Principal's Note - May 5, 2023

By Margaret Barnes
Principal's Note
May 05, 2023

Good afternoon, Holmes Families!

May is a national month of recognition of the history of Jewish contributions to American culture, acknowledging the diverse achievement of the Jewish community in the U.S. Learn more about the heritage months, celebrations, and traditions celebrated in FCPS.

Teacher Appreciation Week - May 8-12

Teacher appreciation week is next week! There are many ways that we will show our appreciation for teachers and staff next week:

  • You can join us in thanking teachers for their hard work and dedication to FCPS students by submitting this form
  • Virginia has a Thank a Teacher program that you can submit as well. 
  • Students will have an opportunity to send notes to their teachers using a structured form through Schoology during SOAR next week. 
  • Our awesome PTA will be serving breakfast to our teachers on Monday and Friday of next week.  If you would like to support this effort, feel free to buy a teacher breakfast HERE.
  • Our admin team also has a number of different treats planned for teachers next week!
Teacher appreciation video

National School Nurse Day is Wednesday, May 10, 2023. It is a day to recognize the many contributions that school nurses make to student health and learning.  

SOLs Begin Next Week!

Please take a moment this evening to review this newsletter for important information, including our SOL Testing Calendar.  There are three primary testing dates:

  • Science (8th graders only) - Wednesday, May 10th
  • Reading (All students) - Tuesday, May 16th
  • Math (All students) - Tuesday, May 23rd

Students who score between a 375-399 will have the opportunity to retake the SOL a little over a week after the original test date and after time to remediate and review with teachers.  We will be in touch if your student falls in this category.  SOL Retake date for Science may change slightly; the test is new this year, and it may take longer to receive scores from the state.  

Please note that students who receive certain testing accommodations (e.g., testing over multiple days) may not test on the date listed on the calendar.  Mr. Kamar, our assessment coach, will be in communication with you and your students about the date of their SOL test. 

SOL Testing Window

Four-year In-state Tuition Scholarship to GMU

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 (a cumulative 8th grade GPA of 3.5 or higher). You and your child should have received an email this week if your child qualifies. The (online) application packet and teacher recommendations are due by 3pm on Monday, May 15th, 2023. Please reach out to Mrs. Davis (@email) if you have any questions.

May Family Coffee - 5/11, 9-10 am

Topic: Community resources on summer and out of school programs   

Please join us for the last parent coffee in this school year to discuss how to keep your kids engaged this summer and to learn about out of school programs. You are welcome to participate in-person at Holmes Middle School or join us virtually. Language interpretation will be available for both in-person and  virtual attendees. Zoom link:

Family Coffee Recording, 4/18: Drug and Substance Abuse Prevention

In our Family Coffee this month we got a basic understanding of alcohol, nicotine, cannabis, and opioids. We also chatted about what leads to drug abuse and misuse. To see the slides and recording for this meeting, visit the Holmes Families Schoology Page, or click here to go to the Zoom recording directly.

PTA Meeting Recording, 4/26: Fun Run and More!

Thank you, families, for joining the PTA meeting in person or virtually on Wednesday. We are so excited about the many opportunities coming up to engage with the school community. To see the slides and recording from our meeting, visit the Holmes Families Schoology Page, or click here to go to the Zoom recording directly.


  • LINK for students to sign up (must use account)
  • LINK for parents/families to sign up to run and volunteer

Fun Run

8th Grade Celebration - Friday, June 9th, 7-9 pm

It's time to plan for the 8th grade celebration, and we need your help!  Thank you to those parents who have already volunteered.  To make it easier to track who is signing up to volunteer, please complete this Google form, and I will be in touch next week.  We will need help with food & drinks, decorations, and games/activities for students.  If you are not able to give your time, that's okay!  We rely on donations for this event, and we have set up two items in our store in MySchoolBucks for this purpose.  A small donation of $5 for your 8th grader's "ticket" is helpful, or if you would like to donate more, that option is also available. 

Families of Rising 8th grade students (current 7th graders)

Below is the 2023-2024 school year calendar released by the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Admissions Office. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our TJ liaison counselor, Kelly Murphy at (703) 658-5911 or @email.

TJ Calendar

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
  • Important Upcoming Dates
  • How to Stay Connected to Holmes MS

FCPS & Community Updates

  • Attend Today, Achieve Tomorrow!
  • No-Cost Hazel Health Teletherapy for High School Students
  • Social Emotional Learning Screener Reports
  • Community Conversation: School Safety and Security
  • Parent Resource Center Is Now the Family Resource Center
  • Final Feedback Opportunity on Draft Strategic Plan
  • An Update on ESSER Funding, and the Proposal for 2023-24
  • 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 5/1- 5/5

Student of the Week

  • The After-School Program Student(s) of the week: Angel Guevara & Yordan Barrios de Leon
  • Angel & Yordan were both nominated for their commitment and sportsmanship throughout the soccer tournament.
  • Both students also demonstrated balance by staying after school to improve their grades and participating in soccer practice.
  • Great work Yordan & Angel!

After-School Action

Congratulations to Richard Seveney, William Torres, Soza Salar, & Drisha Singh for completing the Capital One Coders program

ASP Club

Emote Walacho & Chloe Omondi created beautiful dresses and accessories during Fashion Figures club this week

ASP Club

After School Schedule 5/8-5/12

ASP Block 1

ASP Block 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!

Match Day - 5/13, 7:30 pm

Match Day

From Ms. Oncho, Our Family Liaison

May Family Coffee 

Family Coffee_MAy

Family Coffee_Spanish

Parents / caregivers can see what their students are learning in their core classes by grade level

We hope this information will allow us to better partner with parents and caregivers to support academic success.

At the March 30 School Board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid presented updates to curriculum overview on the FCPS website during the Academic Matters segment

As stated on each grade level and course page, the objectives and outcomes for each unit are common across FCPS and based on the Virginia Standards of Learning. The pacing provides an example of how the curriculum can be organized throughout the year. Teacher teams may adjust the pacing or order of units to best meet the needs of students.

Information will be updated at the start of each school year. To access the grade level and/or course pages directly, visit our Academics page.

Important Upcoming Dates

  • Thursday, 5/11, 9-10 am - May Family Coffee
  • 5/8-5/12 - Teacher Appreciation Week
  • Thursday, 5/11, 9-10 am - Family Coffee
  • Thursday, 5/11, 7 pm - Orchestra Concert (NOTE: Chorus portion of the concert has been cancelled)
  • Friday, 5/12, 4:30-6 pm - Holmes PTA Fun Run
  • Tuesday, 5/16, 5:30 pm - NJHS Induction Ceremony
  • Friday, 5/19, Time TBD - Voices of Now Performance, Arena Stage, Washington DC
  • Wednesday, 5/24, 6:30 pm - Holmes PTA Meeting
  • Monday, 5/29 - NO SCHOOL / Memorial Day
  • Wednesday, 5/31, 7 pm - Spring Band Concert
  • Friday, June 9th, 7-9 pm - 8th Grade Celebration/Party
  • Wednesday, 6/14 - Schoolwide All-day Activity Day
  • Thursday, 6/15, 8-9 am: 8th Grade Awards Ceremony
  • 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

Attend Today, Achieve Tomorrow!

Attend Today, Achieve Tomorrow!

A study on elementary and middle schools found that attendance rates in April are 5.8% higher than June. Let's work together to end the school year successfully! Visit our website for attendance resources

No-Cost Hazel Health Teletherapy for High School Students

At last Thursday’s School Board meeting, Superintendent Reid presented on FCPS’ partnership with Hazel Health to offer teletherapy to high school students at no cost. Hazel’s therapists can help students address:

  • Mood/behavior changes, motivation, grief/loss
  • Anxiety, worry, fears
  • Social skills, bullying, peer and family relationships
  • Academic stress

“Hazel Health has been surprisingly user-friendly for both staff and families,” says Sara Brewer, a school counselor at West Potomac High School. “We were skeptical that it sounded too good to be true, as it offers services for ALL families (including those that need language support for intake services). We were pleasantly surprised that our first referral was processed within THREE days because the family was so responsive and appreciative.” 

How to Access Hazel Health Teletherapy Services

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Have you set up your high school student for free mental health therapy?

In order for high schoolers to participate in teletherapy services, caregivers must complete three steps:

  1. Give permission for FCPS to share basic demographic information with Hazel in ParentVUE
  2. Consent for Hazel Mental Health services
  3. Students must be referred to therapy by a guardian or designated school staff member. You may refer your child by calling 571-749-2940 or by contacting an FCPS school counselor, social worker, psychologist, or director of Student Services. 

Visit the FCPS Teletherapy webpage for more information. 

Social Emotional Learning Screener Reports

Twice a year, students in grades 3-12 share their perspectives on how well their school and community help them develop skills they need to succeed through the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Screener. These skills include achieving goals, understanding and managing emotions, establishing and maintaining relationships with adults and peers, and making responsible decisions. Students also share how successful their school and community are at making them feel valued, included, and supported. These factors are critical to positive academic, social, and emotional success. 

Spring 2023 SEL Screener results will be mailed to families in mid-May. The Social Emotional Learning Screener Parent/Guardian Report and Guide has been updated to better reflect how SEL Screener results are used to support school and districtwide planning, in addition to supports for individual students. Visit the FCPS SEL Screener webpage for information in multiple languages, including tips for talking with your student about the report and strategies for strengthening SEL at home. 

Community Conversation: School Safety and Security

FCPS will host a community conversation to discuss our approach to safety and security, and the work we do every day to keep our schools safe. Join us Monday, May 8, 6:30-7:30 p.m., at South Lakes High School. Register for the Community Conversation.

FCPS staff and experts will review our risk assessment processes, the physical measures we already have in place to protect our students and staff, pilot programs to detect vaping, and how we communicate and collaborate with our partners when there is an incident at our schools. 

Parent Resource Center Is Now the Family Resource Center

FCPS’ Parent Resource Center has changed its name to the Family Resource Center (FRC), as a way to acknowledge and support the broad diversity of families in our community. The FRC continues to offer a wide range of essential resources and education for caregivers and students including:  

Families can find printable resource guides and details about the center’s free lending library on FRC’s homepage. They may also sign up to receive the FRC newsletter for updates on webinars, resources, and other information. If you have questions, please contact the FRC via email at @email or call 703-204-3941.

Upcoming FRC Webinars

The FRC is hosting the following upcoming webinars. Events are virtual unless stated otherwise:

Click on the titles above for more information or to register for a webinar. 

Final Feedback Opportunity on Draft Strategic Plan 

If you haven’t already, please participate in the final opportunity to provide feedback on the draft Strategic Plan goals, measures, and pillars. Take the survey today! Feedback will be reviewed by the School Board at their May 9 retreat. It will also be discussed at the May 25 Board meeting. The survey will close Wednesday, May 17.  Visit FCPS’ website to learn about the strategic planning process.

An Update on ESSER Funding, and the Proposal for 2023-24

In the fall of 2021, FCPS received $188.8 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) funding to support the safe operation of schools and address the impacts of COVID-19 on students. 

Last week, Sloan Presidio, FCPS’ chief academic officer, presented the proposed ESSER expenditures for the 2023-24 school year, the last year of ESSER funding. This funding is in addition to the FCPS operating budget and is specifically targeting the impacts of COVID-19. 

The proposed plan presented at the recent School Board Meeting is intended to maximize the dollars remaining in our funding. At least 20% of the funding must be spent toward unfinished learning. The proposed plan has nearly 80% of ESSER funds allocated to support student learning needs. Read more about the plan.

Summer Camps & Learning Opportunities

Bus Pass Summer

Summer VIP Program

Summer VIP Camp

Annandale Summer Sports Camps

Annandale Community:

Looking for fun activities for your child this summer? Annandale High School is offering a variety of summer camps this year for current elementary and middle school students led by our own Annandale coaches. Help spread the word to friends, family and neighbors!

Registration for all camps can be found HERE. See descriptions of the various camps below. More information can be found at

Campers can bring their lunch or purchase lunch at camp, and they should bring a snack and a water bottle each day. Cash or checks are accepted. Checks should be made out to “Annandale Athletic Boosters”. Payment is due on the first day of camp. 

If you have any questions, please email Brandon Sutphin, Director of Student Activities, at @email.

Camp Information

Multi-Sport Camp - Rising 2nd-9th Graders - June 20-23 ($120): Campers will have fun playing a variety of sports including basketball, kickball, volleyball, soccer, and touch football. They will participate in fun contests and win prizes! Campers can bring their lunch or purchase lunch at camp. Hours are 8:30am-3:00pm. Register Here.

Olympics Camp - Rising 2nd-9th Graders - June 26-29 ($120): This exciting camp features team activities including soccer, volleyball, basketball, touch football, and relay races. Campers will also get a chance to compete and earn medals! Campers can bring their lunch or purchase lunch at camp. Hours are 8:30am-3:00pm. Register Here.

For questions about Multi-Sport or Olympics Camps, please reach out to Christopher Bagot, Camp Director and Varsity Coach, at @email.

Basketball - Rising 4th-9th Graders - July 10-14 ($250): Campers will spend each day focused on developing their basketball skills. They will also receive a report card on their basketball abilities, a t-shirt, and a chance to win trophies. Campers can bring their lunch or purchase lunch at camp. Hours are 9:00am to 3:00pm. Register Here.

For questions about Basketball Camp please reach out to Jerome McAvoy, Camp Director and Varsity Coach, at @email

Girls Field Hockey/Lacrosse - Rising K-9th Grade - July 10-14, July 17-21, & July 24-28 ($120/week): For new athletes and those who have been playing for years, camp will be a fun-filled day of training, group competition, and surprise activities. Campers should bring their lunch each day except Friday when lunch will be provided. Hours are 8:00am-3:00pm. Register Here.

For questions about Girls Field Hockey/Lacrosse Camp please reach out to Janan Gokturk, Camp Director and Assistant Varsity Coach, at @email.

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