TJ Today

Thomas Jefferson Middle School

May 2016


May 6 - 7TH Grade GREAT PARTY 7 - 9 pm at VHS - Students must have ID, if they leave they do not get back in.

May 11 - NJHS Induction 7 p.m.

May 13 - No School

May 16-20 - Spring Book Fair

May 19-20 - NWEA Testing

May 19-21 Nationals Science Olympiad - GOOD LUCK SCIENCE O!

May 30 - No School - Memorial Day

May 31- Incentive Trip

June 2 - Awards Day

June 3 - Last Day of School and Field Day

Teacher Appreciation 2016

Throughout this edition of the TJ Today - are pictures of our teachers getting to pick from the many gift cards that our wonderful and supportive TJM parents donated to help them celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week at TJM. Besides gift cards there was a day of chair messages, a carry in lunch , a carry in dessert day (one of the teachers favorite days!) and little gifts of appreciation to all the staff. TJMS is proud to have a great staff and the best parents around!


Orchestra News

Our last middle school orchestra concert of the year is Monday, May 16, 7:00pm at VHS. Admission is free and includes the yearly ice-cream social after the concert! Come hear classics from Mahler, new compositions like "Stonehenge", and favorites including "Pirates of the Caribbean".

The Valparaiso Community Schools' Summer Orchestra program will be at BFMS, August 1-12 (M-F) 9-10am. Tuition is $60 payable at the first rehearsal. Come start the next school year off with music!

Choir Concert - Wednesday, May 18, 7:30pm Valparaiso High School

The TJMS Choirs have been working extremely hard to put together a beautiful choral program. Show tunes, folk songs, gospel, and war stories await you on Wednesday, May 18 at 7:30pm at the Valparaiso High School Auditorium. Admission is free, and we would love to sing for a full house! Please join us and support the arts!

Congratulations!! Congratulations!! Congratulations!!

The following students were chosen to participate in the 1st annual

Spring into the @rts Festival 2016: Patrick Brogan, Helena Shelhart, Hope Furst, Emma Gerdt, Zach Heskett, Gianna Burns, Aisha Field, Ian Shingler, Alex Smith, and Makenzie Mabie. These talented young artists will have their artwork on display at the White Key Gallery during the month of May. Everyone is invited to browse through the Gallery and all of the sites that encompass this exciting Festival. The White Key Gallery is located at 404 Lincolnway. If you are interested, you can visit for more information about upcoming events throughout the entire month of May.

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Mrs. Murvine -Teacher Appreciation 2016

8th So Long, Farewell…..

As the end of the 2015-2016 school year winds down, the TJMS 8th grade students are actually gearing up for a host of activities to end the year.

*Career Center Field Trip will also take place on May 12. Students will tour the career center facilities and see first-hand their programs in action.

*Student Incentive Trip for those who earned ten reward points will be May 31.

*A “Last Blast” Day will take place for our students on June 1 with our Poetry Contest, 8th Grade Picnic, and 8th Grade Farewell Dance during the school day.

*Awards Day/Dress Up Day, June 2 and Field Day, June 3

Please be aware that the school dress code must be followed on Awards Day. Students should dress appropriately as stated in the school handbook.

The 8th Grade Team would like to thank the 8th grade students for a great year. It has been a pleasure to work with you, and all your teachers wish you the best at VHS. We expect to hear great things from you.

8th Grade - End of Year Dates

Believe it or not, the end of the year is quickly approaching. We still have a lot to accomplish with our students, but here are some important dates of special events to come:

Wednesday, May 11 - NJHS Induction 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 12: Career Center Field Trip

Tuesday, May 17 and Wednesday, May 18: Spanish Final Exam

Thursday, May 19 and Friday, May 20: NWEA Testing

Monday, May 23 and Tuesday, May 24: Algebra Final Exam

Thursday, May 26 and Friday, May 27: French and German Final Exams

Tuesday, May 31: Biology Final

Tuesday, May 31: Incentive Trip

Wednesday, June 1: 8th Grade Picnic and Farewell

7th Grade Memory Making

This is the 7th grade teachers' favorite part of the year. The next few weeks are full of memory making opportunities for the seventh graders. We have the G.R.E.A.T. Party on May 6th, Kickball Tournament during all of May, Small Steps interdisciplinary novel study, the Incentive Trip, 7th grade Awards Day and, of course, Field Day.

The celebration for our 7th grader completing the G.R.E.A.T. Program is a large party held at VHS by the Valparaiso Police Department during the evening of May 6th. More information will be shared with the student at school.

Now that it is May, we begin our 6th Annual Kickball Tournament. The homerooms will enjoy the beautiful May weather as they compete against one another once a week to make it into the Championship game. Students are reminded to wear appropriate shoes on their kickball days (no sandal or bare feet allowed).

During the Small Steps interdisciplinary program, the students will be reading the novel within their LA classes during the school day. Science and Social Studies also join in the fun with a variety of lesson on the history of viruses and vaccinations.

As we do every year, we will wind down the year with Awards Day/Dress-up Day, where the students are suggested to dress nicely for the day, and we end with our Homeroom Field Day Competition.

We hope that the 7th graders have not only expanded their knowledge, but also, had opportunities to create new memories throughout the year.

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Mrs. Shepard - Teacher Appreciation 2016

6th Grade Railcats Trip​

There will be joy in Mudville! The 6th grade will ​be venturing to the Steelyard on May 10th to watch the Gary Railcats play! The trip is a culminating activity for a curricular unit the the students have been studying. All classes have been studying different topics relating to baseball. Be sure your child dresses appropriately for the weather. Sunscreen, hats, and a baseball mitt are optional items to bring along.

Social Studies: We are currently in Latin America. We have two guest speakers coming in--one sharing his trip to Costa Rica and the other sharing her trip to Machu Picchu and the Amazon River. The kids are learning about Cinco de mayo, carnival, Haiti, Mexico, and so much more. Since we are nearing the end, please continue to check Skyward to make sure your son/daughter is current with their daily work. Thank you, in advance, for what has been a very good year!

Science : ISTEP is complete! Yeah it’s over!

As promised we have been working with the scientific processes these past few weeks. Our experiments have allowed us to practice identifying both independent and dependent variables.

We have put out graphing skills back to work showing our experimental data.

We will be testing paper towel brands to see which is best at either strength or absorbency. Ask us which paper towel did the best! We will have scientific data to back up our claims.

Busy time for NJHS

NJHS has been extremely busy! They decorated a rain barrel for the Earth Day celebration sponsored by the Porter County Waste Reduction and Recycling Department.Contributing their artistic abilities were Sarah Gardener, Marissa Carlson, Ali Will, Jenni Sanders, Haley Klein, and Abby Glover.It is now located in our courtyard at TJMS. NJHS members have also helped around the community by volunteering at the Ringing in the Spring Road Race, VNA Stroll for Hospice, providing child care for Flint Lake and Parkview PTO’s, and packaging gummi bears!

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Spirit Days

TJ Spirit Days

Friday, April 29 - Color Wars

6th Grade - Red 7th Grade - Orange 8th Grade - Blue

Wednesday, May 4 - Star Wars Day

MAY the FOURTH be with you!

Friday, May 6 - Teacher Appreciation Day

Dress like a teacher day!

Thursday, May 12 - Wear Purple Day

Celebrate Mrs. Galbiati Day

Friday, May 20- Neon Day

Show how BRIGHT TJ can be!

Friday, May 27 - Crazy Sock Day

Wednesday, June 1 - Tie-Dye Day

Thursday, June 2 - Awards/Dress Up Day

Friday, June 3 - Field Day

Builders' Club

Builders' Club is wrapping up the year by raising money for the Porter County Animal Shelter. The entire school will have the opportunity to give during spirit days, May 10-12, and Builders' Club members will be joining with the Parkview K-Kids for a charity kickball game.


Track Season has begun! The TJMS Track and Field Team is open to all academically eligible students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. Students have the opportunity to participate in events that include the shot put, long jump, high jump, 75m hurdles, 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1600m, and relay races. Student-athletes are required to regularly attend practices that meet Monday through Friday. Student-athletes must also have a current physical in order to participate. (boys team) or (girls team) for more information.

Media Center: 3Doodler Pens: learning that leaps off the page!

Through a Valparaiso Schools Fund grant, the TJM media center has added five 3Doodler pens to our offerings. In line with the AASL’s (American Association of School Library’s) endeavor to refashion media center expectations that “ensure that school librarians are leading progressive, engaging, and dynamic learning opportunities for students,” the 3Doodler pens literally offer a new way for student’s to express ideas. Also purchased with the grant money, a comprehensive project book offers myriad creation options for students to explore and ultimately pursue. Mrs. Hurley introduced teachers to the 3Doodler pens during team meetings a few weeks back; teachers will soon have access to a pen during their lunch hour and team meetings in their team room until the end of the year to foster curricular brainstorming. In the media center, Mrs. Hurley continues to work one-on-one with students to create meaningful projects -- and to also pick each student’s brain about how teachers can use this tool in their classrooms.

Technology Tidbits: brought to you by the TJMS Technology Committee

Tech Committee Update

This has been a very busy year for technology advancement at VCS. At the start of the school year, a new grade program, Skyward, and a Learning Management System, Canvas, were introduced. Then at the beginning of April, TJMS was the first and only school in the district to roll-out a 1:1 pilot initiative for all students to carry either a Chromebook or laptop throughout the academic portion of the school day.

This initiative gives all of our students and teachers more opportunities to use technology in the classroom. Last week, we also started piloting a program called Hapara, an instructional management system that works in conjunction with your child’s Google Chrome account. The program allows teachers to monitor student activity on the computer during the school day. With this visibility, teachers can send a message to a student who might be off task or to encourage a student working diligently on an assignment. While teachers can kick students out of a game when they should be working on an assignment - more importantly, students are encouraged to make that decision on their own since they know teachers see their activity.

However, Hapara is much more than software to monitor student activity; it also allows teachers and students to quickly and easily share documents in Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides. Teachers can now quickly get all students on the same website without having to wait for every student to type in the web address. There is even a component that helps teachers to differentiate instruction for students.

So as we get closer to winding down another school year, our teachers will be learning as much as our students as we continue our 1:1 pilot and integration of technology.

April Pride Card Winners

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Yearbook orders can still be placed online!

Yearbook orders can still be placed until May 20th online at:

After that date, all sales must be made with Mrs. Strayer at school. The cost is $30.

  • Be sure that you select Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Valparaiso, as there are several other TJMS options.
  • Order now to avoid disappointment on delivery day in June!
  • Questions? Email Mrs. Strayer:

Yearbooks will be distributed the last week of school. Any yearbooks remaining after distribution will be available from Mrs. Strayer for $35.


If you ordered a yearbook for your child using a nickname ('Cathy' instead of 'Catherine') or a name other than the name recognized by TJMS, you may have received a post card stating that you have not yet purchased a yearbook. The yearbook company does not realize that the name you used is the same as the name on the post card. You can ignore the post card! Rest assured that your order has been placed. It's always a good idea to print out the online yearbook receipt. Thanks for supporting our school yearbook!

If you have any questions, email Mrs. Strayer:

Past Information

Late Bus

Two late buses run Monday - Thursday for all BFMS, TJMS, and VHS students. Both buses pick up at at our front entrance on Roosevelt Road. Below are details about the route and approximate pick up times.

  • South Bus #15, 3:50 - begins at TJMS and then goes to VHS, and then to BFMS.
  • North Bus #30, 4:05 - begins at BFMS, then goes to VHS, and then comes to TJMS.

Box Tops Update

We have already earned over $600 from Box Tops this year. Thank you!

Remember to keep sending them in. Each little bit adds up to a lot when everyone contributes!

Before and After School Tutoring and Computer Usage

We are excited to let all of you know that we our offering more support for your child's academic success at TJMS! The Media Center will be open Monday through Friday before and after school. Late Start Wednesday morning sessions will take place in the Cafeteria. Morning sessions will run from 7:10 - 7:40 am, and the afternoon sessions will be from 3:00 - 4:00. Students will be able to get assistance with their homework, study for upcoming assessments, and use our computers for school work. Students will be able to ride the late bus(Except for Fridays) if they stay after school for this program or remain at school for a scheduled extracurricular event. We hope that students will take advantage of this opportunity, which will be supported by TJMS teachers, Americorps volunteers, and the Valparaiso University Study Buddy Program. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs. Krutz, Mr. McKay, or your child's teacher.

Thomas Jefferson Middle School

I am Mrs. Elizabeth Krutz, principal of Thomas Jefferson Middle School.