The Tiger Times

The Thomas Jefferson Elementary Parent Newsletter

March 5, 2020

Chalk Dust: Notes From The Principal's Desk

While March 13 will be a holiday for students, staff members here at TJ and across the division will be hard at work on a professional development day. Here at TJ, we will spend the day focused on reading instruction. The best professional development sessions are those that leave teachers with strategies and techniques that can be immediately tried and explored in class, and this is our hope for that day.

One of the more exciting and fulfilling parts of this day is that the professional development sessions will all be led by TJ or FCCPS staff members. this is important on several levels. First, it is a chance to us to learn from one another. Secondly, it is a reminder that as the saying goes, "the answer is in the room." We are incredibly fortunate here at TJ to have talented and knowledgable teachers and specialists who can share their expertise with their colleagues, and at the end of the day, this is of direct benefit to your children.

I remember hearing once that "an expert is someone who knows what you know but lives 100 miles away." Our efforts at staff-led professional development serve to dismantle that math and serve your children well.

Staff Spotlight: Ms. Hicks

By: Alexander Misleh, Bridget Creed, Ariel Zelenka, and Amina Mawjiragland

This week we are highlighting one of the 4th grade teachers, Ms. Hicks.

From the time she was a child, Ms. Hicks knew she wanted to become a teacher. Many of her relatives are teachers and she said this was her inspiration for becoming one herself. She went to Michigan State University to get her bachelor’s and master’s degree. This college gave her lots of opportunities to travel abroad and teach in other countries such as Australia, Fiji and China. This love of adventure helped Ms. Hicks choose TJ.

Ms. Hicks chose TJ because she knew that she wanted an internationally minded school. TJ is an International Baccalaureate school so it was a perfect fit! Another reason why she chose TJ, is because her cousins went to TJ and loved their experience here.

Ms. Hicks didn’t always live in Virginia. She is actually originally from Michigan and made her classroom look like a forest to remind her of her home. When she is teaching, Ms. Hicks likes to remember her favorite quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,'' by Mahatma Gandhi. She likes this quote because when she teaches, she tries to inspire kids to take action and “be the change” too. Her favorite subject to teach is math, but growing up, this was her least favorite subject. She says that she likes to, “help students get that ‘light bulb’ moment when they finally understand a problem.”

In her free time, Ms. Hicks likes to run and play with her 6 month old Border Collie named Evie. She enjoys challenging herself with half marathons, marathons, and rock climbing. She also loves to read and tries to read whatever she has the chance! Ms. Hicks’ favorite author is Patrica Polacco and her favorite books are "Pink And Say" and "Thunder Cake." One fun fact about Ms. Hicks is that she has actually met this author!

We are so happy to have you at our school.Thank you for choosing TJ Ms. Hicks!!!

Dixie Trio Coming To TJ

The Dixie Trio, a southern blues and jazz band, will be coming to TJ to perform at assemblies scheduled for March 11. A major thanks to the Falls Church Elementary PTA for sponsoring this assembly!

Mary Riley Stiles Library Coming To TJ

We are thrilled to welcome Mary Riley Stiles Library to the trailer space formerly occupied by TJ's 5th graders. Mary Riley Stiles Library will be operating at TJ beginning on March 9. the library's hours will be as follows:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Wednesday: 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Street parking is available, but visitors should note posted signs as well as driveways and curb cuts. There is no parking in the school lot during school hours.

For more information, visit

Reminder: Daylight Savings Time Starts Sunday

A friendly reminder that daylight savings time starts this Sunday. Clocks should be moved ahead one hour. Enjoy the extra daylight after school!

Yearbook Sales Continue

Families can continue to purchase yearbooks at and using ID Code 11380120. If you choose to order online, please use your child's name as it appears on their school records. Now that the early bird purchase window has closed, the yearbook price is $25.00.

Should you have any questions about the yearbook, do not hesitate to contact Ms. Brooke Davis, TJ's librarian and yearbook sponsor, at

Career Fair At Mary Ellen Henderson

Henderson Middle School is celebrating career exploration with the Annual Career Fair event on April 17th from 7:00-11:30 am at Henderson Middle School in the gym. Mr. Sowers (School Counselor at MEH) and Ms. Connelly (Business and Community Partnerships) are seeking volunteers to meet and greet middle school students to talk about their occupations. If you are interested in volunteering or presenting or know someone that might be interested in participating in the career fair please fill out the registration form and FCCPS volunteer form. Our students truly benefit from listening to volunteer’s life experiences and expertise in their respective fields.

Career Fair Registration Form 2020

FCCPS Volunteer Form

Learn About The Falls Church Elementary PTA

FCCPS elementary schools are incredibly lucky to have a great partner in the Falls Church Elementary PTA (FCEPTA). To learn more about the FCEPTA, please visit

About TJ

Thomas Jefferson Elementary School is a grade 3-5 school in Falls Church. Like all Falls Church City Public Schools, TJ is an IB school. Our students are the beneficiaries of the Primary Years Program, which focuses on thematic instruction, international mindedness, and the development of the whole child.