Principal's Note - Nov 3 2019

By Margaret Barnes
Principal's Note
November 04, 2019

Good evening & Happy Sunday, Holmes Families!

It is hard to believe that we are done with 1st quarter!  We had a great Activity Day on Friday afternoon celebrating our accomplishments, positive behavior, and great attendance!  Scroll down to see the pictures below of students participating in activities outdoors, in the gym, did arts and crafts in the cafeteria, played games in the library, or watched "Coco" in the lecture hall or the classroom.  It was a fun day, and what was most incredible I think, is that there was hardly a cell phone in sight!  We will have Activity Days at the end of each quarter, so every student has the opportunity to start fresh in 2nd quarter.  We also plan to have an after school dance some time in December, so stay tuned for news about that!

Bren Mar Park ES Family Market

I'll be visiting the Bren Mar Park Elementary School Family Market this Thursday, November 7th!  I'll be there from 4:30-5:30 and will have information about the Holmes After School Program and will be available to answer any questions that you have about your student's experience at Holmes.  Feel free to stop by and say hello!

Mini-Conferences - Tuesday, November 5th, 8-10 am

As you know, there is no school for students on Monday, November 4th (a School Planning Day), and Tuesday, November 5th (a Teacher Workday and Elections Day).  We hope you can join us on November 5th at our annual mini-conferences, which are in the morning this year.  If Holmes is your polling site, you can come and vote, and then come chat with your students' teachers!  See the flyer below for more details.  

Feel free to stop into our parent coffee and information sessions!  Our theme for the month of November is the After School Program, so stop by room A6 at 7:30, 8:30 or 9:30 for a brief presentation from our After School Specialist, Ms. Taylor.  If you are a 7th grade parent, you can stop by the same room at 8:00, 9:00 or 10:00 to preview the Signs of Suicide (SOS) lesson that counselors will conduct through 7th grade History classes the week of November 11th. 


Nominate an Outstanding Holmes Staff Member! - Deadline Extended to November 5th

We are extending the deadline to nominate staff members for the Outstanding Employee Awards!  Please consider nominating a staff member by completing the nomination through this Google form link: Nomination Form.  You may nominate an employee in one or more categories. All that is required for a preliminary nomination is a short paragraph or two about how this employee demonstrates exceptional work in the criteria for that category. The google form link has more information regarding the criteria for each of these awards and the eligibility requirements are below.

  • Outstanding Teacher  (Eligibility: Has at least three years of experience as a teacher; librarians are included in this category)
  • Outstanding New Teacher  (Eligibility: Within their first three years of being a teacher; librarians are included in this category)
  • Outstanding Principal (Eligibility: Has at least three years’ experience as a building principal)
  • Outstanding Leader  (Eligibility: At least one year of experience in their current position; common positions in this category: Assistant Principals, Director of Student Services)
  • Outstanding Professional Employee  (Eligibility: At least one year experience in current position; non-instructional employee in a school that supports school leadership; Common positions in this category: School-Based Technology Specialist, Technology Support Specialist, Assessment Coach, Instructional Coach, Psychologist, Social Worker, School Counselor, Safety and Security Specialist, Resource Teachers that serve in an administrative role in a school)
  • Outstanding Operational Employee (Eligibility: At least one year of experience in current position; common positions in this category: Administrative and Office Staff, Safety and Security Assistant, Custodial Staff, Food Service Staff, IA, PHA, PHTA, All Parent Liaisons)

If you have any questions, please contact Lesley Mitchell at @email.

Thank you for helping us to recognize our wonderful staff members!

Morning Drop-off and Reflector Wear

As we move into colder weather and fewer daylight hours, we would like to remind parents to please not drop students off at school before 7:00 am.  For the safety of our students, we want to ensure that they are supervised and out of cold weather. 

In addition, for our walkers and students waiting at bus stops, consider the right kind of safety clothing like reflective gear to avoid appearing "invisible" to drivers, especially at low light periods of the day and night.  Whether it's a safety reflective shirt, light reflective jacket, or other reflective clothes, an investment in a safety wardrobe will bring you peace of mind and added protection.

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

  • This Week's Schedule
  • After-School Program
  • Lunch Bunch
  • Daylight Saving Time Ends Sunday
  • Calendar Reminder: November 4 and 5 Are Holidays for Students; SIS Gradebook Module Closed November 1-9
  • Weekly Progress Reports
  • Student-Parent Survey for Federal Impact AID
  • Youth Survey Parent Notification Letters
  • Holmes 5K Fall Fun Run & Annual Canned Food Drive
  • Holmes MS Annual Food Drive
  • Art Feature
  • National Junior Honor Society Bake Sale on November 5th
  • Guidelines for Joining NJHS
  • Signs of Suicide (SOS) Lessons through 7th Grade History Classes
  • 8th Grade Personal Yearbook Ads
  • Online Free & Reduced-Price Application Information
  • School Safety & Threat Assessment
  • 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


activity 4

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: 11/4-11/8


This week:

Mon., 11/4 = School Planning Day - NO SCHOOL

Tues., 11/5 = Teacher Work Day & Mini-Conferences- NO SCHOOL

Wed., 11/6 = White Day (2nd, SOAR, ER 5, 4th, 6th)

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

Fri., 11/8 = White Day (2nd, SOAR, ER 6, 4th, 6th)

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

After-School Program - Week of 11/4

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 November 4



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. 

Daylight Saving Time Ends Sunday

Don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour on Sunday, November 3, at 2 a.m., for the end of Daylight Saving Time. 

Calendar Reminder: November 4 and 5 Are Holidays for Students; SIS Gradebook Module Closed November 1-9

As a reminder, schools will be closed for students on Monday, November 4, for a school planning day and Tuesday, November 5, for a teacher work day. Friday, November 1, is the last day of the first quarter. Classes will resume on Wednesday, November 6. See the complete 2019-20 school calendar

Also, the Student Information System (SIS) Gradebook and Report Card modules will be closed starting at 4 p.m. today (November 1), through 6 a.m. on November 9 while teachers complete report cards.

Daylight Saving Time Ends Sunday

Don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour on Sunday, November 3, at 2 a.m., for the end of Daylight Saving Time. 

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

Student-Parent Survey for Federal Impact AID

Impact Aid

Youth Survey Parent Notification Letters

Below is the text of the letter from the Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent about the annual Fairfax County Youth Survey.  6th and 8th grade students will receive a copy of this letter to bring, and parents have the opportunity to opt their child out of the survey. 

For access to the links in the letter:

Youth Survey EnglishYS S 1

National Junior Honor Society Bake Sale on November 5th

Bake Sale

The National Junior Honor Society is active this year at Holmes!

NJHS members will be holding a bake sale during elections and mini-conferences on November 5. Please bring small bills and support your NJHS members!

Poster by NJHS candidate Aja

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 5K Fall Fun Run & Annual Canned Food Drive

Fun Run EngFun Run Spanish

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

Art Feature!

Take a look at our students in the Computers in art class making large-scale interactive drawings!

Art 1Art 2

Signs of Suicide (SOS) Lessons through 7th Grade History - Nov. 11th-14th

Holmes Middle School Student Services along with Clinicians will be presenting the SOS program to 7th grade students through History classes during the week of November 11.  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 will have various opportunities to view the “Time to ACT” video and ask questions about the wellness screening: During Mini Conferences on November 5 at the following times: 8am, 9am, and 10am.

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 no later than Wednesday, November 6, 2019. 

Informacion en Espanol:


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

Online Free and Reduced-Price Application Information

Free and reduced-price meal applications may be completed online or by submitting a handwritten, paper application for the 2019-2020 school year.  Electronic meal applications are quick, easy, and available in the following languages:  English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Tagalog, French, and Vietnamese. 

Both the online application and paper application include a designated section with a consent to share information for potential waiver of fees for other programs. This allows parents/guardians to complete the free and reduced-price meal application and provide consent to share information in the same document.

Paper applications must be the original red print forms, which are available at school offices, school cafeterias, and other FCPS buildings.  Copied application forms cannot be accepted.

For more information visit the Free and Reduced-Price Meals webpage.


School Safety & Threat Assessment

Parents and Students: View training modules on threat assessment and learn about FCPS' anonymous Tip Line.

Fairfax County Public Schools has a well-established policy and protocol for responding to threats of violence in our schools. We have collaborated with the Youth Violence Project of the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education as part of our efforts to educate parents and students on how to help reduce threats and increase safety in our schools. 

We invite parents and students (12 and older) to view the following training modules on threat assessment. These brief modules will help you understand the threat assessment process used in our schools and how it can help prevent violence.

Access the modules at and use the appropriate access code:

  •  Parent code-pgvsdt •    Student code-sy8zk2

You will be asked to identify your school, but not yourself, when completing the training. Preview an excerpt from the student module

Find out about FCPS' Tip Line below.

Help Keep Your School Safe!

Please report any school safety issues, such as threats, dangerous rumors, drug use, theft, harassment, gang activities, existence of weapons, and vandalism to FCPS' Tip Line. It's completely anonymous.

Contact the Tip Line

About Threat Assessment in Virginia

Over the past decade, the Commonwealth of Virginia has led the nation in efforts to implement threat assessment procedures in institutions of higher education and pre-K-12 public schools.  In 2008, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation requiring public institutions of higher education to establish threat assessment teams with the goal of preventing violence on campus by assessing behaviors and intervening with individuals who may pose a threat to campus safety.  In 2013, the Virginia General Assembly enacted legislation requiring all public school divisions to establish and operate threat assessment teams in support of their schools–making Virginia the first state in the country to require such action.     

With the requirement of threat assessment mandates, the General Assembly also directed the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety (VCSCS) to study the application and implementation of threat assessment, develop model policies, procedures, and resources on threat assessment, and provide training to support institutions of higher education and pre-K-12 public schools. To satisfy these requirements, the VCSCS worked hand in hand with research partners, service providers, and subject matter experts to provide resources for schools, campuses, and law enforcement.  

About the Project

This project is being conducted by the Youth Violence Project of the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia, in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services and the Virginia Department of Education. It is supported by Grant #NIJ 2014-CK-BX-0004 awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Dr. Dewey Cornell is the project’s principal investigator and Dr. Jennifer Maeng is the project director and can be contacted with questions at


Please contact your child’s school administrator with questions about FCPS' threat assessment policy or how to report a threat.

Important Dates

  • Mon., 11/4 -School Planning Day - NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS
  • Tue., 11/5 - Election Day - NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS
  • Tue., 11/5, 8-10 am - Mini-Conference Morning with Teachers
  • Tue., 11/5, NJHS Bake Sale (during elections and mini-conferences)
  • Thurs., 11/7, 4:30-6 pm - Principal Meet & Greet @ Bren Mar Park Elementary School Family Market
  • Fri., 11/8-Fri., 11/15 - Administration of Fairfax County Youth Survey for 6th & 8th graders 
  • Mon., 11/11-Thur., 11/14 - Signs of Suicide lessons through 7th grade History classes
  • 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
  • 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


How to Stay In-Touch

Please stay in touch with us throughout the year by: