Principal's Note - May 2, 2021

By Margaret Barnes
Principal's Note
May 02, 2021

Good morning, Holmes Families!

Check out one of our Holmes Hawks whose picture made the FCPS homepage!  Thank you to Mrs. Bridget Cheatham, one of our fantastic Health & PE teachers who does a bike riding unit with students every year.  And just in time for Bike to School Day this week on Wednesday, May 5th!  Let's fill up these brand new bike racks on Wednesday!  


SOL Testing Starts This Week!!

SOL Testing is here!  Tomorrow, Monday, May 3rd, we will begin with our virtual students who will be coming in to take their Reading SOL.  Mr. Kamar has sent details, including bus information, to families and students this past week, and students received information in their SOAR classes.  

We realize that this will be the first time that many of our students will be coming to Holmes, so we will be sure to make them feel welcome and comfortable tomorrow!

Important details for ALL students on Thursday, May 6th:  

  • There will be no 1st period class for ANY students on Thursday, May 6th.   
  • In-person students will report directly to their testing location (their SOAR class for most students) on Thursday morning and will remain there until 10:17 am. 
  • Virtual students will be ASYNCHRONOUS from 7:30-10:30 am on Thursday.  They will not need to report to class until the normal 5th period time.  

It's not too late to opt your student out of SOLs.  If you would still like to opt them out, you can fill out the appropriate form below.

In case you missed it, here's the link again to the PTA meeting on 4/21 where we talked about the specifics of opting out and what to consider.  

If you have any questions about your student(s) and their SOL tests, please feel free to reach out to our testing coordinator, Mr. Kamar, at @email, or to your student's counselor.


Is your student's laptop ready for SOL testing?

Since most of our virtual students have not been in the building this school year, it is critically important that their laptops have the necessary updates for SOL testing.  Please scroll down to the section about Laptop Care for students, and follow the steps identified there. 

ALL students will need to bring their school-issued laptops fully charged (and bring chargers with them) to school on testing days.  If your student does NOT have a school-issued laptop, they should NOT bring their personal laptop to school for testing.  We will temporarily issue them a laptop for the testing day only.  


Teacher Appreciation Week!!

It's Teacher Appreciation Week this week (May 3rd-7th)!!  Thank you so much to our AMAZING teachers who have worked tirelessly throughout this year to provide high quality instruction for students virtually, in-person, and concurrently!!  What a year!!  I am so thankful for this incredible Holmes staff and all they have done to ensure that students are supported throughout the year!  

Our PTA and admin team have some special things planned for teachers throughout this week, including lunch and breakfast on a few days.  Please encourage your student to take a moment to send their teachers a thank you note!  You can also enter them into a drawing that the Virginia Lottery offers every year:  

Here are today's newsletter topics:

Holmes Updates

  • Student Services - Important Information
  • After School Program Schedule
  • Laptop Care for Students
  • Attention 8th Graders: Four-Year Instate Tuition Scholarship to George Mason University Opportunity
  • Opportunity to Represent Class of 2025 for Rising 9th Grade Students Who Will Attend Edison HS
  • Summer VIP Camp
  • Important Dates
  • Reporting Student Absences
  • How to Stay Connected to Holmes MS

FCPS Updates

  • Workcamp - Free Home Repair
  • Meal Kit Sites Moving to Monday Distribution Starting April 19
  • Standards of Learning Test Schedules for Students Observing Ramadan

  • English Learner Supports for Summer 2021

  • Special Education Parent Newsletter

  • FCPS Seeking Individuals to Serve as Substitute Teachers
  • COVID-19 Vaccines & the Vaccination Process in Fairfax County: A Webinar for Families
  • Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT)
  • FCPS CARES Program

Thank you, and have a great week!


Margaret Barnes

Proud Principal, Holmes MS



FCPS End of Year Grading Policies

For the 2020-21 school year, all students with an "F" will receive a "NM" (No Mark) on their report cards.  All students with a "D" will receive a "P" (Pass). Families of middle school students also have until May 10, 2021, to designate the final mark for their current courses as Pass instead of final grades “A” through “C-“. Additional information is enclosed and available on the following website:

Please see Ms. Giron's email dated to families on Monday, April 19th, to learn more.  

After School Program Schedule - May

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 Mrs. Parker, our After School Program Specialist.



Laptop Care for Students

It is important that all students (including students taking classes virtually) to connect their laptops to the FCPS network on a regular basis.  If your student is taking classes virtually, please find time in the next couple of weeks to come to the school parking lot (the administrators' parking spaces or pulling up at door 2 gives you the best access to the network), and have your student complete the steps below.  


Clearing the Cache

It it also important for students to regularly clear the cache in Google Chrome.  Students should follow these steps:

  • On your computer, open Chrome.
  • At the top right, in three vertical dots, Click More tools.
  • Select Clear browsing data. For the time range, select All time.
  • Next to "Cookies and other site data" and "Cached images and files," check the boxes.
  • Click Clear data.

2021-2022 NJHS Officers  

Please congratulate our newly elected 2021-2022 NJHS officers

Attention 8th Graders: Four-Year Instate Tuition Scholarship to GMU Opportunity

Holmes and George Mason University have teamed together to offer a four-year instate tuition scholarship to GMU to an eighth grade student who has demonstrated the potential to be successful in a four-year college program. You and your child should have received an email last week if your child qualifies. The (online) application packet is due by 3pm on Friday, May 14th, 2021. Please reach out to Ms. Davis (@email) if you have any questions.

Opportunity to Represent Class of 2025 for Rising 9th Grade Students Who Will Attend Edison HS

Attention Rising 9th grade students who will go to Edison High School.  Do you want to represent the Class of 2025 on the Edison Student Government Association (SGA) next year?  Do you like being involved with school activities and helping to get others involved?  Do you like taking on the challenges of Leadership? If so, please find more information here -

Summer VIP Camp

VIP Camp

Important Dates

  • Friday, June 11th: SAVE THE DATE, Outdoor 8th Grade Celebration & Laptop Collection (More details to come)
  • Friday, June 11th - Tuesday, June 15th: Laptop Collection (more details to come)

Reporting Student Absences

How do I report my student's absence for virtual or in-person classes?

How to Stay Connected to Holmes MS

Please stay in touch with us throughout the year by:


Workcamp - Free Home Repair

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Meal Kit Sites Moving to Monday Distribution Starting April 19

Many FCPS Grab and Go food distribution sites have switched this month from daily food pickup to weekly Fairfax Meal Kit distribution. Fairfax Meal Kits contain seven days of breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, and supper items packed in bulk.

On Monday, April 19, all meal kit sites are permanently moving to a Monday distribution day. Hours remain 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or until supplies are exhausted. Grab and Go locations and bus routes remain the same. Go to the food distribution webpage for more information.

Standards of Learning Test Schedules for Students Observing Ramadan

This year, the main Standards of Learning (SOL) testing window has significant overlaps with Ramadan, the Muslim holy month marked by daily fasting. The SOL testing window begins Monday, April 12, for high schools and Monday, April 26, for elementary and middle schools. All schools must complete SOL make-up tests and retakes by Friday, June 4. Ramadan begins the evening of Monday, April 12, and ends with Eid-al-Fitr on Thursday, May 13.

FCPS welcomes and encourages engagement with parents and guardians of students affected by this overlap. School staff will work with parents and guardians to make schedule adjustments or determine how best to address students’ needs. For example, it may be possible to schedule testing early in the day when energy levels are likely to be highest.

If you have a child in an SOL grade-level who will be fasting to observe Ramadan this year, notify the principal or school counselor to take advantage of possible scheduling options.

View more ideas and tips to prepare for upcoming testing during Ramadan.

English Learner Supports for Summer 2021

FCPS staff members will be providing additional academic content and English language development support for our 36,000 English learners (ELs) this summer. 

Elementary and middle school ELs will participate in the division’s inclusive summer program to strengthen core mathematics and language arts skills.  All ELs ELP level 1 and 2 will be invited to participate. Additional ELs ELP level 3 and 4 will be invited based on identified needs.

High school ELs who failed a core academic course will participate in Credit Recovery.  ESOL resource teachers will collaborate with content teachers to support ELs.

High school ELs who are ELP level 1 or SLIFE will be invited to participate in numeracy and literacy essentials based on need, for multiple weeks of math and literacy intervention.

All high school ELs ELP level 1-4 will be invited to participate in online language and literacy lonnections (middle and high school). This is one hour of synchronous online learning with one hour of asynchronous reading, writing, and online assignments per week.

In addition, extended English Language Development (ELD) will be offered to all ELs ELP level 1-4 in elementary, middle, and high school who are not participating in a structured summer program. 

For any questions about the FCPS summer programs, email

Special Education Parent Newsletter

The Department of Special Services (DSS) publishes a regular electronic newsletter for parents of special education students to provide updated DSS information, tips, and ideas to support you and your family during distance learning. The latest issue is available online

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.

COVID-19 Vaccines & the Vaccination Process in Fairfax County: A Webinar for Families

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Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT)

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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