Principal's Note - Sept 8, 2023

By Holmes Admin Team
Principal's Note
September 08, 2023

Hello Holmes Families!

September is Attendance Awareness Month. 

As you plan upcoming trips and other family events, please remember the importance of sending your child to school every day. Review the FCPS School Year Calendar and try to plan any time away during long breaks from school. 

Children who show up for school regularly develop fundamental reading and math skills while building a habit of good attendance that will carry them into college and careers. Research shows that children who were chronically absent (missing 18 days or more) in kindergarten and first grade were far less likely to read proficiently at the end of third grade.

Learn how families can help form good attendance habits.

SEL Screener

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 
  • Belonging 
  • 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)

Middle School Athletics – Cross Country

This fall, Holmes Middle School will have our first ever Cross Country team. Practices will be held twice a week, starting on Thursday September 14th during after-school from 2:30-3:30. There are 4 scheduled meets on Saturdays; 9/30, 10/14, 10/21, & 10/28. The specific times and locations have not yet been announced. Bus transportation will be provided from Holmes Middle School to the event site and then back to Holmes after the event has concluded. To participate in Cross Country, all Holmes students must complete this registration form and the required physical form to participate. For any questions or concerns related to Middle School athletics, please contact our Athletics Coordinator, Sandra Ramirez; @email.

Current 8th grade students and parents/guardians:

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology will hold an information night for students and families who are interested in applying for the 9th grade class of 2024-2025. The TJHSST admissions specialist will provide information regarding the application process and timeline, requirements for applying, and answer questions regarding the admissions process. For more information regarding TJHSST admission please visit their website or contact Linda Sperling, admissions specialist, at @email.

WHEN: Thursday, September 14th, 5:30-6:30pm

WHERE: Holmes Middle School Lecture Hall

WHO: Current 8th grade families interested in admission to Thomas Jefferson High School

Team Hawk Athletics Program has begun!

Cross Country sign-ups are happening right now. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Opt-Outs: The Opt-Out booklet is online or available from your child’s school. It contains information on: 
    1. Parents’ rights to inspect and consent or opt out before their child participates in certain surveys.
    2. Parents’ rights to inspect instructional materials.
    3. Rules regarding student records and disclosure of student information (including photo/video of students) and the right to opt out.
    4. 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
    5. 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.

Here are today's newsletter topics:

Holmes Updates

  • 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

COVID Guidance

The Importance of Up-to-Date Immunizations

How to Access Free Resources from

Safety Drills During the School Year

Parent Information Lines Available in Eight Languages

  • 2023-30 Strategic Plan — Goal 3: Academic Growth and Excellence
  • 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

Holmes MS


Contact Information

admin and counselor contact info

2023-24 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. 

Blue and White Days

2023-24 Bell Schedule

Bell Schedule

This bell schedule is different from the 2022-23 school year.  Periods 3 and 4/5 will meet every day.  Periods 1, 5, 7 and 9 will only meet on blue days, and periods 2, 4, 6, and 8 will meet on White Days.  This will be posted to the website, and each student will receive a copy on the first day of school. 

From Mr. Kruk, our After-School Specialist

After-School Weekly News & Notes

  • The After-School Program will start this Monday, September 11th.
  • Please be sure to register your student for the After-School Program by completing this one-time consent form for the 2023-24 school year
  • Students will sign-up to stay after-school during their lunch block. Please communicate with your student to know if and when they will be staying after school.

After-School Program Week 1 - Schedule 9/11-9/15


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 after 3:30.
    • Students will not need to be signed-out of the main office, if picked up at 4:45 when the program ends.


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

Important Upcoming Dates

  • Monday, 9/11 - After-School Program Starts
  • Tuesday, 9/12 & Wednesday, 9/13 - Picture Day
  • 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

Holmes MS PTA

From Ms. Oncho, Our Family Liaison

Family Coffee - 9/20, 9:30-10:30 am

Please mark your calendar for our first parent coffee this school year. You are welcome to join in-person or virtually (zoom link will be provided later). We will provide refreshments for in-person attendees.

Topic: Adjusting to Middle School and Meeting our Admin

Are you interested to learn how to support your child’s academic achievement and emotional wellbeing at Holmes Middle School by connecting with staff, learning about attendance, academic progress, grading, mental health, behavioral concerns, advance program, IB, AVID, etc.? Come to our family coffee on September 20.

Strengthening Families Classes -  every Wednesday, 9:30-11:30 AM

Strengthening Families

How to Stay Connected to Holmes MS

Please stay in touch with us throughout the year by:

FCPS & Community Updates

COVID Guidance

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.

How to Access Free Resources from

All FCPS students continue to have unlimited access to live, 24/7, one-on-one online tutoring services through 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 Online Tutoring Services webpage.

Students can access 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

Safety Drills During the School Year

Keeping students and staff safe is a priority for FCPS. Each school has an emergency preparedness plan to respond to incidents such as fires and tornadoes. Schools are required by state law to practice emergency drills, including lockdown drills, each year. Schools are also required to notify parents and guardians at least 24 hours before a school conducts a lockdown drill. However, schools are not required to give the specific date and time of the drill in advance. 

The first lockdown drill of the school year must take place within the first 20 days of school. Preschool and kindergarten students are exempt from practicing the first lockdown drill. 

Your child may come home and talk about their experience during the drill. We encourage you to talk with your child about the importance of being prepared for emergencies. Please review these frequently asked questions to support your students before and after school lockdown drills.

Parent Information Lines Available in Eight Languages

Parents who speak Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Korean, Spanish, Urdu, or Vietnamese may call a telephone information line for general information about FCPS. View the list of phone numbers.

2023-30 Strategic Plan — Goal 3: Academic Growth and Excellence

FCPS’ 2023-30 strategic plan sets five main goals to create positive change in our schools. 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 measure our success. 

Under Goal 3, every student will learn to use critical and creative thinking. They will meet or exceed academic goals. Students will reach their full potential. 

Visit the Strategic Plan webpage for more information. Watch this video to learn more about the many voices that came together to create the plan. 

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