Thomas Jefferson Elementary 

COVID-19 Information

April 2, 2020

TJ Families,

Good afternoon. I hope this email finds each of you well, healthy, and hanging in there during this incredibly strange and straining time. I wanted to reach out to you and share a few updates from TJ, some of which I suspect you already know. I also want to take a moment to frame the work of our teachers and the benefit your kids will reap from it, and to ask our TJ family for some special consideration.

As you likely know, the FCCPS School Board voted Tuesday night to make a few changes to the upcoming remainder of this year. Listed below is a general calendar of events for the remaining months of the 2019-2020 school year:

  • Friday, 4/3: NO STUDENT CONFERENCES. This is a planning day to help teachers prepare for the teaching of new content.
  • Week of 4/6: Spring Break -- no student work/office hours
  • Monday, 4/13: Teacher Workday -- no student work or office hours
  • Tuesday, 4/14: New content instruction (approximately 2 hours of office hours, 30-45 minutes of new content instruction)
  • Friday, 4/24: Teacher workday -- no student work/office hours
  • Monday, 5/25: Memorial Day -- no student or staff work
  • Friday, 5/29: Last day for new content instruction
  • June 1 through June 4: Last week for students to consist of (final assessments as necessary, end of year activities with classes online, final project presentations, etc.) STAY TUNED FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS
  • Thursday, 6/4: Last day of school for students
  • Friday, 6/5: Last day of school for staff

I also wanted to remind you of the online link available to you should you or your student encounter any technology problems. Should you have problems with the laptop, accessing Schoology, or any other facet of online learning, please visit https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf0F7Ep2YR8o_8doCpO1cSrBggEDlw20x8tilekRNnS6cxoqg/viewform.

Another part of the FCCPS online learning plan allows students to turn in work that they did not complete during the 3rd grading period. In order to allow our teachers time to grade this work, students who have missing assignments from the 3rd grading period must turn this work in to teachers by April 23, 2020. As a reminder, the only work from the third nine weeks that will be graded is work done prior to the closing of schools on March 16. All online work done between March 19 and April 2 will remain ungraded.

TJ intends to mail report cards for the 3rd nine weeks around April 29, 2020. Grading and report card plans for the 4th 9 weeks are still being determined and will be shared with you as soon as possible.

In order to memorialize this experience, Ms. Brooke Davis, our school librarian, and yearbook editor is asking families to submit photos of your students doing distance learning at home. Students in these photos can be reading, working on their laptops, or doing any other distance learning work. These photos should be only of TJ students and should not include screenshots of other students. Ms. Davis would like to choose some of these photos and include them in this year’s yearbook. Families can submit these photos to Ms. Davis at davisb1@fccps.org.

Finally, let me ask of you what is arguably one of the more important requests I have made of our community: please extend grace and kindness to our teachers throughout the remainder of this school year.

It goes without saying that this is a time that makes our worries explode. We are fearful for the health of our loved ones and ourselves. We are watching wild and scary volatility in our economic markets. Many of us are experiencing new Dynamics in our family life as we comply with stay-at-home orders. We worry about how the new reality will impact our children and their education. We are going to get through this, and better days are absolutely coming. But these worries are very understandable.

They are the same worries that our teachers face.

There is no online program that can take the place of a face to face teacher. I want you to know that our teachers have worked indescribably hard to create learning plans that your children will benefit from. They have done so thoughtfully, and they have done so with a dedication that I continue to be awed by. In spite of their excellence, this is a deeply imperfect situation. But we have given this our best. Our teachers have stepped up, doing work that is incredibly difficult and complex.

We now ask for the TJ family to see and honor this work. Personalized learning and differentiation that are hallmarks of our classrooms are things that we cannot duplicate nearly as well online as what we can in person. I am asking for your grace and understanding of this.

We are going to come out on the other side of this. Your child's education is something we take incredibly seriously. While all of us would prefer to have kids inside the sacred walls of our schools right now, please have faith that when all is said and done, the children of FCCPS will be better positioned to continue their education than virtually any other students in the United States.

All the best,

Paul Swanson, Principal

Thomas Jefferson Elementary School

March 19, 2020

My strong hope is that this brief newsletter finds each of you doing well, staying healthy, and managing what can be a hard and heavy emotional time as the nation works through this crisis. I also am hopeful that day 1 of online learning went well. While no technology can replace a teacher, those of you that have seen the lessons our staff put together have been again reminded, I believe, of the extraordinary dedication and skill of our teachers. I want to thank our staff once again for their incredible work and dedication in this time, a time that has no precedent in our generation.

I want to share with you that a common theme of the feedback I have heard from my staff is that seeing your children during our videoconferences has been a genuine bright spot for us. At the end of the day, beyond academic issues like curriculum, instruction, differentiation, and all those phrases of education jargon, is the shared relationship and love between teachers and kids.

While this moment in time does not require any philosophical ramblings, I think it is worth noting thinking about the issues schools have faced in the last week. We have taken steps to continue the education of kids. We have taken steps to return medication to families who keep medicine at our schools. We have taken steps to ensure that at-risk families have food. We have taken steps to ensure that families without access to the internet have wireless "mini's" that give them access to wireless networks. We have taken steps to have counselors available to our kids through videoconferences. And on and on.

It's a reminder of just how integral schools are and how many needs beyond academics they are called on to meet. That is a reality that in itself is worth acknowledging and respecting. We have been deeply gratified and touched by the affirmations, thanks, and compliments of the TJ family. Thank you very much for that.

We will absolutely get through this together. Let's continue to take care of one another and do as science advises us to do. When all this is over, we will celebrate and give thanks together.

Take good care, All. We will continue to be in touch.

FCCPS Information About Coronavirus Responses

FCCPS continues to provide updates to the FCCPS family about the division's responses to the Coronavirus emergency. Please check out https://www.fccps.org/o/FCCPS/page/covid-19-plan for updates from Dr. Noonan and other FCCPS resources and information items.

March 17, 2020

TJ Families/Familias de TJ:

Here are the online learning resources. Please read my overview letter for more details (Aquí están los recursos de aprendizaje en línea. Por favor lea mi sobre boletín para más detalles).

Overview from Mr. Swanson/Resumen del Sr. Swanson: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ez6nCOcmPeynenIGfpap0YcSrIUQigZNBDzM875WgYY/edit

Third Grade Lessons/Lecciones de tercer grado: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1suMbyYDpNWm17O8pTBE9BcmXgQT_oTyQ-k1lgxtfRi8/edit?ts=5e65571d

Fourth Grade Lessons/Lecciónes de cuarto grado: https://docs.google.com/document/d/15DMBqw1f_f79EN3oLRWUfcuc_e2NhQ7BF2p3KEgvhV8/edit

Fifth Grade Lessons/Lecciones de quinto grado: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KDk_UJgWfs-hTy2n6MQas4-e3waNMXZUOw-JMZKA2vU/edit

March 14, 2020

TJ Families:

Good afternoon! We had a great and active day here at TJ, with the families of close to 350 students coming to TJ. We truly hope the day and system were helpful to you and your students. I wanted to offer a few other tips:

1. For those of you who picked up laptops at TJ today, it might be a good idea to have your student log in tonight just to make sure everything works. If you have any problems, we will have technology specialists here in the building tomorrow from around 9:00 to noon.

2. For those of you who are planning on coming to the building tomorrow, a reminder of the following time slots:
9-11 Third Grade
11: 00-1: 00 Fourth Grade
1: 00-3: 00 Fifth Grade

4:00 Close

3. A reminder that if you have a working computer at home, you do not need to come to TJ to pick up a laptop unless you wish to do so. Any computer will work.

Take good care,

Paul Swanson


March 14, 2020

Dear Parents,

Thank you so much for bringing your students by today to retrieve their laptop and school-related items. 

A few parents reported having difficulty accessing their personal wifi when logging in at home, or have received a message stating that an administrator password is required. If this applies to your student, please bring your laptop back to school tomorrow, Sunday, March 15th, between 9-4, so that our technology team can fix it for you. 

If you are planning to retrieve your laptop tomorrow, we recommend that you come early so that we can provide support should you have any problems with your wifi connection at home. You can also reach out to the respective people listed below for technology support:

Thomas Jefferson ES: Alane O'Neill, oneilla@fccps.org, Hai Le, haile@fccps.org

Mary Ellen Henderson MS: Lori Fogle foglel@fccps.org, Kim Nguyen, nguyenk@fccps.org

Thanks for your patience as we transition to e-Learning.

mARCH 14, 2020

Greetings, All! A big thanks to all of our families for their flexibility and understanding during this time of uncertainty. Thank you! 

A reminder to TJ families that we are open for business today and tomorrow IF your student needs a laptop. While we have numerous volunteers to help, if you are coming to pick up a child's laptop, it might be helpful for the child to tell you the laptop number. If they can't remember it, no problem -- we will take care of you. 

Thanks again for all your flexibility.

March 13, 2020

TJ Families:

Thank you for all of your support and patience as we work to address this public health crisis. This week we shared our FCCPS Emergency Response Plan that would be deployed should we close for more than 3-days due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Unfortunately, we have arrived at that moment for our FCCPS school family. We are all taking the time to breathe and take care of each other.

As you are aware, FCCPS will be closed from Monday, March 16th through April 14th for our students. On Thursday, March 19th we will deploy our online resources for your student to begin working within Schoology. You will receive a letter via email and Schoology on Tuesday evening from TJ detailing each grade level’s daily lesson plans.

Our staff has been working hard to prepare for this as well. On Saturday, March 14th and Sunday, March 15, our schools will be open from 9 am to 4 pm for families to pick up items. Please follow the following schedule:

Saturday, March 14 9-11 Third Grade
11:00-1:00 Fourth Grade
1:00-3:00 Fifth Grade

4:00 Close

Pick up laptops in TJ gym; pick up medicines in the health room; if needed, pick up food items in the cafeteria
Saturday, March 15 9-11 Third Grade
11:00-1:00 Fourth Grade
1:00-3:00 Fifth Grade

4:00 Close

Pick up laptops in TJ gym; pick up medicines in the health room; if needed, pick up food items in the cafeteria

This schedule was developed to help ensure everyone’s safety and support social distancing practices. During distribution please try to stay 6 feet from one another, and be kind and patient. If you cannot attend at the time assigned to your student's grade level, please come whenever is best for you between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

In order to ensure that we are able to distribute laptops, medications, and food to those students eligible for free and reduced-price meals, parents may need to visit each school that their student attends. Technology and medication pick up will occur at each child’s school while food will be available where families receive backpack program support or at the school, the oldest child attends for families who receive free and reduced-price meals.

Thank you all very much for your patience and flexibility as we work together through this situation.

Most Respectfully,

Paul Swanson