Wildcat PTSA News: Story of Our Schools Party | Meet the School Nurse | Payne Swag | Parent Meetups

If you’ve been inside the main entrance this week, you noticed some big changes. The Story of Our School project has been installed, featuring dozens of photos of Payne students – both past and present – and the story of the school’s history and its namesake, Daniel A. Payne. Did you know that in 1953 the Payne PTA protested the schools overcrowded conditions by organizing a “student strike … which kept the school relatively empty” for a period? Come see the exhibit and learn more.

Children and adults are invited to the reveal reception, 5-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6. Refreshments will be served. An RSVP is not required, but you are encouraged to click here to register to help with head count. Please join us as we celebrate this project that has been a year in the making and included research from staff and students.


Simone Anderson has been the school nurse at Payne for 11 years. A native of Guyana, South America, Nurse Anderson has lived in the U.S. for the past three decades and has a varied career in health, from working in D.C. hospitals to pediatric homecare. As a community health nurse, she is a contract employee who can find herself temporarily pulled to other area schools as needs arise. But in most cases, you can find her in her office at Payne from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Nurse Anderson recently sat down with the PTSA to share some insights on health and wellness at Payne.

1.    Make sure your child’s records are current. “It’s critical that we have up-to-date information on the students, as far as allergies, any kind of illnesses, working telephone numbers that we can reach the parents at all times,” Nurse Anderson said. Your child’s health records are kept confidential. “It’s critical we are aware so that we can call 9-1-1 or have the necessary medication information on hand.”

2.    She is not the only caregiver on staff. In Nurse Anderson’s absence, two trained staff members also can administer medication: Classroom aide Ms. Davis and school psychologist Ms. Weeks. Gym teacher Dr. Crumb is certified in first aid. “Anything they are not trained to handle, 9-1-1 must be called immediately,” she said. “And that is rare.”

3.    Immunization records are checked weekly. “I pull a report every Monday from the Department of Health. They give me the names of students who are not up-to-date with their shots. At that time, I try to reach out to the parents … Out of 331 students, as of the [Jan. 17], I only have 20 students [6%] that are noncompliant, which I think is really good. We have lots of schools that are way above.”

4.  A temperature below 100 degrees doesn’t require a trip home. It’s flu season, and Nurse Anderson recommends that if your child is “coughing, sneezing and wheezing,” it’s probably best they stay home. If a child has a temperature that is less than 100 degrees, they can go back to the classroom. Once their temp enters the 100s, however, Nurse Anderson said it will trigger a call home. [Science Alert:  It’s hard to define a “fever”.]. If a parent is unavailable, the child must stay in the health suite for the remainder of the day. The area is comfortable, and includes beds, and is removed from the school population.

5.    Nurse Anderson can perform a lice check as requested or needed. You probably heard that PK4 was recently battling a lice outbreak. Nurse Anderson reminds parents that DCPS policy prohibits excluding children with lice from the classroom. The only requirement, Nurse Anderson said, is that the child is getting active treatment to fight the bugs. She has a lice comb with a light in her office and is able to check for nits or lice. If she detects live lice, it does trigger a call home and a pickup. The child can return, though, provided he or she has received treatment.

6.    She has a concussion checklist. If a child falls while playing on the playground, Nurse Anderson administers a concussion checklist that includes neurological and muscle tests. A parent will be notified immediately. The parent could be asked to pick up their child and seek a more official diagnosis from a hospital. A letter also will be sent home.


Looking for for the latest in Payne swag, including t-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, car magnets, and more?  You’re in luck: The Payne Cafe Press online store is now LIVE.  Order your Payne gear any time and have it shipped directly to you.

For those who ordered shirts in October and August and have not picked them up, please contact Liz Aloi at lizaloi@gmail.com. Any items that are not claimed by Feb. 29 (yes, it’s a leap year), will be donated to the PTSA.


Parents of children attending first grade next year are invited to join parents of current first graders to gain some insights on the coming year. Parents will meet from 7-8:30 p.m. Feb. 4 at Michelle Chapman and Rob Luhrs’ house.


Parents of children attending second grade next year are invited to join parents of current second graders to learn about the second grade experience at Payne. Parents will meet 8-9 p.m. Feb. 12 at Carolyn and Steve Bowen’s house.



Feb. 3: Art students switch to drama and vice versa

Feb. 4: 4:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Room 233, ASL Club resumes

Feb. 11: 6:00 p.m. PTSA meeting. Teachers will be available during the meeting to discuss your child’s next school year.

Feb. 13: 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m., Valentine’s Day Dance, Auditorium

Feb. 17-21: No school

Wildcat PTSA News: Nando’s Fundraiser | Valentine’s Dance | ASL Club

Two important reminders for next week:

  • There’s no school for students next Monday, Jan. 27 and Tuesday, Jan 28.
  • Wednesday evening is Payne night at Nando’s Peri-Peri at 411 H St. N.E. Stop by 4-9 p.m., and tell them you support Payne. Forty percent of your meal will benefit the PTSA.


Payne parents are continuing to host informal gatherings to discuss the upcoming school year. If your child is moving up to first grade next year, a meetup is in the works for Feb. 4. If your child is moving up to second grade, the tentative date is Feb. 12. We’ll share more details as they become available.


Payne is hosting a Valentine’s Day Dance on Thursday, Feb. 13 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Admission is free. A mandatory permission slip went home with students this week. Coach Freda is looking for volunteers and is available to field questions. Reach her at 202-413-4824. PTSA approved spending $350 for decorations, refreshments and other supplies.


Another reason to raid your kids’ backpacks: A permission slip went home for an awesome extracurricular. ASL Club is getting underway again. Open to kids in Kindergarten through fifth grade, the club meets 4:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. every Tuesday. The next meeting is Feb. 4. If you’d like to join, please fill out the form and return to Ms. Miller or Ms. Gayle by Feb. 3. Meetings take place in Room 233.


Tonight: 6:30 p.m., Payne Dads Happy Hour, Trusty’s

Jan. 27-28: No school

Jan. 29: 4-9 p.m., Nando’s fundraiser, 411 H St. N.E. Tell them you support Payne, and 40 percent of your order will benefit the school.

Jan. 30: 6-8 p.m., J.O. Wilson Summer Camp Fair

Feb. 3: Art students switch to drama and vice versa

Feb. 11: 6 p.m. PTSA meeting. Teachers will be available during the meeting to discuss your child’s next school year.

Feb. 13: 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m., Valentine’s Day Dance, Auditorium

Feb. 17-21: No school

Wildcat PTSA News: Science Updates | Art and Drama | Coffee Talk

Thanks to everyone who attended the PTSA meeting this week. Participation continues to grow at the meetings. Thanks also to Principal Byrd for her insights.

You don’t want to miss the next meeting, 6 p.m., Feb. 11, when you’ll have an opportunity to visit with teachers to discuss your child’s next year at Payne.


Mr. Creef covered a wide-range of topics at Tuesday’s PTSA meeting. Here are a few highlights:

1. He’s interested in bringing back chickens and is exploring the idea (and related costs) of incubating eggs and hatching them at school.

2. With the help of the PTSA and a grant award, Mr. Creef purchased a number of specimen jars with assorted creatures and organs. They have proven very popular with the kids. He brought some animal brains, a shark and other preserved creatures to the PTSA meeting.

3. Project planning for the Science Fair, required for grades 3-5, now is underway. Mr. Creef has set up after-school hours when parents can assist students with their projects. Are you available 3:30-5:45 p.m. Jan. 21-24 or Feb. 6-13? Email Mr. Creef: emmett.creefjr@k12.dc.gov.

Teachers in the younger grades are exploring classroom project ideas. If you’d like to assist, check with your room parent or child’s teacher.

For anyone looking for ideas for science fair projects, Mr. Creef suggested checking out ScienceBuddies.Org.

4. DCPS introduced a new science curriculum called STEMscopes. Mr. Creef gave the curriculum high marks, noting that resources are all online and cover grades Kindergarten through high school. Parents can ask Mr. Creef for their own parent sign-on to explore the curriculum in greater detail.

5. Fourth graders helped to grow endangered orchids as part of a Smithsonian conservation program. The class attempted to grow both Maryland and Florida varieties of orchids. While the Maryland plants did not survive, many of the Florida varieties have successfully grown, and the young plants will be shipped to the Sunshine State to flourish.


On Feb. 3, prepare for a specials shift at Payne. Students who attend the art special each week will switch to drama for the remainder of the year, and vice versa.


Principal Byrd hosts informal chats with parents 9 a.m. on the first Friday of each month. Have some coffee and candid conversation with our school’s top administrator. The next coffee klatch is Feb. 7. Principal Byrd said she also is planning some evening opportunities this school year.


J.O. Wilson will host its annual D.C. Camp Fair 6-8 p.m. Jan. 30. Learn about more than 40 summer camp options. The school is at 660 K St. N.E.


If you haven’t completed the DCPS Panorama survey, please click here. It only takes a few minutes, and DCPS uses the data to inform decision making for professional development, family resources and more. It’s an opportunity to share feedback about your child’s teachers, the administration, DCPS and more.


Some wild(cat) local news this week. A bobcat was caught on a motion camera in Georgetown — a rare sighting in the District. It’s unclear what business the bobcat had in the District, but it probably wasn’t studying for the PARCC test.


Jan. 17-20: No school

Jan. 22: 8-9 p.m., Parents with rising third graders meet. Contact Liz Aloi for details.

Jan. 23: 8-9 p.m., Parents with rising Kindergartners meet. Contact Liz Aloi for details.

Jan. 23: 6 p.m., Eastern High School Open House

Jan. 24: 9 a.m., Volunteer orientation for Reading Rocks. Click here to sign up.

Jan. 27-28: No school

Jan. 29: 4-9 p.m., Nando’s fundraiser, 411 H St. N.E. Tell them you support Payne, and 40 percent of your order will go to the school.

Jan. 30: 6-8 p.m. J.O. Wilson Summer Camp Fair

Feb. 11: 6 p.m. PTSA meeting

Feb. 17-21: No school