Don't Stop Now, It's the Final Push! - TJHSST May Update

Message from the Principal

Dear TJHSST Families:

We are entering the last few weeks of our school year and our TJ Spirit is stronger than ever!  Our stages leap to life once more with performances and concerts. Athletic teams are vying for final playoff positions. Academic teams are bringing home medals. And, of course, it's AP Exam season where our students show what they know.

This coming week we will celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week May 6-10. We give our deepest gratitude to PTSA for arranging a special luncheon yesterday ahead of the testing schedule. Please take a moment to thank teachers for the unparalleled work they do on behalf of our students each day. We appreciate the love!  And because there are so many special employee days embedded throughout the year that may not be as publicly recognized, we take time this week to honor and thank all staff, not just our teachers.

The month of May is also filled with special cultural recognitions. All over the United States we celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Jewish Heritage Month. Students deserve meaningful, sustained opportunities to learn about the diverse perspectives, experiences, and contributions of Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Jewish Americans. The learning opportunities are throughout the year and highlighted in special ways by teachers this month.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for information on textbook and laptop collection from students in grades 9-11. For our Class of 2024, our graduation website remains the best resource to answer all your questions about preparations leading up to commencement. We are so excited to bring our seniors together and honor them as graduates at Eagle Bank Arena on June 8!

Speaking of seniors, they have completed their research capstone experiences which will be showcased in our annual tjSTAR research symposium on Tuesday, May 21. Dozens of the projects have already been recognized in publications, fairs, or contests at local, state, national, and international levels. We are so proud of their achievements and can't wait to see the final presentations. 

In our closing weeks we will celebrate the many achievements of students, staff, and our entire TJ community. On April 9, we had a team of FCPS leaders visit classroom and look for best instructional practices. They praised us for strong formative assessments, collaborative work among students and teachers, high levels of preparedness by students and teachers, connected and caring relationships between teachers and students, relevant and innovative learning opportunities, creative lessons, faith in and grace given to each other, and a student-centered environment. The visiting team said TJ gave them a better understanding of the essential components found in high-quality instruction.

I am beyond pleased with how TJ continues to evolve, lead, and serve the many needs of our students. Thank you for being partners in our important work



Dr. Ann N. Bonitatibus 

TJHSST Proud Principal

May Brings Testing Season - Some Final Testing Reminders

As we enter the month of May, we begin the spring testing season. 

Since the majority of our students will be taking at least one test, whether it be SOL’s or AP exams, our Assessment Coach Ms. Broadhead wanted to share a few reminders.

  • Students need to be ready for exam day and should take care to not schedule appointments during scheduled test dates.
  • The AP Exam Schedule is set by College Board.
  • EOC Biology SOL (all 9th graders) will be given through IBEST on May 16 and May 17.
  • EOC Algebra 2 SOL (9th graders who still need to earn a verified credit and/or meet Federal Participation) will be given on May 20.
  • Students who are missing verified credits will be contacted directly by Ms. Broadhead with their specific dates/times of testing.
  • Students should be checking their email for their AP exam locations and other important information.

Students are required to use their FCPSOn device for all SOL testing and digital exams. Please work with your student to ensure their device is properly functioning and is fully up to date. Students should be bringing their device to school regularly.

If a student is going to miss an AP exam due to an academic or athletic competition, the student needs to notify Ms. Broadhead as soon as possible so that the exam can be moved to the make-up date.

If a student is absent from an AP exam due to illness and would like to take the exam during the make-up window, the absence must be listed as excused in SIS and the parent must notify Ms. Broadhead within 24 hours of the student missing the exam indicating the wish for the exam to be moved.

Class of 2024, the Finish Line is Approaching! Senior Final Exam Schedule

Seniors, graduation is just over one month away! We wanted to give you one final reminder of the senior exam schedule. Remember, final exams will be organized and administered based on subject matter rather than following the normal class schedule. See below.

Thursday, May 30 – Math/Computer Science/Science (Blue Day)

Friday, May 31 – Math/Computer Science/Science (Red Day)

Monday, June 3 – Humanities/World Language/Make-ups (Blue Day)

Tuesday, June 4 – Humanities/World Language/Make-ups (Red Day) and last day of instruction for Seniors.

Class of 2024 Graduation Coming up June 8

Seniors, we know you have it marked on your calendar! Graduation is scheduled for Saturday, June 8, 2024 at 7:30 pm. inside Eagle Bank Arena on the campus of George Mason University. 

Remember that Tuesday, June 4 is the last day of instruction for seniors. TJ will have a graduation rehearsal on Thursday, June 6, 2024, at 9:30 a.m. in the TJHSST main gym. Attendance is mandatory. Seniors should arrive at TJ after 9:00 a.m. and be seated in the TJ Main Gym by 9:25 a.m. for the start of rehearsal. Graduation rehearsal is for students only.  

Remember you can visit the Class of 2024 FAQ website. It has all the details/dates about June 5, June 7, graduation, ANGP, and obligations there. If you have any questions please reach out Senior Class Administrator Assistant Principal Volita Russell.

Class of 2024 Laptop Collection

If you are not using your FCPSOn laptop for your final exams/classes, you can turn in both the laptop and charger early starting May 28 to June 3 in Room 281 during Lunch, JLC, Period 8A, or before school. If you are able to turn in your FCPSOn equipment on or before June 3rd, please do so.

  • Tuesday, June 4 FCPSOn Laptop Collection will be near the Art Gallery. This is the last day of instruction for seniors.
  • Obligations will be submitted for any items not returned.  Obligations will be cleared once equipment is returned.
  • Thursday, June 6 will be the last opportunity to return equipment outside of a scheduled appointment with a member of the TJ Tech Team.  This will occur from 8-9am in the Ghandi Commons.
  • You will be unable to participate in graduation rehearsal on Thursday, June 6 if you have not returned your FCPSOn laptop, charger, or paid your obligation.

Grades 9-11 Final Exam Schedule

We are reminding the classes of 2025, 2026, and 2027 of the final exam schedule, June 6-12. Each day will be a half day that lasts from 8:40-11:55 a.m. (except the final day, Wednesday, June 12, see below). Bus transportation will be provided at the release time. If you transport your own child, please make arrangements to pick them up on time as teachers will be busy grading and we do not have staff available to supervise large groups of students until the end of the work day at 4:00.

Thursday, June 6 – Periods 1 and 2 

Friday, June 7 – Periods 3 and 4

Monday June 10 – Periods 5 and 6

Tuesday, June 11 – Periods 7 and makeups 

Wednesday, June 12 – 2-hour day (class time - 8:40-10:40 a.m.)

Class of 2025, 2026, and 2027 Laptop Collection

(Please note: This end of year collection is for all students not participating in summer school.) 

If you are not using your FCPSOn laptop for your final exams/classes, you can turn them in early on June 7 or June 10 in Room 281 before and after school.        

  • Tuesday, June 11 FCPSOn Laptop collection will be near the Art Gallery.
  • Wednesday, June 12 will be the last opportunity to return equipment near the Art Gallery.

MTSS In Focus - The Secret of SOSA

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.

What’s a SOSA? Is it a Super Opportunity for Scholastic Achievement? A Smart Organization Strategy for Academics? A Skillful Obtainment of Studying Acumen? It’s all of those things, but at TJ, our SOSA is our Systems Of Support Advisor, Mark Forgash. 

Is your child struggling with time management? Are they having a hard time getting organized? Do they need a study skills tune-up? You may not know it, but there’s a staff member at TJ whose mission is to help support and grow students’ study and organizational skills. And getting help is as easy as asking for it! 

Mark Forgash, TJ’s SOSA, has 20 years of experience working with students to strengthen their study skills, time management, and executive functioning, and he is available to help any student that asks for it. All they need to do is come by his office in the Student Services Department and say that they need help. Mr. Forgash can take it from there. Students can also be referred to Mr. Forgash by teachers and counselors. 

Our SOSA is a fantastic resource for all students. Whether your child needs to learn a few new strategies, or have someone work with them longer term, don’t hesitate to get in touch. 

TJ Students Place in Virginia State Science and Engineering Fair

On April 14, several TJ students went to Old Dominion University to compete in the Virginia State Science and Engineering Fair (VSSEF). Congratulations to VSSEF Grand Award winner and International Science and Engineering Fair qualifiers Anant Khandelwal, Sritan Motati, and Siddhant Sood for their project “Diffusion-Based Conditional Mesh Synthesis for Efficient 3D Prototyping.”

Others earning state level recognition:

First Place: Ashrita Gandhari

Second Place: Anusha Agarwal

Third Place: Medha Pappula, the team of Ryan Singh and Surbhi Singla, and the team of Neha Chandran and Srimaye Peddinti

Special Award: Ashrita Gandhari - Mark Licata Award for Biotechnology, second place, and the team of Anvith Kakkera and Aneesh Kalla - Leidos Award for Excellence in Computational Science, first place

Congratulations to everyone who participated, and good luck to those competing in the International Science and Engineering Fair!

TJ Recognizes Jewish American and Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Months

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage logoJewish American Heritage Month logo


In May people throughout the United States celebrate Jewish American and Asian American & Pacific Islander heritage. This history is a foundational part of American history.

IBEST Explores the World of Shakespeare through Interactive Workshop

Collage of photos from IBEST Shakespeare festival


A longstanding tradition at TJ has been Humanities' focus on the works of Shakespeare. For the 22nd straight year (minus the COVID years), IBEST held its annual Shakespeare workshop where the freshmen learned different aspects of acting, screen writing, and stage presence.

There were 13 different workshops  that students could choose from, including the always popular stage combat workshop, where students learned how to SAFELY simulate a combat scene just like the theatre pros do!

TJHSST Hosts Symposium on Policy and Ethics in AI

Panelists at the AI Symposium


On April 26, TJ hosted the Symposium on Policy and Ethics in AI. The organizing question was: What should we understand about AI to ensure it aligns with human needs? The purposes of the symposium were:  

Purpose 1: Introduce students to policy and ethical questions surrounding the development and use of artificial intelligence.

Purpose 2: Establish precedent for future (annual) symposia exploring human-aligned questions related to AI and other emerging technologies.

Purpose 3: Initiate a Schoolwide conversation about the norms and ethics that should underlie the use of AI in the classroom.

The symposium panelists were:

  • Dr. Patrick Becker, Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS), University of Maryland
  • Reeve T. Bull, Director,Virginia Office of Regulatory Management
  • Abigail Kukura, Director for Future Technology Platforms, Special Competitive Studies Project
  • Karina Barao, Associate Director for Society, Special Competitive Studies Project
  • Professor Jesse Kirkpatrick, co-Director, Mason Autonomy and Robotics Center (MARC), George Mason University
  • Gautam Sethi, Chief Information Technology Officer, Fairfax County Public Schools

This event was the product of a year of intensive effort by the students of Monte Bourjaily and Susie Chao’s Global Studies class to understand better the potential effects of generative AI on how we teach and learn. It stimulated a desire to bring the Humanities into a conversation dominated by technology. The symposium was responding to former Google CEO and founder of the Special Competitive Studies Project Eric Schmidt’s warning that, “While the number of individuals capable of creating AI is growing, the ranks of those contemplating this technology’s implications for humanity - social, legal, philosophical, spiritual, moral - remains dangerously thin.” (The Age of AI by Henry Kissinger, Eric Schmidt & Daniel Huttenlocher)

AP Russian Field Trip to Voice of America Studios Teaches About Worldwide Broadcasting

AP Russian students at Voice of America studio


In April students from Dr. Zharkova's AP Russian class  visited the Voice of America (VOA) studios. The VOA broadcasts in 48 languages to locations throughout the world. Students got to witness a pair of live broadcasts and meet with one of their investigative journalists. 

It was a tremendous learning opportunity for students to gain a deeper understanding of the role of international broadcasting in promoting communication and understanding across cultures. 

Seniors Have Magical Time at their Enchanted Forest Prom

Collage of photos from Class of 2024 prom


On Saturday, April 27, the Class of 2024 held its Senior Prom. With the theme of Enchanted Forest, the senior class had the chance to let loose and celebrate their accomplishments from the past four years.

Thank you to the Senior and Junior class PromComms, along with class sponsors Frau Oszko and Mr. Bass, and TJ Administration for putting on such a memorable event!

A Cultural Exchange! Students from Finland Visit TJ and AP US History Class

Collage of photos from Finland schools visit


Tervetuloa! On April 12, TJ was excited to welcome 30 students and 6 teachers from three different schools in Helsinki, Finland! They visited with Ms. Evans' 6th period AP US History Class and then shadowed those students to their 7th period classes.

Thank you Ms. Evans for working with the Finnish teachers throughout the year to set up this cultural exchange. It was truly a great experience to interact with students from the other side of the world!

PTSA Hosts Eid Celebration as Part of Monthly Cultural Series

Collage of photos from PTSA Eid celebration


After school on April 12, the TJ PTSA put on its monthly cultural celebration, this time recognizing Eid al-Fitr. This Muslim holiday celebrates the end of sunup to sundown fasting for Ramadan. 

At the gathering, students and staff heard about the history of the holiday, got to see traditional cultural art and settings, and of course try some delicious food!

Thank you TJ PTSA for putting on another wonderful event!

SGA Shows Appreciation to Staff with Breakfast

Collage of photos from the SGA staff appreciation breakfast


The Student Government Association (SGA) showed its appreciation for the TJ faculty and staff by providing them a breakfast before school on April 26. A selection of bagels, pastries and fruit were available for everyone to enjoy.

The staff felt loved, and thanks the SGA for everything they do to help TJ run smoothly!

Once in a Lifetime Opportunity - TJ Views Solar Eclipse

Collage of photos of TJ students outside watching solar eclipse


The Solar Eclipse that took place on April 8 provided our STEM-loving TJ students a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see it in person! Conveniently, it happened to occur during our eighth period which allowed everyone who wanted to view the opportunity to go outside.

Students were given eclipse glasses so that they could safely view what was going on. They were also able to experiment with contraptions that allowed them to indirectly view the eclipse on a sheet of paper, or via a telescope. 

Admin Provides Treats to Seniors in Celebration of College Letters

Collage of photos from seniors receiving their treats


After returning from Spring Break, most of our seniors received their college acceptance letters. To give them a chance to celebrate as a group on April 5, the admin team provided a special treat at the end of lunch. Everyone who wanted to was able to come out to the Nobel Courtyard to grab chips, cookies, ice cream bars, or popsicles. They then gathered to take a big group picture.

Congratulations to all of our seniors on your acceptance to college!

First TJ/Annadale Spring Sports Festival a Big Success

Collage of teams playing during Spring Sports ShowcaseCollage of teams playing during Spring Sports Showcase


On April 26, TJ Athletics partnered with Annadale for a unique event, the first Spring Sports Showcase. Nearly every boys and girls spring sport we have to offer (soccer, tennis, lacrosse, baseball, and softball) played all over the campus at pretty much the same time!

It was an awesome way to showcase all the great student-athletes here at TJ! A special thank you to the SGA who donated money to allow all fans to attend the games for free!


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


Dr. Bonitatibus and Ms. Henry with her National Board Certification award


  • You may remember in January's News You Choose we mentioned that Suzette Henry earned her National Board certification in English. This past month, the FCPS School Board recognized her for this remarkable achievement. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards recognizes the impact teachers have and the completion of the program opens professional doors for National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT) who are recognized as experts at their craft. Congratulations Ms. Henry!
  • This February, TJHSST students shared feedback with the Virginia Department of Education through the annual School Climate and Working Conditions survey. According to the state-wide results, TJHSST School Counselors were identified among the top five high schools in the Commonwealth for making positive connections with students. Way to go TJ counselors!

  • To celebrate World Quantum Day on April 14, the TJ Quantum Lab worked with the Lab for Physics Science at UMD to produce a short video on Quantum Information. Check it out at this website!
TJ Admin in 2-D Art Gallery


  • During the month of April, the National Art Honor Society created the "2-D Lounge" in the Art Gallery. Painting over furniture and putting up pictures all in black and white, gave the interactive exhibit a 2-dimensional feel. In the picture above, TJ Administrators, Ms. Genetin, Mr. Forshay, and Ms. Benson sit down for a quick chat!
  • Congratulations to the TJ Intermediate Computer Team for placing first in the 14th annual University of Virginia ACM High School Programming Contest! The Senior Computer Team placed second, while the freshmen team finished in the middle of the pack.
  • The TJ Computer Team also sent two teams to the VCU High School Programming Contest, with one team finishing first and the other finishing in the top five. 
  • The TJ Economics Explorers Team was the state winner and GMU Center Region winner at the 2024 VA Economics Challenge contest. They will now get to represent the entire state of Virginia in the National Economics Challenge!
  • A big congrats goes out to DMV's Finest, a team of TJ students advised by Dr. Torbert for finishing in third place at the Wharton Global Investment Competition. More than 1,600 teams competed in the initial competition, with only 11 advancing to the Global Finale held April 20 at the University of Pennsylvania. We are so excited for them being such great ambassadors for TJ in this competition!
TJ Students at the National History Bowl Championship


  • Congratulations to the TJ Varsity History Bowl Team for coming in third place nationally and the JV team for coming in as national runner-up!
  • On April 29, the TJ Math Modeling Team participated in the international MathWorks Modeling Challenge for their final presentation for their exemplary paper on the homelessness crisis. They presented their findings at Jane street in New York City. Out of 655 teams they won second place and earned $15,000 in scholarship prizes!
  • Congratulations to the TJ Indoor Winter Drum Line program, who won the Scholastic Open Class Championship at the Atlantic Indoor Association Championships in Hampton Roads, VA on April 7, and then went on to place 12th as a Finalist in the WGI World Championships event in Dayton, Ohio on April 20!  This is TJ Drum Line’s sixth local circuit championship, and their first ever Finalist placement in the Open class at the World Championships.

Learn More About FCPS Family Vision Group

As part of the FCPS Strategic Plan, Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid has formed a Family Vision Group. The job of this group is to meet with Dr. Reid regularly and share concerns and ideas that they might have. For example, in February's meeting they pointed out how they wanted better communications and more information about opportunities for students. 

TJ is lucky to have three parents currently serving on this committee. Thank you to Mirtha Arce, Dr. Samantha Joyner, and Kokeb Kassa for all of your hard work!


Last Chance to Get a 2024 Yearbook

TJ FAMILIES, YOU HAVE ONE LAST CHANCE to BUY YOUR 2024 YEARBOOK before distribution day in May!

All yearbook sales are now being handled through MySchoolBucks. The cost of $100 includes Techniques yearbook, Threshold literary magazine, Teknos scientific journal, and a year of tjToday newsmagazine.

If you have questions, contact yearbook advisor Lisa Hampton at

Reminder from Health Room About Allergy Medications

A note from the health room:

As you know many of our students have been suffering from seasonal allergies. Please keep in mind that the health room cannot administer allergy medication to the students unless we have the appropriate medication authorization signed by a health care provider. Students are encouraged to consistently take allergy medications at home and perform self-care such as rinsing itchy/water eyes after spending time outside. Allergies may not be communicable, but students can feel unwell and fatigued.

Please talk to your health care provider or pharmacist for suggestions on OTC treatments for allergy symptoms including sneezing, itchy/watery eyes, coughing, etc. If your students symptoms seem to be severe, please consider consulting with your health care provider.

Thank you,

Dee Wilkes, Public Health Nurse

How to Handle 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.  

Summer STEM Volunteer Opportunity for TJ Students - STEAMOLOGY

Looking for a summer STEM volunteer opportunity? As an Ignite partner with FCPS, STEAMOLOGY is enthusiastic about engaging TJ students.

STEAMOLOGY was founded in 2012. Since its inception it has been actively involved in guiding elementary and middle school students across various STEM platforms. Moreover, STEAMOLOGY has engaged high school students in STEAM leadership roles and volunteer activities.

For students interested in getting involved in their local community over the summer, visit STEAMOLOGY at

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

May 6-17: AP Tests given at TJ (see AP Exam Schedule)

May 16-17: Biology SOL given to ninth graders during their biology class.

May 20: Algebra 2 SOL given to ninth graders who still need to earn a verified credit and/or meet Federal Participation.

May 20: Humanities 10th and 11th grade trip to Washington, D.C.

May 21: tjSTAR held during the school day.

May 22: Band holds Spring Concert in auditorium at 7:00 p.m.

May 24: J-Day held during school

May 27: Memorial Day - No school for students or staff.

May 29: Orchestra holds Spring Concert in auditorium at 7:00 p.m.

May 30-June 4: Senior Exams

June 4: Senior laptop collection and last day of instruction for seniors

June 5: 9th grade symposium held during school day

June 6-11: Grades 9-11 exams (1/2 days of school, dismissal at 11:55 a.m.)

June 6: Class of 2024 Graduation Rehearsal at TJ - 9:30 a.m. students only

June 8: Class of 2024 Graduation - 7:30 p.m. at Eagle Bank Arena

June 11: Grades 9-11 laptop collection

June 12: Last day of school (2 hour day, dismissal at 10:40 a.m.)