Valparaiso Community Schools

Thomas Jefferson Middle School: A place to belong

2014-01-13T00:00:00Z Thomas Jefferson Middle School: A place to belongThomas Jefferson Middle School staff members Valparaiso Community Schools nwitimes.com

When you hear the word school, you may think about subjects such as reading and math or the building itself. But one of the most important aspects of school is also some times the most forgotten- the school as a community. At Thomas Jefferson Middle School, that sense of community is a top priority.

Staff and students work together in many ways to promote the idea that school is more than an academic institution. We hope our school is a place where students feel both a sense of belonging and a sense of responsibility. For a student to feel positive about school, they must feel connected to school and see themselves as a contributor to a higher purpose.

Our National Junior Honor Society students have given of their time and talents serving the school community and the greater community by donating over a thousand service hours so far this year. Within the school building, these students participate in peer tutoring, recycling, and assisting with the concession stand at athletic events.

Team Lead, a K -12 pro-social leadership and student empowerment program, invites students to promote positive peer relations within the school. Specifically at TJ, over eighty self-selected eighth grade students have joined Team Peace to promote empathy and connectedness within the walls of TJMS.

Student Council and Builders Club members constantly work to create a sense of belonging for every student at TJMS. These groups sponsor Spirit Days to promote a family-like atmosphere at our school, help throughout in the community, and raise funds for worthwhile causes.

Many students also participate in Games Club. This after-school group meets regularly to play various board games and card games. It is a safe place for kids to meet, socialize, form friendships, and build relationships; another opportunity to connect and belong.

Also, academic, athletic teams, and musical groups build cohesiveness and responsibility while representing their school. Yearbook and newspaper staffs are comprised of students from all grades and show how people can come together to work toward a common goal. And the TJMS Drama Club produces an annual variety show that showcases the talents of over one hundred students from all grades, interests, and social groups to sold-out audiences every year.

Our student body is active and caring, and it is the goal at TJMS to assure they feel like they belong and are connected to the school, each other, and the greater community. It is this school environment that makes Thomas Jefferson Middle School not just a building but a true community of learners that comes together each day to achieve, to connect, to belong, and to work together to serve a greater purpose.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



About Valparaiso

City of Valparaiso
166 Lincolnway Valparaiso, IN 46383
(219) 462-1161

Police Department
355 S. Washington St. Valparaiso, IN 46383
(219) 462-2135

Fire Department
2605 Cumberland Drive Valparaiso, IN 46383
(219) 462-8325

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3210 North Campbell Street Valparaiso, IN 46385
(219) 462-5144

Valparaiso Community Schools
3801 N. Campbell St. Valparaiso, IN 46385
(219) 531-3000

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