Phoenix Flyer #7

Happy New Year, Dorothy Hamm Families!

I hope you have enjoyed your time off and are well-rested and ready to return to the teachers, friends, and routines of school. It has been a pleasure to have staff and students back – it was very quiet here at Dorothy Hamm during the break.

Thanks to all of you for the lovely holiday cards, sweet treats, and thoughtful remembrances that you shared with the staff at Dorothy Hamm. We feel so lucky to be a part of this amazing community. Thanks, especially, to our PTA for their continued support and the individualized thank you notes written for each staff member. What a great way to leave for break.

As we fly towards the end of the second quarter (January 30th), encourage your Phoenix to check their grades regularly (I recommend weekly) on StudentVue and touch base with their teachers when something is not clear. One skill I expect every student to work on is advocating for themselves – please encourage students to reach out for help from their counselor or TA teacher if they are nervous about doing this alone.

In January, the teaching staff will be focused on helping students understand the unique history of our beautiful building. Students will engage in activities designed to help them consider both the Civil Rights Movement as well as the unique perspectives of the young people involved in the desegregation of Arlington Public Schools. Stay tuned for more details!

Congratulations to the many students who have been recognized for their respectful or supportive actions with a Phoenix Breath of Fresh Air! Names of selected students are announced every Friday morning – and students receive small gift cards to different businesses around our school. I look forward to seeing you at some of our school events in the New Year!

~Ms. E. Smith
Principal, Dorothy Hamm Middle School

Upcoming Events in January:

  • January 15 Early Release Day for students – 11:54 AM
  • January 15 Gifted Referral Process Presentation – 7:00 PM – DHMS Cafeteria
  • January 16 First DHMS Science Fair – 5:30 PM – DHMS Cafeteria
  • January 20 Martin Luther King Day – No School for Students
  • January 23 Middle School Information Night – Rising Sixth Graders – 7:00 PM
  • January 30 Last Day of the 2nd Quarter
  • January 31 Grade Prep Day – No School for Students

All adults who wish to volunteer regularly please follow the Volunteer Registration Process:
1. Please register here.
2. Upon completion of registration please email DHMS volunteer liaison to complete registration for the next step.
3. A video link will be sent to your email.
4. Completion of course certificates are to be emailed to

Your Feedback Needed:
Starting January 13th, APS will send out the Your Voice Matters Survey to our community in order to gather feedback about our schools and community. This survey will also be given to students in grades 4-12 and all school staff. While it is a lengthy survey, we appreciate the time you take to complete it and value the feedback that you provide. If you have questions or concerns about the survey, please contact the DHMS Main Office, or check out the APS web page with more information.


  • On Vacation Lane: Please be aware of the status of construction on Vacation Lane as you drop off and pick up your student. Currently, the corner of Military and Vacation Lane is being replaced, narrowing Military Lane and making it safer for students to cross. This construction will move up Vacation Lane over the next few months, including:
    • curb and gutter work on Vacation Lane by the teacher parking lot (January)
    • reconstruction of the curb/sidewalks by DHMS Door 2/Auditorium – impacting street traffic (January/February)
    • demolition and reconstruction of the intersection of 23rd St. and Vacation Lane – to include new crosswalks and bump-outs (January/February)
  • On our addition: As the team works to complete the water-tight box on the outside of the addition, teams on the inside are working on plumbing, electrical and drywall! The monumental staircase is in place, and the library and auxiliary gym are taking shape.
  • Historical Commemoration: Main Street Design has created mockups of the panels that will be part of the permanent commemoration of the integration of Stratford Jr. High. Students will provide feedback to the designers over the next few weeks and fabrication will begin in late April.
  • On our renovation: Over the winter break, scores of contractors worked in a variety of locations within our original building. Paint brightens the new elevator entrances, stained and damaged ceiling tiles have been replaced, and the process has begun to replace the logo in the center of our gym floor.

Spotlight on Staff:
Keeping a school building clean is no small feat – keeping a school building under construction clean, is a huge task. Fortunately, our custodial team is amazing – and more than up to the challenge! Under the supervision of Ms. Rosa Torres (Supervisor) and Mr. Pedro Perez (Asst. Supervisor), Dorothy Hamm custodians working either first (morning) or second (afternoon/evening) shift, clean all interior spaces, including classrooms, cafeteria, common areas, hallways, and offices. Additionally, our custodial team maintains the exterior of the building. This fall our team has shared this responsibility with the construction team – but you may have seen them raking huge piles of leaves in the front of the building! During any school breaks, custodians spend time ensuring that each classroom gets a deep clean. On Monday morning, our classroom floors will sparkle! Please join us in appreciating the hard work and dedication of this team! They are truly amazing.


  • Congratulations to our Boys’ Soccer Team and our Girls’ Basketball Team on their inaugural seasons! Both teams played hard and with great heart this season. Thanks to coaches: Tiffanie Hegerty, Marc Zeballos, Carolyn Riley, and Tiffany Ratliff.
  • Thanks to our Fine and Performing Arts Department for three wonderful concerts before the Winter Break. Congratulations to all the performers! You sounded amazing.
    • Ms. Theresa Ducassoux and her bands gave brilliant performances. Of special note were the performances of “Fawkes the Phoenix” and “Firebird.”
    • After Mr. David Lunt and the DHMS Orchestras performed their beautiful repertoire, they combined with our local elementary orchestra students to end the evening DHMS strong.
    • Ms. Ginnerty and the DHMS Choral Department got us ready for the winter break, spotlighting sounds of the season as well as many talented soloists.
  • Thanks to Ms. Juengst and Ms. Sanderson for the fabulous “We are Writers” author celebration. Eighth graders shared their writing skills and talents through oral readings of their novel excerpts, teaching writing techniques, and allowing us to browse their creative book covers.
  • And – thanks to Mrs. Shanker and Mrs. Tsai for putting on an amazing book fair. Much fun was had by all – browsing books, discussing reading possibilities, making wish lists, and shopping! Thanks to all our parent volunteers who helped with this event!
  • As with any “extra” event – the teachers above were supported by other teachers and staff members who stayed to chaperone, helped organize and prepare, or helped clean up after the event. Many thanks to all who went “the extra mile” before the winter break.