Principal's Note - Nov 3, 2023
Hello Holmes Families!
As a reminder, schools are closed for students on Monday, November 6 and Tuesday, November 7. See the complete school year calendar.
Daylight Saving Time Ends
Daylight saving time will end Sunday, November 5, at 2 a.m. Don’t forget to move your clocks back one hour!
It was great seeing both students and staff dressed up this past week! Please see below for a snapshot!
Intervention Cycle 2
Thursday, November 9th, we will start intervention cycle 2 with a priority on students who are dually identified English for Speakers of Other Language (ESOL) and students who have an IEP. Students will focus on language development. Students will receive an email on Tuesday and will review their new 5th period teacher change during SOAR (4th period). Students not in intervention will have access to a choice menu including guided organization, academic support (including with Tutor.com), reading and reflection, and enrichment.
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. School-based staff, please encourage families to complete the online form for each school-aged child in every household. This is important, 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.
Need to Register for ParentVUE?
7th Grade Families
7th grade students will the opportunity to go see the play The Diary of Anne Frank at Edison High School on December 1st. If your child would like to be considered to go on this field trip they must write one paragraph (at least five sentences) answering the question: How can one person’s story have a lasting impact on history? If your child is interested, please have them review the prompt and directions on their Schoology page.
8th Grade Families
The Freshman Application for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology opened Monday, October 23rd, 2023 at 4pm. Students will be able to begin the application process until Wednesday, November 15th at 4pm and all applications must be submitted by Friday, November 17th at 4pm. Please visit the Freshman Application website to start the process. Contact the TJ Admissions Department with questions.
Family Coffee 11/2 Recording
Thank you to all the families who attended this month’s Family Coffee at Holmes Middle School in person and on Zoom. The topic was Chatting with the New Principal. Families learned more about our new Principal, Serena Giron, and our new Director of Student Services, Jess Tippins. Families also learned more about our instructional focuses, behavior supports, and tiered response to attendance and tardies. Finally, families learned more about the After School Program and Family Engagement month resources. The recording, presentation, and resources shared can be found on our website: https://holmesms.fcps.edu/.
Holmes Twitter: Don’t Miss a Tweet!
Follow our school account on Twitter (@HolmesMS_FCPS) to stay up-to-date on the latest news, events, and reminders! We'll be sharing photos of fun activities, videos, important announcements, and more. Here’s some highlights from this week, in case you missed them:
- Fall Preview Concert video
- Family Coffee flyers
- Halloween Costume pictures
- Native American Heritage Month
- Dia de los Muertos activities in Spanish Class
Here are today's newsletter topics:
- 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
- Tips to Help Keep Children Safe
- Provide Input on FCPS’ Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R)
- Election Day Is Next Week. Vote!
- Successfully Completing Algebra 1 by Eighth Grade
- 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!
Admin Team Information
2023-24 Blue/White Calendar
From Mr. Kruk, our After-School Specialist
After-School Program Weekly News & Notes from 10/30-11/3
Student of the Week
- The After-School Program Student of the week: Sifan Bekele
- Sifan has been a major contributor within the After-School Program.
- She has attended the program each week since it started and has made a positive impact within the following activities; EcoHawks, Cursive Club, Yearbook, Art Club, & Maker Space.
- Great job Sifan!
ASP Schedule 10/30-11/3
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
- Sunday, 11/5, 2 AM - Daylight Saving Time Ends
- Monday, 11/6 - NO SCHOOL / Staff Development Day
- Tuesday, 11/7 - NO SCHOOL / Teacher Work Day
- 11/22 - 11/24 - NO SCHOOL / Thanksgiving Break
- Tuesday, 12/6 - PTA Meeting in conjunction with the Winter Chorus Concert
- 12/18/23 - 01/01/24 - NO SCHOOL / Winter Break
Holmes MS PTA
Don't forget to check out these important links:
- Holmes Attendance Form: https://holmesms.fcps.edu/about/attendance-form
- Buy SpiritWear: https://bit.ly/HolmesSpiritWear
- Join the PTA: https://bit.ly/SupportHolmesPTA
- Missed the meeting: watch the recording by clicking here OR access the slideshow/presentation on our website OR access audio language interpretation in Spanish, Urdu, and Arabic by clicking the language button in Zoom.
The next PTA meeting will be on December 6th in conjunction with the Winter Chorus Concert.
From Ms. Oncho, Our Family Liaison
November is National Family Engagement Month! This month reminds us that families are children’s first and most important teachers, advocates, and nurturers. Over 35 years of research shows that the most effective way to increase student achievement is for families to be actively involved in their children's education. The importance of family engagement will be highlighted during November as we celebrate and strengthen family-school partnerships. Strengthening relationships between parents, family members, schools, educators, and communities is critical to meeting our commitment to high expectations and excellence for all FCPS students.
Here are some ideas for you to celebrate this month.
- Collaborate with your parent organization (PTA, PTO, Booster) to host an opportunity to network and learn more about partnering with the school.
- Visit your local library or go online to get a library card for your child.
- Practice digital safety and responsibility with your child. Ideas and tip sheets.
- Commit to volunteer at your child’s school three times this school year.
- Write letters to school staff for National Family Engagement Day on November 16, 2023.
- Review your child's (grades 7 – 12) Academic Career Plan on Naviance and partner with their school counselor in developing goals.
- Ask your child what they discuss in Morning Meetings and Advisory.
- Discuss the FCPS Portrait of a Graduate skills with your child.
- Post pictures on social media using #FCPSEngageFamilies or #FamilyEngagementMonth and tag @FSP_FCPS & @FRC_FCPS
Quick tips for families, which are available in English and Spanish. Review these brochures before meeting with parents, in case they can help provide insight on any specific concerns or topics.
Parent-teacher conference tips to share with families in advance of conferences in order to make the most of meetings.
How to Stay Connected to Holmes MS
Please stay in touch with us throughout the year by:
- keeping your contact information up-to-date throughout the year
- visiting the Holmes MS website
- signing up for News You Choose
- following us on Twitter
- monitoring your student's progress with SIS Parent Account
- join the Holmes MS PTA and attend meetings
FCPS & Community Updates
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 va.gov.
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.
Tips to Help Keep Children Safe
The Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) reminds parents and caregivers that it’s important to talk to your children about safety topics including:
- What parents should know about their children’s plans.
- Having a meeting spot in case of getting separated.
- Establishing safe areas.
- What to do if you are followed.
Visit the FCPD website for more details on how to discuss safety topics.
Provide Input on FCPS’ Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R)
Please join FCPS’ Chief Equity Office for a virtual meeting regarding the Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R) Regulation. The event will be held on Thursday, November 9, from 6-7:30 p.m. You may register at this link.
Your feedback will help ensure that FCPS policies align with the school division’s mission and values. It will also help identify any specific considerations that need to be addressed for the 2024-25 school year.
Language interpretation will be available in Spanish, Korean, and Arabic. A Certified Deaf Interpreter will be available as well. Get information on the SR&R.
Election Day Is Next Week. Vote!
The 2023 School Bond Referendum will be on the ballot Tuesday, November 7. Remember to vote!
For more information on voting, visit the Virginia Department of Elections website.
Successfully Completing Algebra 1 by Eighth Grade
Helping students to complete Algebra 1 by eighth grade is part of our Strategic Plan (Goal 3: Academic Growth and Excellence). Algebra Access Network Improvement Community (AANIC) is working to increase the diverse representation of students who take advanced math classes and succeed in them. This video shares more about the AANIC cohorts at Kilmer and Key middle schools and lets students explain why Algebra matters to them.
Passing Algebra 1 earlier allows for students to take more advanced classes like Dual Enrollment courses, Advanced Placement (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. These advanced courses help students succeed in college. A recent study from the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) found that completing Algebra 1 by grade eight led to 30% more ninth graders and 16% more 11th graders taking advanced courses.
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