The Suite Life

By the Student Services Team
Student Services
October 15, 2020

Greetings Students and Families!  

The Student Services department is pleased to share our first ‘Suite Life’ newsletter of the 2020-2021 school year!  Welcome freshman and froshmore families!  We hope that your students are having a positive experience so far.  We understand the challenges of beginning a new school and a new school year via an online platform. We are here to ensure that they have the smoothest transition possible.  We are looking forward to connecting with everyone virtually and in person when it is safe to do so.  

This week all TJHSST students will spend an 8th period block in their Homerooms for the first Social Emotional Learning (SEL) lesson of the school year.  Students have the same Homeroom teacher over their four years at TJHSST and these lessons will take place one to two times each month. 

The Student Services newsletter will be published in conjunction with these SEL lessons, providing information about the ways we support students throughout the year.  School Counselors offer many services to students but one of the most important roles of a School Counselor is providing social and emotional support.    

Why Homeroom?

A Homeroom community supports the academic and the social and emotional learning of students and strengthens class and school community by providing dedicated space and time for teachers and students to connect outside of an academic class.  Having a purposeful format for these advisory periods sets a predictable structure and leads to a variety of benefits such as:

● Increasing a sense of community

● Providing a space to meet students’ needs for belonging, significance, and fun

● Encouraging communication

● Improving academic performance by offering necessary supports

● Building essential social and emotional learning skills

When social and emotional learning (SEL) skills are taught and mastered, they help students to succeed not just in school but in all avenues of life and support our Portrait of a Graduate (POG) skills and growth.  The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), an organization that focuses on the use of SEL as an essential part of education, speaks about five basic sets of skills, or competencies, that can be systematically cultivated both at home and at school. These are the skills we will be working to build this year during Homeroom:  

  • Self-Awareness: Identifying one’s thoughts, feelings, and strengths, and recognizing how they influence one’s choices and actions.
  • Social Awareness: Identifying and understanding the thoughts and feelings of others, respecting their rights, and appreciating diversity.
  • Self-Management: Establishing and working toward short- and long-term goals, and handling emotions so that they facilitate rather than interfere with the task at hand.
  • Responsible Decision Making: Generating, implementing, and evaluating positive and informed solutions to problems, and assuming responsibility for personal decisions and behaviors.
  • Relationship Skills: Communication, listening, and negotiation skills to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding connections with individuals and groups.

Families, we encourage you to follow each SEL lesson with a discussion of the topics addressed, to further  students’ learning and understanding.

October 16, 2020 SEL Lesson Dinner table conversation starters:

  1. Who is your Homeroom teacher?
  2. What type of Icebreaker did they start the Homeroom with today?

Family Resources: 

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.  Wishing you a peaceful and safe fall season!

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Timely Topic #1  | Engagement

We understand that times are weird right now for all of us!  We offer these ideas and suggestions to help foster engagement in your classes; the more you can take away, the more confident in the course you will be academically and emotionally.

  • Put away temptations:  Phones, portable video games, other devices, tabs used for other classes or non-class activities can easily distract. 
  • Consider turning your camera on!:  Help build community by showing off your gorgeous face!  We tend to pay more attention when everyone can see us and we are able to read visual cues.  
  • Try a new spot: Get out of usual work space and work in the dining room, living room, kitchen, on the deck, etc. Mixing up your work space can help keep you in the right frame of mind for learning.  
  • Take breaks: There are long breaks between classes and at lunch--use these breaks wisely.  Get up, take a few laps around your house, move away from all screens, do some jumping jacks, talk to someone else in the house, get a snack, listen to some music, snuggle a pet.  
  • During class, take notes on paper:  This method reduces eyestrain, and keeps the  brain more actively engaged.  Write down questions and ask them out loud for the group.
  • Be kind and respectful: School is just as hard for your teachers as it is for you.  It is extremely difficult teaching to an “empty room” of avatars and black screens.  Make sure you are participating fully.  Don’t work on other classes or homework while you’re participating in a class.

Timely Topic #2 | Take Care of Yourself

Everyone is under an extraordinary amount of stress right now, which makes self-care and down time even more important.  When we don’t take care of ourselves, our bodies rebel and don’t allow us to function fully.  Prioritizing health and wellness has benefits for all aspects of life. 

  • Stay healthy by getting adequate rest, nutrition and exercise. 
  • Keep a growth mindset as you adapt to new circumstances. Your success has as much to do with your effort as it has to do with your ability.
  • Monitor your self-talk and stay positive.
  • Consider joining Mr. Arthur for Yoga!** Good for your mind and body!Yoga with Mr. Arthur flyer


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Helpful Resources at TJ:

  • Contact the TJHSST Librarians for help with research.  See Ion for office hour Meet links. 
    • Ms. Applin's Office Hours |  Mondays 9 am to 10:30am  
    • Ms. Oskoui's Office Hours |  Mondays 10:30 am to 12:00 pm
  • Contact your teachers if you have questions about classwork or assignments.
  • Need help contacting someone?  Call the TJHSST Main Office at 703-750-8300.

How to reach your counselor and the Student Services team?  Click here for all contacts:  Student Services 

There is a counselor available on site at TJHSST every day and you can reach the Student Services suite by calling 703-750-8340 during school hours.  

Upcoming Events:

FCPS Virtual College Week | October 19 to October 23 | Click here for information and registration.  

Class of 2022 | PSAT/NMSQT | October 29, 2020  

Students who registered will receive information directly from our Assessment Coordinator, Ms. Lisa Broadhead.


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This document contains links to one or more web pages that are outside the FCPS network.  Neither FCPS nor TJHSST controls the content or relevancy of these outside pages.

**External opportunities may utilize an online technology, or video and web conferencing tool that has not been assessed or approved for use in FCPS by the FCPS Department of Information Technology.  Students should gain permission from their parent/guardian before engaging in any non-FCPS enrichment opportunity.  Families should review and agree to the Terms of Service and User Agreements for any technology platform used to facilitate these opportunities.