Sep 01
On Our Way

​Week one has been a short two day week, just enough to dip our toes into the new school year. Students got to meet their teachers, get a sense of the school and then have a break​ before classes begin in full. Next week option classes will get started and students will be into their regular rotation. Just a few reminders that you can help us with at home. Please help your child be on time for school.  When students are consistently late their learning suffers greatly, as well their entrance to the classroom is often disruptive to the learning of others. Help us to remind them that regardless of anyone's beliefs, we treat everyone with care, we want to ensure that all students in our community feel safe at home, to and from school and at school, in order for this to happen we need parent support to keep the conversation going at home. Although not a lot of assigned homework comes home, it is a good idea to establish a regular review and practice routine with your child. Help them to set up a place they can study what they learned that day in class, or encourage them to read a book. Reading is the single most powerful tool for advancing learning in life. Someone who reads a lot will have greater success in school.

If a concern comes up with your child, please call or email the teacher as soon as possible, do not let situations grow to a place where you are frustrated, talk with us, we are here to help.  When we all work together in the best interest of your student everyone is successful. 

Aug 30
Welcome Back

Dear DMC families,

It is hard to believe that another summer has come and gone, but here we are, ready for the start of another school year. Our staff has been in, busy planning and organizing for the year and we are excited to meet new faces and welcome back those returning to DMC. Our first day will have all of our students attending, there are lots of details on Back to School on our website. 

We hope everyone had a chance to rest, relax, spend time with friends and family and are ready to begin the next chapter of their school lives at DMC. There is always lots of exctiment at the start of the school year and we look forward to getting things underway. ​

Jun 08
The End is in Sight

Dear Students, Teachers, and Staff,

As we come to the end of another remarkable year, I am filled with a sense of pride and gratitude for the incredible journey we have undertaken together. The past ten months have been marked by countless achievements, moments of growth, and the unwavering spirit of our school community.

First and foremost, I would like to extend my heartfelt appreciation to each and every one of you—students, for your relentless dedication to learning and your remarkable enthusiasm; teachers, for your tireless efforts in guiding and inspiring our students; and staff, for your unwavering commitment to maintaining a safe and supportive environment for all. Together, you have made this year truly exceptional.

Reflecting on the challenges we have faced and overcome, it is evident that our strength lies not only in our knowledge and skills, but also in our resilience and adaptability. We have embraced change, navigated uncertainty, and emerged stronger than ever. Whether it was transitioning to remote learning, implementing innovative teaching methods, or supporting one another through difficult times, our collective determination has been nothing short of extraordinary.

Throughout the year, we have witnessed the power of unity and the impact of collaboration. Our school community has come together to create an atmosphere of inclusivity and support, where every voice is valued, and every individual is celebrated. By fostering an environment that encourages empathy, understanding, and kindness, we have built strong relationships and formed lifelong connections.

As we bid farewell to this academic year, let us not forget the lessons we have learned along the way. Let us remember that success is not solely measured by grades or accolades, but by the growth we have achieved and the positive impact we have made in the lives of others. Let us carry forward the values we hold dear—perseverance, integrity, compassion—and continue to strive for excellence in all that we do.

To our grade 9 students, I extend my warmest congratulations. Your journey at our school may be coming to an end, but it is only the beginning of a new chapter filled with endless possibilities. As you embark on your future endeavors, I have no doubt that you will make a significant difference in the high school world. Remember that you are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to overcome any obstacle that comes your way. Be courageous, dream big, and never stop learning.

To our returning students, I eagerly anticipate your continued growth and achievements. Each new academic year brings fresh opportunities for discovery and self-discovery. Embrace the challenges that lie ahead with an open mind and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone. Believe in your abilities, and remember that the support of our school community is always here for you.

Finally, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to our parents and guardians. Your unwavering support and partnership have been invaluable. Your trust in our educational institution is both humbling and inspiring, and we will continue to strive to provide the best possible education for your children.

As we close this chapter and embark on a well-deserved break, I encourage everyone to take time for reflection, rejuvenation, and reconnecting with loved ones. Rest, recharge, and return with renewed enthusiasm, for the upcoming year holds endless possibilities and new beginnings.

Thank you for being part of our remarkable school community. I wish you all a safe, joyful, and restful holiday season. May the coming year be filled with success, happiness, and abundant opportunities for growth.

With warmest regards,

Jason Hartl Principal​

Apr 27

​Over the course of the year we have had a steady increase in vandalism both inside and outside the school. Washrooms tend to be the main target, students ripping paper dispensers and soap dispensers off the walls repeatedly. They are using sharpies to draw graffiti all over the stalls, things are being flushed down the toilets causing them to plug and requiring a plumber to come and fix. On one occasion we had water leaking on the main flor due to a plugged toilet on the second story. We need your help parents to chat with your child to help stop the vandalism at the school. We have not had any luck catching the people responsible, and nor do we need to, but we need it to stop. The costs of fixing items is something the school has to pay and they are adding up. 

We have​ gone into classrooms, we have had teachers talk to their classes, we have investigated, looked at video and yet we are still seeing an increase in this behavior. If you can help in any way by either talking to your child or asking them to report anything they witness, we would greatly appreciate your help. 

Feb 21
10 things to know about how social media affects teens' brains

(Re-Posted from​

The statistics are sobering. Nearly 1 in 3 teen girls report having seriously considered suicide in the past year. One in 5 teens identifying as LGBTQ+ say they attempted suicide in that time. Between 2009 and 2019, depression rates doubled for all teens. And that was before the COVID-19 pandemic. The question is: Why now?

"Our brains, our bodies, and our society have been evolving together to shape human development for millennia. ... Within the last 20 years, the advent of portable technology and social media platforms [has been] changing what took 60,000 years to evolve," Mitch Prinstein, the chief science officer at the American Psychological Association (APA), told the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. "We are just beginning to understand how this may impact youth development."

Prinstein's 22-page testimony, along with dozens of useful footnotes, offers some much-needed clarity about the role social media may play in contributing to this teen mental health crisis. For you busy parents, caregivers and educators out there, we've distilled it down to 10 useful takeaways:

1. Social interaction is key to every child's growth and development.

Humans are social creatures, and we learn through social interaction. In fact, said Prinstein, "numerous studies have revealed that children's interactions with peers have enduring effects on their occupational status, salary, relationship success, emotional development, mental health, and even on physical health and mortality over 40 years later. These effects are stronger than the effects of children's IQ, socioeconomic status and educational attainment."

This helps explain why social media platforms have grown so big in a relatively short period of time. But is the kind of social interaction they offer healthy?

2. Social media platforms often traffic in the wrong kind of social interaction.

What's the right kind, you ask? According to Prinstein, it's interactions and relationship-building "characterized by support, emotional intimacy, disclosure, positive regard, reliable alliance (e.g., 'having each other's backs') and trust."

The problem is, social media platforms often (though not always) emphasize metrics over the humans behind the "likes" and "followers," which can lead teens to simply post things about themselves, true or not, that they hope will draw the most attention. And these cycles, Prinstein warned, "create the exact opposite qualities needed for successful and adaptive relationships (i.e., [they are] disingenuous, anonymous, depersonalized). In other words, social media offers the 'empty calories of social interaction,' that appear to help satiate our biological and psychological needs, but do not contain any of the healthy ingredients necessary to reap benefits."

In fact, research has found that social media can actually make some teens feel lonelier

3. It's not all bad.

The APA's chief science officer also made clear that social media and the study of it are both too young to arrive at many conclusions with absolute certainty. In fact, when used properly, social media can feed teens' need for social connection in healthy ways.

"Research suggests that young people form and maintain friendships online. These relationships often afford opportunities to interact with a more diverse peer group than offline, and the relationships are close and meaningful and provide important support to youth in times of stress."

What's more, Prinstein pointed out, for many marginalized teens, "digital platforms provide an important space for self-discovery and expression" and can help them forge meaningful relationships that may buffer and protect them from the effects of stress.

4. Adolescence is a "developmentally vulnerable period" when teens crave social rewards, but don't have the ability to restrain themselves.

That's because, as children enter puberty, the areas of the brain "associated with our craving for 'social rewards,' such as visibility, attention and positive feedback from peers" tend to develop well before the bits of the brain "involved in our ability to inhibit our behavior, and resist temptations," Prinstein said. Social media platforms that reward teens with "likes" and new "followers" can trigger and feed that craving.

5. "Likes" can make bad behavior look good.

Hollywood has long grappled with groups of parents who worry that violent or overly sexualized movies can have a negative effect on teen behavior. Well, similar fears about teens witnessing bad behavior on social media might be well-founded. But it's complicated. Check this out:

"Research examining adolescents' brains while on a simulated social media site, for example, revealed that when exposed to illegal, dangerous imagery, activation of the prefrontal cortex was observed suggesting healthy inhibition towards maladaptive behaviors," Prinstein told lawmakers.

So, that's good. The prefrontal cortex helps us make smart (and safe) decisions. Hooray for the prefrontal cortex! Here's the problem.

When teens viewed these same illegal and/or dangerous behaviors on social media alongside icons suggesting the negative content had been "liked" by others, the part of the brain that keeps us safe stopped working as well, Prinstein said, "suggesting that the 'likes' may reduce youths' inhibition (i.e., perhaps increasing their proclivity) toward dangerous and illegal behavior."

In other words, bad behavior feels bad — until other people start liking it.

6. Social media can also make "psychologically disordered behavior" look good.

Prinstein spoke specifically about websites or online accounts that promote disordered-eating behaviors and nonsuicidal self-injury, like self-cutting.

"Research indicates that this content has proliferated on social media sites, not only depicting these behaviors, but teaching young people how to engage in [them], how to conceal these behaviors from adults, actively encouraging users to engage in these behaviors, and socially sanctioning those who express a desire for less risky behavior."

7. Extreme social media use can look a lot like addiction.

"Regions of the brain activated by social-media-use overlap considerably with the regions involved in addictions to illegal and dangerous substances," Prinstein told lawmakers.

He cited a litany of research that says excessive social media use in teens often manifests some of the same symptoms of more traditional addictions, in part because teen brains just don't have the kind of self-control toolbox that adults do.

8. The threat of online bullying is real.

Prinstein warned lawmakers that "victimization, harassment, and discrimination against racial, ethnic, gender and sexual minorities is frequent online and often targeted at young people. LGBTQ+ youth experience a heightened level of bullying, threats and self-harm on social media."

And online bullying can take a terrible physical toll, Prinstein said: "Brain scans of adults and youths reveal that online harassment activates the same regions of the brain that respond to physical pain and trigger a cascade of reactions that replicate physical assault and create physical and mental health damage."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "youth who report any involvement with bullying behavior are more likely to report high levels of suicide-related behavior than youth who do not report any involvement with bullying behavior."

9. It's hard not to compare yourself to what you see in social media.

Even adults feel it. We go onto social media sites and compare ourselves to everyone else out there, from the sunsets in our vacation pics to our waistlines – but especially our waistlines and how we look, or feel we should look, based on who's getting "likes" and who's not. For teens, the impacts of such comparisons can be amplified.

"Psychological science demonstrates that exposure to this online content is associated with lower self-image and distorted body perceptions among young people. This exposure creates strong risk factors for eating disorders, unhealthy weight-management behaviors, and depression," Prinstein testified.

10. Sleep is more important than those "likes."

Research suggests more than half of adolescents are on screens right before bedtime, and that can keep them from getting the sleep they need. Not only is poor sleep linked to all sorts of downsides, including poor mental health symptoms, poor performance in school and trouble regulating stress, Prinstein said, but "inconsistent sleep schedules are associated with changes in structural brain development in adolescent years. In other words, youths' preoccupation with technology and social media may deleteriously affect the size of their brains."

Edited by: Nicole Cohen
Visual design and development by: 
LA Johnson

Feb 15
Teachers' Convention and The Family Day Long Weekend

I often hear the question, "What do teachers do at convention?" The Teachers' Convention is an opportunity for educators to take part in workshops on many topics, to hear powerful keynote speakers, to engage with colleagues and to generally find a time to reflect on their practice. Each teacher takes part in the way that best fits their needs. More expereinced teachers are looking for ways to freshen up their practice, to stay on the cutting edge, to find new and meaningful ways to bring the curriculum to life. New teahcers are looking to learn form the experienced people presenting, to help them stay on top of a demanding job, to learn ways to inpsire.

Once the learning is done, the long weekend begins, for studnets it starts now. We hope that all of our DMC families have a restful weekend, that they find ways to connect and rejunenate for the next part of the year. I wish everyone a safe and relaxing Family Day.

Jan 13
Welcome Back

With the start of a new year brings new hope, resolutions and goal setting. Goal setting is an important way to track your progress toward something you hope to achieve. Goal setting involves designing a plan to help keep people motivated and guide them toward something they really want. Goals are intentional, they are strategic plans to help get you where you want to be. Goals are for everyone, no matter where you are in life, your age or your ability, set a goal, ask for help, track your progress and make that change you always wanted to make.

Here are five steps to help with developing a plan:

1. Find something that motivates you, your goal needs to be something you really want.

2. Set Smart Goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely

3. Put them into writing.

4. Make an action plan.

5. Stick to it, hold yourself accountable. Slips will happen, but bounce​ back and keep going. 

Set some goals this new year!​

Dec 21
Happy Holidays

​It's hard to believe that we are at the Winter Break, but here we are. Than​ks to all of our families for your continued support of DMC, we greatly apprecaite everything you do for your children. From all of the staff at DMC we want to wish you all a restful and warm holiday. We will see everyone on January 9.

Remember to keep those empty bottles from your holiday celebrations and use Skip the Depot to support DMC when it is time to clear out the sticky mess. See our newsletter for more details. 

Nov 07
Exert - Cell Phones and School

I thought this short exert from an article on the "Screenagers" website was particularly interesting:


The Screenagers team searched for data on school cell phone policies five years ago and realized there wasn't any. So in 2017, Screenagers conducted a national survey, which resulted in 1,200 middle school parents providing responses. The responses were shared in a CNN op-ed.

According to the parents, 55% of middle schools allowed kids to carry their cell phones all day despite the fact that more than 80% of parents did not want their kids using their cell phones at school. And in research since, the team has discovered that having phones away during school has a positive impact on students' learning, mental health and social lives. Thus, the Screenagers team created the Away For The Day webpage to advocate for phone-free campuses.


Studies have found that when phones are away, test scores increase. They've also concluded that when phones are present, students who are already struggling in school will struggle even more, meaning that when phones are out, the gap between high and low-achieving students becomes even wider.


Teens who spend more time on social media are also more likely to report symptoms of depression. When students engage in in-person time with friends, peers and mentors, their mood increases.

Middle and high schools have always been sites of drama and conflict, but the presence of social media amplifies the tensions between students even more.

“I can say without a doubt that the vast majority of student conflicts we deal with on a day-to-day basis originate from social media. Students are constantly trying to check their phones for the latest social media posts, any of which cause stress and anxiety during the school day.” — William Dorritie, superintendent
“Since [Away for the Day], we’ve continued to have our share of cell phone drama, but it is very much reduced and often not during the confines of the school day." — Ryan Wilson, principal

When a student is receiving rude messages on Snapchat or made aware of a group chat they were left out of, it can become very hard to focus on anything else, especially school.

Students who have social anxiety might use their device as a crutch throughout the day, relying on it to avoid uncomfortable interactions with peers. Without having to face the discomfort, these students never have a chance to grow or conquer their social anxiety.

This is one conversation we have with our students, hopefully people are having similar conversations at home.​

Oct 26
Classroom Conversations

Yesterday Mr. George and Mr. Hartl visited every grade  in the school to talk about three key messages.

1.       Being on time

We have seen an increase with students being late for class at all points of the day, especially at the start of the day and after lunch. When a student arrives late it is not only disruptive to the learning of others, it is also disruptive to their own learning. Our expectations are that students are in their desks at the start of the day, by 8:30. Our 8:30 bell is an indicator that they are now late and will be marked as late. This is also the case for every period that follows, we need them in their rooms so we can maximize their learning opportunities. We have explained that if we have chronic lates moving forward that we will be keeping specific students in during lunch to make up that time.

2.       Cell phones and Air-pods

When the decision was made to not allow phones in classrooms, it was because research indicates that learning increases. When the phone is present students are more worried about answering texts and social media then they are about learning. It becomes a distraction that impacts everyone in the room. We reminded them today that their phones should be in the lockers throughout the day, this includes headphones of all types. We explained that if teachers see them they will be asked once to put the item away. If it comes out again or it is repeated frequently then the phone needs to be handed in to the teacher until the end of the day. Teachers have been finding an increase in students being argumentative and disrespectful when this conversation happens. If a student is struggling to follow this guideline and is being disrespectful they could be sent home. If there is a need for a parent to communicate with their child we ask they call the school and not the child in class. We are more than happy to have them come down to the office to engage in a conversation with you.

3.       Respect

A reminder was given to all students about how we treat each other not only at DMC but in the world in general. We have had several substitutes lately not wanting to return to the school because of the level of disrespect from some of our students. We also have a general feel from some of our students that they can come and go as they please, leaving the class or the school whenever they want. It was explained to all of them that we are responsible for them while they are in the building and that teachers need to know when they need to leave the classroom. We are asking that everyone at DMC treat each other with respect, that we follow the “Golden Rule".

​We concluded the talks by thanking all of the students that are working incredibly hard, consistently come to class on time and ready to learn. We suggested that this day marks a fresh start for all of those that have struggled with the above expectations, that now was the time to set new goals to help make a concerted effort to ensure a quality learning experience for themselves and those around them.

None of these are new expectations at DMC, in fact most of these would be the expectations that all schools would have, including the elementary schools our students have come from. Although we try to address these situations as they occur, it would be greatly appreciated if parents could support us by having ongoing conversations with their children about these topics.

Please see our page on Code of Conduct for more information on our school expectations. 

Thank you,

The Staff of DMC

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