Checking in with our TJ Community! - TJHSST Summer Update

Message from the Principal

Dear TJHSST Families:

Summer is in full swing with many families reconnecting and soaking up vacation time together. Enjoy!

We also have hundreds of TJ students enthusiastically engaged in summer school. Some students are attending in-person classes for credit at TJ while others are earning credit in FCPS or VA online courses. Dozens of students also are participating in non-credit enrichment opportunities on topics of interest such as Genealogy and Linguistics. Other enterprising students are working summer jobs, conducting independent research, or assisting mentors at internship sites. Of course, we also promote relaxation and down-time during the summer; therefore, we do not require or assign summer homework for fall courses. 

Read further in this bulletin for important updates as we plan for the upcoming school year. We are in the final stages of getting the Class of 2026 enrolled and scheduled, as well as a few new classmates for the Class of 2025. Most of all, we are excited to welcome all of our amazing TJ students back to school on Monday, August 22!


Dr. Ann N. Bonitatibus 

TJHSST Proud Principal

Twitter @TJAnnB 

TJHSST Communications Specialist Mike Roth's Welcome

I want to give the warmest welcome to all, especially to our newest families here at TJ, both the freshmen of the Class of 2026 and the froshmores of the Class of 2025! My name is Mike Roth and I am the Communications Specialist here at TJ. One of my jobs is to make sure parents/guardians are informed of everything that is going on at TJ.

One of the ways I do that is through monthly News You Choose newsletters. You can expect a newsletter just like this one to be deposited in your inbox the first Friday of every month during the school year. The only exception to that is if there is no school for students on that date. For example, in September, school will be closed on Friday, Sept. 2 for the Labor Day holiday. In that case, the September newsletter will be published on Friday, Sept. 9.

New families have been signed up for either the Class of 2026 or Class of 2025 distribution lists depending on their child's grade level. You can change your preferences (and sign up for other distribution lists if you wish) at our News You Choose signup page here.

If you ever have any questions about events going on at TJ, please feel free to reach out to me at I will answer your question, or I will put you in contact with the person who has the answer.


Mike Roth

TJHSST Communications Specialist

Save the Dates

Here are some important dates from the first couple months of the school year for you to put on your calendar. Please notice that some are marked tentative and are subject to change. More information about these events will be forthcoming.

Thursday, August 18 - New Student Orientation (Class of 2026, plus "froshmores" from the Class of 2025) - in the morning

Monday, August 22 - First day of school for students.

Tuesday, August 30 (tentative)In-Person Back to School Night for Class of 2023 and 2026  - in the evening

Thursday, September 1 (tentative) - Back-to-School Bash  - after school

Friday, Sept. 2 and Monday, Sept. 5 - Labor Day, no school for students and staff.

Thursday, September 8 (tentative) - In-Person Back to School Night for Class of 2024 and 2025  - in the evening

Sept. 19-23 - Homecoming Week

Monday, September 26 - No school for students, teacher workday

Staff Updates

During the last week of school for staff this past June, we honored valued colleagues leaving TJ this next year for professional or personal reasons: Albert Ament, Christine Conklin, Erin Connelly-Kosek, Hima Desiraju, Sara Genetin, Mark Gordon, Parie Kadir, Rachel Mills, Andrew Reid, and Jared Seyler.

We also congratulated and bid adieu to retirees Esther Barkat, Sandra Chhabra, Rob Culbertson, Rusty Hodges, Thom Larson, Betsy Sandstrom and Cynthia Van De Kamp. They have been invaluable to TJ and the education profession!

Finally, we recognized temporary employees who supported us throughout our COVID response protocols: Paris Rashada, Esther Chang, Flora Chavez, and Betsy Schwers.

We look forward to welcoming several new staff members this year:

  • Humanities Teachers: Rochelle Levy (English),  Asher Weinberg (Social Studies)
  • Math/CS Teacher: Sewon Yang
  • Science and Technology Teachers: Lien Kim Le (Biology)Dr. Rebecca Jiron (Science/Geosystems) Rae Kuprenas (Tech Ed), Craig Lewis (Tech Ed), Whitney Louchen (Physics), Emily Owens (Chemistry), Genille Parham (Science/Chemistry), Dr. Dan Parilla (Tech Ed), Stephanie Sarmiento (Science/Geosystems)
  • Performing Arts Teacher: Kylie Murray (Drama)
  • World Language Teacher: Valerie Ives (French)

In addition, we welcome back Brandon Kosatka (Director of Student Services) and Samantha Wolf (College and Career Services), returning after a year away helping FCPS with the Virtual Program.

Planning for Meals During 2022-23 School Year

We have an important update on student meals for the 2022-23 school year.

The extension of the federal no-cost meals benefit to all FCPS students has expired and is no longer available. Fees will be charged for meals.

For those who have a need, you are encouraged to submit the Free and Reduced-Price Meal application prior to the first day of the 22-23 school year. Families must submit an application and be approved to be eligible for free and reduced-price meals for the 2022-23 school year.

Interested families are encouraged to submit the Free and Reduced-Price Meal application 10 days prior to the first day of the 2022-23 school year. The online application will be available later this summer and accessible via the FCPS homepage.  

Students approved for Free and Reduced-Price Meals may qualify for additional benefits such as waived or reduced fees for instruments, uniforms, field trips, FCPS class fees, and Parktakes classes. Schools also benefit from funding opportunities based on Free and Reduced Price Meal application numbers. 

Watch your email and our website for more information. Learn more about the Free and Reduced-Price Meal program online. If you have questions or need assistance with the Free and Reduced-Price Meals application, please contact your child's counselor.

Immunization Reminder

Certain immunizations are required for public school entry, including here at TJ. Many children missed their well check-ups and their recommended childhood immunizations during recent years of disruptions from COVID-19. It is critical to catch up now to keep children healthy and protect them from serious diseases.

Students who are not properly immunized can be excluded from school until all vaccinations are up to date.

Please visit this site which lists all of FCPS' immunization requirements for various grade levels. We encourage you to check with your healthcare provider to make sure your child is up to date on required immunizations for the 2022-23 school year as soon as possible. If your child needs a vaccine to complete their records, you can make an appointment with your healthcare provider or visit the Fairfax County Health Department website for a schedule of child immunization clinics. 

Poster with 2022-23 Immunization Requirements

Class of 2023- Get Ready for Graduation! Commencement and Senior Photo Information

We are looking forward to conferring approximately 460 diplomas to the Class of 2023!

  • Date: Saturday, June 10, 2023
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Venue: George Mason University Eagle Bank Arena 

Please be aware TJ has switched portrait studios for the 2022-2023 school year. If you receive communication from Legacy Studios, you know you have the correct studio contacting you and they are our new official photographer.

Their first event at TJ will be the first round of senior portraits, taking place at TJ on July 22, 25, and 26 in the auditorium. Please sign up for your appointment online here. If you can’t make it this summer, there will be at least one more round at TJ in the fall.

News from Student Services

The counselors and many of the Department of Student Services staff are taking advantage of the opportunity to relax and recharge to get ready for another exciting start to the school year.

While the Student Services department is not fully staffed during the summer, counselors are rotating a few hours each week to help with items such as general academic information and registration data, as well as the occasional schedule concern or question. All counselors report back to work with regular hours on August 4.

As we finalize the upcoming year's master schedule with course offerings, counselors will reach out to students when there is a question or potential schedule conflict that needs attention to ensure that students have a full and accurate schedule before the start of school.

Please be aware the only schedule changes that will be accommodated in the opening weeks of school will be those that are incomplete, contain errors or incorrect sequencing, do not reflect updates from summer school, or otherwise need to address a senior's requirement for graduation. Merely changing one's mind is not a basis for a schedule change.

If you have a question or concern that cannot wait until all counselors return on August 4, please feel free to contact the Department of Student Services at 703-750-8340 or A DSS staff member will be as helpful as possible until an assigned counselor is able to respond.

PTSA to Host Regional Welcome Parties for New Families

The following message from the TJ PTSA is intended for Class of 2026 families, as well as families of the Class of 2025 who will be new to TJ this year.

Welcome to the TJ family from the TJ PTSA!! In August, the TJ PTSA will host regional welcome parties for you to meet other incoming families who live near you and hear from current TJ students! Tentative information about each regional party is included at the link below. Register for your regional party by July 22.

Regional Welcome Parties in August! | TJPTSA

Parent Volunteers Requested for JLC Time on Mondays

TJ Parents and Guardians,

We appreciate your continued support during JLC. JLC (Jefferson Learning Community) is a time embedded in the school day for teachers and administrators to have meaningful conversations and develop plans to address our instructional needs.

In the past, parents have supported us by volunteering to monitor students during JLC. JLC is held on Mondays from 12:10pm to 12:50pm. If you are interested, please complete this formVolunteers must also complete all background check procedures through Fairfax County Public Schools.

TJ Summer Programming in Action

TJ's building has not been empty this summer! Since early June we have been running summer programming, giving the chance for rising 9th, 10th, and 11th graders to earn an extra credit, or gain some summer enrichment. 

In addition, for the first time since 2019, we hosted the Middle School Technology Institute (MSTI). MSTI is a summer STEM program that engages young minds through a number of experiential workshop sessions. This summer, MSTI provided an opportunity for over 120 FCPS middle school 7th and 8th grade students to participate in courses on topics including the moon, robotics, CAD, web-page design, environmental science, ethnomathematics, microbes and oceanography.

We are thankful to teachers from around FCPS who led our courses, and especially to the students for making this a great summer. We look forward to an even greater MSTI next summer with more courses, sessions and lots more students.

A special thanks goes out to the TJ Partnership Fund for their help in sponsoring TJ MSTI ’22.

Here is a photo gallery of TJ Summer Programming 2022.

Collage of photos from Summer School and MSTI


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

  • The CAPPIES is an award program that honors high school theatre arts programs for their work during the school year. At the award ceremony at the Kennedy Center on June 6, TJ was fortunate to win three CAPPIES for its spring musical Matilda, two acting awards and one technical achievement. 
    • Best Special Effects and Technology – Leydi Cris Cobo Cordon, Ryan Lien, Mayuka Valluri, Aiden Zurcher
    • Best Comic Actor in a Musical – Ryan Lien as Agatha Trunchbull
    • Best Featured Actor in a Musical – Cyrus Rivers as Bruce Bogtrotter

       Congratulations to everyone on these spectacular honors!

The cast of Matilda at the Kennedy Center


  • Congrats to the TJ "A" team for coming in second place at the PACE National Scholastic Tournament in Chicago back in June. In the JV Competition, the "C" team won the tournament, while the "D" team came in third place. 
  • Five TJ teachers participated in a field trip around Virginia where they studied, collected, photographed, and narrated video about rocks. They will use this collection and information gathered to help create Geosystems curriculum both in this coming school year and for years to come. This trip was thanks to a generous grant from the TJ Partnership Fund.

Geosystems teacher John Woodwell points out one of many dropstones  that indicate the presence of sea ice at the time of deposition.

Geosystems teacher John Woodwell points out one of many dropstones that indicate the presence of sea ice at the time of deposition.

Geosystems teacher Rachel Mills points out an ancient coral that indicates a warm shallow sea.

Geosystems teacher Rachel Mills points out an ancient coral that indicates a warm shallow sea.

TJ is On Twitter!

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is 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!