Principal's Note - Jan 6, 2023

By Margaret Barnes
Principal's Note
January 06, 2023

Good afternoon, Holmes Families!

Three Kings Day (January 6), also known as the Epiphany, is a Christian celebration that commemorates the Biblical story of the three kings who followed the star of Bethlehem to bring gifts to the Christ child. This marks the official 12th day of Christmas. Learn more at National Geographic Kids

FCPS has designated Three Kings Day/Epiphany as a religious and cultural observance day (O day). There is school on these days, however, the School Board has directed that specific events that cannot be made up will not be held on these observance days. See the complete 2022-23 school year calendar.

Holmes MS Curriculum Night - Thursday, January 12th

Academic advising season is quickly arriving! Soon, we will begin the process for students to begin selecting the courses for the 2023-24 school year!  On Thursday, January 12th, we will share information with families about the process and details about different courses, including electives. Please see this flyer for all important dates! Please do not hesitate to contact your child’s counselor with any questions about this process. We look forward to working with you!

If your student is currently an 8th grader, scroll down for information about two events hosted by Annandale and Edison High School for rising 9th graders.  

Curriculum Night_EngCurriculum Night_Spanish

Social & Emotional Learning (SEL) Screener Results 

  • Most Fairfax County Public Schools students complete the SEL screener. This survey offers valuable information about students' SEL skills, relationships, school environment, and well-being.
  • SEL Parent and Guardian letters were mailed via USPS around January 1st containing your child’s results.
  • Please visit this website for a brief overview of what the screener is, how schools use the data, how to understand the scores, as well as tips for discussing the results with your child.

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.

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

Come to Holmes MS, or join virtually, for a one-hour workshop on Dealing with Digital Drama

*To join virtually, click this Zoom Link: 

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.

Translation in different languages will be available virtually and in- person.

Rising 9th Grade Open House at Annandale HS - 1/11, 6 pm

On January 11 from 6-8pm Annandale High School will host an Open House for our rising 9th grade students and families 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 our students will have as an Annandale Atom! 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 Math Course Placement. If you have any questions, please contact Erik Healey

In-Person Open House/Information session on the Global Stem Program at Edison HS - 1/18, 6:00-7:15 pm

Edison High School will host an In-Person Open House/Information session on the Global Stem Program, on Wednesday, January 18th from 6:00-7:15.  The presentation will be from 6-6:45PM with an optional tour of classrooms from 6:45-7:15PM.  More information about Hello High School, Edison’s transition information session will be shared at a later date. 

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

  • Strategic Planning Community Forums Scheduled
  • Resources for Families of Students with Disabilities
  • Future Planning for Students in Special Education
  • Youth Substance Use Presentations
  • Summer Camps & Learning Opportunities
  • Stay Connected with FCPS

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


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 1/3-1/6

News & Notes

  • To celebrate the 2023 New Year, the After-School Program will be adding NEW clubs to our program starting in the 3rd Quarter.
  • These new clubs include; Cards Club, Basketball League, & Hawks Helpers.
  • These clubs will be open to all Holmes Middle School Students.
  • More details to follow.

Student of the Week

  • The After-School Program Student of the week is John Hart
  • John has been a dedicated member of the After-School Program all year and has provided major contributions to clubs such as our Hawk Herald Podcast Club.
  • John demonstrates balance, accountability, and leadership within our program.
  • Congrats John!

Students in Action

  • Creativity was soaring during after-school in Art Club
Students in Action
  • Noah Beggs (6th grade), represented Holmes Middle School at the Appian Board Games Tournament that took place between 7 different FCPS Middle Schools. Great job Noah!

After School Schedule 1/9-1/13

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

Donate to our PTA's upcoming raffles and fundraising 

PTA Flyer

From Ms. Oncho, Our Family Liaison

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




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

  • Tuesday, 1/10, 9-10 am - Parent Coffee
  • Wednesday, 1/11, 6 pm - Rising 9th Grade Open House at Annandale HS
  • Thursday, 1/12, 5-7 pm - Holmes MS Curriculum Night 
  • Monday, 1/16 - NO SCHOOL / Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday
  • Wednesday, 1/18, 6:00-7:15 pm - In Person Open House/Information session on the Global Stem Program
  • 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

Strategic Planning Community Forums Scheduled

Beginning January 30, FCPS will host a series of community forums as part of our Strategic Plan development process. The completed schedule and locations for the sessions are posted on FCPS' Strategic Planning webpage

Planning teams, which include a diverse range of voices from the FCPS community, are continuing to review student achievement, access, and survey data;and crafting a collective vision for the school division. Key communicators will soon receive strategic planning materials to share with their groups and networks. Preparations for divisionwide student focus groups are underway, and there will be opportunities for employees to engage in a survey and “reality check” sessions in the upcoming months. For the latest information, please visit the Strategic Planning web page and check it often.  

Resources for Families of Students with Disabilities

SEPTA, the Fairfax County Special Education Parent Teacher Association, was created to empower and connect families, students, and educators to ensure students with disabilities develop their full potential as individuals and community members. Learn more or become a member on the SEPTA website

The Advisory Committee for Students with Disabilities (ACSD) is a state mandated Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC). Parents/guardians, students, teachers, administrators, staff, and others interested in special education at FCPS are welcome and encouraged to share their thoughts, ideas, and/or public comment related to the unmet needs of students with disabilities.

FCPS’ Office of Special Education Procedural Support provides guidance to staff, families, and students in areas related to the implementation of and compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended. 

Families of students in special education programs can find more resources in the Special Education Handbook for Parents. (Translations are available from the Parent Resource Center (PRC).) 

The PRC offers free webinars, consultations, a lending library, and resources to help adults support the success of all students, including those with learning challenges, special needs, and disabilities. Their YouTube channel includes videos of workshops and webinars for families and educators to support student success. Sign up for their newsletter to receive information on upcoming webinars and other resources. Please contact the PRC with any questions at @email or call 703-204-2941.

Kathy Murphy, the assistant ombuds for special education, provides information and support to parents/caregivers and students regarding special education and Section 504 services. Staff in the Office of the Ombuds believe that by being transparent and connecting families with available supports and services, children with special needs can equitably access public education.

Contact the ombuds by submitting a question, calling 571-423-4014, or emailing @email

Future Planning for Students in Special Education

CTS EnglishCTS Spanish

Youth Substance Use Presentations

  • FCPS is dedicated to providing parents and community members with the most accurate and up-to-date information on youth substance use, prevention, addiction, interventions and available supports. Please join us and our partners from the Fairfax County Police Department and Community Services Board as we discuss these topics as well as the ongoing opioid crisis. Attendees will walk away with an understanding of:
  • Alcohol, nicotine, cannabis, and opioid.
  • List what you can do as a caregiver.
  • How to identify and connect with community resources.

Please see below for more information about presentations in Annandale HS and Edison HS. 

Difficult Conversations_Annandale

Difficult Conversations_Edison

Summer Camps & Learning Opportunities

Tech Adventure Camp and CTE Summer Academy

We are excited to provide the following information about our 2023 CTE summer enrichment camps! The FCPS Career and Technical Education (CTE) office is once again offering two enrichment programs this year - Tech Adventure Camp and CTE Summer Academy.

What is CTE Summer Enrichment

  • Hands-on, exploratory enrichment programs
  • Teaches students engaging and exciting content in Career and Technical Education (CTE)
  • Helps students make connections to careers and develop new skills

2023 Programs

  • Tech Adventure Camp: Students in Kindergarten - grade 6 explore STEAM, culinary, health, trades, and computer science by rotating through daily classes
  • NEW TO 2023: Tech Adventure Camp is now open to current kindergarten and 1st grade students!!
  • CTE Summer Academy: Students in grades 7 - 11 choose their classes and dive deeper into CTE program areas, skills, and career exploration


  • Cost - $275 per week
  • *Fee waived for a select number of Free and Reduced Meal students
  • Dates - July 10 - 14; July 17 - 21; and July 24 - 28
  • Time - 8:30 am to 2:00 pm
  • *Early drop off begins at 7:30 am
  • Different weekly offerings
  • Transportation from select FPCS schools is provided!

Additional Information can be found on our websites!

Registration for both camps will begin February 1st. Our websites are updated regularly with more information. Feel free to contact Beth Mehr, CTE Summer Programs Educational Specialists, for more information. We look forward to creating, exploring, and learning with your students this summer!

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