Thomas Grover Middle School

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Template:Infobox School Thomas R. Grover Middle School is located in Princeton Junction in Mercer County, New Jersey, United States. It is part of the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District, and serves grades six through eight. The school is named in honor of Thomas Roy Grover, the son of the late Pete Grover, a local farmer who died in 2009. Thomas, a graduate of the school district, died at the age of 22 while serving in the Vietnam War. He received two Purple Hearts and a Silver Star for his service. Grover's mascot is a jaguar, and their school colors are gold, black, and white.

As of the 2005-06 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,182 students and 110.6 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student-teacher ratio of 10.7.[1]


The two-story school building was built in 1999. The building, designed by Faridy Thorne Fraytak Architects/Planners, with 175000 sqft, was built to accommodate as many as 1,150 students. The first principal of the school, Steven Mayer, served as principal from 1999 to the end of the 2006 school year.[2]

Awards and recognition

  • In April 2005, a sixth-grade student at the school won the $25,000 first-place national championship of the Reader's Digest National Word Power Challenge, a vocabulary competition. A total of 1.6 million fourth through eighth grade students nationwide participated in the event.[3] As of recently, she remains the youngest award winner.
  • In March 2007, a seventh-grade student at the school won the New Jersey State Championship in the fifth annual Reader's Digest National Word Power Challenge.[4]
  • A TGMS student first place in the 2007 New Jersey state contest of the National MathCounts Competition.[5] The second and third place students were on the New Jersey state team competing for the National MathCounts Competition in 2006.[6] In 2000, TRG students won first and third place, while the school's team coach was selected to coach the New Jersey state team in the national competition. In 2009, a student won a first-place finish in 8th grade.[7] The MathCounts team has taken 1st place in New Jersey 7 of its first 10 years in existence, and the coach has led the New Jersey state team to 2 national 3rd-place finishes.
  • The 2009 Science Bowl Team took first place in the regional Science Bowl at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. The team competed in the National Middle School Science Bowl Competition in Washington D.C. and was ranked 7th place. The 2012 Science Bowl team won first place in regional Science Bowl and won 7th place at the national competition. The 2013 Science bowl team took third place in the regional Science Bowl at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.
  • In 2013, the National History Day team of TGMS had a number of winning participants, with the winning participants being awarded a Blue Ribbon. All these students went on to compete at the New Jersey National History Day Competition.


Grover Middle School (GMS) students take classes in music, art, performing arts, media, health, computer, life skills, and technology. Students also participate in choir which is Spotlight for girls and Encore for boys which meets every other day, orchestra, and band programs that provide group and individual instruction. The elective program includes a class in which students produce their own television program via an intra-school cable network. There is also "AE Flex," an addition to the school schedule. During AE Flex, students get to catch up on work, and take a break from the school day. Some students also can go to PRISM.

World Language

Students in Grover are required to pick one language for the 3 years they will be at the school. Languages offered are Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese and German.

Band/8th Grade Band

In 2011, the Eighth Grade Wind Ensemble won first place in the AA division with a rating of superior at the Music in the Parks festival at Six Flags Great Adventure. Grover currently uses Essential Elements for a practice book. The band and the orchestra perform together, and the band is required to wear the TGMS Music shirt. The band consisted of about 200–300 children in the 2011–2012 school year. "A day" and "B day" bands are actually one band. They rehearse separately but perform together.


For several consecutive years, the Eighth Grade Orchestra won first place in the Music in the Parks festival at Six Flags Great Adventure, with a higher cumulative score than all other musical groups of all types and ages groups. The orchestra is required to wear the TGMS Music shirt. The orchestra consisted of about 150–200 kids for the 2011–2012 school year. A day and B day orchestras comprise one orchestra which rehearses separately but performs together.


Sixth and seventh graders choose one extracurricular class, and eighth graders choose two extracurricular classes. In sixth and seventh grade, students have their electives every other day (see A day and B day) and have physical education class in place of the days that do not have electives. Eighth grade students have electives opposite each other in somewhat complicated 2-day schedules.

Cycle Classes

Cycles are classes that each student is assigned to every other year. Each cycle lasts an equal fraction of the year. In sixth and seventh grade, cycle class occurs every day. In the sixth grade, the five cycles are Art, Computers, Health, Study Hall, Life Skills and Music. In the seventh grade, there are six cycles: Art, Computers, Health, Life Skills, Music and Technology. In the eighth grade, cycle is every other day, and there are only three courses: Art, Health and Music.


PRISM (Performance Revealing Individual Student Magic) is the school's Gifted and Talented program. Unlike most Gifted and Talented Programs, there is no entrance test. Programs that PRISM offers are Future Problem Solving (FPS), National History Day, and the Inquiry Project. The first two are competitions and the latter is an exposition.

Student life

The students are divided by 'teams' that are named T, G, M and S to represent the initials of the school. The number of the grade of the team is first, followed by the letter, so for example, Team "T" of the seventh grade is Team 7T, while Team "G" of the eighth grade is Team 8G. Each team consists of 4 teachers and at least 1 special education teacher. The teachers teach Math, Science, History, and IRLA.

A Day and B Day Classes

A and B Day Classes are 40-minute classes which alternate every day. These classes alternate so that students may take more courses over the school year versus a singular day system.


Since the district combined reading and language arts for the middle school curriculum, there are 4 basic subjects, taught within a "team": IRLA (Integrated Reading and Language Arts), Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science. Students certified as "advanced" through a test from the third grade have a separate mathematics class, the Advanced and Enriched Mathematics program. In seventh and eighth grade, some students may qualify for the Honors Math program, which is slightly more advanced than the regular class. These four classes are 52 minutes each, the other three classes (one of four world languages, a cycle class, and an elective, and Physical Education) have 40 minutes, and lunch & recess are 40 minutes. (An extra 4 minutes are built into first period for morning announcements).

As of the 2010 school year, "AE Flex" is given each day for 30 minutes. It is a time in which students can do homework, study, finish their work, and read, go to a teacher, or go to PRISM. As a result, each team period is shortened to 52 minutes. (The past ones were 57 minutes.)

Special Education Programs

The school has Special education Programs that aid students with difficulties. These programs include the Literature Lab where students struggling in Language Arts practice to improve their knowledge on that subject to normal, required standards, the Math Lab where students improve their mathematics skills, and the ACES class where children diagnosed with autism learn and socialize with other autistic people in the school.

Clubs and extracurricular activities

The school has many after school programs, also known as clubs, ranging from Homework tutorial to Debate Club. All clubs must be supervised by a teacher. A club usually has a range of about 20-25 students. Most clubs are applied for by the students in Autumn and Spring via paper, although some may require special nomination, like First Period Paws. Other activities include Science Olympiad and MathCounts and Student Council.


"The Jagazine" is a magazine published three times in the fall-winter, spring and near the end of the school year (3 times during the school year). "The Jagazine" is produced and edited by students mainly from the after-school club called Publishing Club led by Mrs. Cohen. These newspaper-type issues only cost 25 cents. Publishing Club also sells an anthology of poems in June called the Spotted Folio.

First Period Paws - Grover’s TV Broadcast

First Period Paws(FPP)is a video production and broadcasting program that provides students with the opportunity to learn the art of communication, the fundamentals of video production and the basics of broadcast writing by creating and presenting live broadcasts that are seen by both students and teachers throughout the school every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning. This program teaches kids how to use editing machines to make their own videos that can sometimes be seen on the show.

Quiz Dish

Quiz Dish is First Period Paws's challenge show.


The AMIGOS (Addressing Middle School Issues by Giving Options to Students) are a group of hand picked 8th graders. These 30 or so students are picked from their 7th grade teachers and counselors because they show desirable traits. They help with 6th and 7th graders and also host fundraisers to raise money. For example the AMIGOS work with the SUNSHINE Fund, Help us Help our own. This fund is one of Grover's "charities" that give money to the unfortunate families of Grover by selling paper paws and hanging them around the cafeteria.


GMS is an active competitor in multiple academic competitions, including Science Olympiad, Science Bowl, MathCounts and Future Problem Solving. They actively participate in state and national competitions for National History Day and ROGATE programs.

Science Olympiad

All grades may participate in this competition. It takes place every Tuesdays and Thursdays. This is by testing only and once in, more tests are given in order to determine the competition team. A student will need 2 events to go onto the state round.

Science Bowl

As of the 2010-2011 year, only 8th graders are allowed to participate in Science Bowl (previously, 7th and 8th graders were allowed to participate.) Participants are selected by a set of exams and afterwards by number of points earned in mock competitions. Maximum five students are allowed to go on to Regionals; first place at Regionals will go on to Nationals.


All grades may participate in this competition in the form of a club. Hopefuls are screened by a series of practice rounds taken from previous MathCounts competitions, and the official team is announced in January. The official team goes on to more practices and then to actual competition. There is another option available, as an after school activity, where there are simpler problems that give students a chance of competing against other students nationally. Math Club, as it is called, is a branch of MathCounts.

FPS(Future Problem Solving)

Part of the school's PRISM program, students take an active role in solving problems of the future. As of now, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders may participate. There are no requirements as to who may join. There are multiple teams with at most 6 people on one team.

A and E program

The Advanced and Enriched (A and E) math program is taught across both middle schools in the district. The program is enriched with topics from geometry and combinatorics integrated into the curriculum.


  1. Grover Middle School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed August 3, 2008.
  2. [1] Brief article in "American School and University" periodical, November 1, 2000, article summary accessed from the "High Beam Research" Web site, September 10, 2007.
  3. "New Jersey Student Wins Third Annual Reader's Digest National Word Power Challenge(SM); Ming-Ming Tran of Princeton Junction, New Jersey Awarded $25,000 College Scholarship.", news release, Reader's Digest Association Inc., Pleasantville, New York, April 19, 2005, distributed through PR Newswire, as quoted in a summary at "High Beam Research" Web site, accessed September 10, 2007.
  4. [2] "The Word is Out! Princeton Student Wins New Jersey State Championship in Nation's Premier Vocabulary Competition"
  5. "New Jersey MathCounts / 2007 New Jersey State Competition Results", at the New Jersey MathCounts Web site, accessed September 10, 2007.
  6. [3] Untitled news release dated March 20, 2007 from the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District, first sentence: "Ten teams and approximately 54 individuals participated in the State Mathcounts competition", accessed September 10, 2007
  7. "New Jersey Student Team to Compete in National Mathematics Finals in Washington, D.C.", news release from the New Jersey MathCounts Web site, dated March 14, 2007, accessed September 10, 2007.

External links

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