Thoreau Matters - December 6th Issue

Message from Mr. Azimi

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Dear Thoreau Community: 

With the winter season approaching and what seems like the constant chatter of inclement weather around the corner, I would like to share with you that FCPS will be moving to a new vendor to provide emergency and essential email, text, and phone notifications beginning Friday, December 14th.  If you currently receive emergency and essential communications via email, text, or phone, you do not need to do anything as you will continue to receive this information. 

Parents and guardians who have included a cell phone number (in the cell phone field) on a student’s emergency care card will receive a text message on Friday, December 14th to confirm the account is set up to receive text messages from FCPS.  You do not need to do anything when you receive the text message from the new vendor, School Messenger, on Friday, December 14th. If you do not receive a text message, please check the contact information listed on your child’s emergency care card in weCare. Your cell phone number must be listed in the cell phone field in order to receive text messages from FCPS.

New this year, parents can enter their child’s cellphone number in weCare so that their child will also receive text messages from FCPS for delayed openings, school closings, and late bus notifications. The student’s cellphone number will need to be entered in Section 4, under Additional Information.  If the student’s cellphone is listed in weCare, he/she will also receive the text message on Friday, December 14th

Emergency and essential information includes:

  • Emergency
  • Delayed openings/school closings
  • Attendance
  • Early release
  • Buses running late
  • Low lunch balance
  • Power, telephone, internet outages or facility repairs
  • Back-to-school information
  • Important testing dates

If you have recently changed your contact information, please be sure to update the emergency contact information in weCare.  As a reminder, in addition to email and text messages, all FCPS weather delays and openings are also posted on Twitter, Facebook, FCPS website, school websites, and local radio and television broadcasts.  Read more about Weather Cancellation Procedures in FCPS. 


Yusef Azimi

Upcoming Important Dates

  • Tuesday, December 11th:  Fall picture re-take day
  • Friday, December 14th:  3-hour early release day, dismissal at 11:15 AM
  • Friday, December 21st:  No after-school activities or late buses
  • Monday, December 24th - Friday, January 4th:  Winter Break

8th grade science

The 8th grade science department displayed project based learning (PBL) titled TMS Super Hero & Villain Element Periodic Table.  The purpose of the PBL was to learn about physical and chemical characteristics of elements.  The AAP classes had an added summary of how the nature of science relates to the discovery of the periodic table.

Advanced Academic Programs (AAP) Level IV Referrals

Parents or guardians of seventh grade students may initiate the full-time AAP Level IV screening process by completing and submitting an Advanced Academic Programs Level IV referral form to their child's school counselor no later than Thursday, January 10, 2019.  No late referrals will be accepted.

AAP Level IV services are available to students in grades 3-8.  Students may be found eligible for full-time placement in AAP Level IV Center classes through a central selection process and receive a highly challenging instructional program in science, social studies and English.  Multiple criteria are reviewed by a central selection committee to determine eligibility for all FCPS advanced academic services.  More information about AAP services available at the middle school level may be found here

If you have any questions, you should contact your child's counselor or Thoreau director of student services Rebecca Aguilar at

Thoreau Junior Optimist Club

Students can earn service hours by participating in fun monthly projects and helping better our community with the Junior Optimist Club, a new international service club at Thoreau this year.  The Junior Optimist Club exists in many elementary and high schools including Madison and Marshall High Schools.  Students may volunteer to help sell Christmas trees at the Giant shopping center parking lot on Maple Ave. by signing up here.  So far they have promoted mental health awareness throughout the building with posters and optimistic stickers for Mental Health month in October and they will be writing holiday letters to the troops this week.  The Junior Optimists will also host an oratorical speaking competition in the spring with auditions quickly approaching.  The club meets the first and third Thursday of every month in Thoreau English teacher Ms. Gabro's room (A124) during the second after-school session (3:10 PM - 4:05 PM).  Any new students are welcome.

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


Science teacher Julie Hackenberg helped distribute cupcakes to students who were honored at last week's Student of the Quarter ceremony.  Congratulations to the 76 students who were recognized by their teachers for their first quarter achievements. Keep up the great work!

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 Travels to France

The planned trip to Paris, Provence, and the Riviera is now open to all Thoreau students!  We plan to visit Paris on this unique trip, then head south via train to Provence, Monaco, and the Riviera - some of the most beautiful and historic spots in the county. 

Enrollment priority was given to students studying French to make sure they got a spot.  We are pleased to now invite all Thoreau students who would like to learn more about the French culture.  As a participant, your child will return to the US with more knowledge of the French language and a greater cultural understanding of this wonderful part of the world.


,The departure date for this 9-day trip is tentatively set for Wednesday, June 19th.  There will be a parent information meeting on Tuesday, December 11th at 7:00 PM in room A137.  Please let us know if you can come by responding here.  If you are interested but can't make the meeting you can direct your questions to Thoreau French teacher Madame Locke at  Merci!

4th Annual Countdown to None 5K

The Countdown to None is a non-profit 5K race whose mission is to raise funds and awareness for type 1 diabetes. Inspired by a former Thoreau student, this is a fun, family friendly event and an opportunity to get those last miles in before the New Year!  Hundreds of runners and walkers join together to ring in the New Year and commit to helping cure type 1 diabetes.  The race will take place on Sunday, December 31st at 4:30 PM in the heart of historic Vienna near the caboose. More race and registration information can be found here.

Thoreau Theatre Department - Game of Tiaras

Game of Tiaras

Congratulations to the International Thespian Society on last week's successful performance of Game of Tiaras.  The cast and crew worked hard for two months to bring this production together.  It was an exceptional show and the dedication invested into learning lines, choreography, blocking, tech, and building the set really showed!  Well done to everyone involved! A special thanks to speech and drama teacher Virginia Cunningham for her commitment and dedication to the success of her students.

Shrek the Musical Jr. Comes to Thoreau

Shrek Jr

Everyone's favorite ogre is back in this hilarious stage spectacle, Shrek The Musical Jr., based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation film and fantastic Broadway musical.  It's a "big, bright, beautiful world" as Shrek leads a cast of fairytale misfits on an adventure to rescue a princess and find true acceptance.  Part romance and part twisted fairytale, Shrek Jr. is an irreverently fun show with a powerful message for the whole family.

Tech sign-ups are available now. Details can be found here.

PTA News and Announcements

Save the Date for the 7th Grade Family Dinner

Our PTA's anticipated 7th grade family dinner was cancelled due to inclement weather.  Special thanks are owed to our caterer, local Vienna restaurant Skorpio's Maggio's Greek Family Restaurant, for allowing the last-minute cancellation and refund of our food order.  The dinner has been rescheduled for Thursday, March 21st.  Please save the date and watch for further details in the spring.

Spirit Wear Sale

Vienna Sports has opened up our online store for spirit wear again.  The store is now live and new items have been added to include long sleeve shirts, scarves, and beanie hats!  The store will be open now through Friday, December 21st.  At that point the store will close and orders will be processed and ready for pick-up AFTER the break, beginning on Thursday, January 10th.  Items will be available for pick-up in the school store unless a family chooses to have them shipped directly.  Additional information including size charts are in this store link.

Thoreau Staff Hospitality

Thanks to everyone who donated pies for the November hospitality event.  They were very much appreciated by all of our teachers, staff and bus drivers!

December is here and we are continuing another holiday tradition with more baking for our awesome Thoreau staff but this time it's cookies!  We plan to give each staff member a box of homemade/bakery bought cookies.  Find more information and 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.

PTA with the pies

PTA President Emily Korff, along with other members of the PTA collected, boxed and distributed 160 pies to Thoreau staff and bus drivers before Thanksgiving.  Thank you to everyone who helped once again make this a tradition to remember.  We are thankful for you.