Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School opened in August 1993, and today has more than 340 students enrolled in grades PK – 12. A Board of Trustees governs the school, and the school is directed by the Head of School. Students are engaged in a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, with all students taking several Advanced Placement courses during their Upper School years. Extracurricular activities include performing and visual arts, academic and athletic competitions, field trips, and clubs. Enrollment at TJIDS is open to all, and financial aid is available to qualified students. The school awards more than $1,000,000 in financial aid annually to approximately 50 percent of the student population. In addition, significant privately funded merit-based scholarships are available. The school has graduated more than 300 students, with virtually all enrolling in four-year institutions immediately following graduation.
TJIDS is located in Joplin, Missouri, a community of 50,000. The "greater Joplin area" has a reported population of 250,000. The community is the economic center of a four-state area (Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma). The quality of its work force, cost of housing, low cost and availability of energy, and general hospitality to commerce and industry make Joplin and Southwest Missouri a thriving area. Dominant industries are furniture components manufacturing (Leggett & Platt), building product manufacturing (TAMKO), food processing (Tyson Foods, Hudson Foods, Butterball Turkey), and trucking (Con-Way Truckload). Joplin is a medical center for the region, with two hospitals and more than 400 physicians serving the area.
Calendar and Course Load
Thomas Jefferson operates on a semester system. The final grade earned in all year-long courses is the average of two semesters. Additionally, the Upper School offers an interim period, during which students engage in interdisciplinary studies in two courses per year. Typically, a student takes five courses (one in each of the five major disciplines — English, History, Science, Mathematics, and Foreign Language), one full-year elective, two semester-length activity courses, and two interim courses each year.
Grading Scale, GPA, and Class Rank
Grading at TJ is on a 100-point scale, as reported on a student’s transcript; a final grade of 60 or above earns a unit of credit. As reported on a student’s transcript, grades are not weighted to reflect Advanced Placement credit. Due to the small size of its student body, TJIDS does not rank its students.
All students must successfully complete a minimum of 25 ¾ course credits:
English (4 credits):
English 9, English 10, AP Language and Composition*, and AP Literature and Composition*
History and Social Studies (4 Credits):
Medieval History Modern European History, AP US History*, Economics (½ credit), AP US Government and Politics* (½ credit), Humanities (1 credit)
Foreign Language (3 credits):
French I-V, AP French Language; Latin I-IV, AP Latin; Spanish I-IV, AP Spanish Language, AP Spanish Literature, and AP Chinese Language
Interim Courses (1½ credits):
Bible as Literature, Music Appreciation; Art History Composition; Speech Research Skills
Mathematics (3 credits):
Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics
Laboratory Sciences (4 credits):
Biology, Chemistry, Applied Physics, AP Biology, AP Physics, AP Chemistry
Physical Education and Athletics (1 credit)
Senior Mentorship (¼ credit)
Year- and Semester-Length Electives (4 credits, 1 credit must be completed in fine arts courses):
AP Music Theory, AP Computer Science, Studio Art, Instrument Ensemble, Film Studies, Creative Writing, Vocal Ensemble, Publications, Speech and Debate, and other electives as designed by faculty.
Advanced Placement Courses
TJ offers 17 AP courses; four courses are specifically required of all students (as marked with * above), while most graduates take at least six during their studies (including one laboratory science). All students enrolled in an AP course, regardless of their course grade, are encouraged to sit for the AP exam in the course during the May testing period.
Laura McDonald, Head of School
Alana Hickman, Registrar
Debie Donica, Business Manager
Chris Myers, Athletic Director and Buildings and Grounds Director
Shauna Tharp, Dean of Girls
Dan Rogers, Dean of Boys
Justin Kleinheider, Academic Dean
Robert Carlson, Director of Communications and Technology
Accreditation and Membership
Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and holds membership in the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC); Duke University's Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP); Educational Records Bureau (ERB); National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP); Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA—state activities association); National Honor Society, National French Honor Society, and the Ozark 7 Conference.
A view of the school prior to the 2011 Arts and Student Life Complex addition.