Phoenix Flyer #8

Greetings, Dorothy Hamm Families,

For middle school students, learning about the Civil Rights Movement happens during their history classes; but, especially here at Dorothy Hamm Middle School, learning about, exercising, and protecting the civil rights of all people should be a daily experience. This February, in honor of the 61st Anniversary of the desegregation of our school (February 2, 1959), we seek to build students’ understanding of the historical events of the time in Arlington and create the opportunity for students to reflect on their power to act. In a variety of ways, students will grapple with these big ideas:

    • How can I, as a young person, make a difference?
    • What is the difference between equality and equity?
    • What lessons can I learn from the past?
    • What stories do these halls and walls tell?

On February 4th, Encore Stage and Studio will perform its student-written “Flip the Script” program at Dorothy Hamm. This program focuses on Arlington’s African American voices through both historical and modern narrative. This play will be performed on February 5th, at The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, and other locations around Arlington. Our auditorium will be full of students on February 4th – but I encourage you to attend the free presentation at The Kennedy Center, or livestream the performance that evening. Our exploration of this time period continues in 7th and 8th grade classes. Please save the date to see our students’ reflections on these historical events on February 26th.

February marks the beginning of the second semester. Hard as it is to believe, it is time to think about next school year! Counselors will be discussing APS Middle School courses offered here at DHMS and providing answers to your questions at our Academic Planning Session on February 6th. There will be separate sessions for rising sixth graders, rising seventh graders, and rising eighth graders. More information can be found in the Middle School Program of Studies for 2020-2021.

Our rising ninth graders met with high school counselors on Friday of last week and were able to ask questions about core and elective classes, academic expectations, and extracurricular activities. They have taken their blue Course Request Form home with them to select electives and get your signature. For more information on courses please see the High School Program of Studies for 2020-2021, and check out your child’s high school calendar for a grade level information session. We have had multiple questions regarding the Health and PE requirement at the High School and have been asked to let you know that:

    • APS does NOT offer health and physical education over the summer
    • APS does NOT offer online health and physical education classes.
      Don’t hesitate to reach out to your students’ counselor with any additional questions.

I look forward to seeing you at one or more of our events this month – I am especially looking forward to The SmartTalk presentation sponsored by a grant from the National PTA on February 19th. Join us for a pizza dinner, a presentation from a digital safety expert and family therapist, and access to resources to help our students make safe digital choices – and a raffle!

Thanks for all you do to support our students and staff here at Dorothy Hamm Middle School.

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

February – Upcoming Events:

February 7 – Summer Activities Fair, Kenmore Middle School @ 6:00 PM
February 11 – PTSA General Membership Meeting, Cafeteria @ 6:30 PM
February 12 – Early Release Day @ 11:54 AM
February 19 – The SmartTalk Presentation, Cafeteria @ 6:30 PM
February 20 – Padres Comprometidos begins, Cafeteria @ 6:30
February 26 – DHMS Desegregation Event – Save the Date – evening
February 28 – Dear Edwina – School Play, Auditorium @ 7:00 PM
February 29 – Dear Edwina – School Play, Auditorium @ 7:00 PM
March 1 – Dear Edwina – School Play, Auditorium @ 2:00 PM

Your Feedback Needed:

The Your Voice Matters Survey has been sent to you in order to gather feedback about our schools. As of right now, only 8% of DHMS families have taken this opportunity to share what is working and what they would like to see improved. Please take this survey – it is an important source of information for us here at Dorothy Hamm. The survey closes on February 28th. 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.

Construction:

On Vacation Lane: Please be aware of the status of construction on Vacation Lane as you drop off and pick up your student. In the next couple of weeks, the final corner of Military and Vacation Lane will be 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
    • reconstruction of the curb/sidewalks by DHMS Door 2/Auditorium – impacting street traffic (February/March)
    • demolition and reconstruction of the intersection of 23rd St. and Vacation Lane – to include new crosswalks and bump-outs (February/March)

Spotlight on Staff:

The week of February 3 – February 7 is National School Counseling Week. I’m delighted to spotlight the DHMS Counseling Department in this edition of the Phoenix Flyer. Please join us in thanking them for their caring work with our students.

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Janae Rittenhouse – Director of Counseling Services

Ms. Rittenhouse is in her 15th year as a counseling director. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends and loves curling up with her dog Bogey and a good book. She is an avid Disney fan and loves traveling to various places.

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Erin Pennington – 6th Grade School Counselor

Ms. Pennington loves getting to know her students and watching them grow over the three years that she works with them. Outside of school she likes to read Young Adult fiction, exercise her artistic talents, bake yummy treats, and explore the DMV by either running or hiking. Traveling is a passion, and this has influenced her office décor – she is surrounded by postcards of her travels, all things Harry Potter, and purple!

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Bob Tuttle – 7th Grade School Counselor

Mr. Tuttle is in his 17th year as a school counselor. He loves to do projects around his house; he is his own “Bob, the Builder”! He also enjoys the outdoors and camping. He loves watching soccer and biking.

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Carrie Schaefer – 8th Grade School Counselor

Ms. Schaefer is in her 19th year as a school counselor and enjoys supporting and seeing her students find success both in and out of the school setting. For fun, Carrie enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling and March Madness. Her favorite things are Gerbera Daisies, kayaking and learning new things.

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Audrey Vasquez-Rivera – English Learner Counselor

Ms. Vasquez-Rivera is new to Arlington Public Schools and spends part of her time at Dorothy Hamm, in addition to Yorktown High School and the Langston Program. She has worked in other school systems around the region, is fluent in Spanish, and enjoys doing interactive lessons with our students.

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Siobhan Bowler – Substance Abuse Counselor

Ms. Bowler is in her 18th year with APS, and provides expertise to the students, families, and staff related to substance abuse prevention, early intervention, and referral to treatment services. She spends her private time gardening, exercising, reading, practicing meditation, and dreaming about days at the beach.