Wildcat PTSA News: Coronavirus Lesson | Math Boot Camp | Day in the Life

Our next PTSA meeting is 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 10. This is a special meeting with a “Math Strategies Boot Camp for Parents” targeting grades three through five. A math camp aimed at parents of kids in Kindergarten through second grade will be scheduled for the spring, but all are welcome to both sessions. Dinner and childcare will be provided.



Has your child come home this week dropping truth bombs about the coronavirus? If so, you can thank Mr. Doug “Mythbusting” Creef, who has incorporated flu and coronavirus lessons in his science class.

Mr. Creef told the PTSA he’s heard a couple of wild rumors from kids at Payne. For example, one student believed you could only catch it on an airplane. Plenty others have heard their parents talking about it at home. “So many kids and adults are talking about the virus, and all are stating untrue facts,” Mr. Creef said.

To help, Mr. Creef went to the CDC and World Health Organization for kid-friendly videos. Younger kids have been learning about viruses from the Magic School Bus, and older kids are watching Bill Nye.



Day in the Life meetings are scheduled for next week to learn about your child’s next school year. To accommodate a second-grade field trip, fourth grade moved to Wednesday and second and third grades moved to Thursday.



Reading Partners is looking for more volunteers to work one-on-one with students who are behind in reading. The program benefits students in Kindergarten through fourth grades. No previous tutoring experience is required, and Reading Partners will train you. Volunteers commit to the same schedule each week (one hour a week) and will work with the same student each time. There are immediate openings during the following times:

  • 10-10:45 a.m. Wednesday
  • 1:45-2:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday
  • 2:30-3:15 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday

If you are interested, please email Erika, the community engagement manager, at erika.brosnihan@readingpartners.org or call 202-710-9110.



We learned this week that Payne is receiving nearly $5,000 in grant money from the Chesapeake Bay Trust. The funds will be used for outdoor field trips as well as new garden boxes at the school. The trust provides funds to schools for raising awareness about the health of the waters and lands in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The trust is supported in part by purchases of Treasure the Chesapeake license plates. If you’re interested in helping to coordinate an outdoor field trip, email Carolyn Bowen.



March 10: 6 p.m., PTSA meeting

March 20: No school

March 24: 9 a.m.-1 p.m., first day of the Science and Energy Fair

March 25: 11 a.m.-1 p.m., open house for parents at the Science and Energy Fair

March 27: My School DC Lottery matches released; enrollment packets available for school year 2020-2021

April 8: No school

April 13-17: No school

April 25: 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Eliot-Hine 2020 Basketball Fever Feeder FUNdraiser at Eastern High School

Wildcat PTSA News: Health Curriculum | Meet Ms. Coan | Library Update

Kicking it off with an important correction to a flier that went home with some students this week: The dates were wrong for upcoming Day in the Life meetings. They will not be next week. Instead, they will be pushed back to the week of March 9-13. The meetings are designed for parents to meet the teachers in your child’s next grade level.



You may have seen reports that DCPS will allow schools to request that money intended for librarians be used for other purposes. You also may have seen a petition to keep librarians that is being circulated. Principal Byrd told the PTSA she has no plans to eliminate the librarian position at Payne: “The librarian position at Payne will remain full time for school year 20-21.”



The next PTSA meeting is 6 p.m. March 10. We’ll be joined by a mathematics education leader in our area, Lisa Suben Ramish, who will give parents ideas for helping their children in math. Lisa has 17 years of experience teaching students at every level how to love math and excel at it. As a parent herself, she knows we are all strapped for time. Lisa will bring some excitement and enthusiasm for small ways to do math as a family, especially as the students get ready to take the PARCC. Her presentation is focused on third through fifth grades but will offer takeaways for all parents in attendance. The PTSA will sponsor a second workshop focusing on Kindergarten through second grades later this spring.



You may have heard that Dr. Crumb’s weekly gym class has morphed into a health lesson in the classroom. The health curriculum has been scheduled during the winter months, when play time outside is limited.

Some parents have expressed concern the health classes are limiting recess time for students. Principal Byrd provided this feedback: “Students are required to receive PE and Health education. Dr. Crumb has scheduled the health education portion of PE during the 2nd and 3rd quarter, which are the months when we have the most inclement weather. This has been done to maximize outdoor time. Depending on the content taught, a video may accompany instruction.”



Alexandria Coan is Payne’s new manager of strategy and logistics. The St. Louis native started the job Feb. 14 and is enjoying her first full week with students in the classrooms. She’s been in D.C. for the past decade and earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland College Park and her masters degree from the University of Southern California. She likes working with students, staff, and families and also working behind the scenes to keep school operations running smoothly. She sat down with the PTSA this week to share more insights about her career and her new gig.

Q: How is the job going?

A: It’s actually going quite well. Everyone has been very welcoming. I can feel the family and the cohesiveness of everyone, so I’m excited to get to know everyone a little better and help keep everything running smoothly.

Q: Where are you coming from?

A: I am coming from the charter world. I was a social worker and a special education coordinator [at Kingsman Academy, which is a middle school, high school, and alternative school for over-age and under-credit students on Capitol Hill]. Before that I worked at DCPS central office doing special education compliance and parent and student and third-party complaints. At central office, I worked with all of the schools. I was in charge of 113 schools at the time [as a grievance coordinator]. Any time a parent or a student or a third party felt like things weren’t being handled fairly, they would come and talk to us. I would help resolve it with the school and the parent so that everyone could be on one page again.

Q: What about this Payne job appealed to you?

A: Working in the grievances, a lot of the grievances came from how things are run at the school. So I got to learn a lot about how schools should be run. So, I was like, let me just do it without having to do all 113 schools. Let me just focus on one school. (Laughs.) So, that is what got me interested. Also, I like working with students directly, but I also like seeing the behind-the-scenes. The safety of the students is important to me, making sure that our teachers have everything is important to me. I like to be the person who just makes sure that everything is taken care of, and everyone else can get the glory and the pictures, but I want to make sure everything is done right.

Q: What are the goals you’ve set so far?

A: I’ve been working towards trying to make sure that Payne can operate as it has been … and even better. So, making sure our students are going to field trips, making sure staff have everything they need so that our students are getting the academics and instructional learning. For my goals, I still want to increase our enrollment. I want to make sure that we are increasing our student knowledge. So, giving them access to everything. If I need to try to argue that we need more computers or more programs, that’s my goal.

Q: Are there things parents can do to help you out as you start here at Payne?

A: You guys can email me if you have any questions or concerns, my door is always open.



Residents received fliers in the mail saying Payne will be an Early Action school for the 2020-2021 year. The flyer is incorrect. Payne will not be an Early Action school, which means PK3 and PK4 spots are not guaranteed for in-boundary students. The deadline for the DCPS lottery is March 2. Read more here. If your child is in PK3 this year, you will not have to re-lottery for PK4. You will however have to submit re-enrollment papers in the spring.



  • Read to Kids. If you are interested in reading to a classroom for Multicultural Reads Day on March 2, email Ms. Turner, tiffani.turner@k12.dc.gov, by Friday.
  • Judge the Science Fair. Science teacher Mr. Creef is looking for science-minded parents and community members to judge projects 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 24. Organizations related to science, the environment, and sustainability are needed 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 25. Email emmett.creefjr@k12.dc.gov.
  • Run Black History Month Stations: Payne still is looking for volunteers to run stations for the Black History Month event this Friday. There are chances to volunteer throughout the school day. Let the front office know if you can participate.
  • Move Dirt. After drop off Monday, parents are needed to move dirt, sand and pebbles to get ready for spring plantings.



Students in third through fifth grades will be taking the DCPS Panorama Survey. The survey will ask students about their school satisfaction, engagement and more. Parents have the option to decline their child’s participation. Read more about the surveys here: Panorama Survey.



Step Afrika! on Wednesday gave an assembly for Kindergarten through fifth grade students. Founded in 1994, Step Afrika! is the world’s first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping — a percussive dance practiced by historically African American fraternities and sororities. The company gave a performance that integrated song, storytelling, humor, and audience participation. The performers said step is one of the many exciting experiences students can look forward to enjoying in college, and students had a chance to ask questions.



Friday: Deadline to turn in coins for the Pennies for Patients campaign to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Fundraising totals will be available next week.

Feb. 28: Black History Month Celebration

March 10: 6 p.m., PTSA meeting

March 20: No school

March 24: 9 a.m.-1 p.m., first day of the Science and Energy Fair

March 25: 11 a.m.-1 p.m., open house for parents at the Science and Energy Fair

Wildcat PTSA News: Get to Know Next Year’s Teachers | Valentine’s Day Dance Tradition

Next Tuesday is the most-anticipated PTSA meeting of the year. Visit the classrooms of the grade your child will be in next year, and get to know the teachers. The meeting is 6 p.m. Tuesday. Pizza, drinks and child care will be provided.


You’ve probably heard Payne will host a Valentine’s Day Dance on Thursday, Feb. 13 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. But did you know this dance is a longstanding Payne tradition, one that dates back to 1991?

Coach Freda, who works in aftercare, runs many of the school’s clubs and volunteers countless hours at Payne, has coordinated the dance since its inception. And DJ Derrick on the Wheel of Steel has provided the music since 1997.

“I just don’t want it to stop,” Coach Freda said, reflecting on the many dances she has helped host. “When people come to Payne, they always say it’s a family. It’s always been a family here.”

Admission is free. A mandatory permission slip went home with students. If you did not receive one, please check with the front office. Photos will be taken for $5. A painting activity will be set up for parents in the cafeteria.


Past and present staff and students, family members and members of the community gathered Wednesday evening for the official unveiling of the Story of Our School Project. The display in the main lobby tells the history of Payne, which started as a school for black students in 1896 during segregation. The display already has proven popular among visitors, and some adults even spotted themselves as students in the rotating display of archived photos. Ms. Juanita Stokes and Ms. Monich Brown led a team of third through fifth graders starting in 2018 to research the history of Payne, and this project is the culmination of their work. Job well done, and it’s a legacy for the school to appreciate.


The PTSA voted to make $2,000 available to support school clubs. Club organizers will be contacted to make them aware of how to access these resources.


In response to parent requests to learn more about unfamiliar math methods that students learn at school and requests for more math support, the PTSA will be organizing two, one-hour workshops for parents. Content of the sessions are being finalized but may include hands on ways to learn about Common Core, a description of Eureka Math, and an explanation of why math looks different than what we learned.


Thanks to everyone who stopped by Nando’s for the PTSA fundraiser, which raised $410 to benefit the school.


The deadline to complete the DCPS Panorama survey is Feb. 14. To take the short survey, click here. It’s an opportunity to share feedback about your child’s teachers, the administration, DCPS and more.


Signups now are open for Capitol Hill Little League’s spring 2020 season. Visit www.chlldc.org for deadlines. Player scholarships are available.


Payne once again is collecting coins in February to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The LLS mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and to improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Check your child’s backpacks for an information sheet and collection box. The goal is to raise $2,020 for 2020. Click here for more information.


Feb. 11: 6 p.m. PTSA meeting. Teachers will be available to discuss your child’s next school year.

Feb. 12: 8-9 p.m., parents of kids attending second grade next year are invited to join parents of current second graders to learn about their experience at Payne.  Contact Carolyn Bowen to learn more.

Feb. 13: 4:30-6:30 p.m., Valentine’s Day Dance, Auditorium

Feb. 17-21: No school

Feb. 24: Daniel A. Payne’s birthday

Feb. 28: Black History Month Celebration. Details to come. If you can volunteer during the daytime celebration contact: jaclyn.barbarino@k12.dc.gov

March 10: 6 p.m., PTSA meeting

March 20: No school

Wildcat PTSA News: Story of Our Schools Party | Meet the School Nurse | Payne Swag | Parent Meetups

If you’ve been inside the main entrance this week, you noticed some big changes. The Story of Our School project has been installed, featuring dozens of photos of Payne students – both past and present – and the story of the school’s history and its namesake, Daniel A. Payne. Did you know that in 1953 the Payne PTA protested the schools overcrowded conditions by organizing a “student strike … which kept the school relatively empty” for a period? Come see the exhibit and learn more.

Children and adults are invited to the reveal reception, 5-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6. Refreshments will be served. An RSVP is not required, but you are encouraged to click here to register to help with head count. Please join us as we celebrate this project that has been a year in the making and included research from staff and students.


Simone Anderson has been the school nurse at Payne for 11 years. A native of Guyana, South America, Nurse Anderson has lived in the U.S. for the past three decades and has a varied career in health, from working in D.C. hospitals to pediatric homecare. As a community health nurse, she is a contract employee who can find herself temporarily pulled to other area schools as needs arise. But in most cases, you can find her in her office at Payne from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Nurse Anderson recently sat down with the PTSA to share some insights on health and wellness at Payne.

1.    Make sure your child’s records are current. “It’s critical that we have up-to-date information on the students, as far as allergies, any kind of illnesses, working telephone numbers that we can reach the parents at all times,” Nurse Anderson said. Your child’s health records are kept confidential. “It’s critical we are aware so that we can call 9-1-1 or have the necessary medication information on hand.”

2.    She is not the only caregiver on staff. In Nurse Anderson’s absence, two trained staff members also can administer medication: Classroom aide Ms. Davis and school psychologist Ms. Weeks. Gym teacher Dr. Crumb is certified in first aid. “Anything they are not trained to handle, 9-1-1 must be called immediately,” she said. “And that is rare.”

3.    Immunization records are checked weekly. “I pull a report every Monday from the Department of Health. They give me the names of students who are not up-to-date with their shots. At that time, I try to reach out to the parents … Out of 331 students, as of the [Jan. 17], I only have 20 students [6%] that are noncompliant, which I think is really good. We have lots of schools that are way above.”

4.  A temperature below 100 degrees doesn’t require a trip home. It’s flu season, and Nurse Anderson recommends that if your child is “coughing, sneezing and wheezing,” it’s probably best they stay home. If a child has a temperature that is less than 100 degrees, they can go back to the classroom. Once their temp enters the 100s, however, Nurse Anderson said it will trigger a call home. [Science Alert:  It’s hard to define a “fever”.]. If a parent is unavailable, the child must stay in the health suite for the remainder of the day. The area is comfortable, and includes beds, and is removed from the school population.

5.    Nurse Anderson can perform a lice check as requested or needed. You probably heard that PK4 was recently battling a lice outbreak. Nurse Anderson reminds parents that DCPS policy prohibits excluding children with lice from the classroom. The only requirement, Nurse Anderson said, is that the child is getting active treatment to fight the bugs. She has a lice comb with a light in her office and is able to check for nits or lice. If she detects live lice, it does trigger a call home and a pickup. The child can return, though, provided he or she has received treatment.

6.    She has a concussion checklist. If a child falls while playing on the playground, Nurse Anderson administers a concussion checklist that includes neurological and muscle tests. A parent will be notified immediately. The parent could be asked to pick up their child and seek a more official diagnosis from a hospital. A letter also will be sent home.


Looking for for the latest in Payne swag, including t-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, car magnets, and more?  You’re in luck: The Payne Cafe Press online store is now LIVE.  Order your Payne gear any time and have it shipped directly to you.

For those who ordered shirts in October and August and have not picked them up, please contact Liz Aloi at lizaloi@gmail.com. Any items that are not claimed by Feb. 29 (yes, it’s a leap year), will be donated to the PTSA.


Parents of children attending first grade next year are invited to join parents of current first graders to gain some insights on the coming year. Parents will meet from 7-8:30 p.m. Feb. 4 at Michelle Chapman and Rob Luhrs’ house.


Parents of children attending second grade next year are invited to join parents of current second graders to learn about the second grade experience at Payne. Parents will meet 8-9 p.m. Feb. 12 at Carolyn and Steve Bowen’s house.



Feb. 3: Art students switch to drama and vice versa

Feb. 4: 4:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Room 233, ASL Club resumes

Feb. 11: 6:00 p.m. PTSA meeting. Teachers will be available during the meeting to discuss your child’s next school year.

Feb. 13: 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m., Valentine’s Day Dance, Auditorium

Feb. 17-21: No school

Wildcat PTSA News: Nando’s Fundraiser | Valentine’s Dance | ASL Club

Two important reminders for next week:

  • There’s no school for students next Monday, Jan. 27 and Tuesday, Jan 28.
  • Wednesday evening is Payne night at Nando’s Peri-Peri at 411 H St. N.E. Stop by 4-9 p.m., and tell them you support Payne. Forty percent of your meal will benefit the PTSA.


Payne parents are continuing to host informal gatherings to discuss the upcoming school year. If your child is moving up to first grade next year, a meetup is in the works for Feb. 4. If your child is moving up to second grade, the tentative date is Feb. 12. We’ll share more details as they become available.


Payne is hosting a Valentine’s Day Dance on Thursday, Feb. 13 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Admission is free. A mandatory permission slip went home with students this week. Coach Freda is looking for volunteers and is available to field questions. Reach her at 202-413-4824. PTSA approved spending $350 for decorations, refreshments and other supplies.


Another reason to raid your kids’ backpacks: A permission slip went home for an awesome extracurricular. ASL Club is getting underway again. Open to kids in Kindergarten through fifth grade, the club meets 4:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. every Tuesday. The next meeting is Feb. 4. If you’d like to join, please fill out the form and return to Ms. Miller or Ms. Gayle by Feb. 3. Meetings take place in Room 233.


Tonight: 6:30 p.m., Payne Dads Happy Hour, Trusty’s

Jan. 27-28: No school

Jan. 29: 4-9 p.m., Nando’s fundraiser, 411 H St. N.E. Tell them you support Payne, and 40 percent of your order will benefit the school.

Jan. 30: 6-8 p.m., J.O. Wilson Summer Camp Fair

Feb. 3: Art students switch to drama and vice versa

Feb. 11: 6 p.m. PTSA meeting. Teachers will be available during the meeting to discuss your child’s next school year.

Feb. 13: 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m., Valentine’s Day Dance, Auditorium

Feb. 17-21: No school

Wildcat PTSA News: Science Updates | Art and Drama | Coffee Talk

Thanks to everyone who attended the PTSA meeting this week. Participation continues to grow at the meetings. Thanks also to Principal Byrd for her insights.

You don’t want to miss the next meeting, 6 p.m., Feb. 11, when you’ll have an opportunity to visit with teachers to discuss your child’s next year at Payne.


Mr. Creef covered a wide-range of topics at Tuesday’s PTSA meeting. Here are a few highlights:

1. He’s interested in bringing back chickens and is exploring the idea (and related costs) of incubating eggs and hatching them at school.

2. With the help of the PTSA and a grant award, Mr. Creef purchased a number of specimen jars with assorted creatures and organs. They have proven very popular with the kids. He brought some animal brains, a shark and other preserved creatures to the PTSA meeting.

3. Project planning for the Science Fair, required for grades 3-5, now is underway. Mr. Creef has set up after-school hours when parents can assist students with their projects. Are you available 3:30-5:45 p.m. Jan. 21-24 or Feb. 6-13? Email Mr. Creef: emmett.creefjr@k12.dc.gov.

Teachers in the younger grades are exploring classroom project ideas. If you’d like to assist, check with your room parent or child’s teacher.

For anyone looking for ideas for science fair projects, Mr. Creef suggested checking out ScienceBuddies.Org.

4. DCPS introduced a new science curriculum called STEMscopes. Mr. Creef gave the curriculum high marks, noting that resources are all online and cover grades Kindergarten through high school. Parents can ask Mr. Creef for their own parent sign-on to explore the curriculum in greater detail.

5. Fourth graders helped to grow endangered orchids as part of a Smithsonian conservation program. The class attempted to grow both Maryland and Florida varieties of orchids. While the Maryland plants did not survive, many of the Florida varieties have successfully grown, and the young plants will be shipped to the Sunshine State to flourish.


On Feb. 3, prepare for a specials shift at Payne. Students who attend the art special each week will switch to drama for the remainder of the year, and vice versa.


Principal Byrd hosts informal chats with parents 9 a.m. on the first Friday of each month. Have some coffee and candid conversation with our school’s top administrator. The next coffee klatch is Feb. 7. Principal Byrd said she also is planning some evening opportunities this school year.


J.O. Wilson will host its annual D.C. Camp Fair 6-8 p.m. Jan. 30. Learn about more than 40 summer camp options. The school is at 660 K St. N.E.


If you haven’t completed the DCPS Panorama survey, please click here. It only takes a few minutes, and DCPS uses the data to inform decision making for professional development, family resources and more. It’s an opportunity to share feedback about your child’s teachers, the administration, DCPS and more.


Some wild(cat) local news this week. A bobcat was caught on a motion camera in Georgetown — a rare sighting in the District. It’s unclear what business the bobcat had in the District, but it probably wasn’t studying for the PARCC test.


Jan. 17-20: No school

Jan. 22: 8-9 p.m., Parents with rising third graders meet. Contact Liz Aloi for details.

Jan. 23: 8-9 p.m., Parents with rising Kindergartners meet. Contact Liz Aloi for details.

Jan. 23: 6 p.m., Eastern High School Open House

Jan. 24: 9 a.m., Volunteer orientation for Reading Rocks. Click here to sign up.

Jan. 27-28: No school

Jan. 29: 4-9 p.m., Nando’s fundraiser, 411 H St. N.E. Tell them you support Payne, and 40 percent of your order will go to the school.

Jan. 30: 6-8 p.m. J.O. Wilson Summer Camp Fair

Feb. 11: 6 p.m. PTSA meeting

Feb. 17-21: No school

Wildcat PTSA News: PTSA Meeting Next Week | Exhibit Installation | Nando’s for Payne

Science Teacher Mr. Creef will be presenting at the next PTSA meeting. Learn about the Science Fair, his curriculum and some of the fun projects your kids are working on.

The meeting is 6 p.m. Tuesday in the auditorium.

The agenda also includes items on the school budget and how parents are getting involved. Childcare and pizza will be provided.


Parents with children entering Kindergarten or third grade next year are invited to meet with parents with kids currently in those grades. The informal meetings are a retention initiative led by members of Payne’s Local School Advisory Team.

Parents with rising third graders will meet 8-9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22.

Parents with rising Kindergartners will meet 8-9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23.

If you would like to attend, contact Liz Aloi at lizaloi@gmail.com for details. Additional grade level meetings are in the works.


Payne’s story will soon be told in a museum-quality exhibit in the main entrance of the school. The Story of Our Schools exhibit is scheduled to be installed Jan. 28, said Jen Harris, Executive Director of the Story of Our Schools project. You may see Payne maintenance staff in the coming days painting the walls, prepping for the installation.

Last year, a team of students and staff researched the history of Payne, and their work contributed to the exhibit, which will be located near the auditorium entrance. There are early talks of an unveiling party for the exhibit in February for students, staff, parents and donors.


Now that our feathered friends are gone, we can head to Nando’s Peri-Peri guilt-free and feast on roast chicken — and we’ll be benefiting Payne, too. (OK, they do have a nice hummus wrap, as well.)

From 4-9 p.m. Jan. 29, Payne is hosting a fundraiser at Nando’s, 411 H St. NE. A whopping 40 percent of money spent on food will be donated to the Payne PTSA.

And a special thanks to everyone who turned out for Skate Night. Nearly $600 was raised to benefit Payne.


Thin Mints. Samoas. Tagalongs. Your favorites, plus new and improved lemon cookies called Lemon-Ups. Don’t miss out on Girl Scout cookies this season. Your first opportunity to buy is via the red forms that went home in your student’s bookbags this week, which are due today, Friday. Please submit to the main office or to First Grade Teacher Ms. Thompson. If you missed this opportunity, you’ll have chances to buy from Troop 1455 through mid-March. Cookies are $5 a box, with the exception of S’mores and Toffee-tastics which are $6 per box. The girls will have booths this spring.


Payne is looking for volunteers to read to an early childhood education student for one hour each week to foster early literacy and reading skills. A volunteer orientation will be 9 a.m. Friday, Jan. 24 in the auditorium. Parents of all grade levels are encouraged to participate. Click here to sign up.


Jan. 13: 9 a.m. Payne Open House

Jan. 14: 6 p.m., PTSA meeting, Auditorium

Jan. 15: Spelling Bee, 1:30 p.m.

Jan. 17: Noon-7 p.m., individual parent-teacher conferences

Jan. 17-20: No school

Jan. 23: 6 p.m., Eastern High School Open House

Jan. 27-28: No school

Jan. 29: 4-9 p.m., Nando’s fundraiser, 411 H St. NE.

Feb. 11: 6 p.m. PTSA meeting

Feb. 17-21: No school

Wildcat PTSA News: Holiday Programs | Skate Party | Hello, Grant Money

Hello, fellow Wildcats. The holidays are nearly upon us. But before you bundle up and go wassailing, please read the latest school news and mark your calendars.


Everyone must have been extra nice this year because the school is putting on two programs to celebrate the holidays. The littlest wildcats (PK3 through 2nd grade), will perform 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17 in the auditorium. The program, led by the specials teachers, is called “A Winter Performance of Frozen.”

If kids kindly asking you to “build a snowman” doesn’t suit your tastes, perhaps you should just “let it go” and instead attend “Scrooge: The Musical.” The big kids (3rd through 5th grades) will perform this show 5:15 p.m.Thursday, Dec. 19.

For parents of the Frozen cast: Your child will be collaborating as a grade or in smaller groups to perform songs from the movie. Classes can also choose to perform another non-Frozen winter-themed song. Students are encouraged to wear Frozen attire or blue and white. Students not already receiving food from after care will get a snack before the show.

For parents of the Scrooge cast: Students are encouraged to wear red. In addition to Scrooge numbers, the kids will perform winter-themed songs between scenes. Students not already receiving food from aftercare will get pizza.

Ask your child about his or her songs and practice with them at home.

And finally, Drama Teacher Ms. Barbarino is looking for parent volunteers to help decorate the auditorium during the day of each performance. She also is looking for crafty folks to help build decorations or props. Email: jaclyn.barbarino@k12.dc.gov



The ASL Club will present its Winter Performance 5 p.m. Dec. 11, in the auditorium. All are invited to see students demonstrate their American Sign Language skills. Students will perform signed presentations that provide a few interesting facts about each student. The students also will perform two musical performances.



The PTSA is hosting a skate night 6-9 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 18 at Temple Hill Skate Palace, 3132 Branch Avenue, Temple Hills, Md. Tickets are $10 each, and that includes skate rental. Anyone over the age of 2 requires a ticket. PTSA members will sell tickets outside of the Payne auditorium 8-9 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10 and 5-6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12. Cash, credit card and check will be accepted. You also may purchase tickets day-of at the Skate Palace.



The Capitol Hill Community Foundation announced Payne will receive a number of high-dollar grants to support activities in and out of the classroom.

Science Materials for Experiments and Interactive Activities: $2,200

Science Teacher Mr. Creef requested funds for animal specimens such as scorpions, spiders, frogs, squids and wasps. You know, the cute ones. Money may be used for other science materials, too.

Professional Development for Eureka Math: $2,000

Seventeen teachers will receive eight hours of training from Great Minds to learn to use the Eureka Math curriculum.

Buses for Field Trips: $1,500

In a city full of free museums, transportation is often the most costly aspect of Payne field trips.

Materials for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Classes: $700

Materials include colored textured tape to help identify hallway paths, dramatic play items with distinctive textures and textured paper and bold Sharpies.

Thank you to all of the volunteers who took the time to write the applications.



The PTSA just purchased $1,300 worth of books for Payne classroom libraries, made possible through the profits of the Scholastic Book Fair. Purchases were based on recommendations from school librarian Tim Gordon, literacy coach Tiffani Turner and teachers. Titles range from Artemis Fowl to Dog Man to Superfudge.



Last month the Payne Brownie troop went hiking at Kingman Island. They learned about the “leave no trace” philosophy and practiced marking a trail.



Dec. 10: 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., volunteer fingerprinting. Spots still are available Click here to sign up.

Dec. 11: 5 p.m., ASL Winter Performance

Dec. 14: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. EdFest, D.C. Armory

Dec. 17: 4 p.m., A Winter Performance of Frozen

Dec. 18: Payne Night at Temple Hills Skate Palace

Dec. 19: 5:15 p.m., Scrooge: The Musical

Dec. 19: 10:15-11:30 a.m., Eliot-Hine Open House

Dec. 23-Jan. 1: No school

Jan. 17-20: No school

Jan. 27-28: No school

Wildcat PTSA News: Fingerprints Reminder | Parent Concerns | Reach Program

Hello, everybody.

Spots are filling up for fingerprinting for volunteers the morning of Dec. 10. Click here to sign up. Please bring your negative TB test result. Read more about the DCPS volunteering requirements here. And for those with a security clearance, you can skip fingerprinting and complete this Federal Security Clearance Verification Form.



At Tuesday’s PTSA meeting, members held small-group discussions about their families’ experiences at Payne so far this year. As they talked, the PTSA asked them to identify things that have been going well as well as their concerns. PTSA President Mark Jordan summarized members’ key points and submitted them to Principal Byrd on Wednesday.


  • All around shout-out for Payne’s teachers and staff.
  • Hands-on learning, chickens example specifically (three of the four tables mentioned this).
  • Kids are loving science.
  • ASL Club and ASL used in class (three of the four tables mentioned this).
  • Reach and Reading Partners — good community partners.
  • FLEX Academies aftercare.
  • Having drama as a special.
  • Responsiveness of particular managers.
  • Fall Festival.
  • Library is well-stocked and beautiful.
  • School facility is always bright, clean, and welcoming.
  • PTSA newsletters / Payne Posts — consistent updates.
  • Excellent enrichment program in aftercare.
  • Members also praised specific staff members and those names were forwarded to Principal Byrd and the PTA will reach out to them directly to pass the plaudits on.

Challenges / Opportunities for Growth

  • Lack of substitutes (mentioned by two of four tables).
  • Can parents be informed when teachers are out?
  • Lack of crossing guard at 15th and C streets (mentioned by two of four tables).
  • Departmentalization of second grade — still adjusting, question about whether or not it is working.
  • Communications (e.g. inconsistencies and/or mistakes in dates/calendars). Recommendation: Update website? Archive Payne Post online?
  • Broken faucets/lack of soap in boys’ bathroom by cafeteria (has been an ongoing problem for months).(Update: Ms. Oxendine reports that the faucet was fixed as of 11/21).
  • Insufficient physical activity during the day — some days kids only get to play for 10 minutes at recess. Recommendation: Could there be more opportunities for kids to take breaks during class to be active in some way?
  • Staffing issues in Kindergarten — lack of communication — uncertain plan for December. (Update: Thanks to Principal Byrd for sending a communication out regarding this topic today).
  • More math support/resources/enrichment.
  • Increased reading support in fourth and fifth (e.g. where Reach and Reading Partners don’t provide services).
  • Add paraprofessionals in older grades.
  • Open playground on weekend.
  • School grounds need cleaning up.
  • Too much candy / juice / cupcakes in school.
  • Lack of chaperones given frequency of ECE field trips — expecting same parents. Recommendation: Can we combine field trips and neighborhood excursions (which require fewer chaperones?)



Have you heard about Reach? This non-profit has been working with Payne for nine years to help our second and third grade students learn to read. NPR ran a story on the program in March featuring the program’s work at Payne.

Teen mentors visit Payne every Tuesday and Thursday after school to help with reading. The teen literacy instructors are paid $20 to $260 per month.

The teens also are published authors. You can buy the books on this website  to support the program.



Thanks to everyone who attended the East City Bookshop Fundraiser on Nov. 16. Payne earned $635, which was the biggest East City fundraiser for the school to date.



EdFest, D.C.’s annual public school fair is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 at the D.C. Armory, 2001 East Capitol St. S.E. Payne will be there along with all other DCPS schools. Flu shots for kids and adults will be administered, and library card signups will be available. Parking and admission are free. Read more here. Payne is seeking volunteers to participate and share your Wildcat experience. Click here to sign up for a one-hour shift.



Payne Community Liaison Danielle Ciaurro shares the following:

Please donate:

  • Winter coats (sizes 10-12, both genders)
  • Clear storage bins for uniforms
  • Props, costumes, and materials for the winter play
    • Top hat
    • 3 plaid vests for boys
    • 1 black cape with hood
    • 1 red cape with collar
    • Fake gold coins or gold paint
    • 2 small wooden desks
    • Plaid tablecloth
    • Fake chains for ghosts
    • 2 baskets
    • Large sack
    • Bench
    • Paint
    • Paint brushes
    • Large sheet for background
    • Grim reaper staff
    • White make up
    • Long skirts for girls (Various sizes)
    • Cane or crutch for Tiny Tim
    • 3 pairs of black knee socks
    • Metal cups
    • Scrooge’s pajamas
    • Fluid for smoke machine

Volunteer your time to:

  • Organize and take inventory of uniforms
  • Assist Drama Teacher Ms. Barbarino in making props or costumes
  • Assist with Chess Club
  • Assist with science projects
  • ​Assist with the chicken coop Dec. 2-6
  • Set up labs during the school day
  • Assist students with Science Fair projects in December and January

Want to help or have questions? Email: danielle.ciaurro@k12.dc.gov


We wish a special thank you to one of our Fall Festival Gold Sponsors, Tripoint Solutions, which shares this message:

Tripoint Solutions is an IT solutions provider focused on the intersection of people, process, and technology in the Federal workplace. We do our best to give back to the community and are thrilled to support Payne Elementary for the 2019-2020 school year!



Nov. 22: Picture Day. Note: Uniform is not required this day if your child is getting pictures taken.

Nov. 26: No after care. Please pick up students no later than 3:20 p.m.

Nov. 27-29: Thanksgiving Break (no school)

Dec. 14: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. EdFest, D.C. Armory

Dec. 18: Payne Night at Temple Hills Skate Palace; tickets are $10.

Dec. 19: 10:15-11:30 a.m., Eliot-Hine Open House

Dec. 23-Jan. 3: No school

Wildcat PTSA News: East City Books Fundraiser | Story of Our School Donation | Fingerprinting

Hello, everybody!

Please visit East City Bookshop 4-7 p.m. this Saturday and buy some books. For everything you buy during this time, 20 percent will go directly to Payne. You can also buy books requested by classroom teachers or donate to the Payne Library. East City is located at 645 Pennsylvania Ave, SE. Shop local and support Payne. Bonus: there will also be complimentary wine and snacks.



There will be a PTSA meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. Representatives from Eliot-Hine Middle School will speak and field questions. We’ll also learn more about REACH, a reading program that pairs teenage tutors with Payne students. And the PTSA wants to hear what’s on YOUR mind, so please join us!

You can also purchase tickets for Skate Night, which will take place Dec. 18 at Temple Hills Skate Palace from 6 – 9 p.m. Last year’s Skate Night was a huge hit last year, and this newsletter writer only crashed like 10 times. Tickets are $10 and 50% of the proceeds go to the PTSA.



Thanks to everyone who purchased Payne T-shirts. We exceeded our goal of 50, selling 84 clothing items and raising $280.



Reading Coach Tiffani Turner is looking for volunteers to help organize the book room. Separate from the library, this room is where guided-reading, unit books and other supplies are stored. Ms. Turner is looking for three to four volunteers to assist. Tasks included setting reading levels for books, organization, sign creation and decor improvements. She notes, it would be especially helpful if one of our taller community members stepped up. “The shelves are pretty high, and I’m directionally challenged,” she notes. Interested in helping? Email Ms. Turner: tiffani.turner@k12.dc.gov



If your child attended Payne last year, you’ve probably heard of the Story of Our School Project. A team of students, led by PK3 Teacher Ms. Stokes, conducted a thorough research project on the history of Payne, detailing accounts of the school’s namesake, Daniel Payne and interviewing past students and longtime residents of the neighborhood. The culmination of this project is a museum-quality exhibit, to be built in the main entry space, that will educate the Payne community and visitors for years to come.

This initiative is part of the Story of Our Schools project. The cost to build the exhibit is estimated at $30,000, and more than $20,000 has been raised through donations of area businesses and residents like you. And now the PTSA Board has unanimously voted to chip in an additional $4,600 to help close the final gap!

“When complete, the Story of Payne exhibit will be a lasting legacy for the school — a vision honoring Payne’s rich past that our students and our community made a reality,” said PTSA President Mark Jordan. “Through this donation, the PTSA board wanted show our commitment to the project and we thank all members of the PTSA for your fundraising efforts that helped to make this possible.”

If you would like to learn more about the program or make a donation (every little bit helps!) visit this website.



To everyone who got a TB test this fall: We will be hosting fingerprinting at Payne the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 10 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Click here to sign up. Fingerprinting is the last step to obtaining DCPS clearance for volunteering in city schools. Please bring your negative TB test result to the fingerprinting.


We wish a special thank you to one of our Fall Festival Gold Sponsors, the Jeanne Phil Meg Team at COMPASS Real Estate:

Compass Concierge is a program that helps sellers capitalize on their homes’ equity to make improvements in order to simplify and quicken selling their homes. No interest or fees. Find out more at jeannephilmeg.com



Science Teacher Mr. Creef, aka Farmer Creef, introduces one of our chickens to kindergartener Valerie Bowen.



Saturday, Nov. 16: 4-7 p.m., East City Bookshop fundraiser

Saturday, Nov. 16: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Feeder Fest at Eastern High School

Nov. 18: 9 a.m., open house for prospective families

Nov. 19: PTSA meeting, 6-7 p.m.

Nov. 19: 10:15-11:30 a.m., Eliot-Hine Open House

Nov. 21: Second grade field trip

Nov. 22: Picture Day. Note: Uniform is not required this day.

Nov. 26: No after care. Please pick up students no later than 3:20 p.m.

Nov. 27-29: Thanksgiving Break (no school)

Dec. 18: Payne Night at Temple Hills Skate Palace; details to come

Dec. 19: 10:15-11:30 a.m., Eliot-Hine Open House

Dec. 23-Jan. 3: No school