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West Jordan Journal

Joel P. Jensen Middle School will celebrate its 40th birthday

Feb 09, 2024 04:07PM ● By Jet Burnham

Joel P. Jensen Middle School is celebrating its 40th birthday. (Photo courtesy of Karen Moore)

Community members are invited to travel back to 1984, the year of the “Where’s the Beef?!” commercials, Cabbage Patch dolls, the original “Footloose” movie, hits by Madonna and Prince and the opening of Joel P. Jensen Middle School.

An ‘80s Night Birthday Bash open house will be held at Joel P. Jensen Middle School (8105 S. 3200 West) Feb.15 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. to celebrate the school’s 40th birthday. 

The family-friendly event will feature ‘80s fun with a scavenger hunt, science experiments, games of Tetris, an RC car obstacle course and a magic show. JPJMS choir, band and dance students will also be performing.

Past and current students and staff members will be able to browse through old school yearbooks and reminisce about their time at the school.

Attendees are invited to dress in ‘80s style hair and clothing for the event—but if they have trouble getting their side ponytails in place or their bangs as voluminous as they’d like, high school students from JATC’s hair and nail design classes will be on site to style hair and paint nails.

Attendees can then pose for pictures in their retro looks inside the birthday-themed photo booth.

Representatives from the Salt Lake County Library have been invited to the party to help people sign up for library cards.

There will be a free hot dog dinner and birthday cake provided.

The birthday celebration is being held in conjunction with the semi-annual parent teacher conferences to allow parents an informal opportunity to talk with their child’s teachers.

“In the past, we generally haven’t had a good turnout for parent teacher conferences,” Assistant Principal Karen Moore said. To increase participation, JPJMS began holding community events on the night of the conferences.

A Family Fall Fest was held during parent teacher conferences last fall. It was a successful strategy, with a turnout of 1,000 people, Moore said.

“We had lots of families come,” she said. “We only have 750 students and so having 1,000 people there was a huge deal.”

Moore said so much effort has been made to increase participation in parent teacher conferences because they are so important.

“It’s a good time for parents to come in and see student work and talk to the teacher about how well the student is doing in that class,” Moore said. “They can make a connection face to face with the teacher so that they can know who their students’ teachers are and also talk about anything that might be holding the students back from being successful.”

Joel P. Jensen Middle School, Jordan School District’s fourth middle school, was named in honor of a beloved Bingham High School music teacher and principal. He was also the first principal of Hillcrest High School, and Jordan School District’s director of secondary and adult education. He also served as president of the Jordan Education Association and Principal’s Association.

JPJMS houses a recently opened Parent Engagement Center, which offers free
English classes and other community resources.