Wildcat PTSA News: New LSAT Team | Book Fair | Antiracist Workshop

Thank you to the four Payne parents who volunteered to serve on this year’s LSAT. The Local School Advisory Team, a group of parents and Payne staff, will help to inform and advise Principal Byrd on topics such as school achievement and the budget. As PTSA president, Deirdre Duffy also sits on the LSAT. The following four parents volunteered for the four open seats. They will serve one-year terms.

New to the LSAT

  • Rebecca Bell, a DCPS graduate herself, has been a member of the Payne family since 2016 when her son Robert started PK4. “I consider myself an ideas person and would love the opportunity to brainstorm ideas about what would make Payne an even more thriving community — filled with love, hope and learning for all of our student ‘Geniuses’ and their families,” Bell said.
  • Chris Tissue is a 12-year resident of D.C. and has lived in Hill East for six of those years along with his wife, Michelle. They have two sons, Hunter, who is in PK3, and Connor, who is a year and a half. Chris has worked in management consulting for 11 years and is the chief operating officer of CUCollaborate LLC, a startup focused on helping credit unions grow through software development and consulting projects for field of membership expansion. 

Returning to the LSAT 

  • Liz Aloi is a long-time resident of D.C. and grateful to be part of the Payne community, where her son is in Kindergarten and her daughter is in PK3. When not toting her kids around on their cargo bike, she prosecutes corruption and civil rights offenses.
  • Steve Bowen, has served as LSAT chair for the past two years. He has served in leadership roles in the Marine Corps and U.S. Department of State. He and his wife Carolyn Bowen (the PTSA treasurer) have two Wildcats: Will, who is in third grade, and Val who is in first grade. “The challenges we face today are daunting for sure, but are surmountable given the talent and good will the Payne community possesses,” Bowen said. “I feel fortunate to have been welcomed into Payne’s community 6 years ago, and I appreciate the opportunity to give back.”



Payne will host an online Scholastic Book Fair Nov. 9-22. Books will be mailed directly to your home and a percentage of the profits will go back to Payne to purchase more books. Stay tuned for how to buy! 



PTSA volunteers submitted $12,500 in grant applications earlier this month through the Capitol Hill Community Foundation. We’ll find out in November whether we receive some or all of the following: 

  • $5,000 for additional food assistance to support Payne families.
  • $5,000 for clear face masks to assist in-person instruction, especially for the deaf and hard of hearing and PK classes.
  • $2,500 in reading materials for fourth and fifth grades and for more diverse books for the library.



There’s still time to sign up for “Raising Antiracist Kids” virtual workshops, led by Keiana Mayfield, MSW, a PhD candidate at Penn State University. Keiana has been offering these workshops, in conjunction with East City Bookshop, for the past few months. According to Keiana, “the goal is to enhance the skills and strategies parents/caregivers use to engage with their children and families around issues of race and racism.” Because this is an academic study, participants willing to complete a short survey will get a $20 East City Bookshop gift certificate. 

To sign up, visit this link: https://www.keianamayfield.com/raising-antiracist-kids-program

Once you click the link, select “Get notified when the study opens.” This will take you to the survey to select best time availability and put in your contact information, so we can coordinate the workshop times.



Don’t forget: The PTSA is offering virtual soccer and dance enrichment on Tuesdays and Thursdays during lunch and after school. Attendance has been light so far, but we’ve received positive feedback from parents.



Oct. 14, 21, 28: Free community events: Opera Starts with Oh! virtual children’s programs via Opera Lafayette

Oct. 22: Free community event: National Gallery of Art virtual program on finding humor in art. 4-5 p.m.

Oct. 24-31: Literary Pumpkin Walk from the Capitol Hill Community Foundation. Registrants are eligible to win $1,000 for a Capitol Hill school of their choice. Registration and details here 

Nov. 3: No school: Election Day

Nov. 6: No school

Nov. 8: Free community event: 2-3:30 p.m. virtual workshop on making portraits from Eastern Market Art Series and Teachings

Nov. 9-22: Scholastic Online Book Fair

Nov. 11: No school: Veterans Day

Nov. 25-27: No school: Thanksgiving Break

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

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



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

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

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



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



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

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

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



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



March 10: 6 p.m., PTSA meeting

March 20: No school

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

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

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

April 8: No school

April 13-17: No school

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

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

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



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



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



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

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



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

Q: How is the job going?

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

Q: Where are you coming from?

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

Q: What about this Payne job appealed to you?

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

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

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

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

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



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



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



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



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



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

Feb. 28: Black History Month Celebration

March 10: 6 p.m., PTSA meeting

March 20: No school

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

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