May News & Teacher Appreciation Week

Message from the Principal: Celebrate our Fantastic Teachers!

Dear TJ Families:

Welcome to the month of May! We are pleased to report our Distance Learning Plan was executed flawlessly this past week with no systemic interruptions. Teachers and students report they enjoy connecting with each other and they believe our plan nicely balances synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities.

The success we have experienced as a school would not be possible without our amazing TJ teachers- the Vanguards of the Virtual! Therefore, there is no better time than now to celebrate our teachers during National Teacher Appreciation Week. Beyond the daily expectations placed on teachers in normal circumstances, what they have been asked to do this spring is historically unparalleled. Please reach out to our educators and thank them for going above and beyond as our public education heroes. Send an email, a picture, video or any sentiment that expresses your appreciation.

Our teachers are on the frontline of the education landscape, but our success as a school would not be possible without dedicated students and supportive parents. To that end, TJHSST has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the #1 high school in the nation, #1 magnet school, #1 school in Virginia, #1 school in the region, and #3 STEM school. The metrics are based largely on test performance results such as state competency exams, SAT and AP results. Those quantitative measurements, though, fall short of looking at school culture and relationships. I am most proud of TJ’s qualitative value. We create a safe space, a caring environment, a home away from home, where teaching and learning thrive. Let’s celebrate our humanity and who we are as a family!

Finally, thank you for your ongoing support of our efforts as we successfully complete our remaining weeks of school and create contingency plans A-Z for whatever our future holds. We are TJ. We got this! And if you're feeling a bit nostalgic about our building, take a virtual tour of TJ by following #VirtualTJ from my Twitter account @TJAnnB where pictures are posted each day.



Dr. Ann N. Bonitatibus

Proud Principal

Important Dates

May 1:  All outstanding work from third quarter submitted

May 4-8:  Teacher Appreciation Week

May 9:  Third quarter grades in SIS can be viewed

May 11-22:  AP Exam window

May 25:  Memorial Day- no school for staff or students

May 26:  Last Day for TJ Seniors

May 30:  Conferred date on graduate diplomas

June 12:  Last Day for Students

Grading Reminders

In general, not much has changed since our last communication with grading updates was shared with our entire community on April 13 in a NewsYouChoose containing a link to a video presentation. A summary is listed below for your convenience.

Fourth Quarter

  • Teachers will provide feedback on quality of work and guidance for improvement. 
  • Assignment “marks” will be given: Proficient, Attempted, Not Attempted
  • Marks can positively influence final course grades 
  • Marks are viewable in SIS ParentVUE starting May 9
  • Attendance will be taken and absences on synchronous days (Tuesdays and Thursdays) will be noted in SIS. Even though a no-show mark does not count against a student, please encourage your child to attend all sessions, complete all work, and participate during class. Even if a student believes their grade won't change as a result of participating, each student's effort is a show of support for the entire learning community.

Calculating Final Grades

Final Exams

There will be no final exam and/or culminating activity included as part of the final course grade calculations this year.

Year-Long Courses

  • A student’s final grade will be the highest of the following:
    • Average of Quarters 1, 2, & 3 or
    • 1st Semester Grade
  • In courses using rolling gradebooks, the final grade will be the highest of the following:
    • Quarter 3 grade or
    • 1st Semester Grade
  • Note: in all the above scenarios for year-long courses, a teacher has the discretion to raise a student's final grade by one grade distribution (e.g. B to B+) based on demonstrated proficiency during fourth quarter. Any potential enhancement is earned, not automatically awarded, and teachers are communicating their standards. 

Spring Semester Courses

  • A student’s final is based on the Quarter 3 grade.
  • For a spring semester course, a teacher has the discretion to raise a student's final grade by one or two grade distributions (e.g. B to B+ or B to A-) based on demonstrated proficiency during fourth quarter. Any potential enhancement is earned, not automatically awarded, and teachers are communicating their standards. 

Report Cards

Reports will be mailed unless you select the paperless option in ParentVUE by going to “My Account” and selecting "Go Paperless”.

Summer Courses

Pending additional developments with statewide school closures, and in alignment with current summer school decisions made by FCPS, both our TJHSST Summer School and MSTI registration processes are postponed until further notice. FCPS is being mindful of the health and well-being of our staff and students during the summer. Therefore, all face-to-face summer learning opportunities throughout FCPS are being re-evaluated at this time.  We are considering possible alternatives to traditional summer learning opportunities and will need further consultation and guidance with FCPS leadership. We apologize for any inconvenience this postponement and re-evaluation may cause. Please stay tuned for more information from FCPS. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Challenge Success Update


This past weekend our Challenge Success Team (Staff: Mr. Forgash, Mr. Eckel, Ms. Powell, Dr. Bonitatibus, Ms. Kochman; Students: Lauren Delwiche, Amber Garcha; Parents: Mr. Costescu, Ms. Theeke) attended the national virtual spring conference originally slated for Boston. The team reflected on the progress we've made with initiatives tied to workload, expectations and sleep. So much of what we've learned as a community has resonated during this time of school closures. We look forward to sharing next steps!

Mental Health Awareness Month: Play Resilience Week Bingo!

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. Social distancing and new routines at home can impact mental wellness. As always, if you or a family member is in crisis, text NEEDHELP to 85111 or call 1-800-273-TALK or dial 911. FCPS has student wellness tips as does the National Alliance for Mental Illness.

There are many daily strategies that help prevent crises and the TJ Minds Matter Club reminds us how to be positive and resilient!  In support of Resilience Week Virginia, TJ Minds Matter is encouraging our participation in self-care and community-building activities. Please join our community in Resilience Week Bingo! Thanks to TJ Minds Matter for reaching out and connecting us in positive ways.

Building Access

FCPS continues to place health and wellness at the forefront, and this means protecting employees and students. We anticipate guidance in the coming weeks regarding how students will be able to drop off or pick up items. Seniors will be prioritized. Everything in the building is secure. Custodians are following health department guidelines as they work in small teams rotating in and out of schools each week, checking the building and cleaning it. We also have custodians and staff with the activities office maintaining our outside grounds and fields. Despite the presence of these designated essential employees, the building remains closed to staff, students, parents and the public. Thank you for your patience. 

Class of 2020 News

We will continue to send individual announcements to seniors and their families as news develops. It's important to continue to celebrate and give as much as we can during a time when it feels like so much has been taken. 

Most recently, TJ seniors and parents completed a survey about year-end events and celebrations. Many schools issued the same school-based survey. All data and suggestions were shared with FCPS leadership. This week, FCPS will send a survey to Class of 2020 students and parents with proposed ideas developed from the first surveys. Please be on the lookout for information that will be posted in Naviance.

A tidbit of good news: we now have a delivery date for caps and gowns! We have arranged direct mailing to homes and seniors should receive their caps and gown between May 20-22. More information to follow. Also note, TJ picked up the shipping costs to avoid expenses being passed along to families.

All high schools continue to get inquiries about senior dues and potential refunds. At TJ, about 1/3 of the dues goes toward consumable items such as caps, gowns, diploma covers and TJ mementos. The other 2/3 is dedicated to venues and events such as arena rental, prom location, DJ and catering for prom and senior picnic, etc. TJ and FCPS fiscal agents are continuing to work with vendors and contracts on refunds while still estimating costs for alternative events. 

Our senior class advisors and finance technicians are keeping close tabs on all costs. We will continue to receive guidance from FCPS and keep the Class of 2020 updated. Thank you for understanding.

Also, thank you for sending so many ideas about how we can celebrate seniors. FCPS has asked schools and principals to wait for further guidance in order to provide equity across all schools.

May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

Asian and Pacific Americans have made significant contributions to our country. TJ has a rich blend of cultures, nationalities and heritage. Some members of our community have felt targeted in broader public and social media spaces as a result of disinformation spread about the novel corona virus. Let's continue to celebrate our diversity with voices signifying compassion and unity. Learn more here about Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month.