Wildcat PTSA News: Grant writing | No U-Turns| Walk to School Day

Thanks to all who attended Tuesday’s PTSA meeting. Payne mom Lexi Smith gave an  overview of several big grants that she and a team of parents are applying for. Bottom line up front: If you’d like to join her crew, no experience in grant writing is needed, and your participation could help secure thousands of dollars for students.

Here’s a quick summary of grants being targeted:

Capitol Hill Community Foundation: $2,500 grants (can earn more than one)

  • What’s the money used for? Anything school-related, from bus trips to school supplies
  • Due: Sept. 30
Target: $700 per class
  • What’s the money used for? Field trip transportation
  • Due: Oct. 1

Walmart: $250-$5,000

  • What’s the money used for? Food or environmental education
  • Due: Dec. 31

Chesapeake Bay Trust: Up to $5,000

  • What’s the money used for? Environmental education
  • Due: Jan. 9

Interested in joining the grant-writing group? Email Lexi Smith.

PTSA President Mark Jordan provided an overview of the PTSA mission at Tuesday’s meeting.

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ILLEGAL U-TURNS AND DOUBLE PARKING

A DC police officer was seen at the intersection of C and 14th streets Thursday morning, checking for illegal U-turns. U-turns near the school have been a concern in the past, especially with heavy pedestrian traffic at drop-off and pickup. The officer said he did pull over one vehicle on Thursday. “No U-Turn” signs were added to intersections near Payne last year.

On Friday, a parking enforcement officer was out front. She was checking to see if drivers were obeying the 15-minute drop-off signs. As 9 a.m. approached, she was planning to ticket any cars still in the school zone. That said, she told the PTSA the biggest problem is with drivers double-parking to drop off students, snarling traffic and creating a danger.

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WALK TO SCHOOL DAY

The Payne community typically shows up in droves for Walk to School Today. Let’s keep the tradition alive Oct. 2. Join teachers, staff, students and parents at Lincoln Park. Teachers should plan to be there by 7:30 a.m. and students and parents by 7:45 a.m., said Dr. Crumb, Payne’s gym teacher, who is coordinating for the school.

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ABSENT OR TARDY?

If your child is out sick or running late, you can notify Payne via a new email address: PayneAttendance@gmail.com. Notes also can be dropped in a brown mailbox in the main office.

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VOLUNTEERS FOR FALL FEST

PTSA Fundraising Chair Kerry DeVooght is looking for help preparing for and hosting the Payne Fall Festival, which will be 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26. This is one of the PTSA’s biggest events of the year, and it takes a small army to pull it off. You can help in a wide range of ways, from recruiting sponsors to hauling pumpkins to making chili.

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MUSIC TO YOUR EARS

This Monday, a trio from the National Symphony Orchestra will perform a free concert at Eastern High School. It will start at 7 p.m. at the main entrance of the school, 1700 E. Capitol St. NE. The event will be outside, weather permitting, so bring a blanket or chair. If it rains, they will perform in the auditorium.

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SPOIL THE GRANDPARENTS FOR A CHANGE

Payne was flooded Thursday with grandpas, grandmas, omas, opas, bubbas and papas in celebration of Grandparents Day. Teachers and staff handed out refreshments for the guests of honor, who also got to visit classrooms. In the picture below, school psychologist Kesha Weeks mingles with the special guests.

IMPORTANT DATES

Sept. 14: DCPS Back to School Block Party, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Roosevelt High School, 4301 13th St. N.W.

Sept. 19: Early Childhood Education Potluck, 5:30 p.m.

Sept. 24-26: Scholastic Book Fair

Sept. 25: Literacy Night, 5 p.m.

Sept. 25: Fourth Grade Potluck, 4:30 p.m.,

Oct. 2: Walk to School Day, 7:45 a.m., Lincoln Park

Oct. 8: PTSA Meeting, 6-7 p.m.

Oct. 11-14: No school

Oct. 26: Fall Festival, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Wildcat PTSA News: Chickens at Payne? | Second Grade Switch | Parking Enforcement

Hello, Payne parents, teachers, staff and supporters.

The year’s first PTSA meeting is 6-7 p.m. Tuesday in the auditorium. Your support and participation is an essential part of Payne’s success. Join us for pizza and meet PTSA leaders and fellow parents to share your questions, concerns and ideas. Child care will be provided.

A bake sale will precede the meeting, at 5:30 p.m. If you’d like to donate baked goods sign up here.

And if you haven’t joined yet, you can sign up here to be a PTSA member.

SOMETHING TO CLUCK ABOUT

Payne is close to enrolling a few feathered friends this year. New science teacher Mr. Doug Creef is seeking a permit to bring 2-6 adult chickens to roost, and he has support from Principal Byrd. Chickens are not unheard of at D.C. schools and are so popular that the Office of the State Superintendent of Education already has extensive guidance on how to make it happen.

“Egg-laying female hens are allowed in the District and are a great way to engage students in the school garden, especially in urban environments like the District of Columbia where many students are disengaged with details pertaining to the food system,” the superintendent’s office said. You can read more here.

A few fun facts:

  • The school would have no roosters, which is good news because they tend to be louder and meaner.
  • There would be no chicks and no threat of future chicks (see the first bullet point). The program allows for full-grown, egg-laying hens.
  • Students aren’t allowed to eat the eggs in school, but they could be allowed to cook with them. Eggs also could be made available to share with families.

Mr. Creef cautions the plan is tentative, but some parents already have offered to help manage the coop, which would be on school grounds, not inside the school.

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VOLUNTEERS NEEDED. One-hour shifts are still available to volunteer at the Scholastic Book Fair during the week of Sept. 23. It’s a fun and easy gig, and a portion of sales will be used to buy books for Payne classrooms. Click here for the sign up sheet.

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SECOND GRADE SWITCH

New this year, the second grade is departmentalized like third through fifth grades.That means students spend half of their day with Ms. Perry learning math and science and the other half with Ms. Hubbard learning English language arts and social studies. Students are assigned to one homeroom, where they spend their morning, then they switch midday.

“Departmentalization allows teachers to focus on two subjects at a time,” Byrd told the PTSA. “Ms. Hubbard is teaching ELA and social studies, while Ms. Perry teachers math and science. Teachers hone their craft and become experts in their content areas. This makes for stronger instruction.”

Byrd said she expects second graders to become better at each subject as a result of the change. So far this year, they are off to a promising start, she said.

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PARKING UPDATE

If you handle drop-offs or pick-ups, you’ve probably seen Dr. Crumb, Payne’s physical education teacher and resident grandmaster in Taekwondo, keeping the front of the school clear of cars. That’s so buses have plenty of space out front.

You can still park on C Street, where new signs specifically designate a “School Parking Zone” from 7-9 a.m. and 3-6:30 p.m. That said, stay out of the area marked by cones and look out for Dr. Crumb directing traffic. Payne has stressed that C St. is for drop-offs only. If you intend to go inside the school, please park on along 14th or 15th. Finally, the school is warning parents to stay out of the parking lot. Unapproved vehicles could be ticketed or towed.

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IMPORTANT DATES

Sept. 10: PTSA Meeting, 6-7 p.m.

Sept. 13: 8 a.m., Fifth Grade Potluck

Sept. 24-26: Book Fair is open

Sept. 25: 5 p.m. Literacy Night

Sept. 25: 4:30 p.m., Fourth Grade Potluck

Oct. 2: Walk to School Day

Oct. 8: PTSA Meeting, 6-7 p.m.

Oct. 11-14: No school

Oct. 26: Fall Festival, stay tuned for more details and how you can help!

Wildcat PTSA News: Q&A With Principal Byrd | Meet the New Staff | Back to School Night

Hello, Payne community. The PTSA would like to welcome new members of this group and welcome back all of you ready for another enriching school year.

Two important events are coming up soon:

Back to School Night. Wednesday, Sept. 4, 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the auditorium. Meet teachers, administrators and other parents. Learn about the curriculum, and bring your questions.

First PTSA Meeting. Tuesday, Sept. 10, 6-7 p.m. in the auditorium. Childcare will be provided, and pizza and refreshments will be served. Learn how the PTSA supports students, teachers and parents, and tell us what your priorities are. Sign up here to be a PTSA member now.

Above, PK4 teacher Ms. Douglas welcomes her new class Wednesday, the first day of school for preschoolers.

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Q&A WITH PRINCIPAL BYRD

Principal Stephanie Byrd is starting her fourth year as Payne’s top administrator. The D.C. native and George Washington University grad sat down with the PTSA to discuss the new drama class, new staff and more ways for parents to get involved. Excerpts from our interview:

Q. For the returning parents, what’s new at Payne?

A. We are excited about our new drama class. Mr. Golden, our music teacher, finished his master’s degree last year at Howard University and moved back home to Cleveland. Instead of bringing on another music teacher, the team decided to do drama.

Q. Why drama?

A. Drama gives kids a new avenue to express themselves. Also, I wanted to give kids an opportunity to learn how to speak up and speak clearly, to remember and memorize text and to engage in text in a different way.

Q. Will it be structured similar to how music was – half the school year?

A. Yes, for everybody, PK3 through 5th grade, it will be a semester of art, a semester of drama.

Q. Are there plans to have a school play?

A. There will be some plays, maybe not huge productions, but small productions and maybe one big production.

Q. What are some of the other staff changes this year?

A. We are bringing on quite a few folks. [See full list below.] At the top we have Ms. Latoya Coleman, who is not new to Payne, but is starting off in a new position as assistant principal.

Ms. Coleman came in four years ago, when I was looking to hire a fifth grade math teacher. As we talked, I could see a lot of leadership potential in her. Instead of bringing her on in the fifth grade math teacher position, I offered her the math coach position, and she was delighted. She was the testing coordinator. She also helped support the rollout of our new technology with the laptops and laptop carts, while still leading the math instruction.

Q.  Is there a lot of student interaction for the assistant principal?

A. Yes. One of the pieces is “school culture and climate,” so usually that’s a euphemism for “bad behavior.” But it’s not here, because we don’t have a lot of bad behavior. But really it’s because of the work that the assistant principal does to make sure we don’t have a lot of problems.

Q. Is there a new math coach?

A. There is not. Instead of having the math coach, I have the manager of specialized instruction.

Q. Can you describe that job?

A. The manager of specialized instruction is going to be responsible for leading our special education team. He will do some coaching of special education teachers and general education teachers around special education.

Q. What kind of message would you like to share with the parents who are new to Payne?

A. Welcome to Payne. We’re sure you’re going to be very happy here. I think we have a lot to offer. We are a very community-focused school. So building community, building relationships with one another is really important to the work we do, and I think that’s comforting. We’re growing in achievement, and we’re getting better and better each year at what we’re doing.

Q. What else is new?

A. Before care. We’ve always had before care, but now we’re working with a new company to provide before care. And there’s space. We have two people who will be overseeing the before care. Mr. Davis is still with us and will still be doing before care. The cost is relatively the same. There are scholarships available. If interested talk to Ms. Oxendine.

We have automated our volunteer signup. If you want to read to kids, if you want to volunteer for the spring carnival, whatever it is, you can volunteer there. We’re making it a requirement that every classroom have at least two room parents.

We are also going to have class potlucks at the beginning of the school year, so we need every parent to start thinking about a delicious dish that they’re going to bring to share with their grade level. Try to arrange for childcare if you can; if not, we’ll try to make some arrangements. But this is an adult thing where parents come in and just meet other parents in the classroom.

Q. Why is it so important for parents to get involved?

A. Children follow the lead of the parent. So if parents are involved, then children know that this is an important place to be, and they do better at school.

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NEW STAFF

As Principal Byrd noted, there are quite a few new faces on the Payne staff this year. Here’s the full list:

  • Jaclyn Barbarino, Drama Teacher
  • Monica Braxton, Primary Behavior Education Support (BES) Teacher
  • Thomas Carter, Custodian
  • Doug Creef, Science Teacher
  • Steven Eskay, Manager of Specialized Instruction
  • Tonya Jones, Third Grade ELA Teacher
  • Patrice Martin, PK3 Educational Aide in Ms. Stokes’ Class
  • Adriana Smith, Behavioral Tech in Primary BES
  • Courtney Thomas, Kindergarten Educational Aide in Ms. Fox’s Class

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BOOK FAIR

The Scholastic Book Fair will be the week of Sept. 23. A portion of sales will benefit Payne. Volunteers are needed to help set up the fair, work the fair and clean up. Click here for the sign up sheet.

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NICE THREADS

Before the school year even began, the PTSA had its first fundraising success, raising more than $450 in an online T-shirt sale. If you had your shirt delivered to Liz Aloi, they will be available to pick up at the first PTSA meeting Sept. 10. If you are unable to attend, contact Liz Aloi.

PTSA fundraising enabled the association to buy coffee and donuts to welcome parents and teachers on the first days of school.

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IMPORTANT DATES

Sept. 2: No school

Sept. 4: Back to School Night, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Sept. 10: PTSA Meeting, 6-7 p.m.

Sept. 12: Grandparents’ Day Celebration

Sept. 13: 8 a.m., Fifth Grade Potluck

Sept. 24-26: Buy books at our Scholastic Book Fair

Sept. 25: 5 p.m. Literacy Night
Sept. 25: 4:30 p.m., Fourth Grade Potluck

Payne T-Shirt Sale! Order Now until August 16th

Get your Wildcat ready for the new school year and purchase Payne t-shirts, hoodies, and water bottles directly online!

Reminder: Payne t-shirts may be worn as part of the school uniform.

A portion of all sales will go to the Payne PTA and will be used to support the school. The Web site to purchase your Payne gear will be live until August 16, so order now at:

https://www.customink.com/fundraising/payne-wildcats

Wildcat PTSA News: Assistant Principal Search | Fundraiser Win | High-Scoring Students

Hello, Wildcats!

ONE WEEK LEFT. But before you hit the beach, the ball field or the snooze button, let’s catch up on what’s happening at Payne Elementary.

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FIFTH GRADERS EXCEL

Ms. Randolph and Mr. Bergfalk reported many of their fifth-grade students have demonstrated exceptional improvements to math and reading scores during iReady testing.

iReady is administered three times a year (September, December and June) and shows what grade level each student is operating on. Many fifth graders have jumped multiple grade levels over the course of the year, and some already are operating on a sixth-grade level. Students Jacore Braxton, Quiron Davis, Sebastian Frederick, Khloe Lovelace, Khloe Wilson, and Grant Opara all scored above the 90th percentiles on a national level in either math or reading.

Grant, age 10, scored in the 99th percentile in reading and 97th in math. He sat down with the PTSA to share his thoughts on Payne, reading, and Super Potato.

Q. What do you like about Payne?

A. I like what it provides, it provides good food, and it has caring teachers.

 

Q. What do you like about reading?

A. It takes me to a different adventure. It’s like my own space to just be myself.

 

Q. What are your favorite books?

A. Mostly novels and comic books like Muhammad Ali vs. Superman, or Super Potato.

 

Q. What is Super Potato?

A. It’s this comic book about a potato that became a superhuman by DNA generation.

 

Q. Any advice you’d have to the younger Payne students?

A. Stay strong, and keep on moving.

 

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NEW ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL NEXT YEAR. Assistant Principal Jason Ward is leaving Payne at the end of this school year, moving back to North Carolina to be closer to family. Principal Byrd said seven candidates were interviewed to fill his vacated position, and the LSAT committee provided input on four finalists. A new assistant principal has been selected, but his or her name won’t be announced until human resources has approved the hire.

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THANKS FOR SHOPPING. The PTSA raised nearly $600 after last Saturday’s fundraiser at East City Bookshop and Mr. Henry’s. Thanks to all those who bought books and dinner, and a special shout-out to Principal Byrd for leading storytime. The Payne Library also received several book donations, which you can see below.

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FIELD TRIPS FUNDED. The PTSA Board unanimously approved spending $1,142 to support two fifth-grade field trips next week. Students will visit the Shenandoah National Park and Luray Caverns in Virginia and also Assateague Island in Maryland where they will not only have fun, but also see how they connect with recent lessons about the New Deal. The school also provided funds to supplement the trip, and parents will make a contribution. Thanks to fifth grade teacher Mr. Bergfalk for organizing the trips.

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MORE IMPORTANT DATES

June 7: Fifth grade promotion, 9:30 a.m.

June 11: PK4 Promotion, 9 a.m.

June 14: Last day of school

Aug. 26: First day of school for Kindergarten through fifth grade

Aug. 29: First day of school for PK3 and PK4

Wildcat PTSA News: Parking Update | Science Fair | PTSA Election Results

Hello, Wildcats.

A keen-eyed Payne mom spotted new parking signs posted on 15th Street, between C and D streets,  designating an area for school drop off (8-9 a.m.) and pick up (3-6 p.m.). Meanwhile, a parking enforcement officer was ticketing again in the area this week.

A view of the new signage:

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JUDGES NEEDED FOR SCIENCE FAIR

It’s crunch time for the Science Fair, and science teacher Ms. Henson needs a dozen volunteers to serve as judges. Do you have a basic understanding of the scientific method? Can you provide positive feedback to our burgeoning Payne brainiacs? That’s great: You qualify!

Judging will take place 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, May 30. The school will provide judging sheets and criteria. You will be invited, but not obligated, to attend the 2:30 p.m. award ceremony that day.

Ms. Henson also needs volunteers to help with a STEM Fair on Wednesday, May 29. Students will be building homemade thermometers, solar ovens and solar cars. She’s also looking for donated pizza boxes to help build solar ovens.

Please email Ms. Henson right away if you can help with any of the above: shanita.henson@dc.gov

Students in Ms. Ferguson’s kindergarten class learn about water displacement in preparation for the science fair.

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PTSA ELECTION RESULTS

The PTSA elected four officers May 21:

  • President: Mark Jordan, parent of a first grader and PK4 student. Mark is the current president and was elected to a new term.
  • Parliamentarian: Michelle Chapman, parent of a Kindergartner and an incoming PK3 wildcat next year, elected to a two-year position.
  • Secretary: Nancy Parris, parent of a third grader, elected to a two-year position.
  • Treasurer: Carolyn Bowen, parent of a first grader and PK4 student. Carolyn is the current secretary and will be the treasurer for one year to complete the term for Aisha Lee, who has served as treasurer this school year.

All four races were uncontested. In a speech before the vote, Mark said one of his priorities for the 2019-2020 school year will be to encourage parent involvement in the school.

From left: Mark, Michelle, Nancy and Carolyn

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FLEA MARKET FUNDRAISER

Payne will host a flea market 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 8 on the tennis and basketball courts to benefit the Story of our Schools project. The school is seeking vendors to sell anything from clothing and baby gear to used books, antiques and crafts. The $40 vendor fee will benefit the project, and 100 percent of sales will go to the vendor. Concessions at the event will benefit Payne. More details are here.

Would you like to reserve a booth? Email Ms. Monich Brown at monich.brown@dc.gov or Ms. Juanita Stokes at juantia.stokes@dc.gov. Know a friend or neighbor who has a small business or side hustle? Please forward this newsletter and let them know tables are available.

The PTSA is considering managing a flea market booth with donated items with 100 percent of proceeds benefiting the project. Is there a volunteer out there who would like to head this initiative? You would lead efforts to collect goods and coordinate other volunteers to help work the booth. Parents had significant interest during this week’s PTSA meeting, so there’d be no shortage of donated items. If this sounds like a project you’d like to be involved with, email tonylombardo1@yahoo.com.

The Story of Our Schools Club at Payne spent the better part of the school year researching Payne history. The Story of Our Schools organization is a non-profit that has designed a museum-quality exhibit for the school’s lobby, informed by the students’ research. Principal Byrd stopped by Tuesday’s PTSA meeting to share photos of Payne students that will be incorporated into the exhibit. Click here to donate to Story of our Schools. The project will cost $30,000, and it is about halfway to reaching the goal.

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BIG THANK YOU

The school community appreciates those who volunteered at and attended the Spring Carnival. The PTSA raised $8,000 to benefit our school. It could not have been done without the tireless work of our volunteers: parents, grandparents, teachers, staff and members of the school community.

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SPRING SHOWCASE. Payne’s Spring Showcase is Friday, May 31. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. for refreshments, a student art gallery and a robotics demonstration. Musical performances will begin at 5 p.m, and all grades will participate. The showcase also will feature a performance from The Howard Gospel Choir of Howard University.

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MORE IMPORTANT DATES

May 27-28: No school

May 30: Science Fair

May 31: Spring Concert

June 3: Picture Day

June 7: Fifth grade promotion

June 14: Last day of school

Wildcat PTSA News: Spring Carnival Tomorrow | Spring Showcase | PTSA Elections

Hello, Wildcats.

SIXTEEN FOOT WATER SLIDE. Now that I have your attention, please join the Payne community tomorrow for Payne’s Spring Carnival. Festivities will take place 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday on the playground. We’ll have games, face painting, a moon bounce, hot dogs, cotton candy and a bake sale. Bid in the silent auction on items including Nationals and D.C. United tickets and summer camp spots. Admission is free, and proceeds from food and select activities will benefit the PTSA. Oh, and there will be a big honkin’ inflatable water slide, so bring your bathing suit and towel.The weather experts are predicting a high of 84 degrees.

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SPRING SHOWCASE

The arts will be in full bloom at Payne’s Spring Showcase, Friday, May 31. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. for refreshments, a student art gallery and a robotics demonstration. Wildcats will be auctioning artwork created in Ms. Harvey’s studio. “Students are recreating famous Hispanic art pieces, with recommended art pieces from [Spanish teacher] Mr. Montes,” said Mr. Golden, Payne’s music teacher. Musical performances will begin at 5 p.m, and all grades will participate.

“Come experience the growth that has taken place in your scholar since the start of the spring term,” Mr. Golden said.

This showcase also will feature a performance from The Howard Gospel Choir of Howard University.

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ANNUAL PTSA MEETING AND ELECTION

Join the PTSA at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 21 in the Auditorium for the annual PTSA Election. If you were a paid PTSA member by April 21, you may run for election and/or vote.

This year we are electing a president, secretary and parliamentarian.

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PAYNE POETRY. Third, fourth and fifth graders have contributed to a new book of poetry, available for purchase on Amazon. This is the second edition of poems available for purchase. Curated by Librarian Tim Gordon, the poems are available for $3.70. Click here to purchase.

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NO MORE PARCCING. Congratulations to the third, fourth and fifth graders for completing their mandatory, annual PARCC. They did a great job, and we are all proud of them!

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OUTSTANDING ASL PERFORMANCE. Payne’s deaf and hard of hearing staff organized “The Sign Finale” on Tuesday to showcase the ASL Club’s work this semester. The performance included poetry, music and a tribute to Payne moms. The Payne community turned out in big numbers for the show, and attendees were treated to solo performances by Payne parents and staff.

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SPIRIT WEEK.

Next week is Spirit Week at Payne.

  • Monday: Dress as your favorite book character or wear positive words on a T-shirt.
  • Tuesday: Wacky hair and hats and mismatched clothes. No uniforms required.
  • Wednesday: Class color day (PK3, light blue; PK4, purple; Kindergarten, green; First, yellow; Second, orange; Third, red; Fourth, navy blue; Fifth, gray)
  • Thursday: Dress like a real wildcat (think leopard, lion, tiger, jaguar, panther)
  • Friday: Professional dress day. Business or job attire (including astronauts, firefighters, scrubs, even scuba suits)

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NATIONALS GAME. DCPS Night at Nats Park is 7:05 p.m. Friday, May 24. Interested in tickets? Contact Ms. Oxendine by the end of the day today: akua.oxendine@dc.gov. Schools have a limited number of tickets. The Nats will take on the Miami Marlins. Stay late for fireworks.

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MORE IMPORTANT DATES

May 21: 6 p.m., Auditorium, PTSA annual meeting and elections

May 27-28: No school

May 29-30: Science Fair

May 31: Spring Concert

June 3: 9 a.m., Picture Day. Order forms were sent home this week

June 7: Fifth grade promotion

June 14: Last day of school

Wildcat PTSA News: Step Up for Spring Carnival | ASL Club | Parking Enforcement

Hello, Wildcats.

The Spring Carnival is coming up fast, and fewer than half of the volunteer slots are filled. Please take a moment and scan the signup sheet here: https://signup.com/go/ThuuiNx. The carnival is 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, May 18 on the playground. In addition to games, face painting and a moon bounce for the kids, there will be hot dogs, cotton candy, a bake sale and a silent auction. Volunteer shifts are short, so you can enjoy the festival, too.

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ASL CLUB PERFORMANCE

Students in Payne’s American Sign Language Club will deliver their closing program, 5-6 p.m. Tuesday in the auditorium. The new club has been rewarding for students this year, and the performance will combine poetry, ASL and pop music by artists Miley Cyrus and Drake.

And here is a photo from the deaf and hard of hearing class’s field trip to Port Discovery in Baltimore. They were joined by some members of the ASL club. “We picked Fort Discovery because it was hands-on,” said DHOH teacher Fareeda Gayle. “It gave us a great opportunity for the ASL club to interact with our deaf and hard of hearing population and have an authentic experience in that learning-slash-fun environment.”

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LIBRARY NIGHT. Last week’s newsletter incorrectly stated the date for Payne Library Night. It’s this Monday, May 13. Explore the library with your child from 4-5:30 p.m., read a book with your child and check one out to take home.

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PARKING ENFORCEMENT

Thanks to Assistant Principal Ward for helping to control traffic outside of Payne on Thursday and Friday.

Three parents have expressed interest in joining a working group to examine the parking situation in front of and around Payne. A recent increase in ticketing has stimulated the discussion. Interested in being part of the solution? Email Tony Lombardo.

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PHOTOS FROM THE WEEK

DCPS students flooded Lincoln Park on Wednesday with bicycles, scooters and smiles for D.C.’s annual Bike to School Day. The Payne contingent did not disappoint. As this photo shows, the school had a strong representation from students, parents and staff.

Payne parents and staff joined other feeder schools Tuesday for Eliot-Hine Basketball Fever, hosted at Eastern High School.

Teachers enjoy lunch Tuesday, provided by the PTSA for Teacher Appreciation Week.

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STORY OF OUR SCHOOLS UPDATE. Story of Our Schools staff already are working on graphics and design for the exhibit, which should be complete in about two weeks. The final crucial hurdle is fundraising for the installation; the exhibit is about one-third funded. If you are interested in either making a donation to support this exhibit (any amount is appreciated) or helping to make socilitications using materials developed by the PTSA and SOOS staff, contact Mark Jordan (president@paynepta.org.) Help make this project a reality!

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LSAT ELECTIONS. Elections for four parent positions on Payne’s Local School Advisory Team (LSAT) will be this month. More information about the nomination process and election dates will be forthcoming.

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SUPPORT GIRLS ON THE RUN. Join a fun 5K race (run or walk) June 2. Girls on the Run is a club for girls in grades 3-5, and they’ve been training for 5K. Girls must participate with an adult, and five runners don’t yet have an adult to run with. Support the club and run with one of the athletes. Sign up by May 20 here and let club manager Monich Brown know you will be joining the girls.

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MORE IMPORTANT DATES

May 2: May LSAT Meeting

May 18: 11 a.m.- 3 p.m., Playground, Spring Carnival

May 21: 6 p.m., Auditorium, PTSA annual meeting and elections

May 27-28: No school

May 29-30: Science Fair

May 31: Spring Concert, More details to come

June 3: Picture Day

June 7: Fifth grade promotion

June 14: Last day of school

Wildcat PTSA News: Meet Ms. Henson | Uniform Clarity | Giving Week

Hello, Wildcats.

The PTSA board voted this week to spend $400 for 330 tree kits to be delivered to every student. The project also received support from ForestPlanet, which chipped in another $500. The non-profit’s mission is to support large-scale reforestation efforts across the globe. The tree kits will be incorporated in Ms. Henson’s science classes.  We remain hopeful the Lorax will one day come back.

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LAST CHANCE FOR GIRL SCOUT COOKIES

If you missed out on this year’s Girl Scout cookie sales, you are in luck. Payne’s Troop 1455 has just a few remaining boxes of Trefoils (the classic shortbread) and Savannah Smiles (a lemon confection). You can purchase Friday morning in the lobby while supplies last, or email Tony Lombardo right now to skip the line and secure your snackage. Price is $4 a box.

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MEET THE TEACHER

When you walk into Shanita Henson’s science classroom, you might be drawn to the aquarium that houses Rachel, Gary and Nigel: three crusty, cricket-loving geckos. The kids love them, but don’t ask Ms. Henson to take them out of the aquarium herself. “I’m more so a mammal type of person,” she said. “I like furry animals.”

In the past four years, her science classroom has also been the home to two guinea pigs and even two ducks. The barnyard fowl will never return.

“I had ducks about two years ago,” she said. “I had a tarp in here. I had a little swimming pool. They start off as little babies, and they were just too big to handle. The kids were, like, terrified.”

Her science curriculum often overlaps across grades but with increasing complexity as the kids get older. Right now, for example, the younger students are learning about animals and their habitats. Second graders are studying the larger concept of ecosystems, and fourth and fifth graders are tackling topics such as animal physiology and conservation.

She sees every class for 45 minutes once a week. She supports science in the kids’ regular classrooms, too. “I think it should be every day. It’s not just a special. It’s a core class, especially when you get to middle school,” said Ms. Henson, who is close to securing her master’s degree in early childhood education.

Ms. Henson got her start at Payne as Ms. Baggett’s aide. She worked in that role for four years, then spent a year each in a middle school and high school before returning to Payne to teach science. She also runs the school’s Robotics Club and is planning Payne’s Science Fair. And she is a Payne mom; her oldest daughter is a second grader at the school.

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JUDGE THE SCIENCE FAIR

Payne’s Energy and Science Fair is May 28 and 29. The first day, students will present their projects to fellow students as an exhibit day in the auditorium. Parents are invited to attend; stay tuned for a more detailed schedule. PK3 through second grade will create group class projects, and third through fifth grade are producing individual projects.

Judging will take place May 29. Would you like to help critique the projects or provide support? Email Ms. Henson at shanita.henson@dc.gov

Students now are creating their projects, and parents are invited to mentor them 3:30-4:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Let Ms. Henson know if you are available. And don’t expect exploding volcanoes or homemade slime. “That’s so recreational,” Ms. Henson said. These kids are digging into deeper science topics. Renewable energy is a key focus this year, the result of a donation from Pepco in funds (at least $500) plus energy lesson plans and kits.

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PARCC TESTING. The third, fourth and fifth grade classes began PARCC testing on Tuesday, and the whole school is cheering them on. Inspirational posters are hanging in the school. Here’s a fun one from Ms. Baggett’s PK3 class:

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BLUE TOP BOMBSHELL

Loyal readers of Principal Byrd’s Payne Posts learned this week that uniforms are here to stay after a survey found that nearly 3 out of 4 parents favor a uniform.

For all those hating on white shirts, good news. Principal Byrd has clarified the uniform policy: Navy and light blue tops are acceptable for all grades, not just the younguns in PK. School t-shirts? Also acceptable.

And you can expect more dress-down days in Payne’s future.

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TEACHER APPRECIATION. The PTSA will provide lunch to teachers next Tuesday as part of Teacher Appreciation Week. We’re looking for volunteers to make “THANK YOU” signs for decoration and also volunteers to help with food delivery and setup around 10 a.m. Tuesday. If you can assist, email Carolyn Bowen.

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CARNIVAL VOLUNTEERS. The parents who are organizing the spring carnival still are looking for helpers to make hot dogs, run the sno cone machines and more at the Spring Carnival, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 18. Sign up here: https://signup.com/go/ThuuiNx. Parent  Kerry DeVooght can answer questions.

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GIVING WEEK

It’s Capitol Hill Giving Week from May 4-12, and local business are donating portions of their sales to the school of your choice, so remember to designate Payne as your school when you make a purchase. Participating businesses include:

  • Hill’s Kitchen, the home kitchen supply shop, will donate 15 percent of your purchase toward Payne.
  • Summit to Soul, a fitness apparel shop, will also donate 15 percent to Payne.
  • DCanter wine shop will donate 10 percent of its sales to the nonprofit organization Byte Back.

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BOOKS. CHECK ’EM OUT. Monday is Payne Library Night. Explore the library with your child from 4-5:30 p.m., read a book with your child and check one out to take home.

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MORE IMPORTANT DATES

May 2: May LSAT Meeting

May 6-10: Teacher Appreciation Week

May 8: 7:30 a.m., Lincoln Park, Bike to School Day

May 9: 5:30 p.m., Eliot-Hine Middle School, Basketball Fever and Fundraiser

May 18: 11 a.m.- 3 p.m., Playground, Spring Carnival

May 21: 6 p.m., Auditorium, PTSA annual meeting and elections

May 27-28: No school

June 3: Picture Day

June 7: Fifth grade promotion

June 14: Last day of school