Wildcat PTSA News: Field Trip Funds | Calling All Hoopsters | Protest From Our Past

Here’s the latest scoop on what’s happening around school.



The PTSA has supported field trips throughout the year by covering transportation costs. By year’s end, PTSA President Mark Jordan said every grade will have participated in a trip supported by the PTSA.  Most recently, the board approved $120 to cover transport costs for second-graders to visit the Frederick Douglass House in Historic Anacostia.

A message to teachers out there: Are you considering additional field trips this year that are currently unfunded? If so, send your request through the administration as the PTSA is considering allocating funds to support even more trips this year. Please send all requests by April 15.



Eliot Hine Middle School is calling on Payne to form a basketball team of parents, staff and students for the 2019 Basketball Fever Feeder FUNdraiser.

Eliot-Hine and its feeder schools will compete 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 9, at Eastern High School. Fans are welcome, and it’s free. Concessions and the silent auction will benefit the Eliot-Hine PTO.

Interested in joining the team? Email Assistant Principal Ward: jason.ward@dc.gov



Art teacher Ms. Harvey confirmed this week she is planning at least one pottery project before the school year is done. You may remember, the kiln room has been out of operation for some time (with the space currently used as storage). But the PTSA funded a recent inspection and minor repairs. Once the room containing the kiln is emptied, it can be fired up once again. Here’s our kiln:



Today is the last day to complete the DCPS Panorama survey, a district-wide confidential survey to gather feedback from students, families and staff about students’ social and emotional learning. The link to take the survey is surveys.panoramaed.com/dcps, and the access code is “family.”



During segregation, Payne was a school for black children, and it was severely overcrowded. In the early 1950s, parents became vocal and staged a number of walkouts and pickets. Parents saw a clear solution: Send children to nearby white schools, which had plenty of space. But D.C. was “rigidly segregated” at this time.

Building expansions to the school were not enough for Payne, which in 1953 had 899 students. Today there are fewer than 350.

The Washington Post reported on Feb. 9, 1953, “Several hundred members of the Payne-Maury Parent Teacher Association voted unanimously yesterday to continue keeping the children from attending Payne Elementary school as a protest against overcrowded conditions.” When the protest began, only 57 of the 899 students showed up.

More than a year later, in May 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that public schools could not be segregated on the state level in Brown v. Board of Education. (Fun Fact: The legal case that ended segregation in D.C. was Bolling v. Sharpe.)

Information provided by Jen Harris, executive director of Story of our Schools and the D.C. Public Library’s Washingtoniana Collection.



The Payne auctions during the past two years were fun and successful events. Based on a number of considerations, the PTSA has decided to try a different approach this year, combining a larger spring carnival with a small, focused on-site silent auction. The event will be in May to coincide with Payne Spirit Week and the end of PARCC testing. We will be looking for volunteer support to help make this event happen. More details will follow.



TODAY, March 29: My School D.C. lottery results released. Welcome, new Wildcats!

April 1: Payne enrollment opens, starting with PK3 and PK4.

April 4-5: No school (Note: There will be after care April 3)

April 17-21: Spring break

April 21: Deadline to pay PTSA dues to participate in annual election.

May 21: PTSA annual meeting and elections.

Wildcat PTSA News: Social Studies for K-5 | Spring Concert Postponed | The Payne Fire of 1983


DCPS recently released more specific scheduling guidelines for social studies and science for the upcoming school year for grades K-8. Bottom line up front: Grades K-2 are expected to receive the equivalent of 45 minutes per day of social studies for half the year and 45 minutes per day of science for half the year. For grades 3-5, it’s 30 minutes per day for social studies and 30 minutes per day of science, all year long.

Scott Abbott, the DCPS director of social studies, provides further detail in a little tweetstorm March 10. Read his posts here. He includes a chart that fully breaks down required subjects and time expectations. The chart also is attached to this message.

Social studies was a major discussion point at Tuesday’s PTSA meeting, which included a presentation by Ward 6’s State Board of Education member Jessica Sutter. She told parents that World History 1 was the most failed class in DCPS high schools, and officials think a lack of social studies in the elementary and middle schools played a significant role.

Sutter pointed out that DCPS has had standards in place for teaching social studies for years, but no curriculum existed. DCPS now has developed its own social studies curriculum, she said.  Sutter suspects many schools will draw social studies time from the existing literacy block.

You’re wondering what this means for Payne and the kids’ already-packed schedules. Principal Byrd said Payne students currently receive science and social studies lessons that are “infused in the reading curriculum.”

Next year, grades K-2 will keep the 120-minute literacy block, but grades 3-5 will go from a 120-minute literacy block to 90 minutes, Principal Byrd told the PTSA. Math blocks remain at 90 minutes.

Abbott said social studies promotes literacy. “They need to learn disciplinary literacies as practiced by historians, geographers, political scientists, economists, and more to really enhance their reading abilities,” he tweeted.

For more on how reading in social studies and science promotes literacy, Sutter recommended the podcast Hard Words.



The spring concert, originally scheduled for March 29, has  been postponed. A new date has not been decided. Music teacher Mr. Golden and art teacher Ms. Harvey are working on the program, and more details will be coming soon, Vice Principal Ward told the PTSA.



Payne students from grades 3-5 competed March 14 in the DCPS Math Bowl. Grant Opara, Sebastian Frederick, Da’Shod Williams, Layla Jackson, and Xavier Kenner earned 4th place, a mere four points from the first-place team. Twenty-five teams competed: 13 from elementary schools and 12 from middle schools.

Vice Principal Ward attended the event and shared this message with the staff: “I was extremely proud of the teamwork, camaraderie, and support of each other that the team displayed throughout the evening. Keep up the good work, teachers — we are moving in the right direction. GO WILDCATS!​”

Pictured: Payne Students crushing numbers and taking names at the Math Bowl.



Stop by the auditorium from 9-10 a.m. Friday to meet Payne’s attendance team. Enjoy a continental breakfast and participate in a gift card raffle. And, more importantly, check on your student’s attendance record.



The PTSA will hold elections at its annual meeting May 21. The PTSA bylaws require that to be eligible to vote in the election, individuals must be in good standing with the PTSA by signing up and paying dues at least 30 days before the election, which is April 21 this year.



Seeking a volunteer to run t-shirt sales for the remainder of the school year and next year and ideas for new Payne merchandise. Car magnets perhaps? Contact Carolyn Bowen.



The PTSA purchased a “little library” kit to build in front of the school. The goal is to encourage reading and the sharing of books. We’re looking for volunteers with tools and some construction skills.  If you are interested, contact Lexi Smith.



The DCPS Panorama survey is a district-wide confidential survey to gather feedback from students, families, and staff about students’ social/emotional learning. The link to take the survey is surveys.panoramaed.com/dcps, and the access code is “family.” Alternatively, parents or guardians can fill out paper copies at the school. The survey will be open online until March 29.



Loyal newsletter followers already know about the Story of Our School team, tasked with researching Payne’s history for purposes of establishing a permanent exhibit at Payne. We’ll be highlighting some of the team’s discoveries as they continue their research. This week we’re taking a closer look at the fire that destroy the original building:

A little before 11 a.m. on April 26, 1983, faulty wiring in the attic started a fire in the original 1896 building, which was located where the tennis courts are today. Jim Lloyd was one of 79 firefighters who fought the fire for 50 minutes that day. In an interview with the Story of Our School team, he said the damage didn’t seem too severe. Even so, the city demolished the building shortly after. There were no injuries, and 290 students were evacuated. Most children were either in the new “annex” on C Street (still part of Payne today) or on a field trip.

Jen Harris, executive director of Story of our Schools shared the details above, and Jim Lloyd provided the photo below of Payne on fire.



March 23: 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Payne Girl Scouts sell cookies at the Pretzel Bakery

March 29: 8-9:30 a.m., meet School Chancellor Lewis Ferebee at the Pretzel Bakery

March 29: My School D.C. lottery results released

April 4-5: No school

April 17-21: Spring break

Payne Post

March 20, 2019


Panorama Survey: Please complete the Panorama Survey by 3/22.  It measures social-emotional learning (SEL), school climate and satisfaction across students in grades 3-5, staff and families. DCPS is using these results to identify areas of improvement needed to support families better.   To access the survey, please go to surveys.panoramaed.com/dcps.  The Access Code is “family”.


Attendance Social:  Please join us for our attendance social on Friday, March 22nd at 9am in the auditorium.  There will be giveaways and light refreshments and great information about attendance and how it affects the school and your child.


Information Updates: Please make sure that you update the main office with your current phone number, address and email address.  We want to make sure you are kept abreast of all school information as well as easily reached in case of an emergency.


Science Fair: Please make sure that if your child is in 3-5th grade, that they turn in their parent agreement and topic selection form in to Ms. Henson this week.


2019-20 Enrollment:  Enrollment for next year is right around the corner, April 1st.  A flyer with registration dates have been sent out as well as the school calendar on the website have been updated.  Spots for registration are only guaranteed for in boundary students so please make sure that you do not wait and register your student.

Wildcat PTSA News: Firing Up the Kiln | PTSA Election | Teacher of the Month

This week the PTSA board approved a few expenditures that will benefit students across all grades:


The PTSA is splitting the cost with Payne to cover numerous fixes to SMART boards throughout the school. The PTSA will spend $2,000 to fix or maintain more than 30 boards.


Art classes have not been able to use the Payne kiln for at least two years, but that is about to change. An expert from The Kiln Doctor visited Payne this week and inspected and serviced the pottery oven. It now is certified for use. The PTSA covered the $127 bill, which included an inspection, leveling the kiln, fixing the oven door and some other minor fixes. The certification will enable Ms. Harvey to include pottery projects in her class.


The board approved spending $80 to cover the operational costs of launching the Share Table at Payne, a space where students can place unopened and/or sealed foods that they choose not to eat during school breakfast and lunch, for others to eat.



Payne has started a Teacher of the Month award. Every month, at Payne’s staff meeting, the staff votes for a teacher who shows dedication and exceptional service to our students. “It is a Payne award, but it is special because peers vote for the person,” Mrs. Oxendine said.

Ms. Juanita Stokes, a PK3 teacher, earned the honor in February, and Ms. Dionne Thompson, a first grade teacher, won this month.

(Left: Stokes; right: Thompson)



The PTSA’s annual meeting is May 21, and it’s an election year for three officer positions: president, secretary and parliamentarian. It’s not too early to consider a bid to join the board. A closer look at each role:

The president presides over all meetings of the PTSA and the board. The president appoints committee chairs and is an ex-officio member on all committees. The president represents the organization on the district and national level. The president is the PTSA’s representative on the Local School Advisory Team (LSAT).

The secretary keeps a correct record of all meetings and votes of the PTSA and makes them available to the membership.

The parliamentarian maintains the bylaws and articles of incorporation. The parliamentarian
advises the presiding officer on parliamentary procedure and has a fundamental knowledge of the mission, purposes and policies of the PTSA. The parliamentarian conducts the annual meeting and officer elections.



Payne is seeking STEM experts in the community who are willing to serve as a resource for the school’s growing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program. Experts may be called upon to answer questions from teachers, serve as guest speakers, provide connections to other STEM resources or whatever you are comfortable doing that can be incorporated into the curriculum this school year or next.

Find out more here and fill out a short questionnaire.



Join the Payne Wildcats Team for the Capitol Hill Classic Kids’ Fun Run, 11 a.m. May 19 at Stanton Park. Kids run around the perimeter of the park (a quick lap). It’s a great way to introduce kids to running and a fun community event. Plus, you get a t-shirt. When you sign up, select “Join a team” and then select “Payne Wildcats” from the drop-down menu. Click here to register. It’s not just for kids; the race includes signups for the 10K and 3K.



Pennies for Patients raised $1,347 between Feb. 11-25, and Ms. Fox’s Fantastic Friends won the class competition for a pizza party. Families and friends still can contribute to Payne’s page online until June here.



March 8: No school

March 15: 7 p.m., Payne Dads Happy Hour, Granville Moore’s

March 19: 6 p.m., PTSA meeting

March 23: 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Payne Girl Scouts sell cookies at the Pretzel Bakery.

March 29: 8-9:30 a.m., meet School Chancellor Lewis Ferebee at the Pretzel Bakery.

Panorama Survey

In School Year 2017-2018, DCPS launched the Panorama Survey to measure social emotional learning, satisfaction, and engagement across staff, families, and students in grades 3-12. The 2018-2019 Panorama Survey is now available and we encourage you to share your perspective. This survey provides stakeholders the opportunity to candidly share perspectives on their school and how DCPS can best set all of our students up for success in college, career, and life.

The survey takes 10-15 minutes to complete.  The responses are confidential and voluntary.  The final day to complete the survey is March 29, 2019.  It can be accessed using the information below:

Survey Link: surveys.panoramaed.com/dcps

Access Code: family

Please only submit one survey per school and if you have more than one child in the same school, please answer for the oldest child.

Thank you for participating in the DCPS Panorama Survey!

Wildcat PTSA News: Parent-Teacher Conferences | Who Are the Reading Partners? | Museum Display Fundraising


Within the next two weeks, parents will receive dates and times for parent-teacher conferences. But this time could be a little different than the past. Teachers have the option to forego one-on-one meetings and instead lead what are being called Academic Parent-Teacher Team meetings. The APTT meetings will be conducted as a grade level with all of the teachers and parents in the grade. Rather than focusing on individual progress, teachers will discuss the grade’s work and progress as a whole. The team meetings are optional, and your child’s teacher could decide to host traditional one-on-one meetings instead of or in addition to the team meetings.



One hundred volunteers make regular visits to Payne for one-on-one reading help outside the class through the Reading Partners program. Reading Partners provides extra support when it comes to reading skills for 73 Wildcats in Kindergarten through fourth grade. Rachel McManus is the Payne Reading Partners site coordinator this school year. She fielded questions from the PTSA about the program:

Q. Can you talk a little bit about how Reading Partners works?

A. The principal, teachers and the literacy specialists refer students to Reading Partners. We bring them in for an assessment and then, after we have their permission slips, they come in twice a week, sometimes once a week, for 45-minute sessions, and they’re paired with a volunteer community member. We already have a pre-set lesson plan that’s supposed to complement what’s going on in their classrooms. So a lot of it isn’t necessarily brand new for the student but just extra support. So students come twice a week probably for the entire year.

Q. How do you define success for a student?

A. We have a couple different metrics. We have assessments that consider their phonemic awareness, vocabulary, concept of word, things like that. Very similar to the assessments they’re probably doing with their teachers. The goal is that everyone is reading at or above grade level by the end of the year.

Q. Are you funded with the Payne budget?

A. Each school that we partner with has to pay a fee, which for public schools is $20,000, and they have to provide a set space and also access to a printer. But a lot of our funding comes through AmeriCorps, the D.C. government and local individuals.

Q. Are you looking for more volunteers at Payne? Can parents volunteer?

A. Parents can volunteer. The truth is that a lot of people want to come volunteer at Payne because it’s easy. People are usually coming from work, like if they work on the Hill. In general, we’re always looking for more volunteers, particularly in our schools in Wards 7 and 8.

Q. If someone’s interested where should they go?

A. They can go to readingpartners.org, and there is a link to volunteer.



A team of students led by PK3 teacher Juanita Stokes and educational aide Monich Brown embarked in November on a project to research the history of Payne Elementary. Students have interviewed teachers and students from past years and collected artifacts and photos. By the end of the year, the plan is to establish a permanent, museum-quality display that honors the history and legacy of our school. The project is part of a broader non-profit effort called Story of Our Schools.

The organization has unveiled sketches of the future exhibit. You can see more in the attached PDF: Payne Story of Our Schools. Initial estimates put the budget for the exhibit between $30,000 and $40,000. The PTSA expects to participate in the fundraising effort with Story of Our Schools staff to make the exhibit a reality. The PTSA is looking for volunteers to help with a targeted fundraising effort for this project. If you can help, please e-mail PTSA fundraising chair Kerry DeVooght.



A PK3 class at Maury Elementary is missing its cockatiel Stanley. Please keep an eye out for the bird, which has clipped wings and can’t fly far. He was last seen in the area of Eliot-Hine (18th and Constitution N.E.). If you find him, please call Maury at 202-698-3838 or 202-302-7436 (after hours).

This is what a cockatiel looks like:



After-School Clubs Liaison. You would work with the ASL Enrichment Club, Chess Club and Sewing Club to ensure their needs are met, including securing parent volunteers, pointing questions in the right direction and senduring Mrs. Oxendine is aware of challenges. You wouldn’t need to handle problem solving or scheduling. Interested? Contact Lexi Smith.

Grant Writing. If you are interested in helping to secure library grants, contact Kerry DeVooght.

Payne SWAG. Does your child LOVE Payne t-shirts? Do you dream of having more Payne SWAG? We are looking for a new volunteer to run t-shirt sales for the remainder of the school year and next year. Contact Carolyn.



March 1: 9 a.m., Auditorium, Coffee with Principal: Learn about Fifth Grade

March 1: Registration closes for Capitol Hill Little League. Register at www.CHLLDC.org.

March 4: Applications due for Girls on the Run club for third through fifth grades. Email Mrs. Oxendine, akua.oxendine@dc.gov

March 8: No school

March 19: PTSA Meeting

March 29: 8-9:30 a.m., meet Acting School Chancellor Lewis Ferebee at the Pretzel Bakery.