Living our Values
Updated: Oct 23
I hope this message finds you all feeling at least a little bit like routines are beginning to take shape. One new routine I want to introduce is to message my thoughts and experiences around the values (equity, joy, empathy, perseverance, purpose) of our leadership team by sharing examples of our students and staff demonstrating them. Here’s my first attempt.
Equity – we took some major steps this week in developing our shared understanding of the equity work at our schools. We had fantastic equity leadership that was probably only on display for some. I want everyone to know that Ms. Bloom, Ms. Brooks, Ms. McPherson, Ms. Taylor, Ms. Langhorne, and Mr. Denton worked closely with the leadership team to plan and facilitate the small group sessions on Wednesday. It takes courage and commitment to this work to step into uncomfortable conversations and I applaud their public commitment to equity.
Joy – I found way more joy than I expected during our yoga session on Wednesday. Ms. Cushman, Ms. Smith, Ms. Talisman, Mr. Boisvert, Ms. Perkins, and Ms. Taylor (and Zoey!) hit the mat to enjoy some fellowship and exercise.
Empathy – I worked with two teachers on a new virtual learning challenge presented itself this week. I could not have been more proud to observe their commitment to listening to and understanding the challenges that our families face with balancing at-home responsibilities and distance learning.
Purpose – I met with every grade level team this week to talk about the engagement tracking we are doing. As I’ve said, I want our students to feel connected to school and to do so, we want to remove all the barriers to access that we can. Every homeroom teacher has done a fantastic job connecting to students and families and helping them overcome these barriers. Our Support Team has way less to do than I expected! Your purpose – connecting with kids – really shows in that data and I am also proud of that.
Perseverance – there are probably more folks to name here, but one group persevered through the very frustrating technical issues on Wednesday. They even decided to extend the rich conversation past the time to see it through. I joined that group toward the end of the session and could not have been prouder of their perseverance and commitment to the conversation. Remember, the conversation is the work.
A Look Forward: Upcoming Dates
Friday, October 9: Parent Teacher Conferences
Monday, October 12: Indigenous Peoples’ Day—No School for Students
Distribution of K-5 Learning Materials
Distribution for K-5 learning materials (Eureka, Fundations, etc.) will take place the week of September 28. Upon pick-up, a sign out sheet will need to be completed to identify 1) the student who materials were retrieved for and 2) the person who retrieved them.
It is highly recommended that you bring a bag as there are multiples books per grade level. Also, please bring any library books that were borrowed during last school year.
Distribution Windows and Locations
K Material Distribution: Will take place at Peabody ES on Wednesday, 9/30 and Thursday, 10/1 from 8am—4pm
Grades 1-5 Material Distribution: Will take place at Watkins ES Monday, 9/28- Friday, 10/2 from 8am—4pm
Kindred Update and Information - Parents: Apply now to be an equity leader!
Kindred partners with elementary schools over the course of three-to-four years to facilitate critical conversations and actions between parents, staff, and school leadership as they tackle issues of racial and economic segregation in their school community. If you’re interested in participating in this exciting opportunity and ensuring that every student in your school community succeeds regardless of race and class, please complete the interest form linked here.
Kindred’s team will also be hosting an informational session on Wednesday, September 30th from 8pm-8:30pm ET to provide more details on their program model and answer questions that parents may have. You can join the webinar by registering here.
New Class! Books and Belonging with Berkowitz
I'm excited to start a new class with you! On Wednesdays at 11:30 I will host a read aloud for young and old students. Students have been invited to the Canvas course. If you haven't already, click on the invitation to accept and then you can check out the class course page by clicking on the icon on your dashboard. There are pictures below. I hope to see you this Wednesday!
How to accept the invitation:
How to access the course page:
More Me! - Chat and Chew with Principal Berkowitz
I'm looking forward to some conversation, feedback, and your questions over an early lunch. Each week at 11:30 on Thursdays, starting October 1st. Students and caregivers are welcome.
Meeting ID: 985 4871 2470
This Zoom invite is recurring - the access information is the same for each week.
Online Lunch Application- Please complete
Every new school year, the Office of Food and Nutrition disseminates the Application for Free and Reduced Meals to parents. They ask that our school gets an Application from every family even if they do not wish to participate.
Please complete the Application by visiting https://www.myschoolapps.com/Application
Note: The Application will ask for your child’s ID number. Don’t worry, the person that handles the Applications confirmed that parents can submit their form without the number. Please help to make our school the first to have 100% participation! Contact the main office if you have any questions.
Click on the following to link to our website pages for updates on the following community groups
Introducing Technology Office Hours at Watkins!
Please continue to utilize the resources that DCPS has created to troubleshoot technology issues. This includes:
1. Visiting backtoschool.dc.gov, which is updated daily with new answers to common tech questions and a button to submit student password, device and software help requests.
2. Contacting DCPS' technology experts at the Student & Family Call Center- call (202) 442-5885, press 1.
The Peabody/Watkins Operations team is also excited to offer Technology Office Hours every Wednesday from 8am- 4pm at Watkins to support with network and other issues that can be troubleshooted on a school-level.
Log into Canvas each day to be marked present. This should take place between 6am and 11:59pm. Students or parents should log out and back in to ensure the log-in is activated. If you miss a day or something prevents you from logging on, email our attendance team.
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.
Immunizations and Required Health Forms
All students must be up to date on their immunizations before returning to in person learning. Follow these three steps to guarantee that your child is ready and see the below flier for more information:
Schedule your child's annual wellness visit
Make sure your child has received all of their immunizations
Submit immunization documents to your child's enrollment/ attendance team