LSAT Meeting Minutes – April 2021


As a reminder, Principal Byrd challenged us to assist in two separate areas: 

1. Build Payne’s community, in part by addressing the challenge of gentrification and with an eye to ensuring that all members feel included/supported. 

2. Help Payne overcome its technology challenges. 

OK, let’s get started. Below is a UPDATED list of the ideas and initiatives we discussed and possible next steps. 

1. Challenge: Assist in Ensuring a Safe Reopening as the Payne Reopening Community Corps- Mr. Eskay (Principal Byrd’s delegate for this meeting)  described that Payne currently has 125 in-person students for Term 4. He also reported that only five families who wanted to transition to in-person learning did not have their needs met in the most recent round of calls from Payne. LSAT parents had questions on this because of anecdotal instances of numerous other parents who wanted to bring their kids back but had not been called. During subsequent emails, Mr. Eskay made clear that parents who previously said no to in person learning were recontacted for Term 4 but only in accordance with the number of available in-person spots. 

Possible Next Steps:  In addition to posting these readouts, the LSAT could help communicate the process for calling students back for in-person learning. 

Action:  Principal Byrd/Mr. Eskay–welcome your thoughts on how best to clear up potential misconceptions regarding the availability of in-person learning. 

2. Challenge: Recruitment and Retention. LSAT members discussed with Mr. Eskay getting a list of parents who are matched with Payne in the lottery so that we could focus on informing them regarding Payne. 

Possible Next Steps: In person/outdoor recruitment/retention events for these parents in the next few weeks. Better to have masked/outdoor events than one more zoom call.  

Action: Liz Aloi volunteered to work with Ms. Mobley-Cox and Ms. Brown to get the list of prospective parents and then advertise an event for early May for these parents. We could use more volunteers here to coordinate other events. Mr. Creef described an outdoor science event he is planning for the same timeframe and all agreed that would be another good event for these parents to attend. LSAT will need to work with Principal Byrd/Mr. Eskay to advertise these events in an inclusive manner via Blackboard text/email.  

3. Challenge: Communication During COVID. LSAT members referenced the recent PTA meeting and part of our budget meeting where discussion centered around communication between the school and parents and how all our inboxes are slammed. 

Possible Next Steps: There was agreement that making these LSAT notes public, in addition to Principal Byrd’s more recent zoom calls and the improved Payne Post format/content could help make parents feel more connected to Payne during the pandemic. There was general agreement that the POC chart that Liz Aloi put together was another step in the right direction

Action: Principal Byrd/Mr. Eskay- please have a look at these notes in the next few days and let me know if you have any adjustments before i send to the Payne community and post on the Payne PTA website. Principal Byrd/Mr. Eskay/Liz–can we include the POC chart as a standard addition to the Payne Post and post it other places like the PTA website, etc…? 

4. Challenge: Address gentrification to build school community

Possible Next Steps:  Chris Tissue provided a summary of the Payne Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) group’s various initiatives. These include AM announcements where kids include an interesting fact about another culture, book clubs with kids centered on DEI topics, and being more intentional about advertising PTA and LSAT elections via multiple modes of communication and by word of mouth to ensure diverse parent leadership. Another idea surfaced on big brother/big sister programs, possibly around reading help or other useful mentoring opportunities.

Action: All:  PTA President Deidre Duffy, Ms. Bannister, and Becky Bell raised their hands to work on what a big brother/big sister program at Payne might look like. Payne’s DEI group will continue to report back to the LSAT on activities and for more ideas. Others are welcome to join. Please contact Chris Tissue from our LSAT at 

5. Challenge: Find community representatives to provide advice and support.  LB and Robyn from NRG which runs “The Roost”  on Penn Ave and 15th SE– are willing to work with Payne. 

Possible Next Steps: Liz Aloi has stepped up to be our representative to the NRG. She’ll help them figure out a “Payne day” fundraiser and ensure that we are spreading the word about their generosity in our community. 

Action All: Please think about other local businesses we could partner with. Ms. Bannister (and others)– I will send the form letter I promised you for reaching out to other businesses separately. 

6. Challenge: DCPS computers are not working for Teachers. Thanks to Ms. Randolph we know that teachers are using 2-3 devices and more often those are problematic personal devices. We have recruited an “IT Squad” of 4 dads who are willing to help right away. 

Possible Next Steps:  The IT Squad is still willing to help teachers. Let’s please keep spreading the word. Any teacher who is having IT problems you can email them at and one of the dads will contact them. 

Action:  Principal Byrd/AP Coleman/Teachers–Please continue to encourage your fellow Payne Staff to take up the IT Squad on their offer and let’s think of what else we might do to help. 

Payne Wildcat News: Next PTSA Meeting | Points of Contact | Free Lacrosse

Hello, Payne community.

Welcome back from break, and welcome to Term 4!



The PTSA’s next virtual meeting is 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 4. We’ll be discussing next school year, and we’ll get a visit from Payne’s Student Government. We’ll send out a Zoom link closer to the day. 



Have a question but you’re unsure which Payne staff member to contact? The LSAT (Local School Advisory Team) and Principal Byrd have compiled a helpful list of points of contact, and it’s attached to this email. 



If you just can’t wait until Aug. 30, 2021, when Payne and DCPS are 100 percent back in person, enjoy this Payne Countdown Calendar. It’s not too early to get excited. 



Winners Lacrosse is hosting a free program for kids ages 6-14. “Your child will become a pro at ball handling, scooping, shooting, and so much more!” the website says. Winners Lacrosse has added a new program, starting April 24 in Tacoma. Click here to sign up and learn more.



Remember to please make your PTSA membership official and sign up: 

The $15 annual dues can be paid via PayPal. If you are unable to pay dues, the PTSA will still accept membership. Please remember you must be a member for 30 days to vote at the annual meeting (early June timeframe). 


Unsure if you paid already this year? You can email Michelle Chapman to find out.

You also can write a check payable to Payne PTSA. It can be mailed or dropped off at the school, 1445 C St. S.E., Washington, D.C. 20003.



May 3-9: East City Bookshop Payne Fundraiser. Buy books online, and 20 percent of sales will benefit Payne. We’ll distribute a special link to make sure Payne gets book-buying credit. 

May 31: Memorial Day, no school

Aug. 30: DCPS is fully reopened

Payne Wildcat News: Chat with the Principal | PTSA Update | Problem-Solving Math Grant

Hello, Payne community. 

Principal Byrd is hosting a “Coffee with the Principal” meeting at 5 p.m. Friday. A Teams link will be posted on Canvas. The topic is “The future of Payne,” so don’t miss this important opportunity. 



A gentle reminder to please make your Payne PTSA membership official and sign up: 

The $15 annual dues can be paid via PayPal. If you are unable to pay dues, the PTSA will still accept membership.


You also can write a check payable to Payne PTSA. It can be mailed or dropped off at the school, 1445 C St. S.E., Washington, D.C. 20003.

Annual meeting update: The PTSA will be hosting its annual meeting before this school year ends, and it will once again be virtual. While we typically vote on new officers at this meeting, the PTSA Board is considering a potential amendment to our bylaws to delay the officers vote until the fall when school operations could be back to normal and participation is expected to be higher. 

Note: Only members will be eligible to vote in May, and only members can run for a seat on the board. 

Once again, a sincere THANK YOU to the Payne community for attending our virtual meetings this past year and continuing to support the PTSA and Payne. Please consider running for a board position for the upcoming school year. 



The PTSA applied for a $1,600 grant through the Capitol Hill Community Foundation to fund new professional development for Payne math teachers. The funds will cover problem-based math seminars taught by the Two Rivers Learning Institute. Problem-based tasks are exploratory math lessons built around a single compelling problem. Students are given time to collaborate and are encouraged to think creatively and independently. They come up with solutions to share with the group that are then challenged and debriefed with the teacher serving as a guide instead of an all-knowing answer key. Ultimately, the goal is to teach students a deep conceptual understanding of math while building their math reasoning skillset.

Mr. Steven Eskay, Payne’s manager of specialized education, recommended the workshops, noting the technique helps improve student scores on PARCC. If Payne receives the full grant, $1,600 will cover four sessions. 



Has your family completed the Panorama Surveys? Originally due in March, the survey still is open to encourage more participation. Survey data can influence principals and school teams to improve school climate and social emotional learning. Click here for the Panorama survey.

And if you missed Payne’s Summer Academy survey: Take this one, too



Payne staffers are dressing the school building in pink to celebrate cherry blossoms. Would you like to help decorate? Email Kindergarten teacher Ms. Fox,, or art teacher Ms. Harvey,



April 2: Open enrollment begins and lottery results are released. 

April 5: 5 p.m., Third Grade Parent Meeting 

April 12-16: Spring break, no school

May 3-9: East City Bookshop Payne Fundraiser. Buy books online, and 20 percent of sales will benefit Payne. We’ll distribute a special link to make sure Payne gets book-buying credit. 

May 31: Memorial Day, no school