• Principal Berkowitz

The Hill We Climb


  • In Person Learning Update

  • Next Week's Term 3 Transition Schedule

  • Open House for Prospective Families

  • Timeline ahead of Term 3 for Virtual and In Person Learning

  • January 27 Focus Groups for Stuart-Hobson Feeder Families

  • MLK Watkins Has a Dream Speech time and date confirmed - Feb 5 at 9:30

  • Developmental Milestone Parent Workshop---Open to ECE Families & All Staff (to families)

  • Peabody and Winter Reading Info (reminder)

Principal's Message

…It's because being American is more than a pride we inherit, it’s the past we step into and how we repair it…

from “The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman, January 21, 2021

After many, many dark days, I’m finding more and more reasons to be hopeful. This week, celebrating Dr. King and our democratic process, is a time to feel pride for our country. Yet, it was only two weeks ago that I was writing about the hypocrisy of our nation. What Ms. Gorman does for me in the lines above is reframe the interpretation of pride and patriotism by her charge to acknowledge the hurtful, unjust, and tragic parts of our past and step up to make our tomorrows better for ourselves and others.

Since the January 6th insurrection, one of our teams has been in talks with me and Mr. Boisvert about how the monolithic texts in an upcoming unit only present one version of history. Our teachers pushed back on the limits of the DCPS curricular text to us. Mr. Boisvert and I have connected with the DCPS Social Studies office to make sure our teachers have the resources for students to critically read multiple versions of our history and make their own conclusions of what happened and how those events shape our present and past. I am so proud of our teachers who are stepping into the past and critically thinking about how it can be best introduced to our kids so that we can all repair the problems for our future. This is an amazing example of how our teachers persevere and purposefully plan meaningful, relevant lessons for our students. Thank you, teachers!

Updates and Reminders

In Person Learning Update

Students of each grade level have accepted enough seats to open two cohorts, or two classes, at each grade level. This means for our K-5 teams, we will follow the “every day model,” where teachers come in all four days and see two classes of students. For our virtual teachers, this will mean they will teach all students remaining at home.

We will continue to fill the in-person seats as quickly as we can to provide certainty to virtual and IPL rosters. We are still shooting for January 25 to confirm hopefully around 90% of the new rosters. There may be some outstanding seat offers made but the plan is on track to communicate new rosters on Monday. We are still figuring out the best way to communicate these changes. We may need to wait for a Canvas roll-over. We may circumvent that process using email, but right now the tool to do this isn’t obvious. Any changes there after will be on a case-by-case basis.

As noted above, there is time scheduled for teachers to prepare communications to families and community building activities for the new classes that will be formed.

I will host a live updates Teams call on Monday, January 25 at 4pm to answer questions about in person learning and the changes to virtual learning. Join me by click

Next Week's Term 3 Transition Schedule

Monday – Regular virtual instructional day.

Tuesday – The last day of our current virtual class assignments. Students can expect a full day of instruction and some closure or farewell activities for those students changing homerooms (including moving to in person). This is also the last day for our CARE class.

Wednesday – no virtual instruction for all students, including Watkins specials.

Thursday – no virtual instruction for all students HOWEVER, there are community building meetings planned for students remaining virtual. Students transitioning to in person will begin building community on Feb 1.

For PreK

- Virtual teachers will host a community meeting for all Term 3 students at 9am

- Teachers will schedule one-on-one meetings with new families throughout the day.

For K-5

- Virtual teachers will host two community meetings for all Term 3 students at 9am (homeroom) and 10am (other grade level teacher.)

- Kinder teachers will schedule one-on-one meetings with new families throughout the day.

Friday – is a PD and Records Day. No school for all students.

Open House for Prospective Families

We are hosting open houses for prospective students on Feb 16 and March 16 at 4pm. We are also organizing a K-1 mixer for current families on January 26 at 8pm. Please mark your calendars for now.

Calling all Peabody Kindergarten students and families! Please join our Watkins school leaders and First Grade Team for an event to learn all about life as a first grader. You can hear from our school team and parents about the transition from Peabody to first grade at Watkins. 8pm on Tuesday, January 26. Click here for access to the Teams meeting.

All families: Please Share this flier with your friends and anyone else interested in our school!

Timeline ahead of Term 3 for Virtual and In Person Learning

  • January 8th- Staff notified of Term 3 assignments. Families notified after staff (this is delayed due to a last minute HR adjustment. Update expected Jan 11).

  • January 11th - In-person learning offers made to families. Office Hours available for families receiving an offer. Those families will be contacted directly.

  • January 13th- Professional Development (virtual) for Teachers and Staff Returning in Person

  • January 18th 20th – MLK Holiday, No School for Students & Teachers, and Inauguration Day

  • January 27th– Classroom set-up day for all teachers returning to in-person work

  • January 28th- In-person school-based PD for returning staff; half-day classroom set up. Only teachers and staff returning to in-person roles will attend the PD. Teachers and staff remaining virtual will host virtual community building and welcoming activities with Term 3 classes to welcome any new students and begin to build relationships. A more detailed schedule for the day is forthcoming.

  • January 29th—End of Term, half-day records day, half-day school-based PD or classroom set-up

  • Feb 1 – First day of IPL for K-5

  • Feb 4 – First day of IPL for PK

Additional PK Timelines- Check out the ECE Re-Opening Guidance here

  • · Feb 1 – Virtual Home visits

  • · Feb 2 – In Person Learning play dates at Watkins

  • · Feb 4 – First day of PK in person learning

Cluster Grandparent who knew MLK Jr to be BBB Special Guest Speaker on January 27 11:30-Noon (also shared with families)

Principal Berkowitz, Ms. Jurkowski and Ms. Bloom are very excited to invite students and families to join us for a very special session of “Books & Belonging with Berkowitz” on Wednesday, January 27th from 11:30am to noon. Dr. William Stephenson, a retired mental health counselor, author and grandparent of one of our students, is going to speak about his own interactions with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and about how we can carry on his work. He dined with Dr. King only two weeks before his assassination, was in the heart of the U Street corridor at the moment of Dr. King’s death, and was a participant in his memorial service at the Washington Cathedral. After he speaks, students will have an opportunity to ask questions and share their thoughts. CLICK HERE to join the live session. We hope to see you there! Sincerely, Principal Berkowitz, Ms. Jurkowski and Ms. Bloom

January 27 Focus Groups for Stuart-Hobson Feeder Families

The Capitol Hill Cluster School's Race, Class, and Equity (RCE) group is working with school leaders to strengthen the relationships among our elementary feeder schools and Stuart-Hobson Middle School (SHMS). To help learn about the services, values, and experiences that our elementary school students and families expect from the middle school they choose, they are hosting family focus groups on January 27, 7-8:30pm. These group discussions will help RCE advise school leadership on how to communicate more clearly about the great opportunities at Stuart-Hobson and strengthen the continuity of programming and values from the three feeder elementary schools. We hope these discussions help school leaders learn what families who are currently (or recently) in our feeder elementary schools expect from a middle school program and help ensure that SHMS meets those expectations in practice and when communicating with prospective families. Families of students in PK3 through 5 are invited to attend. Please sign up using this link if you would like to participate. Meeting details and Zoom link will be sent by Tuesday, January 26. For more information, please contact

Martin Luther King Jr I Have Dream Speech Event

Our 5th grade team is hard at work making the 2021 version of the Watkins cherished tradition meaningful for our students and community. With our partners at the National Parks Service, we have scheduled the event for February 5th at 9:30. The event will be virtual so all students can participate.

Developmental Milestone Parent Workshop---Open to ECE Families & All Staff (to families)

The DCPS Early Stages Office of Elementary Schools and Peabody ES cordially invite you to attend our Developmental Milestone Workshop. In order to empower and inform our parents during distance learning, this workshop provides an overview of typical developmental milestones for children between the ages of three and five in the following domains: communication, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, social emotional and cognitive development. It includes sample activities that you can do at home to help support your child reach milestones in each developmental domain. Given the goal of engagement with our families and the differentiation for participant questions, the session will not be recorded. Please see workshop details below:

January 27, 2020 8:15-8:45am

Join on your computer or mobile app

Click here to join the meeting

Or call in (audio only)

+1 202-539-1291,,174874077# United States, Washington DC

Phone Conference ID: 174 874 077#

Peabody’s Winter Reading Challenge is UNDER WAY!!

Our Peabody students are “winding their way through a winter reading wonderland!” and have already read 1765 books since December 21! Our hope is for each student to log at least 10 books a week or 100 books over the 10-week challenge, allowing us to reach our school goal of 22,000 books read by “Read Across America Day” on March 2nd! To find out all the details about how easy it is to log your student’s reading on a smart phone or a device, CLICK HERE to go to the Peabody Library Canvas home page. Any questions, email our librarian Ms. Bloom,

Last chance to sign up for Peabody’s Winter Virtual Parent/Child Chapter Book Club

Ms. Bloom & Ms. Houghton are leading a 4-session chapter book club (4:15-5pm on Tuesday January 12 & 26 and February 2 and 9) and the title is “Juana & Lucas” by Juana Medina, a wonderful story about a young girl and her dog who live in Bogota, Colombia. We not only learn about her life in Bogota, but we learn how perplexed she is when her teacher announces that they’ll start learning English in class. Email Ms. Bloom to sign up:



Visitor Protocol

The following visitor management protocols 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.

  • All visitors will be required to complete the “Ask, Ask, Look” protocol prior to entry, have their temperature taken, wear a face mask at all times on the school grounds, inside the school building and adhere to social distancing guidelines

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.



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


Community Messages

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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