This was quite the week. It started with a very strange Yom Kippur for me and my family, then the news about Peabody’s issues, the return to work survey, my Books and Belonging class, and waking up today to learn that the President has COVID-19. A lot happened for me as I’m sure the same is for you. Here's a look back.
Equity – we are working hard to recruit parents to join our Kindred team. We held a fantastic information session this week and I was able to make calls to some families our office staff recommended as being great candidates who might always be “part of the conversation.” Talking to those parents made me feel more connected and hopeful that our eventual group will be representative of our students.
Joy – Books and Belonging with Berkowitz was easily a highlight of my week! About 25 students joined for a read aloud and discussion of our identities. I thought there was great participation from students, and they asked me some really tough questions! I posted the pic on the right as an example of the assignment for the week (there’s even some traffic on the Canvas page discussion board!) and the toughest question I got was, “what’s your favorite picture?” It just felt great to share myself with our kids and hear from them as well. This was exactly the point of the class and I couldn't be happier about the first session. I also can’t say it enough: thank you to Ms. Bloom and Ms. Jurkowski for supporting this class!
Empathy – our Mental Health Team and Special Education Teams are doing incredible, heartful work to support our students.
The Mental Health Team has partnered with the PTA to provide families in need with "COVID bags" of food, gift cards, and other essentials that help meet the needs of our families. Ms. Hopkins, Ms. Tyler, and Ms. Thomas are listening, understanding and supporting our families in such unique and caring ways. We are lucky to be supported by such an empathic team.
Our Special Education team is doing similar-spirited work in creating Individualized Distance Learning Plans for our students with IEPs. In order to write an effective plan, our Special Educators not only need to fully understand the disabilities and supports in the IEPs but also connect with families to understand how distance learning is playing out for each child. Our team has connected and collaborated with each family and student on a such a deep level so they’re able to write a unique plan that meets the specialized learning needs of each student. Again, we are lucky have the support of such empathetic educators.
Purpose – I did some planning with AP Hollis and AP Boisvert and our Cluster Support Team School Improvement Specialist ahead of our first Academic Leadership Team meetings next week. In terms of purpose, these teams will lead the work around the comprehensive school plan, and I couldn’t be more excited to get started with them on making our plan actionable, meaningful, and an indicator of our progress. Much more to come on our ALT progress soon.
Perseverance – our Attendance Team has been working at 110% this week to wrap up our 2nd Mock Audit ahead of count day. Ms. Roy and Ms. Turner, especially, and also Ms. Carraway, Ms. Brock, and Ms. Montgomery have been going through every student, every page of documentation, working the phones, and so much more to ensure our enrollment is in the best possible shape. As we know, our funding depends on the number of students enrolled. Their work is so often done out of the spotlight and yet it is critical. Their perseverance was on display this week and we are proud of them!
A Look Forward: Upcoming Dates
Wednesday, October 7: Good Trouble Walk to School School Day. 8:00-8:10 at Lincoln Park
Friday, October 9: Parent Teacher Conferences - No School for Students
Monday, October 12: Indigenous Peoples’ Day—No School for Students
Thursdays at 11:30 - Chat and Chew with Principal Berkowitz - details below
Parent Teacher Conferences - Sign Up here!
Please see details in the documents below to sign up for a conference with your child's teacher(s).
Materials Pick Up - More Time?
We need to make sure we have the resources we need to continue our materials pick up. We'll work on this and message the community soon when we can restart. You will hear from us early next week. Device distribution will continue by working with our front office teams.
Kindred Update and Information - Parents: Apply now to be an equity leader!
There is still time to complete your Kindred Interest form! 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.
Instructional Goodie Bags - Donations Please
We are partnering with the Peabody and Watkins PTA Executive Committees to put together instructional bags full of fun learning supplies for our students. Our teachers want your children to have some of the tools they use in the classroom at home. The Watkins PTA is inviting families who choose to participate to donate $20 (or more) per student so we can expand the list of materials we buy and place in the bags. If you would like to donate, please click here.
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.
Click on the following to link to our website pages for updates on the following community groups
- October Meeting Agenda is posted
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
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.