Wildcat PTSA News: Fall Festival is Saturday | Meet the Teacher | $12K for Classrooms

The school’s Fall Festival is Saturday. This is one of the biggest fundraisers and best events of the school year – and it’s looking like we’ll finally get some nice, crisp fall weather. Swing by the Payne playground 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Chow down on Frito pies and other treats, buy a pumpkin and decorate it, climb on a fire truck, and meet mascots from the Nationals and D.C. Water. Kids can burn energy in the bounce house and get their faces painted. Bring your friends and neighbors.

Thanks to numerous sponsors, PTSA members already have raised $7,250 for the festival and hope to exceed the $8,000 fundraising goal on Saturday. We’re still looking for volunteer booth workers, bakers and chili makers.



The PTSA board met Tuesday and approved allocating more than $12,000 to fund resources for classrooms, including supplemental books for Kindergarten through fifth grade; science and art supplies; and resources for the deaf and hard of hearing classrooms. The board also approved $5,000 to support the school’s Robotics Team.



When it comes to teaching, second grade is the sweet spot for Donita Hubbard, a native of Seat Pleasant, Md. This is her seventh year of teaching (her second at Payne), and despite a one-year detour to kindergarten at Nalle Elementary, second grade is where she wants to be.

Q. Why do you teach second grade?

A. Something about second graders. They’re old enough to self-regulate, but they are still young enough that what I think is super fun and cool, they consider it cool. Being able to talk about plants and extreme weather, and seeing their excitement. I have worked Kindergarten before, and that’s about teaching self-regulation and developing a little person. Second grade is not so much about that, as it is about content, which I prefer.

Q. Are you doing anything different this year?

A. Kind of doing the same thing, in just a bigger way. So, last year we did plants and did one field trip. This year we’re trying to do multiple field trips, so they can get many opportunities and experiences outside of the classroom.

Q. Where do you want to go on field trips that you didn’t go last year?

A. Last year we went to the Anacostia Watershed. This year we’re going to the watershed again. We’ve been to Glen Echo Theater already. We’re hoping to go to the National Arboretum for plants, and we’re going to start extreme weather, so I’m hoping to get a meteorologist to come in, and the Newseum could be good for that.

Q. There seems to be a lot more emphasis on field trips this year, across the school. What’s going on? Why is that?

A. It’s important to remember [children] learn through experiences. In the same way we do as adults, too, they kind of feel their way around in the real world. I can talk about planting a seed, but if I’m actually planting seeds, it makes a difference.

Q. What would you say to first grade and Kindergarten parents to get their kids ready for second grade?

A. If we could come into second grade being independent problem solvers, I think that would propel us. We spend a good deal of the beginning of the year talking about being a good classroom citizen. Most of them know how to do it, but [parents] can have that conversation [with their kids] in the summer. “Make sure you’re being kind and saying kind words and cleaning up after yourself.” I think that would be setting them up for success, behaviorally.

Q. Do you have anything unique hobbies you bring into the classroom?

A. So, I sing. But I don’t full-out belt a song to the kids. But I jokingly play around and sing stuff, and they love it and they’ll start singing randomly with me. I’m like [SINGING] Get your papers! and they’re like I’m gonna get my papers!  It’s cute. It works.



Payne has a Slack group, and you’re invited. The app fosters collaboration and communication among Payne parents, staff and the community.  Email Carolyn Bowen and she will add you to the group, PayneElementaryDC. Once in, you can join sub groups such as #grants and #greenspace, or connect one-on-one with PTSA board members and parents.



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.



Saturday: Fall Festival, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Payne.

Oct. 16: PTSA meeting, 6 p.m. in the Auditorium. Principal Byrd will speak.

Oct. 18: Payne Dad’s Happy Hour, 6:30 p.m. at The Brig. Join the Dad’s Happy Hour email group.

Oct. 19: Payne Mom’s Happy Hour, 6 p.m., Ophelia’s Fish House.

Oct. 25-26: No school.

Nov. 8: Literacy Night at Payne.

Nov. 7-9: Scholastic Book Fair. Buy books while earning money for Payne. Interested in volunteering at the fair or helping to coordinate? Email Carolyn Bowen.

Wildcat PTSA News: Enrollment Is Up | Fall Fest | New Chef


Payne enrolled 8 percent more students this year than initially projected for a total of 347 kids. With more students, D.C. Public Schools’ enrollment team provided an additional 25 iPads for students to use. The iPads have arrived at the school, and Ms. Oxendine said the administration are distributing them among the classes.



Common Core math is foreign to a lot of parents. To help, Payne has grade-specific tip sheets available for Kindergarten through 5th Grade. Pick them up from envelopes on the bulletin board between the cafeteria and the front desk. Math “homefun” – it’s not just for the kiddos.



Come have some fall fun at the 2018 Payne Fall Festival, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 13 at the school with pumpkin decorating, face painting, bounce houses and more. Meet mascots for the Nationals and D.C. Water and enjoy chili and baked goods. Organizers still are looking for volunteers, especially for the face-painting table. Please sign up to volunteer.



Meet new Cafeteria Chef Calvin Coleman. A native of Washington, D.C, with familial roots in the Carolinas, Chef Coleman joined Payne last month. He most recently worked as a chef at the Verizon Center. His favorite things to cook include Caribbean food, mac and cheese and seafood salad. “I’m looking forward to upgrading the food and putting a new twist on it,” Coleman said. He replaces Chef T, who transferred to Jefferson Middle School.



Payne will have a new resource for the next three school years: a full-time member of the AmeriCorps Volunteer in Service to America Program (VISTA). Amy Thomas has started working at Payne for the first year of the program. AmeriCorps VISTA members work with communities to ensure poverty is addressed in a manner that builds community, generates self-sufficiency and establishes economic, health and educational security. The program was founded in 1965 by a bi-partisan Congress to help eliminate widespread poverty within the U.S.

Amy’s goals for her year at Payne include:

  • Recruiting STEM partnerships
  • Updating parent, staff and partner contact information
  • Streamlining communication, volunteer and partner systems
  • Building a sustainable community within Payne
  • Tracking and updating partnerships



Walk to School Day begins with a rally with several Capitol Hill Schools at 7:30 a.m. Oct. 10 at Lincoln Park. Bring some noisemakers to show the community how well-represented Payne is.



Thank you for participating in the Pretzels for Payne fundraising event this week. We earned $168 for the school. Do you know of a local business that would be interested in a proceeds-sharing event for Payne (like we have done with The Pretzel Bakery, East City Books, and Mr. Henry’s)? If so, contact PTSA fundraising chair Kerry DeVooght, kerrydevooght@gmail.com.


Interest is building to establish a Little Free Library at Payne and to decorate it on Literacy Night, Nov. 8. Want to help? Email Carolyn Bowen carolyncbowen@gmail.com.


Shop at primary.com now through Tuesday to save 20 percent and earn 10 percent back for Payne. Use our unique URL: www.primary.com/school/payne with promo code PAYNEWEEK.


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

Oct. 4: Monthly LSAT Meeting.

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. at Payne.

Oct. 16: PTSA meeting, 6 p.m. in the Auditorium. Principal Byrd will speak.

Oct. 25-26: No school.

Nov. 8: Literacy Night.

Nov. 7-9: Scholastic Book Fair. Interested in volunteering at the fair or helping to coordinate? Email Carolyn Bowen