Herndon Middle School Updates - Sept 5

In this Update:

🌟 Back to School Night
🌟 Attendance
🌟 SEL Screener Parent Notification and Updates
🌟 Support Your Child’s Success
🌟 2023-30 Strategic Plan
🌟 Substance Abuse Prevention
🌟 Transportation
🌟 Herndon Optimist Club Registration
🌟 Healthy Kids Running Series

...and more!


Back To School Night


All parents/guardians are invited to join us for Back to School Night on Thursday, September 14th, from 5:30-7:30pm!

Kiss and Ride Procedures

Herndon Middle School Administration would like to provide you with a few reminders and “best practices” for using HMS Kiss and Ride. In order to ensure a smooth start to the day as well as ensure the safety of all students, here are some helpful reminders for our morning drop off procedures:


All student drop offs must occur at the designated Kiss and Ride area located in the back of the school building. Please do not drop students off at the front of the building, along Locust Street, or in the front staff parking lot. Dropping students off outside of the designated Kiss and Ride location is a hazard to student safety.

  • When entering on 5th Street, please drive straight back to the Kiss and Ride area located in the back of the building.
  • Remain in the line of cars proceeding to the Kiss and Ride drop off point. Do not drop students off until you have reached the drop off point.  Dropping students off outside of this zone is a hazard to student safety.
  • When exiting the HMS school campus and re-entering Locust Street traffic, please turn right only. This allows for a smooth traffic flow for everyone.
  • When possible, arrive a few minutes early. High congestion time is typically from 7:10-7:25.


Attend Today, Achieve Tomorrow!

September is Attendance Awareness Month!

The beginning of the school year is the best time to develop strong attendance habits! Students who attend school regularly are more likely to perform well in reading and math, develop strong social and emotional skills, and graduate from high school on time. Help prepare your child for future success.

Watch this video with tips from Fairfax Pyramid principals and visit FCPS’ Attendance webpage for tips and strategies.


SEL Screener Parent Notification and Updates

FCPS is committed to supporting the mental wellness of all students. The Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Screener helps our students share their perspectives on how their schools and communities support them and help them develop the skills they need to succeed.

The screener is offered to all students in grades 3 through 12 in the fall and spring. It addresses skills like 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. Screener data is used to plan programming for the division, schools, and individual students. 

Key updates to the screener this year include:

  • Different versions for students in grades 3-5 and 6-12. 
  • Fewer topics with more questions to provide schools and families with more data to support planning. 
  • Additional questions aligned with FCPS’ commitment to educational equity.

Results are mailed home to families after each screening. Families who wish to opt their child out may do so by completing the opt-out form in the Annual Notice packet or SIS ParentVue. 

For more information, please visit the Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Screener webpage or contact us at 703.904.4800. 

Please note that the SEL Screener differs from the anonymous Fairfax County Youth Survey. For more information about the Youth Survey, see the Fairfax County Youth Survey site.

Support Your Child’s Success

What is ParentVUE and How to Register

Access your student’s attendance records, grades, and assignments at any time with SIS ParentVUE. Caregivers should receive an activation code when they register their child. 

Once you have activated a ParentVUE account for an FCPS student, you will keep the same account until the student graduates. Information about students in the same family can be accessed through the same ParentVUE account. Access SIS ParentVUE by using an app on your iPhone, iPad, or Android devices. 

Need help creating a SIS ParentVUE account? This video walks through the steps. Find out more about SIS ParentVUE.

2023-30 Strategic Plan

Goal 2: Safe, Supported, Included, and Empowered

The 2023-30 strategic plan sets five main goals to create positive change in FCPS. These 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. 

Goal 2 states that every student will be part of a school community that cares for their health, well-being, and opinions. We will listen to students and use their input to guide our decisions. We will respect their individuality, identity, and experiences. We will make sure they feel safe and supported at school.

Visit the Strategic Plan webpage to learn more about how we will measure the success of goal 2.

Parental Permission to Use Digital Resources

Some FCPS-approved digital resources require parent consent before they can be used by students. Find the list of resources which require consent on the Parent Consent webpage. This page also includes directions for providing permission. 

Each digital resource used in FCPS has had an instructional and technical review. Information about the educational technology tools approved for use within FCPS can be found in the online Digital Ecosystem Library.

Parents can find more information about FCPS-approved digital resources on the Digital Resources in FCPS webpage.

Important Resources

HMS Student Services


2023-24 Student Services Breakdown

Shirnesha Simpkins Church
Director of Student Services

School Counselor

Danielle Mascoll
Last Names: A-Garc

Safiyah Muhammad
Last Names: Garr-Om

Colene Luczak
Last Names: Or-Zu

Susanna Fry


Ashley Van Gelder
Social Worker (CSS)

Toni Tupper
Social Worker

Kelley Wells

Substance Abuse Prevention

When a Nap Isn’t a Nap

Overdoses touch people and communities in many ways. International Overdose Awareness Day, August 31st, 2023, is the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose and remember those who have died without stigma while also acknowledging the grief of their loved ones. An overdose means having more of a drug(s) than the body can handle. Unfortunately, opioid misuse is now the leading cause of unnatural death in Fairfax County according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Don’t allow it to go unnoticed in your home, in our community.

Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as Percocet, oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others (NIH). 

Opioids slow the central nervous system to produce a calming effect. When taken in excess amounts or in combination with other central nervous system depressants, they greatly suppress breathing and the heart rate.

Signs of an overdose include: Loss of consciousness. Unresponsive to outside stimulus. Awake, but unable to talk. Breathing is very slow and shallow, erratic, or has stopped. For lighter skinned people, the skin tone turns bluish purple, for darker skinned people, it turns grayish or ashen. Choking sounds, or a snore-like gurgling noise (sometimes called the “death rattle”). Vomiting. Body is very limp. Face is very pale or clammy. Fingernails and lips turn blue or purplish black. Pulse (heartbeat) is slow, erratic, or not there at all

A person may appear as though they are just napping. It may be difficult to tell if someone is napping or potentially overdosing, especially if they are snoring. 

If someone is making unfamiliar sounds while “sleeping” it is worth trying to wake him or her up. Many loved ones of users thought a person was snoring, when in fact they were overdosing. These situations are a missed opportunity to intervene and save a life. Snoring and gurgling can indicate that a person is having trouble breathing. With substance use, especially with opioids which slow down the systems of the body, snoring may indicate a serious and potentially life-threatening obstruction of the airway.

In the context of substance use, snoring is not something that should be seen as “normal”. Don’t let someone “sleep it off” if they are snoring; this may be a sign of a significant and life-threatening emergency. You should attempt to wake them immediately.

If they do wake up, then the snoring (airway obstruction) will resolve. If they do not wake up, call 911 immediately.

As we are about to embark on another school year, it is important to bring awareness to our families and students about what to look for in regards to substance use. Take confidence in the fact that you know what is normal for your student and what is not in terms of their behavior.

Potential signs that something may be off with your student: A student who starts acting withdrawn or seems tired, depressed, or mad for no reason. Changing friends. Not caring about personal appearance. Slipping grades, skipping classes. Losing interest in favorite activities. Behavioral or academic trouble at school or with the law. Changes in eating or sleeping habits. Not getting along with family members. Lying or stealing.

These signs do not always mean there is a drug or alcohol problem, but they may be cause for concern. Try to find out what is going on. Do not be afraid to have open and non-judgmental conversations with your student. Get to know their teachers, friends, and their friends' parents. A new school year means new opportunities. Let’s work together to make this year great. 

Resources (Recursos):

Everything you Need to Know about Opioids 

Español: Todo lo Que Necesita
Saber Sobre los Opioides

Fairfax County Narcan Training (English & Spanish)

FCPS Office of Student Safety
and Wellness
 or 571.423.4270

FCPS: Alcohol and Other Drugs

Transportation Notifications

Thank you for your patience as we all get used to new routines this school year. We appreciate our families following kiss and ride procedures and being patient as they wait for their children’s buses. 

If a student’s bus is delayed, parents may access the Bus Delay Notification System or use the Here Comes the Bus mobile app to receive the delayed bus report. Email messages will be sent to announce significant bus delays. Contact the Area 4 Transportation Office at 703-249-7100 with any additional questions. For any concerns after hours (after 5:30 p.m.), contact Safety and Security at 571-423-2000. 

To make sure you receive email messages about bus delays, update your contact information in SIS ParentVUE.

Fall Activities

Herndon Optimist Club Registration

The following Herndon Optimist Activities are open for FALL REGISTRATION.  Please visit the Herndon Optimist website, click on registration, and scroll to find the Sign in to Begin Registration button (everyone will need to create a new account because we switched operating systems this summer). Please join us for a fun-filled fall!


Healthy Kids Running Series


Registration is currently open for Healthy Kids Running Series. This is a 5-week program, being offered this Fall and Spring for preschoolers through middle schoolers.

For more information, please visit Healthy Kids Running Series.



  • 14: Back to School Night
  • 27: PTA Meeting
    7:00pm via Zoom
  • 16: Rosh Hashanah
    Begins Sundown 9.15 - Sundown 9.17
  • 25: Yom Kippur
    Begins Sundown 9.24 - Sundown 9.25


  • 14: Herndon Homecoming Parade 
    Beginning at 8:00am
  • 14: Herndon vs McLean Homecoming Football Game

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