TJ Today

Thomas Jefferson Middle School

January 2016

Upcoming Dates:

Jan. 12 - Parent Advisory Meeting, 6:00 p.m. in the Library

Jan. 12 - Papa Johns Fundraiser - flyers will be sent home

Jan. 14 - End of 2nd Grading Period

Jan. 15 - No School - End of Semester (1/2 day work for teachers)

Jan. 18 - No School - Martin Luther King Day

Yearbook orders can still be placed online!

Yearbook orders can still be placed online at:

  • 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:

Technology Tidbits: brought to you by the TJMS Technology Committee

Read Below or click on this link for a PDF.

Want an easy way to view grades in Skyward?

  1. From the menu, click on Gradebook.
  2. This will allow you to view each class and current letter grade.
  3. To see detailed grades for assignments, click on the next to each class so that it turns . You can then click on Next 10… if more assignments exist.

Does your child have missing assignments?

  1. At the top of the gradebook it says ”Missing Assignments Exist for (your child’s name)” or “There are no missing assignments for (your child’s name).”
  2. If missing assignments exist, it tabulates all missing assignments from the beginning of the year.
  3. To view missing assignments, click on (Show All).
  4. This will give you the list of assignment missing for the entire year. To view the missing assignments from the current grading period, click on Show only for current term.
  5. You will then see the list of assignments, the class the assignment is for, the assignment category (ex: Homework, test, etc), and the point value of the assignment.
  6. You can click on the assignment for more details.

8th Grade Thinking about the Future

The 8th grade class of 2020 is getting ready to start scheduling their high school courses in social studies class. This is a really exciting time of year for these students because they are all beginning to think about the path they will take during their time at VHS. Teachers will be making recommendations for next year, and we strongly urge you to follow these because many feel it will lead students to the greatest amount of success in their educational career. Incoming freshmen also have the option to take a summer school course, but the choices are limited and seats will fill up fast. If your son or daughter is interested, please check the VHS webpage for information or contact our school guidance department about the details.
Other activities adding to the excitement of the 8th grade year are a tour of the Career Center and the upcoming Envision the Future program at the Porter County Fairgrounds. Both of these programs have been developed to help guide students in thinking about their careers and what it will take to reach those goals. Each student takes a survey on the computer that asks basic questions about their interests. The software then takes that data and matches it with two or three careers that might be of interest to each individual. Many students are amazed how closely these match their own ideas. Please, when you have a second ask your students about these programs and what potential careers they might explore in their future. Most classes are also using these career choices as the research paper topic in language arts class

7th Grade looking forward

It is hard to believe that we are almost half-way through the school year. Looking back on the past few months, there are so many activities and successes that can be seen. From the beginning of the year's expectations discussion to our "Boo-Gatta" Challenge to the Dicken's Christmas Carol activities. Students have been working hard to gain new concepts, expand on prior knowledge, and challenge themselves to reach even greater heights. We have so much more to come during this school year. There are of course ISTEPs to work through and NWEA tests to finish, but there are also science experiments to try, stories to write, math problems to solve, and new celebrations to learn about. These are what makes a year memorable-the chances we have to take students beyond the textbooks! There are many special activities in the remaining part of this seventh grade year that we are looking forward to sharing with the students.

6th Grade Happenings

2016 is off to a great start for our sixth graders! They came back from the break refreshed, excited, and ready to learn. We have high expectations for the students' behavior and academics.
In Language Arts and Literature classes, we are starting our poetry unit. Along with reading and writing poetry, each student will be responsible for memorizing and presenting a previously published poem to their classmates. Props and/or a costume will bring the poems to life! Keep working on that memorization!
In Social Studies, we are wrapping up our studies on Ancient Rome. We will have our homeroom gladiatorial challenge next Thursday and our unit test will be that week also! The next unit we will be studying is the Middle Ages. Castle Jefferson will lower the drawbridge and invite the kids into Medieval life and all the trappings!
In Science, we are working on Chapter 6, Earth, Moon, and Sun. We are learning that the seasons in both hemispheres are a result of the inclination of the Earth on its axis. Students will be learning how the position, size, and relative motions of the Earth, moon, and sun cause day and night, solar and lunar eclipses, and phases of the moon.
In Math, students are getting ready for the semester one final. We will be completing a study guide in class. To further review for this test, students should review their notes, quizzes, and tests in their math binder. As always, Moby Max is a great online tool to practice specific math skills.
Semester time is the perfect time to replenish school supplies. We have many students that need pencils, highlighters, colored pencils, etc. The school supply store is also open during lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Remember to check Skyward for updated grades! Thanks for all you do to help your child be successful!

Drama Club Thinking of Spring!

Think Spring-- Preparations for the TJMS Drama Club's Spring Variety Show are underway. Students may audition for the show on either Jan. 19 or Jan. 20 in the auditorium after school. Sign up for an audition time outside Miss Ellenson's room, D182. For more information, contact Miss Ellenson or Mrs. Wagner.

TJMS Media Center

Look for announcements about the TJMS Media Center establishing a makerspace for students. YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) remarks: “Making in particular emphasizes learning-through-doing in a social environment. Additionally, making often emphasizes new and unique applications of technologies and encourages innovation and invention.” Students will drive this initiative through their own suggestions and involvement, such as students participating in Hour of Code activities and eighth grader Mikkel Harris volunteering to demonstrate Arduino to his peers. Though, makerspace activities are not only about computer technology; some project ideas include creating constructions using good, old-fashioned Legos and puzzles. As the space is developed, Mrs. Hurley will include details on the daily announcements and post information on Facebook.
Bring the Library Home

Low cost internet service if your child is eligible for the National Lunch Program.

Cafeteria Account Management

Happy, Healthy New Year from Food and Nutrition Services! Did you know parents can manage their child’s cafeteria accounts through Skyward Family Access? You can quickly and easily check your child’s cafeteria account balance, monitor purchases and make online payments. Are you signed up for low balance email alerts? Sign into Skyward by clicking on the Parent Portal icon at Click on Open Family Access. Click on My Account in the upper right hand corner. Scroll down through Account Settings and check the box with Receive Emails when Food Service Balance is under $5.00.

Questions? Call Food and Nutrition Serves at 531-3050.

21st Century Scholars

Have you completed a Twenty-First Century Scholar application for your child? The applications must be completed during your child's seventh or eighth grade year. If your child qualifies for the program and follows the Twenty-first Century Scholars Pledge, he or she can get up to four years of undergraduate college tuition to attend an eligible Indiana college or university. The online application can be found at If your family income does not exceed the income maximums, complete each section of the enrollment form. The Twenty-first Century Scholars website can also be accessed on the Thomas Jefferson Middle School website. Please contact Mrs. Carlson in the Guidance office with any questions.

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.
Thomas Jefferson Middle School will be collecting Box Tops all year long! Please save your box tops and send them in with your student. Home rooms are competing for a pizza party this year for the most collected!

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.