Winter Newsletter

Thomas Jefferson Middle School

Principal's Letter

Dear TJMS Parents,

I would like to start my communication by wishing you and your family a Happy New Year! May this new year bring you peace, happiness, health, and prosperity. By now, you should have received a letter from Dr. Bragen sharing our return to hybrid instruction was pushed back to February 1, 2021, due to the increased numbers of positive COVID-19 cases around the world. In the letter from Dr. Bragen, there is a link for parents to complete the survey to choose for their child in-person instruction or stay fully remote. The choice you make for your child will remain in place for the entire third marking period. Please complete the survey by Tuesday, January 19, 2021. My staff and I know that this is a difficult time for our students. Our students are being sequestered at home at the stage in life they need their teachers and peers the most. Teachers are focused on making personal connections with their students and incorporating social and emotional learning activities. Additionally, teachers are facilitating the process of setting goals with students for the new year. Research shows that goal-setting promotes the following:

  • Providing a clear path to success
  • Teaching self-management
  • Increasing motivation
  • Measuring progress in each subject
  • Promoting a mindset of accountability and active involvement

Parents, we need your help to ensure your child is continuing to learn in remote/hybrid learning. Please assist your child with developing routines that will eliminate distractions during the school day. Encourage your child to reach out to his/her teachers to schedule a time for academic support during the teacher’s office hours. Visit the parent portal periodically to monitor your child’s progress in his/her classes. As you know, there must be a partnership between home and school that fosters academic achievement for all learners. Contact administration, teachers, and counselors if your child needs emotional or academic assistance. Communication from my office and Dr. Bragen’s office will be via email. Please check your email frequently.

For your convenience, Dr. Bragen’s letter that was emailed to parents on January 11, 2021, can be found in this newsletter.

Stay Safe,

Mrs. Emden

During the pandemic and remote learning, is your child feeling stressed about schoolwork?

Anxious about personal health or the well-being of friends and family members? Out of touch

with his or her peers and the world in general? These feelings are normal for our middle school students and similar to many of the same emotions we are experiencing as adults.

What are some things that might help your child and YOU?

● Exercise daily by bundling up and taking a walk, riding a bike around the block a few

times, or completing a work out video on YouTube.

● Play a board game or cards together with members of your household

● Ensure that everyone is disconnected from computers and mobile devices several hours


● Get into a routine from waking up, to getting dressed, to mealtime, to relaxing time, to

bed at night

● Find a good book and get immersed in it

● Make healthy choices with snacks and meals

● Use a journal to express frustrations, fears, and hopes

● Build connections and deepen relationships with neighbors, peers and coworkers, or

family members you don’t interact with regularly

● Ask for help when needed through teachers, guidance counselors, administrators, and

health professionals

● Remind yourself and others that the doctors, researchers, and experts say that we are

moving in the right direction and the end is in sight

If you have found something else that has proven helpful with your student and think it might be beneficial for other families, please share it so we might pass it on in future newsletters.

WiSTEM | FOCUS Project: I​3

Dear Edison Parents,

Welcome to Project I​3 (I-Cubed)!

We are Edison High School STEM Academy juniors who have founded a club called WiSTEM | FOCUS (Women-in-STEM | Female Opportunities Created Using STEM) with a mission to improve and encourage STEM interest in both our own members and younger students from the community. To achieve this goal, we have created Project: I​3 (Initiative to Increase Involvement in STEM), a community outreach program to introduce 8th grade students to STEM-based topics beyond the regular curriculum.

We plan to run one to two virtual Zoom sessions a month on Mondays 3:00 - 3:30 PM after school on topics ranging from ​The Science Behind Phobias​ to ​Intro to CAD (Computer Aided Design)​ to ​The COVID-19 Vaccine​. These sessions will consist of a short presentation from our club members, an interactive activity, and a Q & A session.

Coordinating with each of the middle schools, we have created a Google Classroom, where we will post announcements and forms to sign up for upcoming sessions. Please ask your child to join using this code: ​ohgnafo​. Sign ups will be on a first come, first serve basis capped off at a predetermined number. Students who sign up and are invited to a session will receive a Zoom link in their school email.

WiSTEM | FOCUS Project: I​3

For those that cannot attend, a recording of the presentation will be posted on the Google Classroom and our YouTube channel to view on their own time.

Our first session will be ​The COVID-19 Vaccine​ on January 25, 2021. We hope to see many young students there!

With the current situation in mind, our goal is to extend STEM opportunities to more students and reach a broader audience. We hope that your child will gain a valuable experience from their participation in Project: I​3. Please feel free to reach out to us or your school’s coordinator with any questions or concerns.

Thank you and Happy New Year!


Vasumathi Venkat, Ishani Kunadharaju, Srinidhi Venkatesh, and Diya Agrawal



Only those students who have completed all sports-related paperwork have been emailed information regarding basketball tryouts.


Begins March 1st. All paperwork must be submitted by Feb. 1

Softball & Baseball:

April 1st. All paperwork must be submitted by March 1st.

Track-Interscholastic - Pending

Picture Day:

Lifetouch Website

Picture Day ID: EVTCP6NSD

8th Grade Sign-up is on January 28th, Thursday from 2PM to 6PM

6th and 7th Grade Sign-ups are January 29th, Friday from 2PM to 6PM

An email will be sent to all parents with instructions to sign up for a time slot.