Principal's Note - Feb 21, 2021

By Margaret Barnes
Principal's Note
February 21, 2021

Good afternoon, Holmes Families!

Just one more week until our first group of 8th graders arrive on March 2nd...we are so excited to see our students!! I just posted messages for students to each grade level Google classroom to let them know important information about returning to school in-person.  If you missed our parent meetings earlier this month, the recordings are still available:

As a reminder, here are the dates that each group will return:

  • Tuesday, February 23rd - Small group of students with disabilities  whose families have been notified (Tuesday-Friday)
  • Tuesday, March 2nd - In-person 8th graders, last names A-K, return to school Tuesdays & Wednesdays
  • Thursday, March 4th - In-person 8th graders, last names L-Z, return to school Thursdays & Fridays
  • Tuesday, March 9th - In-person 6th & 7th graders, last names A-K, return to school Tuesdays & Wednesdays
  • Thursday, March 11th - In-person 6th & 7th graders, last names L-Z, return to school Thursdays & Fridays

The new bell schedule below started on Tuesday, February 16th for all students (virtual and in-person) and will be in effect through this Friday, February 26th.  A similar schedule with rotating lunches will begin on Tuesday, March 2nd, and I will share that in next week's newsletter.  It can also be found HERE on the website. Lunches will be assigned this week and will be communicated to teachers. 

On the first day that each grade level returns, we will flip 1st and 3rd periods to give new students an orientation to the school and to go over expectations during their SOAR class.  If your student will be attending in-person, please watch this community video together as we continue to work together to stop the spread of COVID-19.

We will continue to send reminders to families to complete and submit forms that are required for school.  Please let us know if you need any assistance with that process.  

THIS WEEK

This week is a big week at Holmes as we welcome back the majority of our staff to the building as part of the preparation for students returning!  As part of that process, Thursday, February 25th and Friday, 26th will be Asynchronous Catchup days for all students (in-person and virtual).  (Exception: Our Cat B students, both in-person and virtual will have synchronous instruction.) Students will not need to sign into classes on those two days and should use the time to catch up on missing assignments.  

This week is also when:

  • 6th grade and new students who will be attending in-person an who have signed up for self-guided tours will visit Holmes on 2/22 (times also available on 3/1)
  • Holmes PTA has their next restaurant night at Koobala (scroll down for flyer) on Monday, 2/22
  • Edison High School has their Curriculum Night on Wed., 2/24.  Please contact Edison High School if you have not already received details.
  • 2021-22 Course Selections are due (Fri., 2/26)
  • Thomas Jefferson High School applications are due (Fri., 2/26)

What can students do to prepare for in-person learning?

  • Practice wearing their masks for long periods of time to get used to wearing it throughout the day (from the time they get on the bus in the morning to the time they get off the bus in the afternoon).
  • Practice going through the health questionnaire each morning to ensure they do not have any symptoms before going to school.
  • Have a clear idea of what 6 feet of physical distancing looks like so that they can be prepared to help us maintain that at bus stops, in the hallways, and in classrooms and common areas. 
  • Continue to wash hands frequently throughout the day. 

What supplies will students need each day?

  • Fully charged laptop
  • Laptop charger
  • Headphones
  • Extra mask 
  • Pen/pencil
  • Small notebook/binder
  • Water bottle to be refilled throughout the day (since water fountains will only be available as refill stations, not for drinking)

Lockers will NOT be available, so it is important that students keep it simple and only keep what they need in their backpacks.  Some students may choose to carry their own supply of disinfectant wipes, gloves, or hand sanitizer.  Breakfast and lunch are free for all students for the remainder of this school year, but students may bring lunch to school if desired.  All in-person students will receive the following supplies from the school (students who came for WIDA testing already received these):

  • an FCPS mask
  • a small hand sanitizer
  • headphones
  • a health questionnaire magnet

For Health & PE class, students should wear PE clothes on the days that they have PE class since locker rooms will not be available.  

Classroom Monitors

For classes where the teacher is teaching virtually from home, students will be supervised by instructional assistants or classroom monitors.  They will be in a classroom with other students and will log into their classes through BBCU like they would from home.  The teacher will lead instruction as they have been since the beginning of the year; the monitor is only present for supervision, safety, and support.  If you would like to know if any of your student's classes will be supervised by a monitor, please feel free to reach out to me at @email

WIDA Testing 

Last week, we had a very successful first 2 days of WIDA testing with our 6th grade English Learners!  Since we were closed for snow last Thursday and Friday, students who need to complete the testing will attend this Thursday, February 25th or Friday, February 26th.  Specific details with bus information will be sent tomorrow or Tuesday.  

IOWA Testing

6th graders taking Advanced Math will be taking the IAAT (Iowa Algebra Aptitude Test) as part of the process to be considered for taking Algebra Honors in 7th grade.  Students with last names A-K will take the test tomorrow (Monday, February 22nd); bus information and other details have already been sent to families.  Students with last names L-Z will take the test on Monday, March 1st; bus information and other details will be emails tonight or tomorrow.  

For any questions about testing, please reach out to Mr. Kamar at @email.

Application Open for Thomas Jefferson High School of Science & Technology (TJHSST)

I am so excited about the new application process for TJHSST, which will allow more students from Holmes and throughout FCPS greater access to apply.  Scroll down for additional information in the newsletter.  8th grade students in Algebra, Algebra Honors, and Geometry Honors are eligible to apply, and we have notified those teachers as well.  Counselors will be speaking to those students during academic advising and are available to answer parents' questions about the admissions process.  

Materials Pickup for Electives Classes

We invite parents/guardians to pick up supplies that their students may need if they are in an art class with Mr. Hawkins or Mr. Hutto, or if they are in Family and Consumer Sciences with Ms. Fontaine.  Please come to door 1 any time between 8:00 and 3:30 Monday through Friday, and we will bring the supply kit to you once you let us know what class your student is taking.  

NOTE: For the sewing kits for Ms. Fontaine's class, students should not open the sewing kits until the unit starts in the 4th quarter. 


Here are today's newsletter topics:

Holmes Updates

  • Student Services - Important Information
  • World Language Credit Examination Information
  • Academic Advising for the 2021-22 School Year
  • Online Application for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Opens February 1; Deadline to Apply Is February 26
  • Global Stem Challenges at Edison High School
  • After School Program Schedule - February
  • PTA Restaurant Spirit Night - Koobala - 2/22
  • Important Dates
  • Reporting Student Absences
  • How to Stay Connected to Holmes MS

FCPS Updates

  • Free Child Care Available
  • New Employment Opportunity in FCPS: Classroom Monitors 
  • FCPS Seeking Individuals to Serve as Substitute Teachers
  • FCPS CARES Program
  • Healthy Minds
  • Heads Up & Talk It Out
  • CTE Summer Academy
  • West Potomac Academy Virtual Open House
  • Edison Academy Open House

Thank you, and have a great week!

Sincerely,

Margaret Barnes

Proud Principal, Holmes MS

@email


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HOLMES UPDATES


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World Language Credit Examination Information

Does your child speak, write, and understand another language?  If so, they could take the world language examination, which is offered in up to 30 languages and potentially receive HS credit(s).  If you are interested and would like more information including how to register for the exam, please contact your child’s school counselor.  Registration for the exam opens February 8th and closes February 26th

Thanks!

Serena Giron, Director of Student Services @email 

Last names A-C - Mariam Amarir - mamarir@fcps.ed

Last names D-K Bessie Fealey - @email 

Last names L-P Kelly Murphy - @email 

Last names Q-Z Erika Davis- @email 


Academic Advising for the 2021-22 School Year

Rising 7th/8th Graders - Transition Events for 2021

  • Online Course Catalog - The online course catalog is available on the school website 
  • Academic Advising and Course Selection February
    • Holmes counselors will provide academic advising through PE and SOAR on course selections.  Students are encouraged to select courses based on teacher feedback, progress in current courses, academic strengths, and personal interests. Holmes counselors are available for individual academic advising to discuss the student’s course selections and answer any questions they may have.
  • February 26 – Deadline for all students submitting course requests.
  • Deadline for all courses in SIS StudentVUE March 5th
  • Draft course requests in SIS ParentVUE/Student VUE
    • Please note that draft course requests will be available in SIS ParentVUE and StudentVUE by March 12th

Please do not hesitate to contact your child’s counselor with any questions about this process. We look forward to working with you!

Last Name

Counselor

Email

Phone

A-C

Mariam Amarir

@email

703-658-5942

D-K

Bessie Fealey

@email

703-658-5941

L-P

Kelly Murphy

@email

703-658-5911

Q-Z

Erika Davis

@email

703-658-5943

Director of Student Services, Serena Giron, @email 703-658-5944


Rising 9th Graders - Transition Events for 2021

  • Academic Advising and Course Selection February
    • Holmes counselors will provide academic advising through PE and SOAR on course selections. Students are encouraged to select courses based on teacher feedback, progress in current courses, academic strengths, and personal interests. Holmes counselors are available for individual academic advising to discuss the student’s course selections and answer any questions they may have.
  • Deadline for all courses in SIS StudentVUE March 5th
  • Draft course requests in SIS ParentVUE/Student VUE
    • Please note that draft course requests will be available in SIS ParentVUE and StudentVUE by March 12th

Online Application for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Opens February 1; Deadline to Apply Is February 26

The online application for students interested in applying for admission to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST), a Regional Governor’s School in Fairfax County focused on science and technology, will be available beginning Monday, February 1, at 8 a.m. The application will be posted on the admissions web page

The Fairfax County School Board approved changes to the admissions process that will be used to select students for the class of 2025. The changes include using a comprehensive review aimed at improving diversity and access.

Qualified applicants will be enrolled in Honors Algebra or beyond, Honors Science, and one other honors course (waivers available for honors requirements this year only), along with achieving a core grade point average of 3.5. Applicants will also complete a Student Portrait Sheet and problem-solving essay, which will be administered later this spring and are not a part of the initial application.

Applications must be submitted by Friday, February 26, at 4 p.m. Visit the TJHSST admissions website for more information


Global STEM Challenges Program at Edison High School

A limited number of full-time enrollment spaces are available for the 2021-22 school year for rising ninth grade FCPS students who will have completed Algebra I by the start of ninth grade and whose base school is not Edison HS. The Global STEM Transfer Request Form is available on the school website.

Students enrolled in the Global STEM Challenges Program take their honors and/or International Baccalaureate (IB) level mathematics, science, and engineering courses as an integrated class for three periods every other day. In a three-year time span, students complete the content requirements of Biology, Chemistry, IB Physics I, Geometry, Algebra II, IB Math Analysis I, and three years of engineering. Students also have the opportunity to earn a tenth credit in Computer Science, which is embedded throughout the program.


After School Program Schedule - January & February

Virtual after-school activities will be a blend of school clubs, community service, arts and crafts, leadership, recreation and sports, and other activities. 

For any specific questions related to the After School Program or to share new ideas for after school activities, please feel free to contact Ms. Taylor, our After School Program Specialist.

ASP


PTA Restaurant Spirit Night - Koobala - 2/22

Koobala

Important Dates

  • Monday, February 22nd - PTA Restaurant Spirit Night - Koobala
  • Tuesday, February 23rd - 1st day back for Group 5 students (specific families will be contacted)
  • Tuesday, March 2nd - 1st day back for in-person 8th graders with last names A-K
  • Thursday, March 4th - 1st day back for in-person 8th graders with last names L-Z
  • Monday, March 8th - Teacher Workday / NO SOAR Monday Minute
  • Tuesday, March 9th - 1st day back for in-person 6th and 7th graders with last names A-K
  • Thursday, March 11th - 1st day back for in-person 6th and 7th graders with last names L-Z

Reporting Student Absences

Do I need to report my student's absence during the virtual classes?


How to Stay Connected to Holmes MS

Please stay in touch with us throughout the year by:


FCPS UPDATES


Free Child Care Available

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New Employment Opportunity in Fairfax County Public Schools: Classroom Monitors

FCPS schools and centers are hiring classroom monitors to provide in-person classroom assistance for students when some staff members continue to work virtually. If you would like more information about the position, review the job description online and apply if interested. Please share information about this opportunity with anyone else you think may be interested. 


FCPS Is Seeking Individuals to Serve as Substitute Teachers

Are you or somebody you know interested in substitute teaching with FCPS? Apply online or attend one of our Friday information sessions to learn more. To sign up for a session, visit the FCPS substitute teacher information page.


FCPS Cares Program

The FCPS CARES Program is an opportunity for parents, staff, and community members to recognize FCPS employees for going above and beyond to help others and show they care. We invite you to submit your story so we can acknowledge the good work of FCPS employees.

Watch this video to learn more


Healthy Minds

does my child


Heads Up & Talk It Out

heads up


CTE Summer Academy

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