Winter Break Newsletter

Message from the Principal

Dear TJ Families:

As we head into our winter break, I'd like to take this opportunity to again thank you for the collaborative spirit and support for our school.  Each day we enjoy a community that embraces the value of education.  We also give back to others who may not be as fortunate.  This is just part of what makes TJ so special.

While we count our strengths and blessings at this time of year, we also must take time to realize that the holiday season can be a stressful time for individuals and families.  As indicated in last week's message, there are a variety of resources and interventions to assist those who feel overwhelmed.

We rely on parents to partner with us so we can maintain a healthy school environment for the well-being of our students.  With that in mind, I wanted to provide clarification regarding social media sites.  TJ administrators and staff do not directly respond to or monitor them.  Any forums used such as Facebook pages and Snapchat are privately maintained.  The contents of the conversations there are the responsibility of the participants, not our school.  

If you or your child have stress-related concerns, it is far more productive to reach out to a school counselor, teacher or other trusted adult so we can intervene and provide the necessary supports and resources.  We provide regular wellness screenings, offer peer mentoring, and maintain an open-door policy for all to express personal concerns.  If an emergency circumstance arises, remember you can call 911, reach Crisis Link at 703-527-4077 or text CONNECT to 85511.  You may also reach back out to our Department of Student Services or any administrator with additional suggestions.

Remember that both children and adults need breaks from the many demands of school life.  Let's support our students and staff in finding a healthy balance between school, work, and family.  To that end, I’ve reminded faculty that no homework shall be assigned over the break and no assessments are to be administered on the day we return.  This also means staff may take a well-deserved break from email and wait until we return to respond.  We can all share in helping each other!

On behalf of the entire TJ staff, I wish all of you a safe and relaxing winter break.  We look forward to welcoming back our students on January 2, 2018.

Yours in Colonial Spirit,

Ann N. Bonitatibus

TJHSST Teacher of the Year!

Foreman TOY

Thank you to all members of our community who participated in the nomination process for outstanding employee service awards.  It is with great pleasure that we announce Mr. Adam Foreman as our FCPS Outstanding Teacher of the Year for the 2017-18 school year.

Mr. Foreman advances in the District's process with a nomination packet that encompasses a narrative on the following criteria:

  • Instills in students a desire to learn and achieve
  • Understands individual needs of students, encourages their talents and fosters their self-esteem
  • Demonstrates a thorough knowledge of the subject matter and ability to share it effectively with students
  • Fosters cooperative relationship with colleagues/community
  • Demonstrates outstanding leadership
  • Contributes to one or more of the following IGNITE goals of Student Success, Caring Culture, Premier Workforce and Resource Stewardship

Students, parents and staff members may submit written comments to be included in the official nomination packet to support Mr. Foreman by forwarding them to Pam Gravitte, Assistant Principal, by January 2, 2018, at

We also congratulate our other outstanding teachers who were nominated: Michael Auerbach, Allison Bailey, Sean Burke, Christine Conklin, Isaac Choi, Mark Forgash, Ria Galanos, Aubrie Holman, Christina Ketchem, Patty Lister, Susan Martinez, Mike Miller, Jonathan Osborne, Jennifer Rosenblum, Betsy Sandstrom, Alexa Scott, John Struck, Kurt Waters, Patrick White, and John Woodwell.

TJ Colonial Awards

Thank you to all the parents, staff and students who submitted nominations for the quarterly TJ Colonial Award.  We honored two teachers and two students for being exemplary citizens to our school community through acts of great character and support that go above the call of duty.  Congratulations to teachers Kurt Waters and Michelle Boswell, along with students Sarah O'Shay and Thomas Lu!


 Assistant Principals Mr. Grosicki and Ms. Gravitte adorn Mr. Waters with a special TJ pin.

(Dr. Boswell was not available for a picture.)


Mr. Grosicki and Dr. Bonitatibus honor Sarah O'Shay for her courageous spirit.


Assistant Principal Mr. Frank and Dr. Bonitatibus thank Thomas Lu for his generous spirit.

Building Hours During Break

The building will be open during regular school hours Monday, December 18, through Friday, December 22.  Only custodians, 12-month secretaries and administrators may be at work.  The building will then be closed the remainder of winter break and no staff will be working.  We re-open January 2, 2018.