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.

Wildcat PTSA News: Payne’s Own Solar Farm | Shop, Save, Support | Parents’ Happy Hour

Don’t miss our first PTSA meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 25 in the Auditorium. We’ll begin with an informal meet-and-greet with the board at 5:30 p.m., and the meeting will run 6-7 p.m. We’ll discuss ways you can get involved in the school and upcoming school events, including Fall Fest. Also, come tell us what we can do to support you and the Payne community. BONUS: Pizza and child care will be provided. Not a PTSA member yet? It’s not too late.


If you haven’t been on Payne’s roof lately, you might be surprised to learn 344 solar panels now are sitting up there, soaking up the sun and creating energy. You can get a peek at them via the window on the third floor.

Thomas Gustafson with PEER Consultants Inc., an environmental engineering consulting firm working with the D.C. Department of General Services, tackled some PTSA questions about the project. Gustafson said the system is monitored online, and it’s been a useful teaching tool about green energy for other projects.

Q. How much of Payne’s electricity will the solar panels generate?

A. The system on Payne Elementary School is anticipated to produce an annual output of 147.5 MWh of electricity [Note: That’s the equivalent of taking 23.5 vehicles off of the road for one year.] The configuration for this system allows for the production of electricity to be “back-fed” into the existing electrical grid. The resulting power is then realized as a credit, or savings, by the D.C. Department of General Services which is the “owner” of the facility.

Q. Why was Payne selected?

A. Payne is one of almost 50 sites across D.C. that has been awarded this system as a result of the Department of General Services’ initiative to expand green energy sources throughout the city. The flat roof configuration of Payne makes this a good candidate for this rooftop solar array application.

Q. When are the panels becoming operational?

A. The system is currently running and the panels are now operational.


Pop quiz: What do Disney on Ice, Harris Teeter and Jeff Bezos all have in common?

Answer: If you give them your money, you also can support Payne.

Amazon Smile: Shop through Amazon Smile, and Amazon will donate a portion of your eligible purchases to the Payne PTSA. Make sure to use this URL: smile.amazon.com and select Payne Elementary Schools Parents Teachers Students Association as your charity of choice.

Primary.com: The children’s clothing site offers tops and bottoms that work great for Payne uniforms. Use the Payne school link, and 10 percent of the sale will go to the school. New customers get 20 percent off with code “PAYNE.”
Harris Teeter: Link your VIC card to code 8144.

Box Tops: Together with Ms. Fox (Kindergarten) and Ms. Dance (PK4), the PTSA will collect Box Tops. Bring in Box Tops, found on General Mills products, and the school will get 10 cents each. Collection boxes will be located in the main office near Ms. Cox’s desk and in front of Ms. Fox’s Kindergarten classroom. Got a question? Talk to Ms. Fox or Ms. Dance.

CertifiKID: This website offers deals on family-friendly events such as Disney on Ice and haunted houses and will donate $5 to the PTSA with every purchase of $20 or more with the code “PAYNE.”


Thanks to everyone who participated in the East City Bookshop fundraiser and dined at Mr. Henry’s on Saturday. You helped to raise more than $1,100 for Payne, and 60 books were donated to classroom libraries. Big thanks to Principal Byrd for stopping by for storytime.


STAFF DIRECTORY NOW ONLINE: Need to contact a teacher or staff member at Payne? You now can get their email address via the school directory.



Where to Start: Want to volunteer? Let us know your interests and your unique set of skills in this online form.

Fall Fest: Help plan the Oct. 13 Payne Fall Festival and manage booths and activities such as pumpkin decorating, face painting, running a bounce house and selling chili and homemade treats. Contact PTSA Fundraising Chair Kerry DeVooght.



Sept. 20: Payne Dads Happy Hour, 6:30 p.m., Biergarten Haus, 1355 H St. N.E.

Sept. 20: Ward 6 school board candidate forum, 7-9 p.m. at the Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Ave. S.E. Submit questions to debate@hillrag.com, and put “School Board” in the subject line.

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. 26: Payne Moms Happy Hour, 6 p.m., Betsy, 514 8th St. S.E. (back alley).

Sept. 28: Story of Our Schools is hosting an auction fundraiser, 6:30 p.m. at The Loft, 600 F St. N.W.

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. Discuss what’s working and what isn’t in building respectful and equitable school communities.

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

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.

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

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