Principal's Note - Sept 15, 2023
Hello Holmes Families!
From September 15 to October 15, FCPS recognizes and celebrates the histories and cultures of the members of our community who trace their heritage to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Learn more about the heritage months, celebrations, and traditions celebrated in FCPS. Learn more about National Hispanic Heritage Month.
We had a great week at Holmes Middle School! Students continued to demonstrate positive school behavior throughout the week. As we shared in our messaging earlier in the week, we have focused on three major changes to support smooth transitions and positive hallway behavior.
- Bell Schedule
- The bell schedule has been updated. Students learned about the new bell schedule during SOAR today. The transition time between classes is four minutes instead of five, which will cut down on students lingering in the hallway. Please see below for the new schedule.
- Transition to A lunch
- The early transition to A lunch has been successful all week. Students who have A lunch have been dismissed at 10:38am. This change has allowed ~250 students to transition smoothly to lunch. The remainder of students are dismissed at the 10:40am bell to their classes. With less students in the hallway for transition, students have been able to navigate the hallway with more ease.
- Advisory Lessons
- Advisory lessons this week included revisiting expected hallway behavior. Students also shared some of their thoughts on how to keep our school safe. Some common themes from student were: walk to the right in the hallway, no pushing, no running, staggered dismissal, no lingering in the halls.
Thank you for your continued support in communicating with your student about expected behavior.
*No bell at 2:15 / Staggered dismissal announced through PA
Tardy sweeps began this week and will occur randomly throughout the year. A tardy sweep means if your child arrives to class after the bell, the teacher’s door will be locked, and a staff member will direct them to the cafeteria to record the tardy. The first tardy will be a warning and progressive consequences will be administered thereafter. It is important for students to be in all classes on time every day, and we will work with you and your child should there be issues or concerns that prevent them from getting to classes on time.
Students in grades 3-12 use the SEL Screener twice a year to share their perspectives on how well their school and community help them develop skills they need to succeed. These skills include achieving goals, understanding and managing emotions, establishing and maintaining relationships with adults and peers, and making responsible decisions. Students also share how successful their school and community are at making them feel valued, included, and supported. These factors are critical to positive academic, social, and emotional success. The first SEL screener will be taken on October 11th at Holmes during your students SOAR class.
The screener measures student skills, strengths, and needs across the following topics:
- Self-Management & Responsible Decision Making
- Social Awareness & Relationship Skills
- Emotion Regulation
- Supportive Relationships
- Cultural Awareness & Action *grades 6-12 only
- Challenging Feelings
Please visit this website to learn more!
Does your child read and write in another language? If so…keep reading!
The World Language Exam will be administered November 8, 9 and 13th. The exam is designed to assess students’ native language proficiency and enable them to earn one to three credits toward fulfilling the world languages requirement for the Advanced Studies Diploma, see more information on the credit exam website. The exam is for students in grades 7 through 12 whose native language is listed below. Students take the exam at a designated area high school; see information on the credit exam website for specific dates, times, and locations.
What languages are included in the program?
There are 30 languages included: American Sign Language (ASL), Amharic, Arabic, Bengali/Bangla, Chinese/Mandarin, Farsi/Persian, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Nepali, Pashto, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Sanskrit, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog/Pilipino, Tamil, Telugu, Tigrinya, Turkish, Twi, Urdu, and Vietnamese.
Please have your child see their counselor to sign up for the exam. The registration period opens at 8:00 a.m. on September 5, 2023, and closes at 4:00 p.m. on October 5, 2023. Late registrations will not be accepted.
6th grade counselor: Erika Davis ([email protected])
7th grade counselor: Kelly Murphy ([email protected])
8th grade counselor: Bessie Fealey (@email)
ESOL level 1-3: Mariam Amarir (@email)
Team Hawk Athletics Program has begun!
Cross Country practices will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30-3:30pm during the first block of the After School Program.
Any additional information, please contact Ms. Ramirez at @email.
Caregiver Checklist: Have You Completed These Important Forms?
During the first weeks of the year, schools mail and email caregivers many forms to complete. Several of the most important ones are below:
- Digital Resources Consent: Some FCPS-approved digital resources require parent/caregiver consent before they can be used by students. Find the list of resources which require consent on the Digital Resources - Parent Consent page. This page also includes directions on how to provide permission so your child(ren) can access all resources provided by their teachers.
- Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R): This document explains expectations for student behavior and adult responses. Parents using SIS ParentVUE will be prompted to sign the document when they log in to that platform. A printable version of the document with a signature sheet is available on the SR&R webpage. This form should be signed and returned by Friday, September 29.
- Opt-Outs: The Opt-Out booklet is online or available from your child’s school. It contains information on:
- Parents’ rights to inspect and consent or opt out before their child participates in certain surveys.
- Parents’ rights to inspect instructional materials.
- Rules regarding student records and disclosure of student information (including photo/video of students) and the right to opt out.
- Parents’ rights to opt out of the Social Emotional Learning Screener, physical exams not required by state law, career or social emotional counseling, Library Equity Access Pass Project, and/or Tutor.com.
- The process by which complaints may be filed if parents or students believe their rights have been violated.
Paper forms can be signed and returned to your child’s school.
Parent Coffee - 9/20, 9:30-10:30 AM
Please mark your calendar for our first parent coffee for this school year on September 20 from 9:30am-10:30am at Holmes middle School (to connect virtually click here: https://myfcpsk12.zoom.us/j/99785172059). Are you interested to meet the Admin at Holmes and to learn how to support your child’s academic achievement and emotional wellbeing by connecting with the appropriate staff? If so, we encourage you to come in person to make connections with school staff and other families. Refreshments will be provided.
Picture Retakes - 10/24
We were excited to have our second day of picture day on Wednesday, 9/13. Unfortunately, Lifetouch (the company that takes pictures) had some software difficulties and was not able to take pictures that morning. As a result, we will offer retakes on October 24th all day for any student who was unable to take their picture. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
Thank you for understanding!
Here are today's newsletter topics:
- Student Services Information
- 2023-24 Blue/White Schedule
- 2023-24 Bell Schedule
- After-School Program
- Important Upcoming Dates
- Holmes MS PTA
- How to Stay Connected to Holmes MS
FCPS & Community Updates
- Call For Art Submissions!
- COVID Guidance
- The Importance of Up-to-Date Immunizations
- When a Student Should Stay Home From School
- How to Access Free Resources from Tutor.com
- Information Session for Substitute Teachers and Instructional Assistants
- School Bonds Benefit Students
- 2023-30 Strategic Plan — Goal 4: Equitable Access and Opportunity
- 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!
Holmes Admin Team
2023-24 Blue/White Calendar
2023-24 Bell Schedule (start date 9/15/2023)
*No bell at 2:15 / Staggered dismissal announced through PA
From Mr. Kruk, our After-School Specialist
After-School Program Weekly News & Notes from 9/11-9/15
Student of the Week
- The After-School Program Student of the week: Abubakar Ahmed
- Abubakar was nominated by staff for his willingness to help and lead by example.
- He is a responsible and respectful student and is a positive influence on others.
- Great job Abubakar
Students created beautiful works of art during Art Club.
Students had a blast during Soccer Club.
ASP Schedule 9/18-9/22
Students Leaving After-School before 4:45
- 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
- Wednesday, 9/20, 9:30-10:30 AM - Parent Coffee
- Wednesday, 9/20, 5-6 PM - Family Night for Hawks Athletics
- Monday, 9/25 - NO SCHOOL / Yom Kippur
- Wednesday, 9/27, 6:30-7:30 PM - PTA meeting
- Monday, 10/9 - NO SCHOOL / Staff Development Day
- Tuesday, 10/24 - Picture Retakes
Holmes MS PTA
From Ms. Oncho, Our Family Liaison
Parent Coffee - 9/20, 9:30-10:30 am
Strengthening Families Classes - every Wednesday, 9:30-11:30 AM
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
Call For Art Submissions!
Although the COVID-19 hospital transmission level (previously the COVID-19 Community Transmission level) for Fairfax County is currently low, COVID-19 cases have risen in Virginia during the last few weeks, and flu season will soon be upon us. Be sure to review FCPS Health and Safety Guidance for the best ways to prevent the spread of disease and to find out when students should stay home from school.
The Importance of Up-to-Date Immunizations
Immunizations are required by the code of Virginia § 22.1-271.2 for public school entry and help keep students protected from serious diseases. Check with your students’ healthcare providers now to make sure they are up to date on their immunizations. Immunization records can now be updated online in SIS ParentVUE through the Online Verification Update form. To access that form, click Online Packets in the top right of the screen after logging in. Caregivers can obtain an activation key letter to activate their SIS ParentVUE account by contacting their child’s school.
When a Student Should Stay Home From School
Whether students miss school because of illness or any other reason, missing school leads to learning loss.
Help your student succeed by encouraging them to attend as many days as possible, but do make sure your student stays home if they are sick. Visit FCPS’ website for information on when you should keep your child at home.
If your child has a chronic illness, make sure to notify their teacher, so that assistance can be provided if needed. Please contact us as soon as you know your child will be absent.
Read more about how families can help form good attendance habits.
How to Access Free Resources from Tutor.com
All FCPS students continue to have unlimited access to live, 24/7, one-on-one online tutoring services through Tutor.com at no cost to families. Student participation is optional and parents/caregivers can opt their student(s) out of accessing the services. Get more information on the Tutor.com Online Tutoring Services webpage.
Students can access Tutor.com via a link in Schoology. Additional information about how to log in and access a tutor is provided to families via the following: Elementary - How It Works and Middle & High - How It Works. Questions not answered in the posted resources may be sent to @email.
Information Session for Substitute Teachers and Instructional Assistants
Learn more about becoming a substitute teacher or instructional assistant at a virtual information session on Wednesday, September 20, from 2 to 3 p.m. Register for this session.
Visit the Recruitment Events calendar for a list of all FCPS job fairs.
School Bonds Benefit Students
A bond referendum to benefit Fairfax County Public Schools will be on the ballot this election season. The building and renovation of schools are not financed through the school system’s operating funds, but through bonds.
Similar to an individual or a family obtaining a mortgage on a residence to spread the cost of home buying over several years, bonds spread the cost of major capital improvements over a number of years. This ensures that current and future residents and users share in the payment. The county’s bonded debt is not likely to be a contributing factor to any increase in local taxes.
2023-30 Strategic Plan — Goal 4: Equitable Access and Opportunity
The 2023-30 strategic plan sets five main goals to create positive change in FCPS. These five goals show where we should focus our attention and will help us align our efforts. Our equity commitment and a set of measures in each goal will monitor our progress toward these goals.
Under Goal 4, high-quality academics will be available to all students. They will have access to excellent resources that support their success. Visit the Strategic Plan webpage to learn more about how we will measure the success of Goal 4.
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