Kilmer MS Newsletter - September 22, 2023

A message from Principal Steven McFarlane


Kilmer Community, 

I wanted to make you aware of a modification we are making to our grading policy and the justification for the change.

What is changing? Beginning next week missing assignments will receive a placeholder grade of zero. When the grade is entered in the gradebook, students will have at least two weeks (deadlines vary across disciplines; please refer to the syllabus for each course) to turn in the missing assignment. After the late work acceptance period has passed, the grade will be coded as “NT,” which means students can no longer turn in the late assignment and the zero will remain.

Why are we making this change? Our staff noticed students were not regularly turning in missing assignments. Students did not understand the impact it had on their overall grade until the “M - Missing” code was replaced with a “NT - Not Turned In,” which in turn input a zero, causing a drop in the overall grade. As a school, we want our students to complete missing assignments so that they learn the material. We believe this small change in our grading policy will impact students positively by showing them what will happen to their overall grade if they do not turn in the assignment. Our goal is to motivate students to get their work done.

What should I do if I see a missing assignment in ParentVue? Have your student complete the missing assignment and then have your child reach out to the teacher to make sure the teacher received it. Once the teacher receives and grades the assignment, the zero will be replaced by the student’s new grade on the assignment. The overall grade in the class will likely improve as a result.

What does Missing (M or MI) mean? Your student has a zero for the assignment but has two weeks from the time the missing code appears to turn in the assignment for a grade. Students should complete the work as soon as possible.

What does NT mean? Your child waited too long to turn in the missing assignment and it is no longer being accepted by the teacher. As a result, they have a zero on that assignment.

I hope you have a great weekend, and as always, reach out if you have any questions.


Steven McFarlane


Kilmer at a Glance


Note: At Kilmer, we have “Green Days ” and “Blue Days.” On “Green Days” students attend periods 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, and on “Blue Days” students attend periods 2, 3, 4, 6, 8.

Upcoming Dates:

  • September 26, 27, 28 29 - 7th Grade Science Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) field trip to Burke Lake.
  • Tuesday and Wednesday, October 3rd and 4th - 7th grade students will participate in the Signs of Suicide mental health awareness program during their US History class. More information can be found below. 7th grade parents will also receive a Kilmer e-Notify email on Sept. 6 with additional information.

Picture(s) of the Week


This week many of Kilmer’s Algebra students participated in “Algebra Equation Scrabble.” This collaborative, hands-on activity was created and co-taught by Algebra teachers and Kilmer’s librarians. Students selected a letter and if they correctly solved the equation associated with that letter they received the Scrabble tile. Students were able to play their tile(s) for points as they competed against their classmates.

Important Information

Student Portraits

School Picture were taken this week.  Order online here: The code is your student’s ID number. For questions about ordering please email

Bus Capacity

All our buses are at capacity and can not take additional passengers. Students will not be allowed to ride buses other than the one they are assigned.

SOS Signs of Suicide Mental Health Awareness Program - Seventh Grade Only

Seventh grade students will participate in the SOS Signs of Suicide® Prevention Program and mental health screening during their history classes on either Tuesday, October 3 or Wednesday, October 4. During the SOS Signs of Suicide lesson, students watch a video and engage in discussion to learn to ACT (Acknowledge, Care, Tell) if they are concerned about themselve or a friend. The bell schedule will be modified on Oct 4 to accommodate the implementation of the program. All students will attend periods 2, 8, 6, 3, and then 4. Seventh grade families received notification about the program and an opportunity to opt out in an e-notify letter sent on September 6. 

We encourage you to visit for information on warning signs for youth suicide, useful resources, and some of the key messages students will learn. You can also view this parent video to learn more. Parents can contact their student’s school counselor if they have additional questions about the program. Please note this is a separate opt out from the SEL screener.

SEL Screener Participation Social and Emotional Learning Screening

FCPS is committed to supporting all students’ mental wellness and social and emotional learning. FCPS approved a Social and  Emotional Learning (SEL) Screener that students use 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. All students in grades 3-12 have the opportunity to participate in the screener twice a year during the fall and spring. 

Students will participate in the SEL screener during Learning Seminar on Monday, October 16. You can opt out your child from participating in the SEL Screener. The opt out applies to the current school year and must be completed annually. For more information  about the SEL Screener, access to its content, and the opt out form, please click on the following link:  Social Emotional Learning Screener (SEL).

Learning Seminar

Throughout the year students will frequently be assigned to a new Learning Seminar for various reasons including opportunities for additional remediation in math or English. On Tuesday, September 26, students can view their schedule in SIS Studentvue to see if their 4th period Learning Seminar has changed. Students will continue to have one of their teachers for Learning Seminar even if they are assigned to a new class. Students will also receive a new schedule reflecting this change during 3rd period.

Parking During Recess and Lunch Times

From 9:45-10:45 am, the front parking lot is blocked off with cones so students can safely access the front field for 7th grade recess and then 8th grade recess. Visitors who arrive during recess or who will need to leave Kilmer during recess should park in the lot on the right side of the building. While our four lunches are scheduled from 10:45-12:45, the cones are moved closer to the crosswalk and parking spaces are available in the front of the school.

2023-2024 Student Rights and Responsibilities 

FCPS’ Student Rights and Responsibilities document (SR&R) explains expectations for student behavior and adult responses to enhance school safety and to create a fair, equitable, and supportive school environment. In late June, the School Board approved changes to the SR&R for the 2023-24 school year. Updates include a revision of dress code expectations, bystander expectations for students witnessing harmful or unsafe behaviors, bullying, and substance abuse responses. Read Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid’s letter to families regarding the SR&R

Students participated in a review of the Student Rights and Responsibilities on Monday and Tuesday, September 18th and 19th through Social Studies classes and took a test on SR&R content on Thursday or Friday during PE classes. 

Parents/caregivers should talk to their child(ren) about expectations for this school year. Also, please log in to SIS ParentVUE and sign to acknowledge your review of the SR&R, or sign and return the signature sheet to your child’s school by Friday, September 29.

Thomas Jefferson High School Student/Parent Information Night

On Thursday, October 12th from 5:00-6:00 pm all current 8th grade students interested in applying for the freshman round of the Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology are invited to join for a one hour presentation given by a TJHSST representative in the Kilmer Cafeteria. The majority of the hour will be dedicated to a question and answer session, and we recommend that all those interested in participating view this video prior to attending the presentation. You can find additional information including important application deadlines here.

Afterschool Activities News/Updates

After School Activities News/Updates

Each week Ms. Kardelis will post a detailed overview of our After School Program to our website. Please visit Kilmer’s website at to find the weekly After School newsletter. If you have any questions regarding our After School Program please reach out to Kim Kardelis (After School Specialist) at

References & Reminders

World Language Credit Exam

The 2023 World Languages Credit Exam will be administered on November 8, 9, and 13, 2023. Thirty languages will be included: American Sign Language (ASL), Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (Mandarin), Farsi, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Nepali, Pashto, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Sanskrit, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, Telugu, Tigrinya, Turkish, Twi, Urdu, and Vietnamese.

If your student can write in their home language fluently and would like to take the World Language Exam for world language credit, students can access the Kilmer Student Services Course on Schoology to register. Students and parents can register together by logging into a student’s FCPS laptop and selecting the dates for the exam. Registration is now open and closes on Thursday, October 5, 2023 at 4:00 p.m. Click to edit this placeholder text.

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Investigative Science Outreach

We are TJ Investigative Science Outreach, a student-led organization at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. We will be hosting our 11th annual science fair on March 16, 2024 and we would like to invite 5th-8th grade students from your school to participate. Admission to the science fair is completely free. 

Participants will complete a research project of their choice and present at the fair in-person on March 16, 2024. We help students prepare for this fair by holding multiple sessions to teach them important skills in STEM like brainstorming, collecting data, presenting, writing an experiment summary, using statistics, creating an experimental diagram, etc.

Our first interest/brainstorming session is Friday October 6th, 2023 at 6:00 pm. We will be holding this session in-person at TJHSST and virtually on Zoom. During this session we will go over the goals and guidelines of this fair and introduce students to a multitude of project ideas. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please email us. at

Lightspeed Parent Report


Cell Phone/Phone Accessories Violations 

During the first two weeks of school, we reminded students of the FCPS policy of “off and away” during the school day. Moving forward, if students are found in violation of this policy, staff members will confiscate the phone/accessory and turn it into the main office. Parents will be notified by the main office (via email) for the first two offenses, and students may pick up their device at the end of the day. If a student’s device is confiscated a third time, their administrator will contact their parent/guardian and enact a check-in/check-out system for two weeks. Additional violations will result in a parent/guardian pick-up. Violations are tracked by quarter.