TJ Today

Thomas Jefferson Middle School

March 2018

Mar 6-7- ISTEP Testing - mornings

Mar 8 -Fundraiser Pickup

Mar 9- No One Eats Alone

Mar 14 - 8th Envision the Future

Mar 14 -15 - Variety Show - 7 pm in the auditorium

Mar 16 - March Madness Party from 3:00-4:30 p.m.

Mar 24 - 28 Spring Break

Calendar Updates

  • March 16 - Weather make-up day
  • April 23 - Weather make-up day
  • May 8 - No school, election day
  • May 18 - School in session due to election day

ISTEP + Testing

  • ISTEP+ Testing – We will be giving Part I of the ISTEP on the mornings of Tuesday, March 6th and Wednesday, March 7th. It is very important that all students are in attendance on these days. To help relax students and focus on the test, teachers will not be giving homework on Monday, March 5th or Tuesday, March 6th. Any absent student will need to make up the test by Friday, March 9th.


We would like to send out a Big Thank You to Kevin Kosek and Regional Federal Credit Union for donating gift cards for our Viking Pride Program!! Without you, our program would not be the success it is!

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8th Grade - Future Here We Come!

High school will be here before they know it! Eighth grade social studies classes had a meeting with guidance staff to discuss ninth grade scheduling and summer school opportunities. At this point, all 8th graders should have selected their electives and signed up for their high school classes.

On March 14, eighth grade students will take a field trip to the Porter County Expo Center to simulate life and career experiences at an event called “Envision the Future.” Students will move from one booth to the next as they learn about taxes, utilities, expenses and unexpected events. We hope that your student will understand and appreciate all that you do for them after they attend this event.

The third grading period officially ends on March 16. On that day, students will get to see the spring drama performance during the school day. On March 20, students will get a taste of college life during a college visit to Valparaiso University. We will take a walking tour of the campus and learn about college expectations.

Students are encouraged to wear their Advisory t-shirt or color for both of our field trips (Wednesday, March 14 and Tuesday, March 20).

7th grade - Work-readiness

The 7th Grade team has a number of activities planned for the month of March. During our ISTEP testing days, the 7th grade team will have an opportunity to experience a mock e-learning day. These in-school e-learning activities will help students and teachers discover the best practices for this type of learning experience.

On March 22, business professionals and community volunteers will lead 7th Graders in work-readiness and career activities. In coordination with the Junior Achievement Program, the It's My Future JA Day Program will provide practical information about preparing for the work world. Students learn about career clusters, high-growth jobs, career planning, creating a personal brand, and job hunting. We are still looking for business professionals and community volunteers to help with this program. Please contact the school if you are interested.

Prior to heading to Spring Break, the 7th Grade students will participate in GIVER DAY. After completing their studies of the 1993 Lois Lowry novel, the 7th graders will engage in activities that simulate events that occured in the book.

6th Gr. - Has Lots Going On!!

ISTEP: TJMS 6th grade will be taking ISTEP next week on March 6 and 7. Please make sure that your student:

● Gets a good night’s sleep and is well rested

● Eats a well-balanced breakfast

● Has their Chromebook charged

● Wears layered clothes (to adjust to the temperature in the testing room)

Poetry Contest: The annual TJMS 6th grade Poetry Contest was held in February! Here are the winners and honorable mentions. THANK YOU to the ELA teachers for their time and dedication. And a big shout out to the parents who attended! Thank you for your support! You all make us Viking Proud!

1st place: Selena Martin

2nd place: Addison Clark

3rd place: Michael Ridley

Honorable Mentions: Daunte Schroeder, Emma Hann, and Melina Rodriguez

On Thursday, March 1st, students were able to hear and interact with Florence Williams who presented her book, The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative, to the entire 6th grade class. The students were an attentive audience and had many great questions after the presentation.

All 6th grade students across the district are reading Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen. It’s a story about Cole Matthews, a troubled teen who experiences a life-altering encounter with the mythical Spirit Bear. Students and teachers alike are enjoying lively discussions based on their reactions to the text!

Feudal Day: Mrs. Highlan and Miss Alberson would like to give a HUGE thanks to everyone who helped make our Feudal Day 2018 a success. The students looked great in their costumes, as did the teachers. We had a wonderful day learning about life in the Middle Ages. Pictures of Feudal Day are posted on the TJMS Facebook page.

Parenting with Love and Logic Workshop

This is a 6-week workshop held for parents on Tuesday evenings at TJMS. Previously, these have been hosted at other elementary schools, and the classes are ideal for middle school parents too. Registration is open to both Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson Middle School parents. The registration will close at 50 parents, so register soon for this popular event. Please follow this link for more information.

February Pride Card Winners

Big picture

Student Council Update

Breakfast Drive:

Beginning Monday, March 5 and lasting until Friday, March 9, TJMS will be collecting non-perishable goods (breakfast items) for Housing Opportunities. All third period classes will be participating in the Housing Opportunities Breakfast Drive. The class with the most donations gets an ice cream party. Each grade level will have its own winner!

Spirit Days:

3/2- Viking Pride

3/9- Dress like a teacher

3/16 - After School Party

3/23 - Tourist Day


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

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

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

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

Parents and students--We KNOW you take amazing pictures--like those amazing action shots during sporting events or group shots of you and your friends---and we want to publish your work in our yearbook!

Have you downloaded the Replayit app on your phone yet? No? No worries! You can upload your amazing photos by visiting

Thanks for sharing your moments with us!

Media Center Happenings

Community Collaborations

Thoughout the school year, Mrs. Hurley has worked closely with Ms. Amanda, the children’s librarian from the Valparaiso Public Library, to think about how to extend learning opportunities to a wider audience and also how to provide more personalized help for our students when they visit the public library. On Thursday, March 8, 7th and 8th grade students will have an opportunity to create a bottle cap locker magnet, which will give students a hands-on opportunity to be creative and to think about how they can upcycle materials in a purposeful way. During February, students were led in an activity to make flour stress balloons, a really fun way to design and customize a stress-relieving tool; students also had a chance to participate in a LEGO building challenge The interactive learning opportunities help students get involved in a multi-sensory way, ensuring students remain engaged throughout the experience. Mrs. Hurley and Ms. Amanda are also working together to create Reading Counts signage for the public library that will help both students and parents identify Reading Counts books, points levels, and reading levels. Stay tuned for more details!

Builders Club News

This month, Builders Club will be busy raising money for the Porter County Animal Shelter. This week-long fundraiser will be held March 19-23. There will be different ways to donate your dollars each day. Posters will be hung around school soon with more details.

Our next meeting is Wednesday, March 7. We will be having a guest speaker from the Porter County Animal Shelter. He may be bringing a four-legged friend, so members don’t want to miss this meeting! All members are welcome and encouraged to attend.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

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

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.