Thoreau Matters - April 25th Issue


Message from Mr. Azimi

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Dear Thoreau Community,

Teacher Appreciation Week will be celebrated very soon during the week of May 6th - May 10th at Thoreau.  I actually call it Staff Appreciation Week because I believe it is not only important to formally celebrate our terrific faculty, but also the dedicated staff that work in our school in so many supportive roles.  I have been asked in years past to share my suggestion for the best method to honor a teacher or staff member.  My response has always been for a person to put his/her sentiments down on paper or in an email.  I know I speak for many educators that the greatest gift they can receive is a letter from a student or parent with words that express appreciation and gratitude.  Such letters/emails carry sentimental value for years to come and reinforce for educators the invaluable work they do for students.  Furthermore, I encourage students and parents to include me on email correspondence as it is my pleasure to read positive feedback about the Thoreau teachers and staff.  If you feel inclined to write a message, the Thoreau staff directory can be found here and my email address for your reference is


Yusef Azimi

Upcoming Important Dates

  • Tuesday, May 7th - Thursday, May 23rd:  SOL testing
  • Monday, May 27th:  Memorial Day Holiday
  • Thursday, May 30th:  Last day for after-school activities and buses
  • Thursday, June 13th:  Last day of school, 11:15 AM dismissal

All-State Delegates

Congratulations to Corey Furukawa, Sophia Manicone, Luke Mudrick, Sofia Remondino, and Mary Ulses for representing Thoreau as delegates at the All-Virginia Middle School Choral Festival in Richmond, Virginia on the weekend of April 4th.  This three-day choral festival represented the best singers Virginia has to offer.  These talented students had the privilege to work with nationally renowned conductors and accompanists to put on a concert which concluded with a standing ovation.

Student Services Updates

Spring SOL Testing Calendar

Thoreau 7th and 8th graders will be taking the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) tests from Tuesday, May 7th - Thursday, May 23rd with make-up testing and expedited retakes continuing into the month of June.  These tests are required of all Virginia students in grades three through twelve.  SOL tests measure the extent to which students have learned the content and skills specified in the Virginia Standards of Learning.  Most Thoreau students will be tested with their grade level team according to this schedule.  Please note that some students will be testing on alternate days in order to meet individualize student needs.

Please assist your child in doing well on these test days by making sure he/she is well-rested and eats a good breakfast on his/her testing days.  Also, if possible, avoid scheduling appointments on days your child will be tested.

Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) Award of Excellence

The Award of Excellence is presented annually by NFCU to a Thoreau student for outstanding service to the school and/or community.  His or her name will be engraved on a plaque displayed in the school entrance.

The award is presented to a student who exemplifies the qualities of service and volunteerism within the school and/or community.  In order to qualify for the award, a student must submit this application.  The applications will be reviewed by a panel of representatives from Thoreau and NFCU.  The recipient of the award will be named at Thoreau's annual awards ceremony in June.

Thoreau Letter Award

The Thoreau Letter is an award given based on participation and accomplishments in the following areas:  service to the community, academic recognition, extra-curricular activities, and leadership.  See this link for details and to apply. Recipients will receive the Thoreau Letter at Thoreau's annual awards ceremony in June.

This is the link to the student services web page.

Town of Vienna News

Viva Vienna Volunteer Service Opportunity

The Rotary Club of Vienna presents the annual Viva Vienna event held in downtown Vienna on Saturday, May 25th - Monday, May 27th.  100% of the net profits go to local, regional and international non-profit organizations.  The weekend  is free and includes rides, crafts, music, food, a children's stage, and a Memorial Day tribute.  Middle and high school volunteers are needed on Sunday, May 26th and Monday, May 27th for general clean-up throughout the site, food court area clean-up, and handing out brochures and maps.  See this link to sign-up and volunteer. It is mandatory that all students provide emergency contact information.  Questions can be directed to volunteer coordinator Nancy Garcia at

This link provides additional details about the event.

Vienna's Club Phoenix Offers Shuttle from Thoreau

Thoreau's after-school program is partnering with Vienna Teen Center's Club Phoenix to offer shuttle transportation from Thoreau to the teen center. The shuttle will operate on Friday afternoons beginning Friday, April 26th and running through Friday, May 17th.  This date and time was chosen based on the data received from a parent survey done earlier this year.  Details about the shuttle program can be found here.

Theatre Department Updates


Shrek the Musical Jr.

Follow the adventures of Shrek, his sidekick Donkey, Princess Fiona, Lord Farquaad and everybody's favorite fairy-tale creatures.  With an original new score, this show proves there's more to the story than meets the eye...

Dates and Times:  Thursday, May 9th - Saturday, May 11th at 7:00 PM and Saturday, May 11th at 2:00 PM.  The performance will run for 1.5 hours with a 15-minute intermission.

Tickets:  Tickets may be purchased by either visiting this link beginning Friday, April 26th or at the door when you arrive.  Cash and major credit cards will be accepted.

Theatre Spirit Week

Show your school and theatre spirit Monday, May 6th - Friday, May 10th and participate in theatre spirit week.

  • Meme Monday:  Dress as your favorite internet meme.
  • Techie Tuesday:  Dress in black like the tech crew does during performances
  • Whimsical Wednesday:  Dress as your favorite fairytale character and then come see them appear in our musical!
  • Theatre Thursday:  Wear your show shirt or any other "theatre" apparel you have or Thoreau spirit apparel.
  • Freak Flag Friday:  Just wake up in the morning and dress as tacky as you possibly can!  Don't even worry about matching!

Institute For The Arts (IFTA)

IFTA is an FCPS arts enrichment and academic program for students currently in grades 6-11.  Students select four classes from a course list of 80 including dance, music, theatre, visual art, and fashion.  Students entering grade 9 may take the online Health & PE (HPE9) course and students entering grades 9-12 may take the self-directed Economics and Personal Finance (EPF) course as one of their four class choices.

This flyer lists FAQs for Shrek the Musical Jr., as well as details about the Institute For the Arts.

Follow TMS Theatre for a look behind the scenes and upcoming productions here or on Instagram @tmstheatre.

What is Your Middle School Child Doing this Summer?

Like you, we believe your child is a Very Important Person and deserves a summer experience that is safe and full of fitness, friends, fun, and enrichment.  FCPS and Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services (DNCS) have teamed up to offer a five-week camp called VIP for rising 7th and 8th graders from six middle schools (rising 6th graders attending Glasgow, Poe and Holmes are eligible).  Bus transportation will be provided from various pick-up locations which will be communicated in June prior to the start of camp.

There is a $50.00 registration fee for the camp plus field trip fees for students who plan to attend the weekly field trips.  More details will follow about these trips.

The staff is led by local after-school specialists and trained DNCS staff.  Electives include:  art, technology, sports science, drama/tech crew, history, world languages, cooking, gaming, sports/group games, and strengthening skills in math and English for our students of other languages.  Spanish for fluent speakers will also be available.

  • Dates:  Monday, July 1st - Thursday, August 1st, excluding July 4th and 5th and August 2nd.  Campers are encouraged to attend all five weeks.
  • Time:  8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Location:  Holmes Middle School
  • Registration:  Sign-up here or visit Thoreau's main office by Friday, May 3rd.  You will receive notice of acceptance or wait-list status. Spaces are limited.

Contact Thoreau after-school specialist Shannon Campbell at or 703-846-8089 with questions.

French exchange studentsFrench exchange students

Several Thoreau families, including Vera and Alanna Korff's and French teacher Noelle Locke, hosted a group of five French exchange students for a week this spring.  Thanks for opening your homes and supporting a great multicultural opportunity.

Madison HS Athletics

Madison HS Athletics Summer Camps

Madison is offering baseball, basketball, field hockey, softball, volleyball and wrestling summer camps.  This flyer gives dates, times, costs, grade requirement, and contact information for coaches of each sport.  This is a great opportunity to get your foot in the door at Madison before the school year begins.

Madison HS Fall Sports

Madison's athletics department has released information regarding their fall sports programs.  This flyer gives details about a sports physical night, contact information for the coaches of eight sports, and tryout details.

Madison HS Cheer Interest Meeting

Madison Cheer will hold an interest meeting on Thursday, May 2nd, during 1st session (2:25 PM - 3:10 PM) in Thoreau's library.  All students who are interested in learning more about the high school cheer program should plan on attending.

Oakton HS Athletics Training Program

The Oakton HS athletics training program is hosting pre-participation physical exams (PPEs) for the 2019-2020 school year.  The physicals will be held on Monday, May 13th from 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM at Oakton HS.  Please see this link for details and how to register.

2018-2019 Thoreau Yearbook

Order a yearbook today!  Not many yearbook copies remain so be sure your child has a yearbook for their teachers and peers to sign.  This will be a treasured memory for years to come.  The sale of yearbooks end when the supply runs out.  

A yearbook can be purchased at or $40.00 cash or check (made out to TMS) can be given to Thoreau yearbook sponsor Galeet BenZion in room A104.

To check if you already ordered a copy, go to or or check your email as both sites send confirmation of your purchase.

Distribution will take place the last week of school in June.  Contact yearbook sponsor Galeet BenZion at with questions.  

MascotsCrosstown Hoops

Thoreau students, along with our mascot the Golden Eagle, cheered on our teams during the annual Crosstown Hoops basketball event vs. Kilmer on Thursday, April 4th.  It was a great night of friendly crosstown rivalry!

PTA News and Announcements

Staff Appreciation Week

The Thoreau community will be celebrating our teachers, staff, and bus drivers during Staff Appreciation Week from Monday, May 6th - Friday, May 10th with a theme of "Recharge, Refresh, Reset!"  The week will include a breakfast bar, a trail mix bar, and a gift card lottery to treat our wonderful staff.  The PTA's Hospitality Committee asks for families to help donating food items, gift cards, and/or your time to make this week special for the staff.  Please see this sign-up for details to help.

8th Grade Dance

Can you believe that our kids' time at Thoreau is quickly coming to an end?  The 8th grade dance is right around the corner and we need your help!  We are seeking VOLUNTEERS for the event.  Festivities take place Friday, May 31st from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM and is a free event for all Thoreau 8th graders!  We need volunteers for two decoration prep afternoons, as well as the big day and donations for the night.  Contact Thoreau parent Mary Pat Julian at with questions.  

Sign-up here if you are able to volunteer.

Sign-up here if you able to make a donation for the event.

Help Wanted for Next Year

Are you willing to help with the PTA for the upcoming school year?  We are still looking for some PTA leadership/committee chairs.  Contact PTA president Emily Korff if you have time to help.

Save the Date

Our Volunteer Recognition Coffee and final PTA meeting will be held on Thursday, May 23rd at 9:30 AM.  We will hold our elections for the next school year during this meeting.  Plan to attend and support your PTA!

Student Art Exhibit Volunteers Needed

The annual Thoreau art exhibition and awards ceremony, with support from Navy Federal Credit Union, is scheduled for Tuesday, May 21st.  Adult volunteers are needed prior to and following the exhibit date to assist the Thoreau art department with set-up and take-down of student art.  For details and to sign-up, see this 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.