Principal's Note - Sept 23, 2022

By Margaret Barnes
Principal's Note
September 26, 2022

Good afternoon, Holmes Families!

We had a busy week this week at Holmes!  All students took a Virginia Growth Assessment (VGA) Reading test and most students took a VGA Math test (except students taking Algebra and Geometry, who are not required to take the VGA Math test).  The VGA is an assessment on grade level content that will be used to measure growth in student's learning.  Students will take another VGA test in December and then take the SOL in May to measure growth.  

NOTE: There is no school for students on Monday, September 26th, due to Rosh Hashanah.  Students will return to school on Tuesday, 9/27.

Digital Resource Consent

Action Required: Click HERE to sign or check the completion status for your student's Digital Resource Consent as soon as possible. Many digital tools require parent permission this year and students are opted out by default. By completing this form, you will help provide teachers with the necessary information they need to plan impactful lessons using digital media.  

Contact Mel Mollick, School-Based Technology Specialist for Holmes, at @email if you have any questions or concerns.

Holmes Family Survey

Please fill out this survey. We would like to know your needs and your interest area for workshops and training.

Holmes PTA

We invite EVERY family at Holmes to participate in the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) because we can do more together! Advocate for your child, and for all the children at Holmes.  Connect with other parents, so that we can build a stronger community for ourselves and our children. This year, the Holmes PTA is planning on holding in-person meetings again, so you can meet face-to-face with other parents and with Ms. Barnes.  We're also planning restaurant nights, Bingo Nights, a Fun Run, Teacher Appreciation Week, and so much more!

Visit Member Hub for more information.   

Order Spirit Wear -- now delivered directly to you, no waiting.

Volunteers Needed!  The PTA has big plans this year, but we need YOU to help make it all happen.  Please take our survey on positions you'd be interested in, or come to our PTA meeting on Wednesday to find out more about the positions and all that we're doing this year!

Our first PTA meeting will be in-person at Holmes on Wednesday, September 28th, at 6:30.  We hope to see you there!

Fall INSPIRE 2022 Conference

As we progress through the start of the 2022-2023 school year, we have some exciting news for all students currently registered at Glasgow, Holmes and Key Middle Schools. To truly kick off the year, these three schools have partnered together to host a Fall INSPIRE 2022 Conference. This event seeks to promote health and wellness AND provide parents and students with the tools they can use to advance their thinking and learning. This event will be held at Glasgow Middle School for more information on sessions click here

For questions regarding the program, please contact: Alex Anderson  @email 

Date and Time: October 15, 2022 from 8am - 1pm.  

To attend you must register using this link: (one form submission per student)

Due to limited spacing, we must cap this conference registration to the first 300 registered participants. 

We look forward to seeing you and your child there! 

Fall Inspire Conference


Online Application for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Opens October 24; Deadline to Start Application is November 16.

The online application for students interested in applying for admission to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST), a Regional Governor’s School in Fairfax County focused on science and technology, will be available beginning Monday, October 24th. The application will be posted on the TJ admissions website

Please view the TJ admissions video with your child.  It is also located on their website with other relevant application information.

World Language Credit Exam for Another Language Speakers

Does your student speak, read and write in another language? If so, the World Language Exam is for them! Students can earn high school credit for what they already know! World Languages Credit Exam will take place on November 3rd, 9th, and 10th, 2022.

If your student is interested in taking the exam, please have them talk to their counselor and check out the World Language Exam website here Registration closes on Thursday, October 6th. 

The thirty (30) languages that are included are:  American Sign Language (ASL), Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (Mandarin), Farsi, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Nepali, Pashto, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Sanskrit, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, Telugu, Tigrinya, Turkish, Twi, Urdu, and Vietnamese. 

NO mini-conferences this year

We will not hold a traditional “mini-conferences” on a specific date this year.  Please continue to have ongoing communication with your child’s teachers. 

If you have specific concerns in regards to a class, please reach out to that teacher directly.  For example, you are concerned with your child’s math progress, you would contact the math teacher directly.   The staff directory is located here -

If you have concerns that are impacting all of your child’s classes, please reach out to your child’s counselor to schedule an appointment with multiple teachers.  For example, your child is struggling with something that is impacting them across the majority of the school day, and you’ve already communicated with one or more of the teachers, you would contact your child’s counselor. Scroll down in this newsletter for the alpha breakdown.

Staffing Update

Here is the latest information around our staffing:

  • Theater Arts: Ms. Isen will be supporting the classes through the end of next week, and Mr. Coaquira will return to substitute in the classroom from October 3rd until Ms. Murphy returns. Ms. Eddinger and Ms. Bongard have graciously been planning lessons for the classes.  We appreciate your understanding.

Remember that FCPS needs teachers, counselors, bus drivers, substitutes, student monitors, etc.  If you know of someone who is looking for work, please send them to explore our Career Opportunities

Here are today's newsletter topics:

Holmes Updates

  • Student Services Information
  • 2022-23 Blue/White Schedule
  • 2022-23 Bell Schedule
  • After School Schedule Next Week
  • From Ms. Oncho, Our Family Liaison
  • Testing Information & Quarter 1 Testing Windows
  • Important Upcoming Dates
  • How to Stay Connected to Holmes MS

FCPS & Community Updates

  • Feedback on ESSER III Funding
  • The Parent Project
  • Stay Connected with FCPS

Please feel free to reach out and let us know what questions you have.  Thank you, and we'll see your students on Tuesday!


Margaret Barnes

Proud Principal, Holmes MS




Student Services Information


2022-23 Blue/White Calendar

Most classes at Holmes are 85-90 minutes blocks.  Blue days are odd periods, and White days are even periods.  This calendar will also be posted to the website, and each student will receive a copy on the first day of school. 

UPDATE: This week, we caught a mistake in our blue-white calendar for the week of February 27th.  We will update you as we get closer to those dates.



After School Schedule Next Week

After-School Weekly News & Notes

Attendance Soars in week 2

  • More than 400 students stayed for our After-School Program this past week.
  • This was our highest attendance in nearly 3 years.
  • Great job students and staff!

ASP Student of the Week - Cynthia Domingo Velasquez

  • Cynthia is our ASP Student of the week because of her enthusiasm , leadership and hard-work while she was participating in the garden club this week.
  • She helped with clearing the gardens from debris and displayed a great deal of knowledge.
  • Great Job Cynthia!

Adventures in STEM club – Students had a great time collaborating in STEM club this week, creating their solar robots.


  Clubs coming soon to our After-School schedule:

  • RC Cars Club
  • International Dramatic Theatre Club
  • Voices of Now
  • Early Identification Program (EIP)

After-School Program Week 3 Schedule: 9/26-9/30

Week 3

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 prior to 4:45.
    • Walkers may sign themselves out any time after 3:30 when first block ends.


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

From Ms. Oncho, Our Family Liaison

About Parent Liaison

  1. hotspot and internet for families with students who receive free and/or reduced-price meals or Fairfax County services. Free Internet for Students: Project 10Million | T-Mobile
  2. The Fairfax Health County Health Department continues to provide monkeypox vaccinations for individuals who have a known exposure to a confirmed case and is now providing screening to other individuals to assess risk. Exposure most commonly happens when a person has direct contact with rash, scabs, or body fluids of someone who has the virus. Learn more here.
  3. 988 is now active across the United States. This new, shorter phone number will make it easier for people to remember and access mental health crisis services. (Please note, the previous 1-800-273-TALK (8255) number will continue to function indefinitely.) Click here to learn more about 988.
  4. Locations to receive recommended child and adolescent immunizations are available throughout the Fairfax Health District, including at many pharmacies and groceries that have pharmacies. Please click here to find a location near you.

     5. COVID-19 Updates (Information available in multiple languages.                       Language preference is located under video on webpage). 

  1. Fairfax County Youth Substance Use Trends and Supports Webinar (recording). Due to the rise in opioid overdoses in the Fairfax Health District, which is consistent with national and state trends, Fairfax County Public Schools has partnered with Fairfax County Government to provide an educational webinar on youth substance use trends and supports.
  2. Healthy Minds Fairfax has a 1-pager on how to know when your child may have a mental health concern and where to get help.

Testing Information & Quarter 1 Testing Windows

State assessments measure the extent to which students have learned the content and skills reflected in state standards and may also be used to measure growth in learning state standards. The format and timing of state assessments vary by grade level and content area, as noted in the table below. These include:

  • Fall and winter Virginia Growth Assessments (VGA) standardized tests in reading and mathematics. More information is available on the VGA webpage (;
  • Spring Standards of Learning (SOL) standardized tests in reading, mathematics, and science. More information is available on the SOL assessments webpage (;
  • Ongoing local alternative assessments (LAAs) including performance-based assessments (PBAs) completed as part of classroom instruction in science, writing, and social studies; More information is available on the LAA and PBA webpage (

The Grade Level Tests webpage ( provides information by grade level about the general assessment schedule and reporting method for each required assessment type in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). School staff will contact you with the specific dates your student is scheduled to take the standardized VGA and SOL assessments. If you have questions about state assessments, contact your student’s teacher or Christopher Kamar, our test coordinator, at @email   

Testing Windows

Important Upcoming Dates

  • Monday, 9/26 - NO SCHOOL / Teacher Workday
  • Wednesday, 9/28 - PTA Meeting, 6:30 pm (In-Person)
  • Wednesday, 10/5 - NO SCHOOL / Yom Kippur
  • Monday, 10/10 - NO SCHOOL / Staff Development Day
  • Monday, 10/24 - NO SCHOOL / Diwali
  • Friday, 10/28 - 1st Quarter Ends / 2-Hour Early Release
  • Monday, 10/31 - NO SCHOOL / Teacher Workday

How to Stay Connected to Holmes MS

Please stay in touch with us throughout the year by:

FCPS & Community Updates

ESSER III Funding Supports Student Success: Your Voice Matters

In the fall of 2021, FCPS received $188.8 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) funding to support the safe operation of schools and address the impacts of COVID-19 on students. 

ESSER III focus areas have included resources for prevention and mitigation of COVID, academic services, multilingual engagement, support for students’ social emotional needs, and professional development. 

Your Voice Matters!

A feedback form will be live on the ESSER III webpage Friday, September 23. Your input will inform the School Board and FCPS staff on the community’s view of our work. Watch this video to see the impact ESSER III funds are having in our schools. Learn more on FCPS’ website

The Parent Project

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