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Black History Month Reflections


As Ms. Rowe said in our celebration this morning, Black History should be celebrated every month, not just during February. What we saw from our students in this year’s projects, was exactly the intention: “The Crown Act: Equity, Excellence, Efficacy, Eloquence and Empowerment.” It’s my hope that we’re at an inflection point in our country, where Black History and all the histories of our people are acknowledged, taught, and most importantly learned from inside and outside of our schools. Having a more inclusive curriculum requires a more inclusive perspective on history and how it impacts the present and future. I keep coming back to the Amanda Gorman line, “It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit. It’s the past we step into and how we repair it.” We all saw our students step into that past to celebrate the excellence, efficacy, eloquence, and empowerment that we can all learn from Black History and the histories of all cultures to repair the injustices and make tomorrow even more hopeful. I am so proud of our students for their perseverance and dedication to excellence and for our creative teachers that made important learning possible this month especially, but each and every month at Peabody at Watkins.

UPDATES


Headlines:

  • Parent Teacher Conferences- March 5

  • Virtual Instruction Support Update

  • PARCC Planning is on Pause City-wide

  • Lunch/ Snack and Supper Offers: For In Person Students

  • Meet A Lego Artist

  • In-Person Learning Acceptance Data

  • Update on Peabody’s Spirit Week

  • Stuart Hobson students offering "Read Across the Hill" Next week for our students!


Parent Teacher Conferences- March 5

Our teachers are eager to meet with you! On Monday we will send out one source with all our teacher teams (k-5) for parents sign up. PreK teachers started reaching out to families to schedule conferences already. It is possible that not all conferences can be accomplished on Friday, March 5. If the sign ups are full, please contact your child’s teacher(s) and arrange for a mutually agreeable time.


Virtual Instruction Support Update

We made great progress this week in putting our plan together. Teachers have identified students and need and we have also identified the additional human resources to support the work. We are at the last step of matching the two, which will take some collaboration time next week. We have surfaced some incredible enthusiasm from some volunteers and are proud to be able to offer additional instructional support time with our non-homeroom teacher staff and some creative enrichment time as well. When looking at virtual class sizes and trying to balance with need, it’s important to keep in mind that 1st grade and 3rd grade have the largest class sizes, where student academic data shows the need is greatest with our oldest students.


PARCC Planning is on Pause City-wide

Office of the State Superintendent for Education (OSSE) announced that they plan to seek a one-year assessment requirement waiver from the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), in order to suspend statewide summative assessments for students this spring, including Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) in English Language Arts and Math, Multi-State Alternate Assessments (MSAA), ACCESS for ELLs 2.0, and Alternate ACCESS.

This waiver is being filed after carefully considering the U.S. Department of Education guidance earlier this week around assessment, accountability and reporting requirements for the 2020-2021 school year. OSSE determined that while the Department of Education reiterated the importance of assessments and did not provide a blanket waiver process, it did commit to working with individual states based on their specific circumstances and differing needs.


Lunch/ Snack and Supper Offers: For In Person Students

Starting Monday, March 1, hot meals will be offered to students for lunch. As a reminder, students will also have the opportunity to receive snack and supper to take home with them See menu offerings here:

  1. PK and Kindergarten: parents will receive a form every Friday to be returned on Monday with student choices identified for the week

  2. Grades 1-5: Teachers will assess students’ interest a day in advance so that café staff have adequate time to prepare (i.e. on Friday, they'll identify students’ choices for Monday, On Monday choices identified and documented for Tuesday, etc.)


Meet A Lego Artist

Join us Thursday, March 11 at 7:00 pm ET for a FREE virtual event with a Lego Artist! Adam Ward is a Los Angeles-based, multi-hyphenate artist who works primarily in LEGO. Adam will join us for a virtual demonstration, during which he'll conduct a build, offer tips and tricks to enhance your child's (or your inner child's) building creativity, and show you the method to his LEGO madness! The Cluster PTA is excited to host this virtual event. Learn more on our website. Open to the entire community.


In-Person Learning Acceptance Data

To what extent did we fill our seats with students that we prioritized during the student selection process? Of course, the variable the school does not control is the family decision to attend in person. The data for our open IPL class is now published on our Term 3 page.


Update on Peabody’s Spirit Week

The Peabody Literacy Committee is happy to send along an update about our joint Peabody/Watkins Spirit Week. Due to parent conferences on Friday, we will celebrate three days of Spirit Week this coming week. In the spirit of keeping this celebration positive and inclusive, Monday will be "Hat and Hair Day" - wear a favorite style or a fun hat! Tuesday is Rainbow or Favorite Color Day and Thursday is Sport or Favorite Team Day. Let's show our spirit Panthers!


Stuart Hobson students offering "Read Across the Hill" Next week for our students!

In the spirit of Read Across America Day, Stuart Hobson “Buddy Readers” have prepared picture book read aloud videos on a theme of “Celebrating Black Voices” for our Peabody and Watkins students (plus other Hill school students) to watch! The link to these Flipgrid videos will be ready for staff to review anytime after Friday, February 25 at noon and will be live from Tuesday, March 2 through Friday March 5 for all to access at school or at home. Select as many as you’d like to share with your students and feel free to record or send a response back to the Stuart students! What a great community we have!


Reminders


Upcoming Open Houses - Parents please share!

On March 16 we will host open houses for both schools. Please share this flier with anyone who may be interested in joining our school community.


Peabody Watkins Open House Flyer
.pdf
Download PDF • 128KB


Return to School Criteria for Students

Anytime a student or staff is out due to illness, DCPS requires that documentation from a healthcare provider or contact tracing force be provided to the school as clearance before the individual can return to the school building.


Student’s doctor’s note should be provided to the main office or emailed to:

Watkins: WatkinsESenroll@k12.dc.gov/ Peabody: PeabodyESEnroll@k12.dc.gov


See this flowchart which provides guidance for different scenarios: https://osse.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/osse/page_content/attachments/Return%20to%20School%20Criteria_One-Pager%201.8.21.pdf


School Building Closed Every Wednesday and Reminder of Visitor Protocol

Reminder that the school will be closed every Wednesday for deep cleaning. Additionally, reminder of the following visitor management protocols that have been put in place to health and safety of our school community, minimize the number of visitors and actively monitor who visits our school.

  • When possible, all meetings will take place virtually. If an in person is required, all visitors must be scheduled at least 24 hours before the requested appointment

  • To schedule an appointment, please contact the school’s main office. Someone from the administration team must approve the visit for it to be confirmed.

  • Visitors without a scheduled appointment will not be permitted entry into the building.


Announcing Peabody’s March Virtual Parent/Child Chapter Book Club

Ms. Houghton (PreK 4 teacher) and Ms. Bloom (Librarian) are happy to announce a 3-session chapter book club open to all grades at Peabody for the month of March (4:15-5pm on Tuesday March 9, 16 and 23). The book we’ll read is “Zoe and Sassafras: Dragons and Marshmallows” by Asia Citro, a great story that mixes real science with some fun fantasy! It is also the first in an 8-book series so if it’s a hit, there’s more fun to follow! Here is the link to sign up. At the time of this writing, DC Public Library has 13 hard copies (but most are out on loan) and 2 eBook copies (both available) and SORA has 10 total eBook copies, but only 2 currently available. We are happy to ensure that all families wanting to participate in the club, have a copy of the book. Just reach out with any questions to rachel.houghton@k12.dc.gov or susan.bloom@k12.dc.gov. Hope you and your student(s) can join us!


Youtube and Content Restrictions on DCPS-Issued Devices

We understand that several students that have DCPS devices have been unable to access some YouTube and teacher content that has been shared for asynchronous instruction. DCPS has blocked the usage of sites that may contain inappropriate content for our students. We do understand this can create difficulties and we are currently working to implement a plan to support the issue. We hope to have an update soon. Thank you for your continued patience and partnership!


Log Into Canvas Daily, Including Wednesday

Families should log into Canvas every day, including Wednesday to be marked present. It is very important to note that although live instruction does not take place on Wednesday, students still need to log-in. Daily log-in should take place between 6am and 11:59pm. If you miss a day or something prevents you from logging on, email our attendance team.

Watkins: WatkinsESenroll@k12.dc.gov

Peabody: PeabodyESEnroll@k12.dc.gov

Submitting excuse notes: During virtual learning, all excuses notes should be emailed to our attendance teams. All DCPS legal excuse reasons remain the same as last school year.

Watkins: WatkinsESenroll@k12.dc.gov

Peabody: PeabodyESEnroll@k12.dc.gov

Community Messages


Parent Group – Race, Class and Equity Family Survey

Our RCE group is putting this survey in the field. It is only for parents of students in the cluster and will be communicated to families this week. If you click on the link, there’s an intro on the survey to provide context. In short, the data will be used to make our cluster a more inclusive place for all students and families.


Click on the following to link to our website pages for updates on the following community groups:

Parent Teacher Association

Race, Class, and Equity Group

Local School Advisory Team (LSAT)

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