Named for Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson Middle School was originally called Parkside Junior High School "as an identifying measure when the plans were being drawn at the local firm." Unit 4 Board decided the school would be named by the students. (Both other middle schools were also named by the students.) As of October 18, 1959, it was known only by its geographic location - the junior high school at the park-school side in southwest Champaign. Each homeroom of the Franklin and Edison Middle Schools submitted a name and sent it to the Board. Five names were chosen by the board on November 3, 1959 to be voted on by the students: John Foster Dulles, Thomas Jefferson, George Marshall, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt. Students from Edison and Franklin voted and Jefferson won "by a landslide" - Jefferson 1,022, Marshall, 164, Dulles, 147, T. Roosevelt, 127, FD Roosevelt, 104. (This was announced at the November 16, 1959 board meeting - but was not approved by the board until the next meeting.)
The core middle school subject areas of math, reading, language arts, science, and social science are offered throughout the regular school day. Additional Encore opportunities in art, music, drama, and a STEM experience are also available to all students. World language opportunities specific to French and Spanish are offered to seventh and eighth graders. AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is a system of support intended to accelerate average ability students and prepare them for more advanced coursework. ESL/ELL (English as a Second Language/English Language Learner) classes are also offered to students who might benefit from support as they learn English as a second language.
High-speed Internet access is currently available in each classroom. Twenty-five Chrome carts provide a hands-on environment for students to learn to create rich documents, multimedia presentations, research, and basic websites. Students are encouraged to work with technology in small groups, problem solve, present, and participate in peer review of projects.
Tutors from different organizations throughout the community are utilized to help students attain academic success. University of Illinois Vis-a-vis students and volunteers from the America Reads/America Counts Program provide one-on-one tutoring assistance.
Jefferson has implemented a varied and extensive mentoring program. Meeting with students once a week during the school day, adults serve as role models, encouragers, and friends. Among our mentors are workers, business professionals, parents, college students, grandparents, staff within our own building, and retirees. Mentors are a diverse group of people who are successful in life and willing to share their time and experiences with our students.
Jefferson students are encouraged to take advantage of the additional support offered to students during the day and after school. Many teachers will invite students to join them for lunch periodically to retake a test or make up some missing work. Homework Club meets twice a week for students to work on homework in a supervised environment.
Reading and Math Intervention
Jefferson Middle School offers additional reading and math intervention to students not yet meeting academic standards. The class provides daily attention to skill development essential to being successful in middle school classes.
Jefferson offers enrichment opportunities during the regular school day as well as after school for interested students. Honors Reading, Honors Math, and Level I French and Spanish are offered.
All of the Champaign middle schools offer the same interscholastic sports opportunities. Fundamental skill building, conditioning, team building, training, and sportsmanship are the key areas of focus.
Parent - Teacher - Student Association
The mission of the Jefferson PTSA is to provide support to the school’s administrators and staff to ensure that all the students who attend Jefferson receive the finest in middle level education. Educational aids and enrichment programs are among a few of the items the PTSA provides to enhance the educational opportunities for all students. In addition, parents are encouraged to take an active role in their child’s middle school education. PTSA members also serve on school committees such as Building Council and Eighth Grade Recognition Ceremony. Parents volunteer as tutors, mentors, and aid teachers by copying and collating materials for classroom use.