JMS Weekly Update

December 18, 2022

Dear JMS Families,

This week's Update contains information about the following:

Please notify our nurse, Mrs. Raco, and complete this FORM if your child has tested positive for COVID-19.

Take care,

Dr. Sarah Shaw, Principal

Mrs. Amanda Jackson, Assistant Principal

Weekly Schedule

Monday - Day 5

Tuesday - Day 1

Wednesday - Day 2

Thursday - Day 3

Friday - Day 4 - Pajama Day - 12:00 Dismissal

Monday (12/26) - Sunday (1/1) - Winter Break - No School

Monday (1/2) - Day 5

New News

Promising Young Writers

On November 10, 51 eighth graders began writing for the NCTE Promising Young Writers Program in response to the theme they were given. Of those, 34 students put forth the necessary effort and time, completed the writing sample, and turned in a copy for evaluation. We are especially proud of them for their motivation and effort in seeing this opportunity to completion.

This year’s prompt was both challenging and open-ended. Of our 34 participants, 4 deserve recognition for their excellent work. The following students deserve an honorable mention for their performance:

Conner Baird, Molly Kuhlman, Gabrielle Prasad, and James Quisenberry.

Of the 34 participants, three finalists from JMS have been chosen. These students will spend from now until early February revising their papers which will then be sent in for evaluation in the state competition. This year’s finalists should be very proud of themselves. With a challenging prompt, they composed insightful, original pieces that showed authentic voice. This year’s JMS Promising Young Writers Finalists are Julia Antunes, Allie Miller, and Pamela Yang!

Congratulations, Julia, Allie, and Pamela!

Attendance Information - Excused Absences

Attendance is an important factor in your child's success at school. We have been closely monitoring attendance and wanted to share some information about excused and/or lawful absences. We understand that there are extenuating circumstances, but we believe that this reminder is helpful.

As per School Board Policy JED: A maximum of ten (10) days of cumulative lawful and/or excused absences verified by a parental notification shall be permitted during a school year. Any absence beyond ten (10) cumulative days may require an excuse from a licensed medical practitioner.

Please contact Dr. Shaw and Mrs. Jackson if you have questions about this policy.

Schoology Webinar for Parents - Using the Calendar

The recording of the first in a series of four webinars for families is now available. The YouTube link to the video can be found here.

This and all future webinar recordings will be made available as part of the Schoology for Families Webinar Series (22-23) playlist.

Schoology Tips for Students

We're trying to add a new video each week. Check out this PLAYLIST for past tips!

Affordable Connectivity Program for Families

The federal government released an additional program this year for families in need that will subsidize their home broadband Internet access as well as partially reimburse the purchase of personal devices at home.

The FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is highlighted on our Families=>Technology Resources=>Internet@Home page (LINK).


Schoology Webinars for Parents

The district will be providing families with this series of 30-minute informational sessions about Schoology.

(Jan 2nd @ 4PM) Communication and Notifications

(Jan 9th @ 4PM) The Schoology Mobile App

Please complete this brief form to register for the webinars you would like to attend. Zoom webinar information will be shared with families who register. Live Q&A will be moderated during the informational presentation. All sessions will be recorded.


Families In Need of Technology

As we prepare to start the 2022-2023 school year, we are asking families who need to borrow student technology to please visit


Middle School Athletics

You can learn everything you need to know about Middle School Athletics, including starting dates, by visiting the MS Athletics Webpage.

JMS PTA Information

PTA Membership and Directory Access

Our Membership Store is now open! We hope you will consider joining out PTA to help fund excellent educational opportunities for our children. Directory access is available to JMS PTA members only.

You can join the PTA HERE.

Please email if you have any questions.



If you haven’t used AmazonSmile Before:

  • Go to and sign in with your regular Amazon username and password.
  • You will be prompted to choose a charity. You should enter "Jefferson Middle School PTA Inc” into the search box that appears. It will say "Pittsburgh, PA" as the location for the charity.
  • Make sure whenever you check out, you always go to on your browser.

If you already use AmazonSmile:

  • Go to and sign in with your username and password
  • Make sure the charity you’ve selected is "Jefferson Middle School PTA Inc." This information is located under the search bar where it says “supporting”.
  • If it isn’t, you can change it by clicking on the charity and selecting “change”
  • This will bring you to a page where you can search for “Jefferson Middle School PTA Inc” and allow you to switch charities.

Make sure whenever you check out, you always go to to checkout.

If you shop on the Amazon app. Please activate Amazon Smile on your mobile app by opening the app and finding ’Settings’ in the main menu (☰). Tap on ‘AmazonSmile’ and follow the on-screen instructions to turn on AmazonSmile on your phone.

Box Tops

Scanning Box Tops is an easy way to earn money for our school. See Box Tops for more information on how to scan Box Tops and to download the app. Receipts must be scanned within 14 days for the Box Tops to be scanned electronically.

Office Depot/Office Max

Office Depot/Office Max has a school rewards program. When shopping, remember to ask the cashier to tag Jefferson Middle School. For online orders, enter our school ID (Thomas Jefferson Middle School ID:70088453 Pittsburgh, PA) on the Thank You Confirmation page.

Resources For Families

Local Resources for Families

The MTLSD School Counselors in partnership with The Allegheny Children's Initiative Inc., have compiled a list of social services resources that may be helpful to you and your family. Please take a look and reach out to these organizations. They are here to help with any of the following:

  • Food
  • Rent/Mortgage
  • Utilities
  • Pets
  • Abuse
  • Mental Health
  • General Assistance

Safe 2 Say Something

Safe2Say Something is a youth violence prevention program run by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. The program teaches youth and adults how to recognize warning signs and signals, especially within social media, from individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others and to “say something” BEFORE it is too late. With Safe2Say Something, it’s easy and confidential to report safety concerns to help prevent violence and tragedies.

Here’s how it works:

  • Submit a report through the Safe2SaySomething system
  • Crisis center reviews, assesses and processes all submissions
  • Crisis center sends all submissions to school administration and/or law enforcement for intervention
  • If needed, crisis center may contact tipster anonymously through the app

Jefferson Middle School

The Jefferson Middle School learning community has an exceptional reputation for its dedicated teachers, staff and parents working together to provide learning experiences for our children that include high expectations, a challenging curriculum and a shared commitment to provide the best education possible for each and every student.