Principal's Note - Aug 28, 2018

By Margaret Barnes
Principal's Note
August 29, 2018

Good evening, Holmes Families!  

Tomorrow - Tuesday, 8/28 - is the 1st day of school, and we are SO excited to welcome our Holmes Hawks for the 2018-19 school year!  

    Don't forget to fill out our parent/guardian survey to help us with our parent programming for the year!  Please fill out this quick survey to give us your feedback!  

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

    • 1st Day & 1st Week Info for Students & Parents 
    • Medication Drop-off
    • My School Bucks
    • Student Attendance
    • What You & Your 8th Grader Should Do if you missed Laptop Distribution
    • Digital Citizenship Tip of the Week
    • Open House & Back to School Night - Thursday, 8/30
    • 2018-19 Holmes MS PTA Board & Meeting Dates - UPDATED!
    • Auditions for Winter Musical
    • Important Info for Music Students & Parents
    • Important Dates


    Margaret Barnes

    Proud Principal, Holmes MS

    1st Day & 1st Week Info for Parents

    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 on Friday and today.  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 curve.  Our awesome School Resource Officer, Officer Gray, will be there to greet you most mornings.  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.)

    At 7:10 am:  

    • The doors open to all students.  Breakfast will be available tomorrow - Tuesday, 8/28!  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 the 7:20 bell. 
    • 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 the 7:20 bell. 
    • 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 7:20 am:

    • The bell rings, dismissing students from the main hall, the cafeteria, and the library.  During the school year, students will have 10 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 issue the week of Septmber 4th. 
    • Students will be permitted to carry their backpacks until lockers are issued.  Teachers may designate a space in their classrooms for students to keep their backpacks during the class period.  After lockers are issued, only 8th graders will be permitted to have backpacks during the day to protect their laptops.  

    7:30-2:15 pm:

    • On Tuesday, 8/28, and Thursday, 8/30, 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 Wednesday, 8/29, and Friday, 8/31, we will follow a White Day schedule: 2nd, ER-8, 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 ER-8 on Wednesday, 8/29.  
    • What is ER-8?  ER = Enrichment & Remediation.  ER-8 is like a "homeroom" or "advisory period", where school-wide lessons are delivered by grade level.  It will show up on students' schedules as an 8th period, but they do not receive a grade for the class. For the first 3 weeks, students will only go to ER-8 on White Days as they will get lessons about behavior expectations, Student Rights & Responsibilities, and other important school-wide information.  After those 3 weeks, we will begin rotating through classes during the ER periods on White Days.  More details to come about that.  

    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.

    Medication Drop-off


    For families who need to drop off medication for students in our school clinic, parents/guardians should bring the medication to our school health room aide during school hours.  A medication authorization form is required for any medication, prescription or over-the-counter, to be kept at school. Medication authorization forms may be obtained from the school or online. If you have any questions, please contact our school health room aide, Melissa Anderson, at (703) 658-5910.   

    My School Bucks

    Parents may access the EZ Lunch App to add money to student lunch accounts, see menu options, check ingredients and allergen information, and much more. The official FCPS mobile app is available on the iTunes Store and Google Play at no cost. The app links to to add money to student lunch accounts. Lunch menus may be viewed HERE.  (Note: Fees for certain electives may also be paid through this app.)

    Reminder: Parents/guardians must apply each year to determine eligibility for free or reduced lunch. Paperwork can be provided by the school, and must be sent directly to FCPS' Food & Nutrition Services office.


    Student Attendance


    In order for our students to get the most out of their education, students must be in school and on time to class every day. Absenteeism in the first month of school can predict poor attendance throughout the school year. Half the students who miss 2-4 days in September go on to miss nearly a month of school.


    If your student must be absent from school, you should always inform the school. The attendance line is (703) 658-5919.


    Missed the 8th Grade Laptop Distribution? No worries!

    Laptops will be distributed to all students who were not able to attend the original distribution day during their PE class on Thursday or Friday of this week. For us to issue your child their laptop, we need for you to sign the One-to-One Parent Permission Formand have your child bring it with them to their PE class on Thursday or Friday. 

    Student Device Guidelines:  

    Please review the student device responsibilities and guidelines.  The student is responsible for his or her laptop and cord at all times.  We also recommend all students purchase a sleeve to protect a 14-inch screen laptop.

    Personally Owned Devices:  

    All 8th grade students are expected to have a computer for learning this year.  If you and your student choose to use a personally owned device rather than an FCPS issued laptop, it must meet the criteria noted on this permission form.  Students using their own device must return a signed permission slip when returning to school next week. 


    Digital Citizenship Tip of the Week

    Since we are embarking on a new adventure this school year by providing laptops for 8th grade students to use in school and at home, we also want to share best practices and helpful tips as schools and families work together to help students manage the challenges and opportunities of being more connected digitally.  Each week, I'll provide a tip or an article here for parents, and I welcome your input as well!  Today's article about Managing Screen Time is from Common Sense Media

      Open House & Back to School Night, Thurs., 8/30, 5-8:30 pm


      UPDATED: Save the Dates! 2018-19 PTA Meeting Schedule

      Great news: The Holmes MS PTA website is updated and live again!  

      Due to a few conflicts, we have updated our PTA Meeting dates to the ones below, which primarily fall on the first Wednesday (that is a school day) of each month, with a couple of exceptions.  Most meetings will start at 6:30 pm in the library.  

      • Wed., 9/5
      • Wed., 10/3
      • Wed., 11/7
      • Tues., 12/11, 6:00 pm (prior to band concert)
      • Thurs., 1/17, 5:30 pm (prior to Curriculum Night; rising 6th grade parents invited)
      • Wed., 2/6
      • Wed., 3/6
      • Wed., 4/3
      • Wed., 5/8

      SAVE THE DATE for the PTA's first Dine-Out Spirit Night of the Year on September 25th at the Chipotle in Springfield Plaza!  See details below.


      Auditions for Winter Musical: 9/10, 9/12, & 9/13


      Auditions for Elf The Musical, Jr. are going to be on Monday 9/10 and Wednesday 9/12. 

      If a student needs a bus they must sign up for the Monday auditions by THIS FRIDAY (8/31) so that we can make arrangements for those who need it. No buses will be provided for the Wednesday auditions. 

      Students who wish to audition should sign up in I-Hall, where they can also pick up an information packet. A stage crew sign up page is also in I-Hall. 

      Mrs. Murphy (formerly Ms. Ferrante!) is happy to answer any questions. You can find her in I-12 or by emailing 

      Important Info for Band, Chorus & Orchestra Students


      All music students (band, chorus and orchestra) should plan to attend the Booster parent meeting and uniform sizing on September 11.  Enter through Door #10.  Parents will go to the gym for a brief meeting and students will be measured for their uniforms in I-hall.  Students with last names A-L should attend the 6-7 pm shift and last names M-Z should attend the 7-8 pm shift.  It is important that we get ALL music students measured for uniforms at this time.  If you have any questions, you can contact Karli Eddinger at or Kate Bongard at  

      NOTE for Band students: Luis Perez, our Band teacher, will be on leave for the first couple months of the school year, as he continues to recuperate.  (Visit HERE for updates on his progress!) We were incredibly fortunate to get Ms. Barbara Dobberstein - a retired Band teacher - to substitute for him while he is out.  

      Important Dates

      • Tues., 8/28 - First Day of School!!
      • Thurs., 8/30, 5:00-8:30 pm - Open House & Back to School Night
      • Monday, 9/3 NO SCHOOL (Labor Day)
      • Wed., 9/5, 6:30 pm - 1st PTA Meeting (Library)
      • Mon., 9/10, Wed., 9/12,  & Thurs., 9/13 - Auditions for Winter Musical After School
      • Tuesday, 9/11 - Music Booster Parent Meeting & Uniform Sizing
      • Monday, 9/17 - First day for Homework Rooms & Hawk Club in After School Program (parent pickup only)
      • Wednesday, 9/19 - 3-Hour Early Release Day (Student dismissal at 11:15 am) - No Homework Room or Hawk Club
      • Monday, 9/24 - First day for late buses, academic help with teachers, and after school clubs
      • Tuesday, 9/25, 5-9 pm - PTA Fundraiser: Chipotle Dine-out night (Springfield Plaza)
      • Mon., 10/1 & Tues., 10/2 - School Pictures (through PE classes)

      How to Stay In-Touch

      Please stay in touch with us throughout the year by: