We opened the floor Wednesday at the first PTSA meeting of the year, and parents raised several topics for further discussion in the weeks to come.
- Can students have more recess time?
- How can the deaf and hard of hearing program be more inclusive with the rest of the school?
- Can the school discuss limiting screen time during the day?
- What would it take to get full-time art and music teachers?
- How to start new clubs at Payne (chess? tennis? sewing?)
- Can we add cultural events at school (MLK Day, International Day, Dia de los Muertos)?
- How to secure free and on-site Tuberculosis and fingerprinting for parent volunteers?
If you want to volunteer to lead or contribute to groups on these specific issues, please complete this form. And mark your calendars for the next PTSA meeting: 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16.
MEET THE STAFF
You’ve probably seen Robert Davis around Payne: At 6-foot-4, he towers over most everyone else. He also takes on a variety of responsibilities across the school, where he’s worked since 1995. His primary role is working as one of two behavior technicians assigned to Payne’s Behavior and Education Support Program. The program buses in children from across D.C. who are identified as having emotional disabilities or challenging behaviors. The classrooms, which can have a max of 10 students, include a teacher, a paraprofessional and a behavior tech.
Q. Describe what you do as a behavior tech at Payne.
A. I’ve been trained to implement certain techniques and prompts to get kids who are in my classroom to get back on track and focus and make them feel safe. Right up there with them being safe, is trust. They trust me. Since the environment feels safe for them, then they want to learn, and it’s a win-win for everybody. The goal is to get them back into general ed.
Q. Is patience very important for your job?
A. Oh, extremely important. Especially being an educator. I feel like if you’re doing this for any other reason besides a love of children, then this is definitely the wrong field for you.
Q. Do you do other things around the school?
A. I do everything. I’m Slash. I’m the IT guy. [laughs] Whenever we have a program, I’m the guy who has to go in the Auditorium. I’m the guy who knows how that system works. Every teacher in here has my phone number, so if the Smartboard’s not working, I can troubleshoot. I run my own before care program in the morning.
Q. What is the before care program like?
A. I get here at 6:45, I set up. We have plenty of computers for the older kids. I have different stations. You can color and draw. I have manipulative toys at another station. Puzzles at another station. I also do homework assistance.
The PTSA Fundraising Committee submitted six applications totaling more than $10,500 to the Capitol Hill Community Foundation through fall seasonal grant applications, which request:
- Classroom library books for PK4 through 5th grade (with a goal of finding other resources for PK3).
- Bus money for field trips for Kindergarten through 5th grade and the deaf and hard of hearing classes.
- Materials for art teacher Ms. Harvey.
- Science materials for experiments with Ms. Henson.
- Audio books, Braille books, printer ink and American Sign Language books for the deaf and hard of hearing classes.
SPECIAL THANKS to all who contributed to the PTSA meeting bake sale. We raised more than $250.
MORE FUNDRAISING OPPORTUNITIES
- Pretzels for Payne. Stop by The Pretzel Bakery, 3-6 p.m. Oct. 2. Mention Payne, and 20 percent of your purchase will benefit the PTSA.
- Fall Festival. We’ve raised $6,250 of our sponsorship $8,000 goal, but volunteers and sponsors still are needed. Volunteer for an hour and stay for the fun. Know a business that would love their logo displayed all year on Payne’s playground? Contact Alison Mitchell.
- Hilloween Volunteers Needed. Payne is looking for volunteers to represent the school at Hilloween, Capitol Hill’s Halloween block party. If you’re interested in sitting at a table and passing out candy, hot drinks and fun items, let Lexi Smith know.
- Box Tops. This is not your mama’s Box Tops program. You now can download the Box Tops app to scan your receipt to record the Box Tops instantly. Payne still will welcome the actual tops, too.
MORE IMPORTANT DATES
Sept. 29: Join Payne parents at 9:30 a.m. for an outside cleanup to tend the garden, plant bulbs and tidy up the school grounds. Kids are welcome.
Sept. 30: Watkins Elementary at 420 12th St. S.E. will host parents across D.C. for a meeting on Building Community In Diverse Schools, 2-4:30 p.m.
Oct. 2: Pretzel Bakery fundraiser, 3-6 p.m.
Oct. 5: Coffee with Principal Byrd, 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. in the Auditorium.
Oct. 8: No school.
Oct. 10: Walk to School Day, 7:30-8:15 a.m. at Lincoln Park.
Oct. 13: Fall Festival, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Oct. 16: PTSA meeting, 6 p.m. in the Auditorium.
Oct. 25-26: No school.
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.