Thoreau Matters - November 15th Issue

Message from Mr. Azimi

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Dear Thoreau Community: 

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I would like to wish all of you a wonderful break.  To that end, I have communicated to the Thoreau faculty the need to give our students (and themselves) a respite from the daily grind of school work during the Thanksgiving holiday.  While teachers may have long-term assignments that span over the course of a break, I have shared with the faculty to not assign homework, projects, essays, etc. to be specifically done over Thanksgiving.  I want our students to spend time with their families and have the opportunity to catch a breath from school work.  I want our teachers to decompress and put their lesson plan books and laptops away for a few days while they spend time with their families and friends as well.  My goal with this is to have students and teachers return back to school anxiety-free without the pressure of looming deadlines.  Just so that you are aware, this is a unified message that the Madison pyramid principals send out at three times of the year:  Thanksgiving, winter break and spring break.  Again, I wish you all a happy and restful Thanksgiving holiday.   


Yusef Azimi

Upcoming Important Dates

  • Thursday, November 15th: Family Life Education (FLE) Preview Night
  • Thursday, November 15th: PTA-sponsored 7th Grade Dinner
  • Monday, November 19th and Tuesday, November 20th: No After-School Activities (All students will depart at 2:15 PM)
  • Wednesday, November 21st - Friday, November 23rd: Thanksgiving Holiday

PBL pic

8th grade students Alexa Hartley and Emilie Bishop present their Project-Based Learning (PBL) on how to create a super hero based on an element from the periodic table.

Family Life Education Preview Night

There will be a Family Life Education (FLE) program preview available to our families before the 7th Grade Dinner, 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

News from the Health and Physical Education Department

If you would like to purchase an additional physical education uniform, you can do so at this time.  Uniforms can be purchased online at

Esbaugh student art 1

Student Elizabeth Viurquez created "The Mystical Voyage"

in Ms. Eshbaugh's art class.

National Geography Bee

The National Geography Bee interest meeting was held on Monday, November 12th. Students who are interested in learning more about this opportunity, but were not able to attend the interest meeting, should see Mr. Cain in A117 or Mr. McCullock in A206 with questions.

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)

Super Sloths → Friday, December 7th (McCullock)

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

Art image

Thoreau art teacher Ms. Eshbaugh taught a water color lesson about travel and transformation combining art and technology.  Students were asked to imagine having unlimited funds to go anywhere or do anything.  What would that experience look like and how would it transform them?  8th grade student Chaelyn Haw created this beautiful image.  Other Thoreau students with QR a code reader on their phones can scan the image below to learn that Chaelyn would travel to South Korea, experience the lanterns, and bring more bonding to her family.

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  

Thoreau Theatre Department News 

Game of Tiaras

Thoreau Theatre Fall Production - Game of Tiaras

Friday, November 30th and Saturday, December 1st at 7:00 PM

General Audience Admission $8.00

Thoreau Student Admission with ID card $5.00

Go to for tickets

When the aging king of a magical kingdom (England) decides to split his empire between his three daughters, Cinderella, Belle, and the Snow Queen (who in no way resembles a copyrighted character), terrible tragedy ensues.  Terrible, hilarious tragedy.

Combining the gut-wrenching plot twists of Game of Thrones and the soul-numbing despair of Shakespearean tragedy, this adaptation of King Lear will leave you dying with laughter as the body count mounts. 

When you play the Game of Tiaras, you win or you die.

PTA News and Announcements

TOMORROW!  7th Grade Family Dinner

Join us for the PTA's annual 7th Grade Family Dinner.  You won't want to miss it!  Families will enjoy a catered dinner provided by Skorpio's Maggio's Greek Family Restaurant, as well as dancing, conversation and a photo booth.

When:  Thursday, November 15th    

Time:    6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Where: Thoreau cafeteria and gym

Price:    $12.00 per person

All attendees, including volunteers planning to eat need to purchase tickets.  Ticket sales end by close of business today and must be purchased in advance as there are no tickets sold at the door.  Register and pay online at  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.

Maintaining a Thoreau PTA Tradition

The PTA's Hospitality Committee seeks to send home a Thanksgiving pie to every one of the 160 Thoreau teachers and staff.  This beloved tradition of receiving an apple, pumpkin or pecan pie will occur on Tuesday, November 20th.  If you can contribute a homemade or store-bought pie, please sign-up here.

Help the PTA

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.

Harry Potter Club

8th grade students and members of Thoreau's Harry Potter Club - Vera Korff, Sara Spivey and Brianna Rizzoli - went to the Fairfax County Animal Shelter last week to help style promotional photos for an upcoming Harry PAWter adoption event.