weather make-up day
  • April 24-26 ISTEP part 2
  • April 25 - 4th qtr mid-term
  • May 8 - No school, election day
  • May 18 - School in session due to election day

TJ Science Olympiad STATE Champions!

Congratulations to the Thomas Jefferson Middle School Science Olympiad Team for winning the STATE competition.

On March 17th, our Science Olympiad team did it again, taking the state championship at Indiana University in Bloomington. This is the teams 26th State title.

For the 29th consecutive year, the Thomas Jefferson team is headed to the National competition on May 18th and 19th. The team will compete at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.

The team couldn’t achieve this high level of success without their dedication, coaches, and parent volunteers who pitch in tirelessly as they experiment, study and learn their way through their 23 different events.

Congratulations to team members, Calvin McMurtrey, Zach Heskett, Ari Kessler, Caden Hamscher, Max Trowbridge, Lily Rengstorf, Amol Verma, Xander Green, Isaac Utesch, Micah Nathan, Ethan Hutton, Ian Smith, Connor Brant, Susannah Gross, Elias Iceman, Matthew Smith and Tyler Edwards. Coaches: Richard Bender and Carol Haller

Anyone wishing to support the team financially, should make contributions to Thomas Jefferson Middle School Science Olympiad and send to the school at 1600 Roosevelt Road.

If you’re hungry on May 7th, please attend our Chipotle fundraiser between 4:00 and 8:00pm, 50% of the proceeds will be donated to our TJMS Science Olympiad team.

Please bring in the attached flyer.

Big picture

PTSO Updates

  • Teacher Appreciation Week is May 7th - 11th. We are in need of a 6th-grade parent to help chair this event. Please contact Kelli Ellis (219-241-8491 or if you are interested or have questions.
  • March Madness After School Party - Thanks to all who helped with this fantastic event.
  • Next Meeting is Tuesday, April 24th at 6:00 p.m.

8th Grade - Future Here We Come!

On March 20, eighth grade students enjoyed touring the campus of Valparaiso University. Information was shared with our students by VU staff while we visited the Harre Union, Chapel of the Resurrection, Christopher Center Library, Center for the Arts, and the newly opened Center for the Sciences: Chemistry and Biochemistry. Students were able to get of glimpse of some programs that VU has to offer as well as general college preparation tips. We would like to thank the Valparaiso Schools Foundation for organizing this event.

On May 7, Porter County Career Center students and staff will be at TJMS to spend time with our students. A variety of program offerings will be discussed with small groups of students.

Starting their Junior year, students have the opportunity to apply to the various programs offered at the Career Center. Acceptance into the Career Center is highly competitive and is based on grade point average.

7th grade - Busy

A lot is happening for our Seventh Graders in this month of April where there are no school days off. The main event for the month is the 2nd round of the ISTEP, which will be during the last week of April.

At the end of March, many of our 7th graders participated or enjoyed watching the spring variety show, led by Ms. Ellenson and Mrs. Wagner. Hopefully, everyone enjoyed a nice spring break this year, with an added Monday to help regenerate our students and staff for our final 8 weeks of the grading period.

The last day before break, the entire 7th grade class worked in groups, creating and sharing posters as the culmination of studying The Giver in our language arts classes, ending with viewing the movie together on the big screen in the auditorium.

In addition to studying our regular curriculum, we will be doing some fine tuning in preparation for ISTEP; some of our students will be preparing for academic competitions, including Academic Superbowl and the National Science Olympiad; and many of our students will be busy participating in our spring track season.

The 7th grade team would like to thank all of our families for their great support this school year and hope that everyone has a great Spring. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any of your questions.

6th Grade keeps MARCHING forward!

A Viking Shout Out!

To celebrate Pi Day (3.14), TJ 6th graders were challenged to see how many digits of Pi they could memorize. The students impressed their peers and teachers with their amazing memorization skills! Way to goJ You all make us Viking Proud!

1st place: Ruben Hernandez—146 digits

2nd place: Selena Martin—100 digits

3rd place: Jakaya Townsend—92 digits

Congratulations to 6th grade student Kaden Matthews for being a finalist in the Valparaiso Women's Association short story contest. Kaden was honored at a reception by Porter County Council woman, Sylvia Graham.

What are we reading?

All 6th grade students will begin reading Becoming Naomi Leon. This wonderful story will be easy for many to connect with and enjoy as they read through Naomi's struggle with identity and family.

March Madness!

Mrs. Highlan and Miss Alberson’s Social Studies classes have been busy studying the Renaissance. To go along with “March Madness” the students had to research a variety of important figures from the Renaissance and fill out a tournament bracket. Then, each class discussed, justified, and voted on which figures should advance to the next round. The debates and discussions were impressive! Nice work, students! J

Hey, Parents…

The third grading period has come to an end. Your student’s final grades can be viewed on Skyward.

Also, if you could please continue to:

· Check grades and assignments on Skyward/Canvas weekly.

· If you see a missing assignment, communicate with your child and let them know it needs to be completed/turned in.

· Contact your child’s teacher with any questions/concerns if your child is struggling academically—We all want your children to be successful!

· Students need earbuds/headphones for classes. If your child doesn’t have any, they can be purchased at the TJ Bookstore—open Wednesdays during lunch.

· Encourage your child to keep up to date on his/her reading counts points!


The ELL (English Language Learner) Department will be hosting a districtwide Open House for the parents and families of our English Learner students. The Open house will be held at TJMS on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 fro 5:30-7:00 in the cafeteria. This will be an opportunity for parents and families of EL students to meet and connect with the EL teachers from the district, to learn more about WIDA testing scores and the ELL program in general. There will also be information available about individual school activities and literacy tips for helping students at home. Light refreshments will be served. Students are welcome to attend with their parents. Light refreshments will be served, kids craft activities will be available, and there will be a door prize drawing. Please contact Laura Kennedy, District EL Coordinator at with any questions.


Strolling Strings will perform for the residents at Rittenhouse Senior Living on Friday, April 13.

The TJMS 8th grade orchestra performed with the High School Chamber Orchestra in the Recruitment Concert for the 4th graders. All students going into 5th grade next year have the opportunity to join orchestra by learning to play a stringed instrument this summer.

Students for Positive Action: A Newly Formed Student Leadership Committee

A new 8th grade student committee was formed at TJMS in response to the tragic violence that occurred in Parkland, Florida, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. These students volunteered to meet with Administrative and Counseling Staff at TJ to plan an activity that would recognize the young lives lost in Florida and would open up conversation in our school between students and staff about important issues such as school safety, emergency procedures, student support systems, and unity as a school staff and student body. They helped to plan and present an assembly to all three grade levels, which was followed by circle discussions in all advisories. Input from these circle discussions was collected and delivered to administration and counseling staff for follow-up. These students also created the banner pictured below which was signed by the TJ student body, with the Martin Luther King, Jr. quote: “Our lives begin to end the moment we become silent about things that matter,” along with the theme of our presentation: “If you See Something, Say Something.” This photograph was sent to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School along with notes of support and solidarity. This newly formed committee will be meeting with principals, counselors, social worker and our resource officer twice a month as we continue to keep open dialogue with students addressing any concerns they may have throughout the rest of this school year. The committee currently consists of 8th graders; Trey Cummins, Joy Luther, Maddy Hartke, Abby Seal, Alyssa Randall, Faith Kraud, Katie Hoard, Principal Beth Krutz, Resource Officer Terry Cox, Counselors Jami Carlson, Melissa Valtierra, Deb Kleist, and Social Worker Trisha Keown. Other eighth graders who may be interested in joining this group may stop by the guidance office and let their counselor know of their interest.

Big picture

#NotaMinor Problem

Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Porter County Substance Abuse are partnering on a social media strategy to combat underage drinking. Ten 8th grade students from Thomas Jefferson Middle, Benjamin Franklin Middle, and Washington Township Middle School are wearing a t-shirt with #NotaMinorProblem on it. The 10 Team Peace students here at Thomas Jefferson Middle School students will wear their t-shirt on a specific date in the month. They will take a selfie and post it on InstaGram. The goal is to get the most likes with hashtag #NotaMinorProblem to bring awareness that underage drinking is not a minor problem. Support Thomas Jefferson Middle School with the most likes for a great cause!

Big picture

March Pride Card Winners

Big picture

Student Council Update

Spirit Days:

4/6—Viking Pride

4/13—Dress like your favorite teacher day

4/20—Viking Pride

4/27—Decades Day


● The TJMS Bookstore is open every Wednesday during all three lunches

● Don’t forget to donate your box tops! There is box located on the table outside of Guidance

Upcoming meetings: Make sure to check email and the Remind App for news regarding upcoming meetings.

Builders Club News

A big shout out to Thomas Jefferson Middle School...Builders Club was able to make a $280 donation to the Porter County Animal Shelter! Thank you members, students, and staff for your support with the fundraiser.

We have 2 final events before the school year comes to a close. Builders Club will be assisting the school in placement planning and the planting of 20 new trees! During our next meeting, we will choose locations for the trees, and the planting party is tentatively scheduled to take place after school on Arbor Day, Friday, May 27. All members are encouraged to participate, and parents are invited to join in on the fun, too! There will be more information at the next meeting and in the announcements.

The other event is playing BINGO with the residents of a local nursing home. Although the exact date has not been set, it will take place on a Monday evening at 7:00. Again, listen to the announcements for more information.

Our next meeting is Wednesday, April 18. Dress to be outside!

Remember Your Yearbooks!

This year, we will be telling the stories of the year. Our theme is "We"--and our yearbook will be showing how TJMS joins together to accomplish amazing things! Orders can easily be placed online by clicking

Thanks for sharing your moments with us!

There are only 45 yearbooks left--don't be left without one!

Student Success - Homework and Study Table Procedures

This is a link to our Student Success procedures

  • Homework is posted on your child's Canvas Calendar. Create a parent Canvas Observer account using this link on our website.
  • Grades are posted on Skyward

Follow Us on Facebook

Thomas Jefferson Middle School

Follow us on Facebook

TJMS Instagram

Big picture

During the 2017-18 school year, the Social Services Team for Valparaiso Community Schools is able to provide food for students in need on the weekends! Contact Ms. Keown if interested.