TJHSST January Mini-Update

Message from the Communications Support Specialist

Dear TJHSST Families:

Happy New Year, it's certainly been an interesting week! I'm a Michigan native, and this storm rivaled some of the doozies we have received up there.

Given this is the first Friday of the month, I'd normally be sending you the monthly News You Choose newsletter right now. Because of the weather delays this week, and to make sure I have enough time to gather the necessary information, I am delaying the newsletter until next Friday, January 14, 2022. 

We do have a few updates for you that can't wait until then. So please see below for information on 2022-23 course selection, the upcoming Curriculum Night, FCPS plans for the January COVID surge, and news on our Director of Student Activities position.

Everyone stay safe out there!


Mike Roth 

TJHSST Communications Support Specialist

2022-23 Course Selection Information - Virtual Curriculum Fair Set for Jan. 18

As we enter the scheduling season for the 2022-2023 school year, we invite students to access the Course Selection website and share this information with parents/guardians. The site is designed to serve as a hub of resources and information for you as you choose your classes for next year. Additional updates to the site will be made throughout the upcoming week once school is back in session. So we encourage you to check back to find additional information about each division, courses, and recommended sequencing of courses.

In addition, we invite the parents of our Rising 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students to attend our Virtual Curriculum Night on Tuesday, January 18, 2022. During this event, you will learn more about course offerings from each of our four divisions. They are:

  • Computer Science and Mathematics
  • Science and Technology
  • Humanities (English and Social Studies)
  • WLAMPE (World Language, the Arts, Music, and Physical Education)

The Virtual Curriculum Night will be held on January 18, 2022 from 6PM-8PM via Zoom, with a tentative make-up date in the event of inclement weather on January 26. 

Each division will host four sessions (6:00-6:25PM, 6:30-6:55PM, 7:00-7:25PM, and 7:30-7:55PM). Parents can visit any department during any session and in any order they choose. Directions on how to access the Zoom links will be forthcoming.

Students will learn about selecting courses in StudentVue during Advisory on January 10, 2022. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to learn about course offerings on January 26, 2022 at the Curriculum Fair during 8th period. 

Questions regarding the Curriculum Night for parents may be directed to the Director of Student Services, Sara Genetin at

FCPS COVID Surge Updates

You received an email from our Superintendent Dr. Scott Brabrand on Thursday, updating some of their staffing plans over the next few weeks during this COVID surge. FCPS' top priority is to provide continuous in-person instruction. Here are some of the key highlights of its plan:

Classroom Coverage

When a classroom teacher is out, we will consider the following in this order:

  • Dedicated class coverage by:
    • a substitute teacher from the sub pool
    • another teacher or staff member
    • Central Office volunteer subs who have instructional experience. 
  • Pairing two classes together with one teacher.
  • Grouping multiple classes to provide supervision during asynchronous instruction.

Our teachers will be reminded to upload classroom materials to Schoology, when students need to access lessons asynchronously. While we hope to continue to offer StreamIn/CheckIn for students who are paused, quarantined or in isolation, this may not always be possible.


Staffing shortages are impacting our operational staff as well. Expect that there will be delays in bus routes with more double-backs that may mean students will arrive after the bell. Schools will adjust instruction to ensure that no child is missing important classroom time. Access the Bus Delay App to receive current bus delay information. When possible, please consider driving your child to school, or walking or biking if you are nearby.

Food Services

Breakfast and lunch service has not been impacted at this time, but it is possible that with greater staff absences, we may need to change to providing bag lunches, instead of the regular menu. 

Here are some ways that you can partner with us to keep our schools safe and open for learning.

Health and Safety

  • Keep your children home when sick.
  • We encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated or boosted, which is the best protection against serious illness caused by COVID-19. 
  • Sign your child up for optional screening testing and make use of our diagnostic testing if your child has symptoms. 
  • Remind your child about our layered prevention strategies including proper mask wearing, hand washing and using hand sanitizer. 
  • Be sure your child brings home their laptop and charger every night.

Supporting Our Classrooms

Apply to be a substitute teacher. Watch for emails from your school leadership for other volunteer opportunities.

We will follow this operational plan for the next 2-3 weeks. During this time, we must adjust our expectations about instruction and give our staff the space needed to make adjustments and on the spot decisions needed to combat this COVID spike.


Eight TJ Students Named 2022 Regeneron STS Scholars

Society for Science proudly announced its top 300 scholars in the Regeneron Science Talent Search 2022 on Thursday, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors.This contest provides students a national stage to present original research and celebrates the hard work and novel discoveries of young scientists who are bringing a fresh perspective to significant global challenges. The 300 scholars and their schools will be awarded $2,000 each.

We want to congratulate eight TJHSST students for being among the top 300 scholars. They are listed below, while the Society for Science release can be found here.

  • Sohini Banerjee: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Biomarker Identification Using Integrative Network Fusion and Deep Learning With Bayesian Hyperparameter Optimization
  • Harrish Ganesh: The Analysis of the Viral Transmission and Structural Interactions Between the HIV-1 Envelope Glycoprotein and the Lymphocyte Receptor Integrin α4β7
  • Garrett Aaron Heller: Strichartz and Multi-Linear Estimates for the One-Dimensional Periodic Dysthe Equation
  • Grace Huang: Bone and Bone Marrow Segmentation Rrom Hip 3T Magnetic Resonance Imaging by Using Local Salient Anatomy Structure to Guide Deep Learning-Based Object Localization and Delineation
  • Ron Nachum: PANDwriting: An Accessible, High-Sensitivity Parkinson's and Alzheimer's Screening System Using Vision-Based Handwriting Kinematic Analysis and Machine Learning
  • Pravalika Gayatri Putalapattu: DORC: Dynamic Operating Room Companion for Gallbladder Removal Surgical Workflow Verification
  • Wanli Tan:  Predictive Model for the Incidence of COVID-19: The Impact of Demographic and Socioeconomic Factors
  • Andrew Zhou: The Role of Integrity and Ability in Leadership

Rusty Hodges Announces Retirement as Director of Student Activities

Rusty Hodges Headshot

Earlier this year our Director of Student Activities (DSA), Mr. Berkeley Hodges, announced his retirement effective March 1. Rusty, as he’s affectionately known, has enthusiastically served the TJ community for 16 years, starting as a Health and Physical Education (HPE) teacher and part-time Assistant Director of Student Activities (ADSA). He has been our fulltime DSA for 10 of those years.

Rusty was a career switcher. He was a contractor and owned his own home improvement business when he was called to coach baseball and football at Bishop Ireton High School. Rusty fell in love with the kids and realized he wanted to teach. His career led him through HPE teacher and coaching roles at various schools including Chantilly and Falls Church High schools. His prior teaching, coaching, and leadership experience prepared him well for guiding TJ athletics and activities.

In the time he’s been at TJ, Rusty says he is most proud of the strong relationships he’s developed with dedicated colleagues. He’s forged an enviable roster of highly talented coaches who have helped TJ student athletes earn dozens of district, region, and state titles. One only needs to see hallways filled with plaques and the gymnasium’s display of banners to appreciate the success of our athletics and VHSL scholastic program. And when our football program faced challenges, Rusty found creative ways to rejuvenate the team and coaching staff, leading to new records this past year. Rusty would also like to extend his thanks to the wonderful TJ parents who support the various Boosters organizations. Even though TJ teases itself with #WeCameForTheSports, Rusty is proud that a top-rated STEM magnet school would draw amazing athletic talent.

Beyond athletics, Rusty has never forgotten his roots as a teacher and he supervised the TJ HPE and arts programs. He also has coordinated and supported over 150 clubs and activities that have given our students unparalleled opportunities over the years. Finally, our building is gleaming and grounds groomed thanks to his leadership of our custodians. In short, Rusty’s contributions have been numerous and he’s done it all with humility and passion. We are confident that our new DSA will get the needed support to carry the activities and athletics program forward. Thank you, Mr. Hodges, for all that you have done for our TJ family over the years! Best wishes as you plan to spend more time with family and pursue other interests to keep busy. Congratulations and we will miss you!

Welcome Dylan Forshay as our new Director of Student Activities!

Dylan Forshay Headshot

With Rusty’s retirement, we would like to introduce Dylan Forshay as our new Director of Student Activities. Mr. Forshay comes to TJ from Justice High School, where he most recently served as ADSA and Department Chair of HPE. There he helped implement new courses and curriculum such as Athletics Leadership and International Baccalaureate Sports Physiology and Anatomy.  Students have also been able earn personal training certification with him. Dylan earned his undergraduate degree at Longwood University and received his Master in Education Administration from Shenandoah University. 

Mr. Forshay will begin his transition to TJ on February 14.  Previous to his ADSA position at Justice, Dylan was the Systems of Support Advisor and a HPE teacher at the high school and elementary levels. Along the way he was named the Occoquan Region and National District Coach of the Year honors for his success in boys soccer where his teams earned multiple local championships. He has also coordinated activities fairs to bring access, awareness, and essential information to a student body of over 2,000 students.

Dylan believes high school athletics and activities can be a catalyst to a successful high school experience for almost any student. He looks forward to seeing our students on the playing field, cheering in the stands, and enjoying the myriad of events and opportunities that bring the TJ community together.

You may even have an opportunity at events to see his 4-year old son Jackson and wife Lauren, who also teaches for FCPS at the Davis Center. In his spare time, Dylan enjoys spending time with his family, and is a huge soccer fan.

Please join us in welcoming Mr. Dylan Forshay to TJ!

TJ Names Gymnasium in Honor of Former FCPS School Board Member Ilryong Moon

On the evening of Jan. 5, TJHSST held a ceremony where it officially named its main gym the "Ilryong Moon Gymnasium." Dignitaries including FCPS Superintendent Dr. Scott Brabrand, Region 2 Assistant Superintendent Dr. Fabio Zuluaga, and TJHSST Principal Dr. Ann Bonitatibus each spoke in appreciation of his service. 

Mr. Moon served on the FCPS School Board for over 20 years and was a tireless advocate for students, student athletes, athletic trainers, coaches, and administrators.

In addition, Mr. Moon is the proud parent of two Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology graduates, Joonyoung (Class of 2006) and Wooyoung (Class of 2009). He was an enthusiastic supporter of TJ athletics while cheering on his son Wooyoung, a member of the boys’ basketball team, and was always willing to volunteer his time handling concessions, working the ticket booth, serving as an announcer, or singing the Star-Spangled Banner.

Congratulations and a sincere thank you to Mr. Ilryong Moon!

Ilryong Moon with his plaqueFull group at Moon gym dedication

TJ is Now On Twitter!

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is now on Twitter! Visit @TJHSST_Official  for news, upcoming events, reminders of important deadlines, and updates of all the fun activities going on at the school.

Be sure to give us a follow!

Important Calendar Reminders

Jan. 13: Midterms/Final Exams - Periods 1 and 3

Jan. 14: Midterms/Final Exams - Periods 5 and 7

Jan. 17: Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday - No school for students and staff.

Jan. 18: Midterms/Final Exams - Periods 2 and 4

Jan. 18: Virtual Curriculum Night for Parents/Guardians from 6-8 p.m.

Jan. 19: Religious or Cultural Observance Day (Orthodox Epiphany)

Jan. 20:  Midterms/Final Exams - Period 6 and any makeup exams

Jan. 20: Modified Red Day with two-hour early release.

Jan. 21: Teacher Workday - No school for students.

Jan. 24: Professional Development Day - No school for students.

Jan. 25: First day of second semester/third quarter.

Jan. 26: Curriculum Fair for Students during 8th Period