Principal's Note - April 18, 2021

By Margaret Barnes
Principal's Note
April 18, 2021

Good morning, Holmes Families!

We are very excited this week since we are welcoming ALL of our in-person students back 4 days a week!!  We are so thankful that we have the space to be able to accommodate this and that some of the staffing challenges that we had have been resolved.  It's also Spirit Week!  What a great way to celebrate...scroll down in the newsletter for details about Spirit Week.

A few important things to know if you have an in-person student:

  • As far as we know right now, bus stops will remain the same.  I have contacted Transportation to confirm and will communicate if something changes.  If you are not sure about your student's bus number and stop, please let me know. You are also welcome to drop your student off and pick them up at Kiss-n-Ride each day.  
  • While there are quite a few classrooms that will be operating at 3 feet of social distancing, we were able to keep 6 feet of social distancing at lunches, in band and chorus, and in many of our classrooms. 
  • Please remind your students how to properly wear their masks, to keep an extra mask in their backpacks, and to take advantage of time between classes to wash hands.  

PTA Meeting - Wednesday, April 21st, 7:00 pm

Please join us for the Holmes PTA meeting this Wednesday evening at this Zoom link.  We'll talk about the switch to 4 days, SOL testing, and plans for next year, in addition to PTA business like presenting the slate for next year's board and how we will celebrate our 8th graders at the end of this year.  

SOL Testing (Updated Calendar - FINAL)

Due to the switch to 4 days a week, we have made one last update to our SOL testing calendar.  This is a positive change since it means that we will have less asynchronous time and lose less instructional time.  Please see the updated testing calendar below.  Virtual students will test on Mondays (transportation will be provided), and in-person students will test on Thursdays.  The only exception to that will be that in-person students will take the Science 8 SOL on Wednesday, May 12th.  

Before Spring Break, I sent information to families about how to opt a student out of taking the SOL this year if desired.  The links for opting your student out are below:

If your student is taking Algebra or Geometry, please keep in mind high school graduation requirements before deciding to opt your student out.  Students will receive a high school credit when they pass the Algebra or Geometry SOL and pass the course, which is required for graduation.  

NOTE: Students in Geometry already have a high school credit for passing Algebra last year and may choose to opt out of the Geometry SOL without penalty. 


Is your student's laptop ready for SOL testing?

Since most of our virtual students have not been in the building this school year, it is critically important that their laptops have the necessary updates for SOL testing.  Please scroll down to the section about Laptop Care for students, and follow the steps identified there. 

ALL students will need to bring their school-issued laptops fully charged (and bring chargers with them) to school on testing days.  If your student does NOT have a school-issued laptop, they should NOT bring their personal laptop to school for testing.  We will temporarily issue them a laptop for the testing day only.  

Here are today's newsletter topics:

Holmes Updates

  • Student Services - Important Information
  • After School Program Schedule
  • Laptop Care for Students
  • Holmes MS Spirit Week - April 20 - 23
  • Opportunity to Represent Class of 2025 for Rising 9th Grade Students Who Will Attend Edison HS
  • Summer VIP Camp
  • Important Dates
  • Reporting Student Absences
  • How to Stay Connected to Holmes MS

FCPS Updates

  • Meal Kit Sites Moving to Monday Distribution Starting April 19
  • Standards of Learning Test Schedules for Students Observing Ramadan

  • English Learner Supports for Summer 2021

  • April 7 Town Hall Recap

  • Special Education Parent Newsletter

  • Virtual CAD and Programming for Middle School Students 
  • Employment Opportunity in FCPS: Classroom Monitors 
  • FCPS Seeking Individuals to Serve as Substitute Teachers
  • COVID-19 Vaccines & the Vaccination Process in Fairfax County: A Webinar for Families
  • Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT)
  • Diversity in STEM Talks!
  • FCPS CARES Program

Thank you, and have a great week!


Margaret Barnes

Proud Principal, Holmes MS



FCPS End of Year Grading Policies

For the 2020-21 school year, all students with an "F" will receive a "NM" (No Mark) on their report cards.  All students with a "D" will receive a "P" (Pass). Families of middle school students also have until May 10, 2021, to designate the final mark for their current courses as Pass instead of final grades “A” through “C-“. Additional information is enclosed and available on the following website:

More information will be emailed and mailed to families this week from Ms. Giron. 

After School Program Schedule - April

Virtual after-school activities will be a blend of school clubs, community service, arts and crafts, leadership, recreation and sports, and other activities. 

For any specific questions related to the After School Program or to share new ideas for after school activities, please feel free to contact Mrs. Parker, our After School Program Specialist.

April ASP


Laptop Care for Students

It is important that all students (including students taking classes virtually) to connect their laptops to the FCPS network on a regular basis.  If your student is taking classes virtually, please find time in the next couple of weeks to come to the school parking lot (the administrators' parking spaces or pulling up at door 2 gives you the best access to the network), and have your student complete the steps below.  


Clearing the Cache

It it also important for students to regularly clear the cache in Google Chrome.  Students should follow these steps:

  • On your computer, open Chrome.
  • At the top right, in three vertical dots, Click More tools.
  • Select Clear browsing data. For the time range, select All time.
  • Next to "Cookies and other site data" and "Cached images and files," check the boxes.
  • Click Clear data.

Holmes MS Spirit Week - April 20 - 23

spirit week

Opportunity to Represent Class of 2025 for Rising 9th Grade Students Who Will Attend Edison HS

Attention Rising 9th grade students who will go to Edison High School.  Do you want to represent the Class of 2025 on the Edison Student Government Association (SGA) next year?  Do you like being involved with school activities and helping to get others involved?  Do you like taking on the challenges of Leadership? If so, please find more information here -

Summer VIP Camp

VIP Camp

Important Dates

  • April 20-23: SPIRIT WEEK
  • Friday, June 11th - Tuesday, June 15th: Laptop Collection (more details to come)

Reporting Student Absences

How do I report my student's absence for virtual or in-person classes?

How to Stay Connected to Holmes MS

Please stay in touch with us throughout the year by:


Meal Kit Sites Moving to Monday Distribution Starting April 19

Many FCPS Grab and Go food distribution sites have switched this month from daily food pickup to weekly Fairfax Meal Kit distribution. Fairfax Meal Kits contain seven days of breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, and supper items packed in bulk.

On Monday, April 19, all meal kit sites are permanently moving to a Monday distribution day. Hours remain 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or until supplies are exhausted. Grab and Go locations and bus routes remain the same. Go to the food distribution webpage for more information.

Standards of Learning Test Schedules for Students Observing Ramadan

This year, the main Standards of Learning (SOL) testing window has significant overlaps with Ramadan, the Muslim holy month marked by daily fasting. The SOL testing window begins Monday, April 12, for high schools and Monday, April 26, for elementary and middle schools. All schools must complete SOL make-up tests and retakes by Friday, June 4. Ramadan begins the evening of Monday, April 12, and ends with Eid-al-Fitr on Thursday, May 13.

FCPS welcomes and encourages engagement with parents and guardians of students affected by this overlap. School staff will work with parents and guardians to make schedule adjustments or determine how best to address students’ needs. For example, it may be possible to schedule testing early in the day when energy levels are likely to be highest.

If you have a child in an SOL grade-level who will be fasting to observe Ramadan this year, notify the principal or school counselor to take advantage of possible scheduling options.

View more ideas and tips to prepare for upcoming testing during Ramadan.

English Learner Supports for Summer 2021

FCPS staff members will be providing additional academic content and English language development support for our 36,000 English learners (ELs) this summer. 

Elementary and middle school ELs will participate in the division’s inclusive summer program to strengthen core mathematics and language arts skills.  All ELs ELP level 1 and 2 will be invited to participate. Additional ELs ELP level 3 and 4 will be invited based on identified needs.

High school ELs who failed a core academic course will participate in Credit Recovery.  ESOL resource teachers will collaborate with content teachers to support ELs.

High school ELs who are ELP level 1 or SLIFE will be invited to participate in numeracy and literacy essentials based on need, for multiple weeks of math and literacy intervention.

All high school ELs ELP level 1-4 will be invited to participate in online language and literacy lonnections (middle and high school). This is one hour of synchronous online learning with one hour of asynchronous reading, writing, and online assignments per week.

In addition, extended English Language Development (ELD) will be offered to all ELs ELP level 1-4 in elementary, middle, and high school who are not participating in a structured summer program. 

For any questions about the FCPS summer programs, email

April 7 Town Hall Recap

Did you miss the superintendent’s Town Hall last week? Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand, along with Dr. Michael Martin, from the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Michelle Boyd, assistant superintendent for Special Services, answered questions from the community regarding the CDC’s guidance allowing schools to transition from 6 feet to 3 feet social distancing in some circumstances, and within certain community transmission rates. They also discussed the social-emotional impact the pandemic has had on children and the importance of returning all students to in-person learning. Watch the video.

Special Education Parent Newsletter

The Department of Special Services (DSS) publishes a regular electronic newsletter for parents of special education students to provide updated DSS information, tips, and ideas to support you and your family during distance learning. The latest issue is available online

Virtual CAD and Programming for Middle School Students

The Thomas Jefferson High School FTC Robotics team worked with middle schoolers last year on Saturdays to teach about robotics using LEGO robotics kits. Unfortunately, these in-person sessions were not possible to organize this year, so the team has been working on developing their own curriculum for a free, virtual, school-year camp for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. The only resource needed to access these camps are an FCPS laptop. The camp will be split into two curriculums: 1) classes on Computer Aided Design (CAD), for students to learn how to virtually design their own robots; and 2) robotics-related programming taught in the programming language Python.

Students may choose to participate in one or both classes. Each class will last for 6 weeks, making both a total of 12 weeks from March 27th to June 12th. These sessions will be on Saturdays and take place from 9:30 AM to 11:00 AM. Students will be emailed a Blackboard Collaborate link to join at these times, similar to how one would join a regular school-day class.

Although the CAD camp has already started, they have posted recordings of the sessions in their Google Classroom (this information will be sent in an email to those who sign up) so students can watch those if they wish to participate in the CAD classes now. They can also sign up for the Programming course, which will be starting on May 1st. More information can be found on the following website: You may also Register Here.

Employment Opportunity in Fairfax County Public Schools: Classroom Monitors

FCPS schools and centers are hiring classroom monitors to provide in-person classroom assistance for students when some staff members continue to work virtually. If you would like more information about the position, review the job description online and apply if interested. Please share information about this opportunity with anyone else you think may be interested. 

FCPS Is Seeking Individuals to Serve as Substitute Teachers

Are you or somebody you know interested in substitute teaching with FCPS? Apply online or attend one of our Friday information sessions to learn more. To sign up for a session, visit the FCPS substitute teacher information page.

COVID-19 Vaccines & the Vaccination Process in Fairfax County: A Webinar for Families

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Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT)

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The Diversity Committee of the TJHSST Presents: Diversity in STEM Talks!

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FCPS Cares Program

The FCPS CARES Program is an opportunity for parents, staff, and community members to recognize FCPS employees for going above and beyond to help others and show they care. We invite you to submit your story so we can acknowledge the good work of FCPS employees.

Watch this video to learn more