Eagle Eye -JMS Parent Newsletter #7

August 29- September 2, 2022

"Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel." –Socrates

Hello Jefferson Middle School families and parents!

This new year is certainly in full swing! Midterm grades were sent out, we began a new class each Wednesday for all students, our athletic events continue at full speed, and recreational clubs are happening with fervor and innovation!

Once again, we want to thank each of you for your support and efforts at home as we continue to push all of our students to maximize potential and be the best citizens they can be in our world.

Wow! We are already so invested in and impacted by the start of our SEL Zero Period!! Be sure to check out Mr. Fowler's section on our new Social Emotional Learning curriculum, Character Strong!

Also, be sure to check out our Portrait of a Graduate Capstone Project AND Family Focus this month!

We continue to dive in to learning at the highest levels as we near the end of August. Students are immersed in critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity in each of their classrooms.

We appreciate and encourage all of our families to reach out with any needs, questions, or concerns.

Have a wonderful evening!

Phil Cox, Principal, pcox@ortn.edu

Ben Fowler, Vice Principal, bjfowler@ortn.edu

Brian Tinker, Dean of Students, bjtinker@ortn.edu

Elizabeth Leavitt, Instructional Technology Coach, ealeavitt@ortn.edu

Wednesday Zero Period and Social Emotional Learning

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An Awesome Kickoff!!

Our first session on Wednesday was incredibly successful! WOW! So much positive feedback from students and teachers.

What is it? Oak Ridge Schools has adopted the social emotional learning (SEL) curriculum called Character Strong. Teachers were introduced to the curriculum back in July, and your JMS staff has been exploring the content and figuring out the best way to implement the program here. We have a created a ZERO period only on Wednesdays where our students will meet with teacher mentors to explore our SEL curriculum.

Their regular schedule of classes will NOT change. 1st period is still 1st period, 2nd still 2nd, etc. We are ADDING a 30 minute period at the start of the Wednesday schedule.

On Wednesday, August 24, students will report to their new ZERO period Mentor teacher. We will also have signs up around school to remind them where to go.

As a reminder, school will start at the same time on Wednesday, at 7:40 am, and end at the same time, at 12:45 pm. See below for the updated class times. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday are NOT changing.

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Understanding SEL

Why Character Strong?

Through our Portrait of a Graduate, Oak Ridge Schools is helping our students achieve the heights of academic and personal growth as they go out in the world as strong, capable adults. Part of our mission is to build capacity in our students to engage the diverse world socially and emotionally in addition to academically. To that end, we are implementing Character Strong.

Because we are a 5th through 8th grade school, our 5th graders will be doing the Grade 6 lessons, our 6th graders will be doing Grade 7, and our 7th and 8th graders will be splitting the Grade 8 curriculum, as we have some more plans for the 8th grade students. See below to find out what those are!

Middle School Overview

SEL Mentoring Wednesdays

Every Wednesday for the rest of the year, students will start their day with small groups to talk about social and emotional skills with caring teachers using engaging curriculum. 5th, 6th, and 7th grades will be focusing primarily on the SEL curriculum, but 8th grade will be engaging in the SEL curriculum AND our Portrait of a Graduate Capstone project. See below for an explanation!
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New but Exciting Changes with SEL Mentoring Wednesdays and 8th Grade Capstone Project

We at Jefferson are very excited to bring these two new initiatives to your students. We have spent lots of time examining how best to implement these two new projects. As the school year started, we realized we needed a bit more time to refine our expectations and structures before we launched. As with all new programs, there will be some changes after implementation as we see what obstacles appear. We appreciate your support.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Mr. Fowler bjfowler@ortn.edu

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2021-2023 JMS Student Handbook

Reminders about Drop Off and Pick Up

Remember when dropping off/picking up your student:

  • JMS's weather policy is to load busses and release car riders during most weather events EXCEPT lightning or severe rain/wind. When lightning is present we will push our students back to the building and delay releasing students. We have had three major lightning issues and a major wind/rain events during our releases over the last three weeks, and we wanted to reiterate what our hold policy is. We thank our parents for their patience as we do our best to keep our students safe.
  • DO NOT enter the bus loop when buses are present!
  • Please pull your vehicle all the way up so we can keep as many cars as possible off of Fairbanks.
  • When dropping off AFTER 7:30am, students will be directed towards the main entrance. Go ahead and pull all the way up.
  • Make sure your child is ready to exit the vehicle and doesn't have to access the trunk for items, as this holds up the line.
  • DO NOT park or leave your vehicles in the neighborhoods across the street from Jefferson. Traffic is heavy during pickup and drop off and parking on those streets only increases the danger to our students and parents attempting to navigate the traffic.

Week at a Glance - August 29- September 2

Monday, August 29, 2022

  • Counseling Classroom Visits JPAC during PE classes
  • Student Council Meeting Innovation Center 6th period
  • Atomic Eagles Meeting Science Wing 2:45-4:30
  • Master Builders Meeting Rm 102 2:45-4:30
  • RadioActive Brix Meeting Rm 223 2:45-4:30
  • Cheer Practice 3:00-4:30
  • Football Practice 3:00-4:30
  • Volleyball Game vs. Robertsville (JV ONLY) @ RMS 4:00 JV
  • Football Game vs. Robertsville @ Blankenship Field 6:30

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

  • Atomic Eagles Meeting Science Wing 2:45-4:30
  • Master Builders Meeting Rm 102 2:45-4:30
  • RadioActive Brix Meeting Rm 223 2:45-4:30
  • Football Practice 3:00-5:10
  • Cross Country Practice 3:00-4:30
  • Volleyball Game vs. Horace Mann MS (Varsity ONLY) @ Horace Mann 6:30

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

  • Japanese Video Pen Pal Club Library 1:30-3:00
  • Cheer Practice 12:45-2:15
  • Volleyball Practice 1:00-3:00
  • Football Practice 1:00-3:15 Cross Country Meet @ Robertsville Times TBD

Thursday, September 1, 2022

  • Cross Country Practice 3:00-4:30
  • Volleyball Game vs. Cleveland @ Cleveland MS JV-6:30 V-7:30 Football Game vs. Jacksboro @ Jacksboro 7:00

Friday, September 2, 2022

  • Youth for Christ-Band Room 7:10
  • Ms. Kala’s class to Marina/Children’s Museum 1:45-2:00
  • Cross Country Practice 3:00-4:30

Midterm Progress

Midterm grades were finalized on Wednesday, August 24 and passed out to your student on Friday, August 26 during 7th period.

Please remember, Midterms are a point in time check. All they represent is what your student's grades are as of WEDNESDAY, August 24. Final grades for term 1 will not be locked in until October. Please be sure to ask your student about the midterm report. If you need help logging into Skyward, our student management system, OR Canvas, our learning management system, please contact Ms. Leavitt.

Ms. Kala’s Students Community Trip: Dunkin’

Our community trip was to Dunkin Doughnuts. Our students learnt about customer service, sanitation and business operations.
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4 Cs: Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, Creativity

FOCUS: Critical Thinking

For grades 5-8, we want students to be able to grow and master critical thinking appropriate to each grade level, as indicated by:

"I can demonstrate critical thinking while creating a question, answering a question, proposing a solution, and/or solving a problem."

CHALLENGE: One aspect of critical thinking is being able to apply new knowledge to two or more real world situations. Ask your child what he or she learned in one class this past week. Follow up by asking them to apply that learning to the real world (everyday life, a career, a situation).

August Character Trait Focus: RESPECT

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STUDENTS of the WEEK for Character: RESPECT!

August Character trait focus is RESPECT. We want to congratulate our student of the week winners, nominated by their teachers. We are so proud!

5th Grade: Elianna Nagle

6th Grade: Lucas Wilburn, Sebastian Acevedo, Ryan Craig

7th Grade: Taygen Gladden, Lexani Talamentez, Zya Watson

8th Grade: Zack Kidwell, Abigail Steffan, Ian Wadley Smith


Click on each picture to enlarge!

Student Success Assembly Information

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WEDNESDAY Homework Help has ARRIVED!

Wednesday Homework Help is in FULL SWING. If students have questions about an assignment, need guidance about their homework, or are looking for a quiet place to work, Mrs. Huddleston and Mrs. Ozcan will be available in the Innovation Center on Wednesdays after dismissal. Students will need to be picked up by 3:00 pm. All grade levels are welcome to attend. Please e-mail Mrs. Huddleston (cdhuddleston@ortn.edu) or Mrs. Ozcan (mozcan@ortn.edu) with any questions.

SIGN UP for CANVAS to See What Your Child is Doing Each Week!!

SCHOOL PICTURES: September 8!!

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TCAP reports

The state department has released an updated Family Portal where you can view scores and understand how to interpret results. Below, you can: click on the picture to be taken to this site, or download the TCAP Parent Brochure included below the picture.

Japanese Pen Pals NAKA Club has lifted off!

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HOMEWORK HOTLINE: Monday-Thursday 5-9 PM

Did you know Tennessee has its own Homework Hotline only for students in Tennessee? This is a free service offering live online tutoring, an interactive whiteboard, along with help resources for every subject and grade level! Click the link ABOVE!

Counseling Corner

Ms. Katie Cormack (Left- 6th and 8th Grade)- My name is Katie Cormack and am the school counselor for grades 6 and 8, following their cohort until they go to the high school! I am entering my 5th year as a school counselor and was previously a special education teaching assistant. This is my second year at Jefferson Middle School, and it absolutely feels like home. JMS is a very special place. I consider working with your children a true blessing. Please know I am always here to help in any way- just reach out! My office number is 865-425-9252. Here’s to a great year!

Ms. Candie Price (Right- 5th and 7th Grade)- Hello JMS Family! I will be the School Counselor for grades 5 and 7 this year. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my husband and our three children. I love being a school counselor and am thankful to have the opportunity to work with you and your children. Please contact me with any questions or concerns! Go Eagles!

Please contact our school counseling department with any other questions at 865-425-9302. Ms. Amy Myers, school registrar, is happy to assist with enrollment, withdrawal paperwork, transportation, Skyward, school updates, etc.

Clothing Closet Accepting Donations

JMS is pleased to offer support for students in need through our “clothing closet”. We are accepting clean, gently used clothing items for students in need. All sizes are welcome but our largest need is for junior sized clothing. Please make sure all donated items meet JMS dress code policy. Donated items can be dropped off in the JMS counseling office. Thank you for your support!

Please Complete: JMS School Counseling Parent Needs Assessment

If you have not already done so please, take a minute to complete the JMS Parent Needs Assessment so we may know how to best serve our students this year

Oak Ridge Schools Family Resource Center

The Oak Ridge Family Resource Center offers many types of services to our families!

Information and Referral to Community Resources

  • Network to provide families with needed services
  • Aid with applications to community resources

Program Development and Implementation

  • Eliminate gaps in services

Case Management

  • Home visits
  • Emergency Transportation
  • Family Advocate

Educational Goals

  • Readers and Leaders Tutorial Programs
  • Attend parents teachers conferences at the request of the parent
  • Attendance Support

Student Programs

  • Food for Kids
  • School Supplies
  • Children’s Clothing Closet

Adult Programs

  • Parenting Classes and Seminars
  • Job Skill/Resume Assistance
  • Budgeting Classes and Seminars

Emergency Assistance

  • Provide emergency assistance for rent/utilities
  • Provide emergency assistance for medicines and gasoline
  • Provide emergency assistance for food and clothing

The family resource center has two offices located on the west and east side of Oak Ridge. Their offices are located at Willow Brook Elementary and Glenwood Elementary.

For assistance, please contact Jo Bruce, FRC Director at 865-425-3205/jbruce@ortn.edu or Sharon Gleason, FRC Assistant at 865-425-9369/slgleason@ortn.edu

JMS Family Resource Survey

We are happy to partner with some great community resources in order to help our families and students. Please complete the digital form below if you would like to receive any community services at this time.

School Programs:
1. Second Harvest Food Bags: Bag of nutritional snacks placed discretely in student's lockers every Friday before dismissal.
2. Angel Tree Gifts: Supports through the Holiday Season with buying your children a gift(s)
3. Holiday Food Baskets: Helps to put a meal on your table during the special holiday season!
4. ADFAC Backpack program: Helps provide students with a new backpack and school supplies each year

Form Link:



We have another jam packed week of JMS Athletics this week!

  • On Monday night, the Eagles JV football team will host the Robertsville Rams in a JV match up. Kickoff is at 6:30pm at Blankenship Field. The Lady Eagles volleyball team will travel to Robertsville on Monday for a JV double header at 4pm and 5pm.
  • On Tuesday night, the Lady Eagles volleyball team travels to Horace Maynard for a varsity game at 6:30pm.
  • On Wednesday night, The Eagles and Lady Eagles cross country teams travel to Robertsville for a meet at 6pm (girls) and 6:30pm (boys).
  • OnThursday night, the Eagles football team travels to Jacksboro for varsity game at 7pm. The Lady Eagles volleyball team travels to Cleveland for a JV and varsity game on Thursday Thursday night,.

Please make plans to come out and support the JMS athletic teams this week! Go Eagles!

Volleyball, Football, and Cross Country Schedules are below!

Go Eagles!


The Reading Eagle - Messages from Ms. Haverkamp!

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Join the ORS STEM Committee! Stem Committee Form is attached below.

The purpose of the STEM Committee is two-fold: parents and community members learn about what STEM opportunities are occurring in our schools and how they can support that work, as well as how Oak Ridge Schools can support our community and businesses through STEM Education. Consider becoming a member today!
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Bus Routes: https://www.ortn.edu/district/bus-routes/.


Once you are registered for transportation, you will be able to track your child's bus using the app information detailed below. Please see information on how to register for MyStop below.

MyStop - Parent/Student Login

  • Username: (use student’s name - case sensitive) firstname.lastname
  • Password: (use student birth date) in this format 03122007 for March 12, 2007

MyStop Phone App Available In Your App Store

Go to: Versatrans My Stop™ provides mobile access to bus information. This app displays the location of the user’s assigned school bus, as well as the estimated time of arrival to their stop. Students can plan for late or on-time arrival, and prevent missed pick-ups or being left outside in inclement weather.

Can’t Access the MyStop App?

If you are having difficulty accessing the MyStop App please take the following steps:

  1. Please confirm the following:
  2. You have downloaded the App from Tyler Technologies.
  3. You are using the legal student name as listed in Skyward.
  4. You have selected all lower case letters.
  5. You have placed a period between the first and last name.
  6. The birthdate is correct and only consist of 8 numbers.

If this information doesn’t allow you to successfully download your child’s MyStop App account, please contact Amy Myers at 865.425.9302 or email amyers@ortn.edu. You can also view more information on the ORS District website at https://www.ortn.edu/district/bus-routes/.

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