Takoma Park Middle School

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Takoma Park Middle School
TPMS Seal.png
7611 Piney Branch Road
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910
United States
Coordinates 38°59′07″N 77°00′46″W / 38.985408°N 77.012894°W / 38.985408; -77.012894Coordinates: 38°59′07″N 77°00′46″W / 38.985408°N 77.012894°W / 38.985408; -77.012894
Type Public (magnet) middle school
Motto Ad Astra (Latin)
(To the stars)
Established 1925[1]
Opened March 15, 1940[1]
Oversight Montgomery County Public Schools
Principal Alicia Deeny
Faculty approx. 100
Grades 6-8
Number of students 826 [2]
Campus Hodges Tract (Suburban)
Campus size 18.8 acres (7.61 ha)
Color(s)           Blue and white
Athletics 6 varsity sports
Mascot Blue Devil
Nickname TPMS
Newspaper Blue Chips

Takoma Park Middle School (TPMS) is a public middle school in Takoma Park in Montgomery County, Maryland, in the United States. TPMS contains a total of 18 academic departments, as well as a specialized magnet program. The city of Takoma Park is assigned to this school.

The school is notable for its magnet program, which draws students from both the Silver Spring area and across Montgomery County, and makes up approximately 30% of TPMS's student population. TPMS is also recognized as a Maryland Green School.[3]


Takoma Park Middle School's foundations stretch back to the historic Takoma-Silver Spring School, which was located on a 1-acre campus at the corner of Philadelphia Avenue and Chicago Avenue in suburban Takoma Park, Maryland. In the late 1920s, T-SSHS expanded to consist of the middle grades 7 through 9, and by the early 1930s, grades K through 12. Due to an ever growing population, the high grades (10 through 12) left the school to form Montgomery Blair High School in 1935. By the end of the 1930s, further population growth fueled the need for a new junior high school; as a result, the middle grades relocated from Takoma-Silver Spring School to the new Takoma Park Middle School in March 1940. This was the beginnings of the school.[4] Takoma-Silver Spring School was then renamed Silver Spring Intermediate School (SSI), which served as an elementary school until 1972, not to be confused with Silver Spring International Middle School. In 1992, the historic SSI building was demolished and the former school campus became a community park.

Several additions were made to the original Takoma Park Middle School building throughout the twentieth century. Six classrooms were added August 12, 1941. In December 1941 an estimate was made for a 3-classroom and shop addition, but this construction was delayed by war-time shortages. The next additions did not occur until September 1949: 7 classrooms, a library, office and gymnasium. In 1961, four teaching stations and an office were added. Lastly, in 1966 a new Library was added. In 1997, the original 60-year-old building was demolished and rebuilt.[4]


Aerial photograph of the TPMS campus

The Takoma Park Middle School campus covers 18.8 acres in suburban Takoma Park and is approximately rectangular in shape. The original school building, built on March 15, 1940, contained 107,758 sq ft (10,011.0 m2) of space. However, the current building, constructed in 1998, currently contains 137,348 sq ft (12,760.0 m2) of space. At one point, the campus included three additional portable buildings, but they were removed by 2007.

The Lee Jordan Athletic Field, consisting of a 400-meter track which encloses the general combination football/soccer/baseball/softball field, resides north of the main building. To the east of the building are three basketball courts and four tennis courts.[5] A greenhouse is located to the southwest of the building for use by the horticulture club and hydroponics connoisseurs. The school has 4 main parking lots, one for over 12 buses, one adjacent to the field, and two for both faculty members and visitors- one on either side of the bus lot.

The main building is composed of three floors, with a small and large gymnasium and a cafeteria which doubles as an auditorium, with a stage and separate entrance. The school also has standard classrooms and academic facilities, including six science laboratories, at four computer technology labs, and a home economics lab. There is a media center/library and television studio located on the second floor. The television studio is the site of filming for the daily announcements, called 'Wake Up Takoma'.


As of 2016, the school has an enrollment of 1,060 students. TPMS is notable for the diversity of its student body: African Americans make up 27% of the population, Caucasians 31%, Hispanics 15%, Asians 20%, and Other 7%.[6]


Because of its Mathematics/Science/Computer Science Gifted and Talented (GT) Magnet Program, TPMS attracts students from across the down-county consortium. TPMS was home to the now defunct print newspaper Blue Chips and the online equivalent newspaper Blue Chips Online. TPMS also has a student television production unit that produces a daily announcement program called Wake Up Takoma, which aires at 8:15 on weekday mornings and is run by students and the film production teacher, Mr. Wilson. Takoma Park Middle School offers an instructional program for all public school students living within its boundary area. This program includes not only the core academic subjects but also 2 foreign languages, physical education, and an 'arts rotation' consisting of four elective courses. A METS (Multidisciplinary Education, Training, and Support) program serves students with limited English proficiency and interrupted schooling.

TPMS consists of a specialized program and 17 academic departments, offering a diverse range of disciplines and courses. These 17 departments are as follows: Art, Counseling, Dance, English, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), Family and Consumer Science (Home Economics), Foreign Language, Health and Physical Education, Instrumental Music, Mathematics/Science/Computer Science Magnet Program, Mathematics, Media Center, Media Productions, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Special Education, and Technology Education.

Mathematics/Science/Computer Science Magnet Program[edit]

TPMS Magnet Program Seal.png

In the mid-1980s, Montgomery County Public Schools opened its first middle school Mathematics/Science/Computer Science Magnet Program within Takoma Park Middle School. The Magnet Program offers accelerated, interdisciplinary courses in mathematics, science, and computer science for students who are particularly interested in these subjects. The current coordinator of the Magnet Program is Scott DeGasperis.

Takoma Park also has a sister magnet program of Eastern Middle School, which is the magnet for the humanities such as English, history, and other similar subjects. In north county, there is Roberto Clemente Middle School, which has a humanities and math/science/computer science magnet.

Before the start of second semester in 5th grade, students who reside in Montgomery County are eligible to apply to the Magnet Program. The process involves a written including essays, teacher recommendations, and elementary school transcripts. All applicants are required to take a written entrance exam in the spring which tests math, science, humanities, and logical thinking. The program accepts only 150 students from across the county each year. However, students may be recommended for the magnet program for 7th or 8th grade.

Magnet students take three advanced courses each semester within the Magnet curriculum — mathematics, science, and computer science — and five courses each semester in other disciplines (English, social studies, fine arts, foreign language, physical education, etc.) with the rest of the TPMS student body. Math courses include pre-algebra, algebra, and geometry. Most students begin their math course sequence with pre-algebra in sixth grade, however, depending on their skill level and experience, students may choose to begin their course sequence with Algebra I or even Geometry in sixth grade. The most advanced Magnet students may commute each day to Montgomery Blair High School to take the course Magnet Functions (accelerated precalculus). A unit in Magnet Algebra explores the relationships between mathematical sets and Rubik's Cubes, which leads to TPMS's annual Rubik's Cube Competition. In the Magnet Computer Science 6, students study the evolution of computers, telecommunications, typing, and the software components of Microsoft Office, including Excel, Word, and PowerPoint, as well as the basics for the programming language, Python. Seventh grade computer science topics include further Python programming, and the study of web publishing and design with HTML. Advanced Python programming skills and object-oriented programming are taught in Magnet Computer Science 8, in addition to JavaScript and advanced HTML. A language known as Logo was formerly taught in eighth grade, but now a unit in the curriculum is based on the object-oriented programming language Scratch. Python is the programming language that is currently being taught in all three grades. Science courses cover the basics of various topics in physics, chemistry, environmental science, geology, space science, biology, anatomy, meteorology, and astronomy. Each year, magnet students complete a STEM project to be displayed on Science Expo night, which is usually the first or second Friday in May, along with the projects of their non-magnet peers. Magnet Science 6 contains a unique unit at the end of the year that covers Rube Goldberg Machines, and their relations to physics and energy transformations. During this unit, students are required to design and build Rube Goldberg Machine with classmates. Magnet Science 7 also has an interesting unit on forensics, in which the students try to solve a murder mystery while applying their knowledge of forensic analysis. In Magnet Science 8, the STEM project is expanded into a year-long Capstone project.

The Mathematics, Science, and Computer Science Magnet Program at Montgomery Blair High School is considered to be a continuation of TPMS's Magnet Program. As such, approximately 50% of TPMS Magnet students choose to continue their education at MBHS's Magnet Program.

Magnet students have been winners of many state and national competitions. In 2005, four Magnet students from TPMS achieved perfect scores on the AMC 8, tying the school with First Colony Middle School for the most perfect scores from a single school.[citation needed] Students in the Magnet Program began competing in the National Science Bowl in the 2007-2008 school year. In all but one of the years, they have won the Maryland Regional Science Bowl and progressed onto the national competitions, where they placed 13th in 2008, 5th in 2009, 5th again in 2010, 9th in 2011, 2nd in 2012, and 3rd in 2013. In the 2013-14 year, the students received 2nd place in the National Science Bowl, coming second to Creekside Middle School. Also in 2015 they won 1st place in the intermediate 5 division of the ACSL All-Star competition.[7]

Notable teachers include Kathryn Saftner, who teaches Magnet Algebra and hosts the annual Rubik's Cube Competition; Sarah Manchester, who was the third person to ever win a million on Wheel of Fortune; Dr.Edward M. Taliff Phd, who teaches seventh grade computer science and has a fanbase of his own, and Bryan Goehring, who teaches Magnet Science 7 and sponsors the Difference Makers Club.[8]

Foreign Language Department[edit]

The Foreign Language Department offers studies in Spanish and French. While the foreign language classes use the high-school curriculum, most of the student body is enrolled in a foreign language, many beginning in sixth grade.

Instrumental Department[edit]

The Instrumental Department consists of two orchestras, four bands, and an extra-curricular jazz band: Advanced Orchestra, Concert Orchestra, Advanced Band, Concert Band, 6th Grade Band, Beginning Band, and Jazz Band. The Advanced Orchestra has consistently earned superior ratings at county and state orchestra festivals for many years. Members of the Advanced Orchestra and Advanced Band have performed with various other ensembles, such as the Montgomery County Honors and Maryland All-State Honors Bands and Orchestras. They also participate in high-level select orchestra groups such as the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras, District of Columbia Youth Orchestras, Potomac Valley Youth Orchestras, and the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras.

Student activities[edit]

TPMS has over 20 specialized teams or clubs:

Science Bowl Team[edit]

The Takoma Park Middle School science bowl team has been in existence for seven full years to date. Those seven years have generated six regional winning champion teams, and in two of those years (2011 and 2014), both of the top two regionals teams hailed from Takoma Park. Takoma Park represented Maryland in the 2013 national science bowl, and placed second in the country.[9] Several members of the 2013 team returned and, along with a new team member, placed third on the national level in 2014.


The TPMS MathCounts team participates in math competitions at the chapter and state level each year. It is held by Magnet Geometry and Magnet Algebra II teacher, Sarah Manchester. The group has also sent students to the national level, representing the state of Maryland. Their team has come in first place at the state level competition since TPMS's MathCounts team was founded, excepting 2013 and 2014, in which TPMS was beat by Roberto Clemente Middle School by a total of 3.5 points. In 2014, the Maryland team placed 2nd on the national level, and Takoma seventh-grader Daniel Zhu made it to the semi-finals of the Countdown Round. Also in 2014, TPMS was beaten by RCMS at MathCounts States for the second time in a row. The MathCounts team also participates in other math competitions such as the Purple Comet! math meet, Carderock Mathcounts competition, and the American Mathematics Competition, along with several middle and high school competitions.

Basketball Team[edit]

The TPMS basketball team has a record of 35-1 in the last 5 years (as of October 2014) against other divisional teams including E. Brook Lee, Eastern Middle School, and Silver Spring International. Their longtime coach was Anthony Langley (Coach Tony), was famous for showing "tough love" to students also an assistant coach at Theodore Roosevelt High School The New Coach is Coach Skillings.

Notable Alumni[edit]


Arts and Media[edit]


  • Sarah Manchester, winner of $1,017,490 on Wheel of Fortune, teacher edition, on September 17, 2014, the third one million dollar jackpot winner in the show's history, also teaches Magnet Geometry, and formerly taught Magnet Algebra.[10]


  1. ^ a b History of the Takoma Park Junior High School
  2. ^ Takoma Park Middle School from Local School Directory
  3. ^ "Current Green Schools | MAEOE.org". maeoe.org. Retrieved 2015-07-24. 
  4. ^ a b "History of the Takoma Park Junior High School". www.takomapark.info. Retrieved 2015-07-24. 
  5. ^ "Gardens and Parks - Takoma Park". www.cityoftakomapark.org. Retrieved 2015-08-13. 
  6. ^ http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/regulatoryaccountability/glance/currentyear/schools/03755.pdf
  7. ^ http://www.acsl.org/acsl/14-15/ALL-STAR%20RESULTS.htm
  8. ^ "Staff Directory". Montgomery County Public Schools. 
  9. ^ Bui, Lynh (April 29, 2013). "Takoma Park Middle School students finish second at annual National Science Bowl". The Washington Post. 
  10. ^ "Five Questions ... With Sarah Manchester, Math Teacher at Takoma Park Middle School". Montgomery County Public Schools. 7 October 2014. Retrieved 22 October 2014. 

External links[edit]