Payne Wildcats News

Payne Wildcat News: Trivia Night | Reading Tutors | Open Houses

Hello, Wildcats.

The PTSA is hosting a trivia night for parents, teachers and members of the Payne community at 8 p.m. on Feb. 24. 

In an effort to break up the pandemic monotony and spice this trivia night up, we’re hiring a real trivia night facilitator. In other words, it’s a friendly competition but bring your A-game.



Reading Partners, a tutoring program that has been helping Payne students learn to read for years, is encouraging families to sign up for virtual sessions on Zoom. The program is offering 1-on-1 reading tutoring to students, free of charge, and will work with your family’s schedule.

  • All Kindergarten and first grade students are eligible for the program.
  • Second, third and fourth grade students who are behind grade level also are eligible.

An e-signed permission slip is required before tutoring can begin. If you are interested, please reach out to Natalie Danett at or call 845-803-9770.



Payne virtual open houses are underway. Please share this signup link with your friends and neighbors who will have potential Wildcats next year. We still are looking for Payne parents to attend and share experiences and we have an immediate need for a parent volunteer this Friday.

  • 9 a.m. Jan. 29
  • 4 p.m. Feb. 5
  • 9 a.m. Feb. 12
  • 4 p.m. Feb. 19
  • 9 a.m. Feb. 26 



You and your kids can support our city’s oldest residents this Valentine’s Day by creating cards for the Cupid’s Kids project. For the past few years, the DC Department of Aging and Community Living has teamed up with DC schools to create thousands of Valentine’s Day cards. This year, the project is open to all ages. Through Feb. 5, you can drop off Valentine’s Day cards at locations throughout the city (the NE Library, for example) or mail them to 500 K Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. The cards will go to seniors who receive home-delivered meals. Click here for a toolkit and detailed instructions



A virtual self-care summit called Taking Care of Yourself 2021 is underway this week through the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health. Designed for parents and educators of young children, there are two days of expert panels and Q&A sessions and more. For more information contact Ghislaine Toussaint-Green at 202-597-2908.

Sign up for Thursday’s sessions here:

Sign up for Friday’s sessions here:   



Jan. 28: 5 p.m., orientation for in-person learning

Jan. 29: No school

Feb. 1: In-person learning begins

Feb. 3: In-person and CARES classes end at 12:15. This end time will remain in effect each Wednesday.

Feb. 15: No school

Payne Wildcat News: Literacy Night | Grant Awards | EdFEST

Hello, Payne community. 

Don’t forget, Literacy Night will be 4:30-5:30 p.m. today on Zoom. Kids will be broken out into two groups by age, and the meetings will be packed with activities. 

PK3-Second Grade: Meeting ID: 879-4863-8532, password: wildcats

Games: Alphabet Bingo, Scavenger Hunt, Rhyme Time, Storytime and Mickey Mouse Hidden Alphabet Coding

Third-Fifth Grades: Meeting ID: 942-1828-3800, password: funfun

    Games: CultureTags, Narrative Scavenger Hunt and coding games



Despite an influx of Capitol Hill Community Foundation applications this year, Payne succeeded in gaining funds for all three of our requests. Our recently announced grant awards include:

  • $1,000 for food assistance for Payne families.
  • $2,000 for clear masks for the deaf and hard of hearing classes and staff, which will be used when in-person instruction resumes.
  • $1,250 for reading materials to include diverse books for the library and books for fourth and fifth grades.  



Virtual school has made it tougher for students to kick back and laugh with their friends. What’s Up Wednesdays is a new opportunity for kids to gather and just have fun. Every Wednesday at 1 p.m., Payne is hosting a social gathering, accessible via the What’s Up Wednesday Meeting Room in Teams. The link is on your classroom’s Canvas page. 

Several Payne staff are leading these gatherings, including Ms. Keaney, Mr. Workman, Ms. Weeks and Ms. Lestino, plus two high school interns. Adults will facilitate activities for some structure, but kids have a chance to chat and make new friends. Last week, Ms. Keaney said activities included Would You Rather, Pictionary and Freeze Dance. 

“It was fun, and I think the kids got a kick out of it!” Ms. Keaney said. 



A new grassroots organization formed to support residents of the D.C. Jail would like some help sharing holiday greetings. 

Neighbors for Justice was founded this year by neighbors who live a few blocks from the D.C. Jail, including a number of Payne parents. They want to support those at the jail during the pandemic and beyond. Payne parent Laura Forsythe, a founder of the group, is asking if Payne Wildcats and parents could send virtual letters via this link on their website.

The 1,400 men and women at the jail have been on medical lockdown for more than eight months due to Covid, meaning they are in their cells for 23 hours per day with no visitors, Laura wrote in a message to the PTSA. “Consider writing a friendly note of encouragement to let residents at the jail know we are thinking of them this holiday season. Ask your children to draw a picture to share,” she said.

Learn more here to sign up to participate and see guidance and sample letters.



EdFEST, DC’s citywide public school fair is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday via the virtual platform Accelevents. This marks the first time the event has gone digital-only. Learn about DCPS schools, the lottery system and chat one-on-one with officials and parents from schools across the city. 

Want to help promote Payne and answer questions? Volunteers are needed for half-hour shifts. Contact Payne Clerk Monich Brown:



We are wrapping up the soccer and dance enrichment programs for the fall and are starting to brainstorm options for fun enrichment activities for the coming months. We are exploring both ongoing and one-time activities. If you (or someone you know) has an activity you would like to do with a group of kids virtually after school, please email

Ideas could include: season or holiday-related craft projects, yoga, simple cooking activities, chess and other board game introductions.



Still on the hunt for a fun holiday gift? Labyrinth Games & Puzzles on the Hill has launched a “Gift Assist” program via its website. Answer a few questions about the gift recipient, and the gaming gurus at Labyrinth will provide several recommendations. Speaking from experience, they really make the time and effort to personalize each request. 



4:30 p.m. today: Virtual Literacy Night

Dec. 23-Jan. 1: No school

Jan. 18-20: No school

Jan. 29: No school

Payne Wildcat News: Enrollment Corrections | CARE Classroom | Movie Night and Parent Support


Hello, Payne community.  You may be getting a call or message from Payne’s office in the next few days with questions about your enrollment paperwork. DCPS annually audits enrollment forms and this year identified 80 discrepancies or issues that need attention, according to Payne administrative assistant Mrs. Mobley Cox-Asante, who is making calls and sending messages.

Please respond by Tuesday with necessary updates to your paperwork. If you need to visit the school in person, you can get copies or drop off paperwork from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. during the school week. The best email address for enrollment questions or responses is


Many Payne families received calls from the school this week to gauge interest in having child attend a CARE classroom, a physical seat in the school building with a staff member to  facilitate virtual learning.

The school needed at least eight kids per grade to launch a CARE class, and only third grade met that threshold, Mrs. Mobley Cox-Asante said. The third grade CARE classroom will launch Nov. 18 with 11 students. Payne is not preparing another CARE class at this time, but it hasn’t been ruled out, either.


Payne Social Worker Alice Keaney shares the following information about a special session for parents and a movie night for kids 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18:

The Payne Mental Health Team is thrilled to be partnering with Megan Lestino, a counselor from Maryland Family Resources, Inc. Megan will be facilitating a session for parents to discuss optimizing your child’s experience of virtual learning on Wednesday 11/18 at 6pm. We will play an age-appropriate movie through a separate Zoom link if your children want to join their friends for some fun while their parents learn. Please see the attached flyer for details and reach out to Ms. Keaney at  with questions.

Zoom link for adults:

Zoom link for children:

Participants in the learning session can win one of three $25 Scholastic Book Fair gift cards courtesy of the PTSA.


  • Monday, Nov. 16: Express Yourself (T-shirts with messages, crazy hair/ hat/ socks)
  • ​Tuesday, Nov. 17: I’m Getting Ready (College/high school/Payne gear)
  • ​Wednesday, Nov. 18: Dreamer’s Day (Dress in your dream career attire)
  • ​Thursday, Nov. 19: Throwback Thursday (Choose clothes from any era)
  • Friday, Nov. 20: Class Colors Day/Field Day (Class colors – check with your child’s teacher)


Payne families gathered at the National Arboretum last weekend for the first of three Payne Family Days. If you missed it, this Saturday, Nov. 14, is the second.

Visit the Arboretum from 9 a.m. to noon for activities such as scavenger hunts, wildlife watching and nature walks. Enter via R Street, off of Bladensburg Road, and there will be a table with materials set up in front of the Arbor House labeled “Payne Elementary.” This is an unstaffed event, and masks are required.

The last Payne Family Day will be Nov. 21, also 9 a.m. to noon.

This Arboretum staffer noted a lot of Payne families showed up last Saturday.


Payne’s online Scholastic Book Fair is underway through Nov. 22. Visit this link, and a portion of sales will benefit Payne’s own library and classrooms:

Because it’s online, there are more book options (6,000+) than in-person book fairs. Books will be delivered to your home, and book purchases of more than $25 have free shipping. Note: non-book items don’t count toward free shipping.

Do you have a spouse, neighbor or friend who isn’t receiving the PTSA newsletter? Send a note to Tony Lombardo, who can add them to the email group:


Saturday, Nov. 14.: 9 a.m.-noon, Payne Family Day at the Arboretum

Wednesday, Nov. 18: 6 p.m., Virtual Learning Session/Movie Night

Nov. 21: 9 a.m.-noon, Payne Family Day at the Arboretum

Nov. 25-27: No school: Thanksgiving break

Dec. 23-Jan. 1: No school: holiday break