Holmes PTA News: November 22 Edition

Welcome to the second issue of the new Holmes PTA News! We hope the first edition was helpful, and we look forward to your feedback.

Many thanks to everyone who attended the November 13 PTA meeting and welcomed our new school board at-large member Karen Keys-Gamarra to our school and meeting. Among other things, we had a chance to discuss our concerns and preferences about the next year's school calendarMore information is posted below, including a link to a survey.

Karen also heard from future Edison HS parents who would like automatic approval to pupil place their students at Annandale HS. A few years ago, certain Holmes neighborhoods were redistricted to Edison HS. If your family is interested in this opportunity, please contact PTA president Julie Strandlie

Speaking of surveys, included in this newsletter is an important PTA engagement survey. Your PTA Board would like your input on meeting times, meeting content, events, and activities. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey so that we can increase involvement and better support our students and community. 

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. We currently have 110 Facebook and 95 Twitter connections. To improve communication and school spirit, help us get both accounts over 150 before December 31. Please Like, Share, and Retweet our content! 

Most important, we urge you to join the PTA or renew membership before November 30, 2017. While we continue to recruit and welcome new members throughout the year, we are required to report and pay state and national PTA dues as of December 1. With renewed interest and enthusiasm, our membership increased last year by 58 percent (from 107 to 168); our goal is to continue to build participation and involvement. Help us grow to 200 members by November 30 -- we are at 161 right now. Please join today! Both PTA dues and a contribution to the Hawks Fly High direct donation campaign are eligible for a tax deduction. We appreciate the 18 families that sponsored a teacher for PTA membership this year.

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

PTA meeting photo

Scenes from the November 13 PTA Meeting: (L-R: Principal Margaret Barnes, Holmes IBMYP coordinator/science teacher Donna Starace, At-Large School Board Member Karen Keys-Gamarra, PTA President Julie Strandlie, FCPS IBMYP Certificate/IB Diploma Specialist Kelly Brown. Click here for more information about the PTA meeting.

In This Issue

  • Happy Thanksgiving! 
  • Support HolmesMSPTA: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday
  • Share Your Story: New Holmes Family Heritage Cookbook
  • Holmes Holiday Helpers
  • Raise Your Voice: 2017/2018 School Calendar Survey
  • PTA Engagement Survey
  • Join Holmes MS PTA!
  • Volunteer:The PTA Needs YOU!
  • Mini-Conference Meals for Teachers
  • Nominate Outstanding Employees
  • Participate: NoCost2U Fundraisers -- Remember Holmes MS PTA during your Black Friday/Cyber Monday Shopping! 
  • Save the Date: Dec. 7 Dine-Out Fundraiser @ Five Guys
  • Spirit Store Has Arrived @ Holmes! 
  • Important Dates


Happy Thanksgiving from the Holmes Middle School PTA to the entire Holmes community. We hope you will have the opportunity to relax and enjoy time with family and friends. And thanks to Holmes Principal Margaret Barnes for declaring Thanksgiving break a "no homework zone!"

Black Friday Giving Tuesday

When you shop online on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or any other day please support Holmes MS PTA through two NoCost2U fundraising partners: AmazonSmile and Shutterfly. More information is provided below and on the HolmesMSPTA website.

The PTA budget and ability to support programming for students, teachers, and the community relies on generous individual and business contributions. On Giving Tuesday (November 28), please donate to the Hawks Fly High fund (supporting PTA-sponsored programs and events) and/or the fund designated to purchase the 50th anniversary gift electronic sign for Holmes Middle School. These contributions, and PTA membership dues, are eligible for a tax deduction. 

Thank you for your support! 

Share Your Story: New Holmes Family Heritage Cookbook

Holmes Middle School is blessed with a wonderfully diverse community. The PTA would like to partner with Holmes families to share our collective heritage and stories. How will we do this? One way is to reestablish a Holmes favorite -- Heritage Night -- sometime this spring. We are seeking an event chair and committee to make this happen. Let us know if you would like to volunteer!

We also invite families to participate in a new Holmes Family Heritage Cookbook. Holmes students will share the story of their favorite family/religious/cultural celebration. In 300 words or less, describe the importance of the celebration or memory, submit a favorite recipe you enjoy during the celebration, and share a photo of your family and/or the prepared food. 

The PTA will collaborate with Holmes parents, students, and Mr. Whitt and his After School "Write Club" to create a Holmes Family Heritage Cookbook.  

The deadline to submit materials will be January 8, 2018. A flyer and specific submission instructions will be posted on the Holmes PTA website. More details to follow after Thanksgiving!

Holiday Helpers

Holmes MS PTA is pleased to support Holmes MS's efforts to make the holidays joyful for all students. For questions, please contact Holmes MS staff listed above.



Raise Your Voice: 2017/2018 School Calendar Survey



Visit the FCPS Survey today and provide your feedback on proposed 2018-2019 school year calendar options and issues being considered by the Fairfax County School Board. Your input will help guide the Board in its decision-making for the 2018-2019 school year and for future school years. Responses must be received before or on December 1. Time to hear from YOU! Advocacy Works! (From FCCPTA)

Get Involved

PTA Engagement Survey

Holmes MS PTA's Executive Board seeks your input and assistance in improving programming and community outreach. We have implemented lots of new programming since September 2016 and we would like to assess where we are and where we should focus our time and resources. 

We have much more to do with your ideas, help, and enthusiasm.

For more information, see the PTA's 2017/2018 Goals and Objectives

Please take 3-5 minutes to give us your feedback. To complete the survey please click HERE. Thank you! 

PTA connect

Join/Renew PTA Membership!

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 raises funds 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.


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, committee members
  • Fundraising, committee members
  • Heritage Night, event chair and committee members
  • 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.

Mini-Conference Meals for Teachers

We want to extend a huge thank you to PTA parents Alyssa Getsey and Carol Gabriel for organizing a fabulous pre-Mini Conference dinner for our teachers and administration. Alyssa and Carol have volunteered to lead Teacher Appreciation efforts in May. They will need assistance. More to come in the spring. Also, Alyssa chairs Annandale High School's Grad Night celebration.  Rising 8th grade parents may enjoy helping Alyssa with this event! Please email Alyssa to volunteer! 

Nominate Outstanding Employees

Nominations are open for the Outstanding Employee Awards!  To submit a nomination for a Holmes Middle School Outstanding Employee in one of the categories below, please complete the nomination through https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MWXTF79

You may nominate an employee in one or more categories.  All that is required for a preliminary nomination is a paragraph or two about how this employee demonstrates exceptional work in the criteria for that category.  The nomination page has more information regarding the criteria for each of these awards and the eligibility requirements are below.

  • Outstanding Teacher: A teacher or librarian with 3 or more years of experience
  • Outstanding New Teacher: A teacher or librarian with less than 3 years of experience
  • Outstanding New Principal: A building principal with less than 3 years of experience
  • Outstanding Leader: A US-20 or above school-based employee with at least one year of experience in the position (Positions included: School-Based Technology Specialist, Technology Support Specialist, Assistant Principal, Director of Student Services, Assessment Coach, Instructional Coach, Psychologist, Social Worker, School Counselor)
  • Outstanding Support Employee: A US-19 or below school-based employee with at least one year of experience in the position (Positions included: Administrative and office assistants, custodial staff, food service staff, Instructional Assistants, Public Health Assistants, Public Health Training Assistants)
  • Outstanding Hourly Employee: An hourly paid employee with at least one year of experience working at least 10 hours a week at the same location (Positions included: Parent liaisons, hourly office staff)

Note: The deadline to submit a nomination is December 1. 

Once all nominations are collected, we will be looking for a committee of 5-10 teachers, staff, parents and/or community members to narrow down our nominees to the top 5.  The top 5 nominees will be presented to the administrative team who will decide the winner in each category. 

If you are willing to serve on this committee or you have any questions, please contact Karli Eddinger (Holmes Awards Liaison) at kreddinger@fcps.edu.

(From Holmes Principal's Note, November 19, 2017.)

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! 



When you shop on Black Friday, or any other day, 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.


 ​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.

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 @ Pinecrest Plaza 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 the winter music and theatre performances. 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 PTA VP/Fundraising Tammy Murphy

Important Dates

December 1: Respond to FCPS School Calendar Survey 

December 1: Nominate Faculty/Staff for FCPS Awards

December 7: Dine-Out Fundraiser @ Five Guys/Pinecrest Plaza

December 11:Contribute/Donate Gift Items to Holmes Holiday Helpers

January 8:    PTA Meeting

January 8:    Submit Family Heritage Cookbook Materials