Payne Post – 9/18/2017

Parenting has been my life’s most joyful work.  It is tiresome and confusing, filled with anxiety and ecstasy, yet it is the most fulfilling work there is.  When you walk into Payne, hopefully some of the anxiety is eased and the joy is felt through a warm and welcoming community, delighted to see you and your child each day. If you have not had a chance to connect with our wonderful teachers, staff and parents, be sure to come out Wednesday night to the PTA meeting.

Goal season is upon us.  We celebrate the growth made on PARCC last year, but we are nowhere close to where we need to be.  So we are setting our sights and expectations high.

Parents can help by:

  • Reading every night.  Even if you are the parent of an overachieving 5th grade student, read TO your child.
  • Remember reading should be fun and intriguing. If your child struggles to read to you, the text may not be appropriate.  Don’t take the joy out of reading.
  • Listen everywhere.  When my son was young, I used to ask: How was school?  What did you do today?  His answer was always, “fine” and “nothing”.  Finally, I stumbled upon a different question: What did the teacher do today?  Turns out that the teacher is very, very, busy. My son began to tell me, with excruciating detail, all the things that happened at school.  And I listened with great intent.  Listening assures your child that you are interested in their lives and that school is important enough for you to stop and listen.
  • Write everything. Have your child write or draw everything: shopping lists, the days agenda, letters and cards, stories and family news. Post pictures and have your child talk to you about the work they have put in.
  • Healthy eating. We are being more mindful about the things we allow here in school, please be mindful about the things that your child eats at home.

School logistics:

  • This week I was visited by the most lovely parent of a bright 4th grade girl, who spoke to me about the history of the Payne playground and what it means to the community. Based on this exchange, we will leave the playground open until 7pm weekdays.
  • Entering through the back door.  In an effort to ensure that all students stay safe and strangers are not allowed in the building.  The back door will lock at 8:40 am and 3:30 pm, please enter through the front door.

Thank you and see you on Wednesday,

Stephanie Byrd


Payne Post – 8/30/2017

We are off to a great start.  Students have been happily getting to know each other once again.

This week I am reading to each class, grades K-5, one of two books: Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes (K-2) and A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon (3-5).  Chrysanthemum is about a little girl who went to school and was teased, until she met, Delphinium Twinkle, music teacher.  The message shared with students is that we each possess the power to influence how others feel about themselves and school.  A Bad Case of Stripes is about a girl who is constantly changing because she was not true to herself.  The message here is that if we worry about what other people think, then we cannot be true to ourselves.

This year we have several new staff (bios and pictures are forthcoming).  We welcome a new partnership, Playworks.  Our resident Playworks coach is Kierra Butler, also known as, Coach B.  Coach B has begun supporting transitions to and from recess.  Organizing recess and ensuring that students have a variety of play options.  In later months, she will work with teachers to carve out time for movement and play during class; and train a cadre of 4th and 5th grade students to serve as Jr. Coaches.

Meet Coach B and other Payne partners at Back to School Night, Wednesday, September 6th at 5:30 in the Auditorium.

First Day of School


Good Afternoon Payne Wildcats,

We are very close to the start of the new school year.

It is with mounting excitement and anticipation that we prepare for the opening of school. Teachers have been deep in study and reflection. New staff have been getting to know the community and I consistently hear the refrain “can’t wait till the kids get here”.

Classroom assignments have been completed and parents can learn who the name of the teacher by calling the office, we will be happy to accommodate you.

Reminder: Students grades Kindergarten through 5th begin school on Monday, August 21st. Students grades PK3 and PK4 begin on Thursday, August 24th.

Below are some first day logistics:


  • Our community will come together on the large playground, starting at 8:10am
    • All students, parents, teachers will enter the through the playground door.
    • There will be no access to the parking lot
  • Breakfast starts at 8:15am.
  • Teachers will be on the playground to meet parents and students.
  • We will begin with morning meeting on the playground and progress into the building at 8:45am.
  • Parents may form a good bye line at the door. For those parents who would like to see the classroom, you are more than welcome to help escort the classroom inside. All parents will be asked to leave by 9:15am.


  • Our community will come together once again on the large playground.  School ends at 3:15. We ask that all parents wait on the playground to receive their little one.
  • After School starts on Monday, to pick up students, please come to the front lobby a member of the After School team will call the student down for dismissal.
  • After School ends at 5:45pm all students must be picked up by 6:00pm.

School Uniform

  • As a community of learners one of the things that binds us is our school uniform, adherence ensures that students feel that they are viable members.
  • Navy blue bottom, white top for students grades K – 5.
  • Navy blue top and bottom for Pk3 and Pk4.
  • The school t-shirt can be worn as a part of the school uniform.

Cell phones and Toys

  • We have a zero tolerance policy for any distraction to the instructional day.
  • All student phones must be off and placed in back packs, any phones that cause a disruption to the instructional day will be confiscated and will be made available only to parents at the end of the day.
  • No toys, including fidget spinners, are allowed; such will be confiscated and made available to parents at the end of the day.
  • Students in need of fidgets may speak with our mental health team

Middle School and High School Students

  • All middle and high school students picking up siblings should pick up their siblings and vacate the premises.
  • This year we cannot accommodate older students; we have more students and different staffing.

Health Forms and Immunization Records

  • Health physicals and oral health assessments are required annually. Students also must be current with their immunizations to attend school.  Please submit this updated information as soon as possible to avoid any interruption in attendance to school.

Payne Post – 1/11/2017

Next week will be a short week:

  • Monday – MLK Holiday – No School
  • Thursday – Professional Development Day – No School
  • Friday – Inauguration Day – No School

But we will make the most out of the two days that we have:

  • School Spelling Bee – Wednesday.  Winners will be advanced to the School Cluster Competition, City-Wide Competition, and then the Scripts National Bee.

Volunteers Needed:

  • Book Leveling in 2nd and 3rd Grade – enter book title into computer, get reading level, label book.  Time required: approximately 10 hours.
  • Wildcat Wednesday Folder Coordinator – copy and separate papers for the Wednesday folder.  Time required: 2 hours a week for 6 weeks.

Payne Post – 1/5/2017

Happy New Year! And Welcome Back!

As we embark upon the second half of our school year we will remain consistent in our efforts to increase the number of students performing at higher levels, become better at our craft, and grow the Payne community.

School goals were shared with parents at the December PTA meeting (See PowerPoint file linked here: e89b4ee0-588a-445b-913d-d00271a34055).

Good News

2nd Grade has two new leveled classroom libraries, thanks to parents

Check it Out

School data and our school calendar (includes birthdays) are on display along the corridor between the cafeteria and main office.

Happening this Week

Coffee with the Principal – We will take a look at and discuss kindergarten and 1st grade

Friday, January 6th at 9am

In the case of a school delay, this will be moved to the following Friday

Temporary Change

2nd grade teacher Mrs. Walker will be out for several weeks due to a personal emergency.  We are doing everything we can to provide the best and most qualified coverage possible.  As plans are solidified parents will be updated.


Stephanie Byrd


Payne Post – 12/8/2016

Good Afternoon,

Small group instruction allows teachers the opportunity to work with students on the skills and concepts they meet each child’s specific need.  This is where the magic happens.  Everyday students grades K-5th are provided an individualized experience via small groups.

Students in grades 4 and 5 are participating in the Payne Book Battle, thanks to 5th grade teacher Ms. Johnson. Students have a Daily Reading Log; to track their reading, students with 140 minutes read earn a sticker.

Cheerleading, robotics and student government.

  • Cheerleading tryouts have begun
  • Our robotics team will participate in a robotics competition on Saturday, December 10th
  • Student Government officers will be elected next week. Students will campaign through the week

Today we ended the day with a wonderful Holiday Celebration, where we encouraged to spread love and enjoy the season.

Next week we are in school all week.  Winter Break begins on Thursday, December 22nd. 


Payne Post – 11/22/2016

Happy Thanksgiving,

Please be reminded that tomorrow, Wednesday, November 23rd is a school day. All students are expected to attend.

But there is NO After School.

Over the following days we will have the opportunity to relax and enjoy family and friends. We can spend time reflecting on the start of a new school year and give thanks for our many blessings.  Below are a few of the things I am thankful for:

  • 301 beautiful wildcats. If you were not aware, we have grown a bit, our enrollment is up and our students are awesome.
  • Teachers, paraprofessionals, social workers, psychologists, custodians, behavior techs, office staff, kitchen workers, security guards, speech pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, substitute teachers, volunteer grandparents’ math coach and assistant principal all deeply committed to educating each student.
  • An awesome cadre of parents who have welcomed and supported me as I transitioned into this new role.
  • The opportunity to serve in this capacity.

Thanks to all who came out and enjoyed Literacy Night. Our next big event will be the Holiday Celebration in December.

Thanks to all who helped with our library.

Early Childhood Education (ECE)

Our ECE classes are under construction. We are moving into a new unit: Grocery Store. Centers are being transformed and students will don new personas like the shopper, the clerk who is checking out the groceries, the baker, produce manager or truck driver.

Check Us Out is up and running!

Cool Stuff

  • Our robotics team will compete against other teams here on Saturday, December 10th.
  • At Literacy Night we kicked off our writing contest for students 1st grade through 5th grade.
  • Our Math Club is taking form.
  • We will announce our student government officers soon.


The building opens to students at 8:15am. There is a parent operated Before Care in the Library. Students should arriving prior to 8:15 will remain on the playground and will not be supervised by Payne staff.

Up Coming

Nov 29                 1st Grade to Air and Space Museum

Nov 30                 PreK Parent Cafe

Dec 1                    Coffee with the Principal

Dec 2                    Professional Development Day – No School for Students

Dec 8                    Holiday Celebration

Dec 10                  EdFest (Volunteers needed to represent Payne at the DC Armory)

Payne Post – 11/4/2016

Good Evening,

We have had an event filled opening to November here at Payne: PK Halloween parade; field trips, and parent-teacher conferences.  I hope your little one is having a great experience here at Payne.

5th Grade Math Challenge:

I visited 5th grade and took on a few students at 24 Challenge, to my delight they are getting better. Still not able to beat me, but better.

Make these 4 digits equal 24; you must use each digit and they can only be used once:

6, 5, 3, 1 = 24

8, 4, 4, 4 = 24

Election Day

We are anticipating large crowds on Election Day and seek to keep all students safe throughout the day. Please be sure to bring all students into the rear of the building. The front door will be used for voters. Students will not be allowed to use the front corridor.

Coming Up






Election Day

3rd grade to Imagination Stage

Kindergarten Community Walk

Data Meetings

3rd Grade Spelling Bee


Open House


4th Grade Spelling Bee 1:30

5th Grade/Walton

Spelling Bee


ALT 3:30

1st Grade Spelling Bee 2:00

2nd Grade

Spelling Bee



Middle School Night 5:30

Payne Post – 10/27/2016

Greetings All,

October is College Awareness Month. Please join us in conversations around college. Now is the time to instill the expectation.  In my career, I have had the opportunity to speak with many parents about how we are preparing students and expect them to continue their education beyond high school and even beyond the undergraduate years of college. Some have listened with hope and quiet respect, for some there is no doubt, but for some the probability is daunting and precludes the possibility. I believe all of our students can, will and must attend college our collective future depends on it.

As a school community we must ensure that we speak to each other and pass amongst each other the keys to access the various worlds in which we live.

Up Coming Events at Payne!

ECE Parent Cafe / Wednesday, November 2nd / Parents of Pk3 and Pk4

Literacy Night / Thursday, November 17th

Middle School Night / Thursday, November 10th / 4th and 5th Grade Parents

Parent Volunteers Needed

Sunday, November 6th MOTH School Fair

Saturday, December 10th Edfest School Fair


Stephanie Byrd

Principal, Payne ES