Fun Times at TJ Leaping to Spring!- TJHSST March Update

Message from the Principal

Dear TJHSST Families:

I hope you are enjoying the longer sunlit days. Remember that clocks leap forward one hour on Sunday, March 10, so set the alarms correctly for Monday morning, March 11, to rise and shine and be to school on time! This is a great opportunity for families to review morning routines and make a commitment to arriving to school on time. We have seen an increase in the number of students checking in to school late. Forty late students can mean 40 separate interruptions to instruction underway. One of our goals this year is to promote an academically focused environment, so being timely and present will help us reach that goal.

This year we have had many opportunities to celebrate academic successes, which are in the cognitive domain. We now want to celebrate our gains in daily school culture, Social Emotional Learning (SEL), which are in the affective domain. We can compare last fall's 2022 SEL screener results to this past fall’s 2023 SEL screener. TJ has improved 4% with 89% of students now reporting they have supportive relationships. We increased 5% with 64% of students now reporting a positive sense of belonging. Of the seven areas total in the SEL screener, TJ students are in the 80th-99th percentile in five of the areas when compared to all other high schools nationally, and we outpace the average in every category when compared to FCPS high schools. We are actively working on the belonging indicator, as well as the indicator where positive perceptions about cultural awareness and action fell 15% to 53%. We look forward to our most recent efforts showing improvement when the SEL screener is administered again.

Moving back to academic matters, parents of rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors can start verifying course requests for next school year (see directions later in bulletin). These requests influence which courses will actually be scheduled, in addition to influencing staffing decisions that must be made within FCPS hiring timelines this spring.

Beyond the big-picture impact on programs and personnel, the choices made now contribute to the academic fulfillment and personal wellness of your child. We want our children to explore their passions and engage in high-quality academic experiences while being mindful of their physical and emotional state. Even if life doesn't have perfect balance, it has to be harmonious among school, home, and other activities. When you verify your child’s course selections, please take time to talk to your child about the choices that will healthily position them for academic and emotional success. 

I would like to personally thank our families who have supported our students, faculty and staff over the years. Our patience, perseverance, purpose, and positivity has resulted in performance. TJ is nationally recognized as leading the way in promoting success among a diverse population, where all students have earned their place and belong at our school! We will continue to excel, grow, and support each other as a unified TJ community! Read more below about progress made to date in our School Innovation and Improvement Plan. 

Spring is around the corner. This is a perfect time to reflect, celebrate where we are, refresh, and bring new life to the next steps we take together as a TJ family!


Dr. Ann N. Bonitatibus 

TJHSST Proud Principal

TJ Making Progress on 2023-24 SIIP

We have continued to make progress toward our three 2023-24 School Improvement and Innovation Plan (SIIP) goals. 

  • By the end of the 2023-2024 school year, 100% of 9th grade students scoring below proficient on the initial Math Inventory will demonstrate proficiency on the end of year Math Inventory assessment.
    • Progress Report: We are on track to achieve our measurable outcome. Teachers are providing all 9th graders with algebra mastery assignments through ALEKS, a digital resource that provides personalized learning. With the implementation of practice opportunities, freshmen will continue to build on and reinforce their algebra skills. 
  • By the end of the 2023-2024 school year, all students who have grades lower than a B in ELA classes at first quarter will improve by at least one grade level (i.e. C+ to B-).
    • Progress Report: As of Q2, there has been a noticeable improvement in students academic performance in English, earning a grade of B or higher. English teachers continue to provide direct support to students through an 8th period opportunity called “English Work Time.” Students can opt in or teachers can assign students to sessions to support their analytic thinking, reading, and writing skills.
  • By the end of the 2023-2024 school year, 100% of students will indicate that they experience TJHSST to be a positive school climate with an academically-focused culture, which includes peer-to-peer trust and teacher-student trust.
    • Progress Report: We continue to promote an academically-focused school culture that promotes a sense of belonging. Staff had the opportunity to listen to student perspectives at a Town Hall meeting, and we are planning for a student-facing Town Hall to take place later this Spring. At the midyear point, teachers reviewed the Students Rights and Responsibilities document with students to focus on targeted areas for continued student support. A special emphasis was placed on the following topics: academic integrity, attendance, cell phone usage, and not tolerating acts of bullying, discrimination and harassment. 

Full information on our 2023-24 SIIP plan can be found on our website.

MTSS In Focus - Making the Most of Eighth Period Tutoring

Note: This is part of a monthly series to help families understand TJ's Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) system. To see other articles in the series, please visit previous News You Choose newsletters. 

Did you know that all TJ teachers (individually or as a department) maintain at least one Eighth Period block a week for tutoring students? Wow! That’s time to get the individualized instruction that students can use to achieve and grow!  

But showing up to a teacher’s tutoring block is only part of the solution to class challenges. When you encourage your child to sign up for Eighth Period tutoring with a teacher, consider the following tips:

  • Prepare your questions in advance - Students who have written down (or at least thought about) what they want to ask ahead of time can make better use of the time they have with the teacher. 
  • Go to tutoring before you experience challenges, not afterwards – The number one time students ask for help is after they got a grade they didn’t like on a test or struggled with an assignment. Encourage your child to get a head start by checking in with the teacher occasionally so they know if the teacher thinks they could benefit from extra help. This will help them to understand what they need to know before it’s time to take the test.
  • Don’t just ask for information, ask for strategies – “What’s the best way to study for this test?” “How much time should I be spending on this part of the assignment?” “How can I break this task down?” 

Equipped with these tips, your child will be ready to take full advantage of the fantastic tutoring opportunities during Eighth Period. 


Class of 2025, 2026, and 2027 Parents/Guardians - Please Review Your Child's Course Selections for 24-25 School Year

As we bring academic advising for the 2024-2025 school year to a close, TJHSST Counselors are wrapping up meetings with each student to review and lock in course selections for next year.

Parents and Guardians, you might find it helpful to review your child's course selections by logging in to ParentVUE, then select your child, and click on “Course Request.”

You have until Friday, March 15 at 4:00pm to request changes to your child's course selections for the 2024-2025 school year. After that date, we go to work staffing our building with talented teachers and building an optimum master schedule using the students' course selections; therefore, we do not honor requests to change courses after March 15, 2024.

Prior to this date, if you would like to request a change in your child's course selections, please email your child's counselor or encourage your child to see their counselor in Student Services.

Class of 2024 End of Year Information Now Available

Thank you to all the Class of 2024 parents and guardians who joined our 100 days from graduation webinar on Feb. 29. We talked about all the important events coming up, including prom, senior exams, graduation rehearsal, and of course graduation! 

If you missed the webinar, or just need a refresher on all the information, please check out our Class of 2024 Graduation website where we answer all your FAQs.

Important FAFSA Information for Class of 2024 Families

Class of 2024 families, are you still trying to fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms? FCPS has provided us with some links that should help you with the process.

    1. Better FAFSA Toolkit for Students & Families
    2. Pro Tips for the 2024–25 FAFSA® Form
    3. 6 Things Students Need Before They Fill Out the 2024–25 FAFSA® Form
    4. How To Submit the 2024–25 FAFSA® Form if Your Contributor Doesn’t Have an SSN
    5. Federal Student Aid Estimator
    6. YouTube – How to videos
    7. YouTube – Webinars

FCPS Conducting Family Engagement Survey During March

Fairfax County Public Schools will administer its third Family Engagement Survey from Sunday, March 3 - Friday, March 22. The survey is designed to gather data to further inform implementation of the 2023-30 Strategic Plan. One such component of the Strategic Plan that will benefit is Pillar B: Vibrant Home, School, & Community Partnerships and to better recognize, understand, respect, and address family strengths and needs in our school community.

The survey will also be used to measure our current success with family engagement and allow us to deepen that engagement and continue building trust while empowering families to support their students’ success. Data will support School Innovation and Improvement Plan (SIIP) strategies aligned to specific goals and metrics.

FCPS partner K12 Insight will administer the survey, which will be open March 3-22. It will be available in English, Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Korean, Pashto, Spanish, Urdu, and Vietnamese.

TJ Families will receive an email from K12 Insight with the survey. We ask that you take the time to complete it. All responses will be confidential. No personally identifiable information will be shared with school or district staff. Survey results will be used to develop a plan to improve family and school partnerships throughout the division to support student success.

Thank you for supporting TJ and the FCPS Strategic Plan!

Rewarding a Job Well Done - TJ Honors Science Fair Participants

Collage of photos from TJ Science Fair award reception.


In last month's News You Choose newsletter, we announced all of the projects from the TJ Science Fair that advanced to the Regional Science Fair.

On Feb. 5, we held a reception for everyone who participated. Students were able to get some treats, along with their certificates. 

Celebrating the Year of the Dragon, TJ PTSA Puts On Lunar New Year Event

Collage of photos from PTSA's Lunar New Year celebration


On Feb. 2 afterschool, the TJ PTSA put on a Lunar New Year celebration for students and staff. It is the Year of the Dragon, and several students put on performances to celebrate. There was music, dancing and even some martial arts!

Several booths were set up to showcase various Asian cultures, and of course there was a lot of food to close with! Thank you TJ PTSA for putting on a tremendous event!

TJ PTSA and BSU Hold Black History Month Cultural Event

Collage of photos from PTSA's Black History Month Celebration


On Feb. 9, the TJ PTSA and the Black Student Union (BSU) teamed up to put on a Black History Month celebration afterschool. 

In addition to food and presentation tables, there were speakers from the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), which is the governing body of the nine historically African-American fraternities and sororities (The Divine Nine). Alums from several of those fraternities and sororities spoke about their programs' rich histories.

They also had presentations from engineers, aviators, and physicians. There were musical performances from our jazz band, a local choir and a dance group, and a fashion show!

Finally several past TJ alumni spoke about their experiences here and gave advice to the current students! All in all a fun and powerful educational event with a lot of credit going not only to the PTSA, but to the BSU students as well!

TJ Students Travel to Baltimore for BEYA STEM Conference

BEYA attendees posing for group picture in Nobel Commons before departureGroup picture of TJ students who attended BEYA STEM Conference in Baltimore


On Feb. 16, students traveled to Baltimore for the Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) STEM conference. This is part of the BEYA Sustained Mentorship Program that they have been participating in throughout the school year.

At this event students had the chance to visit several tables, listen to different mentors' stories about how they got into STEM related fields, and hear about the experiences they have had throughout their careers.

At the end students heard from General Charles Q. Brown Jr., who is the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Thank you to counselor Ms. Andrea Smith for her continued work in growing the BEYA program here at TJ!

Sweet Treat for Staff! TJ PTSA Provides Valentine's Goodies

Collage of photos from PTSA's Valentine Treat event for TJ staff


On Feb. 13 (done a day early so those that celebrate Ash Wednesday, which happened to fall on Feb. 14 this year, could partake), our TJ PTSA had a sweet surprise. A large amount of treats (both sugary and fruit) were available for the TJ staff to partake. 

While we won't mention whether it led to a sugar crash later in day, the entire TJ staff thanks the PTSA for taking such good care of us!


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

  • You may remember last month when we announced that seniors Naisha Patel and Brian Zhou were named Regional Finalists in the Coca Cola Scholars competition and would advance to the next phase of the selection process. Well that is now complete and we are ecstatic to announce that both of them have been named Coca Cola Scholars! They are two of only 150 in the nation to win the $20,000 college scholarship! Way to go Naisha and Brian!
Science Bowl team holding the Regional Championship banner and trophy after winning the Virginia Regional Science Bowl


  • Congratulations to the TJ Science Bowl "A" team for winning the Virginia Regional Science Bowl on Feb. 3! They will now get to compete in the National Science Bowl in Newport News, Virginia from April 25-29. Good luck everyone!
Computer Team poses with their trophies at University of Maryland High School Programming Competition


  • Way to go TJ Computer Team! They won the University of Maryland High School Programming Competition on Feb. 3! The event featured 32 high schools, and TJ students solved very challenging 9 questions out of 9, winning $1400 reward money for the club.
  • Congratulations to the TJ Model UN Club on winning a large delegation award at the North American Invitational MUN conference hosted by Georgetown University on Feb 15 - 18. The team of 50 students competed against over 3,000 delegates from school across the globe and came in third place! 

Overdue TJHSST Obligations

Any student who has failed to return an overdue textbook or library book, did not pay a course fee (Design & Tech, Robotics and Art), activity fee, field trip fee, or owes any other fee is on our TJ Obligation List.   All outstanding obligations should be cleared from your child's account as soon as possible.  

How do I know if my child has any overdue obligations?

Individual emails will be sent out in the next few weeks to students (sent to their accounts) who have any outstanding obligations.  Emails will also be sent to parents/guardians. If your child owes more than one obligation, multiple emails (one per overdue item) will be sent.  The emails will also explain how to return/pay for the overdue items.

Thank you in advance for helping your child clear all outstanding obligations.

Questions? Please email the TJ Finance Office at or call (703)750-8363.  

Parking, Dropoff, and Pickup Reminders from our Safety and Security Team

We have a few very important reminders from our TJ Safety and Security Team:

  • If a student is driving and parking at the school, they will need to purchase and display the parking pass their rearview mirror.

  • Students must park in student designated areas, not in staff parking spots or in the front visitor lot. Cars found parked illegally have been and will be ticketed.

  • If you are using the Kiss and Ride system, students must be dropped off and picked up in the back of the building between doors 7 and 9.

  • At arrival time, cars should pull up as far as possible in the two drop off lanes.

  • At dismissal, students will need to exit out of doors 7 and 9 and be picked up in the back parking lot. Student should not be picked up in the neighborhoods surrounding the school or in the front visitor lot.


Quick Reminders

Here a few quick reminders that TJ Families should be aware of:

  • This message is specifically for the Class of 2024
    • April 2 is the deadline for entering Service hours in x2Vol. Seniors who are working toward VDOE or FCPS graduation honors that have requisite volunteer hours must record those hours no later than April 2. Time is needed for organizations to verify hours, and FCPS staff must approve hours before they are uploaded to SIS in late April.  Like hours should be grouped together into one entry.  (Once a week for 10 weeks can be entered in x2Vol once for 10 hours if the type of hours, organization, and verifier are the same for all hours.)
  • March is here, and it is time to buy a yearbook!

    You can pre-order to guarantee your copy by visiting (use school code 13621). The cost of $100 includes copies ofthe Techniques yearbook, Threshold literary magazine, Teknos scientific journal and a year of tjToday newsmagazines.

    “Spring” for your yearbook today! Contact Lisa Hampton, tjMedia advisor, at with questions.

Thank You Athletic Trainers! March is National Athletic Training Month

National Athletic Training Month Spirit Week chart


March is National Athletic Training Month and a time to recognize the important role certified athletic trainers play in keeping our students safe. At TJ we are pleased to honor Dr. Heather Murphy and Ms. Caroline Taylor!

This year’s theme, “From Head to Toe”  reflects the multifaceted role FCPS Athletic Trainers play in promoting the health and safety of our student-athletes before, during and after practices and competitions. Nationally certified, state-licensed medical professionals, FCPS athletic trainers provide comprehensive athletic healthcare services, including conditioning, injury prevention, injury treatment, and rehabilitation services in FCPS high schools. FCPS’ 48 athletic trainers consistently go above and beyond to support our athletic programs and without question are essential members of each school’s activities program.  

Join us in our SPIRIT WEEK! You can also stop by the TJ Athletic Training Room and pin your injury on our athlete to show where we help you From Head To Toe.

Save the Date and Call for Volunteers - TJ Sports Physicals Fundraiser May 29

Get out your planners and save Wednesday, ­May 29 to get your student’s annual sports physical at TJ. 

Medical professionals will perform comprehensive physicals. The screening will check height, weight, vision, posture, vital signs, upper and lower body assessments before seeing the medical professional for clearance. Every athlete needs a new athletic physical EVERY SCHOOL YEAR, so save a trip to the doctor’s office and come out and support TJ Athletics Training. 100% of the $50 fee goes right back to TJ athletics! This is a great way to ensure that the physical is completed before summer out-of-season practices start. 

EVERYONE will need a new physical in order to participate after July 1.

We need medical and non-medical parents to help make the sports physicals a successful event! If you are a physician (MD or DO), physician assistant (PA), physical therapist (PT) or nurse practitioner (NP), please consider helping out with physicals on May 29th. We also need non-medical parents who want to help with working a station or check-in/out desk.  Your expertise and a few hours of your time will greatly benefit our TJ athletes! 

Free advertising for medical professionals that help! Email Dr. Murphy if you can help.

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

Mar. 5: School Planning Day - No school for students

Mar. 11: Religious or Cultural Observance Day (Ramadan) - school remains in session with normal hours.

Mar. 18: Third quarter Catch-Up Day

Mar. 20: AP Government Field Trip - all seniors taking AP Government class will be on annual trip to Capital Hill

Mar. 22: End of third quarter

Mar. 25-29: Spring Break - No school for students or staff

April 1: Teacher Work Day - No school for students

April 2: Staff Development Day - No school for students

April 5: April News You Choose newsletter is released

April 6: I-Nite Performance at NOVA Alexandria - two shows 1:30 and 6:00 p.m.

April 9: Religious or Cultural Observance Day (Eid al-Fitr begins at sunset) - school remains in session with normal hours, no afterschool or evening activities

April 10: Religious or Cultural Observance Day (Eid al-Fitr) - no school for students or staff.

April 22: Fourth quarter Catch-Up Day

April 22: Religious or Cultural Observance Day (Passover begins at sunset) - school remains in session with normal hours, no afterschool or evening activities.

April 23: Religious or Cultural Observance Day (Passover) - school remains in session with normal hours.

April 24: Religious or Cultural Observance Day (Theravada New Year) - school remains in session with normal hours.

April 27: Class of 2024 Senior Prom - Ritz Carlton Arlington 7:00-11:00 p.m.

May 3: Teacher Work Day - No School for Students (May News You Choose newsletter will be delayed one week due to there being no school)

May 10: May News You Choose newsletter is released