Principal's Note - Dec 9, 2022

By Margaret Barnes
Principal's Note
December 12, 2022

Good afternoon, Holmes Families!

Just one more week until Winter Break, and this week will be full!  

  • Scholastic Book Fair Has Been Extended One More Day!

    It will end Monday, 12/12 after the last lunch. Remember - every purchase supports our school! If your child is still interested in purchasing books or other items, please remind them to bring money (cash, credit cards, Apple/Google Pay accepted) and visit the library in the morning before school or during lunch. Happy Reading!

    Please email Ms. Blanco (@email) with any questions.

Book Fair Extended

  • Winter Concerts!
    • Orchestra - Tuesday, 12/13, 7 pm
  • 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! SaulPaul is a GRAMMY Nominated Musician with a Message. He has also presented 3 TEDx Talks, performed at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and been featured on America’s Got Talent. His life story of transitioning from tragedy to triumph has been told on screen via the documentary Tower to Tower as well as via his memoir Be The Change. Most recently, SaulPaul founded Change Water, a socially conscious bottled water company that donates to the local community with each case of water sold. Whether via art, entrepreneurship or community service, SaulPaul is committed to #BeTheChange
    • There will be no 3rd or 7th period classes that day. 

NOTE: Our hope is that ALL students will be able to participate in the fun and exciting activities that we have planned for Friday, 12/16.  However, students who make choices that endanger the safety of others next week will not be permitted to participate in the activities.  


Recordings of the Parent Coffee and PTA Meeting 

If you were unable to attend events on 12/7, you can watch recording of the Parent Coffee here and PTA Meeting here. Please use passcode !6Jy%MVrK# to access the recording of the PTA meeting.  No password is required for the recording of the parent coffee.

Attend Today, Achieve Tomorrow! 

Every year, absences increase in the weeks before and after winter break. Give your child the gift of education and help build a habit of attendance. Visit our website for more attendance resources

COVID Diagnostic Testing in January

Mark your calendars! COVID diagnostic testing will be available for FCPS teachers, staff, and students at five locations across the county January 3-5 from 5 to 8 p.m. This testing is for those who are either experiencing COVID symptoms or have been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID. Appointments are not required, but registration must be completed before testing. Visit the COVID Testing webpage for more information

Family Math Week

ST Math is hosting family math week from January 9, 2023, until January 13, 2023. During the week of January 9, 2023, students will be encouraged to log onto the FCPS Family Math website to engage in math activities including stories that include mathematical concepts and a variety of different math games from around the world. All activities are available in English and Spanish. 

To learn more about ST Family Math Nights check out this video and flier to help us reach our goal of logging on for one million minutes collectively as an FCPS community. 

More information will be available soon through Schoology for students to access in order to participate with their families during math week.

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]

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 12/5-12/9

Student of the Week

  • The After-School Program Student of the Week is Arnold Nunez Mendez
  • Arnold was nominated for his consistent participation in the program since the program started in September.
  • He demonstrates leadership, a positive attitude, and responsibility.
  • Great Job Arnold

Fashion Figures – Sewing machines were hard at work as students continued to work on their beautiful pieces of fashion this week.

Fashion Figures

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

After School Schedule Next Week

Block 1 Dec9Block 2 Dec9

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

Family Coffee: Dealing with Digital Drama - 1/10 at 9-10am 

Come to Holmes MS, or join virtually, for a one-hour workshop on Dealing with Digital Drama. We've all seen it. Learn how drama escalates online, and help older kids and teens avoid and de-escalate mean or harmful online behavior. In this workshop, families will learn to:

  • Encourage older kids and teens to take a break—and a breath—before responding to online drama.
  • Help kids avoid making drama worse.
  • Assist kids in making a plan to have an in-person conversation.
  • Use settings and in-app tools to try to stop online drama in its tracks.
Digital Drama

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

  • Monday, 12/12 - Scholastic Book Fair Ends
  • 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, 1/3, 4-8 pm - Spirit Night at Chick-fil-A on Little River Tnpk

  • 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
  • Tuesday, 2/7, 4-8 pm - Spirit Night at Chipotle on Little River Tnpk

  • Monday, 2/20 - NO SCHOOL / George Washington's Birthday

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