Wildcat PTSA News: Health Curriculum | Meet Ms. Coan | Library Update

Kicking it off with an important correction to a flier that went home with some students this week: The dates were wrong for upcoming Day in the Life meetings. They will not be next week. Instead, they will be pushed back to the week of March 9-13. The meetings are designed for parents to meet the teachers in your child’s next grade level.

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LIBRARIAN REMAINS FULL TIME

You may have seen reports that DCPS will allow schools to request that money intended for librarians be used for other purposes. You also may have seen a petition to keep librarians that is being circulated. Principal Byrd told the PTSA she has no plans to eliminate the librarian position at Payne: “The librarian position at Payne will remain full time for school year 20-21.”

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PTSA MEETING AND MATH

The next PTSA meeting is 6 p.m. March 10. We’ll be joined by a mathematics education leader in our area, Lisa Suben Ramish, who will give parents ideas for helping their children in math. Lisa has 17 years of experience teaching students at every level how to love math and excel at it. As a parent herself, she knows we are all strapped for time. Lisa will bring some excitement and enthusiasm for small ways to do math as a family, especially as the students get ready to take the PARCC. Her presentation is focused on third through fifth grades but will offer takeaways for all parents in attendance. The PTSA will sponsor a second workshop focusing on Kindergarten through second grades later this spring.

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HEALTH AND PHYS ED

You may have heard that Dr. Crumb’s weekly gym class has morphed into a health lesson in the classroom. The health curriculum has been scheduled during the winter months, when play time outside is limited.

Some parents have expressed concern the health classes are limiting recess time for students. Principal Byrd provided this feedback: “Students are required to receive PE and Health education. Dr. Crumb has scheduled the health education portion of PE during the 2nd and 3rd quarter, which are the months when we have the most inclement weather. This has been done to maximize outdoor time. Depending on the content taught, a video may accompany instruction.”

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MEET MS. COAN

Alexandria Coan is Payne’s new manager of strategy and logistics. The St. Louis native started the job Feb. 14 and is enjoying her first full week with students in the classrooms. She’s been in D.C. for the past decade and earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland College Park and her masters degree from the University of Southern California. She likes working with students, staff, and families and also working behind the scenes to keep school operations running smoothly. She sat down with the PTSA this week to share more insights about her career and her new gig.

Q: How is the job going?

A: It’s actually going quite well. Everyone has been very welcoming. I can feel the family and the cohesiveness of everyone, so I’m excited to get to know everyone a little better and help keep everything running smoothly.

Q: Where are you coming from?

A: I am coming from the charter world. I was a social worker and a special education coordinator [at Kingsman Academy, which is a middle school, high school, and alternative school for over-age and under-credit students on Capitol Hill]. Before that I worked at DCPS central office doing special education compliance and parent and student and third-party complaints. At central office, I worked with all of the schools. I was in charge of 113 schools at the time [as a grievance coordinator]. Any time a parent or a student or a third party felt like things weren’t being handled fairly, they would come and talk to us. I would help resolve it with the school and the parent so that everyone could be on one page again.

Q: What about this Payne job appealed to you?

A: Working in the grievances, a lot of the grievances came from how things are run at the school. So I got to learn a lot about how schools should be run. So, I was like, let me just do it without having to do all 113 schools. Let me just focus on one school. (Laughs.) So, that is what got me interested. Also, I like working with students directly, but I also like seeing the behind-the-scenes. The safety of the students is important to me, making sure that our teachers have everything is important to me. I like to be the person who just makes sure that everything is taken care of, and everyone else can get the glory and the pictures, but I want to make sure everything is done right.

Q: What are the goals you’ve set so far?

A: I’ve been working towards trying to make sure that Payne can operate as it has been … and even better. So, making sure our students are going to field trips, making sure staff have everything they need so that our students are getting the academics and instructional learning. For my goals, I still want to increase our enrollment. I want to make sure that we are increasing our student knowledge. So, giving them access to everything. If I need to try to argue that we need more computers or more programs, that’s my goal.

Q: Are there things parents can do to help you out as you start here at Payne?

A: You guys can email me if you have any questions or concerns, my door is always open.

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PAYNE IS NOT EARLY ACTION

Residents received fliers in the mail saying Payne will be an Early Action school for the 2020-2021 year. The flyer is incorrect. Payne will not be an Early Action school, which means PK3 and PK4 spots are not guaranteed for in-boundary students. The deadline for the DCPS lottery is March 2. Read more here. If your child is in PK3 this year, you will not have to re-lottery for PK4. You will however have to submit re-enrollment papers in the spring.

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VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

  • Read to Kids. If you are interested in reading to a classroom for Multicultural Reads Day on March 2, email Ms. Turner, tiffani.turner@k12.dc.gov, by Friday.
  • Judge the Science Fair. Science teacher Mr. Creef is looking for science-minded parents and community members to judge projects 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 24. Organizations related to science, the environment, and sustainability are needed 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 25. Email emmett.creefjr@k12.dc.gov.
  • Run Black History Month Stations: Payne still is looking for volunteers to run stations for the Black History Month event this Friday. There are chances to volunteer throughout the school day. Let the front office know if you can participate.
  • Move Dirt. After drop off Monday, parents are needed to move dirt, sand and pebbles to get ready for spring plantings.

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STUDENT SURVEY

Students in third through fifth grades will be taking the DCPS Panorama Survey. The survey will ask students about their school satisfaction, engagement and more. Parents have the option to decline their child’s participation. Read more about the surveys here: Panorama Survey.

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STEP AFRIKA! STOPS BY

Step Afrika! on Wednesday gave an assembly for Kindergarten through fifth grade students. Founded in 1994, Step Afrika! is the world’s first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping — a percussive dance practiced by historically African American fraternities and sororities. The company gave a performance that integrated song, storytelling, humor, and audience participation. The performers said step is one of the many exciting experiences students can look forward to enjoying in college, and students had a chance to ask questions.

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IMPORTANT DATES

Friday: Deadline to turn in coins for the Pennies for Patients campaign to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Fundraising totals will be available next week.

Feb. 28: Black History Month Celebration

March 10: 6 p.m., PTSA meeting

March 20: No school

March 24: 9 a.m.-1 p.m., first day of the Science and Energy Fair

March 25: 11 a.m.-1 p.m., open house for parents at the Science and Energy Fair