Principal's Note - Nov 17, 2023

By Serena Giron
Principal's Note
November 20, 2023

Hello Holmes Families!

Schools and offices will be closed November 22-24. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving! Classes will resume on Monday, November 27. Learn more about the first Thanksgiving. See the complete school year calendar.

Lightspeed Software

Lightspeed Software is a new tool being introduced to enhance focus and support individualized learning for 6th-8th grade students.  It allows staff to monitor access to the web while students are at school and logged into the FCPS network, ensuring students stay engaged and minimize distractions. It also allows for personalized support, and enables assistance signals and check-ins. Parents are encouraged to sign up for their own Lightspeed reports to gain insights into their child's computer usage.

SIS Progress Reports

It’s the start of a new quarter and a perfect time to enroll in weekly progress reports of your child’s grades. Here is a brief summary of how to activate this in your SIS ParentVue Account:

  1. Parents must have an active SIS ParentVUE account to access their child's grades. They can obtain an activation key letter by contacting Wendy Alfaro (Phone: 703-658-5940; Email: @email)
  2. Once logged in, parents can click on the "Grades" tab to view their child's grades for all classes. They can also view assignments and attendance records.
  3. Parents can also receive weekly progress reports via email by enabling this option in their "My Account" settings. These reports provide a summary of their child's grades for the current quarter.

Federal Impact Aid Information

FCPS is asking all families to fill out the Federal Impact Aid Survey. To make it easier, the form is available online in SIS ParentVUE this year. Paper copies of forms will be coming home with your student by Monday 11/20. Please either fill out the form online in ParentVUE or return the paper copy with your student. It is important to fill out, because information from this survey results in an additional $3 million in grants each year from the U.S. Department of Education. These funds are used to support all Fairfax County public schools and centers. For more information, visit the Federal Impact Aid Survey page. 

Family Coffee - 11/30, 9:30-10:30 AM

Are you interested to learn about advanced academics in middle and high school, and Thomas Jefferson application process? Then join us for a Family Coffee on Thursday November 30, 2023 at 9:30-10:30 AM. We will discuss advanced academics at the secondary level, including information on Level IV applications and Thomas Jefferson High School.

We encourage you to join in person to make connections with school staff and other families. We will provide refreshments. 

Matilda JR. by Holmes MS Drama Students

Rebellion is nigh in Matilda JR., a gleefully witty ode to the anarchy of childhood and the power of imagination! This story of a girl who dreams of a better life and the children she inspires will have audiences rooting for the "revolting children" who are out to teach the grown-ups a lesson.

Matilda has astonishing wit, intelligence... and special powers! She's unloved by her cruel parents but impresses her schoolteacher, the highly loveable Miss Honey. Matilda's school life isn't completely smooth sailing, however – the school's mean headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, hates children and just loves thinking up new punishments for those who don't abide by her rules. But Matilda has courage and cleverness in equal amounts, and could be the school pupils' saving grace!

Packed with high-energy dance numbers and catchy songs, Matilda JR. is a joyous girl power romp. Children and adults alike will be thrilled and delighted by the story of the special little girl with an extraordinary imagination.

Performances will be Friday, December 1 at 7pm and Saturday, December 2 at 2pm and 7pm. $5 for students and $7 for adults. Tickets can be purchased here:


Book Fair - 12/1-12/8

Book Fair

Get ready! This year's Book Fair is going to be epic! Remember - every purchase supports our school! Students will be coming to the Book Fair with their English classes, however, they can also purchase books before and after school and during lunch. The Book Fair starts on Friday, 12/1 and ends on Friday, 12/8! The location is the Holmes MS Library.

Book Fair Website: All of the information you need will be on the website, however, you may want to set up an eWallet for your child to make payment easier. 

Book Fair Contact: Librarian, Jennifer Blanco (@email

Author Talk

December 18-20 - Winter Olympics Camp for Students Grades 2-8: Annandale High School will be sponsoring a 3-day Winter Olympics Camp at Poe Middle School for students in 2nd through 8th grade during Winter Break. Camp will be held Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 8:30am-3:00pm. Cost is $100. Payment will be accepted during drop off on the first day.

Here are today's newsletter topics:

Holmes Updates

  • Student Services Information
  • Admin Team Information
  • 2023-24 Blue/White Schedule 
  • 2023-24 Bell Schedule
  • After-School Program
  • From Ms. Oncho, Our Family Liaison
  • Important Upcoming Dates
  • Holmes MS PTA
  • How to Stay Connected to Holmes MS

FCPS & Community Updates

  • November Observances
  • Staying Healthy This Cold/Flu Season
  • Student Attendance and Engagement
  • Missing School Over the Holidays
  • Special Education Resources for Families
  • Stay Connected with FCPS

Please feel free to reach out and let us know what questions you have.  Thank you, and we'll see you very soon!


Serena Giron



Contact Information

Admin and Councelors

Admin Team Information

Admin Team

2023-24 Blue/White Calendar

Blue and White DaysBell Schedule 23-24

From Mr. Kruk, our After-School Specialist

After-School Program Weekly News & Notes from 11/13-11/17

  • Student of the Week
    • The After-School Program Student of the week: Matthias Tefera
    • Matthias has been a consistent and valuable member of several clubs within the After-School Program.
    • He has made contributions to Podcast Club, RC Cars Club, & Flag Football.
    • Great Job Matthias!

After-School Action

RC Club

RC Cars Club is back! Students enjoyed learning all about safety during their first session of this popular club.

ASP Schedule 11/20-11/24

  • There will be no After-School Program next week due to the holiday break.


Students Leaving After-School before 4:45 pm

  • Any student staying after school must be signed out of the main office by a parent or guardian if leaving before 4:45.
  • Walkers with parent/guardian permission, may sign themselves out any time after 3:30 when first block ends.
  • Students are not permitted to leave school grounds before checking out in the main office .


Contact the After-School Specialist, Matt Kruk, @email

Important Upcoming Dates

  • 11/22 - 11/24 -  NO SCHOOL / Thanksgiving Break
  • Thursday, 11/30, 9:30-10:30 AM - Parent Coffee
  • Friday, 12/1, 7 PM  and Saturday, 12/ 2, 2 PM - Performances by Drama Students
  • Tuesday, 12/6 - PTA Meeting in conjunction with the Winter Chorus Concert
  • 12/18/23 - 01/01/24 - NO SCHOOL / Winter BreakHolmes MS PTA

Don't forget to check out these important links:

The next PTA meeting will be on December 6th in conjunction with the Winter Chorus Concert.

From Ms. Oncho, Our Family Liaison




How to Stay Connected to Holmes MS

Please stay in touch with us throughout the year by:

FCPS & Community Updates

November Observances

Native American Heritage Month 

Native American Heritage Month

November is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native Americans. It is also a time to raise a general awareness about the unique challenges they have faced both historically and in the present, and the ways in which tribal citizens have worked to conquer these challenges.Learn more about the heritage months, celebrations, and traditions celebrated in FCPS. 

National Family Engagement Month

This month reminds us that families are children's first and most important teachers, advocates, and nurturers. Strong family support is vital to student well-being and success. 

FCPS has many resources designed to increase engagement and partnerships with families while fostering academic success and social-emotional growth.

Additionally, every school has a family liaison who will welcome and orient families, and help them understand the school's culture, policies, procedures, and practices. They can help connect families to resources in the community. Family liaisons might also assist a family in transitioning to a new school and encourage family-school partnerships to help ensure their student's success and healthy development.

If you have questions or would like more information, ask your school office to connect you with your family liaison or visit FCPS’ website for a list of region representatives

National Career Development Month

By enrolling in a Career and Technical Education (CTE) course or program, students learn the technical applications of many occupations while preparing for higher education or entry-level employment. A core program of CTE courses is offered in every middle and high school. Based on the needs of the populations served, each school determines optional courses to be offered. Learn more about Academies and Specialized Programs

National School Psychology Week - 11/6-11/10

This week we celebrate the important work school psychologists do to help all students thrive. Learn more from the National Association of School Psychologists

Veterans Day - 11/11

Veterans Day provides a great reason to pause, reflect, and recognize the extraordinary sacrifices our Veterans and their families have made on our behalf, and we thank them for their service. Learn more about the history of Veterans Day at


Diwali - 11/12

Happy Diwali to all those who celebrate this day and the victory of light over darkness. This year's Diwali artwork was created by Chantilly High School student Rijuta D. as part of the FCPS Observance Design Challenge for Students.

American Education Week - 11/13-11/17

For American Education Week we celebrate ALL who work in our [SCHOOL] community: our bus drivers, cafeteria workers, counselors, support staff, teachers, leadership and more! Learn more from the National Education Association. Want to recognize someone from our school who goes above and beyond? Submit a nomination to FCPS Cares

Thanksgiving - 11/22-11/24

Schools and offices will be closed November 22-24. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving! Classes will resume on Monday, November 27. Learn more about the first Thanksgiving. See the complete school year calendar.

Staying Healthy This Cold/Flu Season

Cases of RSV, the flu, and other viruses often rise this time of year. It is important for students to wash their hands regularly and cover their coughs and sneezes. Please monitor your child’s health daily and keep them at home if they are sick. Visit FCPS' Health and Safety Guidance webpage for more tips.

Student Attendance and Engagement

During the Academic Matters segment of the November 9 School Board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid discussed student attendance and engagement. Attendance and absenteeism rates are one measure for Goal 2 of our 2023-30 Strategic Plan

Chronic absenteeism — which is defined as a student missing 10% or more of school for any reason — is a concern across Virginia school districts. Although FCPS continues to outperform the state average in attendance rates, we are tracking chronic absenteeism closely.

Data shows that:

  • Missing just 10% of school — just two days a month — negatively affects a student’s academic performance. 
  • Only 17% of students who were chronically absent in both kindergarten and first grade were reading proficiently in third grade, compared to 64% of those with good attendance.
  • Students who fail to read at grade level by the end of third grade are four times more likely than students who achieve proficiency to drop out of high school.
  • By sixth grade, chronic absenteeism becomes a leading indicator that a student will drop out of high school.

Attendance is critical for academic success!

Missing School Over the Holidays

Looking ahead to the holiday season, if missing school is unavoidable, please speak with your child’s teachers in advance to create a plan for making up missed work. However, a homework packet cannot make up for the interaction and learning that happens in the classroom.

Visit FCPS’ website for more attendance resources.

Special Education Resources for Families

Fairfax County Public Schools has the following resources available to assist families of students with special needs. 

Additionally, the Virginia Department of Education has updated the Virginia Family's Guide to Special Education. This state guide was developed to help those involved in special education including families, teachers, school administrators, advocates, and  students.

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