Phoenix Flyer #12

Good morning, DHMS Families,

I hope this weekly Phoenix Flyer finds you well.  I am sharing a video that the DHMS Staff and I made and posted in Canvas last week, to let your students know that we miss them, and we do!  So much.

As we begin to settle into more of a routine, I’ve been delighted to visit classes virtually and see what your students have been working on.  Creative English projects, home-made science experiments, social studies choice boards, virtual workouts with PE, and many more interesting learning activities in all content areas have been posted.

I imagine that you may be hearing from your student, “My grades are fine, why do I have to do this?” or “It doesn’t count for anything, why bother?”  We have seen a decrease in student participation online, and I understand the struggle.  I have two thoughts about this that I’d like you to consider sharing with your students – and I’m open to gathering more ideas from you!

First, the learning activities and office hours are two ways to keep our students connected with their teachers and learning community.  Our staff is keeping track of those students who engage in any of the opportunities available, and if we see their participation drop off one of us will be calling to check in with you and/or your student.  If your family is under stress for any reason, and you are ok with your student’s level of interaction, we want to support you, that’s fine.  However, we are also happy to encourage (nudge, cajole, nag) your student to stay connected with us online.

Second, this is an opportunity for us to support students in becoming adept at learning online.  While I have no crystal ball that predicts the future, I worry that we may find ourselves in this situation again at some point.  Learning how to navigate online assignments, ask questions, get help virtually, as well as collaborate and engage with classmates are all skills that will serve students in the future.  Below are some suggestions to make it a little easier.

Stay safe, take the appropriate precautions, and be good to yourself and each other.

Ellen Smith, Principal

Managing Continuous Learning:

  • On Mondays, ask your DHMS student to plan their week’s work in their assignment notebook. Remind students – they don’t have to do all the work at once.  They should plan out workable tasks for themselves – in a schedule that works best for you all.
  • Break the 3 hours of work expected, daily, into 45 minute or 1-hour chunks and schedule movement and other activities (like chores) in between.
  • Require your student to attend office hours weekly with each teacher (if that works with your schedule). This is a great opportunity to connect!  Teachers will be frontloading more direct instruction and demonstrations into the beginning of office hours – so encourage your student to stop in.

Notes About Grades/Comments:

  • In ParentVue/StudentVue at first glance there are no grades or comments. You must click into each class to see comments from teachers.
  • Beginning this week, you will notice that teachers are also using the comment MI to let students and parents know that a “Must-do” assignment has not been turned in. The other comments are:
    • Incomplete (Inc): work has been submitted by student, but part/s are missing.
    • Complete (CMP): student has completed all parts of the assignment successfully.
    • Needs Revision (NR): student has submitted the entire assignment but needs to improve and re-submit.
    • Missing (Mi): the assignment is required but has not been submitted.

 Counselors Corner:   

  • Week 3 – April 27th: Because these times are so uncertain, and students have had to adjust to a new way of learning, emotions such as anxiety, stress and depression can be even stronger now. There is so much that is now not in our control, one thing students can control is their learning. The more in control they feel over this aspect of their world, the more we hope their anxiety, stress, and other emotions can be reduced. This week’s lesson covers goal setting, practice breaking down big goals into small, simple steps, and creating an If–Then plan for taking a small, simple step towards achieving their goal.
  • APS Mental Health Resources: These are challenging times – know that if you or someone you love needs support there are resources available. Please check out this page on the APS Website for more information.

The DHMS Library:
Ms. Shanker and Ms. Tsai are keeping books in the hands of students during this time.  Please check out the DHMS Library webpage for information and videos about checking out e-books and audio books on the iPad!  Thanks so much to these two awesome people who continue to hold TAB Meetings virtually with our students.  If your student loves to read – encourage them to attend a TAB Meeting.

The Yearbook:
Congratulations to our 8th Grade Yearbook Staff and Ms. Ginnerty – the First Ever DHMS Yearbook has gone to print and there are just 3 more days to order yours!  For all of our students, this was a special year – our first year as a school community – and the DHMS Yearbook did an excellent job recording many special events for this first year.  Please, purchase a Yearbook here by Friday, May 1st!  You’re going to want one!

Kudos:I’d like to recognize the many dedicated staff at DHMS who have been working hard to keep learning going over the last few weeks.  Many of us (parents, staff, and students) have reached out to Ms. Katherine Leon, our Instructional Technology Coordinator, with a myriad of requests.  She is a pro at answering technical questions – and a master at supporting all staff members transition to instruction online.  Thank you, Ms. Leon!