JMS Weekly Update

March 14, 2021

Hello JMS,

We hope that you have safely enjoyed this beautiful weekend.

We wanted to take a moment to address the anti-Semitic graffiti incidents from the past week. We continue to take these incidents seriously and we will also continue to educate the children. This past week, our Tuesday Talk discussion focused on the Power of Words/Symbols and Acceptance. The children engaged in discussion with their peers and their teachers about:

  • How acts of hate make people feel.
  • What saying or writing hateful or hurtful words/symbols can lead to.
  • What are some things we can do, as a JMS and Mt. Lebanon community, to show we accept all people, regardless of their race or religion or sexual orientation?

We are fortunate to have many creative, caring and empathetic children, who are ready to change the world. Please continue to talk to your child about hate and bias (resources are included in the Resources for Families section below). These essential conversations and continued education is imperative if we are committed to creating a school and community that is welcoming and inclusive.

This week's JMS Update contains information about:

  • News to Celebrate!
  • Intervention and Recovery Learning Day - 3/17
  • Jefferson Elementary Lego Donation
  • Jefferson Elementary Alumni Memory Brick Sale

Please continue to let our nurse, Mrs. Suess, know if anyone in your family is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Now that we have returned to 4-days of in-person instruction, this information is critical to the safety of the students and staff at JMS.

Please do your best to stay home, wear a mask, physically distance (6ft or more), avoid congregating in groups, and wash your hands so that we can continue to have the children back in the building with us.

Thank you for your continued support.

Stay Safe,

Dr. Sarah Shaw, Principal

Ms. Katelyn Deet, Assistant Principal

Weekly Schedule

Hybrid A/B/Cyber/D Schedule

Monday - Day 5

Tuesday - Day 1

Wednesday - Day 2 - Intervention and Recovery Learning Day

Thursday - Day 3

Friday - Day 4

Monday (3/22) - Day 5

News to Celebrate!

Congratulations Soham!

Kudos to 7th Grader Soham Dam for his recent top scores in several advanced mathematics competitions.

Soham recently took part in the Mathcounts Chapter Invitational Competition, and has qualified for the state level competition. This is a national middle school mathematics competition that builds problem solving skills through four levels of competition - the chapter, chapter invitational, state and national competition. Soham had the top score from our school and advanced to the chapter regional invitationals. Based on this competition, he qualified as one of the region’s top five students and will move onto the state competition.

Soham also sat for the American Invitational Mathematics Exam. This is a highly competitive international test based on his score on the AMC 10 test run by the Mathematical Association of America. On the AMC 10 test, Soham earned the following rankings

  • W - Winner: Student with the highest school score - he scored 127.5
  • C - Certificate of Achievement: Students in grade 8 and below who scored 90 or above on the AMC 10
  • H - Certificate of Distinction: Awarded to students that meet the threshold placed with the cut-off.
  • A - AIME Qualifier: Awarded to students who qualify for the AIME.

Prior to this test, Soham also sat for the AMC 8, where he placed in the top one percent of all students nationally. About 56,000 students sit for this test. His scores also helped the Mount Lebanon Middle Schools earn a Special Certificate of Merit, which is based on the combined scores of a school's top three students. While there were just over 500 schools to receive this certificate, only three were from Pennsylvania and this is a difficult ranking to earn.

A thank you to all who helped Soham and coach or sponsor these math programs including Mr. Blount, who coaches the JMS MathCounts Club.

JMS Earns Honorable Mention at Shakespeare Monologue & Scene Contest!

Congratulations to the 6th grade trio of Shaylin Short, Emma Curren and Caroline Rost for recently earning an honorable mention in this year's Pittsburgh Public Theatre's Shakespeare Monologue and Scene Contest!

There were about 500 video submissions of scenes and monologues from over 600 students in the region. Shaylin, Emma and Caroline performed a powerful scene from the play MacBeth with Shaylin performing as Lady MacBeth, Emma as the Doctor and Caroline as the Gentlewoman.

Congratulations also go out to 6th grader Peter Goslin for his performance as Malvolio in Twelfth Night, 6th grader Allie Miller for her performance as Helena in All's Well That Ends Well and 8th grader Anouk Ritivoi for performing as Ariel in The Tempest.

JMS Takes 1st (4 times) in This Year's PJAS Competition!

JMS students achieved four first place and two second place recognitions at this year's Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science competition!

Congratulations to first place winners Jessica Yang, Sally Tan, Laila Polat and Michael Zhu as well as to second place winners Sam Wetzel and Clara Sun. The first place winners will now move on to the state competition organized by Pennsylvania State University.

  • Jessica conducted a behavioral science project called "Sound's Effect on Memory"
  • Laila conducted a chemistry project called "Thermal Impacts of Disintegration of Ibuprofen Formulations
  • Sally conducted a computer science project called "Code Deciphering"
  • Michael conducted a botany experiment called "The Effect of Tea on Plant Growth"

Thank you to all of the students who participated this year. More than 600 students from around the Pittsburgh area competed by conducting and presenting experiments in various fields of science. Great job all!

Students were sponsored and coached by Kathryn Duchin and Ed Petsko.

New Information

Intervention and Recovery Learning Day - Wednesday, March 17th

On Wednesday, March 17th, 2021, JMS students will have the opportunity to participate in an “Intervention and Recovery Learning Services” day. This day will be asynchronous and will provide time for students to:

  • Meet with teachers for support and review

  • Independently complete assignments and projects

Students will NOT join their homeroom or class meetings. Teachers will be available to meet with students via pre scheduled appointments. Teachers will be reaching out to students to schedule appointments during their assigned class period. Students are also welcome to reach out to their teachers to schedule appointments.

If a student is not scheduled to meet with a teacher during their assigned class period, they should be working independently to complete assignments and/or projects.

Before Wednesday, March 17th, students should:

  • Check Dashboard to review their grades and assignments.

  • Check email to see if teachers have scheduled appointments with them.

  • If necessary, reach out to a teacher, via email to set up a meeting.

On Wednesday, March 17th, students should:

  • Check Dashboard to review their assignments.

  • Attend any scheduled meetings with their teachers.

  • Continue to work on assignments/projects throughout the day.

Lego Donations

Spring cleaning? Need to get rid of some legos?

The Jefferson Elementary Maker Space is in need of Legos! If you have gently used Legos to donate, please separate them and drop them off in the box outside of the JMS office.

Jefferson Elementary Memory Bricks - Former JES Families

As a graduate and alumni of JES we have a wonderful opportunity for you!

Jefferson Elementary PTA is selling memory bricks for our walkway at JES from March 12th through April 30th. You can order a brick HERE or by clicking on the link above. This permanent addition to the Jefferson Elementary walkway will be admired by faculty and students for many years to come. The proceeds from this sale benefit the Fifth Grade Farewell Fund.

The standard 4" x 8" brick will have space for three lines and up to 18 characters per line.


4" x 8" brick - $50 (characters only)

4" x8" brick - $60 (characters and one symbol - see stock symbols online)

Souvenir Brick Pricing:

4" x 8" Brick replica - $20 (can only be purchased with above order)

The bricks will be delivered to the school after printing in early June. JES will notify all families once they have more information on installation.

If you need more information, please contact Jenny Elder, or 434-770-7128.

Other Information

Traffic Around the Complex

More students coming into the building means more traffic around the Jefferson Complex. Please drive slowly, stay alert and be patient when dropping off or picking up your child.

We would like to offer the following suggestions for drop off/pick up if you do not like traffic:

  • Your child is welcome/encouraged to walk to and from school.
  • You may drop off/pick up your child at a location near the school so they can have a shorter walk.
  • Students do not need to be dropped off/picked up at their exact door.
  • You are welcome to use the entire Go Zone in the front of the building.
  • You are also welcome to use the Jefferson Elementary driveway.
  • When dropping off your student, please pull forward as far as you can before letting your child out of the car. We realize that this may cause your child to be a little further away from their assigned entrance, but this is OK.

We will continue to monitor drop off and pick up and will make adjustments as necessary.

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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 for more information and links to the digital application and recommendation forms. All forms are due May 1st.

Email Eve Kollar at with any questions.

Parkway West Field Trip and Open House Information

Students entering 9th grade this coming August (2021) who are interested in exploring the career major opportunities that Parkway West Career and Technology Center offers, should contact Mrs. Schneider in the High School Counseling Office at or 412.344.2063.

Currently, an opportunity for an in-person shadow experience at the Parkway Technology Center will occur on Thursday, March 25, 2021. If your son or daughter would like to participate in this field trip, be sure to let Mrs. Schneider know as soon as possible (Monday, March 22, 2021).

An Open House for interested students/families will be held on April 6, 2021, from 5:00 - 7:00 PM at Parkway West CTC.

To explore Parkway programming, feel free to view this video.

The following two forms are required to be completed and returned by March 22, 2021:

District COVID-19 Dashboard

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:

  1. 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.
  2. The second chart provides a snapshot of the total number of employee and student positive cases of COVID-19 in the District.
  3. The third chart displays the total COVID -19 cases by month.

Attendance Information

Attendance Excuses

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 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

Talking To Your Child About Discrimination and Bias

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.

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.

Lunch Menu

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.

Families In Need of Technology

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 email address. Please also be sure to whitelist 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:

COVID-19 Resources

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.

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



We are excited to announce that we are now offering the convenience of online registration for our athletic programs through partner company, FamilyID ( 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

A Message from the President of Mt. Lebanon City Council of PTAs

As we approach the 1 year mark of the COVID crisis in our community, I have been doing some thinking about the toll that the past year has taken on my family. There have been times where we struggled - there have been tears and arguments and days where we just didn't want to get out of bed.

But despite the challenges, I think that there are positive things that have come out of all of this. There are things that I've learned about my kids (and my husband, even after 30 years together), my neighbors, and my friends that I don't think I would know otherwise. There have been opportunities for each of us to learn, grow and explore. New hobbies. New pets. While this whole situation has been far from ideal, there have been silver linings- we just need to look for them, share them and celebrate them.

So for the next few weeks, The Mt. Lebanon City Council of PTAs would like to celebrate the victories - big and small - that YOUR family experienced over the past year. Please share your stories and your photos with us at Then Follow us on Facebook at @MTLPTACouncil or on Instagram @mtlsdptacouncil and look for your stories (and others)!

We can't wait to hear from parents, students and teachers and hear all about your silver linings!

Bonnie Dougherty

PTA Council Newsletter Page

PTA Council is launching a new PTA Newsletter page on their website. All newsletters will now be available on the website. In the coming weeks, resources will be available for families to translate these newsletters into other languages.

Community Flyers

Click the link above for additional community resources, including upcoming Recreation Center programming, schedules from the Mt. Lebanon Public Library and information about technology discounts available to district families.

Help JMS Earn Money While You Shop!


If you haven’t used AmazonSmile Before:

  1. Go to and sign in with your regular Amazon username and password.
  2. 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.
  3. Make sure whenever you check out, you always go to on your browser.

If you already use AmazonSmile:

  1. Go to and sign in with your username and password
  2. 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”.
  3. If it isn’t, you can change it by clicking on the charity and selecting “change”
  4. This will bring you to a page where you can search for “Jefferson Middle School PTA Inc” and allow you to switch charities.
  5. Make sure whenever you check out, you always go to to checkout.
  6. 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

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

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.