Phoenix Flyer #15

Dear Dorothy Hamm Families –

We remain grateful for your support. While the days sometimes creep by, the weeks seem to be flying – and before you know it, the end of the school year will be here. I know there are many questions about how this year will end. I will share what is certain and will keep you updated as the processes are finalized.

First – and perhaps most important – we are delighted to be planning the Promotion Ceremony for our #PhoenixFirst Eighth Grade Class! The team is creating a virtual ceremony which will include speakers, art, and poetry, from our own eighth grade class as well as gifts and recognitions. Please save the date for the ceremony: June 17th, 2020 at 8:00 (when the ceremony will be posted). The ceremony will be followed (at 11:00 that morning) by a Clap Out recognition for our eighth graders. Students and families will be able to drive up the driveway while DHMS staff cheers you on.

Dependent on the School Board’s decision on the end of the year, teachers will begin wrapping up the learning activities in courses and celebrating students’ achievement. Please encourage your DHMS students to stick with us until the end – there are many fun and interesting end-of-year learning activities being planned.

I am sure you are curious about picking up student materials from DHMS (and returning any DHMS materials you might have at home!) There will be multiple dates in early June that we ask students/families to come by and pick up locker materials and drop off IPads (8th grade only). We are in the planning process for this – and will let you know what our pick-up and drop-off process will be next week.

Social Emotional Learning: While we continue to be away from each other and not in school, it is easy to think of all the things we can’t do, people we can’t see face to face, or places we can’t go to. This type of thinking can make this time apart more difficult. Because of this, this week school counselors will try to get students to change their way of thinking by introducing the topic of unhelpful thoughts and positive thoughts and ways to change your thinking. Students will identify unhelpful thoughts and their effect on decision making as well as explain how thoughts, emotions, and decisions are connected.

Support if you need it: Christine Katcher, our amazing Social Worker, has access to information and other resources should you need assistance. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to her –

Construction: I have posted another video of the inside of our addition in Canvas for our students to see. Please ask your Dorothy Hamm student to log in to Canvas and check out the video on the Announcements Page. Unfortunately, it is located within APS – which means that you have to be on an APS device to see the movie. The building is getting closer to being finished!

If you drive by, you will notice that there is work on Vacation Lane. The renovation/addition plans called for a new sidewalk on the far side of Vacation Lane so that students, families, and community members could safely negotiate the street. You might also notice, if you drive West on Old Dominion Drive that the windows are finally in the library (second floor) and the science classrooms (third floor). These spaces have high windows – allowing in light, but not distracting students.

Virtual Learning this week: Mr. Mann’s Geometry students have been making connections to geometric theorems and properties by creating Origami Paper Cranes – who knew that exploring quadrilaterals could be so beautiful? Ms. Westcott’s classes have been working on Positivity Playlists in PE – there are some great suggestions for uplifting listening! Check those highlights out, as well as some cool other work students are doing during virtual learning, on the DHMS Virtual Learning Celebrations page.

Another Astounding Author Visit, Virtually: Middle-grade fiction author, Lindsey Stoddard, will join a DHMS Teams meeting on Tuesday, June 9th at 1:30-2pm. Mark your calendar and save the date for this final “virtual” author visit of the school year. All DHMS students are invited. They can email their ELA teacher who will send them the invite to the team meeting. Mrs. Stoddard’s 3rd novel, Brave Like That, comes out in June to join her earlier novels, Right as Rain and Just Like Jackie. Mrs. Stoddard has a talent for creating strong school-age characters. We can’t wait to learn about her writing process and have the chance to ask her questions. Politics & Prose is also sending us a store link to order her books. As soon as the link is available, it will be sent. You can order her books and the bookstore will mail them to you for a $5 mailing fee. If you have any questions, email

One way I try to stay uplifted is by serving others. It has given me great pleasure to see some of you at the Free Grab-n-Go locations. I will be serving this Wednesday (5/20) at Glebe Elementary School. If you are out to stretch your legs between 11 and 1, swing by, wave hello, and pick up a bagged meal if you need it.

Safely socially-distancing – but missing all our students,


Ellen Smith, Principal