Wildcat PTSA News: Clubs Clubs Clubs | iPads Arrive | Little League Signups

SO … MANY … CLUBS. Did you know there are more than 25 clubs at Payne Elementary? From chess and Pokemon to art and drama to basketball and flag football — there is something for every kid. And though the year is well underway, many clubs are still accepting new participants. Attached to this email is a handy spreadsheet with club details, eligibility guidelines and points of contact.  Clubs at Payne Elementary


iPADS OPERATIONAL. As previously reported, DCPS agreed to provide an additional 25 iPads to split among the Payne classrooms. The influx of iPads was the result of an unanticipated 8 percent uptick in student enrollment (there are 347 students at Payne). Ms. Oxendine, who shared the photo below, said the iPads are already in use.


COFFEE TALK SCHEDULE.  In preparation of enrollment season, Payne teachers and staff are hosting coffee talks and classroom introductions for parents. Get an early look at your child’s next school year. The sessions start at 9 a.m. in the auditorium on the following dates:

Moving up to….
Kindergarten-Friday, Jan.11
1st Grade, Jan. 18th
2nd Grade, Feb. 1
3rd Grade, Feb. 8
4th Grade, Feb. 15
5th Grade, March 1


THANK YOU, FOULGER-PRATT.  Foulger-Pratt, which is developing the Safeway site across the street from Payne, generously donated $1,500 to the PTSA.  We appreciate the support from our new neighbors.


PENNIES FOR PATIENTS. Prepare to raid your couch cushions. Next month, Payne students will be collecting change in support of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Pennies for Patients campaign. While the effort runs Feb. 2-19, some of the younger grades are already bringing home donation boxes. This year’s goal is to raise $2,019 for 2019. Once the school reaches $750, the classroom with the most funds raised will earn a celebration party.The LLS mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and to  improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Click here for more fundraiser details.


VOLUNTEER NEEDED. Do you have experience with data entry? Payne is looking for a volunteer who can work 1-2 hours, twice a week. Data would include emails and contact information. Work would also involve answering phones. Email Ms. Oxendine: akua.oxendine@dc.gov


FAREWELL, MS. AMY. Amy Thomas, the AmeriCorps VISTA Community Liaison, will be leaving us on Friday. She has accepted a job as a research analyst for a contracting company in Virginia. She anticipates AmeriCorps providing a successor, though he or she has not yet been named. Ms. Amy’s role at Payne has been to assist the administration and improve communication among the entire Payne Community. She had this to share:  “Thanks to the Payne Family, for welcoming me into your school this year. I am saddened to leave Payne, but am thankful for the time I was able to spend at your school. I look forward to visiting and seeing the great things that will be happening at Payne in 2019 and beyond!”


PLAY BALL. Capitol Hill Little League registration is now open for the spring season.  Click here to register your player(s) for baseball and softball for the spring. All kids who live within the Capitol Hill footprint or attend a Capitol Hill school are eligible to play, and scholarships are available. The website includes helpful resources such as how to measure your child’s “league age” and a Capitol Hill boundary map.

Baseball divisions are:
Single A:  League age 5 and 6
Double A:  League age 7 and 8
Triple A:  League age 9 and 10
Majors:  League age 11 and 12
Juniors/Seniors:  League age 13-16




Jan. 12: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Eastern Feeder Fest. All of Eastern High School’s feeder schools are invited to learn more about the school at 1700 East Capitol St. N.E. The feeder schools will also have tables at the event. Entertainment includes a DJ, popcorn and more.

Jan. 14: 9:30 a.m., Payne open house

Jan. 21-23: No school

Jan. 29: 6 p.m., PTSA meeting

Wildcat PTSA News: School Year Survey | Summer Camp Fair | Free Sign Language Classes

Happy 2019, Payne parents and staff.

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL AUG. 26. The 2019-2020 school year begins Aug. 26 for most students and Aug. 29 for PK students, DCPS announced. But DCPS is polling parents, students and staff on three calendar proposals for how holiday breaks should be allotted. The survey takes a few minutes and could have big implications for your vacation plans. Sound off here.


SUMMER CAMP FAIR. The New Year has just begun, but parents already are reserving camp spots for spring break and summer. Not sure where to start? J.O. Wilson Elementary’s PTA is hosting an annual camp fair, 6-8 p.m. Jan. 31 at the school, 660 K St. N.E. More than 60 camps from D.C., Maryland and Virginia are expected, ranging from traditional camps to others focused on the arts, music and academics.



JANUARY PTSA MEETING RESCHEDULED TO JAN. 29: The January PTSA meeting will be moved back two weeks from Jan. 15 to Jan. 29. DCPS has chosen Payne to host a closed roundtable discussion Jan. 15 about the school budgeting process with LSAT members from DCPS schools around the city.


GRADE-SPECIFIC COFFEE TALKS. As enrollment season approaches, Principal Byrd is hosting a series of coffees to take a closer look at grade levels. It’s an opportunity to learn what will be in store for your child moving up a grade. The first session at 9 a.m. Jan. 11 will focus on Kindergarten.


FREE SIGN LANGUAGE CLASSES. The D.C. Public Library is offering free classes to learn American Sign Language. Beginner and intermediate courses available, with no need to register. The Northeast Neighborhood Library will offer beginning level classes 10-11 a.m. on Saturdays, Jan. 26-March 30 and April 27-June 28. Intermediate classes will be 11 a.m.-noon, also on those Saturdays. For a full list of classes, with libraries all over the district, email lbph.dcpl@dc.gov or call 202-559-5368.




Jan. 7: 9:30 a.m., Payne open house

Jan. 12: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Eastern Feeder Fest. All of Eastern High School’s feeder school are invited to learn more about the school at 1700 East Capitol St. N.E.

Jan. 14: 9:30 a.m., Payne open house

Jan. 15: PTSA meeting rescheduled for Jan. 29

Jan. 21-23: No school

Jan. 29: 6 p.m., PTSA meeting

Wildcat PTSA News: Holiday Concert | Skate Party Success

Seasons Greetings, Payne parents and staff.

HOLIDAY CONCERT. The day of the Winter Wonderland show is here. Doors open at 2 p.m., and the show starts at 2:30 p.m. You’ll hear holiday classics like Jingle Bells and Frosty the Snowman, poetry and a Kwanzaa presentation. And for fans of the Hokey Pokey, get ready to have your minds blown; the PK3 classes will sing the Winter Hokey Pokey live.


HOW WE ROLL. About 200 members of the Payne community turned out Wednesday night for the skate party fundraiser at Temple Hills Skate Palace. The PTSA earned nearly $1,000, and the money will be spent on field trips.


SEE YOU NEXT YEAR. Today is officially winter and the days are now getting longer.  School is out until Jan. 2.  When asked what parents and students could do during the break to foster learning, PK3 teacher Ms. Stokes shared this advice:

“Read daily, write in a journal, and have conversations with your child. Enjoy!”

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from the Payne PTSA.

Wildcat PTSA News: 3 Stars for Payne | Big Yellow Bin


For the first time, standardized school report cards are measuring the school performance of all public schools, DCPS and charter. Payne scored 3 out of 5 stars for last year’s performance. So is 3 stars good? “It’s a great start,” Principal Byrd told parents Wednesday evening.

Byrd said she hopes and expects that the school will score higher in the future.  Already this year she and her staff are closely tracking student progress and she is encouraged by beginning of year testing results.

She’s particularly frustrated about declining math scores, however. The percentage of students approaching, meeting, or exceeding expectations on the PARCC dropped in 2017-18 from the previous year. On the positive side, Payne students do appear to be improving more rapidly in math than their peers in other public schools.

Byrd sent out a detailed explanation of the report card to the Payne community via email on Sunday. For the report card click here. Here are some things you might not have heard.

How does Payne stack up against its neighbors?

  • Only 27% of schools earned 4 or 5 stars.
  • Only 8% of schools earned 5 stars.
    • 5 stars: Maury, School-Within-School
    • 4 stars: Brent, Ludlow-Taylor, Two Rivers 4th Street and Watkins
    • 3 stars: Miner, Capitol Hill Montessori, J.O. Wilson, Tyler and Two Rivers Young

48 Minutes of play time? Payne’s Report Card notes 48 minutes per week of physical activity, but that’s a mistake Principal Byrd is correcting the record on. K-5 students receive 150 minutes a week of recess time (30 minutes x 5 days), plus 45 minutes per week during physical education class, she said. K-5 grades also receive an additional 45 minutes per week because Playworks visits their classroom and leads recreational activity, Principal Byrd said. PK grades get 60 minutes of recess per day and 45 minutes per week with Dr. Crumb in Phys-Ed.

Is attendance getting better? Payne has better than average daily attendance:  91% of students attend school each day. But Payne is below average when measuring the percentage of students who are in attendance for at least 90 percent of school days. About two thirds of Payne students reach that goal, and the D.C. average is slightly higher at 70 percent.

Have a question about the Payne report card? Email Principal Byrd at stephanie.byrd@dc.gov


NO AFTERCARE DEC. 21. There is no aftercare on Friday, Dec. 21. That’s the same day as the Winter Wonderland holiday concert, which starts at 2:30 p.m.


MORE BOOKS: With the support of the Capitol Hill Community Foundation, the PTSA purchased over $5,600 worth of books this week for every grade, from PK3 to 5th Grade, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing classrooms, and the BES classroom.


BOOK GIVEAWAY. A free book giveaway is happening today from 3:30-6:30 p.m. at Eastern High School, 1700 E. Capitol St. N.E. This is Eastern’s Sixth Annual Give the Gift of Books event. Students and community members may select free books as holiday gifts for family and friends. Gift wrapping is available for free. Local businesses will be on-hand to sell gifts, too.


CLOTHES DONATIONS. A big yellow bin sits just south of Payne, where you can drop off bags of clothes. It’s a Planet Aid bin. The organization, started in 1997, sells your donations on the wholesale used clothes market, and they often end up in developing countries. The organization is reducing the 14 million tons of textiles that end up in landfills every year in the United States. Rotting clothes in landfills create methane, which is a greenhouse gas. The organization accepts any article of clothing that isn’t dirty, wet or moldy, even underwear.



Tonight: Thankful To Give spaghetti dinner, 4-6:30 p.m. Help put together care packages for D.C.’s homeless.

Dec. 17: Payne open house for prospective parents at 9:30 a.m. Interested in volunteering? Email Carolyn Bowen.

Dec. 19: Holiday Skate Party, 5-9 p.m. at the Temple Hills Skating Palace in Temple Hills, Md. You can still buy tickets at school on Monday morning or Sign up and pay online here. Tickets also will be available at the door.

Dec. 21: Winter Wonderland concert, 2:30 p.m. in the Auditorium. Doors open at 2 p.m.

Dec. 24-Jan. 1: Winter break

Wildcat PTSA News: Skate Party | Deaf Etiquette 101 | Fundraiser Gains

Good evening, Payne parents and staff.

Save the date for Payne’s Holiday Skate Party 5-9 p.m. Dec. 19. The PTSA rented the Temple Hills Skating Palace in Temple Hills, Md., and the rink is all ours for the evening. Tickets will be $10 per person, and Payne will receive a hefty 60 percent of the revenue. Funds will benefit field trips. Stay tuned for information on how to purchase tickets. The skate party will be held in lieu of the Dec.18 PTSA meeting.

TB TEST FOLLOW-UP. 43 people received TB tests at Payne last week, one of the prerequisites for chaperoning field trips. Thanks to Lisa Lindstrom of Primary Promenade Care for donating her time and supplies and Payne parent Julia Arons for reading the tests. Unfortunately, the PTSA was unable to accept donations to help recoup costs during part of the testing session. If you wanted to donate but were not able, you can make a donation via the organization’s PayPal account or drop money in the PTSA mailbox near Ms Cox’s desk. Don’t forget: Fingerprinting is scheduled for Nov. 28 from 3-6 p.m. at Payne. You need to bring your TB results with you.

STORY KICKOFF. The Story of Our School Project has officially begun. The first meeting took place today, and “the kids are a great group – eager and interested!” said Jen Harris, who works for the non-profit. The team of students and teachers are building a museum-quality exhibit that celebrates Payne’s history. Track their progress on Twitter @schoolstoriesdc, Instagram @storyofourschools and Facebook @StoryofOurSchools.

BUILD A LITTLE FREE LIBRARY. Did you say you’re handy? Great, we need your help. The PTSA purchased a Little Free Library to be installed outside of Payne. Before it’s painted and decorated, it needs to be assembled. Interested? Contact Alyssa Thomas.


  • Hungry voters endorsed the carb wave Nov. 6. The well-timed bake sale earned the PTSA $600. Thanks to all who baked, worked the booth and made the sugar tsunami possible.
  • The Primary.com uniform fundraiser brought in $425 for Payne. You can continue to raise money for the school using this link; 10 percent of your purchase benefits Payne.


Payne is home to a Deaf and Hard-of Hearing (DHOH) program, which has provided the following etiquette tips for the wider school community.

Getting a deaf person’s attention:

  • Flicker overhead lights in the room.
  • If sitting at a table, tap to create vibrations.
  • Wave in a polite but noticeable way.
  • It is perfectly acceptable to tap a deaf person to get their attention. In hearing culture, this often is not taken well, but in the deaf community it is probably the most preferred method of getting a person’s attention.


  • Don’t speak unnaturally slowly or over-annunciate. This is heavily frowned upon in the deaf community. Talk normally, and if the person is unable understand you, you may refer to the next few options.
  • Use an interpreter. When using this option, look at the deaf person when you talk.
  • Text.
  • Write.

Culture Norms:

  • First names are acceptable.
  • When people are signing to one another, it’s OK to walk through, but don’t make a big deal of it; a simple nod will show respect.
  • Deaf people take FOREVER to say goodbye. There are at least 5 hugs and 7 goodbyes before anyone actually leaves.
  • Deaf people tend to be very direct.


Nov. 9 (tomorrow): Last day for Scholastic Book Fair, 3-6 p.m. in the library.

Nov. 9 (tomorrow): Last day to place orders for Payne T-shirts.

Nov. 13: PTSA meeting, 6 p.m. On the agenda: school band and orchestra; online dashboard for tracking school test scores and progress; presentation from fourth-grade students; Eliot-Hine’s new principal speaks

Nov. 16: Attendance social, 8:30-9:30 a.m. Check your student’s attendance record and grab a breakfast treat.

Nov. 28: Fingerprinting for Payne parent volunteers at the school.

Dec. 5: Payne Chess Club holds first meeting. Meetings will be 4:30-5:30 p.m. Wednesdays.

Dec. 14: Thankful To Give family dinner, 4-6:30 p.m. Help put together care packages for D.C.’s homeless.

Dec. 18: PTSA meeting canceled.

Dec. 19: Holiday Skate Party, 5-9 p.m. at the Temple Hills Skating Palace in Temple Hills, Md.

Wildcat PTSA News: $81K for Laptops | Meet Officer Simpson | Fall Fest

Big news to report this week: Payne secured an $81,000 grant from Lowe’s. This will fund 91 laptops, 15 teacher computers, two charger carts, one poster maker and one laminator. Parents Andria Thomas and Lexi Smith were instrumental in securing the grant from the home improvement giant.


Fall Festival by the Numbers.

  • $7,250. Dollars raised from 13 sponsors.
  • $2,000+.  Dollars raised from sales and donations of pumpkins, bake sale, chili, raffle and t-shirts.
  • 100. Pumpkins sold.
  • 15. Vats of chili consumed.
  • Too many to count. Brownies, cookies, cupcakes.
  • 2. Presidents in attendance: the Nationals’ Abraham Lincoln and Payne PTSA President Mark Jordan.
  • 35+. Volunteers making the day happen.
  • 17. Booths from community organizations and vendors.
  • 0. Raindrops between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. (Thank you, weather!)
  • Tons: Fun had by all




Security Officer Lisa Simpson is the first face you see when you step inside Payne most days of the week. Officer Simpson has been providing school security since 2006, and this is her third year at Payne. Officer Simpson is a contractor, employed by Security Assurance Management. She’s also worked security in the Ronald Reagan Building but prefers interacting with students.

Q. What is your favorite part of the job?

A. I love the fact that when I stand right here in the morning, I greet the kids. I see their faces, they just light up. They’re eager to get in the building. I love that.

Q. Can you talk about the importance of your role?

A. I am the first person anyone sees, so it’s very important my eyes are open along with my ears and that I monitor everything and anything that comes through this door.

Q. What advice would you give parents to keep the school safe?

A. When you come through the building, just abide by the rules. I know that there are changes,  but sometimes change is good.

Q. You mentioned new rules, is that the requirement all parents enter through the front door?

A. Coming through the front, signing in, showing ID. Just being considerate of the fact you have to go to the office and check in. It’s about safety for the kids.

Q. What kind of training do you get for the job? Are you trained to stop someone if you have to use physical force?

A.  I am not able to arrest or put my hands on anyone physically, but if a situation came into place, I will do what I need to do to make sure that everyone is safe. We get training every year — CPR for child, adult and infant.

Q. What do you do for fun?

A. Movies. I love the movies. Bowling. I want to learn how to shoot pool. For the most part, I’m just really laid back. Just really chill.



The Scholastic Book Fair is Nov. 6-9, and parents are needed to help sell books in the late afternoon and early evening. Sign up here. A portion of the proceeds will go toward book purchases for the school. Book fairs typically raise more than $1,000 for new books.



Librarian Tim Gordon created a “self-serve maker space” outside of the library. The station will feature a rotation of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) activities with an emphasis on the arts. The station requires independence, so Gordon expects the space to be used by 3rd-5th graders. “It will be available throughout the year with new projects appearing monthly,” Gordon said.

Pictured above are directions for creating an origami crab at the maker space.



Does your child have a grandparent in their life? Grandparents love to collect Box Tops. Ask them to save their Box Tops for Payne. Collection boxes are in the main office and in front of Ms. Fox’s Kindergarten classroom.



Friday: Payne Moms Happy Hour, 6 p.m., Ophelia’s Fish House.

Oct. 24: For College Awareness Month, students can skip wearing their Payne uniform for the day if they wear college gear instead.

Oct. 25-26: No school.

Oct. 31: Payne After School presents Spook-tacular, 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the auditorium and cafeteria with games, crafts and a haunted house. Students must be accompanied by their after school teacher, and parents are encouraged to attend. Call Ms. Cox with questions, 202-698-3262.

Nov. 6: Election Day bake sale at Payne.

Nov. 6-9: Scholastic Book Fair.

Nov. 8: Literacy Night at Payne.

Nov. 28: Fingerprinting for Payne parent volunteers comes on-site to Payne. Details to come.



Do you have news the Payne community should know? Send newsletter tips to PTSA Communications Chair Tony Lombardo, tonylombardo1@yahoo.com.

Wildcat PTSA News: Fall Festival is Saturday | Meet the Teacher | $12K for Classrooms

The school’s Fall Festival is Saturday. This is one of the biggest fundraisers and best events of the school year – and it’s looking like we’ll finally get some nice, crisp fall weather. Swing by the Payne playground 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Chow down on Frito pies and other treats, buy a pumpkin and decorate it, climb on a fire truck, and meet mascots from the Nationals and D.C. Water. Kids can burn energy in the bounce house and get their faces painted. Bring your friends and neighbors.

Thanks to numerous sponsors, PTSA members already have raised $7,250 for the festival and hope to exceed the $8,000 fundraising goal on Saturday. We’re still looking for volunteer booth workers, bakers and chili makers.



The PTSA board met Tuesday and approved allocating more than $12,000 to fund resources for classrooms, including supplemental books for Kindergarten through fifth grade; science and art supplies; and resources for the deaf and hard of hearing classrooms. The board also approved $5,000 to support the school’s Robotics Team.



When it comes to teaching, second grade is the sweet spot for Donita Hubbard, a native of Seat Pleasant, Md. This is her seventh year of teaching (her second at Payne), and despite a one-year detour to kindergarten at Nalle Elementary, second grade is where she wants to be.

Q. Why do you teach second grade?

A. Something about second graders. They’re old enough to self-regulate, but they are still young enough that what I think is super fun and cool, they consider it cool. Being able to talk about plants and extreme weather, and seeing their excitement. I have worked Kindergarten before, and that’s about teaching self-regulation and developing a little person. Second grade is not so much about that, as it is about content, which I prefer.

Q. Are you doing anything different this year?

A. Kind of doing the same thing, in just a bigger way. So, last year we did plants and did one field trip. This year we’re trying to do multiple field trips, so they can get many opportunities and experiences outside of the classroom.

Q. Where do you want to go on field trips that you didn’t go last year?

A. Last year we went to the Anacostia Watershed. This year we’re going to the watershed again. We’ve been to Glen Echo Theater already. We’re hoping to go to the National Arboretum for plants, and we’re going to start extreme weather, so I’m hoping to get a meteorologist to come in, and the Newseum could be good for that.

Q. There seems to be a lot more emphasis on field trips this year, across the school. What’s going on? Why is that?

A. It’s important to remember [children] learn through experiences. In the same way we do as adults, too, they kind of feel their way around in the real world. I can talk about planting a seed, but if I’m actually planting seeds, it makes a difference.

Q. What would you say to first grade and Kindergarten parents to get their kids ready for second grade?

A. If we could come into second grade being independent problem solvers, I think that would propel us. We spend a good deal of the beginning of the year talking about being a good classroom citizen. Most of them know how to do it, but [parents] can have that conversation [with their kids] in the summer. “Make sure you’re being kind and saying kind words and cleaning up after yourself.” I think that would be setting them up for success, behaviorally.

Q. Do you have anything unique hobbies you bring into the classroom?

A. So, I sing. But I don’t full-out belt a song to the kids. But I jokingly play around and sing stuff, and they love it and they’ll start singing randomly with me. I’m like [SINGING] Get your papers! and they’re like I’m gonna get my papers!  It’s cute. It works.



Payne has a Slack group, and you’re invited. The app fosters collaboration and communication among Payne parents, staff and the community.  Email Carolyn Bowen and she will add you to the group, PayneElementaryDC. Once in, you can join sub groups such as #grants and #greenspace, or connect one-on-one with PTSA board members and parents.



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.



Saturday: Fall Festival, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Payne.

Oct. 16: PTSA meeting, 6 p.m. in the Auditorium. Principal Byrd will speak.

Oct. 18: Payne Dad’s Happy Hour, 6:30 p.m. at The Brig. Join the Dad’s Happy Hour email group.

Oct. 19: Payne Mom’s Happy Hour, 6 p.m., Ophelia’s Fish House.

Oct. 25-26: No school.

Nov. 8: Literacy Night at Payne.

Nov. 7-9: Scholastic Book Fair. Buy books while earning money for Payne. Interested in volunteering at the fair or helping to coordinate? Email Carolyn Bowen.

Wildcat PTSA News: Enrollment Is Up | Fall Fest | New Chef


Payne enrolled 8 percent more students this year than initially projected for a total of 347 kids. With more students, D.C. Public Schools’ enrollment team provided an additional 25 iPads for students to use. The iPads have arrived at the school, and Ms. Oxendine said the administration are distributing them among the classes.



Common Core math is foreign to a lot of parents. To help, Payne has grade-specific tip sheets available for Kindergarten through 5th Grade. Pick them up from envelopes on the bulletin board between the cafeteria and the front desk. Math “homefun” – it’s not just for the kiddos.



Come have some fall fun at the 2018 Payne Fall Festival, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 13 at the school with pumpkin decorating, face painting, bounce houses and more. Meet mascots for the Nationals and D.C. Water and enjoy chili and baked goods. Organizers still are looking for volunteers, especially for the face-painting table. Please sign up to volunteer.



Meet new Cafeteria Chef Calvin Coleman. A native of Washington, D.C, with familial roots in the Carolinas, Chef Coleman joined Payne last month. He most recently worked as a chef at the Verizon Center. His favorite things to cook include Caribbean food, mac and cheese and seafood salad. “I’m looking forward to upgrading the food and putting a new twist on it,” Coleman said. He replaces Chef T, who transferred to Jefferson Middle School.



Payne will have a new resource for the next three school years: a full-time member of the AmeriCorps Volunteer in Service to America Program (VISTA). Amy Thomas has started working at Payne for the first year of the program. AmeriCorps VISTA members work with communities to ensure poverty is addressed in a manner that builds community, generates self-sufficiency and establishes economic, health and educational security. The program was founded in 1965 by a bi-partisan Congress to help eliminate widespread poverty within the U.S.

Amy’s goals for her year at Payne include:

  • Recruiting STEM partnerships
  • Updating parent, staff and partner contact information
  • Streamlining communication, volunteer and partner systems
  • Building a sustainable community within Payne
  • Tracking and updating partnerships



Walk to School Day begins with a rally with several Capitol Hill Schools at 7:30 a.m. Oct. 10 at Lincoln Park. Bring some noisemakers to show the community how well-represented Payne is.



Thank you for participating in the Pretzels for Payne fundraising event this week. We earned $168 for the school. Do you know of a local business that would be interested in a proceeds-sharing event for Payne (like we have done with The Pretzel Bakery, East City Books, and Mr. Henry’s)? If so, contact PTSA fundraising chair Kerry DeVooght, kerrydevooght@gmail.com.


Interest is building to establish a Little Free Library at Payne and to decorate it on Literacy Night, Nov. 8. Want to help? Email Carolyn Bowen carolyncbowen@gmail.com.


Shop at primary.com now through Tuesday to save 20 percent and earn 10 percent back for Payne. Use our unique URL: www.primary.com/school/payne with promo code PAYNEWEEK.


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

Oct. 4: Monthly LSAT Meeting.

Oct. 8: No school.

Oct. 10: Walk to School Day, 7:30-8:15 a.m. at Lincoln Park.

Oct. 13: Fall Festival, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Payne.

Oct. 16: PTSA meeting, 6 p.m. in the Auditorium. Principal Byrd will speak.

Oct. 25-26: No school.

Nov. 8: Literacy Night.

Nov. 7-9: Scholastic Book Fair. Interested in volunteering at the fair or helping to coordinate? Email Carolyn Bowen

Wildcat PTSA News: Parents Sound Off | What’s a Behavior Tech? | Cleanup Day

We opened the floor Wednesday at the first PTSA meeting of the year, and parents raised several topics for further discussion in the weeks to come.

  • Can students have more recess time?
  • How can the deaf and hard of hearing program be more inclusive with the rest of the school?
  • Can the school discuss limiting screen time during the day?
  • What would it take to get full-time art and music teachers?
  • How to start new clubs at Payne (chess? tennis? sewing?)
  • Can we add cultural events at school (MLK Day, International Day, Dia de los Muertos)?
  • How to secure free and on-site Tuberculosis and fingerprinting for parent volunteers?

If you want to volunteer to lead or contribute to groups on these specific issues, please complete this form. And mark your calendars for the next PTSA meeting: 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16.


You’ve probably seen Robert Davis around Payne: At 6-foot-4, he towers over most everyone else. He also takes on a variety of responsibilities across the school, where he’s worked since 1995. His primary role is working as one of two behavior technicians assigned to Payne’s Behavior and Education Support Program. The program buses in children from across D.C. who are identified as having emotional disabilities or challenging behaviors. The classrooms, which can have a max of 10 students, include a teacher, a paraprofessional and a behavior tech.


Q. Describe what you do as a behavior tech at Payne.

A. I’ve been trained to implement certain techniques and prompts to get kids who are in my classroom to get back on track and focus and make them feel safe. Right up there with them being safe, is trust. They trust me. Since the environment feels safe for them, then they want to learn, and it’s a win-win for everybody. The goal is to get them back into general ed.

Q. Is patience very important for your job?

A. Oh, extremely important. Especially being an educator. I feel like if you’re doing this for any other reason besides a love of children, then this is definitely the wrong field for you.

Q. Do you do other things around the school?

A. I do everything. I’m Slash. I’m the IT guy. [laughs] Whenever we have a program, I’m the guy who has to go in the Auditorium. I’m the guy who knows how that system works. Every teacher in here has my phone number, so if the Smartboard’s not working, I can troubleshoot. I run my own before care program in the morning.

Q. What is the before care program like?

A. I get here at 6:45, I set up. We have plenty of computers for the older kids. I have different stations. You can color and draw. I have manipulative toys at another station. Puzzles at another station. I also do homework assistance.



The PTSA Fundraising Committee submitted six applications totaling more than $10,500 to the Capitol Hill Community Foundation through fall seasonal grant applications, which request:

  • Classroom library books for PK4 through 5th grade (with a goal of finding other resources for PK3).
  • Bus money for field trips for Kindergarten through 5th grade and the deaf and hard of hearing classes.
  • Materials for art teacher Ms. Harvey.
  • Science materials for experiments with Ms. Henson.
  • Audio books, Braille books, printer ink and American Sign Language books for the deaf and hard of hearing classes.


SPECIAL THANKS to all who contributed to the PTSA meeting bake sale. We raised more than $250.


PRIMARY.COM SPIRIT WEEK SALE. Shop at primary.com now through Oct. 9 to save 20 percent and earn 10 percent back for Payne. Use our unique URL: www.primary.com/school/payne with promo code PAYNEWEEK.



  • Pretzels for Payne. Stop by The Pretzel Bakery, 3-6 p.m. Oct. 2. Mention Payne, and 20 percent of your purchase will benefit the PTSA.
  • Fall Festival. We’ve raised $6,250 of our sponsorship $8,000 goal, but volunteers and sponsors still are needed. Volunteer for an hour and stay for the fun. Know a business that would love their logo displayed all year on Payne’s playground? Contact Alison Mitchell.
  • Hilloween Volunteers Needed. Payne is looking for volunteers to represent the school at Hilloween, Capitol Hill’s Halloween block party. If you’re interested in sitting at a table and passing out candy, hot drinks and fun items, let Lexi Smith know.
  • Box Tops. This is not your mama’s Box Tops program. You now can download the Box Tops app to scan your receipt to record the Box Tops instantly. Payne still will welcome the actual tops, too.




Sept. 29: Join Payne parents at 9:30 a.m. for an outside cleanup to tend the garden, plant bulbs and tidy up the school grounds. Kids are welcome.

Sept. 30: Watkins Elementary at 420 12th St. S.E. will host parents across D.C. for a meeting on Building Community In Diverse Schools, 2-4:30 p.m.

Oct. 2: Pretzel Bakery fundraiser, 3-6 p.m.

Oct. 5: Coffee with Principal Byrd, 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. in the Auditorium.

Oct. 8: No school.

Oct. 10: Walk to School Day, 7:30-8:15 a.m. at Lincoln Park.

Oct. 13: Fall Festival, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Oct. 16: PTSA meeting, 6 p.m. in the Auditorium.

Oct. 25-26: No school.

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.