Phoenix Flyer #5

October 1, 2021

Good afternoon DHMS Families. I hope you have been enjoying the cooler weather – those of us supervising outdoor lunches are so glad our temps are in the 70’s!  Much more comfortable for everyone. This Phoenix Flyer is packed with information – please read to the end! As we seek to ensure that every one of our 860 students feels like they belong here at DHMS – are safe, valued, and included – our staff has revised some of our guidelines and expectations for students. I want to share with you our messages to students:

  • Lockers are to be visited in the morning before TA begins, before and after lunch, and at the end of the school day. Backpacks are to remain in lockers until the end of the day. These guidelines ensure that students can move through the hallways easily.
  • Students are expected to be in their classes (TA included) on time and ready to learn, with the materials needed for the day. Teachers will be tracking tardiness and working with students to make up missed instructional time during lunch or after school.
  • Due to the size of our building, we have increased the time for students to move between classes to 5 minutes. We are asking students to use the restroom and fill water bottles during this extended time, rather than leave class and miss instruction. In an emergency, students are welcome to ask to use the restroom during class.
  • Masks are expected to be brought to school and worn over both the mouth and nose while inside the building. Outside for PE and Lunch students may remove their masks, but are expected to maintain a distance from each other, even if they are vaccinated.

Our teachers and staff members have recently observed an increase in mean and disrespectful, even bullying, behavior amongst students. Every single student at Dorothy Hamm deserves to feel safe and valued – and we are incredibly proud of the diversity within our student population. Please know that our students reflect many cultures, religious backgrounds, gender identities, and socio-economic situations.

We will be making a concerted effort over the next few weeks in classes and at lunch to help students understand empathy and compassion, what it means to be an upstander, and reflect on their own actions. The family conversations that you have at home can be very helpful for our students as well. This website has many great resources to help families support young people to be the “best humans” possible. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s grade level counselor if you have questions or suggestions about how to best support our young people.

After School Activities have begun (check out the Clubs/Activities page on the website) – and we are so excited to have students playing sports, participating in clubs, and cheering each other on. Please know that I expect students who stay after to play or watch any sport to be respectful of the Phoenix Team as well as the visiting team with their words and actions, demonstrate excellent sportsmanship in the game and on the sidelines, and lead by example. Students who cannot follow these guidelines will be asked to leave the game.

Please note: Students who ride the late bus at 4:20 must stay on school property until they get on the bus. They are not to leave school property (to walk to Starbucks, 7-11, etc.) at any time.  If they do, they will be asked to call home for a parent pick up.

The rainy weather that we experienced during morning drop off a few weeks ago demonstrated for me the fragile nature of the traffic patterns around DHMS.  Any small weather change is likely to heavily impact the traffic patterns around DHMS. Because many families chose to drive their students to school that rainy day, Lorcom Lane, Vacation Lane, Military Road, and the DHMS Driveway all became essentially gridlocked. Teachers were late, students were late, and drivers were frustrated. As we experience more inclement weather this Fall, I encourage you to have your children walk (either from home or drop them off on Lorcom Lane or Military Road). Avoid Vacation Lane and the DHMS Driveway if possible.  If students are dressed appropriately for the weather, they will be fine – and the walk will do them good!  Posted on the Arrival/Dismissal page are walking maps for DHMS that highlight crosswalks, staff locations to support crossing, and crossing guard locations. Please use these maps to plan your student’s safest route to school.

Finally – I’m delighted to let you know that we have filled a few vacant positions here at DHMS.  We are excited to welcome a new Sixth Grade Special Educator (replacing Mr. Johnsen), Ms. Gabriella Richey, who will be collaborating with our sixth-grade teachers and students; and, we are thrilled to welcome a new Equity and Excellence Coordinator, Dr. KaMyka Glenn, who will be supporting students and staff throughout the building.  Please join me in welcoming these new teachers to DHMS.

Upcoming events:

  • October 4 – First Virtual Parent Chat at 8:30 AM – link sent on Monday morning.
  • October 11 – No School for Students
  • October 19 – PTSA Meeting
  • October 21 (PM) and October 22 (AM) – Virtual Parent/Teacher/Student Conferences
  • October 27 – Early Release Day – Dismissal at 11:54

Ellen Smith, Principal, DHMS