Wildcat PTSA News: Cafeteria Wins Big | Common Core Rap | Volunteers Needed

There’s a buzz in the cafeteria this week as Payne’s food crew has earned top honors. Meanwhile, fourth grade math is humming (rapping, actually) as the kids learn Common Core in a creative way. And new volunteer opportunities await. Here’s what’s happening this week at Payne.


A film crew will arrive at Payne on Thursday to video record the cafeteria staff in action. SodexoMAGIC, Payne’s food service provider, named Payne the 2017-2018 Showcase Elementary School, and cafeteria lead Kevin Dyer was named employee of the year, recognized for quality service, cleanliness and an all-around successful kitchen. “We love doing what we’re doing,” Dyer said.

(From Left: Food service worker Annette Nichols, cafeteria lead Kevin Dyer, food service worker Emily Green and food service worker Rachel Anderson. Not pictured: Chef T)


Students are enjoying the trifecta of melons, as the cafeteria now is serving cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew. Also debuting in this year’s meal rotation: a yogurt parfait for breakfast (vanilla yogurt, granola and berries). Iceberg lettuce, however, is out this school year, replaced with more nutrient-rich darker greens such as kale and mesclun.


Christina Mitchell, Payne’s fourth grade math teacher, knows math can be intimidating. To counter any hesitation, she brings a positive attitude, real-world scenarios and rap lyrics. The Montgomery County native is in her ninth year at Payne. And while the math curriculum is Common Core, she has some decidedly uncommon techniques.

Q. What do you tell a student who thinks they don’t like math?

A. Just wait ’til you come to my class. (Laughs.) I like to present things in a very visual and tactile way, and also I like to incorporate fun activities. For example, we did a rap for learning how to “bundle.” That’s the new term for regrouping. We did a rap, it was several verses. Each day for morning meeting we would look at each verse and look at what it means.


Q. Where did these rap lyrics come from?

A. I made them up! I just try to do fun things like that to grab their attention and get them interested. Also, the real-world connection. When we do lot of word problems, I try to tailor the word problems, so it’s dealing with things they’re familiar with. I just try to encourage them to do their best, and I’ll meet you half way. If you’re paying attention, if you’re focused, and you’re being persistent and trying, I will always come and help you.


Q. How important is homework?

A. We have homework every day, and it is important because it reinforces what you are learning in the classroom.


Q. What can parents in the younger grades do to prepare their children for 4th grade math?

A. It’s important to just make math a part of your every day routine. So when you’re going to the grocery store with your little ones, have them count the bananas you put in the basket. Have them do the foundational skills but in a real-world type situation. Not sitting down drilling practice. Just more authentic experiences.


Fall Festival: The PTSA is looking for parents to help plan the Oct. 13 Payne Fall Festival and manage booths and activities. We’re also looking for sponsors. The PTSA already raised $1,750, but our goal is $8,000. Help us by asking, businesses, friends, or your employers. If you’re interested in helping, contact PTSA Fundraising Chair Kerry DeVooght.

Library Help: Tim Gordon, the Wildcat librarian, is looking for a volunteer once a week from 1:30-2:30 (any day except Wednesday) to help around the library. Contact Lexi Smith.

Early Childhood: Family Services Coordinator Lisa Mitchell is seeking volunteers for the Early Childhood Education Parent Committee and Policy Council. Contact Lisa Mitchell.


You can add the Payne PTSA calendar to the calendar on your phone or email. Click here and scroll down for directions.


Friday, Sept. 14: Coffee with Principal Byrd at 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. in the Auditorium.

Saturday, Sept. 15: East City Bookstore Payne fundraiser, 3-6 p.m. Afterward, Mr. Henry’s restaurant will donate a portion of dinner sales to Payne if you mention the school.

Sept. 25: The first PTSA meeting of the year begins with an informal meet-and-greet with the board at 5:30 p.m., followed by a meeting from 6-7 p.m. in the Auditorium.

Sept. 28: Story of Our Schools is hosting an auction fundraiser, 6:30 p.m. at The Loft.

Oct. 13: Payne Fall Festival at the school, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Pumpkin decorating, face-painting, a bounce house, chili and homemade treats for sale, and more.

Oct. 27: Forty literary-themed dinner parties will be hosted across Capitol Hill for the annual Literary Feast to support the Capitol Hill Community Foundation’s Grants to Neighborhood Schools. More than $140,000 in grants were awarded in 2017 to fund special projects and programs for schools, including Payne. Register at www.aliteraryfeast.org. Ticket sales close Sept. 30 or whenever tickets sell out.

Wildcat PTSA News: New PE Teacher | Calendar Updates | Get Involved

Welcome to the new school year from the PTSA. Let’s catch you up on what we’re tracking at Payne this week. We have a new teacher to introduce you to, dates to put into your calendar, and instructions for joining the PTSA and getting involved at school.


Please update your calendars. The first PTSA meeting of the year will be Tuesday, Sept. 25. It will begin with an informal meet and greet with the board at 5:30 p.m., followed by a meeting from 6-7 p.m. The meeting will be in the Payne Auditorium.  Learn about how you can get involved in the PTSA through one of the committees, and tell us what you want from the PTSA this year. Payne staff will provide childcare in the Library and feed them pizza for dinner. PLEASE NOTE: There is no longer a meeting Sept. 18, which was announced previously; we rescheduled because that is the start of Yom Kippur.


Not a member yet? Click here and scroll down to fill out the membership Google form and send your $15 dues via PayPal. Or you can sign up in person at our first meeting Tuesday, Sept. 25.


Payne’s new physical education teacher, Dr. Brian Crumb Sr., was born and raised in Southeast D.C. He’s a former professional boxer and a grandmaster in Taekwondo with an eighth-degree black belt. He even has plans to introduce some Taekwondo lessons in Phys Ed this year. He sat down with the PTSA to talk about his outlook for the school year.

Q. What is your goal for the school year?

A. I really want to see the students focusing on physical fitness and health, as well as academics. The physical education and health piece is lifelong. You have to take care of your body now, because when you get to my age … I know people who can’t do the things they used to do because they didn’t take care of their body.


Q. Can you list the sports that will be covered throughout the year?

A. We’re starting off with kickball, which leads up to soccer, baseball, softball, a little bit of bowling. … Eventually we’ll go to flag football, tennis, a little bit of handball. The second grade children will be learning how to ride bikes, and not just riding bikes but hand signals and the laws of the road.


Q. What advice would you give to parents to encourage physical fitness at home?

A. Let the children go outside in the yard. Sit down with them. Do sit-ups with your children. Do pushups with them. Expose your children to a lot.


Q. You are considering launching a Taekwondo program at Payne?

A. If not in October, more than likely in January. I have to see if I’m going to do it after school or put it as part of the physical education class. … [It would be] a controlled setting where the students would be focused on stretching, the discipline and the movements, without touching.


Is your child in PK3 through 2nd Grade? Is he or she enrolled in afterschool through DCPS or Springboard? If so, please submit the $300 suggested donation to cover enrichment programming and the waiver form by Sept. 15. The PK3-2nd grade enrichment program starts Monday, Sept. 18 and will offer programming on Tuesdays and Thursdays. For questions please contact Payne parents Kate Abend or Lexi Smith.


This Friday, Sept. 7, at 9 a.m. in the Auditorium, the school is hosting a breakfast for all of the grandparents out there supporting Payne students. The PTSA supported the event with $250 to supply bagels, fruit, coffee and other breakfast foods.


Sept. 10: PTSA Fundraising Committee hosts a grant-writing workshop at 8 p.m. at Lexi and Josh Smith’s House. Please RSVP to Lexi Smith.

Sept. 14: Coffee with Principal Byrd at 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. in the Auditorium.

Sept. 15: East City Bookstore Payne fundraiser, 3-6 p.m, 645 Pennsylvania Ave. S.E. Shop and support Payne and a local small business at the same time. You can purchase books for Payne teachers that they’ve identified as needing for their classrooms. Twenty percent of book fair proceeds are donated to Payne. Afterwards, walk up the street with friends and family for dinner at Mr. Henry’s, 601 Pennsylvania Ave. S.E. Mention you’re there to support Payne, and a portion of the sale will be donated to the school.

Sept. 28: New this year, Payne is partnering with Story of Our Schools, an organization that will help build a history exhibit of Payne. Story of Our Schools is hosting an auction fundraiser at 6:30 p.m. at The Loft, 600 F St. N.W. Click here for more details. Early bird ticket prices expire midnight Friday.

Welcome Back To School From the PTSA

Dear Payne Community:

On behalf of the Payne PTA Board, Welcome To School Year ’18-’19! We hope you and your little scholars enjoyed some well deserved rest this summer. I write with some beginning-of-the-year updates from the PTA Board and to ask for your help.

The PTA Board worked during the summer to prepare for the new school year. At this link you will find the PTA Welcome Packet, which contains information about the PTA, a list of this year’s PTA Board members, and ways for you to connect to volunteer opportunities at the school.

The PTA provides vital support to Payne’s academic and student enrichment programs. Over the past two years, the PTA has been instrumental in securing more than $100,000 for new computers for Payne students. In August, the PTA funded a $20,000 teacher training on “Responsive Classrooms” before the start of the current school year. The PTA regularly funds classroom materials for all grade levels, including classroom libraries, math manipulatives, and materials for specials, including science, art, music, and library.

The PTA Board met last Wednesday, and we are excited to report the Board has approved $5,000 for Payne teachers and staff accounts. This money will provide additional support materials for the classroom. The Board also funded $4,500 to support field trips, to be divided equally among all grades, PK3 through 5th.

We want to build on our recent success and WE NEED YOUR HELP!

“But how can I help?” you’re wondering. Well, I’m glad you asked.

First, SIGN UP to be a PTA member!

Next, VOLUNTEER! Even if you don’t know how you can help or when you will have time, please fill out the Volunteer Opportunity form. There are countless ways to contribute to Payne, from helping to organize events, to contributing to bake sales or teacher appreciation breakfasts, to becoming a room parent. Every act helps. By filling out the Volunteer Opportunity form, we will be able to connect you with events suited to your skills and interests. And if you have other ideas about ways to help, PLEASE TELL US.

Also, please sign up for our email newsletter. If you wish to receive regular updates on PTA events and important school info, contact Communications Chair Tony Lombardo hereFollow Payne Elementary’s Facebook page for updates, too.

Though school has just begun, there are already several key dates to mark on your calendars.

  • Back-To-School Night: This Wednesday, Aug. 29, at 5:30 p.m. This is your chance to visit your child’s classroom and hear from the principal and her leadership team. You will also be able to learn more about programs at Payne and sign up to be a PTA member.  NOTE:  Children are welcome, but childcare will not be provided and children must accompany their parents.
  • Book Fair for Payne at East City Book Shop, Saturday, Sept. 15, 3 to 6 p.m. Support Payne students, teachers and local small business during this three-hour event. Meet PTA members, school leaders and most importantly, shop. Teachers will be sharing book wish lists for donations to their classrooms.
  • Story of Our Schools. New this year, Payne is partnering with Story of Our Schools, an organization that will help us build a history exhibit of Payne. This interacative history project will unite our community, our alumni and our current student body. Story of Schools is hosting a fundraiser at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28, at The Loft. Click here for more details.

And an important note regarding pickups and dismissals:

  • The school is not open to parents and students until 8:10 a.m. each morning. All parents and students should enter through the front doors. PK3 and PK4 parents: Please do not enter through the parking lot. And after school, parents and their children may use the playground, but must leave by 4:30 p.m., when the after school program utilizes the equipment.

We look forward to an exciting and productive school year!


Mark Jordan on behalf of the PTA Board

Auction is NOW Open for Online Bidding

Payne‘s 2018 Silent Auction & Raffle
Thursday, April 26, 2018
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Join us for a great evening at Payne‘s Annual Spring Silent Auction

April 26, 2018 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm 
The evening will include FREE BBQ Dinner and Free Childcare.  
The School Administration will also be accepting enrollment paperwork at the Auction.  
Pre-bidding is now LIVE at: 
Pre-bidding is open from April 6th until April 20th
For more information about the event, items and sponsors go here: https://paynedc.org/auction/

PTSA Newsletter – 4/6/2018

Looking for a quick and easy way to support Payne Elementary?  Families who shop at Hill’s Kitchen during the week of April 7 – 15 will have 10% of your purchases donated to our school!  Simply let your salesperson know you are supporting Payne at the time of purchase and we will take care of the rest!  Happy Shopping!

Register for The Girls on the Run-DC Spring 2018 5K
Freedom Plaza!

Registration for the Girls on the Run-DC (GOTR) Spring 2018 Community 5K on Sunday, June 3, at Freedom Plaza is underway!  We hope that you and your family will join us to celebrate the girls’ accomplishments!  By running for our girls you’ll embrace their limitless potential and support our next generation of future leaders.  We encourage you to share this event with your networks at it is open to the community.  We hope to see the smiling faces of non-Girls on the Run participants, ages 3-10, run our 1/4 mile Kids’ Dash starting at 10:15 am.  Registration for the Kids’ Dash is $10.00 and runners will receive a Girls on the Run Medal!

As a reminder, participating girls are automatically registered for the 5K by being part of the program and do not need to register.  However, families and friends must register to run.  Don’t delay, Early Bird Registration is $35.00 and will be open until April 20th!  Link: https://www.raceplanner.com/registrationinfo/event/QJXD0DKX3K4IXAZ.

Payne’s GOTR Team will also host Muffin Mondays (bake sale) on the following dates:
Monday, April 9
Monday, April 23
Monday, May 7
Friday, May 11
Monday, May 21
Proceeds are for team t-shirts, snacks and end of season celebration reception.

The girls meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm.  Volunteers to run with the girls or help with water stations are welcome from 4:50 pm – 5:30 pm.

Payne Book Fair at East City Book Shop 
Payne Night at Mr. Henry’s Restaurant
April 11, 2018
On Wednesday, April 11 Payne ES is partnering with East City Book Shop(645 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE) to host an in-store book fair from 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm.  The school will receive 20% of all sales made by Payne families, neighbors and friends!  http://www.eastcitybookshop.com/
After (or before) shopping at the book store, stop by Mr. Henry’s for a tasty meal where a percent of your total bill will go to Payne.  Mr. Henry’s (601 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE) is located a short walk from the bookstore.  http://www.mrhenrysdc.com/

For the Love of Payne
Zumba with Lashawn Scott
April 10, 2018
6:00 pm

Grab a friend and join us in the auditorium for a FREE Hip Hop for a Healthy Heart Zumba class lead by Wellness Instructor Lashawn Scott with Jamboa Dance Studio.  You won’t be disappointed!

Payne’s 2018 Silent Auction & Raffle
Thursday, April 26, 2018
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Join us for a great evening at Payne’s Annual Spring Silent Auction
April 26, 2018 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
The evening will include a FREE BBQ Dinner and Free Childcare.
The School Administration will also accept enrollment paperwork at the Auction.
Pre-bidding for the auction will open April 6, 2018.

For more information and the online pre-bidding site, go here: https://paynedc.org/ auction/

On April 26, Principal Stephanie Byrd will accept The Arnold F. Keller, Jr. Award from the Capitol Hill Community Foundation at the 35th Annual Capitol Hill Community Achievement Awards Dinner.  This generous award of $20,000 will be used for training Payne’s teachers in the Responsive Classroom method, a social and emotional learning program that independent research links with higher academic achievement in math and reading.  The training will take place during the Summer of 2018.  

We are so grateful for the continuing support from the Capitol Hill Community Foundation.  They have been very generous to us over the years and we encourage members to support them.  All funds raised by the Awards Show are used for future grants.  If you are interested in attending the dinner please purchase tickets here.  

While the Capitol Hill Community Foundation Achievement Awards Dinner is the same night as the Payne Auction, we encourage members from the Payne Community to attend, if possible.  Grandparents are always welcome to come to the auction for you or to go to the award show. 

To learn more about the grant and the awards dinner find more information here:

http://hillrag.com/2018/02/07/ payne-elementary-school-wins- landmark-keller-grant/

https://www. capitolhillcommunityfoundation .com/achievement-awards

Save the Dates for our next upcoming PTA Meetings:
  • May 2, 2018 – General Meeting
  • May 30, 2018 – Annual Elections Meeting

Special Education Workshop

The Office of the Student Advocate will be hosting a Special Education Workshop session on Monday, April 9, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm at the Northeast Library (330 7th St., NE).  This workshop is open to educators and families.

Whether you feel your student needs special education services or you have questions/concerns about existing services, come learn what supports are available. This session will answer your questions about navigating special education services, and provide additional information about you and your student’s rights. Not only will you be able to gather information and resources, but you will also have the opportunity to connect with special education experts throughout the District regarding your student’s specific needs.

This session will be hosted by DC Councilmember Charles Allen, Joe Weedon, Ward 6 State Board of Education Representative and the Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization.

RSVP for this session at http://bit.ly/2G4BeJU.

Click Here to RSVP for the Free Open House

  • April 2:  Enrollment for SY 2018-19 Opens
  • April 6:  Half Day – Students dismissed at 12:15 pm
  • April 11:  Book Fair at East City Book Shop
  • April 11:  Payne Night at Mr. Henry’s Restaurant
  • April 16:  Emancipation Day – No school for students, teachers & staff
  • April 17:  Zumba at Payne at 6:00 pm
  • April 26:  Annual Spring Auction
  • April 27:  Professional Development Day – No school for students

Payne Receives Keller Award from Capitol Hill Community Foundation

On April 26, Principal Stephanie Byrd will accept The Arnold F. Keller, Jr. Award from the Capitol Hill Community Foundation for Payne Elementary School.

The funds will be used to train Payne’s teachers in the Responsive Classroom method, a social and emotional learning program that independent research links with higher academic achievement in math and reading. The training will take place on campus during the Summer of 2018.

While the Capitol Hill Community Foundation Awards Dinner is the same night as the Payne Auction, we encourage parents to attend, if possible.  We are so grateful for the continuing support from the Capitol Hill Community Foundation.  If you are interested in attending the dinner please purchase tickets here.

To learn more about the grant and the award find more information here: