Holiday Message

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, in academic competitions, and in performing arts venues, often with local and state recognition. 

We have also progressed with Challenge Success initiatives. I would like to extend a special invitation to parents to view written pledges teachers have made to students. You will see commitments focused on ensuring wellness, lessening workloads, and creating engaging learning environments. A picture of our commitments is shown below, and you can visit as your schedule permits. Special thanks to PTSA who has offered a variety of parent forums in support of our initiatives.

While we count our strengths and blessings at this time of year, 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. When school is in session, administrators, counselors, teachers and staff continue to keep open doors if 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 will take a well-deserved break from email and can wait until we return to respond.  We all share in helping each other!

On behalf of the entire TJ staff, I wish all of our families a safe and relaxing winter break.  We look forward to welcoming back our students on January 6, 2020. And in their words to us, "Happy New Decade!"

Yours in Colonials Spirit,

Dr. Ann N. Bonitatibus


As we enter scheduling season for the 2020-2021 school year, we invite parents to attend our Curriculum Night for Parents of freshmen, sophomores and juniors, on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 from 6:00-9:00 p.m. Staff will be available for parents interested in learning more about specific courses. This is a night to learn broad information about curriculum, not a session to meet individual teachers to talk about your student's current coursework.

There will be brief presentations provided by each of the departments at structured intervals and they will repeat hourly. The evening is designed to be a drop-in opportunity, so please join us as your interests and schedule permit.

6:00, 7:00, and 8:00 pm – Science & Technology (Cafeteria)

6:15, 7:15, and 8:15 pm – Math & Computer Science (Library)

6:30, 7:30, and 8:30 pm – English & Social Studies (Lecture Hall)

6:45, 7:45, and 8:45 pm – World Languages, Art, Music (Center downstairs hallway)

All information being shared is also available on each of the TJHSST academic departmental web pages.

Students will review the same information on the same day, January 15, 2020, at the Curriculum Fair for Students during 8th period. Both of these events set families up for great dinner table conversations.

Questions regarding the Curriculum Fair for Parents may be directed to the Director of Student Services, Brandon Kosatka at


Trusted Adult

Students recently had conversations among their homeroom cohorts regarding building positive relationships with trusted adults at school. This schematic in our school counselors meeting room shows the relationship among trusted adults, student advocacy and school engagement as we strengthen school connections. 

IBET Study

Challenge Success lead teacher Mark Forgash visited IBET teams to share effective study tips he learned at a recent conference for STEM schools. Thanks to the TJ Partnership Fund for sponsoring the professional development opportunity for over a dozen staff members.

Pledge Wall

Our TJ teachers have made individual pledges to students. Teachers posted commitment certificates pledging new practices that decrease workload, give students more choice, and create more engaging project-based learning experiences. This is how Challenge Success looks in action....

Sawrm Pledge

.... and this is how it looks when students swarm the wall to see what their teachers posted. Students have commented they appreciate the efforts, and some even took pictures of the pledges so they could easily remember their teachers' commitments.

Employees of Year

Thanks to students, parents and colleagues who nominated TJ staff for FCPS Employee of the Year awards. Teacher of the Year Nominees: Ms. Lister, Dr. White, Dr. Gabor, Ms. Xu, Mr. Rose, Ms. Qamar, Dr. Scholla, Mr. Ng, Mr. Crockett, Ms. Conklin, Mr. DelaCuesta, Mr. Lightner, Mr. Tra, Dr. Burnett, Ms. Chen, Mr. Miller, Mr. Eckel, Mr. Field, Dr. Castaldo, Ms. Spoden, Ms. Kim, Mr. Otani, Mr. Foreman, Dr. Jones, Ms. Holman, Dr. Kennedy, Dr. James, Dr. Osborne, Mr. Jurj, Ms. Yi, Ms. Tinkelman, Ms. Hitchcock, Ms. Hamrick and Dr. Zacharias. New Teacher of the Year Nominees: Ms. Wright, Ms. Juster, and Mr. Elder. Outstanding Professional Employee Nominees: Ms. Armstrong, Dr. Barkat, Ms. Hamblin, Ms.Tecuci, Ms. McAleer, Mr. Burke, Ms. Phelps, and Ms. Ketchem. Outstanding Operational Employee Nominees: Ms. Phillips, Ms. Powell, and Mr. Yuan. Outstanding Leader Nominee: Mr. Hodges.


With over 50 nominees in six categories, here are the TJ Employees of the Year: Operational: Charles Phillips;  New Teacher: Gwen Wright; Teacher: Denise Castaldo;  Professional: Susan Martinez; Leader: Rusty Hodges; Principal: Ann Bonitatibus.

Nobel Commons

Playing music for an audience is a way to give a gift. Thanks to Ms. Bailey, orchestra, band and chorus members for the wonderful holiday concert performed in the Nobel Commons.


Eat a chip save a bag. TJ students find creative ways to address environmental sustainability and stewardship. Look for continuing efforts in the coming months as TJ thinks and acts green!


Our staff enjoyed a festive holiday party with some donning their ugliest sweaters. We thank Pinecrest Golf for the venue and Firefox Grill catering services, along with PTSA support.  


TJ administrators dressed as elves and delivered Starbucks treats to staff. Thank you PTSA for sponsoring the gifts that went to all the good boys and girls! Mr. Frank, Ms. Russell, Ms. Hawkins, Mr. Hodges, Dr. Bonitatibus, Mr. Kosatka, Mr. Yohe, and Mr. Resquin extend holiday wishes to the entire TJ community.  Happy New Year and New Decade!


The building will be open during regular school hours 8:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.. December 23, 26, 27, 30 and January 2, 3.  It will be closed December 24, 25, 31, and January 1. Only custodians, 12-month secretaries and a couple administrators will be present on days when the building is open. No other teachers or staff will be at work. We re-open January 6, 2019.