The Tiger Times

The Thomas Jefferson Elementary Parent Newsletter

October 11, 2019

Chalk Dust: Notes From The Principal's Desk

Six weeks into the year. My most important hope is that the close of this week finds all TJ families feeling good about the year and their child's learning. I trust that readers of this short article will also find some resonance in my wish for all of us to enjoy a richly deserved long weekend ahead...:)

Now that the year is settling in, TJ, like all FCCPS schools, will begin crafting and implementing school improvement plans that meet the three major FCCPS district goals for this year: continuing to improve our IB/PYP program, closing academic achievement gaps, and creating a caring community and climate. While all of us -- including families -- has some responsibility in this, I wanted to share with you the general process TJ uses to drive this work.

Already this year, our team leaders, an instructional group comprised of representatives from each of our grade levels and content areas, have overviewed data from the last school year. We have looked at SOL results not only from TJ, but even from other neighboring schools in order to better ascertain how we are performing, what some of our triumphs are, and what some of our grow areas might be. Team leaders will continue this work and will leverage the expertise of some of our specialists and division coordinators in order to identify and implement the most impact practices to help us actualize these three goals.

This strategic work has already benefited our school and our kids. For example, last year, one of our instructional goals was to elevate the math performance of our ESOL students. Thanks to the good work on our teachers and specialists, our math pass rate among ESOL students improved by 12 percentage points. Another of our instructional goals was to continue to develop the capacity of our teachers and increase their comfort level with the daily implementation of PYP. In an end of the year survey last year, over 90% of our teachers reported feeling more comfortable with PYP than they did at the beginning of the year.

The bottom line is that this type of strategic work directly benefits our kids. It results in a higher quality educational program for them, better teachers for current and future students, and better school for our community. The work of school improvement is taxing and challenging, but there is no question that it is time well spent.

FCCPS Letter On COPPA And Online Student Privacy

Technology is one of the many tools that teachers use in classrooms to customize and enhance instruction. Consequently, FCCPS must, and does, take student privacy seriously and only shares information with educational software applications and websites that comply with Federal privacy laws.

Some educational software applications and web-based services you may be familiar with that our students and teachers use are MyOn Books, Dreambox, Brain Pop, Kahoot, Quizlet, Google Docs, etc. These educational programs are integral to supporting the teaching and learning process and are used across all grade levels and schools as part of our general instruction, intervention, and enrichment programs.

For our students to use these programs and services, some information such as the student’s name, grade, and FCCPS-issued email address is provided. FCCPS ensures that student-issued email accounts are structured so that only FCCPS staff and students can send emails to FCCPS student email accounts.

If you do not want your student(s)’ information released to our educational software partners and wish to opt-out of the use of these instructional tools, please notify us at within ten (10) days.

A list of the many sites used in our classrooms, with links to their privacy policies and terms of services, can be found on our district website:

Thank you for your support for Thomas Jefferson Elementary School.

2020-2021 School Year Calendar

2020- 2021 FCCPS School Calendar Development

The Falls Church School Board will be considering the calendar for the 2020-2021 school year. Due to a new state law, school divisions are permitted to start school before Labor Day for the first time.

The School Board is seeking robust community input as they consider this possible change.

All are invited to attend public meetings to learn about the topic, and provide feedback.

October 17, 6:00-7:00 p.m. in GMHS Mustang Cafe.

November 14, 6:30-7:30 p.m. in GMHS Mustang Cafe.

Check out the FAQ document for more information.

Odyssey Of the Mind Registration

It's time to sign up for Odyssey of the Mind again! In effort to go paper-less, we have an online sign-up form that can be accessed here -

There is an interest meeting in Room 241 on Tuesday, October 22 from 5:30-6:30. Final registrations are due Friday, October 25. Please send any questions to

First Student Council Meeting Moved to October 16

The first TJ Student council meeting will be held Wednesday, October 16 in Ms. Hicks room before school. This meeting was initially slated for October 9, but was pushed back a week In recognition of Yom Kippur.

5th Grade Families Invited to MEH Event

The MEHMS PTA is hosting one of their super fun, family focused spaghetti dinners on Friday, October 18th. This "Friend-Raiser" starts serving food at 5:30 p.m. so any interested fans have time to make it to the Mustang football team's kickoff against Central at 7:00 p.m. Dinner donations are accepted and all proceeds will support student's GIVE day fundraising efforts. Bring your friends! Current 5th graders and their families are welcome to come and start getting the lay of the land for middle school.

No School Monday

A reminder to the TJ family that there will be no school on Monday, October 14. Because of this, Wednesday, 10/16, will be a full day.

Math Kangaroo Competition Upcoming

Thomas Jefferson Elementary is hosting the Math Kangaroo Competition again this year. We have made the testing site private. When you register, click on the “by invitation” tab and enter code: VAFALLS0004606@20MK

Please go online to and register your students if they would like to participate in this international mathematics competition occurring at TJ on Thursday, March 19 at 6 pm. Cost: $21

Registration closes on December 15, 2019. Don’t delay! Space is limited! Questions? You can contact Laura Coates:

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED, night of the event:

Follow Us On Twitter

We invite the TJ community to follow us on Twitter at @tjtigers. This is a great way to get school information and learn about the great things happening with TJ kids and classrooms.

Early Release Wednesday Dates

A reminder to parents of the dates on which students will be dismissed from TJ at 1:15 p.m.:

Oct. 23, 30

Nov. 13, 20

Dec. 4, 11, 20 (12/20 is a Friday)

Jan. 8, 29

Feb. 5, 12, 26

Mar. 4, 18, 25

Apr. 1, 22, 29

May 6, 13, 20

Jun. 3, 10, 17

A reminder to the TJ Family that due to not having school on Monday, October 14, Wednesday, October 16 is a full day Wednesday.

Information About ACE

Many TJ families are interested in the FCCPS ACE program here at TJ. For more information about ACE, check out the FCCPS Local Plan For The Education Of The Gifted at

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.

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