JMS Weekly Update

Week of 4.12.2020

Dear JMS Families,

We hope that you and your family are continuing to stay healthy.

It is hard to wrap our heads around the news that we received last week from Governor Wolf, that all school buildings in Pennsylvania are closed for the remainder of the school year. As the children walked out of JMS on Friday, March 13th, we told them to wash their hands, to stay safe and that we would see them again in two weeks. We could never have imagined that this would have been our last day together, inside JMS, for the 2019-2020 school year. Had we known, things would have been different. We could have, at least, had a proper goodbye.

The weeks following that day have not been easy. Many of our worlds have been turned upside down, as we have been forced to adopt a new normal. Mr. Rogers once said, "Some days, doing 'the best we can' may still fall short of what we would like to be able to do, but life isn't perfect on any front, and doing what we can with what we have is the most we should expect of ourselves or anyone else."

I think this statement represents how many of us are feeling right now. It is a helpful reminder to be patient with ourselves as we continue to adapt to this new way of life, work, and school. We are all working hard to balance our personal lives, as well as the academic, social and emotional needs of the children. It’s hard to understand the impact that this pandemic has had/will have on the JMS community.

We are here to support you and we greatly appreciate your support as we continue to navigate this new online learning environment. Please let us know how we are doing.

We will get through this and we are looking forward to returning to JMS in the future. Do not hesitate to reach out to your child's teacher(s) or myself and Mr. Zeiders with questions.

Take Good Care,

Dr. Sarah Shaw, Principal

Mr. Jeff Zeiders, Assistant Principal

New News


S@H will continue to be implemented through the last day of school, June 9, 2020.

S@H Feedback

Please use this link to provide feedback on your student's experience with S@H. For families with multiple students, this form can be completed more than once if you would like to provide feedback on each of your student's experiences.

This survey will remain active through Monday, April 13, 2020 at 4:00 pm.

Webinar - Parent & Family Tips for Helping Middle Schoolers at Home

The Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) hosted a webinar for parents who have MS aged children at home. You can watch the webinar by clicking the link above if you are interested.

Jack Berckemeyer, author of Managing the Madness – A Practical Guide to Middle Grades Classrooms, provides pragmatic tips, mixed with his trademark humor, to help parents enjoy this time at home with their young adolescents.

Items in Lockers

We know that your children may still have items in their lockers. Once our Stay at Home/Social Distancing orders have been lifted and we are able to open the buildings again, we will share information about how to retrieve items from lockers.

JMS Activities

On Thursday, April 9, Governor Wolf ordered that all schools remain closed through the remainder of the academic year. This was difficult news to hear.

We know that there were many school events scheduled to occur in the Spring that are important to the JMS students/families. We are thinking carefully and creatively about ways we can recognize and honor these events virtually. We will continue to update you as our plans evolve.

JMS Musical

Sadly, we will not be able to reschedule the JMS Musical.

The musical crew has worked tirelessly, for months, to prepare for this show. We were one week away from opening night when the Governor's initial orders to close schools came through. This is not the way this should have ended. It is unfair. It is disappointing. However, let's not lose sight of the true purpose of the JMS Musical. This experience provides the children with the opportunity to find a place, to belong, to create, to do something they love, to explore something new and to build confidence. THIS is why we love and value the Musical. Although the cast and crew did not get to showcase their final product, the experience and lessons learned are invaluable.

We are thinking carefully and creatively about ways that we can recognize the cast and crew for all of their hard work. We will update you as our plans evolve.

We plan to have ticket refunds available. Please be patient with us as we work to figure out the best way to issue these refunds.

8th Grade Washington D.C. Trip - Refunds

8th grade families - You should have received an email from the Travel Company last week with information regarding your refund. If you did not, you can view the information at the link above.

Other Information


Students will be considered "present" at school each day unless an Absence Excuse is submitted by the parent by 8:30 am on the day(s) in which the student will not be able to participate in the instruction. Make-up of student work as a result of an excused absence will be consistent with District policy.


Families wanting to borrow technology equipment from the District during this time may request a Chromebook for their family using the following form:

Once you receive your unique family code (e.g. ABCD) from your submission of the Initial Request Form, you may request additional Chromebooks and/or a portable WiFi access point from the District using the following form:

If you have any questions and/or concerns about your District issued equipment please email

Free Breakfast and Lunch for ALL Children

Free Grab and Go breakfast and lunches are available for pick up from 11:00-1:00 outside of entrance C20 on Horsman Drive at the HS.

Resolve Crisis Services

If you or someone you love is overwhelmed, anxious or can't stay mentally well, please know that there are helping professionals to talk with. In Allegheny County, there is free, confidential help 24/7 through Resolve Crisis Services.

Daily Updates and Mindful Moment

Please join Dr. Steinhauer at 9AM everyday for a Mindful Moment - a daily livestream with up to the minute news and information followed by a Mindful Moment.

PTA Information

There are no PTA Updates this week.

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.