Holmes PTA News: Welcome to the First Edition

Welcome to the first edition of the new Holmes PTA News!  We look forward to communicating with Holmes families and supporters on a regular basis. Please be patient as we learn this new newsletter platform, and let us know if you have any suggestions. 

To Stay Informed/Get Involved, we encourage you to visit the PTA website www.holmesmspta.org and LIKE and FOLLOW @HolmesMSPTA on Facebook and Twitter

To kick things off, we invite you to attend the PTA meeting on Monday, November 13. Newly elected At-Large School Board member Karen Keys-Gamarra is scheduled to join us. As an at-large member, she is OUR representative and we look forward to working with her. Come out and welcome her to the Holmes community.

The PTA meeting will also feature an important presentation on the IB/IBMYP program at Holmes, Annandale, and Edison. Last year this topic resulted in the most widely attended, engaging PTA meeting of the year. So don't miss out, plan to attend Monday's meeting. More information is provided below.

On behalf of the PTA Executive Board, thank you for your support for Holmes MS, our students, and the community!

Julie M. Strandlie, PTA President 

In This Issue

  • Invitation: PTA Meeting, November 13
  • Join Holmes MS PTA!
  • Reflections Writing, Art, & Photography Entries Due Nov. 13
  • Volunteer: The PTA Needs YOU!
  • Participate: NoCost2U Fundraisers 
  • Save the Date: Dec. 7 Dine-Out Fundraiser @ Five Guys
  • Spirit Store Has Arrived @ Holmes! 
  • Preview: Next Issue



Invitation: PTA Meeting, Nov. 13

Holmes MS PTA Meeting, November 13 @ 6:30 p.m. 

Special Guest:

Karen Keys-Gamarra, At-Large Member

Fairfax County School Board

Featured Topic: 


What is it/What Parents and Students Need to Know

Join us to learn about the excellent educational opportunities offered in grades 6-12 at Holmes MS and at Annandale and Edison High Schools.* 

We will also hear about new IBMYP initiatives at Holmes MS this year.


Donna Starace, Holmes MS IBMYP Coordinator

Kelly Brown, FCPS IBMYP Certificate/IB Diploma Coordinator 

Carolyn Lemens, Annandale HS Junior (IBMYP Certificate Recipient/IB Diploma Candidate)

Holmes MS is one of seven International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (IBMYP) schools in Fairfax County. All Holmes students take part in IBMYP, which follows them to their respective high schools. 

Our speakers will discuss the IBMYP for grades 6-8 at Holmes and grades 9-10 at Annandale and Edison High Schools. Annandale and Edison are both IBMYP certified schools, and offer rigorous IB classes in grades 10-12 and the prestigious IB Diploma.

Doors open at 6:00 p.m. The meeting will begin with presentations, followed by a brief PTA business meeting. For more information, including meeting materials, visit our PTA meeting webpage.



Join/Renew PTA Membership!

Welcome Letter from the PTA Board

Please support Holmes Middle School students by joining the Holmes MS PTA and by making a direct donation to the “Hawks Fly High” fundraiser. Membership dues and donations are the primary source of PTA funding.

The PTA and the school work together to raise funds and to support important activities and programming for our students, including:

  • Student Field Trips
  • After School Clubs
  • Staff Appreciation
  • Teacher Grants
  • Assemblies and Socials
  • Heritage Night, and more

We encourage you to join and pay online. You can also join by submitting this hard copy Membership Form and your payment to the Holmes MS Front Office. Questions: contact Rob Hardin or Vanessa Ventura.


Reflections Writing, Art, & Photography Entries Due Nov. 13

Each year, the National PTA sponsors the "Reflections" art competition. 

The deadline to submit entries has been extended for Holmes students until Monday, Nov. 13. Students may submit literature, photography, or visual arts.  All information, including competition guidelines and entry form, is posted on the Holmes MS PTA website

Last year Holmes student Peyton Buckley received an award. Let's keep the winning streak going. If your student participated in the writing/art contest for the Holmes Anniversary, review the guidelines to see if their work product would qualify for this contest.  


Volunteer! The PTA Needs YOU!

 We are seeking Holmes family members to serve as key committee chairs and help with a variety of projects. Time commitments vary, so there are opportunities for everyone to get involved and support our school!

  • Volunteer coordinator
  • Hospitality, chair & committee members
  • Teacher/Staff Appreciation, chair & committee members
  • Fundraising, chair & committee members
  • Heritage Night
  • After School Club mentors
  • Spiritwear, committee members

Use this Sign-Up Genius to volunteer today! In addition to these positions, please take a moment to complete the more detailed Volunteer Survey.  The survey includes many other opportunities to get involved. The results will also help us set PTA priorities for the school year.

Participate: NoCost2U Fundraisers

Holmes MS PTA’s budget significantly relies on “NoCost2U” Fundraisers. What does this mean? A NoCost2U fundraiser is one that does not require you to spend a dime:  by signing up for a grocery store affinity program, shopping on a certain website, or clipping coupons you can help the PTA earn LOTS of free cash for our students. 

Get involved today to ensure that the PTA has the resources it needs to support our faculty, school, and students with a variety of programming. 

New this year – Giant proceeds will be designated to fund an additional 8th Grade field trip to the Virginia General Assembly. But we need your participation to make this possible!

Contact PTA VP/Fundraising Tammy Murphy at vp.fundraising@holmesmspta.org to get involved. Thank you for your support! 



 ​Harris Teeter “Together in Education"

Holmes MS PTA #4759

Link your Harris Teeter VIC card beginning August 1 and earn free cash for Holmes MS PTA. Then when you shop Harris Teeter brands, a percentage of your purchase is donated to the school. Visit our HT TIE webpage for more information.

We will make it easy for you! Just click on this form and provide the requested information (last name, phone number linked to VIC Card and/or VIC card number) and we will link your card for you. 

Contact HT TIE Program Coordinator Carol Gabriel for more information.



Giant A+ for Education Program 

Holmes MS (Alexandria, VA)  #02303

Link your Giant Card and beginning October 7 earn free cash for Holmes Middle School. Points are awarded based on your total bill.

Beginning this year, Giant requires you to go online to register your card -- the PTA can no longer do it for you. OR you can visit the store's customer service desk. Once your card is registered, you won't have to do it again next year.

More information, including specific instructions for obtaining or registering a Giant card, is posted on our Giant A+for Education webpage

Box Tops2

Box Tops for Education 

Don’t throw packaging away until you’ve checked to see if there is a Box Top. Visit our BTFE webpage for more information. The next Box Top submission deadline is February 25, 2018. There will be rewards for bringing in the most Box Tops. Last year, the top 3 student/collectors received gift cards thanks to parent Gwen DeFilippi. Questions? Email Gwen DeFilippi.



When you designate O.W. Holmes Middle School as your charity, Amazon sends us a percentage. Easy money! Click here to go directly to the O.W. Holmes shopping page.


Shutterfly/Tiny Prints

When you shop through our Shutterfly Storefront, Shutterfly will donate 13% of your purchase back to our PTA. Order your holiday cards, calendars, photo books, and gifts and earn free money for our school. Holmes MS PTA often receives discount codes which we will share with our families.

Five Guys

Save the Date: Dec. 7 Dine-Out Fundraiser @ Five Guys

Join us for Holmes Middle School PTA’s 3rd Dine Out Fundraiser of the year!

Many thanks to Five Guys, Annandale for hosting us and for their support. A significant portion of the PTA budget relies on Dine-Out proceeds, so please mark your calendar now and plan to join us!


Spirit Store Has Arrived @ Holmes!

Holmes MS PTA has invested in Spiritwear and Spirit items. Visit our new Store during Mini-Conferences on November 16. We have a few 50th Anniversary shirts left and many new items including water bottles, pens, back packs, pop sockets, and more. We hope to open a full Spiritwear Store in January. We need volunteers to make this happen. Contact Tammy Murphy at vp.fundraising@holmesmspta.org. 

Preview: Next Issue

  • Holmes 50th Anniversary Recap - Share Your Memories/What's Next?
  • What's New -- Teacher Grants/After School Program Grants