Winter Break Bulletin- Message from the Principal

Message from the Principal

Dear TJ Families:

As we head into our winter break, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for the many joys we share each day. Our TJ community is remarkable as we embrace a deep love of learning and inquiry. And particularly at this time of year we see many acts of giving and gratitude. TJ is special!

This past fall we celebrated countless student and staff accomplishments. Our students proudly represented their character and talent on athletic fields and in performing arts venues, often with local and state recognition. What follows are a mere sampling of other accolades. TJ student journalists have won national publication awards. Other students have garnered individual awards related to their research projects and abstracts, with some having the opportunity to co-author papers with scientists. Students on robotics teams are advancing to state competition, a group of freshmen won 1st place in US Chess Nationals, and creative coders swept the Congressional App Challenge. Our own art teacher Tim Davis had work displayed in notable DC area venues. Athletic Trainer Heather Murphy was named the Virginia Athletic Trainer of the Year, and computer science teacher Dr. John Zacharias was published in a mathematics journal.

This year has also seen the launch of Challenge Success, an initiative to research and address student wellness and life balance. We have recently received our results from the Stanford Survey of Adolescent School Experiences administered to students in October.  TJ's Challenge Success Team has met with the researchers to analyze the results and examine what we can learn from the data.  Our team is looking forward to sharing the results with staff, students and parents in January. In the meanwhile, you may want to access online parent resources such as Tips to Help Your Child Thrive.

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. If an emergency circumstance arises, remember you can call 911, reach Crisis Link at 703-527-4077 or text CONNECT to 85511. While school is in session, administrators, counselors, teachers and staff continue to keep open doors should students need to talk.

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 7, 2019.

Yours in Colonials Spirit,

Dr. Ann N. Bonitatibus




Current and former TJ staff honored Dorothy Diggs upon her retirement after serving our community for 30 years!  We will miss her!


The TJ Mental Health Coalition joined forces with Woodson, Madison and West Springfield High Schools. Students shared ideas about creating and sustaining caring communities that keep students well.

Jax the THerapy Dog

Jackson the Therapy Dog brought 240 pounds of pure love to TJ students. His picture went a bit viral on Twitter with over 18,000 impressions. For daily glimpses of TJ life follow Principal Bonitatibus on Twitter @TJAnnB. 


TJ has heart! The SGA in conjunction with the TJ Minds Matter Club designed We're Here heart stickers for teachers and staff to voluntarily place on classroom and office doors. When students see the sticker, they know there is a caring adult who may be available to help them talk through a tough moment or connect them to one our professionals in the Student Services office.

Pop Up

Conductor Ms. Bailey led TJ orchestra, band and choir students in a festive pop-up holiday concert in the Nobel Commons. 


TJ Administrators dressed as elves and delivered Starbucks treats to faculty and staff. Many thanks to the TJ PTSA who supported funding for the treats and provided additional chocolates.

Building Hours During Break

The building will be open during regular school hours Wednesday, January 2, through Friday, January 4.  It will be closed the remainder of the break. Only custodians, 12-month secretaries and a couple administrators will be present. No other teachers or staff will be at work. We re-open January 7, 2019.