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.