Jefferson Township

Middle School

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Welcome to JTMS!

  • Middle School

    Dr. Kelly Cooke

    Mrs. Kathy Tobia
    Asst. Principal

    Mr. Robert Hayzler
    Asst. Principal

    Ms. Barbara Francavilla
    SAC & Anti-Bullying Specialist

    Mrs. Liz Conley
    Nurse, X5720

    School Hours: 7:35 am - 2:15 pm

    1000 Weldon Rd.
    Oak Ridge, NJ 07438

    (973) 697-1980
    Fax (973) 697-1348





    March 2018

    Welcome to Jefferson Township Middle School’s Home Page!

    We hope all Jefferson Township families fared well during the recent March snow storms. We are looking forward to Spring!

    Please be reminded that we are still accepting documents for enrollment into the District’s One-to-One program. We are planning to roll-out Lenovo laptop computers to our 7th graders during the week of March 19th and to our 6th graders during the week of April 9th. If you are in need of documents for enrollment, you may access them on our district’s homepage or contact our main office for assistance.

    Additionally, every year, Middle Schools from across Morris County identify one 8th grade student as their recipient for the Morris County Middle School Leadership Award. The Morris County Superintendents honor students for their actions and deeds that represent model citizenship and leadership in their respective school communities. Honored students have demonstrated that their academic, extracurricular, and community leadership has had a positive impact on their school environment and that they serve as role models for others. This year, two Jefferson Township Middle School student finalists were interviewed by teachers and administrators for consideration for this prestigious award. Please join me in congratulating both students, Austin Lobel and Elena Spagna for this honor. Congratulation goes to Elena Spagna for becoming the Jefferson Middle School Leadership Award recipient for the 2017-2018 school year! Elena will join Dr. Tierney, Superintendent of Schools, and me at the Morris County Middle School Leadership Award dinner ceremony in early May. We are proud of Elena and Austin for a job well done and for their efforts to make the JT Middle School a rewarding and special place to learn and grow.

    Thank you for visiting and please be sure to check out our webpage, on the left, for upcoming events, announcements, and activities for JTMS students.


    Dr. Cooke







School News

  • Mathcounts Team

    The JTMS Mathcounts Team competed in the Mathcounts North Central Competition on Saturday, February 10, 2018 at NJIT. The following 10 students represented JTMS: Erica Wurster, Christopher Morgan, Zachary Velardi, Michael Griswold, Alyssa Cai, Tanvi Mavani, Kedar Padalkar, Nina Dhillon, Raymond Zhao, and Julianne Mutter. Tanvi Mavani won for Best in School! Congratulations to all who participated!

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  • School Counseling Department

    The past month in the School Counseling Department has been a busy one! Counselors wrapped up the second marking period speaking with students about grades and continuing to monitor progress with RTI and I&RS meetings. Several groups have been initiated and meet on a weekly basis. The groups meet in the breathing room and include topics of discussion about GSA, Changing Families, Attendance, Diversity, and Grief counseling. Mrs. Carroll and Ms. Rusynko continue weekly PBSIS Rapper Drawings every Friday while Ms. Ellingsen maintains her monthly drawings for 8th graders. In addition, counselors have been working on their RAMP application and planning classroom lessons that will run through late March. Classes will focus on career exploration. And finally, Ms. Francavilla continues to present Vaping lessons in health classes throughout the marking period.

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  • Creative Writing

    The Creative Writing students began their new cycle by writing a letter to themselves. In class, students discussed the importance of a "Growth Mindset" which was used to craft their letters. The letters written included students’ hopes and goals, of which they are committed to this school year. The students will receive their letters at the end of the year with an inspirational message from their teacher, Mrs. Golden.

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  • Creative Writing

    The Creative Writing classes have also learned about two of the six writing traits so far. They learned about Idea Development and Conventions while writing a descriptive paragraph. Finally, students have begun writing a short story. In doing so, students are learning how a well-developed conflict drives the plot of a story. In addition, students will learn about Organization and "Flashback" as well. And finally, Mrs. Golden is looking into publishing student's poetry in "Young American Poetry Digest" and publishing students' writing in our own class book.

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  • Math Class

    The 6th Grade SCP students have been working on basic one-step equations. This is exciting because students are able to apply their abstract thinking skills to real-world situations. Soon, these students will be learning multi-step equations.

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  • 7th Grade Language Arts

    In the 7th Grade Language Arts department, students completed their unit on choices and consequences by finishing the novel, Nothing but the Truth. In doing so, students created a presentation and/or an iMovie book trailer that identified various aspects of the plot. Social Justice is the new unit of study which began with fable studies and the writing of student’s own fables focusing on morals and other aspects of social justice. In addition, students are continuing to work with non-fiction texts and practicing the skill of annotating for various literary devices.

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  • 7th Grade Math

    In seventh grade math, students constructed a STEM-based project replicating a slide. Students computed slopes, percent error of their test runs, and calculated the circumference of the loop in the slide. Students also answered authentic questions calculating the cost of materials to build a large water slide, tax on the materials, and tipping delivery drivers. They also calculated scale measurements and developed actual measurements from the scaled information.

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  • 8th Grade Language Arts

    In the eighth grade, students are currently working on their unit titled: The Journey of Understanding Others. This unit focuses on the study of The Holocaust where students read The Diary of Anne Frank, by Goodrich and Hackett as well as the book, Night by Elie Wiesel. Additionally, students will be creating a Gallery Walk group presentation about either Anne Frank or Elie Wiesel. Later this month, parents and family members will be invited to attend and view student Gallery Walk Holocaust presentations.

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  • 8th Grade Science

    The 8th Grade Science students have been learning about Physics and, more specifically, Forces. Students have just completed the Regatta project. Mr. Wood will be posting photos on the website and including them in the MS yearbook.

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  • Mrs. Cella's Class

    The Links program had their first Unified Yoga activity. Mrs. Cella's class and their peers met during physical education class for a special program focusing on mindfulness, exercise, healthy habits, and social interactions.

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  • World Language

    Students in the Department of World Languages have been reading, writing and conversing in Spanish and French as they explore the themes of the home in grade 6, sports and activities in grade 7 and daily routines in grade 8. Currently, students in Senor Quinn's classes are corresponding with pen-pals in Chile. Students in Mrs. Neuschatz grade 6 French classes are working on a mini-unit about Paris that will culminate in a virtual learning tour. Please stay tuned and watch for future announcements about students’ visitation to Paris, France.

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  • Forensics

    In Forensics 7 & 8, students just started the new semester. They are beginning to learn about Forensic science and how crimes are solved using the process of science. So far, students have learned how to secure a crime scene, make a sketch and scale drawing, and look for credible evidence.

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  • STEM Grade 6

    Students in the 6th Grade STEM classes used software to block program Lego EV3 model robots. The robots were designed to go straight and turn to follow specific and precise speeds and directions. The culminating activity was to program each robot to travel within a narrow course to its' final destination of a model “Target”. The robot then lowered its' arm to retrieve the target and bring it safely back to the starting point. This hands-on learning project will prepare students to take Robotics classes at Jefferson Township High School and to participate in the FIRST Robotic Competitive team.

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  • STEM 7th & 8th Grade

    In STEM 7th and 8th Grade, students used hand and power woodworking tools to make a spinning top with a handle. Each student created a unique design and learned about the principles which determine why tops act like gyroscopes and continue to spin after the starting force is released.

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  • JTMS Band

    Even though the NJ Devils lost their hockey game, the 7th an 8th grade bands had a fun time performing with the chorus at the NJ Devils vs. Philadelphia Flyers game in January. The 8th grade band has been busy preparing for their upcoming Mid-Winter Concert with the high school bands scheduled for February 13th. All grades are starting to practice for the annual Ensemble Night, being held on Monday, March 26th.

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  • Family and Consumer Science

    The 7th and 8th Grade Family and Consumer Science classes are in the One-Dish Meal Unit of study. Students have prepared the following: individual pizzas, pizza casseroles, and homemade Macaroni and Cheese. Also, students are well on their way to helping out with meal preparations at home!

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  • The Core Skills Program

    The Core Skills Program has finished its “Scooping Up Knowledge Challenge” with the MobyMax interactive software program which spanned the first and second marking periods. Forty-two Golden Tickets were given to the winners in grades 6, 7, & 8. Students enjoyed lively tunes and an ice cream party sponsored by Dr. Cooke. Our wonderful PTA parents volunteered their time to help in this great occasion and celebration.

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JTMS Showcase


  • Getting to Know Our December JTMS Teacher of the Month

    Meet Jim Smith, our sixth grade Social Studies teacher here at JTMS! Having taught here for seven years after exiting from the private sector, he also worked at Douglass College at Rutgers University at the Developmental Center for students with disabilities. A fan of 90’s alternative music as well as the Chicago Bears, he enjoys hiking, board games, and playing basketball and softball. While originally from New Jersey, Jim also hails from another simpler time period, as he is involved in and participates in historical reenactments. Here at JTMS, he is actively involved in coaching both the Debate Club and the Garden Club, helping students to effectively discuss important social issues as well as participating in beautifying their community. His favorite school activities include the school musical, as well as the Debate Finals at St. Elizabeth, as these venues allow the students to show their efforts and personal growth over the course of the year. In addition to patiently helping students, he continuously shows and demonstrates a positive attitude, and, by example, encourages both staff and students to show compassion, kindness, and respect for oneself and others. Because of his dedication to both students and staff, he is recognized as our December Staff Member of the Month!

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  • Get to Know Our December JTMS Staff of the Month

    Fran Palozzolo is our staff member of the month. Fran is from New Jersey and has been at JTMS as part of our Security Staff for 14 years. She is always stepping up and helping out wherever and whenever needed. Fran is always willing to be a substitute in a class at the last minute. If a student needs to be brought to the High School for a presentation, Fran is always more than willing to help him or her. Throughout the day, Fran has a very positive attitude in every situation. Fran enjoys the Pep Rallies we have here at JTMS. Outside of School, Fran enjoys gardening, walking, and bike riding. Her favorite music includes rhythm and blues with her favorite music coming from the Temptations and Luther Vandross. The last concert she attended was the Three Tenors. Fran also has three dogs, two cats, and a pond full of fish. The member chosen each month by PBSIS goes above and beyond to improve the school climate. Thank you Fran Palozzolo for making our school a positive place to be in.

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  • Getting to Know Our October JTMS Teacher of the Month

    Meet Colleen Meade, the 7 Blue Science Teacher here at JTMS! Mrs. Meade has been teaching here at JTMS for more than six years. She went to school to teach Biology and she loves teaching Life Science here at JTMS. One of her favorite class activities is teaching her students about dissections. This year Mrs. Meade really enjoyed spending time with her students at the PBSIS Kindness Day. She loved painting rocks with the students and thinks they all turned out beautiful. In her personal life, Mrs. Meade loves spending time with her 2 year-old son, Simon. They love going on walks with her dog Nikko, and playing at the park. When Mrs. Meade is not spending time with her family or working with her students, she finds time to go out and photograph nature; but she always has time to photograph her little boy! Mrs. Meade is appreciated by her co-worker for her technical expertise and her patience when they ask her for help. She always makes time for her co-workers who need her help. It is for her dedication to her students and co-workers that Mrs. Meade is being recognized as JTMS October Teacher of the month. Congratulations Mrs. Meade!

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  • Getting to Know our Educational Support Professional for the Month of October

    Meet Tami Shellhamer, JTMS’s extra support professional working as a paraprofessional in sixth grade at JTMS. This is Ms. Shelhamer’s third year working in Jefferson Township, and her first year at the middle school, before that she was at White Rock school. Outside of school she is actively involved in Girl Scouts, and planning fun activities for friends. Her favorite school activities are when we come together as a community and share events with the students, such as the Veteran’s day program Mystery reader, classroom parties, Just Dance completion, and dressing up/down for various events and charities. Her favorite sports teams are the NY Giants and the NY Yankees, and she loves to go to Lake George with her family. She listens to country music and 80’s hairbands like Bon Jovi. Here at JTMS she goes above and beyond for the students of JTMS. Every day she demonstrates empathy, intelligence, and caring, and she is a valued member of her team. It is this dedication to her student and co-workers that Mrs. Shelhammer is being recognized as JTMS October Educational Support Professional of the month. Thank you for everything you do!

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  • Getting to Know Our Teacher of the Month for September

    Meet MaryBeth Neuschatz, our sixth and eighth grade French teacher here at JTMS! Having taught here for eight years after retiring from her “real” job as an Analyst/Manager in the IT world, she views this as her “bucket list” job and says that school, French, and education saved her life. A fan of alternative music (The Killers and ALT-J are her favorites) as well as the Giants and Mets (through good and bad times!), she enjoys running, working out, and gardening, as well as traveling with her family and 3 dogs. While originally from New Jersey, she lived in Paris for a year, immersing herself in the culture. Here at JTMS, she is actively involved in creating props and scenery for the plays and works closely with students on the Grand Concours French exam, however her favorite school activity is when she gets to see students enjoying her French class. In addition to helping students, she is always willing to help colleagues with questions about lesson plans, SGOs, Realtime, and anything else someone might need help with. Because of her dedication to both students and staff, she is recognized as our September Teacher of the Month!

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  • Getting to Know our Educational Support Professional for the Month of September

    Judy Gurlacz has been nominated for our staff of the month. Mrs. Gurlacz works as a kind and knowledgeable secretary in the Main Office here at JTMS. She works very hard while making the school a better place for students, parents, and staff. She always greets others with a welcoming smile that will make you feel included. Mrs. Gurlacz has been working in her current position for 8 years. She has also worked as a secretary in Guidance and at Drummond School. Some of her hobbies and interests include bike riding and hiking with her family. She also enjoys all kinds of music. Our wonderful staff member, Judy Gurlacz, consistently strives to help improve our school with her amazing work ethic and her selfless personality. From PBSIS and JTMS we thank you for all of your hard work.

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