JMS Weekly Update

September 19, 2022

Dear JMS Families,

This week's Update contains information about the following:

  • Assistant Principal News
  • Safety Drill - Evacuation
  • Odyssey of the Mind Sponsor & Academic Games Head Sponsor
  • Reflections
  • Athletics - Boys Basketball Information

Please notify our nurse, Mrs. Raco, and complete this FORM if your child has tested positive for COVID-19.

Take care,

Dr. Sarah Shaw, Principal

Mrs. Katelyn (Deet) Toth, Assistant Principal

Weekly Schedule

Monday - Day 5

Tuesday - Day 1

Wednesday - Day 2

Thursday - Day 3

Friday - Day 4

Monday (9/26) - Day 5

New News

Assistant Principal News

I wanted to share some bittersweet news with you. Katelyn (Deet) Toth, our Assistant Principal, has accepted a position as a Program Principal at O'Hara Elementary School in the Fox Chapel School District. Mrs. Toth began her career as an educator in the Fox Chapel Area School District, and, more specifically, taught fourth and fifth grade at O’Hara Elementary School. The opportunity for her to be a leader in the school district and elementary building where she started her career was an offer that was too good to pass up!

Mrs. Toth has been a wonderful addition to the JMS staff and will be certainly be missed. I am happy for her and her new opportunity. Mrs. Toth's last day is still to be determined. I have started the process to find a new assistant principal and will share more information when it becomes available.

Jefferson Evacuation Drill - 9/20 @ 10:00AM

On Tuesday, September 20th our students and staff will be participating in an evacuation drill as part of our school safety and security plan. The purpose of the drill will be to practice moving students from Jefferson Middle School to Bowerhill Community Church. The drill will begin at 10:00AM, and all students will return to school following the completion of the drill.

The purpose of the drill will be to practice moving as a school from the Jefferson Complex to the alternate site in a safe and efficient way. We are working with the Mt. Lebanon Police Department and the Mt. Lebanon Fire Department to assist us in this safe and efficient transport.

In the event of a true emergency and evacuation, students would be released only to a parent/guardian, or individuals that are identified in the emergency contacts page in dashboard. We ask that all parents please review your emergency contacts in dashboard to ensure they are accurate and up to date. This information is crucial for the school district to have in the event of an emergency where parent/student reunification is required.

This drill will require the coordinated effort with the Mt. Lebanon Police Department, the Mt. Lebanon Fire Department and MRTSA. The District’s plan is for each of our schools to conduct an evacuation drill similar to this one.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation and support. We value the safety and security of our students, and believe that this drill is one more example of how we are preparing for unknown situations that may occur in our schools. Feel free to contact us if you have any further questions regarding this information.

Odyssey of the Mind Sponsor & Academic Games Head Sponsor

Seeking directors for the District's Odyssey of the Mind and Academic Games extracurricular programs, to coordinate student teams, coaches, and judges, and participation in local, state, and national competitions.

Learn more on the District's Job Posting Page:


Does your JMS student have a special talent? If so Reflections SHOW YOUR VOICE entries can be sent to Carol Rossetti at no later than October 17th. This deadline will not be extended. Final entries are submitted on November 18th.


  • 2-D entries (drawing, painting, collage, etc.) and/or 3-D entries (architecture, carpentry, ceramics, crafts, jewelry, mobiles, sculptures, etc.) are accepted. No frames or loose materials.
  • Visual Arts entries with items that extend more than 3/8” from the surface must be submitted as 3-D entries. Maximum height 12”.
  • 2-D entries must be mounted (cardboard is acceptable) but not exceed 12” x 16" including matting. Matting is NOT required.
  • 3-D entries not to exceed 12" x 12" x 12". Must include 3 photos of work taken from 3 different angles. Physical 3-D entries will be judged only at the local level. Advancing entries will be judged by the 3 photos. Students should provide the highest quality photos possible. If submitting entry electronically for local PTA judging, include all photos in a single file.
  • Place a ruler along the longest edge of all Visual Arts entries before taking photos to show that entry meets the size requirements.
  • Photo collages are accepted ONLY in the 2-D Visual Arts category, as long as they meet the size and mounting requirements
  • If your local PTA is accepting physical entries, students should print entry form (Questions 1-16) & put it in a clear page protector that is taped to the back/bottom of the entry. For smaller entries, cut the page protector in half and fold entry form to fit.


  • Student must make up the dance independently. Your choice of dance style.
  • Student can be a performer but does not have to be.
  • Other dancers can perform in the piece BUT only one student can submit each entry. There are NO group entries.
  • Video must not exceed 5 minutes in length and 1,000 MB (1,000 megabyte) in file size
  • Formats: MP4, MOV or AVI. Check your local PTA for instructions on how to submit entries


  • Single original photo taken by student by hand or tripod/timer/selfie stick, etc.
  • Photo size - Minimum of 5” x 7" - maximum of 8 x 10.” Maximum size of entry (including optional matting) is 11" x 14".
  • Must be mounted or matted on sturdy material. Cardboard is acceptable. Matting is optional.
  • Print or digital image (format: JPEG, JPG and PNG)
  • If your local PTA is accepting physical entries, students should print entry form (Questions 1-16) and place it in clear page protector that is taped to the back of the entry. For smaller photos, cut the page protector in half and fold entry form to fit.
  • Photo collages are NOT accepted in the Photography category; however, they (& other forms of collages) are accepted in the Visual Arts category, as long as they meet the size and mounting requirements.


  • Student must write, produce/edit and record film by hand or tripod.
  • Video must not to exceed 5 minutes in length and 1,000 MB (1,000 megabyte) in file size.
  • Formats: MP4, MOV and AVI. Check your local PTA for instructions on how to submit entries
  • No PowerPoints. Can be animation, narrative, documentary or media.


  • All forms of original fiction and nonfiction writing.
  • Not to exceed 1,000 words – handwritten (legibly) or typed – on one side only of 8 ½” x 11" paper.
  • Literature word-counts must be included on student entry form.
  • Student’s names CANNOT be visible on the front of the entry but can be written in pencil on the back of each page.
  • If your local PTA is accepting physical entries, students should print entry form (Questions 1-16) and staple it to the back of a manila folder containing the entry or put both documents in a 9 x 12” envelope. DO NOT FOLD.


  • Student must write original musical piece. Only 1 student can submit the entry as the sole composer.
  • Student can perform the composition but that is optional. If others perform the piece, provide names.
  • Notation, score or tablature is required for middle and high school divisions. In place of a notated score, student may include a written reflective statement that provides a musically technical explanation of how s/he wrote the music (100 words or less) Include as separate file coded as instructed on the entry form.
  • No music videos. Format: MP3 and WAV. Check your local PTA for instructions on how to submit entries.
  • Not to exceed 5 minutes in length and 1,000 MB (1,000 megabyte) in file size.


  • Students with disabilities who receive services under IDEA or ADA: Section 504 are eligible. The special artist division offers modified rules and guidelines to ensure that every student has the chance to be part of the National PTA Reflections® program.
  • Students who identify as having a disability have two ways to enter the National PTA Reflections® program. Students may submit more than one entry but all entries must be in only one division in a single year (i.e. A student cannot submit one entry as a Special Artist and a second entry as a middle school student in the same year).
  • Option 1 - enter in grade-level divisions: regardless of age, students with special needs may enter in the grade division most closely aligned to their functional abilities. Students may not receive assistance other than that which is allowed for all children. The divisions are: primary (preschool – grade 2); intermediate (grades 3-5); middle school (grades 6-8); high school (grades 9-12). Students are recognized and awarded prizes as part of the general student population without regard to special needs or challenges.
  • Option 2 - enter in special artist division: eligible students entering the special artist division create their own artwork but may receive non-artistic accommodation and assistance from an adult. Students are recognized and awarded prizes as part of the special artist division.
  • Special artists should follow the general rules and guidelines outlined in the arts category student rules specific to their submissions, modified only by accommodations for individuals with disabilities. The accommodation, in general, should be both specific and limited to the student’s disability.


Attendance Information

How do I turn in attendance notes?

Excuses for absences and tardies and early dismissal notes should be emailed to Mrs. Harris, the attendance secretary, and the student’s homeroom teacher. Mrs. Harris’ email is and your student’s homeroom teacher’s email address can be found in the Staff Directory. Hard copy notes can be turned into the student’s homeroom teacher. All excuses must contain the date and time of the absence, reason for the absence, and the student’s first and last name. For an absence to be excused, the reason stated in the excuse for the absence must meet the criteria established in District School Board Policy JED - Student Absences and Excuses.

Will I receive a safewalk call if my student is not in class to start the day?

Yes. We will be placing safewalk calls based on homeroom attendance. Students marked UNV (unverified) in homeroom will receive a safewalk call from the school.

What is the difference between UNV and NIC?

Teachers are taking attendance throughout the day from Homeroom until 8th Period. Daily attendance is being measured through Homeroom. If a student is absent during Homeroom, the teacher will mark the student as unverified (UNV) for the day. The student will have 3 days to turn in an excuse to their homeroom teacher and Mrs. Harris. If an excuse is turned in, the UNV will be changed to an excused absence (EXC). If no excuse is turned in within the 3 days the UNV will be changed to an illegal absence (ILX).

Teachers will be recording meeting attendance during periods 1-8. If a student is not present during periods 1-8, they will be marked as NIC (not in class) whether or not there is an excuse recorded in their Daily attendance for that day. If a student is tardy to periods 1-8, they will be marked T for that class period.

What if my student has an early dismissal?

Students with early dismissals should email or turn in a note to Mrs. Harris and their homeroom teacher with the time of the dismissal. If the student is expected to return back to school on the day of his or her dismissal, the expected time of return should be included on the note. We cannot accept early dismissals that are written by students; we must have verification from a parent or guardian.

What if my student is tardy?

Students that are tardy to school should submit an excuse, either through email or in person, to Mrs. Harris and their homeroom teacher. A student will be marked UT(unexcused tardy) if they are late to homeroom unless a note is submitted with a valid excuse as noted in the 1st question. Students will be marked T (tardy) if it is excused.

What if we have a pre planned trip scheduled?

Families planning to leave for a pre planned educational trip should fill out this Pre Approved Absence Google Form. Mrs. Harris will email families with next steps once the Pre Approved Absence Form has been completed.

Attendance Codes in Powerschool

No Code Entered- Present

T- Tardy

UT- Unexcused Tardy

EXC- Excused

NIC- Not in Class

Q- Quarantined

UNV- Unverified

UNXH- Unexcused Half

ILX- Illegal

D- Early Dismissal

Accessing Schoology

Schoology is the District's newly released Learning Management System (LMS) and we will be spending a considerable amount of time this year providing help and training to families and students so it can be a more valuable part of their students' learning experience.

On Friday, August 26, 2022 you should receive an email from Schoology with the subject line, "Schoology Registration." Please follow the directions in the email to create your Parent/Guardian Schoology account. We have also created a video that should help with this process. More details about Schoology are in the tech newsletter.

Signing Into Schoology

Families can sign into Schoology by going to and signing in using the email address registered through PowerSchool. (Note: students sign into Schoology using Clever, or at with their Google account.)

Joining A Course in Schoology

Once signed in, parents can follow these directions to join a course The access code for JMS families to join MTLSD's Family Guide to Schoology is ZRVT-HCGM-54XNJ. Families with more than one student only need to join one course, though it is suggested to join a secondary course if the oldest student in that family is enrolled in one of our secondary schools.

If you have not received initial communication from Schoology about your account, email us at

WANTED - Writing Lab Volunteers!

The heart of the Lab is conferencing: student-with-student and student-with-adult. Mrs. Melissa Kelly, the Writing Clinician, coordinates a program involving volunteers (parents, grandparents, and community friends) who conference with sixth, seventh, and eighth graders during the school day. Volunteering in the Writing Lab offers a flexible schedule and a priceless chance to help a child with their writing. There is absolutely no requirement for a volunteer to be a grammar expert! The teacher provides a streamlined conference sheet with a few targeted questions in regard to the content and organization of the student’s paper. The volunteer listens to the student read the paper aloud and then offers feedback in the areas designated by the teacher.

Both new and returning volunteers need to use the following link to sign up to help in the Writing Lab this year. 2022-2023 JMS Writing Lab Volunteer Program Volunteer clearances are needed prior to helping. Contact Mrs. Kelly via email at if you have questions.

The first training session for both new and veteran volunteers will be held on Wednesday, September 21, from 9:30—11:00 a.m. in the Jefferson Middle School Library. We will review and discuss the basic strategies used to conference with our students, and we will explain the operational aspects of our program.

JMS Yearbooks - On Sale Now!

JMS Yearbooks are on sale now through December 16, 2022. Order your yearbook and take out an 8th grade ad TODAY!


  • Now- Friday, September 30 at 11:59 PM: $45
  • Saturday, October 1 at 12:00 AM- Monday, October 31 at 11:59 PM: $50
  • Tuesday, November 1 at 12:00 AM- Wednesday, November 30 at 11:59 PM: $55
  • Thursday, December 1 at 12:00 AM- Friday, December 16 at 11:59 PM: $60

Limited extras will be sold on the last day of school for $60

8th Grade Advertisements are also for sale from now until December 16 for $35.

Please watch this video if you need help on How to Order a 2022-2023 JMS Yearbook and Purchase an 8th Grade Advertisement.

If you are unsure if you've already ordered a yearbook, please watch the video below to see how you can check your order status: How to Check for 2023 Yearbook Purchase

Lunch Information

Free/Reduced Lunch

Children need healthy meals to learn, so the Mt. Lebanon School District is committed to offer healthy meals every school day for our students. For the 2022-2023 school year, breakfast costs $1.75; lunch costs $2.65 for elementary students and $2.80 for middle school and high school students. Your children may qualify for free meals or for reduced price meals. Reduced price is $.30 for breakfast and $.40 for lunch. Click the link below for free or reduced price meal benefits, and a set of detailed instructions to help you apply.

2022-2023 Free/Reduced Lunch Application

You can also apply for free and reduced meals online via the state's COMPASS portal. Please follow the link below to begin the online application.

Adding Money to Lunch Accounts is an online lunch money accounting system where you easily monitor and deposit money into student lunch accounts.

By logging onto, you can easily :

  • Set up an account

  • Deposit money at your convenience using a credit card

  • Set e-mail reminders to notify you when your child's account has a low balance

  • Set up recurring payments

  • Check your child's account balance (no fee charged)

  • Request an activity report to check account activity for the previous 30 days (no fee charged)

To set up an account, all you will need is:

  • A valid email address
  • A credit card
  • Your child's student identification number, school and grade

There will be a 3.9% per transaction fee. Each child in your family can be set up on the same account therefore you can add money to each child's account during the same transaction. Transactions processed by pay are safe and secure using Secure Socket Link. With this technology, schools can be assured that all student information, credit card and all other student data will be highly encrypted and secure. Once the money is put on the account, it typically appears on the account in about 30 minutes.

Please follow the link below to a video that will walk you through how to add funds to your student's account.

If you choose not to use pay for credit card transactions, the District will continue to accept cash and checks. Click here for more information.


Families In Need of Technology

As we prepare to start the 2022-2023 school year, we are asking families who need to borrow student technology to please visit


Middle School Athletics

You can learn everything you need to know about Middle School Athletics, including starting dates, by visiting the MS Athletics Webpage.


7th and 8th grade boys basketball tryouts will begin the week of October 24th. Dates and times have not been set. More information will be provided starting in October. Please make sure your son has an up to date physical and they are registered through family id before tryouts. If this is not completed, they will not be permitted to try out. You can email Coach Dietz with any questions at,

JMS PTA Information

PTA Membership and Directory Access

Our Membership Store is now open! We hope you will consider joining out PTA to help fund excellent educational opportunities for our children. Directory access is available to JMS PTA members only.

Please email if you have any questions.



If you haven’t used AmazonSmile Before:

  • Go to and sign in with your regular Amazon username and password.
  • 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.
  • Make sure whenever you check out, you always go to on your browser.

If you already use AmazonSmile:

  • Go to and sign in with your username and password
  • 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”.
  • If it isn’t, you can change it by clicking on the charity and selecting “change”
  • This will bring you to a page where you can search for “Jefferson Middle School PTA Inc” and allow you to switch charities.

Make sure whenever you check out, you always go to to checkout.

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

Scanning Box Tops is an easy way to earn money for our school. 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.

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.

Resources For Families

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

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.