Principal's Note - Dec 2, 2022

By Margaret Barnes
Principal's Note
December 05, 2022

Principal's Note

Bodhi Day, Thursday, December 8, is the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that the historical Buddha experienced enlightenment, also known as “bodhi” in Sanskrit and Pali. Learn more about Bodhi Day in this video from the Miami Children’s Museum. 

Good afternoon, Holmes Families!

Just two more weeks until Winter Break, and those weeks will be full!  

  • Scholastic Book Fair - 12/2-12/9 (see blurb below for details).
  • Finance Park Field Trips - All 8th graders will attend the Finance Park field trip on either Monday, 12/5 or Tuesday, 12/6.
  • Student Focus Group: I'll be hosting a student focus group on Wednesday, December 7th at 11:30-12:30 (6th period) for students to provide feedback and input about FCPS' development of the new Strategic Plan.  If your student would like to participate AND you consent, please submit THIS FORM by 2 pm on Tuesday, 12/6. 
  • Winter Concerts!
    • Band - Tuesday, 12/6, 7 pm
    • Chorus -  Wednesday, 12/7, 7 pm
    • Orchestra - Tuesday, 12/13, 7 pm
  • Parent Coffee - Join us at 9 am on Wednesday, 12/7, for a parent coffee on Positive Discipline.  If you can't join us in person, please fell free to join the Zoom link HERE.  We will also share out the recording afterwards. 
  • Holmes MS PTA Meeting - We'll hold an abbreviated PTA meeting at 6:00 pm on the evening of the chorus concert (Wed., 12/7).  Please join us to hear about course sequence and progression to prepare for high school!
  • Reading VGA Test: All students will be taking the winter reading VGA test on Wednesday, 12/14.  
  • Activity & Assembly Day - Friday, 12/16 - Friday, 12/16 will be an exciting day for students!
    • 1st period: Our chorus, band, and orchestra will perform in a winter music assembly for all students and staff in the morning
    • 5th period: students will have lunch and participate in fun activities during class.
    • 4th period: All students will enjoy an extended recess and will participate in an assembly with Grammy award-nominated artist Saul Paul!
    • There will be no 3rd or 7th period classes that day. 

The Scholastic Book Fair is here!

Did you know that choosing their own books empowers kids and inspires them to become Bolder, Prouder, and Stronger Readers. AND—as always—every book they buy earns rewards for our school.   

Here’s what you need to know about the Fair, which will take place from DECEMBER 2nd - DECEMBER 9th in the LIBRARY.

This year, say goodbye to cash and hello to eWallet—your child’s digital payment account. Before the Fair, set up eWallet for worry-free, cash-free purchases. Anyone can contribute! Share each child’s eWallet so friends and family can add funds and give your kids more books to enjoy.

If you can’t make it to the Fair, then shop at our school’s Online Book Fair. All orders ship directly to your home, and shipping is free for book orders over $25. Your online orders will also benefit our school.

Visit our Book Fair homepage to learn more and get started with eWallet and online shopping:

HOLMES MIDDLE SCHOOL BOOK FAIR HOMEPAGEIf you have any questions, please contact Jennifer Blanco, our school librarian, at @email.

Free COVID Vaccine Clinic Tomorrow!

There will be a free COVID Vaccine Clinic tomorrow (Saturday, December 3, 2022) in the cafeteria at Bailey’s Elementary School from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

- Vaccines will be given to anyone 3 years and older

- Individuals receiving vaccines Do NOT need insurance 

- IDs are also NOT required, however, they will accept any form of ID (even if it's not issued in the USA) if people do want to provide one

- 1st, 2nd, and booster doses will be available

Preparing for Winter Weather

Winter weather will be here before you know it! Watch this video to see how weather-related closing decisions are made

FCPS’ inclement weather procedures will remain the same as last year. The first five inclement weather days will be traditional “snow days” with no school activities. After those five days, we will use the flexibility provided by the Virginia General Assembly to have unscheduled virtual learning days, whenever possible, to maintain the continuity of learning. Virtual learning on these days will be synchronous/live instruction, following the inclement weather virtual learning day schedule (includes a two-hour delay).

FCPS’ website is generally the first mode of communication during emergency weather closings. Other communication channels will be used as quickly as possible including email, text, social media, and news stations. Learn more about how schedule changes are communicated

Be sure to plan ahead for the winter season. Make sure your contact information is up-to-date in weCare@school, bookmark the FCPS website, plan for childcare, if appropriate, and know what items your child may need to take home before a weather event.

Keep Your Child Warm During Outdoor Activities

Your school’s principal will monitor the weather for low temperatures, wind chill advisories and warnings, and weather advisories which may prevent children from being outside. (NOTE: At Holmes, we will go outside for recess as long as the actual and "feels like" temperature is 40 degrees or higher and there is no rain/snow.)  Make sure your child is dressed appropriately with a warm coat and other cold-weather clothing, so they can comfortably enjoy their time outdoors. See the National Weather Service’s tips on staying safe during cold weather.

If you need assistance supplying your child with cold-weather clothing, please call our Family Liaison Ms. Oncho at 703-658-5923 or email her at [email protected]

Digital Citizenship: Privacy & Security Tips for Families

 On Monday, 11/30 students in SOAR class learned about ways companies and individuals could damage identities and devices, so that students can protect themselves from viruses and unauthorized access. This lesson was developed by teachers using resources from nationally-recognized organization, Common Sense Education. As a Common Sense Certified school, we are proud to continue to present you with resources you can use at home to continue conversations about safe digital use:

Come and Show Off at the Auditions for Holmes Musical!

Musical Announcement

Winter Band Concert - 12/6 at 7 PM in the Gym 

Come out and support our Band students!

Concessions will be available before the concert.

The Scholastic Book Fair will also be open from 5:45pm-6:45pm in the Library. Please consider purchasing books before enjoying the wonderful band concert. Remember - every purchase supports Holmes Middle School!

Hope to see you on Tuesday! 

Parent Coffee - 12/7, 9-10 AM in Person and Virtual

Topic: Positive Discipline Strategies for the Teenage Years

Are you interested to learn how to make positive Connection with your child and need new strategies?

We invite you to join us in person with fresh coffee at Holmes to make connection with other parents and school staff. If you can’t make in person, please join us virtually.

Link to Zoom:

We will have translators to assist with Amharic, Arabic, Farsi, Spanish, Urdu and Vietnamese.      

Holmes Hawk Herald Podcast

Did you know we started an after school program for podcasting? Episode 4 will release on Monday, 12/5. The topics in this episode are:

  1.  Newcomers to the U.S: What's it like being new to Holmes MS?
  2. Kids are the Future: Should kids decide their futures, or their parents?
  3. Scooters!: A student shares some Q&A's on this popular hobby

You can subscribe to it on Spotify here or listen to it on Anchor here. Students listen to each episode through their SOAR classes. Students are welcome to join the club, which meets each Thursday after school. If you or your student would like to submit a story idea, fill out the Google Form here.


Here are today's newsletter topics:

Holmes Updates

  • Student Services Information
  • 2022-23 Blue/White Schedule
  • 2022-23 Bell Schedule
  • After School Schedule Next Week
  • Holmes MS PTA
  • From Ms. Oncho, Our Family Liaison
  • Testing Information & Quarter 2 Testing Windows
  • Important Upcoming Dates
  • How to Stay Connected to Holmes MS

FCPS & Community Updates

  • Inspire Future Scientists
  • ESSER III Community Conversation - 12/13
  • 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

Alfa Breakdown

2022-23 Blue/White Calendar


New Bell Schedule

From Mr. Kruk, our After School Specialist

After-School Program Weekly News & Notes from 11/28-12/2

Student of the Week

  • The After-School Program’s Student of the Week is Aron Taddesse.
  • Aron has been a consistent member of the After-School Program since September.
  • He demonstrates leadership and balance by splitting time between improving both his academics and his athletics.
  • Great Job Aron!

Volleyball Club – Students practiced their bump, set, and spike during Volleyball Club this week with Mr. Smith.

Volleyball Club

Running Club – Students worked on their goal setting while improving their cardio at the same time during Running Club.

Running Club

After School Schedule Next Week

Block 1Block 2

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!

  • Join the PTA on MemberHub between now and December 7th and get entered into a drawing for a gift certificate to Great American Restaurants!
  • Are you able to volunteer?  Submit this Google form
  • Want to order Spiritwear

From Ms. Oncho, Our Family Liaison

Join Zoom Meeting: 

Meeting ID: 946 3892 4856

December Coffee

IEP Palooza and Community Resource Fair in Annandale High School (Cafeteria) - 12/3 from 9 am-12 pm

Fairfax County SEPTA and Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) are excited to invite parents, older students (14 yo and older), FCPS staff, and others to the IEP (Individualized Education Program) Palooza and Community Resource Fair in Annandale High School (Cafeteria) on Saturday, December 3 from 9 to noon.

  • IEP Palooza will educate attendees about special education by presenting a simulated Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting. Guests can also attend breakout sessions about different components of an IEP.
  • A Community Resource Fair will happen at the same time, giving attendees the opportunity to learn about valuable community programs and resources related to Medicaid Waivers, disability services, respite care, health care, case management, and adjustment for newcomers. 

CE credits are available for FCPS Staff.

Click here to register.

The following organizations will be present:

ARC of NoVa


Fairfax County, Department of Emergency Management and Security

Fairfax County, Health Department

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), Career & Transition Services (CTS)

FCPS, Davis Career Center

FCPS, Parent Resource Center

FCPS, Pulley Career Center

Fairfax Falls Church, Community Services Board (CSB)

Developmental Disability Services

Fairfax County Special Education PTA

Formed Families Forward

Infant and Toddler Connection of Fairfax Falls Church

Inova Cares Clinic for Families

Jill’s House

LUPEE, Latinos Unidos por Educational Equity

PEATC, Virginia’s Parent Training Center

Special Olympics, Virginia

Fairfax County, Therapeutic Recreation

Wedgewood Community Center

The ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia

IEP Palloza

Dental Screening

Testing Information & Quarter 2 Testing Windows

State assessments measure the extent to which students have learned the content and skills reflected in state standards and may also be used to measure growth in learning state standards. The format and timing of state assessments vary by grade level and content area, as noted in the table below. These include:

  • Fall and winter Virginia Growth Assessments (VGA) standardized tests in reading and mathematics. More information is available on the VGA webpage (;
  • Spring Standards of Learning (SOL) standardized tests in reading, mathematics, and science. More information is available on the SOL assessments webpage (;
  • Ongoing local alternative assessments (LAAs) including performance-based assessments (PBAs) completed as part of classroom instruction in science, writing, and social studies; More information is available on the LAA and PBA webpage (

The Grade Level Tests webpage ( provides information by grade level about the general assessment schedule and reporting method for each required assessment type in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). School staff will contact you with the specific dates your student is scheduled to take the standardized VGA and SOL assessments. If you have questions about state assessments, contact your student’s teacher or Christopher Kamar, our test coordinator, at @email   

Qrt 2 Testing Window

Important Upcoming Dates

  • 12/2 - 12/9 - Scholastic Book Fair
  • 12/5 & 12/6 - Finance Park Field Trips for all 8th graders
  • Tuesday, 12/6, 7 pm - Winter Band Concert 
  • Wednesday, 12/7, 9-10 am - Parent Coffee: Positive Discipline (Virtual & In-person option) - Zoom link
  • Wednesday, 12/7, 6 pm - PTA Meeting
  • Wednesday, 12/7, 7 pm - Winter Chorus Concert
  • Tuesday, 12/13, 7 pm - Winter Orchestra Concert
  • Wednesday, 12/14 - Reading VGA Test for ALL students
  • Friday, 12/16 - Activity & Assembly Day
  • 12/19/2022 - 1/2/2023 - NO SCHOOL / Winter Break
  • Tuesday, 1/10, 9-10 am - Parent Coffee
  • Monday, 1/16 - NO SCHOOL / Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday
  • Wednesday, 1/25 - 2nd Quarter Ends / 2-Hour Early Release
  • Thursday, 1/26 - NO SCHOOL / Staff Development Day
  • Friday, 1/27 - NO SCHOOL / Teacher Workday

How to Stay Connected to Holmes MS

Please stay in touch with us throughout the year by:

FCPS & Community Updates

Inspire Future Scientists

Science Fair

ESSER III Community Conversation on December 13

Thanks to everyone who provided input on ESSER III funding–which was allocated to FCPS to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on students and student learning–via an online feedback form in October. Community feedback indicated that there is a general unawareness of the impact of ESSER funding and a perceived lack of communication around how the funds are being used. 

To help address this, Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid and Sloan Presidio, chief academic officer, will host a Community Conversation on ESSER on Tuesday, December 13, at 6:30 p.m., at the Gatehouse Administration Building. Please stay tuned for more details. 

Visit BoardDocs for a complete update on ESSER.

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