Principal's Note - Dec 16, 2022

By Margaret Barnes
December 18, 2022

Good afternoon, Holmes Families!

We had a great day today at Holmes with a Winter Music Assembly, in the morning, a nice long recess outside, and an assembly with Saul Paul in the afternoon!  

As a reminder, winter break will be held December 19 to January 2. Our school office will be closed during the winter break.  To help make sure school-based staff and students have a restful break, we have asked that no homework be assigned during this time. Teachers may assign long-range assignments in the weeks ahead of the break, allowing students to practice time management skills, but no assignments will be due immediately following the break. We look forward to welcoming students back in the new year. 

Classes will resume on Tuesday, January 3, 2023. See the complete 2022-23 School Year Calendar.  

Holmes MS Curriculum Night - Thursday, January 12th

When we return from break, we will begin the process for students to begin selecting the courses for the 2023-24 school year!  Save the Date for the evening of Thursday, January 12th, when we will share information with families about the process and details about different courses, including electives.  If your student is currently an 8th grader, scroll down for information about two events hosted by Annandale and Edison High School for rising 9th graders.  

Give Your Student the Gift of Education

We recognize that holidays are an important time to reconnect with family and expose children to their heritage and culture, whether they grew up in another part of the United States or a different country. If your family’s holiday plans include extended travel, please remember the impact to your children’s education if they miss too much school. Visit our website for more attendance resources

COVID Diagnostic Testing in January

Mark your calendars! COVID diagnostic testing will be available for FCPS teachers, staff, and students at five locations across the county January 3-5 from 5 to 8 p.m. This testing is for those who are either experiencing COVID symptoms or have been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID. Appointments are not required, but registration must be completed before testing. Visit the COVID Testing webpage for more information

Holmes Hawk Herald Podcast

Did you know we started an after school program for podcasting?  Episode 4 has been released and is ready for your ears. The topics in this episode are:

  1.  Newcomers to the U.S: What's it like being new to Holmes MS?
  2. Kids are the Future: Should kids decide their futures, or their parents?

You can subscribe to it on Spotify here or listen to it on Anchor here. Students listen to each episode through their SOAR classes. Students are welcome to join the club, which meets each Thursday after school. If you or your student would like to submit a story idea, fill out the Google Form here.

Episode 4

Family Math Week

ST Math is hosting family math week from January 9, 2023, until January 13, 2023. During the week of January 9, 2023, students will be encouraged to log onto the FCPS Family Math website to engage in math activities including stories that include mathematical concepts and a variety of different math games from around the world. All activities are available in English and Spanish. 

To learn more about ST Family Math Nights check out this video and flier to help us reach our goal of logging on for one million minutes collectively as an FCPS community. 

More information will be available soon through Schoology for students to access in order to participate with their families during math week.

Rising 9th Grade Open House at Annandale HS - 1/11, 6 pm

On January 11 from 6-8pm Annandale High School will host an Open House for our rising 9th grade students and families to learn more about what high school at Annandale is all about! We will offer short optional sessions on our various Annandale programs, and teachers will be in their classrooms throughout the evening to share all about our core and elective courses for 9th graders. The goal is for students and parents to leave this event excited about all the opportunities our students will have as an Annandale Atom! Breakout Sessions on the following topics will be offered throughout the evening: Welcome to Annandale, Course Request 101; IB/MYP Program; Activities and Athletics; English for Speakers of Other Languages Program; Special Education Office and Math Course Placement. If you have any questions, please contact Erik Healey

In-Person Open House/Information session on the Global Stem Program at Edison HS - 1/18, 6:30-7:30 pm

Edison High School will host an In-Person Open House/Information session on the Global Stem Program, on Wednesday, January 18th from 6:30-7:30. More information about Hello High School, Edison’s transition information session will be shared at a later date. 

Preparing for Winter Weather

Winter weather will be here before you know it! Watch this video to see how weather-related closing decisions are made

FCPS’ inclement weather procedures will remain the same as last year. The first five inclement weather days will be traditional “snow days” with no school activities. After those five days, we will use the flexibility provided by the Virginia General Assembly to have unscheduled virtual learning days, whenever possible, to maintain the continuity of learning. Virtual learning on these days will be synchronous/live instruction, following the inclement weather virtual learning day schedule (includes a two-hour delay).

FCPS’ website is generally the first mode of communication during emergency weather closings. Other communication channels will be used as quickly as possible including email, text, social media, and news stations. Learn more about how schedule changes are communicated

Be sure to plan ahead for the winter season. Make sure your contact information is up-to-date in [email protected], bookmark the FCPS website, plan for childcare, if appropriate, and know what items your child may need to take home before a weather event.

Keep Your Child Warm During Outdoor Activities

Your school’s principal will monitor the weather for low temperatures, wind chill advisories and warnings, and weather advisories which may prevent children from being outside. (NOTE: At Holmes, we will go outside for recess as long as the actual and "feels like" temperature is 40 degrees or higher and there is no rain/snow.)  Make sure your child is dressed appropriately with a warm coat and other cold-weather clothing, so they can comfortably enjoy their time outdoors. See the National Weather Service’s tips on staying safe during cold weather.

If you need assistance supplying your child with cold-weather clothing, please call our Family Liaison Ms. Oncho at 703-658-5923 or email her at [email protected]

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
  • Holmes MS PTA
  • From Ms. Oncho, Our Family Liaison
  • Testing Information & Quarter 2 Testing Windows
  • Important Upcoming Dates
  • How to Stay Connected to Holmes MS

FCPS & Community Updates

  • Speed Cameras Target School Zone Safety
  • Strategic Planning Community Forums Scheduled
  • Teens in Action Winter Camp
  • Inspire Future Scientists
  • Stay Connected with FCPS

Please feel free to reach out and let us know what questions you have.  Thank you, and have a wonderful break!


Margaret Barnes

Proud Principal, Holmes MS




Student Services Information

Alfa Breakdown

2022-23 Blue/White Calendar


New Bell Schedule

From Mr. Kruk, our After School Specialist

After-School Program Weekly News & Notes from 12/12-12/16

Student of the Week

  • The After-School Program Students of the Week are Obed Acquah & Axel Segura Carbajal
  • Both students were nominated for their helpfulness, responsible behavior, & sportsmanship.
  • Congrats Obed & Axel!

Students in Action – Creativity was soaring during after-school in our Maker Space and Lego Master clubs this week.

Students in Action

After School Schedule 1/3-1/6

ASP Jan 1-3

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

Holmes MS 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!

  • Join the PTA on MemberHub between now and December 7th and get entered into a drawing for a gift certificate to Great American Restaurants!
  • Are you able to volunteer?  Submit this Google form
  • Want to order Spiritwear

From Ms. Oncho, Our Family Liaison

Family Coffee: Dealing with Digital Drama - 1/10 at 9-10am 

Come to Holmes MS, or join virtually, for a one-hour workshop on Dealing with Digital Drama. We've all seen it. Learn how drama escalates online, and help older kids and teens avoid and de-escalate mean or harmful online behavior. In this workshop, families will learn to:

  • Encourage older kids and teens to take a break—and a breath—before responding to online drama.
  • Help kids avoid making drama worse.
  • Assist kids in making a plan to have an in-person conversation.
  • Use settings and in-app tools to try to stop online drama in its tracks.
Digital Drama

Testing Information & Quarter 2 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   

Qrt 2 Testing Window

Important Upcoming Dates

  • 12/19/2022 - 1/2/2023 - NO SCHOOL / Winter Break
  • Tuesday, 1/3, 4-8 pm - Spirit Night at Chick-fil-A on Little River Tnpk

  • Tuesday, 1/10, 9-10 am - Parent Coffee

  • Wednesday, 1/11, 6 pm - Rising 9th Grade Open House at Annandale HS
  • Thursday, 1/12, 5-7 pm - Holmes MS Curriculum Night 
  • Monday, 1/16 - NO SCHOOL / Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday
  • Wednesday, 1/18, 6:30-7:30 pm - In Person Open House/Information session on the Global Stem Program
  • Wednesday, 1/25 - 2nd Quarter Ends / 2-Hour Early Release
  • Thursday, 1/26 - NO SCHOOL / Staff Development Day
  • Friday, 1/27 - NO SCHOOL / Teacher Workday
  • Tuesday, 2/7, 4-8 pm - Spirit Night at Chipotle on Little River Tnpk

  • Monday, 2/20 - NO SCHOOL / George Washington's Birthday

How to Stay Connected to Holmes MS

Please stay in touch with us throughout the year by:

FCPS & Community Updates

Speed Cameras Target School Zone Safety

On December 6, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to launch a pilot program that will have 10 speed monitoring devices (speed cameras) installed throughout the county. These cameras will be in nine school zones and one construction zone. Thanks to our county partners for helping to improve the safety of our students and staff.

Studies show that speed camera enforcement is effective in improving safety by reducing speeding, accidents, and injuries. Read more about the school zone speed camera pilot program.

Strategic Planning Community Forums Scheduled

Beginning January 30, FCPS will host a series of community forums as part of our Strategic Plan development process. The completed schedule and locations for the sessions are posted on FCPS' Strategic Planning webpage

Teens in Action Winter Camp

Teens in Action

Inspire Future Scientists

Science Fair

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