Halfway Through the Year! - TJHSST January Update

Message from the Principal

Dear TJHSST Families:

I hope you enjoyed the recent winter break and all that the holiday season had to offer, not to mention an extended reprieve due to snow. As we usher in a new calendar year at TJ, we are grateful for the many milestones we have achieved and remain optimistic for a bright and healthy future.

Given where the NOVA region is with the virus, we are thankful for a relatively smooth transition back to school. I commend our students for their vigilance to mitigation protocols. Most of all, our teachers have gone above and beyond to accommodate students under a multitude of stressors. Many things in life seem out of our control at this point, yet it's the positive and supportive relationships we build with each other that remain a constant.

As we head into second semester, we invite parents to attend our Virtual Curriculum Night for Parents of current freshmen, sophomores and juniors, this coming Tuesday, January 18. Throughout the next several weeks, students will attend a curriculum fair in person and counselors will be advising individual students on course selections. Thank you for understanding that FCPS requested that schools limit large in-person activities at this time. We look forward to the day our school hallways can be brimming with proud parents. Read below for more details about the virtual event.

On behalf of the entire TJ faculty and staff, thank you for your support in making our first semester a successful one!


Dr. Ann N. Bonitatibus 

TJHSST Proud Principal

Twitter @TJAnnB 

Curriculum Night Jan. 18 - Instructions on How to Attend

Parents and Guardians of rising 10th, 11th, and 12th graders are reminded that we will be holding our Virtual Curriculum Night this Tuesday, January 18 from 6PM-8PM via Zoom, with January 26 as a tentative make-up date in case FCPS announces a complete closure of operations on the 18th. If inclement weather impacts us on Tuesday, we will confirm that morning one way or the other the status of the event.

This is your chance to learn more about course offerings for the 2022-23 school year.

Each division will host four sessions (6:00-6:25PM, 6:30-6:55PM, 7:00-7:25PM, and 7:30-7:55PM).

Parents/Guardians can visit any department during any session and in any order they choose.

Parents/Guardians will need to register for each session.

You can do this ahead of time, or right as session is beginning as it takes no more than a few seconds. As soon as you fill out the form you will be taken to a webpage with the link for that session. The link will also be emailed to you.

Here are the links for each department/division hosting a Curriculum Night session:

Math - Register here.

Computer Science - Register here.

Science and Technology - Register here.

Humanities (English and Social Studies) - Register here.

World Languages - Register here.

Health/Physical Education/Drivers Ed - Register here.

Visual Arts - Register here.

Theater - Register here.

Students learned 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. 

In addition, students have access to a one-stop shop of course information at our Course Selection website. Parents/Guardians can access this site as well with their child's log-in credentials. All curriculum information on this site can be found on our main website as well under curricular resources.

Questions regarding the Curriculum Night for parents may be directed to the Director of Student Services, Sara Genetin at sjgenetinpil@fcps.edu.

Student Schedules for Second Semester Delivered Friday, Jan. 14

During 7th period today (Friday, Jan. 14), your student received a printed copy of their class schedule for the second semester, which begins on January 25, 2022. Parents/Guardians, you are encouraged to review this information with your student in anticipation of the new semester.

Counselors will be available next week to meet with students who have questions or concerns about the schedule.

Please review the following criteria and procedures with your child before they initiate a schedule change request with their counselor:

What schedule changes take priority (in order of consideration)?

Schedule Change Requests That Can Be Handled at the Counselor Level:

  • Correcting a scheduling error (e.g. wrong level of a course, class you’ve already taken, etc.)
  • Fulfilling a graduation requirement (e.g. seniors missing an essential diploma requirement)
  • Completing your schedule (e.g. “See Counselor” appears for a period, or there is no class listed for a period)

Schedule Change Requests That Will NOT Be Considered for Approval:

  • Teacher changes
  • Elective changes because your preferred elective was not available
  • Changes that put a class at capacity for space limitations
  • Changes that put a teacher over capacity for total number of students

Steps That Should Be Taken by the Student to initiate a Schedule Change Request:

  • Unless you have received an updated schedule from your counselor, FOLLOW your SIS StudentVue schedule when Semester 2 begins on January 25
  • If you need to see your counselor to correct your schedule for one of the reasons above, then you should:
  1. Come to Franklin Commons during lunch
  2. Talk to a member of the Student Services team who will be standing by to put you in the queue
  3. Wait for your counselor to call you for a meeting
  4. Follow-up with an email if you have not heard from your counselor by January 19, 2022

Challenge Success Seminars - What You Heard is Not What I Said! Communication (and Miscommunication) around Expectations

Welcome to the new year! In February and March, the TJ Challenge Success team is hosting a two session series: “What You Heard is Not What I Said! — Communication (and Miscommunication) around Expectations” with TJ social worker Danielle Armstrong. The sessions will explore issues like why kids don’t want to chat when parents start a conversation, the messages kids receive from families about expectations, and the ways in which expectations affect communication.

Come to one or both – it is not necessary to attend both sessions

Session 1: Parent Discussion Group — Feb 8 from 9:00-10:30am in the TJ cafeteria

Participate in a discussion about communicating expectations and building understanding with your student.  Please RSVP for this session here.

Session 2: Parent-Student Fishbowl — March 1 from 6:30-8:00pm at TJHSST

Listen to students and then participate in discussion as part of parent-student fishbowl activity that continues the conversation. Please RSVP for the session here.

Arriving to School On Time- Help!

We need your help in ensuring a positive and on-time start to the day. Not only do we have more students this year, creating more buses and passenger vehicles, but we know more parents may be choosing to drive their child rather than use bus services. This dynamic is creating a huge traffic jam each morning.

How can you help? If you drive a passenger vehicle, plan to arrive on campus 15 minutes earlier than you are now or no later than 8:20. This will greatly assist us with getting students in class to start on time by 8:40. A recent pattern emerging: teachers are asked to hold taking attendance for 5-10 minutes, then students arrive late to class, interrupting any instruction that has started. This has resulted in 25-50 minutes each week of sacrificing quality educational time!

Let's all do our part to arrive to campus by 8:20 am. For additional safety tips, do not drop students off on Braddock road or side streets- traffic has to stop abruptly to avoid hitting your children. Also, we've had parent drivers complain that some cars will bypass the long line on the road and cut off other cars at the entrance. Thank you in advance for modeling safe practices.

Because we have been holding attendance until bus riders make it to class, some students already in the school have been lagging behind to mix in with bus riders arriving late. Moving forward, all bus riders arriving late will have a pass to admit them to class. Others arriving late, whether already in the building or arriving late via car, will be considered tardy.

We have been giving many allowances the past couple months, but there are now significant adverse impacts on the quality of instruction at the beginning of the day. 

Thank you for helping us successfully start each day!

Unique Educational Experience - TJ Robotics 1 Students Share their Robots with Weyanoke Elementary

TJ’s Robotics 1 Elective visited fifth graders at Weyanoke Elementary on December 15. TJ students showed off the robots they designed, built and programmed during the Robotics 1 elective class.

Robo 1 focuses on robot construction which includes assembling a chassis, adding servos for movement, creating various sensors to control the robot and programming using Arduino. The students answered questions and let the elementary school kids play with their robots. The elementary school students learned how computer code makes the robot move. The experience benefited both TJ students and elementary students alike.  

Various photos of TJ Robotics 1 Students working with Weyonoke Elementary Students

Early Dismissal Procedures

If your child needs to leave school early, please notify the attendance office in advance by email or voice message:

  • TJ attendance email ThomasJeffersonHigh.Attendance@fcps.edu or to kayoung@fcps.edu.  Email is the quickest way to reach the attendance office.
  • Leave a message on the Attendance Message line (703) 750-8315 and select option 2 for early dismissal.
  • You can notify the attendance office of any early dismissals that you anticipate through the end of the school year.
  • Your child should come to Attendance, in the main office, to pick up their early dismissal pass to leave class early.  The school does not page students, call the classroom or get students from class.
  • Students will sign out as the leave at the designated time.  They will walk out to the visitors parking lot, in front of the main entrance, when you arrive.
  • Parents do not need to come into the building.

COVID Vaccination Requirements for Athletes Participating in Spring Sports

For student-athletes participating in spring sports in 2022 (along with fall and winter sports participating in out-of-season work), there is a requirement for those 16 years and older to be vaccinated against COVID-19. There is also a weekly testing requirement for those under the age of 16. 

All details on this policy that comes from the Virginia High Athletic League can be found on our website here.

Save the Date - Sports Physicals Returning to TJ June 1

Every athlete needs a new athletic physical every school year so save some time and come out to TJ on June 1, 2022 and support the TJ Athletic Training Program. Need a BOY SCOUT or CAMP PHYSICAL at the same time? No problem, just make sure you bring all the forms with you on June 1ST.

Heather Murphy and Caroline Taylor are coordinating this popular at-school event to ensure that our athletes are ready for the 2022-23 seasons. Medical professionals will perform the comprehensive physicals. The screening will check height, weight, vision, vital signs, whole body flexibility, strength, posture and see the medical professional.  ALL PHYSICALS MUST BE COMPLETED ON THE JANUARY 2021 version!  You can download one from the www.tjsports.org website under files and links.

The physical is $50 for pre-registered students and $60 for walk-ins (taken after 6pm on space available basis) and all money goes to support TJ Athletic Training!  FCPS Athletic Trainers get $0 from the county for supplies. We have not been able to hold this event at TJ or earn any money since 2019. Registration link will be posted in April via the website and social media accounts.

Volunteers (MD, DO, PAC, NP, RN, PT) are still needed to run physicals.  We need parents to help make the sports physicals a successful event. Your expertise and a few hours of your time will greatly benefit our TJ athletes.  Students are also encouraged to sign up and get community service hours! Dinner will be provided for the volunteers.

Email Heather.Murphy@fcps.edu if you can volunteer or have any questions.

Reminder - No Food Deliveries at School

We want to remind families that students are not allowed to have food deliveries made to the school during the day. That includes all local delivery services, Uber Eats, Door Dash, etc.

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. 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

Feb. 1: Religious or Cultural Observance Day (Lunar New Year)