Thoreau Matters - October 25th Issue

Message from Mr. Azimi

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Dear Thoreau Community: 

With the end of first quarter approaching, I would like to share a few items students can be doing to assist in wrapping up this quarter successfully and preparing to transition into the second quarter.  Teachers and counselors will be helping students as needed with these tasks during times of the day like Eagle Time and parents can be supporting their children by doing the same tasks at home.   

  1. Academic Progress:  Be sure to check StudentVUE and ParentVUE to stay up to speed with teachers' gradebooks.  Make sure that work is completed and turned in to the appropriate teacher.  Pay attention to any outstanding assignments that still need to be finished.  Be sure to be in compliance with the retake policy and/or late work policy.
  2. Backpacks:  Each student should open up his/her backpack.  Take out those binders and notebooks.  Find a home for loose papers.  Do pens/pencils/markers need to be replenished?  Have teachers given permission to purge any papers?  Any food in backpacks that needs to be thrown away?
  3. Lockers:  Each student should open up his/her locker.  Is it organized and can items be found easily?  Does anything need to be thrown out from lockers that is no longer needed?  Also, do not forget about gym lockers.  Students should bring home any unwashed physical education uniforms to be cleaned.

In addition, some questions parents can ask at home to have helpful end-of-the-quarter conversations include:  

  1. What is at least one skill you have used after talking about it in Steps to Success class?  Has that made you a better student?
  2. What is at least one organizational strategy you use on a daily basis?  How does that make you more prepared each day? 
  3. What is at least one planning strategy you use on a daily basis?  How does that help you stay on top of all of your work?


Yusef Azimi

Upcoming Important Dates

  • Monday, November 5th: Student holiday/teacher workday
  • Tuesday, November 6th:  Student holiday/teacher workday
  • Thursday, November 15th: Family Life Education Preview Night
  • Thursday, November 15th: PTA-sponsored 7th Grade Dinner

Front Office pumpkins

Ms. Dwyer and Ms. Gomez, front office assistants, are ready for fall.

Student-Parent Survey for Federal Impact Aid

REMINDER: FCPS is asking all families to fill out a student-parent survey for federal Impact Aid. If you have not already done so, please complete this today as it is due to Thoreau's main office by Friday, October 26th.

Returning this form is important because information from this survey results in an anticipated $3 million dollars in grant funds each year from the U.S. Department of Education. These funds are used to support all Fairfax County public schools and centers. 

Learn more by watching this short video featuring Superintendent Scott Brabrand and the U.S. Army Garrison Commander COL Michael Greenberg from Fort Belvoir.

Thoreau Visitor Parking

In order to keep our bus lane clear throughout the day, FCPS has installed several 15-minute visitor parking spots at Thoreau. The parking spots are located directly in front of you as you pull into the parking lot off of Cedar Lane. The spots can be used if parents need to check-out their child from school early or drop something in the main office.  For meetings or volunteer shifts, please continue to park in the main lot.

Family Life Education Preview Night

There will be a Family Life Education (FLE) program preview available to our families before the 7th Grade Dinner on Thursday, November 15th from 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM in the Thoreau library.

Parents/guardians who are interested in reviewing the Human Growth and Development (HGD) and Emotional and Social Health (ESH) materials that will be presented to our students in December can review them at this time.

FCPS provides a comprehensive, sequential FLE program for students in grades K-12.  Instruction is seen as a partnership among parents/guardians, the school, and the community in supporting the learning essential to the development of strong families, positive relationships, and a healthy community.

Parents/guardians may choose to opt their child out of all or part of the FLE program.  Students who are opted out are provided with age-appropriate alternative health instruction, and every effort is made to foster respect for family choices.  If you wish to opt your child out of all or part of FLE for this school year, please complete the opt-out form found here and return it to Thoreau student services assistant Jill Hendelman or your child's health and physical education teacher as soon as possible.

Detailed grade-level program descriptions are available online here.  FLE grade level-specific lessons are available for parents online in FCPS 24-7 (Blackboard) ParentVue.  Grade level-specific lessons are also available at the Fairfax County Regional Library in the City of Fairfax.  (This location does not have media.)  Grade level-specific lessons and media are also available for review in the Thoreau library.  Due to copyright permissions, we are unable to stream media online.

Program questions may be addressed by contacting FCPS K-12 health and physical education coordinator Elizabeth Payne at

Ms. Jacobs PBL

Project Based Learning (PBL) in Action from Ms. Jacobs' science classes

7th grade: A visual display of a biome adaptation

8th grade: Solve the imperfect crime in the Town of Vienna based on science

Two Volunteer Opportunities

1.) Hearing and Vision Screening Volunteers

Hearing and vision screening will take place at Thoreau on Tuesday, November 13th and Wednesday, November 14th. The clinic would appreciate any volunteers who could assist with the screening.  No prior training is required to help. See this link with details and to sign-up to volunteer.

2.) 8th Grade Parent Volunteers for Finance Park Field Trip

The 8th grade math and civics departments are in need of chaperones for our December field trip to Finance Park. Students will be going on the field trip with their respective team as listed here:

Wombats → Tuesday, December 4th (Alley)

Falcons → Wednesday, December 5th (Christoff)

Falcons → Thursday, December 6th (Valenti)

Sloths → Friday, December 7th (McCullock)

Please follow this link to get more information and to sign-up to chaperone.

Spirit Week

The Student Council Association (SCA) has planned the week of October 29th to be a Thoreau spirit week.  This is a fun time to show your school pride.

Monday, October 29th - Team Color Day

   Turtles: Green      

   Wolves: White      

   Alpacas: Purple

   Penguins: Blue

   Super Sloths: Black

   Goats: Yellow 

   Falcons: Red

Tuesday, October 30th - Pink Out

Wednesday, October 31st - Halloween Costume (must be in compliance with the SR&R)

Thursday, November 1st - Sports Day

Friday, November 2nd - PJ Day (must be in compliance with the SR&R)

Thoreau Theatre Department News 

Ghosts and Witches and Creatures of Fright - Thoreau Theatre is hosting a TheatreSports competition night!  The tricks and treats will have you screaming with laughter!

Seven FCPS middle school teams are coming to Thoreau to haunt in this improvisation competition!  As in all classic TheatreSports matches, the final outcome is determined by audience judges scoring each of the ghostly games.  The team with the most points is the scariest of all!

Come cheer on our spook-tacular Thoreau team this Friday, October 26th.  Costumes welcome but must be appropriate for school.  You can buy $5.00 tickets here or at the door.  Concessions will be on sale during intermission and include pizza, chips, soda, and more.  This is Halloween fun for the whole family!

Questions should be directed to Thoreau theatre teacher Virginia Cunningham at 

Pink out

Thoreau staff wear pink for breast cancer awareness month.

2018-2019 Thoreau Yearbook

The yearbook committee is hard at work with current sales at 60%.  We recommend getting the yearbook now before the price goes up.  We are also accepting donations for the cost of a yearbook for needy students.  If you would like to donate, please print, complete and return this form to Thoreau's front office. 

Yearbooks can also be purchased at: or   

Questions? Please contact Thoreau yearbook sponsor Ms. Galeet BenZion at  

Attention Swimmers

Madison High School Swim and Dive will be hosting a swim clinic on Saturday, October 27th featuring Olympic gold medalists Josh Davis and Katie Meili. The clinic will focus on helping develop our swimmers’ starts, turns and underwater kicks. There will also be an inspirational talk and an opportunity to get autographs and take pictures with Josh and Katie. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis so please register ASAP. The cost of the clinic is $100. A copy of the brochure with all of the details is available here.  The clinic is available to all interested swimmers.

Lost and Found

Thoreau's Lost and Found has grown rapidly with 23 water bottles, 40 pieces of clothing, and many lunchboxes.  Remind your child to check the Lost and Found located in the front office if they are missing anything.  Items remaining on Monday, November 5th will be donated to charity.

Charlie Brown

Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin carved by creative Thoreau teachers.

PTA News and Announcements

7th Grade Family Dinner

Take the night off from cooking!  Come hang out with other Thoreau 7th grade students and their families for a night of food, music, and fun.  Catered dinner will be provided by Skorpio's Maggio's Greek Family Restaurant.

When:  Thursday, November 15th    

Time:    6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Where: Thoreau cafeteria and gym

Price:    $12.00 per person

Register and pay online at  Space is limited to students and parents.  Parents are required to stay as this is not a drop-off event.

7th and 8th grade parents, see this link if you are able to volunteer.

Help the PTA

Parents, we need your help to be able to continue supporting Thoreau and our students in many ways that the PTA can offer.  For example, this month the PTA solicited grant proposals from staff and will be helping to supplement the resources that Fairfax County provides to help ensure Thoreau students have the best possible learning opportunities.  If you haven't already, please join the PTA and consider making a donation to our no-fuss fundraiser.

Other easy ways you can earn money for Thoreau are:

  • register your Giant card to support Thoreau with the A+ School Rewards, group ID# 02131
  • register your Harris Teeter VIC card with school code 3258
  • designate Thoreau for your Amazon Smile charity
  • keep collecting and sending in your Box Tops


Emily Korff, Thoreau PTA President 


Thoreau Food Program

In partnership with the PTA, Thoreau Student Services will be packaging and sending home weekend food bags for families in need.  We are looking for donations of non-perishable food items as identified on this Amazon shopping list. For your convenience, these items may be ordered from Amazon and delivered directly to the school. Donations may also be purchased and dropped off in the Thoreau front office to the attention of Director of Student Services Rebecca Aguilar.  Gift cards are also greatly appreciated.