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|
|School district||Fairfax County Public Schools|
|Staff||approximately 106 full-time staff|
|Color(s)||Red, white, and navy
|Athletics conference||Capital Conference 13
5A North Region
|Average SAT scores (2014 & 2015)||2182|
|Communities served||Northern Virginia|
|Feeder schools||Northern Virginia schools|
|Mission Statement||to provide students a challenging learning environment focused on math, science, and technology, to inspire joy at the prospect of discovery, and to foster a culture of innovation based on ethical behavior and the shared interests of humanity.|
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 did discontinue 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. U.S. News & World Report ranked the school the best public high school in the nation from 2007 to 2013. In 2014, 2015 and again in 2016 TJHSST again placed first in Newsweek's annual "America's Top High Schools" ranking.
- 1 Admissions and enrollment
- 2 Curriculum
- 3 Awards and distinctions
- 4 Recent developments
- 5 School features and activities
- 6 VHSL sports championships
- 7 Notable alumni
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
Admissions and enrollment
Each fall, the TJHSST Admissions Office accepts applications for freshman admission from eighth-graders who live in eligible areas in Northern Virginia. Students must be enrolled in Algebra I or a higher math course in order to apply, and must carry a 3.0 core-course grade point average (GPA) through the first quarter of eighth grade.
After paying a registration fee, all applicants take an admissions test, which consists of a standardized mathematics and verbal reasoning test that lasts 2 hours. (In the past, students also wrote an essay at the same time as the test.) Semifinalists are chosen based on a "sliding scale" referencing the student's admissions test scores as well as their GPA. All students meeting the minimum standards are entered into the semifinalist pool, a group generally about three times as large as the planned freshman class. The semifinalists submit further information, including teacher recommendations and the Student Information Sheet/Essay (which is completed during a second 2-hour testing period), which details a student's achievements and previous experiences in science, mathematics, and technology. Two selection panels review this information and select the next year's freshman class.
Rising sophomores at other schools can still apply to Jefferson (they must live in the eligible areas in Northern Virginia), even if they applied unsuccessfully in the past, or if they have moved from another county. Even though these applicants do not take the admissions test, they are required to submit scores from either the PSAT/NMSQT or SAT.
Rising juniors may only apply to TJHSST if they have not already applied in the past, and they must live in an eligible part of Northern Virginia. They go through an interview process to determine selection. Usually, few applicants are accepted. In the 2013–2014 school year, two juniors were accepted to TJ.
While most local high schools base entering class size on the number of rising eighth-graders, Jefferson controls its freshman enrollment through its selective admissions process. Of the approximately 3000 freshmen who apply, about 480 are admitted. This target class size has slowly grown since the school was founded, beginning at 400 students per class for the class of 1989. The class of 2009 contained about 450 students. For the 2011 and 2012 classes, enrollment has been increased to 480 students. There were 1,812 students enrolled for the 2010–2011 school year. Effective July 31, 2007, a cumulative, unweighted GPA of at least 3.0 is required for students to remain enrolled at the school. If this GPA is not maintained, the students will be transferred to their original high school at the end of the school year after a chance to petition.
The student demographic at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology has shifted dramatically in the past decade. Asians comprise around 60% of the student population in 2013–14, exceeding the approximately 20% in the general population of Fairfax County. Asians became the school's largest umbrella racial group in 2009–2010, at 46.38%, while whites comprised 43.63% of the population. In contrast, blacks and Hispanics comprise a much smaller percentage of the student body (<4%) than is present in the populace of the participating localities (approx. 10% and 16%, respectively).
When looking at admitted students, in 2004, approximately 54% of admitted students in the Class of 2008 were identified white, while 32% were identified as Asian. By 2014, 24% of admitted students in the Class of 2018 were white, while 66% were Asian. Male students also make up 60% of students admitted.
In 2004, the Fairfax County School Board (FCSB) commissioned a study to determine what steps, if any, should be undertaken to remedy the underrepresentation of certain racial or ethnic groups, as well as low-income students, among enrollees. Prior to the study, admissions decisions were based mainly on middle school grades and students' scores on the admission examination. In 1998, attorneys working for Fairfax County Public Schools published an interpretation of law that restricted "soft affirmative action", which led to a severe decline in enrollment among black and Hispanic students. The FCSB commission concluded that a change to the admissions policy was necessary to mitigate the underrepresentation, by taking into account other factors, such as gender, ethnicity and other socio-demographic characteristics, as "plus" factors in a holistic review of applicants. Despite efforts at increasing outreach, however, the percentage of minority students only increased moderately, and lasted just a few years.
During the 2013–14 school year, the black student population of the school was 1.21% and the Hispanic population was 2.31%. Students admitted in 2010 were 2.42% African descent and 3.84% Hispanic, although these two ethnic groups constitute more than 25% of the student population in Fairfax County.
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. In response, the Office of Civil Rights, in September 2012, opened an investigation.
While TJHSST is operated by the Fairfax County Public Schools system (which serves residents of Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax), residents of Arlington, Loudoun, and Prince William counties, as well as the City of Falls Church also apply to and attend the school. A particular number of admission slots is allotted to each participating locality. In March 2006, the Alexandria School Board voted 7–2 in favor of allowing a maximum of two students from Alexandria to attend the school, although a subsequent vote (5–4) in September 2006 rescinded that earlier decision. Each school district shares in the cost of operating the school. The independent cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, although surrounded by Prince William County, have declined to fund spaces for their students. Fauquier County no longer provides admission to the school for its students.
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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. All courses at TJHSST are taught at the Honors, Advanced Placement, or post-Advanced Placement level. All students are required to complete Calculus (AB or BC) 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.
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.
TJHSST also offers its IBET (Integrated Biology, English, and Technology) program to ninth graders. Students spend nine class periods a week with the same group of peers, and the IBET teachers work together to produce an integrated curriculum. The technology aspect of the program (Design and Technology; formerly Principles of Engineering and Technology) stresses drafting, CAD, programming, and basic electronics skills. Students will form a group of four, known as an "IBET group," and the group will work on an year-long project with a presentation at the end of the school year. Integrated humanities courses are offered in 10th and 11th grade, known as HUM 1 and HUM 2, respectively. An option to integrate Chemistry into 10th grade humanities, similar to IBET, is available as the "CHUM" concept. Seniors will chose between integrated course curriculums known as Global Studies and Senior Seminar. The former combines AP Language and Composition with AP Government, and the latter combines AP Literature and Composition with AP Government. There is also the option to not participate in any integrated courses as a senior.
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.
Seniors must participate in the Senior Technology Laboratory Research program, which consists of a year-long research project or an off-campus mentorship through one of the school's research labs. These labs are devoted to numerous fields, including computer science, robotics, microelectronics, chemistry, prototyping, optics, computer aided design, astronomy, neuroscience, biotechnology, and oceanography. Recently, labs have been introduced devoted to communication systems and web and mobile apps. The complete list of the 14 research labs that TJHSST offers is:
- Astronomy and Astrophysics Research
- Automation and Robotics Research
- Chemical Analysis and Nanochemistry Research
- Communication Systems Research
- Computer Systems Research
- Energy Systems Research
- Engineering Design Research
- Life Sciences and Biotechnology Research
- Microelectronics Research
- Mobile and Web Application Development Research
- Neuroscience Research
- Oceanography and Geophysical Systems Research
- Quantum Physics and Optics Research
- Prototyping and Engineering Materials Research
There was formerly some debate over the inclusion of the Video Technology Lab, responsible among other things for producing the school's video morning announcement program. It was ultimately decided that the Video Technology Lab would be closed, despite an active letter writing campaign by students to the Board of Education. However, a similar lab taught by the same teacher, the Communications Systems Lab, was introduced for the 2009 school year.
In 2014, the Jefferson Underclassmen Multidiscipline Project (JUMP) lab was introduced to allow freshmen, sophomores, and juniors to conduct research projects at TJ.
TJHSST also has a distinguished mentorship program. Students in the mentorship program are involved in research and/or project development at various mentoring agencies, including corporate, university, and government institutions, throughout the metropolitan Washington D.C. area. Students are supervised by mentors who are accomplished scientists, engineers and other technical professionals working at these agencies. The mentorship program provides an alternative way for dedicated students to fulfill their required senior research project. Scientific laboratory mentorships are often comparable to university undergraduate research courses. Mentoring agencies that support the TJHSST mentorship program include: Children’s National Medical Center, The National Institutes of Health, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, The MITRE Corporation, Naval Research Laboratory, Northrop Grumman, George Mason University, Georgetown University Medical Center, Georgetown University, George Washington University, Orbital Sciences Corporation, The Smithsonian Institution, InScope International, CH2M HILL, University of Maryland College Park, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, Research Innovations, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
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.
Awards and distinctions
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In 2004, TJHSST was ranked as the top high school in the nation by PrepReview TJHSST was ranked No. 1 among "America's Best High Schools" in a study by U.S. News and World Report in 2007, 2008, and 2009. and the average SAT scores for various graduating Classes have consistently been above 2100.
Each year, about one-sixth of its graduating class accepts admission to the University of Virginia. The other major schools attended by graduates are the College of William and Mary, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Duke University, Princeton University, and Stanford University in that order. Other graduates attend Ivy League schools and high-ranking public and private schools across the nation, including the University of California, Berkeley, Cornell University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Columbia University, and the University of Pennsylvania.
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. In 2014, 3864 AP Exams were taken by TJHSST students; over 97% earned a score of 3, 4, or 5.
The school is currently undergoing a major renovation, which should be completed by the end of 2016. 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. The renovation overhauls the school's aging facilities, many of which had not been updated since the school was built in 1964.
In March 2004, TJHSST announced a partnership with nearby George Mason University. Among the proposals set forth in the partnership are the relocation of TJHSST to the George Mason University campus and instruction by university professors at the high school. This proposal was scratched in 2007 when George Mason decided to build a conference center in available space. In the 2005–2006 school year, a small group of Thomas Jefferson students piloted a program in which they took college-level courses at GMU's Volgenau School of Information Technology and Engineering. Currently students are able to pursue a dual enrollment for some courses at the undergraduate level.
Retirement of Elizabeth V. Lodal
From 2000–2006, Elizabeth V. Lodal served as the principal of Thomas Jefferson. In the spring of 2006, Lodal announced her retirement after 40 years as a public school educator and principal of four Fairfax County secondary schools. The timing of her retirement closely followed a situation in which Lodal stated that the pressures Asian parents are widely perceived to place on their children to excel at TJHSST resulted in Asian students committing a disproportionally high percentage of the cheating and theft incidents uncovered by the administration. After a negative response from the Asian community, Principal Lodal wrote a letter in the Parent, Teacher and Student Association Newsletter clarifying her remarks. During her tenure, Lodal advocated an increase in the diversity of the school; she pushed for new admissions procedures designed to increase acceptance of minority students, which the school board passed in 2004. She was appointed by Governor Tim Kaine to be a delegate from Virginia on The Education Commission of the States. Dr. Evan M. Glazer, former director of Roanoke Valley Governor's School for Science and Technology, was chosen as her replacement.
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. 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.
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. She pleaded guilty to the charges on May 6, 2010 and was sentenced to 15 months in prison on August 13, 2010.
School features and activities
The current hybrid class schedule allows seven periods to meet on Mondays, with "block scheduling" (four classes per day) the rest of the week. Though no formal academic classes are offered during eighth period, it is a required part of a school day. Wednesday and Friday's eighth periods are devoted to study halls, clubs, athletic teams, and other extracurricular activities. The eighth period is possible with TJHSST's school day, which is longer than other FCPS high schools'. As a magnet school, students may live more than an hour away, making "staying after" a challenge. (An elaborate school bus network provides all students with free transportation. All participating jurisdictions are responsible for transportation of their own students.) Every Monday, lunch runs at 70 minutes instead of the usual 40, allowing for teacher collaboration and conferences, known as Jefferson Learning Community (JLC).
Computer Systems Lab
The Computer Systems Lab (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. 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. The supercomputers have been used in research projects by students and may be used in a course for students taking the advanced computer science class entitled Parallel Computing (formerly Supercomputer Applications). As the Cray's computing power has been dwarfed over the past decade, the CSL now operates several server clusters for Parallel Computing and student research projects.
One of the aspects of this lab is student involvement. Since the early 1990s, designated student system administrators (often referred to as "sysadmins") have maintained the lab's workstations and servers, including the upkeep of the school's E-mail, web site, and intranet, among other services. The syslab is currently running Gentoo Linux on most of the CSL resources. Over the years, students in the Computer Systems Research course as well as the sysadmins have worked to improve the computer resources in the school. A system administrator understudy program is in place in order to train aspiring sysadmins. Understudies learn common tasks such as workstation maintenance and Linux installation, as well as CSL-specific administration procedures.
One project developed in the "syslab" was the TJHSST Intranet. This large web application was an early venture into PHP, and is known for bringing Rasmus Lerdorf, the original creator of PHP, to the school for a visit. It was made as a replacement for the aging mechanically based Eighth Period scheduling system, but now it also provides features such as access to files on the school's intranet and the student directory. In the mid-2000s, the Intranet2 ("Iodine") project was developed in order to redesign and reimplement the Intranet system with object-oriented programming and modern versions of PHP in mind. It was released on May 18, 2006, but was continuously improved by students over the next decade.
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.
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. 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. 
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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. 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.
The choir program holds several concerts over the course of the year, the largest of which is Spring Show. Spring Show is held during second semester and involves both curricular and extracurricular singers. A Cabaret is held during the fall and choir students participate in caroling in the winter. There are five major student-led co-curricular ensembles at Jefferson sponsored by the TJ Choir program.
The Madrigals is mixed a cappella group that performs more classical repertoire. The Sirens is a women's a cappella group that performs a wide range of repertoire, from Disney and pop to Christmas carols. Manchoir is the men's a cappella group that performs a wide range of repertoire similar to the Sirens. Show Choir is a mixed group that performs both a cappella and accompanied music including show tunes and repertoire similar to the Sirens and Manchoir. The fifth is a service choir, a non-audition choir that sings around the community. These choirs sponsor an annual a cappella concert during 8th period in the winter and in the spring. Madrigals placed 1st at the East Coast A Cappella Summit in 2008, while Manchoir placed 3rd and 2nd at the similar SingStrong in 2009 and 2011. Sirens and Show Choir have been selected to compete at SingStrong in 2014.
The orchestra program consists of a symphonic orchestra and a philharmonic orchestra. The TJ orchestras perform in four concerts during the school year, District XI Assessment, and a competition during their spring trip. In addition, the Symphonic Orchestra also performs at the TJ Graduation Cerrmony. Smaller groups and individuals participate in Solo and Ensemble Festival, Senior District Orchestra, Senior Regional Orchestra, and Virginia All-State Orchestra among others. For the past several years, the orchestra program has achieved the rating of "superior" at the judge-evaluated Spring Festival. The orchestra program is currently directed by Allison Bailey.
TJHSST's band program consists of two concert bands (Symphonic and Symphonic Wind Ensemble), two jazz bands (Jazz I and Jazz II), and a percussion ensemble, in addition to a number of extracurricular groups. Each year, the bands have performed in several concerts, including a Fall Preview concert in conjunction with the orchestral and choral programs, Winter Concert, and the District XI VBODA Concert Band Festival. In 2013, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble was one of 15 schools who attended the 2013 Music for All National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis.
The school's extracurricular bands include the marching band, known as the Thomas Jefferson Marching Colonials (TJMC), a winter drumline and a winter color guard. TJMC rehearsals begin in the early summer, and the band's season runs through early November. In addition to performing at football games, the marching band participates in several competitions throughout the fall, including the JMU Parade of Champions, Bands of America, and the USBands National Championships. In the 2014–15 season, TJMC placed first overall at the JMU Parade of Champions (defeating 42 other bands), 6th at prelims and 7th at finals at BOA at the University of Delaware, and 2nd place overall at the USBands Championships in Annapolis. The winter guard (TJWG) and drumline (TJWDL) seasons begin in late November and end in early April. In the 2009–2010 season, TJWG took 5th at the Atlantic Indoor Association's finals, and TJWDL took 1st. In the same year, TJWDL went on to the world championships in Dayton, Ohio, and received 9th place in finals in the A-class. There were 54 groups in the class that year. They received a wild card spot after both preliminaries and semifinals in order to advance.
In addition to the Chiben Gakuen student exchange, TJHSST also hosts the annual week long Jefferson Overseas Schools Technology Institute during the summer for American-based overseas school educators. Also, guest instructors from overseas frequently teach at TJHSST for an academic year, and have hailed from countries such as Germany and Latvia over the past decade.
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Academic teams at TJHSST have competed at the state, national, and international levels. Teams that have maintained perennial success include those competing in debate (Student Congress, Public Forum, Policy, and Lincoln-Douglas), Speech Forensics, chess, the American Regions Math League competition, Odyssey of the Mind, and both the Regional Virginia and National Science Bowls. TJHSST is also known for its strong performance in the It's Academic high school quiz tournament, which is produced and broadcast in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area. The team went up to the finals round in the 2012–13 season of It's Academic. TJHSST's It's Academic team routinely performs strongly in national tournaments such as NAQT's High School National Championship Tournament and the PACE National Scholastics Championship. The school also has a long history of supplying qualifiers for the United States Physics Olympic Team, many of whom have gone on to win gold medals for the United States. In recent years, TJHSST has also sent teams to the DC Regional Botball competition, with multiple top-5 wins in 2008 and 2009. TJHSST also has a National Ocean Science Bowl team, which consistently places in the top three at regional tournaments and advanced to the National finals in both 2015 and 2014 after breaking a three-year losing streak at the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Bowl. TJHSST is also noted for its Science Olympiad team, which consistently places in the top three at Regional tournaments and recently advanced to the 2013 National Finals after a first-place finish at the Virginia State Competition. TJHSST's Certamen team is among the best in the region at all levels.
Model United Nations
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. TJMUN hosts its own conference each spring, TechMUN.
Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)
FBLA is the second largest regularly meeting club at Jefferson with over 100 regular participants. It is known for its annual MarketPlace event in which students sell products to other students in the school as well as for bringing in many guest speakers. Due to stringent state rules and the lack of a business class at TJ, it is not allowed to compete in state competitions. TJHSST's FBLA also participates in the March of Dimes' March for Babies event held in DC every year. They regularly place in the top 3 for donations among high school organizations.
The TJHSST mascot is a stylized image of an American Colonial. Through the 2012–13 school year Jefferson teams played in the AAA Liberty District and the Northern Region of the Virginia High School League. Beginning in 2013–14, a rearrangement by VHSL of schools for playoff purposes was instituted, with Jefferson placed in Capitol Conference 13 of Region 5A-North. Historic "district" competition and champions will continue, but VHSL records will reflect (only) conference, region, and (six, in most sports) state champions. The VHSL change aims to "even things out" based (mostly) on school population.
TJ has been a dominant athletic program in the Northern Virginia area since the realignment, capturing 27 conference, 11 region, and 8 state championships in their three years as a member of the Capitol Conference and Group 5A. A popular tongue-in-cheek bumper sticker reading "Jefferson: We Came For The Sports" belies an outstanding athletic program which garners the participation of nearly half of the school population each year.
The Colonials are well known for their strong cross country, swim & dive, crew, track & field, golf, and tennis teams. Additionally, the boys soccer team won the 2007 VHSL AAA State Championship, the football team went to the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Division 5 Northern Region playoffs and the 2013 Region 5A-North playoffs, the boys' basketball team qualified for the 2012 AAA Northern Region playoffs, and the boys' lacrosse team consistently participates in the regional playoffs.
TJ Crew is a dominating force in Virginia rowing, winning 11 of the last 12 boys varsity eight state titles with both the girls and boys teams have won medals at the prestigious Stotesbury Cup Regatta and Scholastic Rowing Nationals regattas.[dead link]
The boys tennis team has won fourteen of fifteen district and conference titles (2002–2011 and 2013-2016), won ten of 17 regional championships between 2000 and 2016, was a state finalist in 2010, and won the state championship in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. The girls tennis team was a state finalist in 2008, 2009, and 2016.
VHSL sports championships
- Boys Tennis: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
- Boys Soccer: 2007
- Boys Cross Country: 2002, 2004, 2007
- Girls Swimming and Diving: 2002, 2003, 2004
- Boys Swimming and Diving: 1995, 1996, 1997, 2002, 2015
- Girls Indoor Track: 1997, 1998
The Colonials have been state runners-up eight times at the AAA level and four times in the newly instated 5A level:
- Boys Swimming and Diving: 2014
- Girls Swimming and Diving: 2001, 2014
- Boys Tennis: 2010, 2012
- Girls Tennis: 2008, 2009, 2016
- Boys Cross Country: 2003, 2005, 2014, 2015
- Girls Cross Country: 2002, 2013
- Girls Softball: 1991
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- Owen Thomas, 1990, executive editor of Valleywag and VentureBeat, longtime contributor to Suck.com.
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- Dustin Thomason, 1994, co-author, The Rule of Four, author, 12.21, writer/producer, The Evidence, Lie to Me, Manhattan.
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- Jose Llana, 1994, Broadway actor, The King and I, Rent, Flower Drum Song, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
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- Vlad Tenev, 2004, co-founder of Robinhood Markets, and featured on the Forbes "30 Under 30" list in 2016
- Staci Wilson, 1994, soccer player, member of the US Women's team that won the gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
- Anthony Myint, 1995, chef/restaurateur, chef/owner of Mission Bowling Club in San Francisco.
- Evan Burfield, 1995, co-founder and CEO of 1776, a business and startup incubator in Washington, D.C.
- Greg Tseng, 1997, founder and CEO, Tagged.
- Howard Lerman, 1998, serial entrepreneur, founder of Yext and Intwine.
- Sandra Beasley, 1998, poet, 2009 Barnard Women Poets Prize.
- Geoffrey von Maltzahn, 1999, inventor and entrepreneur, winner of the Lemelson-MIT Prize in 2009.
- Aparna Nancherla, 2000, comedian
- Eric Froehlich, 2002, winner, World Series of Poker, two-time WSOP bracelet winner.
- Thao Nguyen, 2002, vocalist, Thao with the Get Down Stay Down.
- S. R. Sidarth, 2003, referred to as "Macaca" by George F. Allen in the 2006 United States Senate election
- Christo Landry, 2004, professional long-distance runner.
- Kathryn Minshew, 2004, the CEO and co-founder of The Muse, a career-development platform.
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