TJ Today

Thomas Jefferson Middle School 2019-20

February 2020

Feb. 12 - Midterm for 3rd qtr.

Feb. 14 - 17 - Mid-Winter break/President's Day


Valparaiso Community Schools Health Services 01/29/2020

SUBJECT: Preventing the Spread of Flu As you are probably aware, Flu season has officially started in Indiana, with emergency departments and outpatient provider clinics reporting influenza-like illness in their patients. There are many strains of influenza that are currently present during this time of year. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring developments around an outbreak of a respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus. While the CDC considers this a very serious public health threat, based on current information, the immediate health risk to the general American public and Porter County is considered low at this time. The Indiana State Department of Health is working closely with the Indiana Department of Education and will share information with the school community if the risk level increases. In an effort to prevent the spread of any illness or flu, please remember to:

• Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;

• Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth;

• Avoid close contact with those who are already sick;

• Get plenty of sleep; • Eat healthy food and drink plenty of fluids;

• Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing with a tissue or into the crook of your arm. Then throw the tissue in the trash;

• Clean commonly touched surfaces; and

• Stay home if ill for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone. (fever free without any fever reducing medications)

Contact the school if your child will not be in attendance. Please inform them of symptoms or diagnosis of your child. This way we can track attendance related to illness within buildings. Thanks for all you do to help keep your child healthy and ready to learn.

Feel free to contact your building Nurse or Joy Sunday BSN, RN Director of Health Services. 219/531/1447 or

Notes from the Mr. Maudlin


In addition to regular use of earbuds or headphones in classroom activities, students will need wired earbuds or headphones for ILEARN testing later this spring. Unfortunately, the ILEARN test does not support wireless earbuds/headphones. Parents/Guardians are asked to ensure their child has wired earbuds or headphones at school for the ILEARN testing days that will take place in late April and early May.

Middle School Programming Changes for 2020-2021

In case you haven't had an opportunity to review the proposed programming changes for next school year, please review the slideshow (with or without narration), the written summary of the proposed changes as well as the related FAQ by clicking here.

6th Huzzah!

6th grade Social Studies classes have started studying the Middle Ages and with that comes Feudal Day! This year, Feudal Day is scheduled for Thursday, February 13! A letter should’ve been brought home to parents by the students. Here is a link to the letter just in case it didn’t make it there! :) Do not hesitate to email Ms Alberson or Mrs Highlan with any questions regarding Feudal Day 2020.

3rd Quarter PRIDE Reward!

The 6th grade students who have earned the opportunity to attend the PRIDE reward for the third grading period will be traveling to the Boys & Girls Club of Valparaiso. This reward is for all students who have kept their PRIDE points above 80% and have zero Fs in their classes. PRIDE points are updated weekly.

What'cha reading?

Core+ has started reading "A Wrinkle in Time".

Read the Chicago Tribune newspaper article on TJMS 6th grade Enneagram project

Parents, if you could please:

· Check grades and assignments on Skyward/Canvas weekly.

· If you see a missing assignment, communicate with your child and let them know it needs to be completed/turned in.

· Contact your child’s teacher with any questions/concerns if your child is struggling academically—We all want your children to be successful!

· Encourage your child to keep up to date on his/her reading counts points!

· PLEASE try and replenish any school supplies you can. We are experiencing quite a number of students that are low on certain items. It seems like over HALF of our students are without colored pencils and regular pencils.

· Donate dry erase markers to the Math teachers! They would greatly appreciate it!

7th Cruisin on

7th grade is off to a great second semester start! In math class, we are continuing our equations unit. In Pre-Algebra, we are cruising right along in our Geometry Unit. In our English classes, we are polishing our writing skills and creating awesome essays. We will be starting our unit on the novel, The Giver, soon! In Social Studies, we have started studying China. We will be studying the history, how China earned its name, and some of the cultural aspects that make China so unique. In advanced science, we are getting ready to learn about types of chemical reactions and how to balance equations. For the rest of the science classes, we are learning about minerals, rocks and the rock cycle.

8th Grade Happenings

On January 27, 2020, TJMS 8th Graders traveled to Munster’s Theatre at the Center to attend the performance of The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights. The performance was outstanding and students had an opportunity after the show to ask questions of those involved with the production. Many thanks to Tri Kappa for funding this wonderful experience for all of our 8th graders!

In the afternoon, students competed against each other in a game of Economic Survivor. Adapted from Dr. Timothy Wunder, University of Texas. The game is used to simulate economic realities in the United States. Everyone starts with 18 labor tickets. 20% of players are also “born” with land, and another 12% have an education. Students survive by acquiring 1 land ticket, 2 clothing tickets, and 3 food tickets. The classroom winner is determined by who survived with the most “stuff.”


In the month of February, students will start to get ready for high school scheduling. Look for materials and information to be sent home mid-February and check out the course offerings on the VHS website on the Academics page. Students will also see a presentation by the Porter County Career Center highlighting many of the classes that are available to them during their junior and senior year of HS. Students interested in the Career Center will want to make sure that they start planning with their freshman year so they are able to fit those classes into their schedule. More info on these programs is available at: Finally, be sure to mark your calendars for the Parent Information night at VHS on Wednesday March 4.

Science O

Congratulations to our Science Olympiad Team for winning the Valparaiso University Invitational which was held on January 11. The team took home 12 first place medals, 6, second place medals and 2, third place medals. They beat out 18 other teams to take home the 1st place trophy. Way to go TJ!

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TJMS 2020 National Geographic GeoBee

On Thursday, January 23, 2020, TJMS students participated in the National Geographic GeoBee School Contest. The final round came down to 3 tie-breaker questions. Gunther Havenith won over Ruthie Mathews by answering the last question correctly. Congratulations to Gunther Havenith on winning! He will now take the online State Qualifying Test for TJMS. If his score is one of the top 100 in Indiana, he will represent TJMS at the State National Geographic GeoBee. Good Luck, Gunther!

Champion: Gunther Havenith, 8th Grade

Runner-up: Ruthie Mathews, 8th Grade

Third Place: Liam Strietelmeier, 8th Grade

Thanks to all of our Finals Contestants:

Kaenen Bartley

Austin Olsen

Kira Otten

Nicholas Ralph

Jacob Ray

Rowan Strietelmeier

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News from Guidance


Indiana’s 21st Century Scholars program offers income-eligible Hoosier students up to four years of paid tuition at an eligible Indiana college or university after they graduate from high school, dependent upon financial need.
7th and 8th grade Indiana students whose families meet income eligibility guidelines can apply to become a 21st Century Scholar. Applications must be received by June 30 of the student’s 8th grade year.
Applications can be done online at:


We are so grateful to have Sunny as part of our TJMS team! He brings a smile to all of us every day. Sunny greets students every morning and in the hallways during passing periods. During other times of the day, he can usually be found hanging out in the student services area helping out wherever he's needed. Sunny is 8 months old now and is taking weekly classes at Stoney Run Canine Camp. We'd like to thank Urshel Laboratory Inc. for sponsoring Sunny as well as Smoochie Pooch Mobile Pet Spa for offering free grooming for a year. Sunny is looking better than ever!

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Student Council Dates to Know

Spirit Days

2/7 80's Day

2/13 Show your love! Wear red and pink!

2/21 $1.00 PAJAMA DAY

2/28 Twinning is Winning - TWIN DAY

We are still collecting

Box Tops

Strack's Receipts

Our next meeting is Wednesday, February 5th at 7:15am in the Flex Room

Builders Club

Hello TJ students and families! Builder’s Club would first like to thank everyone who helped at the Daddy Daughter Dance at the YMCA. Up next, we have bingo at the nursing home and our next hike! Please check the Builder’s Club Canvas page for dates and additional info! Happy Early Valentine’s Day!


The next PTSO meeting is on Wednesday, February 12th, at 5:30pm in the Flex Room. This is open to all parents and guardians!

Our next giveback night is at Noddles and Company on Thursday, February 20th from 4:00-8:00pm. See attached fliers for more information!

VCS Employment

If you work well on your own and are seeking part-time employment, a job as a custodial substitute might be a good fit for your lifestyle needs. Custodial substitutes frequently work on an as needed basis.

Substitute custodians take on janitorial responsibilities when full-time custodians aren't on duty. These are generally part-time positions. The job objective is to ensure that the facility is tidy, sanitary, presentable and secure for all of the people who frequent the schools. If interested, please apply on Valparaiso Community Schools website.


TJMS is seeking an aide to assist with our ELL students. Applicants must have a Bachelor degree or have passed the state Praxis exam. If interested please apply on line .
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Did you know that we ran out of yearbooks last year? Buy now and make sure you get your copy--don't be left without a yearbook at the end of the year! Orders can easily be placed online by clicking the button below.

Share your pictures

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!

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