Principal's Note - April 10, 2023

By Margaret Barnes
Principal's Note
April 10, 2023

Good morning, Holmes Families!

I hope that you and your students had a wonderful Spring Break!  My apologies for not sending a newsletter out on Friday, 3/31.  In my excitement to get my vacation started with my family, I forgot to hit send!  

Please note that there will be NO AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES TODAY (Monday, 4/10).  All students will be dismissed at 2:15.  

Thank You Assistant Principals! 

April 1-5 was National Assistant Principals Week. Thank you to all our administrators who help our schools run smoothly!

Quarter End: Early Release, Student Holiday, Teacher Work Day

Reminder, the third quarter ends Thursday, 4/13, and students will be released two hours early. There will be no classes for students on Friday, 4/14, a student holiday and teacher work day.

Passover began on 4/5 at sundown, and ends on 4/13.

Many Jewish communities in the United States celebrate Passover, a recognition of the deliverance of Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. Passover is also known as Pesah, Pesach, or the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Many Jewish families in the United States eat a ceremonial meal known as the Seder, which involves telling the story of the exodus from Egypt as well as eating various symbolic foods, such as meat of the paschal lamb and bitter herbs, recalling the harsh life of slavery. 

Learn more about Passover in NatGeo Kids

Theravada New Year - 4/6

In countries where Theravada Buddhism is the most dominant religion, April is the month of celebration. It marks the end of the lunisolar calendar and the beginning of another, just like January 1 for most people in the world, and is why this holiday is termed the Theravada New Year. The Theravada New Year is celebrated for three days from the first full moon in April. Theravada means “the teachings of the elders.” Celebrations begin with people attending the local temple in the morning for chanting and meditation. In the afternoon they have a water festival in which they meet the Buddha image and pay respect to the elderly by watering their hands together. Building sandcastles is also one of the most popular activities during this day of celebration. 

Good Friday - 4/7

Good Friday, the Friday before Easter, is the day on which Christians annually observe the commemoration of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Good Friday is a day of mourning. During special Good Friday services Christians meditate on Jesus's suffering and death on the cross, and what this means for their faith. Read more at

Easter - 4/9

Learn more about Easter in NatGeo Kids

Prayer/Reflection Rooms at Holmes MS

As we await more specific guidelines from FCPS around prayer/reflection rooms to be communicated, I wanted to send a reminder about our guidelines at Holmes.  Please see the flyer below for details about prayer/reflection rooms at Holmes.  We are able to maintain the three spaces for the remainder of this year along with the other guidelines that we communicated earlier in the year. 

There is one change: If students would like to use the prayer/reflection room during instructional time, their parents/caregivers must provide a written request for that accommodation.  If you would like to request that accommodation for your student, please submit this form to me at @email and specify what time of day you are requesting.  I will respond in writing to your request. 


Families of 8th Graders Who Will Be Attending Edison High School Next Year

There will be a Hello High School orientation for rising 9th grade students this summer at Edison High School. Students will have the opportunity to tour Edison, meet a few of their teachers for next year and participate in a Q & A panel with current Edison students. More information to come.

Tech Tools for Enrichment in Reading & Math:

FCPS students have many choices for extra practice in Reading & Math. To help your student continue to grow in these skills, please encourage use of the tools listed below. All are accessible by students from Schoology > Clever. Students are using these in the classroom and can continue practicing at home. Some ideas for at-home time might be before dinner, as homework if your student doesn't have any, wind-down activity before bed, etc. Consider creating a routine or schedule to build a habit of practice.

  • Lexia PowerUp: Adaptive reading program with areas of focus in word study, grammar, and comprehension. Available 6-8. Every student's recommended time will be different and personalized to their progress. This program can be supplemented with reading books from the library. Learn more about it here
  • Mathspace with Skills Check-In: Adaptive math program called Mathspace: Skills Check-In. Available 6-8. Students can complete a "Check-In" to continue to measure growth in a certain area, complete "Assigned Tasks" from teachers, or complete  automatically generated tasks called "Recommended Practice" based on their current skill level. Learn more about it here.
  • ST Math: Adaptive math program that uses puzzles and play to teach math skills. Available to Math 6, Math 7, Math 7 Honors, Pre-Algebra. Students can work on an "Assignment" given by a teacher, or "My Journey" which will meet them where they are. Learn more about it here.


Here are today's newsletter topics:

Holmes Updates

  • Student Services Information
  • 2022-23 Blue/White Calendar
  • 2022-23 Bell Schedule
  • After School Schedule Next Week
  • Holmes MS PTA
  • From Ms. Oncho, Our Family Liaison
  • SOL Testing Window 
  • Important Upcoming Dates
  • How to Stay Connected to Holmes MS

FCPS & Community Updates

  • Parent Information Line Available in Eight Languages
  • Proposed Updates to Student Rights and Responsibilities
  • Community Meeting on the Dangers of Fentanyl
  • No-Cost Mental Health Teletherapy for Students
  • ESSER Funds Help Students Make Big Gains In Small Groups
  • View Updated Draft Goals for FCPS’ New Strategic Plan
  • Summer Camps & Learning Opportunities
  • Stay Connected with FCPS

Please feel free to reach out and let us know what questions you have.  Thank you, and have a wonderful weekend!


Margaret Barnes

Proud Principal, Holmes MS




Student Services Information

Student Services Info

2022-23 Blue/White Calendar


New Bell Schedule

From Mr. Kruk, our After School Specialist

After-School Program Weekly News & Notes from 3/27-3/31

Student of the Week

  • The After-School Program Student of the week: Idrees Mahadik
  • Idrees was nominated by our staff for creating and leading our newest club; Muslim Student Association.
  • Great Job Idrees!

After-School Action

  • Students enjoyed the spring weather while getting fit in Yoon Fit Camp!

Saturday Soccer Competition!

Soccer Competition

After School Schedule 4/10-4/14

Monday, 4/10 UPDATE: All After School Activities today are CANCELLED. 

Block 1_March 31

Block 2_March 31

Students Leaving After-School before 4:45

    • Any student staying after school must be signed out of the main office by a parent or guardian if leaving prior to 4:45.
    • Walkers may sign themselves out any time after 3:30 when first block ends.


Contact the After-School Specialist, Matt Kruk, @email

Holmes MS PTA

We invite EVERY family at Holmes to participate in the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) because we can do more together! Advocate for your child, and for all the children at Holmes.  Connect with other parents, so that we can build a stronger community for ourselves and our children. This year, the Holmes PTA is planning on holding in-person meetings again, so you can meet face-to-face with other parents and with Ms. Barnes.  We're also planning restaurant nights, Bingo Nights, a Fun Run, Teacher Appreciation Week, and so much more!

From Ms. Oncho, Our Family Liaison

Upcoming Family Coffee Events:

Family Coffee Events at Holmes occur monthly. The topics coming up over the next few months can be found below. You can attend in person or over Zoom. You will receive Zoom links via News You Choose and e-Notify. Click here to register for an upcoming Family Coffee. All presentation recordings and resources are saved to Holmes Families on Schoology.


April Parent Coffee

Please use the following zoom link to join:

April Family Coffee



Spring Break Camps 

Spring Break Camps

SOL Testing Window

SOL Testing Window

Important Upcoming Dates

  • Thursday, 4/13 - 2-Hour Early Release / End of 3rd Quarter
  • Friday, 4/14 - NO SCHOOL / Orthodox Good Friday /Teacher Workday
  • Tuesday, 4/18, 9-10 am - Parent Coffee
  • Friday, 4/21- NO SCHOOL / Eid al Fitr
  • Friday, 5/12 - Holmes PTA Fun Run
  • Monday, 5/29 - NO SCHOOL / Memorial Day
  • Friday, 6/16 - 2-Hour Early Release / Last Day of School

How to Stay Connected to Holmes MS

Please stay in touch with us throughout the year by:

FCPS & Community Updates

Parent Information Line Available in Eight Languages

Parents who speak Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Korean, Spanish, Urdu, or Vietnamese can call a telephone information line for general information about FCPS and to receive support if they are having difficulty communicating with their children's schools due to a language barrier.

Proposed Updates to Student Rights and Responsibilities

The Department of Special Services will host a virtual meeting for the FCPS community regarding proposed updates to the Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R) regulation on Monday, April 10, from 6 to 7 p.m. 

Participants will have an opportunity to learn about the suggested updates and ask questions via Zoom Chat. Language interpretation will be available in Spanish. A certified deaf interpreter will be available as well. Please register online.

Community Meeting on the Dangers of Fentanyl

Last month, the division hosted a conversation on the dangers of fentanyl. During this impactful event, audience members heard testimonials from individuals affected by the opioid epidemic and learned facts from medical experts and law enforcement representatives. 

The conversation will continue on Monday, April 24, 6:30 to 8 p.m., at Woodson High School. Transportation will be available from select schools throughout the county. View the registration page for details. 

Visit our Opioid Awareness webpage for more information. Visit the Fairfax County Government webpage on opioids for information on how you can take action and how to get help for yourself or loved ones.

Community  Meeting

No-Cost Mental Health Teletherapy for Students

FCPS has partnered with Hazel Health to begin offering virtual mental health services to high school students via live video sessions. Starting Monday, April 10, parents/caregivers who have been struggling to find a therapist for their child or who notice changes in their child’s behavior will be able to connect them virtually with a licensed therapist. 

Mental Health

ESSER Funds Help Students Make Big Gains In Small Groups

Justin, a third-grader, struggled to identify most letters and their sounds in fall 2021 when students returned for the first year of fully in-person instruction since the pandemic began.  After a year of reading intervention services—supported by ESSER COVID relief funding—testing data maintained by his school show he’s made more than two years of progress in his reading skills in one academic year! Read more about how schools are overcoming pandemic-related challenges

View Updated Draft Goals for FCPS’ New Strategic Plan

We are excited to show you the most recent version of proposed goals for the new Strategic Plan. Join us for a virtual community forum and see how your survey feedback has helped inform the latest draft of the plan. Community forums are open to parents/caregivers, staff, students, and community members. Please register by clicking on one of the following dates:

We appreciate your continued involvement throughout every step of this important process. Together, we will help ensure a thriving future for each and every FCPS student. Visit our Strategic Planning webpage.

Summer Camps & Learning Opportunities

Summer VIP Program

Summer VIP Camp

Tech Adventure Camp and CTE Summer Academy

We are excited to provide the following information about our 2023 CTE summer enrichment camps! The FCPS Career and Technical Education (CTE) office is once again offering two enrichment programs this year - Tech Adventure Camp and CTE Summer Academy.

What is CTE Summer Enrichment

  • Hands-on, exploratory enrichment programs
  • Teaches students engaging and exciting content in Career and Technical Education (CTE)
  • Helps students make connections to careers and develop new skills

2023 Programs

  • Tech Adventure Camp: Students in Kindergarten - grade 6 explore STEAM, culinary, health, trades, and computer science by rotating through daily classes
  • NEW TO 2023: Tech Adventure Camp is now open to current kindergarten and 1st grade students!!
  • CTE Summer Academy: Students in grades 7 - 11 choose their classes and dive deeper into CTE program areas, skills, and career exploration


  • Cost - $275 per week
  • *Fee waived for a select number of Free and Reduced Meal students
  • Dates - July 10 - 14; July 17 - 21; and July 24 - 28
  • Time - 8:30 am to 2:00 pm
  • *Early drop off begins at 7:30 am
  • Different weekly offerings
  • Transportation from select FPCS schools is provided!

Additional Information can be found on our websites!

Registration for both camps will begin February 1st. Our websites are updated regularly with more information. Feel free to contact Beth Mehr, CTE Summer Programs Educational Specialists, for more information. We look forward to creating, exploring, and learning with your students this summer!

Institute for the Arts Camps (IFTA)

IFTA is a two- or four-week summer enrichment program for students currently in grades 6-11. Students select from nearly 90 classes in art, dance, health and physical education 9, music, self-directed economics and personal finance, and theater. Visit the IFTA website for more information and registration. 

E-IFTA is a weekly arts camp for students in grades 2-5 who love to sing, dance, act, perform, make, and create. Students take part in four classes every day related to dance, music, theater, and visual art. They work with FCPS fine arts teachers who create classes that are fun and engaging. Visit the E-IFTA website for more information and registration. 

Art Academy

Stay Connected with FCPS

Being connected to your school and division is important every year, and even more so now as we navigate our return to school. The best way to stay informed is to sign up for newsletters through News You Chose

Your school and FCPS have a variety of topics you can choose from, including:

  • School Newsletters- featuring everything you need to know about your child’s school
  • FCPS This Week- a weekly newsletter featuring news and happenings from across the division, published Wednesday mornings
  • School Board Meeting Update- a recap of important news coming out of school board meetings, published the Friday morning after the meeting
  • FCPS Employee News- weekly updates just for staff, published Tuesday mornings