Midland Middle School

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I was born and raised in Lyndon, Illinois on our family farm. I attended Prophetstown Schools. After high school I attended Mount St. Clare College and played basketball. I later coached High School Football for East Central High School in Miles, Iowa.


This will be my 15th year in education and my seventh year at Midland. I taught the first eight years of my career in Sparta, Illinois in Southwestern Illinois. I taught 8th grade Social Studies, coached basketball and was the Middle School Athletic Director.  During my tenure I also attended graduate school at McKendree University and obtained my administrative license.


I have been married to my wife Michelle for twelve years. We have two children, 8 year old Macie and 4 year old Ava.  My favorite restaurant is LaGrotto’s Pizza in Peru. My favorite television show is Chicago PD. My favorite book is The Things They Carried  by Tim O’Brien (I highly recommend it!). I'm a diehard Chicago sports fan (we finally won it!). 


I’m so glad I’ve had the opportunity to work with you this year! There are lots of good things going on here at Midland Middle School so stop in and see us sometime! Until then, it’s a great day to be a Timberwolf!



8th Grade Information

8th Grade Parents - We will be mailing home a paper copy of this letter this week. It pertains to the 8th grade community service project and information about the 8th grade Promotion Ceremony. The ceremony will take place on May 25 at 7:00pm. 8th grade promotion practice will now be Monday, May 22 from 8:30am - 10:00am. 8th grade students will be dismissed from school that day at 10am and do not have to attend school on Tuesday, May 23.

End of Year

The end is coming! Hard to believe we are finally staring down the final weeks of school. I thought I would write a quick post with important dates. 
April 25 - Awards Night 6:30pm
April 28 - 8th Grade Dance
May 8 - MS Music Concert
May 9 - 5th Grade Field Trip
May 10 - 6th Grade Field Trip
May 11 - 7th Grade Field Trip
May 18 - 8th Grade Field Trip
May 19 - 8th Grade Promotion Practice (8:30-10:00)
May 22 - Students Last Day of Attendance
May 25 - 8th Grade Promotion Ceremony

Illinois Science Assessment

Dear Parents and Guardians,

This letter is to inform you that all students in 5th and 8th grade will soon take the Illinois Science Assessment.

This is the second year of the Illinois Science Assessment. The assessment, more commonly known as ISA, was developed and aligned to the new Illinois Science Learning Standards. The assessment satisfies federal accountability requirements. Results from last year’s Illinois Science Assessment have not been released. As many of you know, the budgetary crisis at the state level is ongoing. As a result, ISA scoring procedures were delayed.

Students in 5th grade will take the assessment on Monday, April 10th. Students in 8th grade will take the assessment on Wednesday, April 12th. The assessment will be done entirely online using our Chromebooks during one class period.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to me. Thank you! Remember, it's a great day to be a Timberwolf!

Our middle school music students recently attended music contest. We had 42 students participate in the music contest. Our students brought home 66(!!!) first place medals and another 6 second place ribbons. That is absolutely awesome! A huge thank you to our students for working so hard on this and to Mrs. Rock and Mr. Hansen for their hard work! 
Hello everyone! As you all know as Spring arrives, so do state assessments. The state of Illinois requires public school students in grades 3 through 8 to be assessed. Illinois students will again be assessed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers known simply as PARCC. The tests this year will be done in class on our Chromebook computers. Students in 8th and 7th grade will be tested in their Language Arts block. Students in Grades 5th and 6th will be tested in their Math and Language Arts blocks. Please click here for a schedule of when your child will be tested. Pearson is the parent company for the PARCC assessment. They offer a parent resource site here.
Next week, February 27 through March 3 will be PARCC PEP week. Students will be dressing up to compete for a cookie and ice cream party! The dress up days are:
Monday - We are REaDy for the Test (wear Red)
Tuesday - Dress for Success 
Wednesday - Tackle the Test Day (sports shirts or jerseys)
Thursday - No Sweat, Bring on the Test (sweats)
Friday - We are a Mean, Green Testing Machine! (Midland Pride Day)
We look forward to see what our kids can do! Good luck and thank you for your patience as we work through assessment. 
This year the middle school has made various attempts to have conversations with students regarding their futures. We have taken students to career expos and had them work with a program called Career Cruising. Recently, Mrs. Williams wanted to get students to think more about college. Along those lines she came up with the idea of college visits. Instead of taking actual on the ground visits to local campuses, Mrs. Williams began using an online program called You Visit that offers virtual tours of college campuses around the country. This program has allowed our 5th through 8th grade students to see what a college campus looks like and ask questions. This is a picture of our 7th/8th grade lunch group visiting Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville. We are looking forward to more tours! Thanks Mrs. Williams for getting this started!

Each year the Illinois Principals Association honors one boy and one girl from the grade leaving the building with the John Ourth Award. Students are nominated by teachers and chosen based on their character, academics and integrity.

This morning the local chapter of the IPA had their awards breakfast. Midland Middle School is proud two recognize Ryker Ewing and Haley Whelan! We are very proud of you!


On to State!

Tomorrow our 7th grade basketball team heads off to the state quarterfinals. It will be a thrilling experience for the players, parents, students and fans. 
As a former player, coach and athletic director who has invested many years into Athletics I've always loved winning. I didn't like to lose (I still don't!). However, I always believed in playing the game the right way. Win or lose, there was a way to play the game that expected. Play with class, respect your opponent and win/lose graciously. This past Wednesday I saw all of those things on display. It was a hard fought game between Midland and St. George. When the horn sounded and Midland had clinched their way to state our bleachers and sideline erupted with celebration. We were on top of the world, if only for a few minutes. As our crowd mingled on the floor after pictures I saw something amazing happen. As St. George was leaving their locker room Midland cheerleaders and fans began clapping for the St. George team. A tip of the cap for a well played game and a terrific season. 
The following morning I received an email from St. George's coach. I thought I'd share with you tonight (see below). I'm so proud of our kids and coaches. Good luck at state tomorrow! Hope to see many of you in Clinton at 2:30!

"Good morning Mr. Janssen. My name is Mario Long, I am the coach for the St. George Raiders boys 7th grade team. I couldn't have asked for a better game last night. Your team played really hard and earned the win. I just wanted to let you know that you have a GREAT coaching staff. The coaching staff, the parents, cheerleaders,players, were so humble last night in their win and that really impressed me.What caught my attention was that your cheerleaders cheered my team on as they came out the locker room. Much respect to you guys! I am giving a big Thank You to your coaching staff and your cheerleading coach as well. Congratulations and I wish your team the best downstate. I will be definitely cheering you guys on. GO TIMBERWOLVES!!!"


Are you ready to have some fun? How about having fun while supporting a great cause? Then the PTO's fundraiser is for you! 
This year the Middle School PTO is having a Trivia Night Fundraiser. We are having our event at the American Legion in Lacon on January 28, 2017 at 6pm. Please see the attached flyer for more information. If you are interested in helping please let me know. We need people to be judges, help run the auction table and work registration. Thanks for your help!

5Essentials Survey

Every other year in Illlinois schools are asked to participate in and complete the 5Essentials survey. The survey is designed to help schools and guide them in their school improvement process. The information taken is highly beneficial to a school. We ask that if you have a few minutes to follow the link below and share some information about our school. I filled out the survey myself on my own child in the district and was done in 5 minutes. Thank you ahead of time for taking the time and giving us some feedback!

Today, I had students participate in a building wide activity we called "We are #thankful. Each student was asked to write down something they are thankful for this Thanksgiving. Using a hashtag each student wrote down one or more items that they are thankful for this Thanksgiving. It was really neat watching students walk up and place their hashtags in our main hallway. See the pictures below for images of some students placing their hashtags and a few hashtags students put up. 
Thanksgiving is always that one time of year where we take the time to reflect on what we are thankful for in our lives. It seems as though life moves so fast that we tend to forget the little things that make life great. The daily struggles and stresses of life cloud our minds. We tend to focus too much on negativity and the problems, but not enough time on positives. I've asked staff this year to work harder on communicating those positives with you as well. I know as well as you do that things aren't perfect. Do we make mistakes sometimes? Yes. We are human. I want you to understand that no matter what happens we have your students best interests in heart. We care about your kids. If you came to school on the last day you'd be surprised at teachers reactions. I remember once a teacher had a tough student. Each day was a constant struggle to get this student motivated and keeping him on task. Constant phone calls, difficult conversations and tears of stress and frustration filled her school year. What happened in May when the student walked out of the room for the last time? The teacher cried. Why? Because she cared so much for that student and for the other 20 students in her room. I have two children of my own. However, each day of my life I get to work with nearly two hundred more. I love sharing in their successes, comforting their sadness and encouraging them to try again after failures. Midland is our family.
Each day I preach the positives. Negativity is always around. Each day I try to make a decision to not let negativity win. When negativity begins to win, start looking harder for the positives.There is always something positive in each day to focus on instead. If you can't find it, look harder. Negativity makes it cloudy, but as Little orphan Annie once said "The sun will come out tomorrow." 
Sometimes this job can ask for long hours, difficult conversations and stressful moments. During those moments I think about my two daughters Macie and Ava. I want them to experience and learn from failures and negatives. I don't want them to focus and dwell on the negatives. My oldest and I were sharing what we were thankful for the other night. While hers started and ended with princesses and popcorn, my list went on substantially longer. In using today's idea I am #thankful for #wifeanddaughters, #friends, #theinnocenceofachild, #tacotuesday and of course #midlandfamily. What are you thankful for?
From my family to yours Happy Thanksgiving. 


Recently the 6th grade Science students were learning about weather patterns and how to read radar maps. I sent this story to a local weather personality and through various emails decided not only would they come out to our school and talk to our 6th grade kids, they would also like to do their noon weather forecast from our school!

So tomorrow Channel 31 (WMBD Peoria) will be broadcasting live tomorrow at 12pm. Meteorologist Lauren Rainson will be doing her noon weather updates from the gym. Two students were chosen by their classmates to even help deliver the forecast! So set those DVR's tonight!

October Students of the Month

Congratulations to the Middle School October Students of the Month: 5th Grade Kayla Shaffer, 6th Emma Kovach, 7th Jasmine Henry and 8th Sarah Schuyler.

Great Kids

Yesterday was Halloween. For parents and teachers the day of Halloween and the day after Halloween can be very difficult days. From over excited kids to sugar crashing kids, the days can be eventful. I'm hoping that you all had the opportunity to spend some quality time as a family.
Last night was the first time I handed out candy at our house. It was humorous seeing students reactions when they realized the man handing out the candy was their principal. A few were more surprised when I said they could take more candy if they wanted! One thing that struck me is how nice each of the students were as they came to our house. Not one single instance do I remember someone not saying thank you. I know from time to time kids will get in trouble. Maybe I even have to call home because they are in trouble. At the end of the day, don't forget, that you have a great kid. Watching them interact with my family and remembering to use their manners made me very proud to come to work with them each day. I don't always have the time to call parents and tell them their kids were great today, or they made someones day by being nice to them or they did great on a test today. I wish I could. So let me take the chance now to say it, we love having your kid at Midland Middle School. They may push us, they may fight us on certain things, but at the end of the day they are pretty great. 
Have a great rest of your Tuesday!

Election Season

As many of you are well aware our great nation is in the midst of a rather interesting election. As a former History teacher I always found this to be a great opportunity for learning. Kids naturally have questions. Many of their questions are going to be asked and answered at home, but many will be asked here at school. I know a few of our classes the questions are already being asked. Yes, our teachers will have discussions regarding the election with our students. We will take the time to teach the process of an election. We will answer any question that a student has. One thing that I can guarantee you is that we will not try to sway a student either way on a particular candidate or issue. That is still an individual choice that we respect and embrace as part of this great nation. 
I know some of you may still have questions or concerns. Feel free to contact me. Have a great week everyone!