Payne Wildcats News

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:

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 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