Principal's Note - Nov 10, 2019

By Margaret Barnes
Principal's Note
November 11, 2019

Regular School Day on Monday, November 11th

Vets day  

Monday, November 11th  is a regular school day.  We  honor and remember those who served our country.

Principal's Note

Good afternoon & Happy Sunday, Holmes Families!

Thank you to all of our families who attended mini-Conferences this past Tuesday morning!  This was our first year holding mini-conferences in the morning; email me and let me know your feedback about your experience at mini-conferences and how we could improve it for next year!


Attendance Reminders

As we begin the 2nd quarter, I'd just like to share a few reminders about school attendance.  If needed, the FCPS calendar can be accessed HERE.  Each week, an attendance team made up of our counselors and administrators here at Holmes meet to review attendance for students.  As required by the state of Virginia and Fairfax County Public Schools, we meet to determine what interventions may be needed for students who frequently miss school due to excused or unexcused absences.  As part of those interventions, we send letters home to notify parents/guardians when their student has exceeded a certain number of excused or unexcused absences.  If you receive a letter like this at some point during the year, feel free to contact your child's counselor or assistant principal with any questions that you have.  

  • Just a few missed days here and there, even if they are excused absences, can add up to too much lost learning time and put your child behind in school.  
  • Please remember, November 27th-29th is a school holiday. We are eager to welcome your children back in school on December 2nd.


  • Talk about the importance of showing up to school every day, make that the expectation.
  • Help your child maintain daily routines, such as finishing homework and getting a good night’s sleep.
  • Try not to schedule dental and medical appointments during the school day.
  • Don’t let your child stay home unless truly sick. Complaints of headaches or stomach aches may be signs of anxiety.
  • Find out if your child feels engaged by his classes and feels safe from bullies and other threats. Make sure he or she is not missing class because of behavioral issues and school discipline policies. If any of these are problems, work with your school.
  • Stay on top of academic progress and seek help from teachers or tutors if necessary. Make sure teachers know how to contact you.
  • Stay on top of your child’s social contacts. Peer pressure can lead to skipping school, while students without many friends can feel isolated.
  • Encourage meaningful afterschool activities, including sports and clubs.


  • Know the school’s attendance policy–incentives and penalities
  • Talk to teachers if you notice sudden changes in behavior. These could be tied to something going on at school.
  • Check on your child’s attendance to be sure absences are not piling up.
  • Ask for help from school officials, afterschool programs, other parents or community agencies if you’re having trouble getting your child to school
  • Looking ahead to the holiday season, if missing school is unavoidable, talk to your children’s teachers in advance to create a plan for making up missed work.  But remember, a homework packet cannot make up for the interaction and learning that goes on in the classroom.


Modified Schedule this week: Signs of Suicide (SOS) Lessons through 7th Grade History - Nov. 11th-14th

This week, our counselors will be conducting SOS lessons through 7th grade History classes.  In order to ensure that we can respond promptly to concerns that arise as a result of these lessons, we will change the order of classes on some days (scroll down to see this week's schedule).

As you may know, anxiety and depression are all too common in our youth today.  Educating them about the signs of depression, and on steps they can take for themselves and/or their friends to get help is critical to healthy development and overall wellness. The SOS Program includes both a video and a Wellness Screening.  The psychoeducational video is child-sensitive, with language and images that are developmentally appropriate.  The characters in the video portray what a child might go thorough when suffering from depression, how it differs from sadness, and how they know when to seek help.  It also coaches students on when to seek help if a friend is exhibiting these behaviors using the acronym ACT (Acknowledge, Care, Tell).  The Wellness Screening used for FCPS in a short survey in which students will check off “yes” or “no” to questions about themselves.

Parents/guardians had various opportunities to view the “Time to ACT” video and ask questions about the wellness screening during Mini Conferences this past week.

We also encourage you to visit for information on warning signs and risk factors for youth suicide, to access useful resources, and to learn more about the key message all students will learn: ACT (Acknowledge, Care, Tell). You can preview the video your student will watch and take an anonymous online mental health screening on behalf of your child. 

If you have any questions about the screening, please feel free to contact your child’s counselor. If you do not wish for your child to participate in the SOS Program, please indicate this on the permission slip (which will be mailed home the week of October 15th) and return it to Mrs. Girón, Director of Student Services. 

Informacion en Espanol:


In today's newsletter, scroll down for information about:

  • This Week's Schedule
  • After-School Program
  • Lunch Bunch
  • MakerMonday - 11/11
  • Next PTA Dine-Out Night Fundraiser: Noodles World Kitchen on 11/18
  • Holmes MS Book Fair - 12/2 - 12/13
  • Weekly Progress Reports
  • Holmes MS Annual Food Drive
  • Guidelines for Joining NJHS
  • 8th Grade Personal Yearbook Ads
  • Important Dates
  • 2019-20 Family Engagement Events
  • How to Stay in Touch

Thanks, everyone, and have a wonderful week!  Please feel free to reach out to me or anyone on my team with any questions you have!


Margaret Barnes

Proud Principal, Holmes MS



FCPS Cares


Do you know a Holmes Middle School staff member who does ordinary things in an extraordinary way or goes beyond what is expected? If so, then click here to submit your story so we can all acknowledge the good work of Holmes faculty and staff members.

This Week's Schedule of Classes: 11/11-11/15


This week we have a modified schedule:

Mon., 11/11 = Blue Day (1st, 7th, 5th, 3rd)

Tues.,11/12 = White Day (2nd, 6th, 4th, SOAR, ER 7)

Wed., 11/13 = Blue Day (1st, 7th, 5th, 3rd)

Thurs.,11/14 =  White Day (2nd, SOAR, ER 1, 4th, 6th)

Fri., 11/15 = Blue Day (7th, 3rd, 5th, 1st) 

 *NOTE: Students can always find the blue-white calendar in their agendas or on the school website HERE

After-School Program - Week of 11/11

During the school year, a weekly schedule of activities that will be held during the After School Program will be posted.  

  • Late buses are on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.  Students must be picked up by parents/guardians if they stay on Tuesdays or Fridays.  
  • NOTE: There are only 6 late buses, so students' late bus assignments and stops are usually different than their regular bus. 

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 week of 11/12

After School Program End of First Quarter Report

End of first quarter report

We had a wonderful first quarter in the after-school program!  Click here to see what we have been up to.



Each month, I invite students to join me for lunch to talk about whatever is on their minds, and I always get lots of great feedback and ideas for the After School Program.  It is always a lot of fun!  Students can sign up HERE to express their interest, and the sign-up is also available on their grade-level Google Classroom. The next one is on Friday, November 15th. 

MakerMonday - 11/11

On Monday, Nov 11th, the library's MakerMonday will be learning how to crochet with special guest instructors. Come learn how to crochet - all supplies and instruction provided! Already know how to crochet? Come join us to show off your skills and help others learn. No sign up needed, just report to the cafeteria and Ms. Haywood will dismiss you to the library. 

Next Holmes PTA Dine-Out Night Fundraiser: Noodles World Kitchen on November 18th!


Holmes MS Book Fair - 12/2 - 12/13

Save the Date! The Holmes MS book fair will begin on December 2nd! Students will have a chance to visit during the school day with their English classes and the book fair will be open for most of the evening performances through December 13th. 

The book fair is a great opportunity to help support the library, every dollar spent helps the library earn funds to purchase more books. Support the library and knock out some of that holiday shopping!

All forms of payment are accepted. If you have questions or would like to volunteer please email Ms. Haywood

Activating Weekly Progress Reports in ParentVUE

All parents/guardians of Middle School and High School students who have registered for a SIS ParentVUE Account and have a primary email address recorded in SIS ParentVUE can receive Weekly Progress Reports via email. This report provides a summary of your student(s) grades for the current quarter. To activate the Weekly Progress Reports via email, login to your SIS ParentVUE Account and first verify that you have a primary email address within the system. It is listed under the “My Account” tab. If it is blank, enter the email address where you would like to receive the progress reports and click on update account. Once confirmed, parents/guardians are able to activate and select their preferences for receiving these reports within the SIS ParentVUE “My Account” tab.

Weekly progress reports for all of your Middle and High School students will be included in one email. FCPS Elementary Schools do not use the SIS grade book and therefore are not included in these reports. 

For questions about a specific progress report or grade you can login into your SIS ParentVUE Account to find detailed grade book information. Additionally, your student’s teacher is always the best resource to answer any grade book questions that you may have.Weekly Progress Report Parent Quick Reference Guide

Guidelines for Joining NJHS

7th and 8th Grade students interested in joining NJHS this year, please see complete details on the school website here.  Please also note the following dates:

  • End of November: GPA reports distributed from FCPS
  • December 17: information session for students during ER4
  • December 19 and January 6: application help sessions for students after school

January 8, 2020: online applications due by 4:00 pm (10 service hours verified through x2vol due at this time)

Holmes MS Annual Food Drive

The Holmes MS Annual Food Drive has officially started!  Students can turn in non-perishable food items (rice, flour, pasta, peanut butter, canned foods, etc) to their SOAR teacher from now until November 22nd.  If students donate three food items and complete a reflection, they can receive one hour of service learning.

food drive

8th Grade Personal Yearbook Ads

Introducing... 8th Grade Personal Ads

The yearbook staff wants to offer you the opportunity to honor your eighth grader as they move up to

high school. Surprise your student with a personal ad in the yearbook. These special messages can

be from parents, grandparents, siblings or even pets. You may purchase more than one ad; however,

please submit a separate form for each ad. Each ad will be the size shown below. Ads cost $15 each and is due Friday, February 28, 2020.

8th grade yearbook personal ads

Important Dates

  • Mon., 11/11-Thur., 11/14 - Signs of Suicide lessons through 7th grade History classes (See modified bell schedule above)
  • Fri., 11/15, LUNCH BUNCH with Mrs. Barnes
  • Mon., 11/18-Wed., 11/20 - 5-year International Baccalaureate Re-evaluation Visit (Annandale HS, Holmes MS, Poe MS)
  • Fri., 11/22, SOAR Time - Quarter 1 Honor Roll Celebration (Only Staff and Students Attend)
  • Wed., 11/27 - Fri., 11/29 - Thanksgiving Day Holiday - NO SCHOOL
  • Mon., 12/2 - Fri., 12/13 - Holmes MS Book Fair
  • Wed., 12/4 - 9-10 am - Parent Coffee  - Theme: Student Mental Wellness and Resiliency
  • Mon., 12/23 - Fri., 1/3 - Winter Vacation - NO SCHOOL

2019-20 Family Engagement Events

familiesArt 1

How to Stay In-Touch

Please stay in touch with us throughout the year by: