Wildcat PTSA News: Cafeteria Wins Big | Common Core Rap | Volunteers Needed

There’s a buzz in the cafeteria this week as Payne’s food crew has earned top honors. Meanwhile, fourth grade math is humming (rapping, actually) as the kids learn Common Core in a creative way. And new volunteer opportunities await. Here’s what’s happening this week at Payne.

TOP HONORS FOR CAFETERIA

A film crew will arrive at Payne on Thursday to video record the cafeteria staff in action. SodexoMAGIC, Payne’s food service provider, named Payne the 2017-2018 Showcase Elementary School, and cafeteria lead Kevin Dyer was named employee of the year, recognized for quality service, cleanliness and an all-around successful kitchen. “We love doing what we’re doing,” Dyer said.

(From Left: Food service worker Annette Nichols, cafeteria lead Kevin Dyer, food service worker Emily Green and food service worker Rachel Anderson. Not pictured: Chef T)

NEW ON THE MENU

Students are enjoying the trifecta of melons, as the cafeteria now is serving cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew. Also debuting in this year’s meal rotation: a yogurt parfait for breakfast (vanilla yogurt, granola and berries). Iceberg lettuce, however, is out this school year, replaced with more nutrient-rich darker greens such as kale and mesclun.


MEET THE TEACHER

Christina Mitchell, Payne’s fourth grade math teacher, knows math can be intimidating. To counter any hesitation, she brings a positive attitude, real-world scenarios and rap lyrics. The Montgomery County native is in her ninth year at Payne. And while the math curriculum is Common Core, she has some decidedly uncommon techniques.

Q. What do you tell a student who thinks they don’t like math?

A. Just wait ’til you come to my class. (Laughs.) I like to present things in a very visual and tactile way, and also I like to incorporate fun activities. For example, we did a rap for learning how to “bundle.” That’s the new term for regrouping. We did a rap, it was several verses. Each day for morning meeting we would look at each verse and look at what it means.

 

Q. Where did these rap lyrics come from?

A. I made them up! I just try to do fun things like that to grab their attention and get them interested. Also, the real-world connection. When we do lot of word problems, I try to tailor the word problems, so it’s dealing with things they’re familiar with. I just try to encourage them to do their best, and I’ll meet you half way. If you’re paying attention, if you’re focused, and you’re being persistent and trying, I will always come and help you.

 

Q. How important is homework?

A. We have homework every day, and it is important because it reinforces what you are learning in the classroom.

 

Q. What can parents in the younger grades do to prepare their children for 4th grade math?

A. It’s important to just make math a part of your every day routine. So when you’re going to the grocery store with your little ones, have them count the bananas you put in the basket. Have them do the foundational skills but in a real-world type situation. Not sitting down drilling practice. Just more authentic experiences.


GET INVOLVED

Fall Festival: The PTSA is looking for parents to help plan the Oct. 13 Payne Fall Festival and manage booths and activities. We’re also looking for sponsors. The PTSA already raised $1,750, but our goal is $8,000. Help us by asking, businesses, friends, or your employers. If you’re interested in helping, contact PTSA Fundraising Chair Kerry DeVooght.

Library Help: Tim Gordon, the Wildcat librarian, is looking for a volunteer once a week from 1:30-2:30 (any day except Wednesday) to help around the library. Contact Lexi Smith.

Early Childhood: Family Services Coordinator Lisa Mitchell is seeking volunteers for the Early Childhood Education Parent Committee and Policy Council. Contact Lisa Mitchell.


DID YOU KNOW?

You can add the Payne PTSA calendar to the calendar on your phone or email. Click here and scroll down for directions.


IMPORTANT DATES

Friday, Sept. 14: Coffee with Principal Byrd at 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. in the Auditorium.

Saturday, Sept. 15: East City Bookstore Payne fundraiser, 3-6 p.m. Afterward, Mr. Henry’s restaurant will donate a portion of dinner sales to Payne if you mention the school.

Sept. 25: The first PTSA meeting of the year begins with an informal meet-and-greet with the board at 5:30 p.m., followed by a meeting from 6-7 p.m. in the Auditorium.

Sept. 28: Story of Our Schools is hosting an auction fundraiser, 6:30 p.m. at The Loft.

Oct. 13: Payne Fall Festival at the school, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Pumpkin decorating, face-painting, a bounce house, chili and homemade treats for sale, and more.

Oct. 27: Forty literary-themed dinner parties will be hosted across Capitol Hill for the annual Literary Feast to support the Capitol Hill Community Foundation’s Grants to Neighborhood Schools. More than $140,000 in grants were awarded in 2017 to fund special projects and programs for schools, including Payne. Register at www.aliteraryfeast.org. Ticket sales close Sept. 30 or whenever tickets sell out.