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Old 05-30-2010, 04:54 AM
 
6 posts, read 16,372 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
I found a comparison of TJ's original and revised "mission" statements to be interesting. The original "mission statement" focused on how the existence of a magnet school might benefit the broader region. The current statement seems to focus on creating a fun learning environment for TJ students. I would expect that there may be some pressure put on TJHSST to move back towards its prior "mission statement," which more clearly seems to align with the reasons originally articulated by the Fairfax County business leaders who lobbied in the 1980s to create a math/science magnet school.

Prior Mission Statement:

Working with the belief that science/technology is a process or a way of thinking and acting that blends human functions and needs with knowledge, tool use, and skills, our school has a four-fold mission:
Offering programs that promote enthusiasm, exploration, and academic excellence in an evolving economic and scientific/technological community.
Serving as a laboratory school examining and developing new methods and materials in curriculum innovation/reform.
Fostering a broad exchange of ideas and programming through outreach in teacher training, enrichment for students K-12. and networking.
Serving as a model for private sector/public education partnerships.

In accordance with our mission, TJHSST continues to sponsor outreach activities to communities both near and far. Some examples include the following:
Guests are welcome to visit Jefferson, and are provided with an overview of the history and philosophy of the school, and are taken on a tour of the building by students or staff. Further information is available at our visitors page.
With the support of the Boeing Company, Jefferson will continue to assist with the annual Fairfax County Fair.
Students and staff at Jefferson intend to assist small businesses in Fairfax County as well as many non-profit organizations in Northern Virginia build web pages as part of Get on the Web Day.
Staff from Jefferson and other FCPS personnel will continue to provide network seminars such as the annual JOSTI conference held every summer at TJHSST.

Current Mission Statement

Mission Statement
The mission of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is 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.

Beliefs
At Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, we believe:

Critical thinking and problem solving skills are vital in addressing the complex societal and ethical issues of our time.
Students learn best in a community where academic disciplines are integrated, fostering an appreciation of how they interact and form a whole.
Global interdependence compels us to understand the languages, systems and diverse cultures of people throughout the world.
Literature, music and the arts are essential, timeless aspects of human existence.
The methods of science provide discipline to our search for structure in the world.
Research stems from a combination of fundamental knowledge, individual creativity and curiosity.
Effective communication is often the only difference between a good idea and a successful initiative.
Collaborative learning, athletics, and extracurricular activities develop leadership and interpersonal skills.
Responsibility and integrity are core principles in the pursuit of excellence.
Learning never ends.
JEB77,

Is this the original TJ mission statement? I believe there was at least one interim version, before the current mission statement and beliefs.
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Old 05-30-2010, 08:11 AM
 
5,071 posts, read 8,618,430 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lepstein View Post
JEB77,

Is this the original TJ mission statement? I believe there was at least one interim version, before the current mission statement and beliefs.
I found the prior version on an archived web site, but you're correct that it may not be the original mission statement, or that there may have been more than two versions over the past 25 years. I should have said that the comparison was between the current mission statement and an earlier version.

Even so, I think the point still holds that a prior version more clearly aligned with the reasons originally articulated by the coalition of local business leaders and educators who favored the creation of a magnet math/science school in the county.
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Old 05-30-2010, 08:35 AM
 
1,182 posts, read 2,536,751 times
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Moderator Cut

D.C. is an interesting part of the country. We always enjoy our 2-3 year tours here. But I am always ready to get back to the kinder, gentler parts of our country.

My original opinion stands. Moderator Cut People up here spend way too much time worrying about getting their kids into the best schools and not nearly enough time encouraging the kids to just be kids.

We move in three weeks and four days. I'm honestly thankful that my kids won't spend anymore time up here.

And I say this as the parent of an extremly gifted kid. She went to college in the 8th grade. We didn't push her. We didn't make any effort to get her into special schools. We didn't "have her tested". We didn't enroll her in 20 different after school classes. We just allowed her to grow and develop at her own pace. The gifted stuff took care of itself. We have five kids and only one of the five is classified as "intellectually gifted". It's nothing I did or didn't do.

Your child's life is not over because he didn't go to T.J. (insert any other highly competitive public/private school). And just because your child does get into one of those school doesn't mean your raising the next Einstein.

Perspective people! It's childhood! Let your kids be kids!

Last edited by FindingZen; 05-30-2010 at 02:01 PM.. Reason: edited deleted quote and corresponding response
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Old 05-30-2010, 11:49 AM
 
Location: Arlington, VA and Washington, DC
23,573 posts, read 33,297,972 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mississippimagnolia View Post
Moderator Cut

D.C. is an interesting part of the country. We always enjoy our 2-3 year tours here. But I am always ready to get back to the kinder, gentler parts of our country.

My original opinion stands. Moderator Cut People up here spend way too much time worrying about getting their kids into the best schools and not nearly enough time encouraging the kids to just be kids.

We move in three weeks and four days. I'm honestly thankful that my kids won't spend anymore time up here.

And I say this as the parent of an extremly gifted kid. She went to college in the 8th grade. We didn't push her. We didn't make any effort to get her into special schools. We didn't "have her tested". We didn't enroll her in 20 different after school classes. We just allowed her to grow and develop at her own pace. The gifted stuff took care of itself. We have five kids and only one of the five is classified as "intellectually gifted". It's nothing I did or didn't do.

Your child's life is not over because he didn't go to T.J. (insert any other highly competitive public/private school). And just because your child does get into one of those school doesn't mean your raising the next Einstein.

Perspective people! It's childhood! Let your kids be kids!
Oh if I could give you a rep!!!

Last edited by FindingZen; 05-30-2010 at 02:04 PM.. Reason: edited previously deleted portion of quote
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Old 05-30-2010, 02:57 PM
 
2,688 posts, read 5,951,956 times
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Hey Alanboy, we agree on that .
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Old 05-30-2010, 08:47 PM
 
3,164 posts, read 6,119,726 times
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Who are we, or anyone else, to say what priorities parents should have for their own kids? Some kids want to learn much more than they want to play sports or run around the neighborhood! Every child, and every family, is different.
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Old 05-30-2010, 08:50 PM
 
3,164 posts, read 6,119,726 times
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Originally Posted by Alanboy395 View Post
As a Black man, I think there is a problem that is more on the students and parents that leads to very low Black/Hispanic numbers at TJ. That problem is motivation and parental involvement.
BINGO!!!!!! You nailed it Alan!!!!! It's all about the cultures and families.
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Old 05-30-2010, 08:56 PM
 
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JEB77 said,
>>>One question is whether county and state leaders who have previously supported admitting students to TJ based purely on merit have the "courage of their convictions."<<<

When did any leaders say that? Which county leaders EVER support admissions based on merit? Why would any current leaders care about declining numbers of whites applying for admission? No one in education, locally or nationally, cares about white kids! Why would they? Next you will be trying to make us believe that educrats care about decreasing numbers of white boys graduating from high school and college! lol
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Old 05-30-2010, 09:00 PM
 
3,164 posts, read 6,119,726 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
That doesn't seem to be the case this year. For example, of the roughly three dozen boys on the TJ JV and Varsity baseball teams, maybe 2-3 are Asian. On the other hand, many of the members of TJ's top-ranked tennis teams are Asian.

I've discussed this with a couple whose son currently attends TJ and has been on several sports teams. Their impression was that many of the Asian families only want their children on teams if they are sure to play and distinguish themselves. It's viewed as a waste of time to be on a team but not get a lot of playing time. For whatever reason, it's apparently more of an issue with the boys than the girls.
Yes, more Asians play tennis, and run track, than the other sports.
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Old 05-30-2010, 09:19 PM
 
3,164 posts, read 6,119,726 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEB77 View Post
I think there have been some interesting responses, so thanks to those who have responded without suggesting that it's improper to look at the trends or ask questions. This is "City-Data" after all, and it's a forum that attracts many of us who are interested in demographic and educational trends in the region.

I'd offer the following comments or observations:

1. People who admire the number of Asian students gaining admission to TJ don't speak with one voice. One can't assert that Asian families that emphasize the importance of education should be emulated (Denton56) and suggest that one shouldn't pay any particular attention to the number of Asian students gaining admission to TJ (Muffy62). Why would someone emulate the "culture" of the former, as Denton56 suggests, unless one had some reason to want to do so?

2. Going back and looking at some additional data, it's clear that the "White flight" from TJ only followed the "White push" - the number of White students applying to TJ started to decline only after the percentage of Asian students admitted to the school started to greatly exceed the number of White students admitted. Be that as it may, the number of White applicants to TJ is down about 8% from five years ago, and the number of White students admitted to TJ is down about 40%.

3. The growth in the percentage of Asian students admitted to TJ has accelerated over the last decade, and the last few years in particular. In 2000, Asian students comprised 16.3% of the total high school students in Fairfax County, but 22.3% of the TJ student body. By 2009, the percentage of Asian students in the county had increased a modest 2.8% (to 19.1%), but the percentage of Asian students at TJ had increased by a whopping 24.1% (to 46.4%). Over the same period, the percentage of Black and Hispanic students at TJ was essentially flat, and the percentage of White students at TJ declined by over 25% (from 69.9% to 43.6%). When the next class of TJ freshmen enters this fall, TJ will be not just plurality, but majority, Asian.

4. These trends have been accompanied by changes in the qualifications of the applicant pool - toward more, not less, rigorous Math courses. In 2005, 55.8% of the admitted freshmen had only taken Algebra 1; this spring, only 20.6% had only taken Algebra 1, and the remainder had all taken Geometry or more advanced courses. So, if some have posited, TJ is becoming an elite school for those who aspire to law or business careers, these students surely have to demonstrate their mathematical ability first. This is an area where I suspect "cultural" norms do come into play; more Asian families have no qualms about pushing their children to take these advanced courses earlier, and White, Black and Hispanic families are less likely to push their students in that direction and/or more likely to second-guess themselves as placing too much pressure on their children if they do.

5. If the student body at TJ starts to look like the student body at Stuvyesant High in New York, as seems increasingly likely (that is, not only plurality, but at least 2/3, Asian in the not too distant future), that IS going to attract additional attention. Stuyvesant responds to complaints that other ethnic groups are underrepresented by emphasizing the contributions that Stuyvesant graduates have made to the NY region and the county. I'd place money on the likelihood that FCPS and TJ will do exactly the same thing. Some of you would probably suggest that it's racist to suggest this should be necessary, but it will happen.

6. It will also be interesting to see whether an increasing number of Asian students at TJ start to get more involved with a broader range of extra-curricular activities, such as athletics. Currently, some TJ sports teams have few or no Asian student-athletes. In some instances, unless the level of participation by Asian students increases, it may prove difficult for TJ even to field teams in some sports.
Surely you aren't saying that TJ should admit more whites so that they can field sports teams?! TJ is a school for academics, math, science, and technology. If the football team disappeared tomorrow, would it matter? How good is the football team at Stuyvesant? Do they even have one? Does anyone care? Can't we have ONE school in FCPS that's about academics? Just one? Please?

And surely you are not saying that there should be racial quotas at TJ to make sure that they enough white students. The fact that there are more and more Asians at TJ indicates that the administration's desire for racial quotas has not been implemented. They have still not found a way to return to their old affirmative action admissions.

Every family is different, just as the cultures are different. For those who highly value education, those who care about their childrens' educational performances, they would do well to emulate Asians families. The proof is in the numbers of Asians gaining admission to TJ.

Do I care about race and TJ admission? Not a bit. Don't care about any of the racial percentages. The two things are not tied together. You may choose to tie them together, but they aren't. I care that the right students are admitted to TJ, those who can do the work, want to do the work, and need the advanced math, engineering, and sciences courses, that are offered at TJ and nowhere else in our county. How that breaks out racially, is of no interest to me. I think the admissions policy should be race blind, with no race on any application and no reporting of the racial components of the students. The needs of the students should matter, not their race. I'm all about merit and hard work, not race. It just shouldn't matter what color the student is.
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