Issue Tracker

Issue Tracker

Issue / Concern Date Added Additional Information Status
Incident Communication to Parents 9/29/2022 Lack of communication by the school to parents and families; if limited by APS, let APS know that TJ families are concerned about the lack of transparency. What is the length of time for “secure the building” to prompt in-progress notification to parents? 10/27/2022: This is the PTA’s highest priority issue. PTA intends to reach out to APS to request policies that direct/guide communication to parents, and then engage TJMS for school policies.
TA Time Utilization and Way Ahead 10/27/2022 It is unclear whether TA time is being used productively by students. Has there been an assessment of what kids are doing or how teachers are using the time? Is this still a pilot or considered indefinite? Is there an option to move it to a different time of the day, similar to the previous “Yellow Jacket Time?” 11/4/2022: The TA schedule is not a pilot. All middle schools in APS have or will be aligning to the same schedule (i.e. with TA at beginning of day). All TA teachers should be providing content based on the day (e.g. social-emotional learning, community projects, thinking skills, etc.). A significant number of students go to a TA Flex program on Tue/Thu/Fri.
Backpacks in school 9/29/2022 Students must leave their backpack in their locker and carry iPad and anything else they need; many kids opt to not carry water bottles 10/4/2022: Students carrying backpacks was an artifact of the pandemic. It is a safety issue due to small classroom sizes (causes crowding and tripping hazard) and for easier identification of any Community Center patrons wander into the school (usually carrying backpacks).
Staff recognize students got used to carrying all-day items, such as iPads and water bottles, and are open to finding an equitable solution for students, parents, and staff.NEXT STEPS: PTA requests a parent volunteer to chair a special committee to address this issue. If interested, please email tjmspta@gmail.com
Transgender facilities (e.g. PE) 9/29/2022 Closet where non-binary kids can change is in the boys’ hallway, and not well known; PE teachers should state options to all of the students without students having to ask

10/4/2022: This is a facilities issue that requires APS involvement.

NEXT STEPS: PTA requests a parent volunteer to chair a special committee to meet with the APS Assistant Superintendent for Facilities, Renee Harber. If interested, please email tjmspta@gmail.com

Outdoor school lunch 9/29/2022 Students not going outside to eat lunch, only after lunch is over; staff unavailability and concern about trash

10/4/2022: This is a facility and resources issue. Unlike other schools, TJMS cafeteria does not have a door leading outside. Allowing kids to eat outside requires significant staff support to identify/gather those students, waiting while some go through the lunch line, and then escorting them out of the cafeteria and through the halls to the outside.

10/27/2022: Parents asked if this can be combined with those separated for quiet lunch, depending on how far away their quiet area is. PTA will inquire.

11/4/2022: The kids escorted to quiet lunch do not go near an exterior door.

NEXT STEPS: PTA requests a parent volunteer to chair a special committee to address this issue. If interested, please email tjmspta@gmail.com

Reporting number of COVID cases 9/29/2022 Prevalence of COVID cases helps families make an informed decision about having their kids wear masks 10/4/2022: APS has ceased tracking of COVID-19 infections, whether reported or not, since Arlington is considered low risk. Any information about positive cases is at the discretion of the individual/family affected.
NEXT STEPS: PTA requests a parent volunteer to chair a special committee to address this issue. If interested, please email tjmspta@gmail.com
Lack of natural light in classrooms 9/29/2022 Fluorescent light causing headaches for some 10/4/2022: All rooms without exterior windows have skylights to bring in natural light; however, supplementary lighting is sometimes required. The lights used have 3500K neutral light, intended to reduce negative effects.
NEXT STEPS: PTA needs to understand how many students and/or staff are affected by the current lighting. If relatively small, the issue could be addressed via accommodations for those individuals. If more, then the issue can be addressed with APS. Please email tjmspta@gmail.com if you or a family member are having issues thought to be the result of fluorescent light in the classroom.

CLOSED ISSUES

Staff preparation / training regarding emergency incidents 10/27/2022 INFO REQUEST: Besides normal lockdown drills, is there a process to incorporate lessons learned from real-world incidents to refine staff response? What training do the teachers receive for lockdown drills or other emergency preparation? 11/4/2022: Every staff member has mandatory annual training regarding actions during drills, etc. Following an actual event, APS conducts lessons learned, e.g. the lockdown late last year resulted in APS adjusting procedures to get info out quicker (TJMS was notified but Fleet was not).
ISSUE CLOSED
Beginning of year physical fights/altercations 9/29/2022 Two assemblies to talk to students about the incidents, but there were no school talk messages or notifications sent to parents about it 10/4/2022: The referenced assemblies are held every school year to generally discuss expectations of students in relation to safety. The incidents were not considered significant, but they did provide a point of discussion.
ISSUE CLOSED for this particular incident, but the bigger issue regarding communication continues under “Incident Communication to Parents.”