Thoreau Matters - December 20th Issue

Message from Mr. Azimi

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Dear Thoreau Community: 

I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a terrific winter break.  Just as I had written in the Thanksgiving edition of Thoreau Matters, the faculty will not be assigning homework, projects, essays, etc. to be specifically done over the break.  Any work that your child might do is either optional or is a long-term assignment that happens to span the break.  Both the Thoreau faculty and our students need a breather from the daily grind of school life over the next two weeks.   

As a reminder, this is a consistent message the Madison pyramid principals send to all of our school communities at three times of the year:  Thanksgiving, winter break and spring break.  This is something my colleagues and I agreed to do starting in the 2015-2016 school year.  We are unified in this message as it is important to us to do what we can to help everyone maintain a healthy home-school life balance.   

The school building, including the front office, will be closed during the winter break.  12-month Thoreau staff will be working on an intermittent schedule.

I look forward to welcoming everyone back to Thoreau on Monday, January 7, 2019. 


Yusef Azimi

Upcoming Important Dates

  • Friday, December 21st:  No after-school activities or late buses
  • Monday, December 24th - Friday, January 4th:  Winter Break (The school building, including the front office, will be closed.)

Edwin and Mr. Tyson

Thoreau 8th grade student Edwin Arita Figueroa spoke at the FCPS Region 1 Principals' Breakfast on ways to help students gain a greater trust in their school.  Edwin is pictured here with Region 1 Assistant Superintendent Douglas Tyson. 

New Thoreau Attendance Email Address

Thoreau's new attendance email is  This is a result of FCPS standardizing the attendance phone numbers and email addresses for all schools across the district.  Maintaining consistent contact information between school websites and the new eNotify system will ensure more accurate reporting and tracking of attendance.  The attendance phone number for Thoreau will remain 703-846-8080. 

Shuttle Bus Survey to Vienna Teen Center's Club Phoenix

Thoreau's after-school program partners with Vienna Teen Center's Club Phoenix to offer programming at Thoreau.  One service that we are looking at potentially offering is a shuttle bus that would transport students from Thoreau to the Teen Center at the end of the afternoon, two days a week.  Only students who participate in Thoreau's after-school program and are registered with Club Phoenix would be able to use this service.  The students would then be able to participate in Club Phoenix activities until the center closes at 6:30 PM.  Club Phoenix is a drop-in program, and participants may only sign-out once daily.  Students will need a mode of transportation home from the center.  The registration form is available at the Teen Center or you can email Teen Center program manager Natalie Duncan at  Please fill out this survey so we can gauge parent/student interest in this service.  There would be limited space on the shuttle so students would need to register in advance.  The survey will close on Friday, January 18th.  Survey results will be used to determine a schedule.  Note that the shuttle would only run on days in which the after-school program convenes.

Orchestra to Union Station

Thoreau's orchestra, led by orchestra director Heather Yacovissi, performed on Wednesday, December 19th at Union Station.

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

Bolanos coding

Ms. Bolanos' 8th grade coding students Maddie Kinsel, Camryn Galbraith and Rea Grover are learning to create a website.

2018-2019 Thoreau Yearbook

The yearbook committee is in need of photos of band and chorus students in action.  Candid or formal shots are welcome.  JPEG photos have the best resolution and can be forwarded to

Current yearbook sales are at 65%.  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. 

A generic version of the yearbook can be purchased at

To purchase an individualized version, go to

Questions? Please contact Thoreau yearbook sponsor Ms. Galeet BenZion 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

McCullock's civics class

Mr. McCullock's 8th grade civics students Semih Beren, Sydney Joseph and Grant McVicker review the Bill of Rights for a test.

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.

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.

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

PTA News and Announcements

January Evening PTA Meeting

The next PTA meeting will be Wednesday, January 16th at 6:30 PM.  The meeting will be held at the Vienna Community Center's Club Phoenix at 120 Cherry Street SE, Vienna, Virginia  22180.  Following the meeting at 7:00 PM, Club Phoenix will sponsor a program called Video Game Rage.  A licensed psychotherapist from Total Health Concepts will facilitate alongside an employee from GameStop.  Please plan to join us!

Spirit Wear Sale

This is the last opportunity to order winter spirit wear.  On Friday, December 21st the online 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.

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.

Art Cake Competition

The winners of the Ace of Cakes art competition from Ms. Eshbaugh's 2nd period art foundations class are 7th grade students Julianna Smith, Chaelyn Haw, and Siilen Orkhon.