Second Semester Underway! - TJHSST February Update

Message from the Principal

Dear TJHSST Families:

February is a time filled with love for so many reasons! Please join us in spreading joy.

We kick off this month celebrating the Lunar New Year. In honor of The Tiger, we wish everyone courage, wisdom and strength! Also, FCPS schools recognize Black History Month as we study the contributions of Black Americans. Locally, the History Marker Project helps students with resources to research untold and impactful journeys.

Within TJ, we are showing our love to all the Teachers and Staff of the Year. Thank you to the many parents and students who nominated our phenomenal professionals for recognition. See more information below about awardees, as well as the love we show our school counselors during their special week.

This is also an important time of year as your child embarks on academic planning for 2022-2023. We appreciate how many parents attended our recent curriculum information night. Continue to have open family conversations about where your child's interests lie. Think about how to balance workload and additional activities at school and home. You may find the time management scheduling tool from Challenge Success useful.

I continue to be proud of our school's ongoing leadership in STEM. Student research, in particular, has taken front stage in the Regeneron Science Talent Search competition as TJ was tied with the second most semi-finalists in the nation. This year's TJ Science Fair was among the best I have attended as individuals and teams were prepared, knowledgeable, innovative, and confident with their presentations. Judges asked challenging questions and our students rose to the occasion. Congratulations to all!

Starting second semester, I asked students and teachers to revisit strategies that help them build community. Learn a fun fact about each other, learn all the names of peers in classes, or take time to share what hobbies we pick up in our down time. When we build personal relationships, we build a culture of belonging. We also learn to understand and appreciate the diverse backgrounds and talents each of our students brings to TJ.

In closing, I would like to again thank our entire community for your commitment to keeping TJ healthy. We have been following all FCPS protocols and look forward to Spring renewal!


Dr. Ann N. Bonitatibus 

TJHSST Proud Principal

Twitter @TJAnnB 

Course Selection Information 2023

Whether or not you were able to attend the Curriculum Night  on January 18, you may appreciate the opportunity to review the information presented about TJHSST course selections next year.

Review Frequently Asked Questions or Pose a New Question

These Padlets (online bulletin boards) feature the questions that our TJ parents/guardians have asked, as well as answers from TJ staff. You also can post a new question and it will be answered by a TJ staff member, time permitting.

Learn About Course Offerings, View Presentations, and More…

*This site will require viewers to login using the student’s credentials

TJHSST Course Selection

Academic Advising Schedule for 2022-23 School Year

Students will meet individually with their counselors to discuss and lock-in course requests for the 2022-2023 school year.

We ask that you ensure that your student has entered their course requests, including alternates, in SIS StudentVue prior to these meetings.

  • Rising Seniors, Class of 2023 – Meetings have already begun. They are occurring in AP US History or USVA History between January 31-February 11
  • Rising Juniors, Class of 2024 – Meetings will occur in English 10 between February 14-February 25
  • Rising Sophomores, Class of 2025 – Meetings will occur in IBET between February 28-March 11

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Screener Results

Parents/guardians of participating students will receive an individualized report detailing their student’s screener results following each assessment window.

Within the next week, FCPS plans to mail home the individual results of the SEL Screener that participating students took this past Fall. FCPS cancelled the Winter screener; a Spring SEL Screener will be administered during Advisory between April 12 and May 6, 2022.

You may find more information about the FCPS SEL Screener here. If you have any questions upon reviewing your student’s screener results, please reach out to your student’s School Counselor.

If you do not want your student to participate in the Spring SEL Screener, you can choose to opt out by completing this request form and returning it to Ms. Elizabeth West in Student Services by April 1.

Report Cards for Semester 1

A printed copy of Semester 1 report cards was distributed to students in their 7th period classes today (Feb. 4). Report Cards are also available in the “Documents” section of your SIS ParentVue account as shown in the graphic below.  In the event that you have specific questions regarding a grade in one of your student’s classes, we encourage you to reach out directly to the teacher.  Should you have any general questions about grading and reporting within FCPS, you may find more information here.

Example of how to find student's report card in ParentVue

Curriculum Fair Photo Gallery

To help students as they go into their advising sessions, TJ held its annual Curriculum Fair on Wednesday, Jan. 26 during 8th period. Students had the opportunity to visit classes that they think they might be interested in taking next year and ask the teachers questions.

Here is a photo gallery of this year's event.

Collage of photos from 2022 TJ Curriculum Fair

TJ Holds Impressive Science Fair

The 2022 TJHSST Science and Engineering Fair was held virtually on January 29.

We had a total of 70 students working in teams or individually to present 55 projects to a group of 42 judges. These judges were university professors, professional scientists and engineers in industry and lab settings, along with TJ teachers.

Overall, 26 projects were chosen to advance in mid-March at the Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair.

Here is a photo gallery of some of our students presenting their projects online.

Different Screenshots of TJ students presenting their Science Fair projects over Zoom

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.

National School Counseling Week February 7-11, 2022

Counselors 2022

National School Counseling Week 2022, "School Counselors: Better Together," will be celebrated this week to focus public attention on the unique contribution of school counselors within U.S. school systems. National School Counseling Week, sponsored by the American School Counselor Association, highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career. National School Counseling Week is always celebrated the first full week in February.  Thank you to our terrific counseling team for all you do for our students, staff and TJ families! (Note: this picture was taken prior to COVID and masking. We went back to archived photos to find the smiling faces!)


In each newsletter we want to give some quick shout outs to TJ staff, students, teams, and alumni:

  • You will remember last month that TJ had 8 students named to the top 300 scholars of the Regeneron Science Talent Search 2022. Well recently senior Pravalika Gayatri Putalapattu was named a top 40 finalist! Her project is entitled DORC: Dynamic Operating Room Companion for Gallbladder Removal Surgical Workflow Verification. She will now compete in the weeklong championship competition, March 9-16! For more details please read the Society for Science release here
  • Congrats to two of Ms. Seavey's students for becoming the first TJ students to win the New York Times Personal Narrative Writing Contest! They were two of only eight winners selected from over 11,000 entries.
  • An incredible 19 TJ students were selected as Gold Key, Silver Key, and Honorable Mention award winners in the 2022 Regional Scholastic Art Awards Program. The visual artwork of these students were chosen by a distinguished panel of judges who selected from nearly 2500 outstanding entries. The gold key and silver key works will be on exhibit in the Ernst Cultural Center Gallery at the Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Campus, from February 11 through March 24, 2022. 
  • Both the Boys and Girls Swim and Dive teams won the 2022 National District Championship and will advance to Regionals!
  • The Gymnastics team finished second in the National District and will also advance to Regionals. Three TJ gymnasts qualified for the individual regional as well!

Congrats to Our 2021-22 TJ Outstanding Employees

We want to congratulate our 2021-22 Outstanding Employees! They were surprised by the prize patrol last week with their honors. Next month you will hear their thoughts on their honor along with comments from Dr. Bonitatibus, but this month we want to first reveal the winners.


Sean Burke receiving Outstanding Professional Employee award from Dr. Bonitatibus

Outstanding Professional Employee - Sean Burke, Department of Student Services

Outstanding Leader - Volita Russell, Assistant Principal

Volita Russell receiving Outstanding Leader award from Dr. Bonitatibus
Joanne Claytor receives Outstanding Operational Employee award from Dr. Bonitatibus

Outstanding Operational Employee - Joanne Claytor, Finance

Outstanding New Teacher - Ryan Elder, Physics

Ryan Elder receives Outstanding New Teacher award from Dr. Bonitatibus
Kai Sam Ng receives Outstanding Teacher award

Outstanding Teacher: Kai Sam Ng, Mathematics

Unique Educational Experience - Testing for Presence of Common Ions

Ms. Taylor's AP Chemistry classes have been hard at work learning the material that will help prepare them for both the AP test this May, as well as future college chemistry classes. 

Ms. Taylor believes that one of the best ways to learn is through lab work. She recently had the student's do spot tests for common ions. The students were given an unknown solution created by her hardworking assistant Mr. Duy (Duy Nguyen) and had to figure out how many of seven different ions were present in it.  

See below for a photo gallery of the students hard at work.

Students participating in AP Chemistry experiment

Department of Student Services Holds Cookiepalooza

Around the holidays, students had the opportunity to learn more about what the Department of Student Services can do for them, while being treated to a tasty snack!

Check out this photo gallery of DSS' Cookiepalooza!

Photo gallery of students and DSS at Cookiepalooza

Parent Volunteer Opportunity on Mondays During JLC Time

We still have opportunities for parents to volunteer at TJ during JLC (Jefferson Learning Communities) on Mondays from 12 noon to 1pm.

Administrators and instructional teams use this time to collaborate and plan for the implementation of academic strategies and interventions. Monitors supervise the students throughout the school building during this time.

If you are interested in being a JLC monitor, please complete this form. We want to thank those parents who are already serving as monitors.

Lunar New Year Celebration

Lunar New Years decoration Nobel Commons

Thanks to our TJ PTSA for hosting the Lunar New Year celebration today. Many parent volunteers contributed time and resources to decorate, supply food, and support the student performances. This is one of the first larger community events we've been able to host in nearly two years. What a fitting way to bring family together, ringing in the new year!

See videos of TJ students with Taiko, Dance, and Dragon performances, along with a local Martial Arts Dance troup.

Arrival and Early Dismissal Procedures

If you drive to our campus in the morning, please arrive no later than 8:20 to assist with traffic flow and avoid congested roadways. Students need to be in class by 8:40. Students arriving after 8:40 must enter through the Dome and get a late pass. Do not try to enter other doors or text other students to open doors. This rule is for individual accountability and campus safety.

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

  • TJ attendance email or to  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.

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 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 if you can volunteer or have any questions.

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

Feb. 21: President's Day - No School for Students and Staff

March 3: Modified Blue Day with two-hour early release.

March 4: Professional Development Day - No School for Students 

March 11: Next News You Choose newsletter will be released.