Thoreau Matters - February 21st Issue


Message from Mr. Azimi

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Dear Thoreau Community:

It is with great pleasure that I share that Ms. Amanda Herlihy, Thoreau multiple disabilities teacher, has been named the 2018-2019 FCPS Region 1 Outstanding Secondary Teacher!  (Region 1 consists of the Madison, Oakton, South Lakes, Herndon, and Langley pyramids.)  Region 1 assistant superintendent Douglas Tyson joined me last week by surprising Ms. Herlihy while she was in her classroom with her students.  It was a wonderful surprise to be able to recognize her in front of her students as several of her colleagues were also present to cheer her on.  Ms. Herlihy has faithfully served our school for nearly six years now and she is a shining example of the dedication our teachers put into their work with our students.  She strives to ensure that the needs of each her students are met and she is persistent at fostering an inclusive learning environment. Ms. Herlihy recently made it past the Madison pyramid-level and is now officially the Region 1 winner.  She will soon accept an invitation to go to FCPS headquarters where she will be interviewed in front of the FCPS Leadership Team as she now moves to the county-level to be a finalist for the FCPS Outstanding Secondary Teacher of the Year.  We will find out in June who the county-wide winner shall be.  I ask that you please join me in extending a heartfelt congratulations to Ms. Herlihy.


Yusef Azimi

Upcoming Important Dates

  • Tuesday, March 5th:  Rising 7th grde Parent Meet and Greet, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
  • Monday, March 11th:  3-hour early release; student dismissal at 11:15 AM (no after-school activities or buses)
  • Monday, March 11th:  Thoreau's front office will close at 12:00 PM for staff development

AH award

2018-2019 FCPS Region 1 Outstanding Secondary Teacher Amanda Herlihy is surrounded by her students, Principal Yusef Azimi, and Assistant Superintendent Douglas Tyson. Congratulations, Ms. Herlihy!

Updates from Student Services

For your planning purposes, please make note of the following registration events in preparation for the 2019-2020 school year:

Rising 9th Grade Academic Advising and Course Registration Information

Thoreau counselors will continue to meet with students individually to discuss course options and placements through the month of February.

Rising 8th Grade Academic Advising and Course Registration Information

Thoreau counselors will conduct course presentations in mid-February and will continue to work with our rising 8th grade students and families through mid-March to complete this process.

Rising 7th Grade Academic Advising and Course Registration Information

Rising 7th grade parent Meet and Greets will be held on the following days:

  • Tuesday, March 5th,10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
  • Tuesday, April 9th, 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

This is an opportunity to meet the administration and learn a little more about Thoreau.

General Information Related to Academic Advising

Updated information and material related to academic advising can be found here.  Please contact your child's counselor with questions related to this process. 

College Partnership Program (CPP)

The College Partnership Program (CPP) is now accepting applications for new members.  CPP is actively recruiting current 8th - 11th grade students who are motivated and will benefit from the support of this program.

For more information about CPP, contact Thoreau counselor Kerrie Turner at or visit the CPP website.

The application deadline is Wednesday, March 13th.  Students can apply online or via paper applications.  Paper applications are available in English, Arabic, Korean, and Spanish.

Apply online using your FCPS Google Apps for Education account here.


Our 8th grade students completed a cross-curricular civics and English project based learning (PBL) last week.  Students focused on creating an innovative solution to a societal problem that they researched in English. Along with a number of Thoreau parents and staff members, Vienna Town Mayor DiRocco was part of the authentic audience during Thoreau English teacher Nicole Cammarota's 9th period class.

8th Grade Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) Writing Test

Our 8th grade students will take the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) writing test between Tuesday, March 12th and Friday, March 15th.  It is important that all students attend school on these days so, if possible, please avoid scheduling any trips or appointments that would take your child out of school during this time.  It is also important that your child have a good night's rest and a healthy breakfast before testing.  The parent letter for the writing SOL can be found here.  If you have any questions about SOL testing, please contact Thoreau testing coordinator Sunnie Chung at

Thoreau Travels to the Dominican Republic (DR)

Thoreau Spanish teacher Dalen Isom, along with students and other educators from the community, will be visiting the beautiful DR for an educational tour in June of 2019!  This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

An informational meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 26th at 6:30 PM at Thoreau to discuss the details of the trip.  The meeting is mandatory for all those interested in traveling, and there are 3 spaces remaining!  This will be the final opportunity for students to travel at the current price.

If you would like to enroll prior to the informational meeting, please visit this site. 

Questions should be directed to Mr. Isom at

Please RSVP here if you will be attending the informational session.

Thoreau Lost and Found

Thoreau's lost and found, which is located in the school's main office, continues to grow at close to 100 items accumulated since winter break. Please remind your child to check for lost items.  All unclaimed items will be donated by February 28th.

iCanShine Bike Program

The iCanShine program is coming to Thoreau for the 10th year this spring!  This is a five-day program in which the iCanShine team trains student volunteers to teach students with disabilities how to ride a two-wheel bike.  The program will run every day after-school from Monday, March 18th - Friday, March 22nd.  We need 20 student volunteers who are willing to commit to attending all five days of the program from 2:25 PM - 6:00 PM. Volunteers who can commit to attending all five days of the program will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.  Parent transportation is required as we will not finish in time for students to take the late bus.  Permission slips are available in Thoreau's main office.  Forms are due no later than Friday, March 1st.

Madison Rising 9th Grade Athlete Conditioning Program

All rising 9th grade athletes planning to attend Madison High School in the fall are invited to join the voluntary training and lifting program beginning on Monday, March 4th at 3:00 PM. This program is free, not sport-specific, and focuses on general athletic development. Parents and students are invited to a meeting about this program on Thursday, February 28th at 6:30 PM in the Madison HS weight room (next to entrance #9).  Additional details can be found in this flyer.

science lab

7th grade science students are working on a science lab and learning that the cell is the basic unit of all living things.

2018-2019 Thoreau Yearbook

Have your yearbook yet?  The supply is running low!

More QR clips of students in action than ever before!

More teacher interviews than ever before!

More pictures of students than ever before!

Don't wait.  Purchase the 2018-2019 Thoreau yearbook today! 

A generic version of the yearbook can be purchased at

To purchase an individualized version, go to

Distribution will take place the last week of school in June.  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

PTA News and Announcements

Nomination Committee Needed

The PTA needs to fill several Board positions for the next school year as current officers complete their terms.  The PTA is currently seeking PTA members willing to serve on the Nominating Committee.  Members of the Nominating Committee reach out to adults in our Thoreau community to determine who might be interested and able to serve as a Board member for the 2019-2020 school year.  If you are interested in serving on the committee, please contact current PTA president Emily Korff at

7th Grade Family Dinner - Rescheduled

The PTA's rescheduled 7th Grade Family Dinner is coming up on Thursday, March 21st from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM at Thoreau.  A delicious dinner from Maggios Skorpis will be served.  Additionally, there will be a DJ, photo booth, and other fun activities.  As a family event, parents join their children and siblings are welcome too!  All tickets previously purchased when the dinner was slated for the fall remain in place and will be honored.  Watch for further info to come.

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.

District Chorus

All-District Chorus is an auditioned group filled with the top singers from 16 local middle schools from Fairfax County and Arlington County public schools.  Thoreau was fortunate again to be the second most represented middle school at the event with 35 singers!  These singers had the opportunity to work with two fantastic conductors over a two-day festival, ending in a spectacular concert on Saturday, February 9th.