Solar Eclipse Precautions – Aug 21

Monday, August 21st will be a total solar eclipse in parts of the country when the moon comes between the Earth and the sun. It will only be a partial eclipse here, as the moon will only appear to block part of the sun. View this Phoenix Eclipse animation for reference.

Although it is always unsafe to look at the sun, it can be especially dangerous during an eclipse because you may not know that damage is occurring. As we do not have a supply of viewing glasses for every student, we need to make it clear that no one should try to look at the eclipse directly at the school. Children should not bring viewing glasses to school as they will not be allowed to use them.

For more information on the risks of looking directly at the sun, please see this Scientific American informational article, “Science Says Why We Can’t Look at the Sun,” by Rachael Rettner at Parents should talk to their older children about the eclipse, the dangers of looking directly at the sun and the potential damage that looking at the sun can cause to their eyes.

However, I am mindful that telling students not to look only tempts them! It may be best for younger children, early childhood and up to grades 2 or 3, not to bring it to their particular attention in advance. At the 63% maximum occultation here in Phoenix, there will not be a very deep darkening outside, certainly nothing like the spectacular impression within full shadow of the total eclipse. There will be another partial eclipse visible here in Phoenix in 2024, when they would be better able to appreciate what is happening.

The start of school and pickup will not be affected as the partial eclipse will begin here at 9:14 am and end by noon. It is likely that there will only be a particularly noticeable shadow after 10:00 am when 50% coverage is approached. It will reach the maximum blockage of 63% at 10:33 am when children would otherwise be out for morning break.

Early Childhood will be inside during this time as is their normal schedule. Grades will be kept in throughout break, except to go to the bathroom. An online viewing is being organized in middle school and high school.

I wish you a safe eclipse on Monday. And positive outcomes thereafter!

Charles D. Burkam, J.D.
Executive Director

Volunteer in the Garden

Help Bobi Catch Up with our Runaway Weeds. All the rain has helped our garden grow–only it has helped the weeds even more! If you have even an extra half-hour in the morning or, for those who really like to sweat, come early and pull weeds before pick-up. Help is also needed Wednesday evenings, since it is still too hot to schedule the classes for Wednesday garden nights! Come, enjoy and help build community.

Complete the Free & Reduced Lunch Form

Help DMS get funding & complete the Free & Reduced Lunch Form. If you did not get a chance to complete this form at your Parent Meeting please do so now.

Even though we do not have a lunch program, this information is used to determine if DMS will receive federal funding including grants for programs and campus development. All information is kept confidential. Please complete this form and return it to the school office, or email it back to Deana Douglas, no later than September 29th.

If all DMS families return this form it could actually be a first step toward making an affordable daily school lunch program a reality. This is an essential federal form that we need for our records. Government funding above and beyond what we already receive is based largely on need as measured by the “Free and Reduced Lunch Form”. The first step in determining our eligibility for funding is to have a complete and accurate profile of our entire student population. So get your form in today!


Opt-In for School Text Messages

Opt-In for our broadcast messaging service from School Messenger to receive important updates and in case of emergency. 

Text “Yes” to 675-87 

If you did not receive the following message or a confirmation that you are registered, please ensure the following:

“You’re registered 4 SchoolMessenger notifications. Reply STOP to cancel, HELP for help.
Msg&data rates may apply. msg freq varies.”

  • Does DMS have your correct cell phone number? If not, please update your cell phone information online here or send your contact information via email to
  • Is your SMS messaging turned “on” on your mobile phone device? For example; Androids and iPhones may require that you to go the messaging settings and turn on the SMS texting capability.
  • Is SMS turned on with your cell phone carrier? Call the carrier and request that the carrier turns on your “SMS – Short Code Messaging Service”. (Sprint and T-Mobile often by default have it turned off.)

Remember that if you do not opt-in, then you will not receive messages in case of a school emergency. To opt-out go to

Back to School Buzz from Mr. B


In spite of the extra work created by storm last week (and a few lost trees), we hope everyone will be pleased with the campus when you arrive Wednesday. The older grades classroom buildings were painted on the outside. The high school classrooms were repainted and shade sails are up! The metal shop roof “sailed” away in last weeks” tornado,” but fortunately there are no classes that at the beginning of term. So, we have time to get a replacement in place before it is needed for art classes

Everyone completed their classroom setup before the faculty walk-through Monday afternoon. This allows everyone to take in the picture of the whole school before we start classes and allows the school grounds and buildings a day of quiet on Tuesday before the year starts full bore.

Perhaps the most notable feature is the new aeration fountain in the pond that was pictured on the reminder postcards sent out. The pump and fountain have done their work as we had no “red tide” from algae this summer in spite of the heat! When you get a chance this year, pause by the pond and enjoy the gentle sound on the water.

Charles D. Burkam, J.D.
Executive Director


While all efforts are made to provide information and clear expectations before school starts, please remember that the start of school is the most hectic time of the year regardless of how well we think we have planned in advance. There are inevitably some things that may have been overlooked and new questions that were not anticipated. Please follow the established communication channels and start with your child’s teacher. If it is a purely an administrative matter, check in with the office directly. We will do our best to respond promptly.

Unfortunately, I feel it necessary to note that restraint and common courtesy should apply. In this era of instant communication, there is a growing expectation of instant response. However, that is not always possible, nor at times reasonable. Teachers’ and administrators’ work does extend well beyond “business hours.” However, emails or phone messages “after hours,” in the evening or on weekends, will be worked on in the next business day.

While this is mostly common sense, we are hoping to work with Parent Reps and Parent Council leadership to consider guidelines for insertion in the Parent Handbook to have clearly defined expectations in regard to this and other communications aspects.


Administration has been receiving worried calls from a few parents as a result of rumors being circulated that there is mold in the Grade 5-7 Building. We want to assure everyone that there is no mold problem. Testing and recommended remediation was accomplished over the summer. Here is a copy of letter with all of the details that was sent to the 5th Grade parents who originally raised this as a concern. If you have any questions, please contact Jennifer O’Connell at

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