Dr. Kelly Cooke
Mrs. Kathy Tobia
Mr. Robert Hayzler
Ms. Barbara Francavilla
SAC & Anti-Bullying Specialist
Mrs. Liz Conley
School Hours: 7:35 am - 2:15 pm
1000 Weldon Rd.
Oak Ridge, NJ 07438
Fax (973) 697-1348
Welcome to Jefferson Township Middle School’s Home Page!
Thank you for visiting our school’s homepage!
The end of the year is fast approaching. Our Middle School students are eagerly anticipating the final weeks of school and all the exciting activities ahead!
During the past month, students have taken center stage engaging in exciting and rewarding learning activities at JTMS. For example, students participated in a Kindness presentation sponsored by our PTA, performed in both band and choral concerts, competed in Solar Sprints at Kittatinny Regional High School, attended an overnight at Stokes States Forest, debated at the College of St. Elizabeth, participated in Fitness Fun Day, presented and performed at the World Culture Fair here at JTMS, and competed musically at Dorney Park, PA as well as enjoyed the amazing MS/HS PTA Carnival’s rides, games, and food.
In addition, we are proud to announce that Jefferson Township Middle School students ranked nationally in the 83rd annual Le Grand Concours, 2018 (a National French Contest). Le Grand Concours is a national competition in which students were evaluated for their written, oral and listening comprehension skills in French. More than 85,000 students in all 50 states competed in the 2018 event. Below is a listing of our JTMS nationally ranked winners from Mrs. Jean Rice’s Grade 7 students and Mrs. Marybeth Neuschatz’ Grade 8 students:
Honorable Mention – Placed in the 50th to 70th national percentile:
Bronze Medal – Placed in the 75th to 80th national percentile:
Silver Medal – Placed in the 85th to 90th national percentile:
Gold Medal – Placed in the 95th national percentile:
Congratulations to all our winning students! Thank you for making us proud!
For more information about the National French Contest, please visit the following website: www.frenchteachers.org/concours.
Thank you for visiting and please be sure to review our webpage, on the left, for upcoming events, announcements, and activities for JTMS students. In addition, please be sure to review your child’s progress in the Parent Portal as well as access your child’s food services account balance in the “Food Services” tab. Thank you.
From all of us at Jefferson Middle School, we wish our eighth grader's much success at the High School and welcome new sixth graders and returning students on Thursday, September 6, 2018.
Wishing you and your family a safe, relaxing and fun-filled summer!
Students on the 6 Blue-team attended a Rain Barrel Night with their parents. Students and parents learned about watersheds through a guest speaker and then built 12 rain barrels to be placed around Jefferson Township. Parents and students who attended also voted on the 6 Blue Re-purposed (recycled art and artifacts) items submitted as part of their Earth Day awareness activities.
Several 8th graders attended the Junior Solar Sprints at Kittatinny Regional High School. Students showcased their solar cars and raced them against other school teams. Each competing solar car was constructed at JTMS. In addition, the science students are also worked on their final course project, the Toothpick Bridge Challenge, which involved engineering and design that will be tested in mid-June.
In the School Counseling department, staff focused on scheduling, end-of-year grades, conducting annual 504 meetings, I&RS meetings, and continued running student groups. Counselors ran a successful spring Advisory Council meeting that was met with 100% attendance. Ms. Ellingsen spent time at the elementary schools preparing for incoming sixth graders, Miss Rusynko attended the Stokes trip with 7 Blue, and Mrs. Carroll prepared her diversity and GSA groups for staff presentations.
The 6th Grade Creative Writing classes wrote persuasive essays on ways to change the world. They then used figurative language to make a point about injustices during a short poetry unit. Finally, students will write campfire stories which will be shared at a classroom “campfire”.
In 7th Grade Mathematics, students worked on their last STEM project for the year. Students used recyclable materials to design and create carnival-type games. Once completed, students will get together as a grade level to view everyone’ games and have a chance to play them all. Eighth graders worked to complete the volume and area section of their curriculum.
The students on 7 Blue finally went on their Conservation trip to Stokes State Forest. All around, the adventure was truly amazing! The weather was perfect and the students had an absolute blast. One of the boys expressed to his teacher that he had the best time ever at the evening dance party. Students in the science classes worked on an antibiotic resistance case study that used skills and content which students used throughout the year.
The 7th Grade ELA team completed their research project about Author's Newspaper. The students learned how to determine valid and reliable resources, how to use MLA format, and how to write a research paper. Students used a newspaper format to include an additional element which allowed the students to express their creativity. The students chose an author and completed the research by detailing biographical information, using awards and genres, listing titles as well as providing unique facts. The students worked diligently on this project and were proud of their accomplishments.
Eighth graders have completed the unit titled, The Journey of Self Discovery, where they completed reading the novel, Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey, by Margaret Peterson Haddix. After PARCC testing, students will begin their final unit titled, The Journey to Seek Justice. During this unit, students will read the novel, And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie.
The 8th Grade Science classes completed their study of physics including waves and energy transfer. Students are closing out the year with an engineering project of building bridges which was based on specific design parameters. All bridges will be tested for strength, aesthetics, and cost-effectiveness.
In the 8th Grade Life Skills class, students created crafts and priced them to sell for Mother's Day. In addition, student hosted a Mother’s Day brunch where they sold their special crafts. The class raised over $1,200.00 to donate to the OSCAR Animal Rescue.
In forensics 7th and 8th Grade, students worked on their final projects which was to solve "The Murder of Jed Manhattan". Students collected evidence and statements from various suspects played by our lovely JTMS teachers. Students then analyzed the evidence and determined who committed the murderer!
In STEM 7 and 8, students finished working in teams to design and create a model of a roof truss (which would typically be found in residential construction). The students then tested their trusses to see how much weight each truss would hold before breaking. All of the different trusses were compared to each other in order to determine which trusses were most efficiently constructed.
The Tri-M Music Honor Society members helped to serve and clean up during the Senior Citizen Big Band Bash held in April. The JTMS Bands are finalizing their pieces for the Annual Spring Concert, featuring the 6th, 7th, 8th, Select, and Student/Faculty band. The concert is scheduled for Tuesday, May 8th at 7:00 p.m. in the JTHS auditorium. Later in the month, the Select and Jazz bands will compete at the High Notes Festival and spend a fun day at Dorney Park in Pennsylvania.
7th Grade Science Teacher, Mrs. Bassolino stands with Hayden Mills as he displays prizes won through the Scholastic Plant Hybrid Contest this Spring.
Morris County Middle School Leadership Award winner, ElenaSpagna receives her award plaque during a dinner ceremony at the Hanover Marriott. Congratulations Elena!
On April 20th and 21st, over 80 JTMS students participated in the spring musical titled, Into the Woods, Jr. The performance included witches, wolves, and ghostly figures as well as classic fairy tale characters such as Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and Jack, who famously climbed the beanstalk (which made it's climb up the side of the stage thanks to the masterful set and props design team of teachers, Marybeth Neuschatz, Jennifer Foley, and Victoria Wermert and some craftsmanship from Jay Vastola). Our students, representing all three grade levels, worked from November to April to master the difficult Stephen Sondheim score, with the expert help of Vocal/Instrumental Director, Danielle Schreck to learn dance numbers taught and created by eighth grader, Jessica Thomas. Students memorized a great amount, on top of their already busy academic and additional extra-curricular commitments. Teacher, Joann Patalive helped by several eighth graders put together costumes that captured the essence of each character to a tee. Lighting was run by trained students under the keen eye of teacher, Rachel Koenig and the help of JTHS Junior, Andrew Babitch. When the lights went up, everyone knew we had a truly spectacular show! Teacher, Jennifer Escolano, and several student-ushers greeted community members sold beautiful flowers and served refreshments during intermission. The large crowds, totaling over 700 people between the two performances, talked about how they never expected such talent from students so young; however, Musical Director, Mrs. Cheryl Miskimon knew all along. From the beginning, Ms. Schreck and Mrs. Miskimon told the performers that they may only be in middle school but that didn't mean there was any less they could do on a stage than older actors. As such, they rose to meet that bar at every turn. Into the Woods, Jr. was Mrs. Miskimon’s first directorial experience with JTMS in 2002 and it remains a production close to her heart. Mrs. Miskimon reflected on the performance by stating, “the 2018 cast honored every line and note of an incredible musical and I was honored to have worked with such an amazing group of young individuals.”
JTMS families participating in Take Your Child to Work Day on April 26, 2018!
Thank you, everyone who participated in our coffee shop. The boys learned several recipes during the process and we raised $200 for the Sea Turtle Rescue.
Sixth graders were recently given an assignment to research an influential person who contributed to the social reform of civil liberties and the Civil Rights Movement during the 19th and 20th centuries, both for the minority races and gender equality. Students cooperatively and independently conducted research on this person and created a trifold project which included an informative essay, a timeline, and related images.
Two Jefferson Township Middle School student finalists were interviewed by teachers and administrators for consideration for the Morris County Middle School Leadership Award. Please join me in congratulating both students, Austin Lobel and Elena Spagna for this special 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 Dr. Cooke 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.
Here are some pictures from this Saturday's JTMS Tri-M Honor Society Musical Petting Zoo. There were so many young potential Jefferson Twp. musicians, with our youngest participant being 3 years old and she had a BLAST! It was also great to have help from some JTHS music students. Please enjoy!
JTMS students participated in the National Student Walkout Day. The students showed their support by signing a poster that will be sent to Parkland School, writing caring postcards, and observing a moment of silence in observation of the victims who died as a result of the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida.
As the A+ Challenge continues, participating schools have been sharing the success of their projects with Atlantic HealthySchools. Jefferson Township Middle School used their funding for a Physical Activity Fair as part of their School Wellness Week. Students were able to participate in martial arts and yoga.
It was a record-breaking season for the Jefferson boys soccer team. The Falcons easily cruised past their previous all-time wins record of 11 with a 16-6-2 record in the 2017 season. Jefferson won its first division title in program history by defeating Mount Olive, 2-0, on the final day of the regular season to clinch a share of first place with the Marauders. Also, Jefferson had never even hosted a home state tournament game, let alone won one, but it accomplished both of those things in a 5-0 victory over Sussex Tech in the first round of the North 1, Group 2 tournament. These achievements have earned Jefferson head coach Travis Gage the New Jersey Herald Boys Soccer Coach of the Year. Jefferson ended its season with a back-and-forth 3-2 loss to Newton, the eventual sectional title winner.
The staff of the month for February is Jay Vastola. Jay is the Custodian here at JTMS. He is always willing to help around the school with whatever you need. Jay is friendly and an extremely hard worker. He has been in his current position for 13 years. Jay’s favorite event here at the school is graduation. His hobbies include traveling with his family to Europe (Italy specifically). He enjoys watching European Football. Jay loves to listen to Led Zeppelin. The last concert he attended was Bruce Springsteen. Other hobbies include golf. At home, Jay owns a cat and originally was born in New York. He also lived in Louisiana for a time. Thank you Jay for helping improve our school climate by your continued support, hard work, and positive attitude.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.