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Jefferson Middle School News


JMS Student Council Raises Awareness and Funds for Alzheimer's Association 

JMS Student Council presents a check to Melissa Roberts from the Alzheimer's Association.

June 10, 2014

The Jefferson Middle School Student Council held a successful fundraiser to support the Alzheimer's Association. The collection was especially meaningful for the students since the funds were donated in memory of a classmate's parent who passed away last year. On June 9, the student council presented a check in the amount of $2,456 to the Alzheimer's Association representative Melissa Roberts. Ms. Roberts thanked the students for their efforts and support of the important research being conducted by the organization. Mrs. Janice Cherry, JMS Strive Teacher and Student Council Advisor, help to coordinate the drive.


JMS Teacher Ashlee Beckett Awarded Duquesne University Alumni Teacher Award

Ms. Beckett pictured in the middle with the Dean of the School of Education, Dr. Olga M. Welch.

May 29, 2014

Congratulations to Jefferson Middle School 6th Grade Social Studies teacher, Ms. Ashlee Mae Beckett, on being awarded the Duquesne Alumni Leading Teacher Program Excellence Award at the university's May commencement.

The Leading Teacher Program Excellence Award is given to an Alumnus or Alumna whose performance demonstrates excellence in one of the three Themes of the Leading Teacher Program (Leadership, Diversity and Technology) and is framed in the Spiritan Tradition of Caring.

The criteria for the award is based on the following:

Leadership: A leading teacher is a life-long learner inspiring a community of learners to pursue continuous improvement and growth, serving as a practitioner guided by an ethical and moral framework.

Diversity: A leading teacher is an advocate who creates learning experiences that demonstrate sensitivity, acknowledges students of all abilities, and values human differences.

Technology: A leading teacher is an architect who builds learning environments that acknowledge and incorporate the power of technology.

JMS Students Win Honors in Pennsylvania American Water Art Contest 

Jefferson Middle School students pictured with Josephine Posti from PA American Water.

May 28, 2014

Jefferson Middle School sixth graders, Marley Young and Madison Jones, placed second and third respectively in Pennsylvania American Water’s 12th Annual “Protect Our Watersheds” Art Contest. The company received more than 500 entries from fourth, fifth and sixth grade students across the commonwealth. Marley and Madison were awarded gift cards for their winning entries at a school assembly on May 27.

Pennsylvania American Water’s contest asks the students to accompany their artwork with a short description of how watershed protection affects them personally. After reviewing the entries, a panel of judges selected three top drawings from both eastern and western Pennsylvania.

Lebo Students Excel at Academic Games National Tournament

May 12, 2014

On April 25-29th, 19 students from grades 5-12 competed in Knoxville, TN at the Academic Games National Tournament. Players participated in cube and trivia games against hundreds of other players in the areas of mathematics, set theory, presidents, propaganda techniques, language, current events, and American History. Mt. Lebanon players excelled and won several awards including:

Leo Matros - Jefferson Middle School - Grade 6 - First Place Individual in Presidents Trivia for Elementary Division and Distinguished Overall Top Ten Player for all of Academic Games Elementary Division Antonio Carapella - Jefferson Middle School - Grade 6 - Third Place Individual in World Events Trivia for Elementary Division Josh Dougherty - Mellon Middle School - Grade 7 - Third Place Team in World Events for Middle Division Abbas Merchant - Mellon Middle School - Grade 8 - Third Place Team in World Events for Middle Division Gayatri Anil - Mellon Middle School - Grade 8 - Individual Top Ten Player in Presidents Trivia for Middle Division Otis Smith - Mellon Middle School - Grade 8 - Individual Top Ten Player in Propaganda for Middle Division Tom Jasionowski - High School - Grade 12 - Individual Perfect Score in Equations for Senior Division

Academic Games Players are coached by high school staff members Amanda Checque, Mike Yazvac, Ben Minett, Brad Kavo, Mike Locke, and former Mt. Lebanon graduate Nina Wroniak.

Jefferson and Mellon Literary Magazines Honored by NCTE
March 2, 2014
Jefferson Middle School’s Literary Magazine Our Piece of Mind and Mellon Middle School’s The Outlook were both recognized with a rank of Excellent in the 2013 National Council of Teachers of English Program to Recognize Excellence in Student Literary Magazines. Congratulations to JMS student editors Nora Tomer, Darby McCaslin, and faculty advisor Melissa Kelly, and MMS student editors Sophie Guthrie, David Happe, Elena Redmond, and faculty advisor Nancy Junker on this outstanding accomplishment.

NCTE's Program to Recognize Excellence in Student Literary Magazines (PRESLM) recognizes students, teachers, and schools for producing excellent literary magazines. The program's mission is to encourage all schools to develop literary magazines, seeking excellence in writing and school-wide participation in production.

Alcoa Grant Awards JMS for Environmental Focus 

Dr. James Walsh, Principal; Dr. Jennifer Giocondi, Manager with Alcoa; Georgia Beckas, 7th Grade Literature Teacher and Team Leader; Ed Petsko, 7th Grade Science Teacher.

February 24, 2014

Jefferson Middle School was awarded a $15,000 grant by the Alcoa Foundation to support an Environmental Year at JMS. The grant was awarded to enhance the environmental education curriculum in 7th grade that will include field trips to a L.E.E.D. certified building, which will be Phipps Conservatory, and a cart with 30 iPads and “apps” pertaining to science and the environment. 

The 7th grade teams also intend to use the iPads to reduce paper usage in the grade level. In addition, by June 2014, students and teachers will recycled 40 lbs of aluminum and 30 pounds of non aluminum, and document the progress with school's other green actions.

The grant team lead by Ms. Georgia Beckas, 7th Grade Literature Teacher and Mr. Ed Petsko, 7th Grade Science Teacher.    

JMS Students Compete at Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science Fair

February 6, 2014

Jefferson Middle School was represented by seven students at the 80th annual PJAS (Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science) science fair held at Duquesne University on Saturday, February 1, 2014. Edward Brustoloni, Morgan Meer and Nikolas Mustian received first place awards and qualified to compete at the State PJAS science fair held at Penn State University in May!

Congratulations to Edward Brustoloni, Joe Chavez, Dalia Fantini, Morgan Meer, Nikolas Mustian, Melissa Redding, and Victoria Tomson for competing this year!

JMS International Night a Great Success
JMS families enjoyed performances from Japanese drummers, student dance performances, and Chinese Dragon entertainers.
January 24, 2014

Jefferson Middle School held its 7th Annual International Night last night and despite the cold and snow, hundreds of families turned out to enjoy delicious international cooking, games, and entertainment--all for a good cause--to benefit orphanages in Haiti. The staff, students, PTA, and especially, JMS teachers Ashlee Beckett and Molly Wetmore, worked very hard to create a memorable event for families and community members to come together and celebrate the rich cultural diversity in Mt. Lebanon. State Senator Matt Smith and State Rep Dan Miller presented JMS Social Studies teacher, Ms. Ashlee Beckett with citations from the PA House and Senate to recognize her work in organizing the International Night and for her selection by Duquesne University for the Mind, Heart and Spirit Award. This award is given to Duquesne alumni who exemplify the Mission of the University in their daily lives through career successes, community service, and service to others.

The JMS PTA also contributed to the success of International Night. The organization was awarded the 2013 Pennsylvania PTA Cultural Awareness in Family Engagement Mini-Grant. The $500 grant was awarded to help support the International Night and was the first grant of this kind to be awarded by PA PTA. 

Click here to watch a slideshow of  the JMS International Night


JMS Student Artwork Part of First Night Festivities

JMS art students worked on colorful banners as part of the 20th First Night Pittsburgh.

December 31, 2013

Jefferson Middle School 6th grade students put their artistic mark on First Night this year. Ms. Karen Melvin’s 6th grade art students took part in the banner project for Pittsburgh’s First Night celebration. Students in schools throughout our region created collaborative paintings celebrating 20 years of First Night in Pittsburgh. The banners were painted with an abstract design based on circles, symbolizing people working together. Banners will be on display during the 20th First Night Pittsburgh in the Cultural District. If you plan to go to First Night, be sure to look for the beautiful banners created by our Jefferson Middle School students. Happy New Year!





JMS Cheerleaders Help Out the Salvation Army with Clothing Drive

JMS cheerleaders with Mr. Michael Riemer from the Salvation Army and Cheerleader Coach Roseanne Stettle.

December 18, 2013

Jefferson Middle School cheerleaders recently teamed up with the Salvation Army to sponsor a clothing drive for the Salvation Army Homeless Outreach Program. Cheerleader Coach Roseanne Stettle worked with Michael Riemer, Regional Director of Emergency Disaster Services with the Salvation Army to hold a clothing drive specifically for the homeless outreach program coordinated through the disaster services department. The JMS cheerleaders collected donations of coats, hats, mittens, scarves and much more, and boxed the donations for delivery. Winter clothing is greatly needed and very appreciated since the Salvation Army’s supplies have dwindled with the early blast of extreme cold weather over the past few weeks. Teams from the Salvation Army go out three to four times a week to help the homeless, according to Mr. Riemer. 





Eating Smart

Dave Misterka and Agriculture Secretary George Greig prepared sautéed zucchini and squash for students to sample.

October 16, 2013

This week Jefferson Middle School students had a lesson on the benefits of eating locally produced food with a lunchtime visit and cooking demonstration from Agriculture Secretary George Greig.

The students sampled PA Preferred squash and zucchini from Wexford Farms prepared by Greig and school chef Dave Misturk. October is National Farm to School Month and Oct. 14-18 is National School Lunch Week.

"When you eat food that was made or grown in Pennsylvania, you're supporting local farmers and keeping money in your community - plus, fresh food tastes great," said Greig. "Across the state, school districts like Mt. Lebanon are making a difference to their students, farmers and communities by serving quality, locally produced food." Greig said PA Preferred, the official brand of agricultural products grown or made in Pennsylvania, helps school districts identify local producers.

Mt. Lebanon sources its ingredients from Pittsburgh-based Paragon Wholesale Foods, which works with more than 25 local farms and 30 dairy farms.

Each month, the District features a Farm of the Month and produce grown by the farm on the lunch menu.

The federally-funded National School Lunch Program, administered in Pennsylvania by the departments of Agriculture and Education, provides nutritionally balanced, healthy meals to students. The program has been serving the nation's children for more than 60 years, including more than 1.8 million Pennsylvania children who eat school lunches each day.

JMS Teacher Receives Award at Duquesne University


October 1, 2013

Jefferson Middle School 6th grade Social Studies teacher, Ashlee Mae Beckett, was selected for the Mind, Heart and Spirit Awards by the Young Alumni Council at Duquesne University.  A 2005 graduate of Duquesne University, Ms. Beckett’s efforts to develop an International Club and International Night fundraiser at Jefferson Middle School to benefit two orphanages in Colombia and Haiti were among the reasons she was nominated for this award.

Each year a select number of Duquesne alumni who exemplify the Mission of the University in their daily lives are recognized through the Mind, Heart and Spirit Awards.  These achievements are not only accomplished through career successes but also through community service and service to others. According to their website, The Young Alumni Council honors distinguished young alumni who continue to live their lives according the mission of Duquesne University. Ms. Beckett will be honored at a reception at Duquesne University on Saturday, November 2, 2013.

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