Principal's Note - Sept 8, 2019
Good afternoon & Happy Sunday, Holmes Families!
Thank you so much for those that were able to take the parent survey! We have made some adjustments to our Family Engagement calendar based on your input (see image below). September's focus will still be on "Supporting your Students with Organization and Study Skills". We hope that you can join us on Wednesday, 9/11 for either our parent coffee from 9-10 am or the PTA meeting from 6:30-7:30 pm to learn more about how to support your students with these skills. We've alo changed October's topic to "Using Tech Tools to Support your Student" in response to your feedback. We will also be looking at some "After School Specials" for parents since the 2-5 pm time frame is the second most popular time after evening events.
Student Rights & Responsibilities (SR&R) - Signature Sheet Required
All students received a copy of the Fairfax County Public Schools Student Rights & Responsibilities booklet on Friday, 9/6, during their SOAR Time period. Please complete the signature sheet at the front of the booklet and have your student return it to their SOAR Time teacher this week.
So far at Holmes Middle School, we have completed two fire drills and a lockdown drill. The state of Virginia requires us to complete one fire drill a week for the first 4 weeks of school and two lockdown drills in the same time period. Students and staff did an excellent job responding to the drills in a timely and safe manner! Throughout the year, we will have one fire drill a month, two additional lockdown drills (one in January and one in the second half of the year) in addition to bus evacuation drills, a tornado drill, and an earthquake drill.
ER Rotations begin on Thursday, 9/12!
Tuesday, 9/10 will be the last extended (90-minute) SOAR Time period for students. Students will work together on a follow-up lesson about the SR&R and will be issued lockers.
After Tuesday, students will visit their SOAR Time classes every White day for 43 minutes throughout the year. Students will begin their regular ER (Enrichment & Remediation) rotations on Thursday, 9/12. Every White Day, students will return back to one class period for 24 minutes for Sustained Silent Reading, reteaching, and intervention in that content area. The blue/white schedule in their agendas also shows the ER rotation for the year (see image below).
In today's newsletter, scroll down for information about:
- FCPS CARES
- This Week's Schedule
- Safety Drills
- New at Holmes: SOAR Time!
- 2020 Yearbook for Sale
- Transportation Information
- Every Day Counts! Absences Add Up
- PTA Updates
- 2019-2020 Update from MySchoolBucks
- Online Free & Reduced-Price Application Information
- After-School Program
- Capital One Coders Program
- Library Volunteers Needed
- Students Invited to Audition for Winter Musical
- 8th Grade Finance Park Field Trips - 9/27, 9/30, 10/1
- 8th Grade Parents: Volunteer to Chaperone for the Finance Park Field Trip by using VolunteerHub Parent Access
- Save the Date: Mental Health and Wellness Conference to Be Held October 5 at Fairfax High School
- Important Dates
- 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!
Proud Principal, Holmes MS
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: 9/9 - 9/13
Mon., 9/9 = Blue Day (1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th)
Tues., 9/10 = White Day (2nd, SOAR Time, 4th, 6th)
Wed., 9/11 = Blue Day (1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th)
Thurs., 9/12 = White Day (2nd, SOAR Time, ER-1, 4th, 6th)
Fri., 9/13 - Blue Day (1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th)
*NOTE: Students can always find the blue-white calendar in their agendas or on the school website HERE.
New at Holmes: SOAR Time!
New at Holmes: SOAR Time!
Have you heard your child talking about SOAR Time yet? If not, please ask! We’ve revamped and expanded our ER8 period to create SOAR Time. SOAR Time is an advisory class, similar to a homeroom, and is purposefully small (15 students or less per class). SOAR stands for Schoolwide lessons, Organization, Academics and Reading and Reflection (as pictured in the visual here). These four topics will be some of the major focus areas addressed through SOAR.
We have two main goals for SOAR Time: 1) develop students’ academic and social habits, and 2) build positive relationships. During SOAR Time, students will participate in mini lessons on topics such as organization, goal setting, study skills, stress management, and more. Following the mini lesson, students will have an opportunity to practice using these skills during Choice Menu time when they will self-select an activity. Choice Menu activity options include organizing your materials, updating your agenda, reviewing your grades and assignments in SIS, participating in silent sustained reading, completing assignments and/or studying for test and quizzes. We’re excited to offer students this self-directed time to practice sound study habits and work towards being even more successful.
As one means to support our goal of building positive relationships, SOAR Time teachers will serve as mentors. They will be engaging students in one-on-one conferences to review organization, discuss academics and help problem solve any other issues that students may want to address.
We are hopeful that SOAR will help students to develop skills essential for academic success and will provide them a welcoming community where they feel they belong. SOAR Time occurs for 43 minutes every white day. Check in with your child about SOAR Time today!
2020 Yearbook for Sale
Every Day Counts! Absences Add Up
FCPS is looking forward to a great school year! Regular attendance is essential for students to form positive peer and adult relationships and to learn. In fact, when students miss significant amounts of instructional time, they tend to lose momentum academically.
We do monitor each child’s attendance daily and will contact a parent if a child does not arrive at school or class as expected. Of course, there are times that students may have health or other concerns that may prevent them from being present. Please contact your child’s school by using its attendance telephone line, email, or online form if your child will be absent. This information can be found on each school’s web page.
More information about FCPS’ attendance expectations is available online.
By now, you should have received an email from Transportation with your child's regular and late bus assignment for the school year. If not, please let us know.
New App - "Here Comes the Bus" - Over this past school year, the Office of Transportation Services has been working to integrate multiple electronic systems, such as student information data, routing data, and GPS data from school buses into the Here Comes the Bus application. Here Comes the Bus application was piloted during summer school in anticipation of the roll out for the 2019-20 school year. Get more information about Here Comes the Bus
Bus Delay Notification System
Stay up-to-date on school bus arrivals with FCPS' bus delay notification system. This system provides parents with timely notification of late bus route information. Access it directly online. Morning bus route information will be available until noon. The afternoon bus route information will be available from 1 to 7 p.m.
E-Notify email messages will also be sent to announce bus delays.
Need assistance or have questions? Visit the FCPS Transportation page for more information.
Join PTA to support Holmes staff and students this year!
Spirit Wear can be ordered online until September 18th.
Mark Your Calendar
Wednesday September 11th - PTA meeting at 6:30 in the library. We will be discussing organizational skills for your middle school student.
Monday, September 23rd - PTA fundraiser at Chipotle - 6242 Little River Turnpike, Suite A, Alexandria.
2019-20 Update from MySchoolBucks
Fairfax County Public Schools has a contract with Global Payment Solutions to provide online payment services as a convenience to our parents and guardians for school lunch, student fees and other school store items through their online website and mobile apps commonly referred to as MySchoolBucks. As with a lot of mobile applications or online portals, users are required to accept “Terms and Conditions” when they register to use the application.
Typically, as updates are made to the portals and applications, users are required to read and accept the updated terms and conditions. Recently, MySchoolBucks updated their application and added the following Terms and Conditions as of July 31, 2019.
The provisions are ordinary and customary and are commonly used by e-commerce vendors. The MySchoolBucks Terms and Conditions specifically state that this is not the only way to make payments to a school.
The options are to 1) agree to the terms; or 2) provide payments using cash or a check. Additional payment information is available online.
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.
During the school year, a weekly schedule of activities that will be held during the After School Program will be posted.
- Monday, 9/16 - Hawk Club & Homework Rooms begin. Students must be picked up by parents/guardians this week. (NOTE: Any student can stay for Hawk Club & Homework Room at any time during the school year. "Hawk Club" is the combination of time in Homework Rooms and a recreational period each day after school).
- Monday, 9/23 - Late Buses, Clubs, & Teacher Help After School Begin. Late buses are on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Students must be picked up by parents/guardians if they stay on Tuesdays or Fridays.
If you have any questions about the After School Program, please feel free to contact Ms. Denise Taylor at @email.
Application Deadline for Capital One Coders Program- Friday, September 6th
Capital One Coders Program is a special 10-week coding curriculum for middle school students. The Capital One Coders Middle School Initiative supports students as they learn how to develop apps for mobile devices using App Inventor blocks-based programming language. Led by Capital One volunteers, hundreds of young students gain exposure to software engineering principles and practices.
20 Holmes students will have the opportunity to get hands on experience learning software development, problem solving, and even develop their own app. If you are interested and committed to meet every Wednesday from 2:30-4:30 PM for the entire 10-week program (from September 25th through December 4th), Please sign into your fcpsschools.net email accounts and fill out the application linked below. The deadline for all submissions is 3 PM on Friday, September 6th.
Library Volunteers Needed
The Holmes Library is actively seeking parent volunteers to help with various tasks. If you are interested in being a parent volunteer, please contact our librarian, Ms. Corina Haywood . Any amount of time you are available is appreciated.
Students Invited to Audition for Winter Musical
All Holmes students are invited to audition for this year’s winter musical: Annie, Jr! Students do not need to be in Theatre or Chorus to audition, all are welcome! Auditions will be held on Monday, September 9 and Wednesday, September 11th. This is before late buses begin, but a bus will be provided on Wednesday 9/11 for students who need it. “Callbacks” will be held on Thursday, September 12th. Don’t want to audition? Sign up for Stage Crew! Students should pick up an information packet in I-hall, and can see Ms. Eddinger, Mrs. Murphy or Ms. Faraldi with questions.
Performances will be:
8th Grade Finance Park Field Trips - 9/27, 9/30, 10/1
JA Finance Park is an innovation in experiential education designed to prepare our region’s youth for life and work in the real world. Before their culminating experience at JA's one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art facility, middle school students will first complete four weeks of in-classroom curriculum taught by their teacher. At the end of their classroom curriculum, students travel to JA Finance Park where they practice newly learned microeconomic concepts and experience first-hand the complexities of personal financial management as an earning, bill-paying adult for the day.
Students take on a life scenario – an avatar with a career, salary, credit score, debt, and family obligations – and make their way through various phases of the day. Volunteers help students with their decisions and share their own life experiences to give the choices context and make the experience more authentic for these young people.
In Fall 2010, in partnership with Fairfax County Public Schools, Junior Achievement of Greater Washington opened the doors to the first JA Finance Park in Greater Washington on the grounds of Robert Frost Middle School in Fairfax, VA. JA Finance Park Fairfax County brings in-depth, experiential financial literacy education to 14,000 8th grade students annually through more than 2,300 volunteers from the community.
8th Grade Parents: Volunteer to Chaperone for the Finance Park Field Trip through VolunteerHub Parent Access
VolunteerHub Parent Access & Instructions
Thank you for your interest in volunteering for your student’s field trip to JA Finance Park® Fairfax County!
Sign up to volunteer for this unique experience at: https://www.myja.org/parents/fairfax
Logging In for the First Time:
- Navigate to myja.org/parents/fairfax and click the green “Sign Up to Volunteer” button.
- At the bottom of the page, click on “Create New Account.”
- Choose a username and password that you will be able to remember, and click “Next.”
- Fill out your profile, completing all boxes that are indicated as required by the asterisks.
- On the confirmation page, click “Next” to view available slots for upcoming dates.
Finding and Registering For Your School:
- In the top right corner, click the magnifying glass to open the search bar.
- Enter the name of your student’s school.
- Identify which date your student will be visiting JA Finance Park.
- Unsure? Contact your child’s Civics teacher.
- Click “More” to see additional details on the volunteer experience. Or if you’re ready, click “Sign Up.”
- Read Junior Achievement’s Volunteer Conduct Standards Form & Social Media Policy and agree to it using the check box at the bottom of the screen.
- Registration complete! Check your email for a confirmation message containing the event’s details.
We look forward to welcoming you to JA Finance Park!
Save the Date: Mental Health and Wellness Conference to Be Held October 5 at Fairfax High School
The sixth annual FCPS Mental Health and Wellness Conference will be held on Saturday, October 5, at Fairfax High School from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m, sponsored by Inova. The morning session will focus on social and emotional learning, with a keynote address given by Dr. Marc Brackett, founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.
A special session for high school students, the Our Minds Matter Teen Summit, will take place in the morning as well. Attendees are encouraged to stay for Inova’s Act on Addiction Summit, which will be held from 12:30 to 4 p.m.
More information is available at the Mental Health and Wellness Conference website.
- Mon., 9/2 - NO SCHOOL - Labor Day
- Fri., 9/6 - Application Deadline for Capital One Coders Program
- Mon., 9/9 & Wed 9/11 - Auditions for Annie, Jr!
- Wed., 9/11, 9-10 am - Parent Coffee - Topic: Supporting Your Students with Organization & Study Skills
- Wed., 9/11, 6:30-7:30 pm - PTA Meeting - Theme: Supporting Your Students with Organization & Study Skills
- Mon., 9/16 - First Day of After-School Program (Homework Rooms & Hawk Club only)
- Mon., 9/23 - First Day of Late Buses (Clubs & Teacher Help begin)
- Mon., 9/23, 5-9 PM - Holmes MS PTA Chipotle Fundraiser, 6242 Little River Turnpike, Suite A, Alexandria
- Fri., 9/27 - Tue., 10/1 - Finance Park Field Trips - (Civic Classes)
- Sat., 10/5, 8 am - 4 pm - FCPS Mental Health & Wellness Conference, Fairfax HS
How to Stay In-Touch
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