Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

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Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is located in Northern Virginia
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is located in Virginia
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is located in the US
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
6560 Braddock Road
Alexandria, Virginia 22312
School type Public, magnet high school
Founded 1985
School district Fairfax County Public Schools
Principal Evan Glazer[1]
Staff approximately 106 full-time staff
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 1,792 (2016–2017)
Campus Suburban
Color(s) Red, white, and navy
Athletics conference Capital Conference 13
5A North Region
Team name Colonials
Accreditation SACS CASI[2]
USNWR ranking No. 6 (2017)[3]
Average SAT scores (2016) 2198
Newspaper tjTODAY
Yearbook Techniques[4]
Communities served Northern Virginia
Feeder schools Northern Virginia schools
Graduates 99%
Acceptance rate 14–18%

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (also known as TJHSST, TJ, or Jefferson) is a Virginia state-chartered magnet school located within Fairfax County, Virginia. It is a regional high school operated by Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS).

As a publicly funded and administered high school with a selective admission process, TJHSST is often compared with notable public magnet schools, although it discontinued non-application based admission after the class of 1988. Attendance at TJHSST is open to students in six local jurisdictions based on an admissions test, prior academic achievement, recommendations, and essays. The selective admissions program was initiated in 1985 through the cooperation of state and county governments, as well as corporate sponsorship from the defense and technology industries. TJHSST occupies the building of the previously FCPS non-selective Thomas Jefferson High School (constructed in 1965). TJHSST is one of 18 Virginia Governor's Schools, and a founding member of the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology. In 2016, TJHSST placed first in Newsweek's annual "America's Top High Schools" rankings[5] for the third consecutive year and fifth in US News & World Report's 2016 High School Rankings.[6]


In 2015 and in 2016 the ratio of applications to acceptances was 17 and 17.9%,[7][8] and there were 1,792 students enrolled for the 2016–2017 school year.[8] Students of Asian origin constitute around 60%-70% of the student population in 2013–14 and also in 2016-2017.[9][7] The ethnic demographics of the students in the TJHSST Class of 2019 were 21.8% white, 74% Asian, 1.7% Black, and 2.6% Hispanic.[7] Hispanic and Black students make up less than four percent of student body, while the same groups constitute about thirty percent of the student population in the area.[10]

In 2012, a civil rights complaint against the school was filed with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights by Coalition of the Silence, an advocacy group led by former county School Board member Tina Hone, and the Fairfax chapter of the NAACP.[11][12] In response, the Office of Civil Rights, in September 2012, opened an investigation.[13][14]

The school is part of the Fairfax County Public Schools system of Fairfax County, Virginia. Students from Fairfax, Arlington, Loudoun, and Prince William counties and from the City of Falls Church are also eligible for admission.[15]


TJHSST offers an extensive mathematics and science curriculum, including courses in artificial intelligence, computer vision, parallel computing, organic chemistry, neurobiology, nanobiotechnology, marine biology, DNA science, signal processing, computational physics, and quantum mechanics. The school also offers a rigorous mathematics program, offering courses such as differential equations, complex variables, multivariable calculus, linear algebra, probability theory, and concrete math. Almost all courses at TJHSST are taught at the Honors, Advanced Placement, or post-Advanced Placement level (exceptions including P.E. classes, Design & Tech (which all freshmen must take), and performing arts classes). All students are required to complete Calculus (AB or BC), in addition to either AP English Language and Composition or AP English Literature and Composition and AP United States Government and Politics, before graduation. All students are required to complete an introductory Java or an accelerated introductory Python computer science course before their junior year, or, subject to a placement test, an Advanced Placement Computer Science A plus Data Structures computer science class.[16][17]

The school also offers a strong humanities and foreign language curriculum. Japanese, Chinese (Mandarin), and Russian are taught in addition to the more traditional German, French, Spanish, and Latin. Every other year, Pskov State Pedagogical University students from Russia visit TJHSST. In 2013, the language department celebrated the twenty-year anniversary of its sister school relationship with Chiben Gakuen High School, a Japanese high school famous for its baseball program. Each year in March, ten exchange students and one teacher come to spend a month in the US. TJHSST students are given the opportunity to reciprocate during the summer with the school's Chiben Summer Program.[18][not in citation given]

All students attending TJHSST must pursue a special TJ Diploma. The TJ Diploma requirements duplicate those of the Virginia Advanced Studies Diploma with additional mathematics, computer science, earth science, and engineering requirements.[19][not in citation given]


The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI), which is an accreditation division of AdvancED and the regional accrediting body for secondary schools in the region including Virginia, has accredited TJHSST since the magnet program was founded in 1985.[2]

Awards and distinctions[edit]

In 2016, TJHSST placed first in Newsweek's annual "America's Top High Schools" rankings for the third consecutive year. Previously, it ranked 8th in the 2013 rankings and 10th in the 2012 rankings, the first year it was included. TJHSST was ranked No. 1 among "America's Best High Schools" in a study by U.S. News and World Report from 2007 to 2010[citation needed]. In the same rankings, it placed fifth in 2016, third in 2015, fourth in 2014 and 2013, and second in 2012 and 2011. The average SAT scores for various graduating classes has consistently been above 2150.[20][21][22][23]

In 2007, TJHSST had 14 Intel Science Talent Search Semifinalists.,[24] 15 in 2009[25] and 13 in 2010.[26]

In 2007, for schools with more than 800 students in grades 10–12, TJHSST was cited as having the highest-performing AP Calculus BC, AP Chemistry, AP French Language, AP Government and Politics, U.S., and AP U.S. History courses among all schools worldwide.[27] In 2014, 3864 AP Exams were taken by TJHSST students; over 97% earned a score of 3, 4, or 5.

In addition, eight Rhodes Scholars have graduated from TJHSST since its inception, more than the number of Rhodes Scholars from most colleges in the United States.[citation needed]

President Barack Obama signed the America Invents Act into law on September 16, 2011 at TJHSST. The law was made to reform U.S. patent laws.[28]

Recent developments[edit]


The school is currently undergoing a major renovation, which was completed by the end of April 2017. The renovation cost of about $89 million includes $67.4 million for construction, plus other costs related to permits, design fees, utilities and equipment. A replica of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello dome graces the school’s entrance, colloquially known as "The Dome" by students and staff.[29][30] The renovation overhauls the school's aging facilities, many of which had not been updated since the school was built in 1964.[31]

TJ3Sat project[edit]

TJHSST Systems Engineering Course designed and built a CubeSat which was launched on November 19, 2013 from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Orbital Sciences Corporation donated the CubeSat Kit to the school on December 6, 2006 and provided the launch for the satellite. After a successful launch at 8:15PM, TJ3SAT became the first satellite launched into space that was built by high school students.[32] The launched satellite contained a 4-watt transmitter operating on amateur radio frequencies, and a text-to-speech module to allow it to broadcast ASCII-encoded messages sent to it from Jefferson.

Embezzlement Case[edit]

TJHSST employee Susan Thanh Litwin of Woodbridge, Virginia embezzled more than $279,000 from the school between about March 2008 and January 2010. Working as a finance technician and using her signature authority, she was able to transfer funds that were intended for school use into her personal accounts, which she then used to support a gambling addiction. She was arrested on March 5, 2010.[33] She pleaded guilty to the charges on May 6, 2010[34] and was sentenced to 15 months in prison on August 13, 2010.[35]

School features and activities[edit]

Computer Systems Lab[edit]

Logo used by the CSL, incorporating the Linux mascot.

The Computer Systems Lab[36] (CSL, often shortened to "syslab") at TJHSST is one of the rare high school computing facilities with a supercomputer. In 1988, a team from the school won an ETA-10P supercomputer in the SuperQuest competition, a national science competition for high school students.[37] The ETA-10P was damaged by a roof leak in the 1990s. Cray Inc. donated a new SV1 supercomputer, known as Seymour, to the school on December 4, 2002.[38]

In 2013, several Sysadmins began a Python rewrite of the Intranet application (codenamed "Ion") using the Django web framework and responsive web techniques. It replaced Intranet2 in November 2015 and, like previous versions of the TJHSST Intranet, will continue to be developed indefinitely as a student-run project of the Computer Systems Lab.[39]

Thin clients[edit]

The lab also supported a number of Sun Microsystems thin clients for use by students enrolled in AP Computer Science. In 2008, TJHSST was awarded a grant from Sun Microsystems for $388,048, which was student-written.[40] The Syslab was given 7 Sun workstations, 12 Sun servers, and 145 Sun Rays for distribution throughout the school. These were placed in the existing AP Computer Science Lab and the science classrooms, support backend services, and serve as kiosks placed around the school for guests, students, and faculty. However, the Sun Rays were taken out of the AP Computer Science Lab due to teachers' objections. By 2014, the Sun Ray clients were decommissioned, and replaced with Linux-based thin clients running LTSP.[41][42][43][44]

Performing arts[edit]

The drama program has performed three major plays each year. One of these productions is entered as a Cappies show in the National Capital Area chapter.[45] Another is the annual Knight of One Axe (Night of One Acts), which consists of mostly student-directed plays and occasionally has student-written plays. The independent Shakespeare Troupe student group performs Shakespeare plays throughout the year.[46]

The orchestra program is currently directed by Allison Bailey.[47]

In 2013, the wind ensemble of the school was among fifteen high-school bands invited to the Music for All National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis.[48]

Model United Nations[edit]

The Model United Nations club is the largest regularly meeting organization in the school, with roughly 150 regular participants. Its Officer Corps includes over 20 members, including the Secretariat (Secretary General, Under-Secretary General, Senator and Arbitrator). The club has been successful in national competitions, competing for awards at conferences hosted by the University of Virginia, William and Mary, and the University of Pennsylvania (ILMUNC), and winning the Best Large Delegation award at WMHSMUN XXII and XXIII and the equivalent award at VAMUN. TJHSST's Model UN also won the Outstanding Large Delegation award at ILMUNC XXVI.[49] TJMUN hosts its own conference each spring, TechMUN.[50]


The school's rowing teams have won medals at the Stotesbury Cup Regatta and Scholastic Rowing Nationals regattas.[51][52]

School teams have won 18 VHSL state titles in athletic activities, all at the AAA level until 2013, then it moved to the newly formed 5A Division:[53]


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  2. ^ a b "Institution Summary". AdvancED. Advance Education, Inc. Retrieved 16 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology". U.S. News & World Report. 2017. 
  4. ^ "Publications". TJHSST. 
  5. ^ "America's Top High Schools". 
  6. ^ "National Rankings Best High Schools". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved December 3, 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c Shapiro, T. Rees (March 31, 2015). "Asian students dominate admissions to elite Thomas Jefferson High School". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 19, 2017. 
  8. ^ a b "2017-17 School Profile - Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology" (PDF). Fairfax County Public Schools. Retrieved April 19, 2017. 
  9. ^ "FCPS – School Profiles – Thomas Jefferson HS – Demographics". Retrieved 2015-03-16. 
  10. ^ "Black, Hispanic students dwindle at elite Va. public school". October 30, 2010. Retrieved 2011-02-14. 
  11. ^ "Thomas Jefferson High School For Science And Technology Hit With Civil Rights, Discrimination Suit". The Huffington Post. 24 July 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2015. 
  12. ^ Turley, Jonathan. "Thomas Jefferson High School Sued Over Minority Admissions". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  13. ^ Rhines, Dale (2012-09-25). "OCR Complaint No. 11-12-1503" (PDF) (Letter). Letter to Martina Hone, Coalition of the Silence, and Charisse Glassman, NAACP-Fairfax. Retrieved 2014-01-14. 
  14. ^ Chen, Grace (May 30, 2016). "Prestigious High School in Virginia Faces Civil Rights Lawsuit". Public School Review. Retrieved April 19, 2017. 
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  16. ^ "TJHSST Course Guide". Retrieved 2017-05-13. 
  17. ^ "TJHSST Diploma Requirements" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-05-13. 
  18. ^ "Tech Cetera April 2006, p. 6" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-10-07. [not in citation given]
  19. ^ "Forms and Publications – DSS -TJHSST". Retrieved October 8, 2006. [not in citation given]
  20. ^ "Shooting for the Academic Stars". 
  21. ^ "2013 America's Best High Schools". 
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Intel Science Talent Search" (PDF). Society for Science & the Public (was Science Service). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 21, 2007. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  25. ^ "2009 Intel Science Talent Search Semifinalists". Society for Science and the Public. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  26. ^ "2010 Semifinalists - Intel Science Talent Search". Society for Science and the Public. Retrieved April 17, 2017. 
  27. ^
  28. ^ Palfrey, Quentin (September 16, 2011). "The America Invents Act: Turning Ideas into Jobs". The White House. The White House Blog. Retrieved July 4, 2015. 
  29. ^ "TJ Renovation Info". Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  30. ^ "TJHSST PTSA Building Initiative Committee". Retrieved 2012-09-23. 
  31. ^ Boland, Monica (26 September 2011). "TJHSST Plans for Major Expansion". Retrieved 2015-03-16. 
  32. ^ Beneski, Barron; Alex Massie (October 8, 2006). "Thomas Jefferson High School and Orbital Establish Partnership". Retrieved October 8, 2006. 
  33. ^ "Criminal Justice Online". Retrieved January 12, 2011. 
  34. ^ Michael Alison Chandler (May 7, 2010). "Former T.J. High official pleads guilty to embezzlement". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 12, 2011. 
  35. ^ "Thomas Jefferson High School employee sentenced for embezzlement". August 18, 2010. Retrieved January 12, 2011. 
  36. ^ "Computer Systems Lab". Retrieved 2011-02-14. 
  37. ^ "Virginia School Finds 'Super' Prize's Uses Multiply". December 14, 1988. 
  38. ^ "TJHSST – Old News". Retrieved March 27, 2007. 
  39. ^ "Intranet3 About Page". TJHSST Computer Systems Lab. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  40. ^ "grant from Sun Microsystems for $388,048". Retrieved 2011-02-14. 
  41. ^ "TJHSST Receives Sun Microsystems Servers and Workstations". Retrieved February 25, 2008. 
  42. ^ "Sun Microsystems 2008 Corporate Social Responsibility Report". Retrieved May 16, 2009. 
  43. ^ "Sun Microsystems Customer Snapshot: Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology". Retrieved May 16, 2009. 
  44. ^ "News Channel 8 (Washington D.C.) story on Sun Grant at TJHSST". Retrieved May 16, 2009. 
  45. ^ "drama program". Retrieved 2011-02-14. 
  46. ^ Shakespeare Troupe Archived July 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  47. ^ "Orchestra". Retrieved 2015-10-14. 
  48. ^ "2013 Festival Ensembles". Music for All. Archived from the original on August 3, 2012. 
  49. ^ "TJ MUN Awards". Archived from the original on July 1, 2010. Retrieved 2011-02-14. 
  50. ^ "TechMUN 2015 Invitation". TJMUN. Retrieved 2015-03-16. 
  51. ^ "Stotesbury Cup 2007". Retrieved 2011-07-19. 
  52. ^ "TJ Crew". Archived from the original on March 15, 2012. Retrieved 2011-07-19. [dead link]
  53. ^ "Colonial Athletic Boosters – VHSL States Champions". Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-14. 

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