Electives and Extracurriculars

TJ’s electives and extracurricular activities enhance your child’s educational experience.

Building Confidence and Critical Skills

Through extracurricular activities and electives at TJ, your child builds confidence and self-esteem while also learning important skills, such as time management, teamwork, and problem-solving.

From participating in spelling bees in Lower School to competing on the Middle School and Upper School scholar bowl teams, your child has opportunities to get involved outside of the classroom to enhance the overall educational journey at TJ.

See tabs below for extracurricular activities and examples of elective classes available to your child at each grade level.

Electives

Middle School
Middle School students enroll in two electives: one that meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and one that meets Tuesday and Thursday. These are semester-long courses. Students have an opportunity to select second-semester electives before the winter break.

Upper School
Upper School students enroll in two electives: one that meets during 5th period four days a week, and one that meets during 8th period five days a week.

Please see the Curriculum Guide for a complete list of electives and when they are offered throughout the school year.

Scholar Bowl

For 23 of the past 24 years, TJ’s Upper School Scholar Bowl team has finished in 1st Place in the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) Class I district tournament. The TJ team has won the MSHSAA State Championship in 10 of the past 13 years.

During the past several years, the TJ Middle School Scholar Bowl team has earned several tournament championships, and TJ typically fields three teams, so students in all grades can compete.

Scholar Bowl competition involves answering questions on all topics of human knowledge. The game is played with a lockout buzzer system between two teams of four or five players each. A moderator reads questions and players score points for their team by being the first to buzz in with the correct answers.

Geography Bee
Each year, TJ students participate in the National Geographic Geography Bee, an academic competition for grades 4 through 8 that helps students improve their knowledge of geography, world cultures, physical features, history, and earth science. After winning the TJ school Geography Bee, our students take an online qualifying test. The top 100-ranked students in each state advance to the state competition. State and regional winners advance to the national championships at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C. Millions of students in tens of thousands of schools compete each year.

Spelling Bee
The TJ Spelling Bee is open to students in grades 4-6. Five finalists from each class participate, and the school winners advance to compete against students from dozens of area schools at The Joplin Globe annual spelling bee, held at Thomas Jefferson.

Math Competitions
Each year, Thomas Jefferson students compete in numerous math competitions. Lower School and Middle School student competitions include MATHCOUNTS; Missouri Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM) Elementary Math Contest; Noetic National Math Contest; and Southwest Baptist University Math Contest, among others.

Language Competitions
Each year, TJ Lower School students compete in the Regional Kansas City Chinese Speech Contest sponsored by the University of Kansas. Students from public and private schools all around the Four-States region compete. TJ students typically earn the majority of the top awards.

Scholar Bowl
The Middle School Scholar Bowl team competes with other area Middle School students. During the 2018-2019 season, the team regularly earns 1st place awards in its tournaments.

Geography Bee
Each year, TJ students participate in the National Geographic Geography Bee, an academic competition for grades 4 through 8 that helps students improve their knowledge of geography, world cultures, physical features, history, and earth science. After winning the TJ school Geography Bee, our students take an online qualifying test. The top 100-ranked students in each state advance to the state competition. State and regional winners advance to the national championships at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Spelling Bee
The TJ Spelling Bee is open to students in grades 4-6. Five finalists from each class participate. School winners then compete against students from dozens of area schools at The Joplin Globe annual spelling bee, held at Thomas Jefferson.

Math Competitions
Each year, Thomas Jefferson students compete in numerous math competitions. Lower School and Middle School students’ competitions include MATHCOUNTS; Missouri Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM) Elementary Math Contest; and Southwest Baptist University Math Contest.

Language Competitions
TJ students earn recognition on the national level in language competitions, and this success validates our world languages program. Students in grades 6-12 participate in the National Spanish Examinations (NSE) through the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. This standardized assessment tool is given by more than 3,800 teachers throughout the United States to measure achievement and proficiency of students who are studying Spanish as a second language. Our students also compete in the National Latin Exam competition, and in the Regional Kansas City Chinese Speech Contest sponsored by the University of Kansas. In all three contests, TJ students distinguish themselves by earning regional, state, and national honors, including the Premio de Oro in Spanish, and Summa cum laude in Latin – the highest national awards attainable.

National Honor Society
Thomas Jefferson is a member in good standing in the National Honor Society. A faculty council selects members based on high standards in scholarship, service, leadership, and character.

The induction ceremony is held in the spring, and throughout the school year, students plan and execute service projects. Typical student projects include food drives, tutoring and reading sessions for younger students, recycling , and assisting TJ with communications and tours.

Scholar Bowl Team
The Upper School Academic Team participates in various competitions throughout the school year. The varsity and junior varsity squads compete in several matches in the Ozark 7 conference, a conference tournament, and up to seven additional tournaments throughout the state. The district champion, determined in April, qualifies for the state sectional tournament. Sectional winners move on to the state finals, which are held in Columbia in May. The TJ Academic Team is a member of the Missouri State High School Athletic Association (MSHSAA).

Math Competitions
Each year, Thomas Jefferson students compete in numerous math competitions. Upper School students compete in events sanctioned by Missouri State High School Activities Association, as well as several events sponsored by local colleges and universities.

Language Competitions
TJ students in grades 6-12 participate in the National Spanish Examinations (NSE) through the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. TJ students also compete in the National Latin Exam competition, and in the Regional Kansas City Chinese Speech Contest sponsored by the University of Kansas.