Hearst Family Update

August 15, 2021

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Principal's Message

Dear Hearst Families,

As we look toward the start of the new school year on August 30 for our K-5 students and September 2/3 for our PK students, I know that you may have many questions about what it will look, sound, and feel like for your kids. The latest DCPS health and safety guidance is below in the attached presentation and this is informing our planning for the upcoming year. Assuming the guidance stays the same, this presentation is what I'll be reviewing at our information sessions this Wednesday at 9am and repeating at 7pm. These meetings will give me a time to share our school level planning to date and answer questions specific to our Hearst community. Please see the Key Dates section for links to the meetings.

Thank you for your partnership and I hope you're all having a safe summer,


News and Announcements from Hearst

Upcoming Key Dates

August 17 - New Family Orientation, 3:00-4:30 in person @ Hearst (we'll meet outside the main entrance at 3pm)

August 18 - Back to School Information Session for Families, 9:00-10:00am (session link:

https://virginia.zoom.us/j/96836848990?pwd=ei91b0FvVHI4akVrZHpOY0JQSGN2UT09; Meeting ID: 968 3684 8990; Passcode: 710172)

August 18 - Back to School Information Session for Families (repeat of morning session), 7:00-8:00pm (session link:
https://virginia.zoom.us/j/92578098589?pwd=VkNyV096SG5KOEZaTDhvdlNwalFlZz09; Meeting ID: 925 7809 8589; Passcode: 217836)

August 20 - First Day for 10-month Staff

August 27 - Open House for Students & Families in afternoon (specific times will be shared in August 20 update)

August 30 - First Day of SY21-22 for K-5

September 2 & 3 - First Days of SY21-22 PK classes (see information shared by PK team to know when your child should report to Hearst)

Quick Updates

  • A huge thank you to our LSAT and PTA board for their thoughtful support and feedback in planning and preparing for the new school year!

The 2021-2022 School Year at Hearst (as of August 15, 2021)

Please see the presentation linked below for the latest updates on the health and safety guidance that frame our planning for the upcoming school year. Unless guidance changes in the next three days, this presentation is what I will talk through at the information sessions on Wednesday.

FAQs about SY2021-2022

What's the deal with outdoor lunch? Will the children be able to eat lunch outside?
  • The goal is for outdoor lunch as much as feasible, permitting weather, outdoor space, and staffing

What's DCPS's COVID testing policy? Is Hearst allowed to do anything more/different?

  • Hearst will follow the DCPS COVID testing policy. Additional details about this policy will be shared by DCPS soon.

Are visitors to the building required to be vaccinated?

  • No, however, we are limiting visitors to the school as much as possible and in cases where in person visits are necessary, following health and safety guidelines.

What’s the quarantine plan for kids or teachers who have been exposed? And how would they learn from home during quarantine?

  • Please see the slides attached above.

Does Hearst have the physical space to ensure distancing between kids?

  • Please see the slides attached above.

Are we allowed to pull kids out for lunch each day to eliminate maskless time indoors?

  • Parents have always been able to pick up their kids for appointments and return them to school after the appointment ends. The same would be feasible for lunch and would require signing your child in and out each day you pick them up.

Can parents volunteer to support outdoor lunch?

  • I'm checking with DCPS on their guidance around this and will share updates as I have them.

Will Flex (before and after care provider) be required to follow all DCPS health and safety guidelines that are followed during the day?

  • Yes

Our 21-22 Hearst Team

Below is a quick list of our staff for the coming school year. Except where noted below, DCPS email addresses follow the format of firstname.lastname@k12.dc.gov. Please know that the Hearst website (www.hearstes.org) has been updated next week and includes updated staff contact information and photos.

Our Staff

PS-PK CES: Danielle Shea, Kendra Schenck, Rhonda Forbes (rhonda.hughes@k12.dc.gov)

Pre-Kindergarten: Denise Dawkins & Grace Fraser, Skyelar Haith (skyelar.riseling@k12.dc.gov) & Patricia Morales

Kindergarten: Maggie Clark & Sumita Singh, Dawn Gray & Jonyce Cole, Beth Prince & Courtney Evans

1st Grade: Sarah Schiers, Victoria Ouellette, and Elizabeth Volpe

2nd Grade: Ashley Boyle, Oda Solms, Takiyah Thompson

K-2 CES: Elana Marber, Ellen Hicks, Lyssa Weaver

3rd Grade: Hannah Halpern (ELA/Social Studies), Megan Burleigh (Math/Science)

4th Grade:Cassi Duvall (ELA/Social Studies), Rachel Wiggins (Math/Science - rachel.wiggins2@k12.dc.gov)

5th Grade: Katie Dilley (ELA/Social Studies - kathryn.dilley@k12.dc.gov); Chanmi Lee (Math/Science)

3-5 CES: Carolyn Diaz, Janice Hargrove, & Charlotte Potter

Special Education Teachers: Shareen Beech, Sarah Boone, MaryEllen Noonan

General Education Partner Teachers: Gene'sha Williams and Shari Longo

English Language Support: Brian Garfield, Erica Geppert (erica.molinogeppert@k12.dc.gov), Ali Ibrahim

Inner Core Teachers: Carol Baker - Performing Arts, Hunter Coleman - Health/Physical Education, Joe McCright- Spanish, Joshua Harms - Art, Elizabeth Vandivier - Library Media Specialist

Social Worker: Keri Sartin (lakeri.sartin@k12.dc.gov)

School Psychologist: Caroline DeWerd

Instructional Support: Jana Banks - Math Specialist, Janna Walker - Reading Specialist,

Instructional Coach: Tara Souza

Custodial Team: Lawrence Stephenson, Shawn Harrington, Russell Hart, Ramon Zamora

Registrar: Manik Hinchey

Business Manager: Kestaganer Johnson

Assistant Principal: Elke Chen

Principal: Jen Geoffroy (jennifer.geoffroy@k12.dc.gov)

Introduction Notes from New Staff

Chanmi Lee, 5th Grade Math/Science Teacher

Hello Hearst Community! My name is Chanmi Lee. I’m excited to join the Hearst community this year. I’m from South Korea. I spent the last three years teaching in New York City. Prior to that, I taught in South Korea and Romania. I earned a Master’s degree in Elementary Education and Teaching from University of DC. My hopes and dreams for this year are supporting my students to get to where they need to be, helping them aspire more AND having fun together. I can’t wait to meet you all and have an awesome school year!

Amanda Liberman, Partner Teacher

Hello Hearst community! My name is Amanda Liberman, and I am so excited to be joining you all for the 2021-2022 school year. To my students, I am thrilled to teach you this year, and get to know each of you. This year is going to be filled with learning, making new friends, and lots of fun new adventures.

First, I want to tell you all a little about me! I grew up in the Chicagoland area. I moved to Washington, D.C. in 2017 to study elementary education at American University where I graduated this past May. I have loved living in D.C. for the past four years, and feel so lucky to be starting my teaching career here at Hearst. Some of my favorite things to do include arts and crafts, running, cooking and baking, and listening to music. As a teacher, I am passionate about building classrooms where all learners can thrive. It is my goal to ensure each student feels supported and valued. As a first-year teacher, I am so excited to work with the excellent teachers and staff at Hearst to make this possible. It is my mission to make every day filled with knowledge and excitement, and to support my students in any way possible. I hope each and every one of my students develops a true love for learning.

If you have any information you would like me to know, as well as any questions or comments, please reach out! My door (and email) is always open, and I can’t wait to hear from you. I am so excited to make this a fantastic year together!


Amanda Liberman

Joe McCright, Spanish/ELL Teacher

Dear Hearst Elementary School Parents & Guardians,

My name is Joseph McCright and I will teach Spanish to your child. All students and most parents & guardians call me Señor McCright. I have taught Spanish, English as a second language, and Physical Education in Iowa, Louisiana, New York City and Central Africa.

Thank you for entrusting me and the Hearst Elementary School team to work with your child. Like you, I am a parent and I always try to do my absolute best to raise my children to be independent, self-confident and happy people. I promise to do the same with your child.

One way I encourage students to feel self-confident is to offer them choices of how to practice what they learn in class. I honor their interests by connecting Spanish to their hobbies, interests and other classes.

In Spanish classes I also work hard to broaden your child's perspective by showing them the Spanish-speaking world is full of people who sometimes look and sound different from other Spanish speakers, and from their own families and neighbors.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions, comments or simply to share something about your child. You may leave messages for me at 515-999-5761 (Google Voice) or send email to joseph.mccright@k12.dc.gov.


Señor McCright

Victoria Ouellette, 1st Grade Teacher

Hello Hearst Community!

My name is Victoria Ouellette and I am excited to have the opportunity to teach 1st grade at Hearst this year. I have relocated from Lexington, KY where I went to the University of Kentucky and previously taught. In my free time, I enjoy being outside and reading as much as possible!

As a teacher, I love to find new things to teach my students and new and exciting ways to do it! I believe that every student can be successful and I love being given the opportunity to find creative ways to engage students in their learning and to own their role in their education. I want to create a group of lifelong learners who enjoy coming to school because they want to explore their interests.

My classroom is a warm and welcoming environment where each student is greeted and welcomed each day and I get to know my students as an individual, not just as a student at school. I enjoy going to soccer games, baseball games, basketball games, recitals, and other extracurricular activities to support my students and show them that they matter to me. Any student I teach once I consider to be my student for life. I love creating connections with my students and catching up with them once they have moved on to the next grade.

I want all students to feel that they have been successful at the end of the year and are ready to learn even more the next school year.

I look forward to the opportunity to meet you all in person so we can safely enjoy a wonderful school year together!

Victoria Ouellette

Charlotte Potter, 3-5 CES Partner Teacher

Hello Hearst Community!

My name is Ms. Potter and I am so excited to working with you all! I am a recent graduate of American University, but I am originally from Connecticut. This past year I have worked in two fifth grade classrooms in Montgomery County. I now live here in DC, so I can’t wait to learn more about this community. In my free time I love going for walks, cooking, and reading mystery novels.

I love all subjects in school, but my favorite is reading. I believe that books are a great way to learn about how other people live, explore far away lands, and inspire us to create our own stories. Some books we will be reading this year are Wonder, The House on Mango Street, and Esperanza Rising. I believe these stories are about perseverance, kindness, and acceptance, which are all things I value in the classroom. I am looking forward to learning more about our class and what kind of books you like to read!

After this past year, I have come to appreciate technology because of how it connects us all. I am always accessible by email or phone, but notes work well too! My role is to support you and the students, so I hope to connect with everyone and work together to ensure a successful school year.

Thank you so much for welcoming me into this community, and I hope to meet you all soon!


Ms. Potter

Keri Sartin, Social Worker

Dear Parents, teachers, and colleagues,

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself, my name is Keri Sartin and I joined the Hearst family as the School Social Worker. I am so happy to be here and be a part of such a wonderful school and community! I am truly looking forward to getting to know all your students.

I take pleasure in talking to, connecting with, and helping young people. I would like the students here to think of my office as a warm and friendly place, where they are always welcome. My office is also a safe haven – a place where they can get help if they feel confused or worried.

Please rest assured that I strive to maintain knowledge and sensitivity of the impact of race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity on students in the learning environment. My current efforts and on going training and education continue to reflect my commitment to enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion. Each student will be treated with dignity and respect and will be affirmed during their time with me. I am here to help ensure that all of our students have a successful and productive school year.

Please feel free to reach out to me should you have any questions or want to schedule a meeting.

Yours Truly,

Mrs. Sartin

Oda Solms, 2nd Grade Teacher

Hello Hearst Community,

I am so excited to introduce myself as a new 2nd grade teacher at Hearst! My first priority is that my students feel loved, valued and heard at school. This is not only because I want my kiddos to look forward to walking into our classroom each day, but also because I understand that this is critical for our students to reach their highest potential academically.

I follow many of the tenants of Responsive Classroom which focuses on the link between academic success and social-emotional learning. We will begin building our classroom community from the very first day of school, starting each morning with a greeting and share. If we face a challenge as a classroom community, as inevitably we will, our go-to will be a community meeting to figure out how we can peacefully resolve the problem and be the best version of ourselves.

While of course I want my students to write stories and poetry, read fiction and nonfiction, problem solve and explain their thinking, I also want them to grow as kind, compassionate and caring individuals with the ability to resolve conflicts with peers in a respectful and productive way.

I look forward to a wonderful year of learning together,

Ms. Solms

Takiyah Thompson, 2nd Grade Teacher

Hello Hearst Family,

My name is Takiyah Thompson and I will be joining the 2nd grade team at Hearst. I am so excited to meet all of the students, families, and staff of Hearst. I am originally from Charlotte, NC where I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I have taught 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade for the past 8 years. My teaching philosophy is driven from Nelson Mandela’s quote “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” I hope to see all my students use their education and values to shape their communities for the better. I enjoy reading, biking, being outdoors, and travelling. I can’t wait to meet you all in the fall!


Mrs. Thompson

Homeroom Assignments and Requests

Please note that we remain unwavering in our dedication to equity and closing opportunity gaps. Therefore, students will be scheduled and placed in homerooms in ways that promote equity, including some grouping based on current academic needs as well as whole group academic opportunities. Due to the complexity of scheduling and class list creation, we will not be taking homeroom requests from families.

Additionally, it's important to note that the vast majority of our staff, including teachers and partner teachers, are on summer break until August 20. While you're welcome to reach out to staff before August 20, please know they will likely not respond until they report to work on August 20.

Thanks for your understanding!

School Supplies

We are happy to announce that we have chosen to create prepackaged school supply kits for the coming school year that can be ordered through School Tool Box. School supplies can be ordered at www.schooltoolbox.com and will be delivered to your home (note: please do not deliver them directly to the school as we do not have the ability to receive individual supplies for all of our students). For more information, see the flyer below.

PTA Meetings - Save the Dates

  • 9/14 – PTA Meeting & Back to School Night - 6-8pm (virtual)
  • 10/13 – PTA Meeting - 5pm (virtual)
  • 11/10 – PTA Meeting - 7pm (virtual)
  • 12/8 – PTA Meeting - 5pm (virtual)
  • 1/12 – PTA Meeting- time TBD
  • 2/9 – PTA Meeting - time TBD
  • 3/16 – PTA Meeting - time TBD
  • 4/20 – PTA Meeting- time TBD
  • 5/11 – PTA Meeting- time TBD
  • 6/8 – PTA Meeting/Celebration - time TBD

News and Announcements from DCPS

Reminder: You’re invited to our upcoming Parent University Series: Our Doors Are Open!

Tuesday, August 17, 2021 5:30 PM

Parent University: Accelerating Learning In and Out of the Classroom - Register

Thursday, August 19, 2021 5:30 PM

Parent U: Mentally Preparing Myself & My Child for the New School Year - Register

Reminder: DC Reads with Amira

DCPS is partnering with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education, D.C. Public Library, HMH, our region’s professional sports teams and others for the Read 20: DC Reads with Amira Initiative to provide an opportunity to support your child’s reading skills over the summer! Through this partnership, every DCPS student entering the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th grades next year has access this summer to Amira: a personalized, automated reading tutor. Participating students will also receive exciting recognition and prizes. Information and login details are below.

What is Amira?

Amira is the first intelligent reading tutor that provides in-the-moment help to accelerate reading improvement. Once your child is logged into Amira, the software recommends stories for them to read. As your child reads out loud, Amira listens and, when she sees an opportunity to reinforce a reading skill, Amira provides personalized help, drawing from over 30 different research-based tutoring techniques, developed by leading reading experts.

Amira is available anytime, accessible through Clever on your child’s school-issued device. So your child can read with Amira at home, at the library, or anywhere with a WiFi connection.

What is the Read 20: DC Reads with Amira Initiative?

Read 20: DC Reads with Amira is designed to encourage children to practice reading as much as possible throughout the summer. From June 24th to August 30th, your child is encouraged to read with Amira at least 3 stories a day, 3 times per week, for 8 weeks (a total of 72 stories or more over the course of the summer).

Research has shown that children who read with Amira frequently (about 45-minutes per week) have more than doubled their reading growth in 2 months. As your child reads and grows with Amira, we hope to send the message that:

  • Reading is fun!

  • It’s okay to make mistakes

  • Your child isn’t expected to know all the words! They should try their best to sound out words or skip them if needed - Amira will learn over time the best ways to help them.

Participating students who read regularly with Amira during the summer will be eligible to receive recognition and prizes - including special opportunities from top D.C.-area professional sports teams (more details to come!).

Who is eligible to participate?

Students attending DC Public Schools who are entering the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th grade next year are invited to participate. Your child is ready to read with Amira if they can read a simple story, including 3-letter words (e.g., can, mom, bag) and high-frequency sight words (e.g., am, see, is) on their own without adult help.

How to access Amira: You can access Amira on Clever!

  • Using your school-issued device, go to your school portal
  • Open it, and begin to “read a story!”

Want to learn more? Visit Amira’s DC support page at https://www.amiralearning.com/dcps

  • Watch the video “Family Training
  • Review all the support pages for how to use Amira, including:
  • How Amira works
  • Tech setup
  • FAQs
  • Send us your questions! This Chat button in the bottom right corner of your screen connects you with a member of the Amira team who can help you throughout the summer.
  • Come talk with us! Amira will hold office hours for DC parents throughout the summer Mondays at 4pm and Thursdays at 10AM. Link: https://bit.ly/3vnpM3R
  • (Or, log in to Zoom and use the Meeting ID: 88545680497 & Passcode: 015991 )

Reminder: DCPS Summer Meals

This summer, youth 18 and under have continued access to grab-and-go meals at several DC Public School locations throughout the city. Effective July 6, youth, or parents/guardians on their behalf, can receive up to 3 breakfast and 3 lunch meals at a time at the following locations. Meal site hours will remain Monday – Friday (10AM – 2PM). Current meal locations will remain open until summer meal distribution begins on July 6.