Principal's Note - Oct 13, 2019

By Margaret Barnes
Principal's Note
October 13, 2019

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Good afternoon & Happy Sunday, Holmes Families!

Thank you for such a great turnout at the parent coffee this past Wednesday about Using Tech Tools to Support Your Student's Success!  We heard from students about how they use their binders and tech tools to stay organized, and we talked through how to use the tools to update your contact information, view your students' grades, attendance, bus information and more.  Here are the two key sites we used:

Teachers' Google Classrooms and sites can be accessed through your students' Google accounts.  We encourage parents/guardians to sit side-by-side with their students to talk through what is there in each resource and how they can use it to support them.  We will also have the same topic as our focus at October's PTA meeting on Thursday, October 24th, at 5:30 pm (right before the Fall Preview Concert).   


There has been quite a bit of information in the news recently about vaping.  Take a look at this interesting video about vaping devices from the Today show this past week.     

SAVE THE DATE: Mini-Conferences - November 5th, 8-10 am

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 flyers below for more details.  


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

  • Calendar Reminder: Schools Closed on October 14 for Columbus Day Holiday
  • This Week's Schedule
  • After-School Program
  • Lunch Bunch
  • Youth Survey Parent Notification Letters
  • Holmes MS Annual Food Drive
  • National Junior Honor Society Bake Sale
  • SCA Spirit Week (10/ 21 – 10/25)
  • ANGST: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety
  • End of 1st Quarter and SCA Activity Day - 11/1
  • Signs of Suicide (SOS) Lessons through 7th Grade History Classes
  • Online Free & Reduced-Price Application Information
  • Important Dates
  • 2019-20 Family Engagement Events (Updated)
  • 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.

Calendar Reminder: Schools Closed on October 14 for Columbus Day Holiday

As a reminder, schools will be closed for students on Monday, October 14, for the Columbus Day holiday. October 14 is a school planning day for staff members. SACC will be open. Classes will resume on Tuesday, October 15. See the complete 2019-20 school year calendar

This Week's Schedule of Classes: 10/14 - 10/18


This week:

Mon., 10/14 =  School Planning Day / Student Holiday

Tues., 10/15 = White Day (2nd, SOAR, ER 5, 4th, 6th)

Wed., 10/16 = Blue Day (1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th)

Thurs., 10/17 =  White Day (2nd, SOAR, ER 6, 4th, 6th)

Fri., 10/18 = Blue Day (1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th)

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

After-School Program - Week of 10/14

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.




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. 

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


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!

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

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.

SCA Spirit Week (10/21 – 10/25)

SCA Spirit Week (October 21 – October 25)

Digital Citizenship Week themes and SCA Spirit Week days will be aligned with one another

  • Monday, October 21: Culture Day
    • Wear something that represents your culture, background, heritage, hometown
    • Digital Citizenship Theme: Reflect on Tech Use
  • Tuesday, October 22: Athletic Wear Day
    • Athletic wear, sportswear, favorite team, etc.
    • Digital Citizenship Theme: Healthy Tech Habits
  • Wednesday, October 23: Wacky Wednesday
    • Wear something wacky, silly, and creative!
    • Digital Citizenship Theme: Use Tech to Create
  • Thursday, October 24: Student-Teacher Swap
    • Dress like a teacher, dress to impress
    • Digital Citizenship Theme: Responsible Media
  • Friday, October 25: Comfy Clothes Day
    • Kick back, relax, wear something comfy
    • Digital Citizenship Theme: Take a Break from Screens

ANGST: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety


End of 1st Quarter and SCA Activity Day - 11/1

 End of Quarter: Activity Day

  • The purpose of this EOQ: Activity Day is to reward students for their good academics and good behavior
  • Activities currently include: Field Games (basketball, football, soccer, kickball, etc.), Movie, Gym
  • Logistics of production is currently in development
  • More information to come…

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:


Online Free and Reduced-Price Application Information

Makerspace Donations

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.


Important Dates

  • Mon., 10/14, - School Planning Day - NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS
  • Tue., 10/15 - Fri., 10/18 - MWEE (7th Grade Science Field Trip)
  • Mon., 10/21 - Fri., 10/25 - SCA Spirit Week
  • Thur., 10/24 - 5:30-6:30 pm - PTA Meeting (Prior to Fall Preview Concert) - Theme: Using Tech Tools to Support Your Student
  • Thurs., 10/24 - 7:00 pm - Fall Preview Concert
  • Thurs., 10/31 - 7th Grade Science Water Quality Field Trip
  • Fri., 11/1 - End of 1st Quarter
  • Fri., 11/1 - Chorus Field Trip
  • Fri., 11/1 - SCA Activity Day (modified schedule)
  • Mon., 11/4 -School Planning Day - NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS
  • Tues., 11/5 - Election Day - NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS
  • Tue., 11/5, 8-10 am - Mini-Conference Morning with Teachers
  • 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
  • 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: