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