LSAT Meeting Minutes – May 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: How to spend additional American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding: LSAT heard from Principal Byrd’s delegate for the meeting, Mr. Eskay, that the pre-COVID vision for Payne involved increased focus on project-based tasks, math/science, and mining staff interests for use in the classroom (school newspaper, etc…). Mr. Eskay described that focus on these areas is still possible but there will also need to be time for remediation to catch kids up after COVID. LSAT also heard that Mr. Eskay and Principal Byrd have not yet heard details on the amount or specifications for the ARP funding. LSAT had a healthy discussion on the utility of spending more money on social/emotional support vs. academics post pandemic. Some teachers observed that the kids have shown resilience since back in school. 

Possible Next Steps:  LSAT agreed that a simple survey of the community’s preferences for how to spend the additional funding would be a good idea. 

Action:  Becky Bell, Liz Aloi, Mr. Gordon and I provided input which Mr. Eskay endorsed. Survey and email are ready to be sent. 

2. Challenge: Recruitment and Retention. LSAT members got a readout from Liz Aloi who organized a successful event at the RFK Fields where Payne LSAT and volunteers spoke to numerous families that are matched with Payne. Mr. Creef and another volunteer organized a subsequent event though there was less traffic for that one, perhaps because of shorter notice. 

Possible Next Steps:  LSAT could consider organizing one more event before the end of the year, perhaps early June? 

Action:  Mr. Creef described an outdoor science event he is planning to do, could that be on a Saturday and double as a recruitment/retention event?

3. Challenge: Communication During COVID. LSAT members briefly touched on previous discussions 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. 

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. Good to hear that Ms. Bannister will play a central role in Payne’s DEI efforts for next year. DEI group has had some success in finding a more diverse group of parents to join PTA and consider running for PTA and/or. 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: LSAT Organization for Next Year. LSAT members discussed timing of next LSAT elections and considered 2 year terms. 

Possible Next Steps: LSAT members approved postponing LSAT elections to the Fall (same as PTA) to take advantage of parent excitement regarding return to school/in person learning. LSAT members considered merits of making two year LSAT terms noting that it would be great for consistency and an even more experienced LSAT cadre, though there may be some risk in not finding enough volunteers. 

Action: Further consider the merits of 2-year terms, perhaps for Payne staff as well and chime in with your thoughts. 

6. 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: Bekcy Bell is willing to assist Liz Aloi in contacting NRG about a “Payne day” fundraiser and to ensure that we are spreading the word about their generosity in our community (PTA newsletter). 

Action All: Please think about other local businesses we could partner with. Safeway? 

7. 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/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: Nando’s Fundraiser | DCPS Survey | Outdoor Fun

Hello, Payne Wildcats.

This Wednesday is Nando’s Night for Payne. From 4-8 p.m., the restaurant will donate 40 percent of purchases to the school. This is the Nando’s PERi-PERi location at 300 Tingey Street S.E. at The Yards. Please mention you are there for Payne Night when you order. This location has loads of outdoor seating. 


PTSA MEETING. The PTSA Annual meeting will be on Zoom at 6 p.m. June 8. We will be voting on PTSA bylaws that would enable the PTSA to postpone officer elections until the fall. Only PTSA members are eligible to vote, but all are welcome to attend.



D.C. Public Schools announced it will receive $191 million in the American Rescue Plan Act’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds. This federal investment will support the full reopening of schools for in-person learning in the fall.

So, how should DCPS spend this money? For example, would you rather DCPS invest in COVID-19 health, academic interventions, school tech, social emotional learning, professional development or student attendance/engagement?

Officials would like to hear from you. Please click here and complete this survey by Friday, May 28



Outdoor activities have been on full display with the arrival of warm weather. Here are some picks from the past week: 

Mr. Creef teaches science at the main entrance. Anybody else’s kid bring home an interesting ball of mystery glue-goo?

Field day was outstanding, and Señor Montes’ puppy Luca received VIP status. 

Payne’s Girl Scout Troop 1455 held an ice cream social in the outdoor classroom. 



Monday, May 24: 6 p.m., First Grade Parent Meeting with Principal Byrd

Wednesday, May 26: 4-8 p.m., Nando’s Fundraiser at 300 Tingey St. S.E., The Yards

May 31: Memorial Day, no school

June 7: 6 p.m., Kindergarten Parent Meeting with Principal Byrd

June 8: 6 p.m., virtual PTSA meeting

June 24: Last day of school

Aug. 30: DCPS is fully reopened. Get hype: Payne Countdown Calendar.

Payne Wildcat News: PTSA Meeting | Spirit Week | Fundraisers | Bike to School

Hello, Payne Wildcats.

The next PTSA meeting is 6 p.m., Tuesday. Mr. Eskay will talk about the Payne Summer Academy. We’ll also have teachers available to field questions about the upcoming school year. And we’ll hear from Payne’s team of social workers and student government leaders. 



A special Spirit Week will commence on Monday in conjunction with Teacher Appreciation Week, May 3-9. Here are the themes. See the attached flier for more info.

Monday:  Dress Like a Teacher

Tuesday: Express Yourself: Wear a positive message

Wednesday: Show Your Love: Share your appreciation for the teachers in your life 

Thursday: College Day

Thursday bonus: May 6 is the start of Nurses Week; thank Payne’s team of nurses

Friday: Vaycay Day: Wear straw hats, wide brim hats and shades 



The PTSA will be holding the annual meeting in early June, and this will be an important one with a potential vote on bylaws changes that would enable us to postpone officer elections until the fall, when we can (fingers crossed) meet in person again. 

To vote, you need to be on the PTSA’s membership roster 30 days before the annual meeting, so please sign up now. Paying dues is not necessary, but please go to this link and sign up. If you signed up in past school years, but not this one, please sign up again; it’s an annual requirement.

Want to know more about PTSA bylaws? Email Parliamentarian Michelle Chapman.



Payne’s Bookfair through East City Bookshop kicks off Monday and runs through Sunday. During this period, 20 percent of your purchase will benefit the school. Please remember to mention Payne’s fundraiser at checkout. 

This week you can shop:

● In person at the store during regular business hours: Wednesday through Friday, 1-6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday noon-6 p.m. 

● By phone: 202-290-1636, between 1-6 p.m. to speak with a bookseller 

● Via email:, anytime May 3-9 

● Online using the Payne Book Fair coupon/link to our school’s book fair webpage on the

store website. (Link will be available May 3-9.)



Loyal readers of the PTSA newsletter know we are part of a select group of schools participating in the Honored School program, which provides a platform to showcase and celebrate our outstanding teachers. If you haven’t submitted any kudos this year, now is the time … because you are almost out of time. 

Go to to send a positive message to a teacher and keep in mind the following:

● Every person who recognizes a teacher through during Teacher Appreciation Week will be entered to win a $100 Amazon gift card. There will be one winner per school.

● Every time a teacher is recognized at, they are entered to win the Honored Schools Life-Changing Teacher Award and $5,000, and the school will win a $250 gift certificate to First Book.

● May 7 is the final day Honored Schools will accept recognition stories for consideration for the award. A winner will be announced June 7. 



Payne is participating in Bike To School Day, 7:45 a.m.-8:15 a.m. Wednesday at Lincoln Park. Please wear a mask and school year and maintain social distance. The event is using the hashtag #GoodTroubleRide. Another highlight: You can sing along to a violinist’s rendition of “Old Town Ride.” I’m intrigued. Learn more at this link



The Nando’s PERi-PERi Yards location will be hosting a Payne Fundraiser 4-8 p.m. Wednesday, May 26. During this time, 40 percent of purchases from Payne supporters will benefit the school. The restaurant is at 300 Tingey Street S.E. 



A reminder for teachers: Early this year, the PTSA approved classroom funds for each teacher. Many teachers have not taken advantage of the funds. If you are unsure, please check with a PTSA board member.  



A special thanks to all the Payne parents who coordinated and attended Saturday’s meet-up at RFK Field. It was a strong showing for our school community, and a lot of incoming Wildcats were excited to start the new year at Payne. 



May 3-9: East City Bookshop Payne Fundraiser 

May 26: 4-8 p.m., Nado’s Fundraiser at 300 Tingey St. S.E., The Yards

May 31: Memorial Day, no school

June 24: Last day of school

Aug. 30: DCPS is fully reopened. Get hype: Payne Countdown Calendar.