JMS Weekly Update
March 21, 2021
We hope that you are safely enjoying this beautiful weekend.
Last week marked the one year milestone since many of our lives and our school system was turned upside down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the weather getting nicer, a 5 day return to school on the horizon, and increased vaccinations, many of us are champing at the bit to return to "normal."
We ask that you please stay cautious and follow the CDC guidelines for masking, social distancing, and group gatherings. We know that there are varying opinions in the community about this virus, however if you want to keep the children physically in school, then it is imperative that families follow these guidelines outside of school.
We are doing our best to keep the children and staff safe inside the building, but we need your help to do the same throughout the community.
Please continue to let our nurse, Mrs. Suess, know if anyone in your family is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. This information is critical to the safety of the students and staff at JMS.
This week's JMS Update contains information about:
- Yearbook Sales
- PSSA/Keystone Dates
- School Climate Survey
Dr. Sarah Shaw, Principal
Ms. Katelyn Deet, Assistant Principal
JMS Yearbooks for Sale
We have received extra yearbooks to pre-sell in the next two weeks.
If you are unsure if you already purchased a yearbook, please watch this video Did I Already Order a Yearbook? As mentioned in the video, please make sure your order was for this year, and not a previous order from years past.
If you did not previously purchase a yearbook now is the time to do so!
Please send your child to Ms. Beckett's room, 123, at any time to drop off an envelope with their first and last name, homeroom teacher's name, and enclose $50 CASH ONLY to reserve a copy. If your child is fully remote, you are also welcome to drop this envelope off in the main office at the attention of Ms. Beckett.
Please know that there are only a select number of yearbooks available and they will go on a first come first serve basis. We will not be able to guarantee any extra yearbooks in June if these all sell, so please reserve your copy today!
This has been a year unlike any other and this will be a yearbook to look back on in the years ahead... do not delay!
All of the students will be participating in the district wide (Grades 6-8) administration of the CDTs, prior to spring break. The purpose of this task is to explore students strengths and areas for growth compared to the grade level standards. Students will be taking the following CDTs:
- Reading/Literature - Grades 6-8
- Writing/English Composition - Grades 6-8
- Math - Grades 6-8
- Algebra I - Grade 8 only
- Science - Grade 8 only
Teachers will be using their class time over the next few days to complete the administration of the CDTs.
The purpose of the CDT is to provide information that will help guide instruction by providing support to students and teachers. The CDT reports are designed to provide a picture or snapshot of how students are performing in relation to the Pennsylvania Assessment Anchors & Eligible Content and Keystone Assessment Anchors & Eligible Content. (Mathematics and English Language Arts are aligned to the Pennsylvania Core Standards. Science is aligned to Pennsylvania Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content.) Because the CDT is diagnostic in nature relative to student acquisition of the standards, the data may be used to dig deeper and form flexible groups based upon changing student needs.
PSSA/Keystone Testing Schedule
The district will be administering the PSSAs and the Keystone Exams this year. The results we achieve on these exams provide us with valuable information that can be used to assess our students knowledge of grade level standards, our teaching, and our educational programing.
Our students have been working hard throughout the year and are prepared for these exams. Our testing schedule is as follows:
- May 11 - 13 - English Language Arts (ELA) PSSA - Grades 6-8
- May 19 & 20 - Math PSSA - Grades 6-8
- May 24 & 25 - Algebra I Keystones - Grade 8 only
- May 26 & 27 - Science PSSA - Grade 8 only
Please understand that during the testing window, pre-approved absences will not be approved.
Jefferson Middle School, Mellon Middle School, and Mt. Lebanon High School students are again being asked to take part in the Pennsylvania School Climate survey provided by The Pennsylvania Department of Education. The survey asks students about school climate and measures four main domains: Social/Emotional Learning, Student Support, High Expectations/Academic Rigor & Challenge and, Safe and Respectful School Climate. This survey is intended to provide each school with formative and summative climate data for use with our needs assessments, program development and short and long term improvement planning. A paper copy of the middle and high school student surveys are attached for your reference.
Participation in this survey by students is voluntary. Also, no student will ever have his/her individual responses reported. The results of this survey will be used by the respective school’s administration for future improvement planning and programming. We would like all students to take part in the survey; again, the survey is voluntary.
Additionally, we would like you to participate in the parent/guardian version of this survey, available via the following link - School Climate Parent Survey. Should you have a student in multiple locations, you can take the survey more than once to reflect your feedback for that respective school. The survey is brief and will be available until the end of March 2021. No parent/guardian will ever have his/her individual responses reported. Again, the results of this survey will be used by the respective school’s administration for future improvement planning and programming. We would like all parents/guardians to take part in the survey, but the survey is voluntary. A copy of parent survey is included for your reference.
MLEA Summer Grant Scholarships
The MLEA summer grant scholarship applications are OPEN!
For almost 40 years, Mt. Lebanon School District teachers have awarded study grants for current kindergarten through 11th grade students who plan to participate in summer enrichment programs. Please visit www.mlea.org for more information and links to the digital application and recommendation forms. All forms are due May 1st.
Email Eve Kollar at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
The district has launched a revised Dashboard. This revised Dashboard is designed to provide more data to create a fuller view of COVID-19 cases in our schools. It aligns with the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s new guidelines regarding the identification of Covid-19 cases in school.
The Dashboard consists of three elements:
- The first chart is aligned with the Pennsylvania Department of Education's Recommendations for Pre-K to 12 Schools Following Identification of a Cases of COVID-19.
- The second chart provides a snapshot of the total number of employee and student positive cases of COVID-19 in the District.
- The third chart displays the total COVID -19 cases by month.
Excuses for absences, tardies and early dismissals should be emailed to Mrs. Harris, our attendance secretary, and your child’s homeroom teacher. Mrs. Harris’s email is email@example.com and your child’s homeroom teacher’s email address can be found in the Staff Directory.
All excuses must contain:
- Date and time of the absence
- Reason for the absence
- Your child's first and last name
Please review the attached policy JED, for a list of excused absences. District School Board Policy JED - Student Absences and Excuses.
Resources For Families
In an effort to continue to educate our students, families and the community about discrimination and bias we wanted to share the following resources with you.
- Anti-Defamation League (ADL): Talking to Young Children about Bias and Prejudice
- Talking to Children About Hate Crimes
- Partners Against Hate: Parents and Families Against Hate
- Healthy Children. org : Talking to Children About Racial Bias
- American Psychological Association: Talking to kids about discrimination
This essential conversation and continued education is imperative if we are committed to creating a school and community that is welcoming and inclusive. These conversations are bigger than JMS and must also take place at home and throughout the community. Please help us, as a school and as a community, continue to grow in our in our understanding about discrimination and bias.
The Mt. Lebanon School District will continue serving free Grab-and-Go Meals to any student in the community under the age of 18, with no eligibility requirements, until further notice. The meals will be distributed at the elementary schools.
Meals will be available from 10:45 until 1:15 every day to accommodate all students during their lunch periods.
As we prepare to start the 2020-2021 school year, we are asking families who need to borrow student technology to please complete the form linked below:
Be sure to list every student for whom you need to borrow a device on this form. Once you have submitted your form, you will receive status emails including device pickup details from an @mtlsd.net email address. Please also be sure to whitelist @mtlsd.net email addresses with your email provider to ensure that you receive these communications from us.
Please direct any and all questions regarding loaned equipment to our support address: RemoteSupport@mtlsd.net
The following resources provide information to help Mt. Lebanon School District families and staff navigate the complexities of COVID-19 and the impact the pandemic it is having on our daily lives. These resources will be updated as more information becomes available.
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:
- Mental Health
- General Assistance
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
We are excited to announce that we are now offering the convenience of online registration for our athletic programs through partner company, FamilyID (www.familyid.com). FamilyID is a secure registration platform that provides you with an easy, user-friendly way to register for our programs, and helps us to be more administratively efficient and environmentally responsible. When you register through FamilyID, you enter your information once for multiple uses, multiple kids and multiple programs.
JMS PTA Information
Help JMS Earn Money While You Shop!
If you haven’t used AmazonSmile Before:
- Go to smile.amazon.com 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 smile.amazon.com on your browser.
If you already use AmazonSmile:
- Go to smile.amazon.com 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 smile.amazon.com 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.
Clipping Box Tops is an easy way to earn money for our school. Each Box Top is worth 10 cents, so don't forget to physically and electronically clip the for us! The clipped Box Tops can be turned into the office.
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.
Giant Eagle Support our students! Enroll your Giant Eagle Advantage Card and earn points for FREE educational rewards with every shopping trip.
Click here to register your card. Our school code is 3369. The Giant Eagle card program is also easy to use - just register your card and shop away as usual!
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.
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.