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.