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Holmes Highlights
A Newsletter of the Holmes Junior High School PTA
October 2013  Issue 1
A Message from
Your PTA President
10/14-18 Annual STEAC Food Drive
Secondary Articulation (12:30
Field Trip for Intermediate and
Advanced Orchestra
City of Davis Teen Dance, VMC
7:00-9:30 p.m.
Assembly Schedule – ACE Single
PTA Meeting, Holmes Library
7:00 p.m.
End of Quarter 1
Mix-It-Up Day
HSA Field Trip
Elementary Teacher Workday –
School IS in session for grades
NO SCHOOL: Veterans Day
Assembly Schedule/Single
Lunch – Leadership Rally
11/25-29 NO SCHOOL: Thanksgiving
PTA Meeting, Holmes Library
7:00 p.m.
Mid-Quarter Progress Report Q2
School Dance 7:30-10:00 p.m.
12/16-20 Book Fair
Holmes Toy Shop 6:00-8:00 p.m.
12/23-1/3 NO SCHOOL: Winter Break
Welcome to a new school year at Holmes! I’ve had a
student (or two!) at Holmes for the past five years,
and I have been so thrilled with each experience.
Your child is in a community of teachers and staff
who truly care about your child’s wellbeing and
education. We are all so lucky to be a part of such a
wonderful school!
Many junior high parents feel a little bit
disconnected after making the change from
elementary school to junior high, since the
opportunities to be at school, to volunteer and to get
involved may a bit more limited or difficult to figure
out. But rest assured there are plenty of
opportunities for involvement in joining and
participating in the PTA! You don’t have to come to
meetings unless you want to, but your skills can be
put to great use doing things you enjoy:
Do you like gardening? Come work in the
school garden!
Do you like to cook and organize meals? We
have several staff lunches during the year and
love to make them wonderful for the staff!
Want to chaperone a dance? Help is always
If you have any questions about how to get involved,
please email me at [email protected] I am
always happy to answer questions!
This year our newsletter will be distributed a bit
differently, and hopefully serve us all a little bit
better. Each issue will automatically be sent
electronically every month to each Holmes family.
You don’t have to sign up online to receive it in this
way – it will be sent directly to your email address.
You can “opt out” of receiving it, if you prefer, since
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each month’s newsletter will still be posted at the
PTA website. Additionally, if receiving the newsletter
electronically doesn’t work for you, you can still
receive a paper copy by filling out the necessary
information found in this first paper issue and
turning the slip in at the Holmes office. Our hope is
that this will help us to reach ALL parents so that you
are in the know about happenings at Holmes in the
easiest possible way!
On a sad note we lost two well-known staff members
because they moved on to new schools. Diana
Huculak went to King High School and Teresa
Delgadillo will now be fulltime at Davis High School
as an AVID teacher and a half-time vice principal.
Also, we wish the best to Kerin Kelleher, the new
vice principal at Harper JHS.
Effective Communication:
Email Guidelines
So off we go with 2013-2014! Wishing you a
wonderful year at Holmes,
As a district, we are committed to communication
between home and school. This is essential to
student success. Because of the ease and efficiency
of email, we find that we are all managing an
increasing number of messages every day. In the
case of teachers, the time spent in responding to this
email load can impact the teachers’ ability to plan
effective instruction and give prompt feedback to
students about their work. Similar impact is felt
throughout the community. To assist in the effective
use of email, we offer these guidelines to staff,
parents, and students:
Email is best for objective exchanges of
Brief messages and inquires
Communicating important information to many
at one time
Try to send the first email about an issue only
to those directly involved rather than copying it
to many others, a practice that increases
everyone’s message load.
Shorter is better. You will receive the best and
most focused answer when the message is as
succinct as possible.
Because of the speed of email, we all begin to
expect equally speedy responses. Please allow
up to two (2) working days for a response.
Email messages can sometimes be
misinterpreted. The phone or a conference is
best when an issue may cause concern or
prompt an emotional response.
It is not always possible for teachers who are
dealing with as many as 160 students per day
to respond immediately, or to give daily reports
about student behavior and progress. Before
contacting a teacher for information that the
student should have, please encourage your
child to check other school sources such as
fellow students, bulletins, planners or teachers’
Lisa Haass, PTA President
[email protected]
A Message from the
I look forward to another very exciting year of
learning at Holmes. This year we will welcome a
large seventh grade class, a motivated eighth grade
class, and an active ninth grade class. I want to thank
parents and students for their patience as we opened
our school year. I also thank the staff for working
very hard and making the start of the year go very
At Holmes, our common purpose is to support the
highest possible academic, social, and emotional
growth of all students. The principles that will guide
us in our work in support of this common purpose
are as follows:
At Holmes, we promote and protect a strong
classroom instructional program.
At Holmes, we are a respectful, inclusive
At Holmes, students are connected to school
and motivated.
At Holmes, everyone is safe.
I also want to welcome new staff members this year.
Sonam Singh is our seventh and eighth grade English
teacher. Jennifer Diaz will teach eighth grade
science. Mike Dufresne and Caroline LaFlamme
will take over as our activities directors. Added to our
administrative team is our new vice principal, Jean
Kennedy. We also welcome back Joanna Littell as a
full-time counselor. We are very happy to have all of
them join us for this academic year.
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the News section of School Loop. Teachers may
also post information about how they use
School Loop, what you can expect to find on
School Loop, and information regarding other
important resources that can help students stay
organized and keep track of assignments
Student Information System (SIS)
As you all know, it is the longstanding practice of the
DJUSD to inform parents of student attendance in a
predictable and detailed way on a daily basis. Here
are some things you can do to help:
If you have been absent, you must hand in a
note to the attendance office (the very next day
you return to school) that has been signed by
your parent/guardian indicating your name,
date of absence, and reason for the absence or
have your parent/guardian call the attendance
office with your name, date of absence, and
reason for the absence.
The Holmes website (
posts the handbook and other important
information about Holmes Junior High.
Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
The common core standards were created to engage
students in 21st-century skills and prepare them for
the workforce. As we begin to implement the new
standards, you will see a deeper transition to
students working collaboratively, thinking critically,
creatively and independently, and communicating
effectively. Here are some key highlights of the CCSS:
Common Core currently adopted by 45+ states
Core: Students focus on the ways we gather
and communicate information about our world
Standards: research and evidence-based,
aligned with college and work expectations,
internationally benchmarked
School Loop
Holmes Junior High staff supports the DJUSD in their
goal to provide secured online information access to
parents. School Loop is a tool for our district, a webbased application that allows parents to access
information about their child. Viewing assignments in
School Loop is intended as a way for parents to
receive information about their child’s academic
history. It is not intended to replace parent
communication with their child.
CCSS Assumptions: Qualitative Communication
The Common Core State Standards assume that
Knowledge is built through content-rich
nonfiction and informational texts
Reading and writing are grounded in evidence
from text
Students will need regular practice with
complex text and its academic vocabulary
Parents using School Loop
Students are responsible for managing and
submitting completed classroom assignments.
When having concerns or questions regarding
your child’s grades, please first discuss the
matter with your child. Junior high is a time
when it is important that we put expectations
on our students to develop the ability to
communicate and advocate for themselves. The
purpose of the School Loop is to support your
child(ren) in their efforts.
After discussing the matter with your child, if
you and your child are confused about a current
assignment or assignment grade, please refer to
your child’s planner or returned assignment, or
have your child talk to his or her “study buddy”.
After reviewing the child’s planner, if you and
your child are still unclear as to how a progress
report or final grade was determined or where
an assignment grade came from, please have
your child speak with his or her teacher
Teachers may post information about
assignments and important upcoming events in
The Changing Paradigm
Focus on college and career readiness
Focus on helping students meet reading
Focus on mastering 21st-century proficiencies
and skills
Require schools to align instruction, student
practices, and assessment to standards
What Are the Instructional Implications?
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All students need to read independent-level
text to build fluency and background
knowledge, as well as instructional-level text to
build reading skills and content knowledge.
All students need to learn to how to work with
content-rich, complex text independently.
All students need to work collaboratively,
exchanging ideas and negotiating meaning.
Texts, rather than teachers, should become
primary sources of information.
Ideas and insights must be based on clearly
articulated evidence.
Teachers will need to use text within, rather
than outside of, their teaching.
help we will create a safe learning environment for
all of us here at Holmes.
It is our goal for every student to be present and on
time for each school day, if he or she is not ill. If for
any reason your child needs to miss class, please
notify the Attendance Office as soon as possible.
Otherwise, your child’s absence will be recorded as
“unverified” until it is cleared by his or her guardian.
CCSS Focus: Performance Tasks measure student
understanding and application of skills and
If at all possible, we ask that you schedule any
appointments for your child outside school hours. It
is often difficult to make up academic learning time.
Features of performance tasks:
Measure something important
Require higher-order thinking
Are clear and unambiguous
Address CCSS standards
May be answered more than one way
Require construction of a response rather than
selecting answers from given options
There are also times when some junior high school
students choose not to attend class(es), and you may
not know about this until you receive a call from the
automatic attendance caller. Please do not hesitate
to call or come by the Attendance Office and ask for
an attendance printout for your child if you have any
concerns. It is imperative that our students know
we are working together.
Our teachers work collaboratively to share ideas and
work with students. We look forward to continuing
to work with you, our families, to support our
students as they become more independent, self sufficient pre-teens.
I would like to remind families about a few things
your student needs to know in order to leave campus
during school hours:
Before school, bring a note signed by parent or
guardian to the Attendance Office, stating the
time and reason for which you must leave.
Pick up your “off-campus pass” and sign out at
the Attendance Office before you leave campus.
Students are not allowed to leave campus
without permission.
If you must leave during the school day, only
the adults that are listed on your emergency
card may pick you up.
Here is a quote from Heidi Perry, the principal of
Willett Elementary, that sums up what is means to be
a parent:
I truly believe parents are doing the best they can with
their children in the moment they are in with the
resources and knowledge they have. We each know our
children better than anyone else, and though you
might have made a different decision on certain things
in hindsight, you are always doing the best you can in
the moment. Believe that about yourself.
Thank you for all that you do for the Holmes
Derek Brothers, Principal
The DJUSD Board of Education meets in
Community Chambers at 23 Russell
Boulevard at 7:00 p.m.
Notes from the
Vice Principal
10/17 Public Hearing: Instructional
Materials Sufficiency
Presentation: Strategic Plan
Committee proposal presented for
adoption by the Board.
Presentation: Common Core
implementation update.
As each new school year begins, there are always a
few changes that accompany the opening of school.
This year I have moved from the role of science
teacher to vice principal. I am very excited to work at
a school where I already know many of the students,
staff, and parents. I look forward to meeting your
children throughout the school year, and with your
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If you return to school before the end of the
day, you must sign in at the Attendance Office.
All adults visiting school need to check in at the
Attendance Office. Please do not visit
classrooms or hunt for your child without
signing in. In general, we ask parents who
would like to visit classrooms to give at least 24
hours’ notice to the teachers.
Math homework generally comprises three different
types of problems:
1. Independent practice of the new concept
introduced that day. The teacher designs and
guides an introduction to the new material in
class. The class works collaboratively to
explore the idea in pairs or groups. As the
students work together, the teacher cruises the
room evaluating their progress, answering
questions and checking for understanding
before students leave for their next class.
2. Review of previous material. Research has
shown that having students practice techniques
over time leads to better long term retention.
Students will see a particular problem type
perhaps 10 times in the first few days, then
perhaps 4-6 the next week and another 3-4 in
the following weeks with increasing
complexity. Occasionally there will be a single
drill day to build speed with a mastered
concept, but most review unfolds over time
along with mastery. Much of mathematics
builds on prior learning so review is an
important stepping stone to success.
3. Preview problems are written to prepare
students for an upcoming lesson. For example,
area homework problems in Algebra are
initially solved with numbers. Later, the
numbers are replaced with variables as
students learn to multiply polynomials.
Student Handbooks are at the back of the school
planner your child received during the first week of
school. Please take some time to go over the
handbook with your child. Important dates and
guidelines about Holmes are in the Handbook.
If I can assist you in any way, please do not hesitate
to call me here at school at 757-5445 or email me at
[email protected]
Jean Kennedy, Vice Principal
Math Department News
Math homework help can be found at the following
websites. If students do not have access to
computers at home, the school library is open Mon –
Thurs until 5pm for student use.
Transition Math: provides
an e-version of the textbook, copies of all the
homework pages and selected solutions in the
Homework Book.
Click on Digital Resources
Username: king
Password: lovemath
Algebra, Geometry, and Mrs. King’s Transition: provides student homework help in
addition to other resources, including a parent
guide to each chapter (PDF or booklet form)
and extra practice problems (“skill builders” in
PDF or booklet form). New this year, CPM is
offering an e-version of the textbooks available
for parent purchase for $10. Parents may
purchase by credit card, calling Lorrayne
Graham at 209-745-2055. This new feature
automatically links homework hints and links
to technology in the text. We’ll be interested to
know if students find these links helpful. There
is also a ‘translate’ link to help second language
Algebra II/Trigonometry: provides
an e-version of the textbook and answers to the
odd numbered problems.
We strive to keep math homework within the DJUSD
policy of less than 80 minutes per week for 7th and 8th
graders and 120 minutes for 9thgraders, but if you
find your child is taking much more time, please
contact the teacher so we can work together to
address this issue.
The California Department of Education has recently
adopted a modified version of the national Common
Core Standards and we are looking forward to
implementing these changes at our site. Geometry,
statistics and probability will have a larger role
throughout grades 6 -10, as well as a greater
emphasis on conceptual thinking and understanding.
This will also change the format of future state tests
as assessments will be redesigned to assess process
as well as skills. Exciting times are ahead!
Heather Wade, Math Teacher
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Physical Education:
Off to a Running Start!
Athletic Department News
Thank you, parents, for a large turnout at Back-toSchool Night. We hope you learned more about our
three-year program, and we hope your student will
keep you informed of our activities throughout the
We have had a very successful volleyball season and
cross-country season. The league tournament for 8th
grade volleyball is on Saturday, October 19 at
Douglass Middle School in Woodland. You can find
game times and directions on the School Loop
Athletics website (
After a successful orientation period of getting all
students uniforms, locks, and lockers, we started this
year differently. We began with our first activity unit
instead of fall fitness testing, avoiding the hotter
weather at the start of the school year. Ninth graders
were either playing volleyball or weight training,
eighth graders were playing either lacrosse or
volleyball, while seventh graders were either
orienteering or learning self-defense.
Basketball practice for 7th graders will begin Monday,
October 21. Practice times and forms can be found on
the School Loop Athletics website as well.
Heather Wade, Athletic Director
Library News
Talk to your student about our intramural lunch
program run by our athletic director, Ms. Wade. She
organizes sport activities for both lunches that your
student should consider. In addition, check the
school bulletin for announcements regarding
afterschool team sports. Winter sports include
basketball and soccer.
The Holmes Junior High library catalog is available
online. Students can search the catalog as well as log
in to their library record to see their checkouts and
write book reviews. To log in:
1) Go to
2) Click on "My account" at upper right corner of
3) Eighth and ninth grade login is ID with no
initials and full birthday as the password.
Seventh graders need to use their usual
computer login (initials + student ID number
and full birthday).
Presently, we are conducting our fall physical fitness
tests. The tests include the mile run, curl-ups, pushups, sit-and-reach, trunk lift, and height/weight/BMI.
We use the fall results to individually assist students
in meeting the state standards in April.
We recently received a generous equipment grant
from the Holmes PTA. They have been longtime
supporters of our program and every student at
Holmes benefits from the new equipment. Thanks,
Holmes PTA!
We had lots of textbook damage last year. This is a
huge loss for our school and racks up large fines for
students. To prevent loss and damage, please:
cover ALL textbooks at school and home
keep books away from water
alert library staff to pre-existing damage
check library record to keep track of books
(see the previous paragraph for how to log in
to your library record)
We accept gently used sporting equipment any time
during the year. Please drop off your donation in the
main office and tell them it is for PE. We can always
use donations of laundry soap that we use to launder
our loaner clothes. Again, drop it off at the main
office. The girls’ side accepts shoes and sock
donations as well. Your donations save us a lot of
money that we can spend in other ways to enhance
our program for Holmes students. Thanks in advance
for your donations, and GO PATRIOTS!
Our first craft day of the year will be Wednesday,
October 16th at the beginning of lunch. Students and
staff are welcome to decorate their own mini
pumpkin to take home. We also have a pumpkin
weight guessing contest in the library that ends
October 25th. Answers must be given in metric
(kilograms). The closest guesser will win the
Paul Rooney, PE Department Chair
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or swipe it at the self-check when you purchase your
groceries. It’s as simple as that!
Library Hours
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 7:45 – 5:00
Wednesday 9:00 – 5:00 (sometimes earlier if we have
no meetings)
Friday 7:45 – 3:30
Nugget also uses a special card for their program. If
you need a new Nugget scrip card, they are available
in the front office. If you already have a Nugget scrip
card, remember that your card has to be reregistered every school year. To register, or to reregister and re-activate your card:
1. Go to
2. Click on “About” at the top of the Home page.
3. Click on “Community” at the top of the gray
section on the “About Us” page.
4. Click on “Sign Up or Log In” at the bottom of the
brown section.
5. Click on “Sign up now!” at the top of the Log In
box, (if you already have a card, simply log in
and follow prompts to reactivate your card).
Cards have to be reactivated every year.
6. Follow the prompts to create an account,
register and activate your card.
Once you have registered your card, you just have to
present it to the cashier when you check out. That’s
Homework Club
Monday – Thursday 3:30 – 5:00 (closed Friday)
Bullying Awareness Month
During October the library is promoting anti-bullying
month. Come join in by
writing on our anonymous compliment board
in the library
wearing orange on October 9th
checking out our new books with anti-bullying
looking at our library website for resources
College and Career Information
Did you know that the district-sponsored collection
of databases, CaliforniaLearns, has college and career
information? To log on, go to
login: holmes9
password: school
Our program is off to a great start! Thank you to all
the families who are already using their cards and
supporting our Holmes community. KUDOS!
Audrey Winters, Scrip Coordinator
Also, come check out some of our new college and
career books including The Princeton Review's 11
Practice Tests for the SAT and PSAT and The Fiske
Guide to Colleges 2013.
Amy Labson, Librarian
Holmes Scrip Programs
One of the least expensive ways to raise money for
our students is through the use of special programs
at your local grocery store. Every time you shop with
them, you raise money for our students without
spending more money.
Save Mart Cards
Save Mart uses a card specifically made to raise
money for Holmes Junior High. If you have a scrip
card from last year, it may still be used. But if you
have a card from a different school, it may not be
used to raise money for Holmes. If you need a new
card, they are available in the front office. Once you
have a card, just remember to present it to a cashier,
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Parent Question Guide for Holmes Junior High
1220 Drexel Drive Davis, CA. 95616
If I need to:
Report my child’s absence or
request homework
Take my child out of school
during school hours
Update emergency card
Telephone numbers
Insurance information
Emergency contacts
Change of address
Change of email
Legal information
I can call:
(530) 757-5445
Principal, Derek Brothers
What can I expect to
Report absences at (530) 7575445 as early in the day as
possible. If your child is absent
for 3 days or more due to illness,
a homework request can be
made through the counseling
secretary, Judy Stafford, at ext.
115, on the morning of the third
Contact the school office
Contact the counseling secretary,
Judy Stafford, at
ext. 115 OR by email:
[email protected]
Speak to the school principal, Mr.
Derek Brothers
Contact Mr. Brothers’ secretary,
Jan Chandler at ext. 101 to make
either direct phone contact or an
appointment with Mr. Brothers.
Consult with someone about a
specific matter of discipline or
general school safety
Contact vice principal Jean
Kennedy at ext. 117 or at
[email protected]
Ms. Stafford will contact your child’s
teachers to inform them of your
child’s absence and request that they
send homework to the office. You can
come to the main office at the end of
the school day to get your child’s
If your child is absent one or two days
s/he can call his or her study buddies
and check the teachers’ websites, if
available, to get information about
what was discussed in class and
what homework assignments were
given by the teacher.
If your child must leave school, have
your child bring a note signed by a
parent or guardian to the attendance
office before school stating the time
and the reason s/he must leave. You
may also call the attendance office
before school with the information.
The information on the emergency
card is absolutely essential. PLEASE
NOTE: The permission for health
care decisions, transportation
exceptions, and emergency
interventions can only be given to the
person(s) listed on the emergency
card. Please inform Ms. Stafford of
any specific legal restrictions related
to your child’s contact with any
Ms. Chandler can: alert Mr. Brothers
about a specific concern; inform you
of Mr. Brothers’ time schedule; help
you to make an appointment to meet
with Mr. Brothers; and connect you to
Mr. Brothers’ voice mail.
If the school is not aware in advance
that your child must leave, the class
will be interrupted with a phone call
requesting your child be sent to the
While Ms. Kennedy has many
aspects to her job, her primary role is
to maintain a safe environment for
our students during the school day
and during activities related to school.
Report any concerns you have
regarding your child’s safety or the
safety of another person on campus
to Ms. Kennedy. Parents and
students are responsible for knowing
and abiding by school rules. Refer to
your child’s planner as a resource for
the school rules and dress code.
The school staff respects what is put
on the emergency card. We do
everything reasonable to assure that
the instructions on the emergency
card are followed. Please let us know
immediately if information on the
emergency card needs to be
Mr. Brothers makes every effort to be
available to students, parents, and
community members. Matters related
to general policy, school climate,
curriculum, department management,
and general school/district protocol
may be directed to Mr. Brothers.
Ms. Kennedy will work with students,
parents, & school staff to resolve
issues before discipline is part of the
picture. Understanding Holmes’
school rules are essential for your
child’s safety and the safety of others
on campus. The student/family oath
is a commitment that we make to
each other to promote good
citizenship and to assure a safe
learning environment.
If I need to:
Discuss academic, social, or
career concerns you may have
regarding your child
Alert the school and teachers
about a specific health issue
I can call:
If you have a concern about a
particular class, contact your
child’s teacher first. If you need
further help, contact your child’s
Joanna Littell, all 7th grade and
9th grade A-L - ext. 109 or
[email protected]
Ashley Nelson, all 8th grade and
9th grade M-Z - ext. 108 or
[email protected]
Ellen Shields, ext. 110 or
[email protected]
Ms. Shields speaks Spanish.
Contact your child’s teacher and
counselor or the school nurse
What can I expect to
Counselors and teachers will strive to
respond to phone calls and emails
within 2 school days. Use School
Loop to contact teachers.
The school counselor’s role is to
support your child as s/he grows and
learns at school. The counselor can
address many concerns, including:
communicating with school staff;
helping your child to cope with peer
issues; and addressing academic
General medical information is
located in your child’s health file.
Appropriate notification about specific
health issues are given to your child’s
Prescription medications are kept in a
locked cabinet on campus and
dispensed according to instructions.
Required documentation must be on
file. Medication should NOT be
carried by the student while on
campus or during school sponsored
activities, with the exception of
students on health plans. The school
nurse is on campus weekly on a
limited basis.
PLEASE NOTE: Make sure that your
child’s acute medical needs are made
known to the school office. It never
hurts to review the protocol
necessary to treat your child’s health
You will be required to provide
documentation from a medical doctor.
Make education arrangements
for my child when an extended
illness is involved
Contact your child’s school
counselor and the school nurse
to discuss educational options.
Arrange for my child to go on
travel study
Contact Davis School for
Independent Study at (530) 7575333 to arrange for Travel Study
Davis School for Independent Study
staff will explain the requirements and
restrictions of the travel study
Report a crime witnessed by my
child to the school vice-principal,
Ms. Jean Kennedy
Contact the vice-principal’s office
at ext. 117 to make direct phone
contact or to make an
appointment with Ms. Kennedy or
email her at [email protected]
Off campus crime should be
reported to the Davis Police
It is important to provide as much
detail as possible about the crime.
Consider the information important
and possibly related to another issue
under consideration.
Some hospitals provide educational
services to inpatients. These are
individual circumstances that should
be discussed with your child’s school
counselor. We want continued
learning opportunities for your child.
Contact Davis School for
Independent Study at least two
weeks before your child leaves on
travel study to ensure that your child
is able to contact his or her teachers
and clarify what will be expected.
Some campus actions result in either
the school or parent making a formal
police report. Some behaviors break
community laws but require special
administrative consideration or action
according to the California Education
Beginning with the November issue, the Holmes Junior High PTA Newsletter will be delivered to
members’ email addresses, NOT sent through the mail. See “A Message from Your PTA President”
on page one.
If you would like to receive a paper copy of each newsletter in the mail instead of by email, please
write your information below and bring it to the Holmes office.
You can also view all the newsletters at the Holmes Junior High PTA website. For more
information and to opt out, please visit
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