As the Leaves Begin to Change, TJ Gets Ready to Wrap Up First Quarter! TJHSST October Update

Message from the Principal

Dear TJHSST Families,

Welcome to October where the air is brisk, the colors grand, and TJ spirit high! The opening seven weeks of school have been joyous and rewarding. We've also noticed an abundance of Barbie pink that even adorns a fashionable goat positioned atop the TJ rock at our front entrance!

Among our treasured traditions have been TJ Homecoming (HoCo) and in-person family events. We thank our SGA, class leaders, and faculty sponsors for celebrating HoCo traditions and bringing new ideas like a staff Musical Extravaganza performance. See the HoCo highlight video and photo gallery below. We also loved seeing our families in person at our Back to School Bash, Back to School Night, and PTSA-sponsored events. Putting names and faces together, along with smiles and handshakes, helps us build important relationships.

Speaking of relationships, we continue to emphasize a culture of belonging at TJ. Our teachers have worked hard in the opening weeks to cultivate positive learning communities that are personalized for individual student needs. All students, with recognition of their diverse backgrounds and interests, are affirmed and accepted each day.

Within the coming month our annual School Improvement and Innovation Plan (SIIP) should be finalized and published with our desired outcomes for the year. The SIIP will be aligned with the FCPS Strategic Plan. Student learning is at the forefront as we ask ourselves what our students need to know, how we know they have learned, and how we respond when they do or do not demonstrate mastery. We will continue to prioritize having a healthy and safe learning environment with an academic focus. And woven into the fabric of all that we do are the Challenge Success priorities we established during the past several years: decoupling workload and rigor (more does not mean better), managing expectations, and the importance of sleep.

I continue to have deep gratitude for the support and partnership that all TJ families bring to our school. Working together, we create a vibrant learning community that is healthy in mind, body and spirit!


Dr. Ann N. Bonitatibus

Proud Principal, TJHSST 

Reminder - Oct. 11 is PSAT and SAT Day

Note: Parents/Guardians were sent a class specific E-Notify about the Oct. 11 PSAT/NMSQT and SAT day on Sept. 21. Please refer to that message for full details. Below is a basic summary of what each class will be doing.

On Wednesday, Oct. 11, the PSAT/NMSQT (10th and 11th grades) and SAT (12th grades) will be administered at TJ. We will have an early release schedule with school ending at 1:30 p.m. for those who are coming into the building. What your child will be doing that day depends on what grade they are in.

Freshmen – Since most staff will be needed to administer the PSAT and SAT freshmen will have an unscheduled school day and will not report to the building. They are encouraged to complete any missing work or assignments that need to be completed prior to the end of the first quarter.

Sophomores and Juniors - Sophomores and juniors will take the PSAT/NMSQT unless a student’s family specifically communicates a desire to refuse this assessment opportunity. 

Seniors – Seniors who have registered will be taking the SAT. All other seniors will not attend school that day and are encouraged to complete any missing work/assignments or use this time to work on college applications.”

Students who attend school this day should report by the normal 8:40 a.m. start time. Testing will begin at 9:00 a.m. TJ will have a lunch period from 12:45-1:30 p.m. with dismissal happening immediately afterwards.

If you have any questions about testing, please contact our Assessment Coach Lisa Broadhead at

MTSS - Supporting Students

MTSS stands for Multi-tiered Systems of Support. The MTSS committee consists of administrators, teachers and members of the Department of Student Services. The committee meets twice monthly to coordinate and develop school-wide systems and individual plans to support our students in the areas of academics, wellness, or attendance.

But what are the “multi-tiers” of support? The three tiers are:

  • Tier 1, which are school-wide systems for making sure students receive high-quality, evidence-based instruction and support
  • Tier 2, which provides targeted interventions or enrichment opportunities to individual and/or groups of students
  • Tier 3, which creates specific, personalized plans for individual students.

By ensuring that each of these levels of focus are discussed, researched, and refined, the MTSS committee also plays an important role in creating a school culture that encourages early intervention and comprehensive support. 

Stay tuned for more information next month!

How to Reach TJ Staff Via Staff Directory

Have you ever needed to contact your child's teacher or counselor and were not sure how to reach them because you don't know their email address? Worry no further!

Our TJ website has an easy way to communicate with any staff member you want. Visit the Staff Directory located on our website. Click on the name of the staff member you wish to reach and it will take you to a contact form page for that individual. Fill out the information along with your message and it will be delivered directly to their FCPS email. They will get back to you typically within one business day.

Below is what the contact form looks like on our website.

Example of what TJ's Staff Directory contact form looks like

TJ to Celebrate Digital Citizenship Week, Oct. 16-20

Calendar of TJ Digital Citizenship Week


TJ Families,

Learning never stops, and neither does digital citizenship. Growing up has always had its challenges. For kids today, social media and technology can amplify the typical stresses of adolescence, so it is important to build healthy habits around technology use. Teaching our students digital skills and inviting them to reflect on how media and technology affect their daily lives is essential to helping them connect with the world around them.

October 16-20 is Digital Citizenship Week. Our events kickoff with a meaningful advisory lesson. The calendar link outlines daily themes for Spirit Week, family activities to share with your students, and additional resources. While our school staff is committed to finding opportunities to engage in responsible stewardship of technology use throughout the year, Digital Citizenship Week presents a unique opportunity to have mindful conversations about technology use and creates a shared focus where staff, students, and parents can all work together.

We appreciate you and your supportive spirit!

Information on Advanced Placement Test Fees and Opt Outs

As part of the FCPS FY 2024 Approved Budget, FCPS is continuing to assess Advanced Placement (AP) test fees. As in previous years, the fees for the first six AP tests taken for courses in which students are enrolled for high school credit will be paid for by FCPS. Students taking AP tests without enrolling in the corresponding FCPS course are responsible for the test fee(s).

During Advisory on Tuesday, October 10, students will receive a copy of the Advanced Placement Test Opt Out form if they have taken and/or are currently enrolled in an AP course. You may also request that a copy of the form be emailed to you by contacting our assessment coach, Lisa Broadhead at

If you wish to opt your child out of the AP test for a course, please return to Student Services the opt out form by October 20, 2023, and no AP test will be ordered for your child. If your child plans to take the AP tests for the corresponding AP courses in their schedule, no action is needed.

Class of 2024 Senior Parent Webinar Upcoming Oct. 13

Parents and Guardians of the Class of 2024, our Student Services team is hosting a webinar on Friday, October 13 from 11:30AM-12:30PM to share information about this year’s college application and admissions process. The webinar will be hosted live on Zoom, and a recording will be made available in Schoology for those who are unable to attend. 

Topics will include:

  • Submitting transcript requests for college applications
  • Decision types and deadlines
  • We will also answer frequently asked questions and those you submit to us in advance

The link to the Zoom webinar and the form for submitting your questions can be found in the “Homeroom Grade 12” Course in Schoology. The form will remain open for submissions until Thursday, October 12. We hope to see you there!

JLC Volunteering Opportunity: A Little Bit of Time = A Large Impact

Dear TJ Parents and Guardians, 

Thank you, new and returning JLC volunteers. It is great to see you fitting into the flow of student life midday on JLC Mondays. But there is always room for more volunteers.

What is JLC?: JLC (Jefferson Learning Community) is a dedicated time in the school day for teachers, staff, and administrators to discuss and develop plans to address instructional needs. 

When & Who: Designated Mondays, Noon to 12:50 pm. Parents/Guardians are simply present and aware of student behavior in assigned hallways. This hour affords you a glimpse of the TJ community and daily student life, and it is a much-appreciated gift of time to all TJ staff. 

Dates & Signup:  Future JLC dates before winter break are this Tuesday, 10/10 and Mondays: 10/16, 10/30, 11/13, 11/27, 12/4 and 12/ 11. The Sign Up Genius link is:

Geosystems Shows How Fascinating Our Planet is! - TJ Educational Experience

Collage of Photos from Geosystems experiments


All seniors at TJ take a Geosystems class in which they  learn more about the set of complex and overlapping Earth and Space Systems, such as atmosphere, oceans, and our place in the Solar System.

Our Geosystems teachers often work on providing hands on demonstrations to help students understand the concepts. This past month students went outside and used simple tools and the sun to measure the circumference of the Earth. They also learned about P Waves and S Waves that occur during seismic activity. 

The photo gallery above shows both of those activities.

Classes Come Together for Fantastic Homecoming Adventure

Screenshot of TJ Homecoming Highlights Youtube video with play button icon on it

Collage of Homecoming Photos


After several years of COVID related interruptions, TJ students were able to get back to nearly all of their Homecoming traditions last month, including Pep Rallies each lunch, fun competitions between the classes, the large Pep Rally on Friday featuring MEX performances, and the Homecoming Football game in the evening. 

Please click the link above to enjoy a video highlight package of the events.

TJ Families - please be aware that the Homecoming Dance (which was postponed due to the weather) has been rescheduled for Saturday, Oct. 21 from 7:00-10:00 p.m.


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


Collage of photos from the 2 National Merit breakfasts


  • Congratulations to the 166 seniors who were named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists, and the 181 seniors who were named National Merit Scholarship Commended Students! TJ honored each group with a breakfast in their honor this past week.
  • FCPS recently took a look at our AI curriculum for a feature story on their website that can be viewed here. Thank you to Malcom Eckel and Dr. Peter Gabor for providing the background needed for the article!


Srimaye Peddinti and Mark Hanum on Quantum World Congress panel


  • Quantum Physics lab director Mark Hannum, along with senior Srimaye Peddinti spoke at the Quantum World Congress this year as panelists representing TJ's Quantum Physics program. A picture from their panel is above with Srimaye speaking on the microphone and Mr. Hannum anchoring the panel on the right. 
  • The Model UN Team had a stellar performance this past week at McMUNC – the Model UN Conference hosted by McLean High School. The delegation took home six Verbal commendations, five Honorable Mentions, seven Outstanding Delegate awards, and four prestigious gavels aka Best Delegate awards. All told, 33 of the competing students were recognized individually or in partner pairs for their performance – a great start to the season!

Fall Sports Collage


  • Fall sports have had a lot of success and fun! Enjoy this picture collage from Dr. Murphy featuring recent fall events.

Third Session of Ninth Grade Parent Book Club Coming Oct. 27

Dear 9th Grade Parents/Guardians,

Greetings!  We had 2 wonderful and engaging sessions of the "How to Raise an Adult" book club so far.  If you have missed the last 2 sessions, there is a third and final session coming up.  

Our third session will be held in-person on 10/27 from 9-10:30am at Franklin Commons.Session 3 will cover chapter 12-22 of the book.  You don't need to read the book in order to join the book club.  We just love to see parents connect with each other.  

If you are interested in attending the 3rd session, please fill out the google form so that we can adequately prepare for our next session.

Tenth Grade Parents - Join Us for New Book Club!

Dear 10th grade parents/guardians,

Join us for the 10th grade Parent Book Club read this year: "The Emotional Lives of Teenagers: Raising Connected, Capable, and Compassionate Adolescents" by Lisa Damour, Ph.D. 

According to Amazon: "Parents who read this book will learn:

  • What to expect in the normal course of adolescent emotional development and when it’s time to worry
  • Why teens (and adults) need to understand that mental health isn’t about “feeling good” but about having feelings that fit the moment, even if those feelings are unwanted or painful
  • Strategies for supporting teens who feel at the mercy of their emotions, so they can become psychologically aware and skilled at managing their feelings
  • How to approach common challenges that come with adolescence, such as friction at home, spiking anxiety, risky behavior, navigating friendships and romances, the pull of social media, and many more
  • The best ways to stay connected to their teens and how to provide the kind of relationship that adolescents need and want

The first 44 families who register will receive a free copy of the book, one book per family. To receive your free copy of the book, please register at this link.  

Winter Sports Begin Nov. 6 - Make Sure Your Child Knows What They Need to Tryout

Tryout requirements for winter athletics at TJ


Winter sports will start on Monday November 6, 2023. TJ’s winter sports are basketball, winter track, girls gymnastics, swim & dive, sideline cheerleading, and co-ed wrestling.

Tryout information will be on website and our social media accounts as the season approaches.

Students need to have a valid VHSL physical on file (January 2021 version dated after May 1, 2023) and athletic registration for 2023-2024 school year completed before they can try out. Registration is completed at

Questions regarding these required items can be directed to DSA Mr. Forshay and Athletic Trainer Dr. Murphy.

Come See TJ Marching Band at Upcoming Competitions!

Collage of photos for the TJ Marching Band


The TJ Marching Band has been competing at the Virginia Marching Band Cooperative (VMBC) and the Band of America (BOA) championships, and placing at the top (see photo gallery above). They perform their show Picasso: Canvasing the Unbound Genius at different dates and locations. They count on a supportive audience like you! Here are their our upcoming competitions!

Saturday, October 7th (VMBC):  Performance at 7:15 pm. Awards at 8:45 pm. Location is Woodgrove High School, 36811 Allder School Rd, Purcellville, VA 20132

Saturday, October 14th (BOA): Performance at  6:30 pm. Awards at 8:00 pm. Location is W. T. Woodson High School, 9525 Main St, Fairfax, VA 22031

Saturday, October 21st (BOA): Performance at 11:00 am. Mid-Atlantic Preliminaries Awards at 4:00 pm. Location is SECU Stadium, University of Maryland, 90 Stadium Dr, College Park, MD 20742

Update on TJ Vision Screening

Note from the Health Room:

We are continuing to complete state mandated hearing and vision screenings for the class of 2026 and the class of 2027. The majority of the screenings were completed in the last couple of weeks; however, we still have some students to screen. Please remind your student to bring their glasses to school.

As for screening results, no news is good news. If we identify a hearing or vision concern, you will receive a referral letter in the mail after screenings are complete.

Scoliosis Fact Sheet

Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine. A spine affected by scoliosis has a sideways curve, making it appear more like an “S” or a “C” than a straight line. Untreated scoliosis can lead to limited motion, back pain, deformity, and in extreme cases, impaired function of the heart and lungs. Early detection and treatment may prevent scoliosis from progressing.

Please check out this Scoliosis Fact Sheet courtesy of FCPS.

Follow TJ on Social Media!

Be sure to visit Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology On its official social media channels!

Visit our X (Twitter) account @TJHSST_Official  for news, upcoming events, reminders of important deadlines, and updates of all the fun activities going on at the school.

Visit our Instagram account @OfficialTJHSST for pictures and highlights of those fun events!

We'd love it if you give us a follow!

Important Calendar Reminders

Oct. 9: Staff Development Day - no school for students

Oct. 10: This Tuesday will be an Anchor Day - students will attend advisory followed by all 7 of their classes.

Oct. 11: PSAT (10th and 11th grade) SAT (12th grade) 

Oct. 16: Modified Anchor Day with one hour advisory and no JLC

Oct. 18: Fall Band Concert - 7 p.m. in TJ Auditorium

Oct. 25: Fall Orchestra Concert - 7 p.m. in TJ Auditorium

Nov. 1-2: Religious or Cultural Observance Day (Día de los Muertos) - school remains in session with normal hours.

Nov. 3: End of first quarter - Modified Red Day with 2-hour early release

Nov. 3: November News You Choose newsletter released.

Nov. 6: School Planning Day - no school for students

Nov. 7: Teacher Work Day - no school for students

Nov. 8: This Wednesday will be an Anchor Day - students will attend advisory followed by all 7 of their classes.

Nov. 22-24: Thanksgiving Holiday - no school for students or staff

Dec 1: December News You Choose newsletter released.