Payne Wildcat News: Literacy Night | Grant Awards | EdFEST

Hello, Payne community. 

Don’t forget, Literacy Night will be 4:30-5:30 p.m. today on Zoom. Kids will be broken out into two groups by age, and the meetings will be packed with activities. 

PK3-Second Grade: Meeting ID: 879-4863-8532, password: wildcats

Games: Alphabet Bingo, Scavenger Hunt, Rhyme Time, Storytime and Mickey Mouse Hidden Alphabet Coding

Third-Fifth Grades: Meeting ID: 942-1828-3800, password: funfun

    Games: CultureTags, Narrative Scavenger Hunt and coding games



Despite an influx of Capitol Hill Community Foundation applications this year, Payne succeeded in gaining funds for all three of our requests. Our recently announced grant awards include:

  • $1,000 for food assistance for Payne families.
  • $2,000 for clear masks for the deaf and hard of hearing classes and staff, which will be used when in-person instruction resumes.
  • $1,250 for reading materials to include diverse books for the library and books for fourth and fifth grades.  



Virtual school has made it tougher for students to kick back and laugh with their friends. What’s Up Wednesdays is a new opportunity for kids to gather and just have fun. Every Wednesday at 1 p.m., Payne is hosting a social gathering, accessible via the What’s Up Wednesday Meeting Room in Teams. The link is on your classroom’s Canvas page. 

Several Payne staff are leading these gatherings, including Ms. Keaney, Mr. Workman, Ms. Weeks and Ms. Lestino, plus two high school interns. Adults will facilitate activities for some structure, but kids have a chance to chat and make new friends. Last week, Ms. Keaney said activities included Would You Rather, Pictionary and Freeze Dance. 

“It was fun, and I think the kids got a kick out of it!” Ms. Keaney said. 



A new grassroots organization formed to support residents of the D.C. Jail would like some help sharing holiday greetings. 

Neighbors for Justice was founded this year by neighbors who live a few blocks from the D.C. Jail, including a number of Payne parents. They want to support those at the jail during the pandemic and beyond. Payne parent Laura Forsythe, a founder of the group, is asking if Payne Wildcats and parents could send virtual letters via this link on their website.

The 1,400 men and women at the jail have been on medical lockdown for more than eight months due to Covid, meaning they are in their cells for 23 hours per day with no visitors, Laura wrote in a message to the PTSA. “Consider writing a friendly note of encouragement to let residents at the jail know we are thinking of them this holiday season. Ask your children to draw a picture to share,” she said.

Learn more here to sign up to participate and see guidance and sample letters.



EdFEST, DC’s citywide public school fair is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday via the virtual platform Accelevents. This marks the first time the event has gone digital-only. Learn about DCPS schools, the lottery system and chat one-on-one with officials and parents from schools across the city. 

Want to help promote Payne and answer questions? Volunteers are needed for half-hour shifts. Contact Payne Clerk Monich Brown:



We are wrapping up the soccer and dance enrichment programs for the fall and are starting to brainstorm options for fun enrichment activities for the coming months. We are exploring both ongoing and one-time activities. If you (or someone you know) has an activity you would like to do with a group of kids virtually after school, please email

Ideas could include: season or holiday-related craft projects, yoga, simple cooking activities, chess and other board game introductions.



Still on the hunt for a fun holiday gift? Labyrinth Games & Puzzles on the Hill has launched a “Gift Assist” program via its website. Answer a few questions about the gift recipient, and the gaming gurus at Labyrinth will provide several recommendations. Speaking from experience, they really make the time and effort to personalize each request. 



4:30 p.m. today: Virtual Literacy Night

Dec. 23-Jan. 1: No school

Jan. 18-20: No school

Jan. 29: No school