Principal's Note - Dec 12, 2021

By Margaret Barnes
Principal's Note
December 17, 2021

Good afternoon, Holmes Families!  

We have made it to Winter Break!  It has really been a fun week at Holmes!  We have been decorating doors, judging ugly sweaters, and submitting pet photos for a little friendly and fun holiday competition.  To top it all off, we had our winter music assembly this afternoon, and all students had the opportunity to see their peers perform in band, orchestra, chorus, and theater.  It was a nice way to end the week (and a few long months).  Our students and staff are ready for this break, and we know that you are too. Students should not have homework; our hope is that they take the time to rest, recharge, read for pleasure, and just have some fun!

Today, we were very sad to say our goodbyes to Mrs. Parker, our After School Program Specialist.  She has been promoted and will now be working with FCPS' Department of Information Technology. We will miss her dearly!  Our after school program will still be in place in the month of January as we search for her replacement.

This will be my last newsletter for 2021.  My next newsletter will be Friday, January 7th, 2022. 

Office Closed Winter Break

Our office will be closed for all of winter break (December 20th-31st), and we will re-open on Monday, January 3rd.  If you have questions and concerns for school staff during that time, we will respond to your concerns when we return in January.  

New Morning Routine After Break

When we return from the break, students will begin a new morning routine.  Based on the tardiness and some other hallway behaviors that we are seeing, it is time for a reset of expectations.  In order to ensure that we start the day with calm, focused energy, we will be asking students to sit and wait in one of 3 locations when they enter the building between 7:10-7:25:

  • Cafeteria - Only for students who eat breakfast
  • Library - For students entering door 1 (walkers, bike riders, kiss-n-riders)
  • Main Hall - For bus riders 

This is a routine that we have used in the past and believe that it will be helpful for all students to set the appropriate tone for each school day.  


A few things from Ms. Oncho, our Family Liaison:

Family Resources

Neighborhood and Community Services offers a variety of out-of-school time programs to keep Fairfax County kids and teens engaged outside of school hours. Whether it's on a school day or during summer, spring or winter break, our Out-of-School Time Programs are designed to support the ongoing and well-rounded learning, development of Fairfax County kids and teens.

https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/neighborhood-community-services/kids-teens

Virtual resource for youth, teens, parents, and guardians. 

Let's keep the learning going from home for students in grades 1-6 and 7-12!

https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/neighborhood-community-services/ncs-connects

The Fairfax County Park Foundation 

Please take a few minutes to explore the Park Foundation website:

http://fxparks.org/e-parktakes.html

https://issuu.com/fcpa/docs/parktakes-wi22?fr=sM2Y2NzQzNjM3Njg

Christmas Food & Toy Distribution

Special Christmas Food & Toy Distribution (no clothing this month) at St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church on Saturday, December 18 at 7am. Address: 9203 Braddock Road, Burke, Va., 22015. 

Family Needs Survey

Please take a moment to complete this short survey. We would like to know your needs and your interest area for workshops and training.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc3zwdaWSU9t1Uf4JIxvVlhs-W4vULQW7xI_E9KSH2svEAIpw/viewform.

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Sign Up for TalkingPoints App to Receive Information in Your Language

TalkingPoints is an application that allows you to receive information in your home language from the Holmes Family Liaison.

You can sign up for TalkingPoints by using a web app or a mobile app.  All you need is an email address.

To sign up on the web, go to www.talkingpts.org and click on ‘Sign Up For Free’ button. To sign up on your cell phone, go to the app store and search for "TalkingPoints for Parents" and install the app.

The join code for the Holmes families is KXJPTH.

Here are today's newsletter topics:

Holmes Updates

  • Student Services - Important Information
  • 2021-22 Blue-White Calendar
  • 2021-22 Bell Schedule
  • Week of Jan. 3-7, 2022 Schedule
  • After School Program in January
  • Address Update and Change Procedure
  • Rising 9th Grade Open House at Annandale High School
  • Job Opportunities at Holmes & in FCPS
  • Important Upcoming Dates
  • How to Stay Connected to Holmes MS

FCPS & Community Updates

  • Be Part of the Superintendent Search
  • Get Your Child's Online Activity Report
  • Free and Reduced-Price Meal Applications
  • Free COVID Testing
  • 2022 FCPS Summer Learning Information
  • Stay Connected with FCPS

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

Sincerely,

Margaret Barnes

Proud Principal, Holmes MS

@email


HOLMES UPDATES


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Week of 1/3-1/7 Schedule

The Blue-White Calendar can also be found on the inside cover of student agendas and can be found HERE on our school website. 

  • Monday, 01/3 - WHITE DAY 
  • Tuesday, 01/4 - BLUE DAY (SOAR & ER 1)
  • Wednesday, 01/5 - WHITE DAY 
  • Thursday, 01/6 - BLUE DAY (SOAR & ER 2)
  • Friday, 01/7 - WHITE DAY 

After School Program for January

Reminders:

  • Students should check Schoology for messages about how to sign up for specific activities
  • Late buses run Monday through Thursday.  Friday is pickup only.
  • Late buses typically arrive between 4:30 and 5:00, so students could arrive home as late as 5:30 or 6:00. You are also welcome to pick them up any time from after school by 5:00.  
  • For any and all questions related to the after school program, please contact Mrs. Barnes until we hire a replacement.

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Address Update and Change Procedure

To update your address in our system, you will need to do the following:

Step 1: Confirm that your address is in the Holmes Middle School Boundary using the FCPS Boundary Locator

  • The enrolling parent of the student must reside within the Holmes Middle School boundary

Step 2:  Gather the proof of address documentation depending on which option best applies to you. You should be selecting EITHER Option 1 OR Option 2

  • Option 1: Parents who reside with their child in a property that they own or rent generally should provide one of the following documents:
    • Deed of parent's house.
    • Lease agreement in parent's name signed by rental management office.
    • A resident manager's letter with company letterhead stating residence of parent.   
  • Option 2: Parents who live with the child in a residence of someone else need to provide all of the following:
    • FCPS Leaseholder or Homeowner Affidavit - The homeowner or leaseholder of residence where parent/child are residing must provide a notarized affidavit accompanied by the lease or deed. (The homeowner or leaseholder will not need to be present at the registration appointment.)
    • FCPS Residency Affidavit - The parent of the enrolling student must also provide a notarized affidavit stating his/her residence. 
    • Three official supporting documents as evidence of non-temporary residence. Acceptable documentation includes:
      • Employment - current payroll stub or current employer verification on company letterhead
      • Car - Virginia driver’s license, car registration, car insurance policy or bill, or Commonwealth of Virginia identification card
      • Utilities - bills from cell phone, Internet, gas, water, electricity, cable, or telephone
      • Taxes - current income tax form 1099, withholding form W-2
      • Other - bank statements, Department of Family Services, medical bills, Housing Choice Voucher, U.S. government issued document or other county or agency correspondence

Step 3:  Complete the Student Registration Form (an update for our files) and email that along with your proof of residency (as outlined above) to our registrar, @email.

Physical presence of the parent in the residence of the child is required for enrollment in FCPS. If a parent initially enrolls the student, but then leaves Fairfax County, a change in enrollment status may be necessary.

Experiencing Homelessness - If students are experiencing homelessness, parents or legal guardians may contact the Homeless Liaison Office at 571-423-4332 or refer to Information for Homeless Families for additional contacts and resources. In addition, any neighborhood school can provide enrollment assistance.


Rising 9th Grade Open House at Annandale High School, January 18, 6-8pm

Come to Annandale High School on January 18 from 6-8pm for an Open House to learn more about what high school at Annandale is all about! We will offer short (optional) sessions on our various Annandale programs, and teachers will be in their classrooms throughout the evening to share all about our core and elective courses for 9th Graders. The goal is for students and parents to leave this event excited about all the opportunities you will have as a Annandale Atom and prepared to complete your course request form! If you have any questions, please contact Erik Healey.

Breakout Sessions on the following topics will be offered throughout the evening: Welcome to Annandale, Course Request 101; IB/MYP Program; Activities and Athletics; English for Speakers of Other Languages Program; Special Education Office, and Student Life. 

If you have specific questions that you would like to be addressed during this event, please submit your questions via this Google Form by Monday, January 13. Thank you in advance for your input and assisting us in making this event a success!


Job Opportunities at Holmes & in FCPS

To help us meet these critical needs, here is a reminder of some job opportunities that we have a available at Holmes and throughout FCPS:

  • Substitutes (short- and long-term) - School Board just approved an increase in pay for short- and long-term substitutes!

If you or someone you know is looking for work and may be a good fit for one or more of these positions, I encourage you or them to apply!  


Important Upcoming Dates

  • Dec. 20-Jan. 1: Winter Break / NO SCHOOL

How to Stay Connected to Holmes MS

Please stay in touch with us throughout the year by:


FCPS & COMMUNITY UPDATES


Be Part of the Superintendent Search

On December 13, the School Board held a work session to discuss the Superintendent search process, timeline, and engagement opportunities. Watch the work session on the FCPS YouTube Channel.

There are many ways you can share your voice during this process. Below is a snapshot of upcoming activities:

  • Survey: GR Consulting, the search firm handling the superintendent search, will be administering a survey. The survey will be available in multiple languages and will be a great opportunity for the FCPS community to weigh in on the most important qualities our next superintendent should possess. Look for the survey in your email inbox next week.
  • Parent, Student, Community Focus Groups: The search firm will hold in-person focus groups with previously identified parents, students, and community members. These focus groups are planned for January 10-12

Please visit our Superintendent Search webpage for additional information.


The Importance of Submitting Free and Reduced-Price Meal Applications

Free and Reduced Lunch

School meals provide nourishment that allows students to excel in the classroom and to grow and thrive. This year, FCPS continues to offer no-cost meals to all students, thanks to a waiver granted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

While the meals are no cost for all, it is still important for families to submit the Free and Reduced-Price Meals (FRM) application because it impacts much more than meals.

FRM applications help link families to other benefits, such as waiving fees for SAT, ACT, and AP exams as well as other school fee-based programs. Qualifying students may also have access to scholarships, classes, or services provided by agencies and organizations outside FCPS. FRM applications also help determine additional education funding for your child’s school.

Winter break is a great time to complete the FRM application. Find out more on our website.


Get Your Child’s Online Activity Report

Online Activity Report

FCPS has new tools to help parents and guardians know more about their child’s activity on any FCPS device. These tools are provided by Lightspeed, our internet content filtering service, at no cost to families

You may sign up for a weekly Parent Report, which will provide a list of the top sites your child visited. If you want more detailed information, sign up for the Internet Use Parent portal and log-in anytime to see more detail about your child’s browsing and “pause” access to the internet during non-school hours.

Find out more and sign up for these services on our website.


2022 FCPS Summer Learning Information

Summer Learning Info

Winter Break is a great time to plan your child’s summer learning. Many students participate in summer learning opportunities to advance academically, to sharpen their skills, to learn something new, or to participate in fun fine arts and Career and Technical Education camps, institutes, and academies. 

Fairfax County Public Schools summer learning opportunities include a Credit Recovery Academy that offers credit recovery courses, intervention classes, and test remediation classes; programs and institutes at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology that provide credit accrual and enrichment opportunities; and Online Campus courses and classes. Career and Technical Education will offer Self-Directed Economics and Personal Finance. Elementary and secondary Fine Arts and Career and Technical Education enrichment camps, institutes and academies will also be offered.

Details about 2022 enrichment camps and institutes, Online Campus, and Self-Directed Economics and Personal Finance are now available on the FCPS Summer Learning webpage. Information about other programs will be posted as it becomes available.


Free COVID Testing

Take a look at the flyer below for information about free COVID testing.  For more information about testing and vaccination sites in Fairfax County, check out this link

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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