TJ Today

Thomas Jefferson Middle School

September 2017

Sept. 4 NO School - Labor Day


Sept. 20 PTSO meeting 5:00 pm


Sept. 29 1/2 Day of school for students 11:30 dismissal

Meet Our New Social Worker!

Greetings! My name is Trisha Keown and I am the school social worker at TJMS. I would greatly appreciate parents/guardians taking the time to complete a survey regarding social work services. By completing this survey, you are helping me better serve the students here at TJMS. I want to ensure that each and every student at TJMS is receiving the services they may need. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions, concerns, or comments.

Trisha Keown, School Social Worker

tkeown@valpo.k12.in.us (219) 531-3140 ext: 6213


Link: Social Work Services Survey

Meet Our New Staff Members

8th Grade - READY, SET, START!

The 8th grade team would like to welcome all students (and parents) to a new school year. To get off to a great start, we want to stress the importance of the teacher-student-parent relationship. It is our hope that we can all work together as a team to help each student have a successful 8th grade year. We believe that there are two keys to make this happen:


First: open communication

  • If you have not already done so, please sign-up to be an observer in your child’s Canvas account. Directions to do this can be found by clicking this link: Canvas Sign-up Brochure

  • On Canvas, in each course, 8th grade teachers will post:

    • homework assignments and announce test/quizzes via the calendar

      • When viewing the calendar, be sure that the square next to the course name has a color selected so that you can see any postings for that class.

    • links for online textbooks.

    • times when the teacher is available to provide extra help.

    • other helpful resources pertinent to each class.

  • On Canvas, there is an 8th Grade TJMS News & Info Page. This page may include:

    • information on upcoming events including field trips, testing, etc.

    • Information that is sent home with students such as field trip permission forms, order forms, etc.

  • Check your child’s grades in Skyward at least once or twice a week. This is where all official grades will be posted.

  • Email or call your child’s teachers if you have any questions or concerns.

  • Please make sure that your email address is always correct in Skyward. Many teachers will use the information in Skyward to email you throughout the year.


Second: completion of work and preparation

  • It is important for students to complete their assignments on time. However, when an assignment is not completed, students can still earn 75% credit until the end of the chapter/unit.

  • Students who do not complete assignments in a timely manner may be assigned to Study Tables to assure completion of work and to get extra assistance.

  • Students should study for quizzes/tests. However, students who earn less than 80% on a quiz/test will be eligible for some type of reassessment to assure understanding of the material.

7th grade is a whirlwind

The school year is off to a great start. The beginning of the year was a whirlwind of excitement. The 1:1 Chromebook roll-out went so very smoothly, and we are extremely impressed with the students’ care of these devices.

New for this year is the Math XL program that the students are using for math class. This new online textbook allows students to continuously attempt similar problems until they achieve a 100% on their daily homework. If you have not had the opportunity to see this program in action, please have your student share it with you tonight.

If you have not had a chance to sign up to be an observer in your student’s Canvas account, please take a moment to do so. The instructions can be found on the VCS website and have been shared with you by the 7th grade English teachers.

What a GREAT way to start the school year! The G.R.E.A.T. program (Gang Resistance Education and Training) will begin in early September and continue through December in the classrooms. Officer Cox works hard to motivate the students during her weekly classroom visits. She will be in the English classrooms starting in September. She will then be moving to the math classrooms for the start of October.

If you have any questions or would like to request a teacher conference, please do not hesitate to contact us.

So far, so good--TJMS 6th Graders are settling in!

It has been a busy few weeks at Thomas Jefferson Middle School--especially for the 6th graders. The first week of school went by like a whirlwind! The hallways were buzzing with students, new and old, attempting (and succeeding) to find their classes, open their lockers, and learn all the new procedures. Success and good behavior were rewarded with some outside time and Kona Ice! The second week of school saw the students starting to settle into their routines and walking with a little more confidence! Open House was held during the second week of school as well. Thank you, Parents, for coming out in large numbers and making the night a success! Now that we have started week three, I think it’s safe to say that our 6th graders at TJ Middle are in for an amazing year!


Also, 6th grade homework is posted on Canvas this year.

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PTSO - Parent, Teacher, Student, Organization

We are thrilled to announce our first PTSO Board!

    • President - Angela Crossin

    • President Elect - Brian Niksch

    • Treasurer - Christy Hill

    • Treasurer Elect - Rosie Rafalski

    • Secretary - Jill Taylor

    • Secretary Elect Cassandra Witz

    • Teacher Representative - Cheryl Highlan

    • Student Council Representative - Michelle Coberg

    • Students - TBD

  • If you would like to help please complete this Parent Support Form.
  • After School Tailgate has been rescheduled to October 17th.
  • Next Meeting is September 20th at 5:00 p.m.

Around the Table Dinners - 6th Grade Families

Attention All Sixth Grade Parents: You and your family are invited to three awesome "Around the Table" after-school events this quarter! We will be hosting three dinners for our 6th graders and their families on September 27, October 4, and October 11 from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. in our cafeteria at TJMS! After eating dinner together, we will have a program for parents and for our sixth grade students discussing family values and communication between adolescents and their parents. High school students will provide child care and activities for younger children as well! Please put these dates on your calendar. We would love to see you there! All three of these dinners will provide different resources and ideas for parents and students as they enter their middle school years, and best of all, all three dinners are free of charge. More information will be forthcoming!

Student Council Update

Wednesday morning started bright and early for the TJMS students who were interested in joining Student Council. The informational call-out meeting started at 7 a.m. and was held in Ms. Coberg’s room. Students piled in; the turnout was amazing! Once the meeting officially began, Ms. Coberg gave a quick welcome and introduction and outlined the expectations of representing TJMS well as a member of Student Council. Miss Alberson was also introduced as a new sponsor for the 2017-2018 school year. Near the end of the meeting, students were given these reminders:


  1. Student Council permission slips are due by Friday, September 8, and should be placed in the tray outside of Ms. Coberg’s class.

  2. Come up with ideas for TJMS Student Council this year and bring them to the next meeting.

  3. The next meeting will be Wednesday, September 13, at 7a.m. in Ms. Coberg’s room.

Lowest Price on Yearbooks!


It may be the beginning of the school year, but it's the best time to order a yearbook! Ordering early guarantees that your child will be able to look back on their middle school memories for years to come! Plus, if you purchase your yearbook now, you will get the lowest price available! Even better, if you choose to personalize your yearbook, you can choose up to four designer icons for FREE!


Click HERE to order--these offers are only valid until September 16, so hurry!

Builders Club News

Builders Club is getting ready to welcome both new and experienced members to another memorable year of helping others. Meetings are held in the TJM Media Center every first and third Wednesday of the month. Students may take the late bus home or get picked up in front of school at 3:45.


The call-out meeting will be Wednesday, September 6. Come learn about what we have planned for this school year, including our first event, the Pack-a-thon (September 16). Membership forms, T-shirt order forms, and permission slips for the Pack-a-thon will be available at the meeting. If you are unable to attend on Wednesday, but are interested in being involved, stop by Mrs. Janowiak’s room to pick up the information.

Strolling Strings

Strolling Strings will be starting Thursday, September 7. This is an after school, extra-curricular group that will work on learning traditional and patriotic music. Our first performance will be the Star Spangled Banner at the TJMS football game Wednesday, October, 18. Interested string students should pick up a copy of the music from the orchestra room before the first rehearsal.

Student Success - Homework, Retakes, and Study Table Procedures

Here is a link to our procedures: information that was shared by all advisory teachers at this year's Open House. As a reminder, all grades are posted on Skyward, and homework is posted in the following ways:


  • 6th Grade - Canvas
  • 7th Grade - Canvas
  • 8th Grade - Canvas
  • AA - Canvas

All parents are encouraged to create a parent Canvas Observer account. For more information on this, please follow this link on our website.

BACKPACK AND SNACK SIGN-UP

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.