The Tiger Times

The Thomas Jefferson Elementary Parent Newsletter

December 6, 2019

Chalk Dust: Notes From The Principal's Desk

There is nothing new about schools taking field trips. I suspect those of us reading this article can recall at least some sense of euphoria and "escape" when we think about the field trips that we took as school children.

Living where we live, we have an especially potent opportunity to impact our kids through the use of field trips to local destinations. Consider a partial list of locations that TJ students have or will have attended this year: Great Falls National Park, the Library of Congress, Jamestown, Williamsburg, the National Zoo, the National Air And Space Museum, the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, the science and engineering festival at DC's convention center, just to name a few. Add in the field trips we take to other schools, such as 5th grade visiting Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School or Give Day Ambassadors visiting Mount Daniel, and it adds up to a lot of kids visiting a lot of different places and interacting very directly with the world.

Our kids are impacted by these field trips in incredibly positive and potentially lasting ways. For example, in 4th grade, it is impressive that the Jamestown trip does not simply end when kids return and get off the buses. the next day, students come to class and reflect on what they heard, saw, and learned. In essence, a field trip can become not just a day out of the building, but a substantial experience.

I think this is a tangible acknowledgement that TJ teachers entirely recognize and use learning opportunities in a variety of ways. It's one thing to live in the midst of history; it's quite another to act on it and benefit from it, and we are proud of the ways we do this at TJ.

Staff Spotlight: Ms. Debbie Liang

By Maura Hughes, Lucas Mahini and Ava Bitici

Ms. Liang ,TJ’s current library aide, has been working at TJ for 7 years. She started her first two years subbing. Then once the former library aide retired, she took the spot as TJ’s library aide. When her child was in second grade, Ms.Liang helped the schools by shelving books. She decided to take the job as the library aide because she knew “a lot of TJ kids are voracious readers, and I love shelving books.”

She loves coming in to the library and remembering books she has read and others that she can recommend to her child. “The library is my happy place”. Ms. Liang has always loved the library, but she has not always wanted to work in the library. She has been an engineer and a classroom substitute, but she has found herself in the library. Her favorite part about being the library aide is, “helping kids find books and seeing them getting excited about reading.”

Her favorite book in elementary school was "Half Magic" by Edward Eager. It is about four siblings that find a magic charm and can make any wish they want, but only half of the wish comes true. In her teen years, it was Madeleine L'Engle’s Austin family series. She has always loved reading. She prefers to read physical books instead of audio because she loves feeling the books and being able to go back in the story. Her favorite quote is actually from a movie called Buckaroo Bonzai: “Where ever you go, there you are”. She likes that quote because she loves to travel, but “I am a stress monster while getting there”. She is always worried about being late!

In her free time she likes to walk outside and enjoy nature. Some of her favorite places to go are Great Falls National Park and Lake Accotink. When she was a kid, she had a corn snake, but now she has no pets. She is married and has a child in 11th grade at George Mason. She grew up in San Diego, California: “the best place in the world!” Her elementary school was year round and was called Marie Curie Elementary. Ms. Liang’s path from Marie Curie to TJ has been an interesting and exciting one, and we are so glad she is here with us each day in the library!

Upcoming Winter Break

Winter break is coming. The last student day before winter break will be Friday, 12/20. Students will return to TJ on Monday, January 6. FCCPS schools will be closed over winter break,

Check Out the FCCPS App!


It's everything FCCPS, in your pocket.


This is a primary form of communication to staff and families - ESPECIALLY - during emergencies including SNOW CLOSINGS!


Falls Church City Public Schools is launching a new mobile app that helps students, parents, and community members know what is happening on campus, right from their phones. We know that families are using smartphones as a primary means to communicate. That’s why we’ve created an app that is custom-built for mobile. On the app, you can find alert notifications, cafeteria menus, contact information for staff, and event information. You can download the app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play.


1) Know what’s going on at school.
Ex: Find real-time updates from the website’s live feed about stories happening inside the classroom, on the football field, or in the art studio.

2) Connect with teachers and administrators.
Ex: Learn about parent-teacher conferences, access staff contact information, and quickly find out about district news.

3) Stay up-to-date with school information.
Ex: Receive updates about events occurring on campus, the daily cafeteria menu, and of course emergency notifications.


The App - Android: or iPhone:

Or just search "Falls Church City Public Schools"

YouTube Walkthrough of the FCCPS App

Upcoming Winter Band And Chorus Concert

TJ's music program will be on full display the evening of Tuesday, December 17, as our band and chorus programs will put on a winter concert. the program will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the gym.

TJ Yearbook Sales Continue

Early bird TJ yearbook sales have started! If your family would like to buy a yearbook at the $20 rate, you may order online at:

ID Code 11380120

The $20 early order discount ends in March. At that time, the cost of the yearbook will increase to $25. Should you have any questions about the yearbook, do not hesitate to contact Ms. Brooke Davis, TJ's librarian and yearbook sponsor, at

Lost And Found

Another reminder to TJ families to take a look at our lost and found, as we have numerous unclaimed items there. Shortly after winter break, unclaimed items will be donated to local charities.

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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