Principal's Note - Aug 25, 2019

By Margaret Barnes
Principal's Note
August 25, 2019

Good morning & Happy Sunday, Holmes Families!

Let the fun begin!  The first day of school is tomorrow, and we are so excited to welcome students back for the 2019-20 school year!  

Please take a moment to view this welcome message to the 2019-2020 school year from Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand:



1st Day & 1st Week Info 

Getting to and from School

  • Bus Riders: The FCPS Department of Transportation emailed specific bus information (bus number, stops, pickup and dropoff times) to each family last week. All buses enter Holmes through the entrance closest to the Lincolnia Park Recreation Center (LPRC) pool. Students remain on the buses until 7:10 am, when they enter through doors 3 and 4. In the afternoon, buses leave the school by 2:25 pm.
  • Walkers: Only students who are designated as walkers in our system are permitted to walk to and from school throughout the year. Walkers should enter the building through door 1 each morning. Students remain outside until 7:10 am (unless it is raining or below freezing), when the building is opened to students.
  • Kiss-n-Ride: Parents/Guardians who drive students to school should use the entrance closest to Braddock Road, make an immediate right into the parking lot, loop around the cars, and pull up to the curb. A member of our school staff will be there to greet you each morning and afternoon. Please do not use the other entrance for student drop-off, and please do not drop students off on Montrose Street. Please do not park and walk into the school building with your student. (NOTE: Students being picked up in the afternoon are picked up in the same location.)  Please do not drop off students an leave them unattended before 7:00 am.  

At 7:10 am:

  • The doors open to all students. Breakfast will be available tomorrow - Monday, 8/26! Thank you to our amazing cafeteria manger, Ms. Gu Zhu, for making that happen!
  • Students on buses enter the building through door 3, if they are going to the cafeteria for breakfast. All other bus riders should enter door 4, and will be directed to wait in the main hall by the gym until 7:20.
  • Students entering through door 1 (walkers & Kiss-n-Ride) may also walk directly to the cafeteria for breakfast. All other students entering through door 1 will be directed to wait in the library until 7:21.
  • 1st period classes will be posted throughout the main hall for students to check when they enter the building (in case we needed to make changes to schedules). All students will receive a copy of their most updated schedules in their 1st period classes.

At 7:23 am:

  • The bell rings, dismissing students from the main hall, the cafeteria, and the library. During the school year, students will have 7 minutes to go to their lockers and must be in class by 7:30 am. NOTE: No lockers will be issued this week. Lockers will be issued September 10th.

7:30-2:15 pm:

  • On Monday, 8/26, and Wednesday, 8/28, we will follow a Blue Day schedule: 1st, 3rd, 5th, & 7th periods. Lunch will be during 5th period on Blue days; each teacher will let their 5th period classes know which lunch they have. Please help students to remember their lunch codes, and please remind them not to share the code with others. We'll have staff to help with this if any students forget their numbers.
  • On Tuesday, 8/27, and Thursday, 8/29, we will follow a White Day schedule: 2nd, SOAR Time, 4th, & 6th periods. Lunch will be during 4th period on White days; each teacher will let their 4th period classes know which lunch they have.
  • The Blue-White calendar and bell schedules for the year can be found on our school website HERE. Both can also be found in the student agenda, which will be provided to students during SOAR Time this week.

Buses at dismissal

Throughout the school year, students are encouraged to arrive at their assigned bus stop least 5 minutes before their bus’s scheduled arrival time. You may use your Parent Vue account or your student’s Blackboard account ( to verify your student’s bus information

On the first day of school, students will receive instructions about how to find their bus in the bus loop in the afternoons. We have a white board outside of Door 5 where students can check the bus lineup order each day. There will be plenty of staff on hand to ensure that all students know which bus to take home and where their bus is located at dismissal during the first few days of school. Afternoon buses will be held a little longer this week in order for students to become familiar with catching their bus ride.

Questions about your child's schedule?

Please feel free to reach out to their counselor listed below.  


Parent Survey / Encuesta de Padres

Parents/Guardians: Please help us to continue our planning for the school year by completing the survey below about parent events, which will be open for responses until Friday, August 30th.  

2019-20 Holmes MS Parent Survey / Encuesta de padres 

Student Rights & Responsibilities (SR&R)

The week of September 2nd, students will receive a copy of the 2019-20 Student Rights & Responsibilities.  The electronic copy of the document is available at the link, and students will be given hard copies of it to bring home when we receive it at school.  

Parents have the option of printing and signing the signature sheet to acknowledge receipt of the link, but are also welcome to wait until the hard copy of the booklet has been received. Copies of the signature sheet will also be available in the main office.  



By now, you should have received an email from Transportation with your child's regular and late bus assignment for the school year.  If not, please let us know.  

New App - "Here Comes the Bus" - Over this past school year, the Office of Transportation Services has been working to integrate multiple electronic systems, such as student information data, routing data, and GPS data from school buses into the Here Comes the Bus application. Here Comes the Bus application was piloted during summer school in anticipation of the roll out for the 2019-20 school year. Get more information about Here Comes the Bus

Bus Delay Notification System - Parents may access the Bus Delay Notification System or utilize the FCPS Mobile App to receive the delayed bus report. Morning route information is available through 12 noon and afternoon route information is available from 1:00-7:00pm.


Blue-White Calendar

Holmes operates on a block schedule, with Blue Days (periods 1, 3, 5, & 7) and White Days (periods 2, SOAR Time, ER, 4, & 6).  Our Blue-White Calendar for the year can be found below, and will also be located in students' agendas.   (NOTE: The assignment of blue days and white days remains the same throughout the year regardless of cancellations that may occur due to inclement weather.  


Bell Schedule

Our bell schedule has only changed slightly this year to introduce a new period call SOAR time and to decrease the number of ER (Enrichment & Remediation) rotations throughout the year.  More to come in future newsletters about what happens in SOAR Time and ER.  



We are excited to begin SOAR Time this year at Holmes!  SOAR Time will take the place of ER-8 and will occur every white day throughout the year.  SOAR Time will be a homebase for students, who will be in small groups of 12-14 students with a teacher.  This period will provide an opportunity to conduct schoolwide lessons, to help students get and stay organized throughout the year, to have time to stay up to date with their coursework, and have time to read and reflect on their progress.  




Lockers will be distributed to all students on Tuesday, September 10th.  Students must turn in their Emergency Care and Health Information forms in order to receive their lockers.  


We are excited to be able to expand our one-to-one laptop program this year to include 7th grade!  8th graders will receive laptops through SOAR Time on Thursday, August 29th, and 7th graders will receive laptops through SOAR Time on Wednesday, September 4th.  Students must turn in the 1:1 Laptop Form (in the packets mailed home) in order to receive their laptops.  



ALL students will be permitted to carry backpacks during the school day through September 10th, when they will receive their locker assignments. 

After September 10th:

  • 7th & 8th graders will be permitted to carry backpacks throughout the day to protect their laptops 
  • 6th graders will be required to store their backpacks in their lockers from 7:30-2:15.  


  • 7th & 8th grade students may want to have a smaller (but sturdy) string backpack to use during the school day.  
  • Encourage students to only carry what they need during the school day.  They will have opportunities to stop at their lockers throughout the day.


In today's newsletter, scroll down for information about:

  • First Week's Schedule
  • Online Free & Reduced-Price Application Information
  • After-School Program
  • Capital One Coders
  • Library Volunteers Needed
  • Students Invited to Audition for Winter Musical
  • Important Dates
  • 2019-20 Save the Dates
  • How to Stay in Touch

Thanks, everyone, and have a wonderful week!  Please feel free to reach out to me or anyone on my team with any questions that you have about the upcoming year!


Margaret Barnes

Proud Principal, Holmes MS


FCPS Cares


Do you know a Holmes Middle School staff member who does ordinary things in an extraordinary way or goes beyond what is expected? If so, then click here to submit your story so we can all acknowledge the good work of Holmes faculty and staff members.

First Week's Schedule of Classes: 8/26-8/30


Schedule for first week of school:

Mon., 8/26 = FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL Blue Day (1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th)

Tues., 8/27 = White Day (2nd, 4th, 6th) SOAR Time

Wed., 8/28 = Blue Day (1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th)

Thurs., 8/29 = White Day (2nd, 4th 6th) SOAR Time


 *NOTE: Students can always find the blue-white calendar in their agendas or on the school website HERE

Online Free and Reduced-Price Application Information

Free and reduced-price meal applications may be completed online or by submitting a handwritten, paper application for the 2019-2020 school year.  Electronic meal applications are quick, easy, and available in the following languages:  English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Tagalog, French, and Vietnamese. 

Both the online application and paper application include a designated section with a consent to share information for potential waiver of fees for other programs. This allows parents/guardians to complete the free and reduced-price meal application and provide consent to share information in the same document.

Paper applications must be the original red print forms, which are available at school offices, school cafeterias, and other FCPS buildings.  Copied application forms cannot be accepted.

For more information visit the Free and Reduced-Price Meals webpage.


After-School Program

During the school year, a weekly schedule of activities that will be held during the After School Program will be posted.  

  • Monday, 9/16 - Hawk Club & Homework Rooms begin.  Students must be picked up by parents/guardians this week.   (NOTE: Any student can stay for Hawk Club & Homework Room at any time during the school year.  "Hawk Club" is the combination of time in Homework Rooms and a recreational period each day after school).)
  • Monday, 9/23 - Late Buses, Clubs, & Teacher Help After School Begin.  Late buses are on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.  Students must be picked up by parents/guardians if they stay on Tuesdays or Fridays.  

If you have any questions about the After School Program, please feel free to contact Ms. Denise Taylor at @email.  


Capital One Coders Program is a special 10-week coding curriculum for middle school students. The Capital One Coders Middle School Initiative supports students as they learn how to develop apps for mobile devices using App Inventor blocks-based programming language. Led by Capital One volunteers, hundreds of young students gain exposure to software engineering principles and practices.

20 Holmes students will have the opportunity to get hands on experience learning software development, problem solving, and even develop their own app.  If you are interested and committed to meet every Wednesday from 2:30-4:30 PM for the entire 10-week program (from September 25th through December 4th), Please sign into your email accounts and fill out the application linked below.  The deadline for all  submissions is 3 PM on Friday, September 6th.

Capital Coders Application Fall 2019

capitol One coders

Library Volunteers Needed


The Holmes Library is actively seeking parent volunteers to help with various tasks.  If you are interested in being a parent volunteer, please contact our librarian, Ms. Corina Haywood .  Any amount of time you are available is appreciated.

Students Invited to Audition for Winter Musical


All Holmes students are invited to audition for this year’s winter musical: Annie, Jr! Students do not need to be in Theatre or Chorus to audition, all are welcome! Auditions will be held on Monday, September 9 and Wednesday, September 11th. This is before late buses begin, but a bus will be provided on Wednesday 9/11 for students who need it. “Callbacks” will be held on Thursday, September 12th. Don’t want to audition? Sign up for Stage Crew! Students should pick up an information packet in I-hall, and can see Ms. Eddinger, Mrs. Murphy or Ms. Faraldi with questions.

Performances will be:

  • Thursday, 12/5 @ 7 pm
  • Friday, 12/6 @ 7pm
  • Saturday, 12/7 @ 2pm

Important Dates

  • Wed., 8/21, 11 am - 5 pm - Schedule Pick up (All grades)
  • Thur., 8/22, 9 am - 3:30 pm - Schedule Pick up (All grades)
  • Thur., 8/22, 8 - 10:30 am - 6th Grade/New Student & Parent Orientation
  • Mon., 8/26, 7:30 am - First Day of School
  • Wed., 8/28 5 - 8:30 pm - Open House / Back to School Night
  • Fri., 8/30 - NO SCHOOL - Holiday for Students & Teachers
  • Mon., 9/2 - NO SCHOOL - Labor Day 
  • Mon., 9/16 - First Day of After-School Program (Homework Rooms & Hawk Club only)
  • Mon., 9/23 - First Day of Late Buses (Clubs & Teacher Help begin)

2019-20 Save the Dates


How to Stay In-Touch

Please stay in touch with us throughout the year by: