Principal's Note - March 24, 2023

By Margaret Barnes
Principal's Note
March 26, 2023

Good afternoon, Holmes Families!

Just one more week until Spring Break and just two more weeks remaining in 3rd quarter! 

Tonight is opening night for Footloose!  I hope that you can join us for one of the performances.  The students have worked hard!

Holmes Middle School Theatre Department Presents:



Based on the Original Screenplay by Dean Pitchford



Friday, March 24 at 7:00pm

Saturday March 25 at 2:00pm & 7:00pm

All Tickets $5


Prayer/Reflection Rooms at Holmes MS

As we await more specific guidelines from FCPS around prayer/reflection rooms to be communicated, I wanted to send a reminder about our guidelines at Holmes.  Please see the flyer below for details about prayer/reflection rooms at Holmes.  We are able to maintain the three spaces for the remainder of this year along with the other guidelines that we communicated earlier in the year. 

There is one change: If students would like to use the prayer/reflection room during instructional time, their parents/caregivers must provide a written request for that accommodation.  If you would like to request that accommodation for your student, please submit this form to me at @email and specify what time of day you are requesting.  I will respond in writing to your request. 


Spring Break COVID Test Kit Distribution

If your family is planning to travel or attend large gatherings over spring break, and you would like to ensure your child is healthy before returning to school, please contact us at Holmes MS to obtain a test kit in advance of spring break. Please note, testing is NOT required for students to return to school after break. However, you may want to test your student if they are symptomatic or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Kits will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Expiration date of test kits in our inventory is April 4 and April 7, 2023.

Families of 8th Graders Who Will Be Attending Edison High School Next Year

There will be a Hello High School orientation for rising 9th grade students this summer at Edison High School. Students will have the opportunity to tour Edison, meet a few of their teachers for next year and participate in a Q & A panel with current Edison students. More information to come.

Tech Tools for Enrichment in Reading & Math:

FCPS students have many choices for extra practice in Reading & Math. To help your student continue to grow in these skills, please encourage use of the tools listed below. All are accessible by students from Schoology > Clever. Students are using these in the classroom and can continue practicing at home. Some ideas for at-home time might be before dinner, as homework if your student doesn't have any, wind-down activity before bed, etc. Consider creating a routine or schedule to build a habit of practice.

  • Lexia PowerUp: Adaptive reading program with areas of focus in word study, grammar, and comprehension. Available 6-8. Every student's recommended time will be different and personalized to their progress. This program can be supplemented with reading books from the library. Learn more about it here
  • Mathspace with Skills Check-In: Adaptive math program called Mathspace: Skills Check-In. Available 6-8. Students can complete a "Check-In" to continue to measure growth in a certain area, complete "Assigned Tasks" from teachers, or complete  automatically generated tasks called "Recommended Practice" based on their current skill level. Learn more about it here.
  • ST Math: Adaptive math program that uses puzzles and play to teach math skills. Available to Math 6, Math 7, Math 7 Honors, Pre-Algebra. Students can work on an "Assignment" given by a teacher, or "My Journey" which will meet them where they are. Learn more about it here.


3/15 PTA Meeting Recording

In case you missed Wednesday's PTA meeting when we talked about VGA scores and academic supports, you can access the recording and slideshow from Wednesday's PTA meeting on Schoology > Families Course. A direct link to the recording through Zoom can also be found here.


Here are today's newsletter topics:

Holmes Updates

  • Student Services Information
  • 2022-23 Blue/White Calendar
  • 2022-23 Bell Schedule
  • After School Schedule Next Week
  • Holmes MS PTA
  • From Ms. Oncho, Our Family Liaison
  • Testing Information & Quarter 3 Testing Windows 
  • Important Upcoming Dates
  • How to Stay Connected to Holmes MS

FCPS & Community Updates

  • Parent Information Line Available in Eight Languages
  • Update Your Emergency Care Information Through weCare@school
  • Community Meeting on the Dangers of Fentanyl
  • No-Cost Mental Health Teletherapy for Students
  • Proposed Updates to the 2023-24 Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R), and Feedback Opportunities 
  • High School Assessment and Grading Survey
  • Request Your Free Student Bus Pass Today!
  • Registration Open for Virtual Strategic Planning Community Forums
  • March Observances
  • 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 weekend!


Margaret Barnes

Proud Principal, Holmes MS




Student Services Information

Student Services Info

2022-23 Blue/White Calendar


New Bell Schedule

From Mr. Kruk, our After School Specialist

After-School Program Weekly News & Notes from 3/20-3/24

  • Student of the Week

    • The After-School Program Student of the week: Emote Walacho
    • Emote has been nominated by our ASP staff for her commitment to various clubs including Maker Space, TJ Math Tutors, Fitness, & more!
    • Emote brings a positive attitude and kindness to all of the clubs she participates.
    • Congrats Emote!

Club:Student Muslim Association

Muslim Association

Club: Intramural Sports


Club: Basketball


Summer VIP Program

VI Camp

After School Schedule 3/27-3/31

Block 1

Block 2Block 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!

From Ms. Oncho, Our Family Liaison

Upcoming Family Coffee Events:

Family Coffee Events at Holmes occur monthly. The topics coming up over the next few months can be found below. You can attend in person or over Zoom. You will receive Zoom links via News You Choose and e-Notify. Click here to register for an upcoming Family Coffee. All presentation recordings and resources are saved to Holmes Families on Schoology.


April Parent Coffee

Please use the following zoom link to join:

April Family Coffee

Spring Break Camps 

Spring Break Camps

English Classes

English Classes

Testing Information & Quarter 3 Testing Windows

Qrt 3 Testing

Important Upcoming Dates

  • Friday, 3/24, 7 pm  Musical - Footloose
  • Saturday, 3/25, 2pm & 7 pm -  Musical - Footloose
  • 4/3/2023 - 4/7/2023 - NO SCHOOL / Spring Break 
  • Thursday, 4/13 - 2-Hour Early Release / End of 3rd Quarter
  • Friday, 4/14 - NO SCHOOL / Orthodox Good Friday /Teacher Workday
  • Tuesday, 4/18, 9-10 am - Parent Coffee
  • Friday, 4/21- NO SCHOOL / Eid al Fitr
  • Friday, 5/12 - Holmes PTA Fun Run
  • Monday, 5/29 - NO SCHOOL / Memorial Day
  • Friday, 6/16 - 2-Hour Early Release / Last Day of School

How to Stay Connected to Holmes MS

Please stay in touch with us throughout the year by:

FCPS & Community Updates

Parent Information Line Available in Eight Languages

Parents who speak Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Korean, Spanish, Urdu, or Vietnamese can call a telephone information line for general information about FCPS and to receive support if they are having difficulty communicating with their children's schools due to a language barrier.

Update Your Emergency Care Information Through weCare@school

Fairfax County Public Schools provides weCare@school (weCare), an emergency care information system, to parents/caregivers who have registered for their own parent account. weCare helps manage emergency medical information by allowing parents to enter and update their children’s medical data online at their convenience. That contact information automatically enrolls parents/caregivers to receive eNotify communications from the district and their child’s school. eNotify is the communications tool for FCPS emergency, transportation, attendance, weather closings and delay, and essential outreach messages. Messages are sent via email, text, and occasionally phone. 

Learn more about updating your emergency care information.

Community Meeting on the Dangers of Fentanyl

The conversation on the dangers of fentanyl will continue on Monday, April 24, with our next community meeting on the critical topic of fentanyl danger and opioid awareness. More information is coming soon. Visit our Opioid Awareness webpage for updates as they become available. 

Visit the Fairfax County Government webpage on opioids for information on how you can take action and how to get help for yourself or loved ones.

Community  Meeting

No-Cost Mental Health Teletherapy for Students

FCPS has partnered with Hazel Health to begin offering virtual mental health services to high school students via live video sessions. Starting Monday, April 10, parents/caregivers who have been struggling to find a therapist for their child or who notice changes in their child’s behavior will be able to connect them virtually with a licensed therapist. 

Mental Health

Proposed Updates to the 2023-24 Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R), and Feedback Opportunities 

Last week, we shared information about the Department of Special Services’ virtual meetings regarding proposed updates to the Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R) Regulation for the 2023-24 school year. The meeting scheduled for Monday, March 27, 6:30-7:30 p.m. is currently on hold. Please check the event webpage for updates. Please stay tuned for details. Visit FCPS’ website.   

High School Assessment and Grading Survey

Instructional Services is conducting a survey to gather perceptions and preferences around assessments and grading elements. High school students, their families, and high school-based staff will be surveyed. Students and their families will be asked about their current classes and how they feel about assessment, grading, and grading practices and policies. The survey results will be used along with information from student focus groups, research, best practices, and benchmarking to propose recommendations to the School Board later this spring. Surveys were sent Monday, March 20, and individuals will have until Friday, March 31, to respond. For more information, contact Michael Gillespie in Instructional Services.

Request Your Free Student Bus Pass Today!

Free Bus Pass

Registration Open for Virtual Strategic Planning Community Forums

We invite parents/caregivers, students, employees, and community members to join us for a virtual community forum to discuss the first draft of proposed goals for the new Strategic Plan. Forums are scheduled for Monday, April 10, at noonTuesday, April 11, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. (in Spanish); and Monday, April 17, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Click on the date to register for the event. Your participation is important to this work that will help ensure a thriving future for each and every FCPS student. Get more information on our Strategic Planning webpage.

March Observances

National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week - 3/20-3/26

Opioids are the number one cause of unnatural death in Fairfax County. Young adults aged 25-34 are the most common demographic seen in the emergency room for fatal opioid overdoses. Nationwide there were over 100,00 overdose deaths from April 2020- April 2021. Using opioids after a period of abstinence, mixing drugs, IV use, and serious medical problems all contribute to an increased risk of opioid overdose. 90% of substance users began using prior to 21-years-old. Alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine are usually the most common substances used by adolescents. Fairfax County police stations, pharmacies, and medical facilities provide permanent drug disposal drop boxes for residents to safely dispose of their unused/expired medication. DO NOT flush your medications.

Reframing Our Thinking:
Changing our state of consciousness is part of the human experience (kids spinning in circles to induce dizziness, meditation, runner’s high, and more) but using substances has more negative than positive side effects. Alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine use prevention strategies are also opioid overdose
prevention strategies since opioid users likely used one of these three substances first. Every opioid overdose does not lead to death, but it increases the chances of an eventual overdose fatality. Although most opioid users began with alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine, these three drugs are not “gateway drugs”. The term “gateway drug” implies all alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine users will eventually use other drugs, but that is not the case for most, so the time to act is now. Treat your medication as a loaded gun; lock it up and properly dispose of any medications you are no longer using.

Sources & Resources:
Fairfax CSB Opioid Info
REVIVE Training for Opioid Overdoses
Medication Disposal
Teen Substance Use
FCPS Substance Abuse Prevention Program
Everything You Need to Know About Opioids

For general questions about the FCPS Substance Abuse Prevention Program, please contact the Office of Student Safety & Wellness at: (571) 423-4270.
For further Information & support:
Tiffany Jones, M.Ed, LPC, CSAC
Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist
[email protected]

Equity in Education Month

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS)—in conjunction with the Virginia School Boards Association—observes March as Equity in Education Month, a division-wide opportunity to deepen our commitment to creating a climate and curriculum where all students receive the resources they need to reach their fullest potential.  

Disability Awareness Month

In March people throughout the United States will celebrate Women’s History Month and Disability Awareness Month. Both histories are foundational parts of American history. Students deserve meaningful, sustained opportunities to learn about the experiences and contributions of this history year-round, and the celebration of Women’s History Month and Disability Awareness month are opportunities to honor these diverse and important stories. 

National Nutrition Month

National Nutrition Month® is an annual campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. During the month of March, everyone is invited to learn about making informed food choices and developing healthful eating and physical activity habits.

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!

Institute for the Arts Camps (IFTA)

IFTA is a two- or four-week summer enrichment program for students currently in grades 6-11. Students select from nearly 90 classes in art, dance, health and physical education 9, music, self-directed economics and personal finance, and theater. Visit the IFTA website for more information and registration. 

E-IFTA is a weekly arts camp for students in grades 2-5 who love to sing, dance, act, perform, make, and create. Students take part in four classes every day related to dance, music, theater, and visual art. They work with FCPS fine arts teachers who create classes that are fun and engaging. Visit the E-IFTA website for more information and registration. 

Art Academy

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