Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

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

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
6560 Braddock Road

School typePublic, magnet high school
School districtFairfax County Public Schools
PrincipalAnn Bonitatibus
Teaching staff107.52 (on a FTE basis)[1]
Enrollment1,820[1] (2014-15)
Student to teacher ratio16.93[1]
Student GovernmentTJ SGA
Color(s)Red, white, and navy
Athletics conferenceNational District
Region 5C
Team nameColonials
AccreditationSACS CASI[2]
USNWR ranking4 (2019)[3]
Communities servedNorthern Virginia
Feeder schoolsNorthern Virginia schools

As a publicly funded and administered high school with a selective admission process, it is often compared with notable public magnet schools, although it discontinued non-application based admission after the class of 1988. Attendance at the school 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. The school occupies the building of the previous Thomas Jefferson High School (constructed in 1965). It 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, the school 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 its 2019 report on the top high schools in the United States, U.S. News & World Report rated TJHSST as the best high school in the State of Virginia.[7]


In 2015 and in 2016 the ratio of acceptances to applications was 17 and 17.9%.[8] The ethnic demographics of the students admitted in the graduating class of 2022 was 22.9% white, 65.2% Asian, 2.1% black, and 4.7% Hispanic.[9] Hispanic and Black students make up less than seven 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]

Awards and distinctions

In 2016, the school 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. It was ranked fourth in "America's Best High Schools" by U.S. News and World Report in 2019. In the same rankings, it placed third in 2018, sixth in 2017, fifth in 2016, third in 2015, fourth in 2014 and 2013, and second in 2012 and 2011.[16] The average SAT scores for various graduating classes has consistently been above 2150.[17][18]

In 2007, the school had 14 Intel Science Talent Search Semifinalists.,[19] 15 in 2009[20] and 13 in 2010.[21]

In 2007, for schools with more than 800 students in grades 10–12, TJ 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.[22] In 2014, 3864 AP Exams were taken by students; over 97% earned a score of 3, 4, or 5.

President Barack Obama signed the America Invents Act into law on September 16, 2011 at the school. The law was made to reform U.S. patent laws.[23]


The school underwent renovation, completed in April 2017, for a cost of about $89 million, including $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 overhauled the school's aging facilities, many of which had not been updated since it was built in 1964.[24]

Notable alumni


TJ3Sat project

The 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.[43] 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.

Computer Systems Lab

The school's computer systems lab is one of the few 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.[44] 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 lab also supported a number of Sun Microsystems thin clients for use by students enrolled in AP Computer Science. In 2008, the school received 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.[45][46][47][48]


In 1997, 2000, 2013, and 2017, the wind ensemble of the school was among fifteen high-school bands invited to the Music for All National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis.[49]


  1. "Thomas Jefferson High for Science and Technology". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  2. "Institution Summary". AdvancED. Advance Education, Inc. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  3. "Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology". U.S. News & World Report. 2019.
  4. "tjTODAY - The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology". 2017.
  5. "America's Top High Schools".
  6. "National Rankings Best High Schools". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
  7. "Virginia High Schools - US News Best High Schools".
  8. Shapiro, T. Rees (March 31, 2015). "Asian students dominate admissions to elite Thomas Jefferson High School". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 19, 2017.
  9. "TJHSST Offers Admission to 485 Students for the Class of 2022 | Fairfax County Public Schools". Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  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) (typescript). 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.
  15. "TJHSST Eligibility Requirements". Fairfax County Public Schools. Retrieved April 19, 2017.
  16. "Best U.S. High Schools". U.S. News & World Report. 2019. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  17. "Shooting for the Academic Stars".
  18. "2013 America's Best High Schools".
  19. "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.
  20. "2009 Intel Science Talent Search Semifinalists". Society for Science and the Public. Archived from the original on April 19, 2017. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  21. "2010 Semifinalists – Intel Science Talent Search". Society for Science and the Public. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  23. Palfrey, Quentin (September 16, 2011). "The America Invents Act: Turning Ideas into Jobs". The White House. The White House Blog. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
  24. Boland, Monica (26 September 2011). "TJHSST Plans for Major Expansion". Retrieved 2015-03-16. As of April 2017, renovations have completed.
  25. "Chris Avellone may be teasing a new Fallout game". pcgamer. Retrieved 2017-12-26.
  26. "Alum Writes Another Bestseller | TJ Partnership Fund". Retrieved 2017-11-26.
  27. "Orioles reportedly choose Astros executive Mike Elias as new general manager". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  28. "Newsworthy" (PDF). Thomas Jefferson Partnership Fund. 2013.
  29. "Rhodes Scholarships Go To Four With D.C. or VA. Ties". The Washington Post. December 11, 1995.
  30. "Stephanie Hannon LinkedIn Profile". Archived from the original on 2015-08-14.
  31. So, Adrienne (2016-01-26). ""The Oscar Wilde of Bots" Now Lives in Portland". Willamette Week. Retrieved 2018-02-02.
  32. "What Makes You So Smart, Computer Programmer?". Pacific Standard. Retrieved 2017-12-26.
  33. "Ehren Kruger". IMDb. Retrieved 2017-12-26.
  34. "Howard Lerman | Founder & CEO - Yext". Yext. Retrieved 2017-11-26.
  35. "Jose Llana, an actor in a regal role who's whistling a happy tune".
  36. "Comedian Aparna Nancherla Makes Light of the Heavy Stuff". National Public Radio. Retrieved 2017-11-26.
  37. "Aparna Nancherla's failed science career". Public Radio International. Retrieved 2017-11-26.
  38. Korea Times
  39. Kunkle, Fredrick (November 24, 2013). "Four Virginian students among Rhodes Scholarship recipients". The Washington Post.
  40. Schwartzman, Paul (2013-10-02). "Third option gains some traction in Va. governor's race". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-12-26.
  41. Times-Dispatch, SARAH KLEINER Richmond. "Richmond's Maggie Walker governor's school might produce an actual governor on Nov. 8 - just not in Virginia". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 2017-11-26.
  42. "Anne Toth '93 forges her way to the top of the tech industry | The Wellesley News". Retrieved 2017-12-26.
  43. Beneski, Barron; Alex Massie (October 8, 2006). "Thomas Jefferson High School and Orbital Establish Partnership". Retrieved October 8, 2006.
  44. "Virginia School Finds 'Super' Prize's Uses Multiply". December 14, 1988.
  45. "TJHSST Receives Sun Microsystems Servers and Workstations". Retrieved February 25, 2008.
  46. "Sun Microsystems 2008 Corporate Social Responsibility Report". Retrieved May 16, 2009.
  47. "Sun Microsystems Customer Snapshot: Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology". Retrieved May 16, 2009.
  48. "News Channel 8 (Washington D.C.) story on Sun Grant at TJHSST". Retrieved May 16, 2009.
  49. "2013 Festival Ensembles". Music for All. Archived from the original on August 3, 2012.

Further reading

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