Principals' Message October 4-8

What a Week!

Next week, we take a bit of a break from school, but the work continues. Parent-Teacher conferences and a day of professional learning are important points in the calendar to strengthen our commitment to family partnership and deepen our teaching practices. The information for access to our all-virtual parent-teacher conferences is below in this email.

Our day of professional learning will emphasize staff wellness and collaboration around student data so that learning is accessible and challenging for all students. I think the timing is great as it's been a sprint ever since the first day of school for all staff members. I feel lucky to see happy and challenged students each day at both campus and I know that's because of the hard work of our teachers and staff.

We're also continuing our commitment to student safety. Watkins has the 3rd highest asymptomatic testing rate out of all DCPS schools. Younger students have a tougher time producing the saliva necessary for an adequate sample, but according to what's been shared with me our ECE testing rate is also high relative to other schools. Both are credits to Ms. Carraway at Watkins and Ms. Turner at Peabody. Way to go!

Both Schools

Key Dates

  • Oct 5 - LSAT meeting 6pm
  • Oct 7 - No School for Students, Parent Teacher Conferences - all virtual
  • Oct 8 - No School for students, Professional Learning for Staff
  • Oct 11- Indigenous People's Day. Holiday for DC.
  • Oct 13-15 - Student Panorama Survey (3rd-5th graders only)
  • Oct 14 - Watkins Hispanic Heritage Celebration
  • Oct 19 - Peabody Staff Meeting
  • Oct 20 - Watkins Staff Meeting
  • Oct 26-27 - Congressional Softball game on Watkins field. No outside activities at Watkins.

  • Every Thursday: Asymptomatic COVID testing for students.

Reading at Home Expectations

Student become better readers by reading! All students PK-5 should be reading daily - this includes being read to by a caregiver or sibling. Peabody staff encourages students to read independently or with someone for at least 15 minutes a day.

At Watkins, we increase the expectation with age:

Grade 1 – 15 minutes daily

Grade 2 – 20 minutes daily

Grades 3-5 – 30+ minutes daily

Caregivers - please partner with your children to support them and enjoy some reading time yourself!

Parent-Teacher Conferences

This document will provide links to sign up for your child's parent-teacher conference and attend the virtual meeting.

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage - Esperanza

Peabody's Specials Team will incorporate a celebration of Hispanic culture and the Spanish language into our four special subject classes over the coming weeks. Students will enjoy read alouds, arts and crafts, music and movement and more!

Watkins will host an evening to celebrate Hispanic Heritage with the theme "Esperanza" or "hope." Please attend our event!

Big picture

Student Excuse Notes - reminder

Please be reminded that all student excuse notes, including doctor’s note should be provided to the main office or emailed to:

Watkins: Peabody:

Lunch Deliveries

Parents should not come to school to drop off lunch unless it's an emergency. Lunch is free for all students and the frequent lunch drop offs are pulling our focus from needed support for learning and operations.

OSSE Vouchers for Aftercare

Both FLEX and Joe's Den are exploring the OSSE program that provides vouchers to families in need of financial support for after care. It may take many months for OSSE to approve our partners and for this program and then parents can apply for the voucher. This is not a short term solution, but may be a long-term answer to support more affordable after care at both schools.

No shots, no school Immunization Reminders - Reminder

In an effort to protect the health and wellness of all students, District of Columbia law requires that all students attending school in the District provide up to date immunization certification or proof of medical or religious exemption. Students who are not up to date on their immunization requirements will not be allowed to attend school, past 20 school days, until appropriate records are submitted (View OSSE’s Immunization Attendance policy here).

All non-compliant students should have received a notification letter. If you have submitted all required immunizations for your child and still received a letter, please contact your school's registrar: (Watkins) or (Peabody).

To make an appointment, call your child’s physician office. If you do not have health insurance or need a healthcare provider, please refer to DC Health Link or contact the Citywide Call Center by dialing 3-1-1.

Student Immunization Clinics (Routine Immunizations & COVID-19 Vaccine)

Starting Saturday, August 7 through September 30, pop-up immunization and COVID-19 vaccine clinics will be open at DCPS buildings throughout the city.

  • Routine Immunizations: Families can schedule appointments for required immunizations regardless of their students’ enrollment at or 1-855-363-0333. Appointments should be made so that providers have time to access the student’s immunization history. Families are still encouraged to call their child’s doctor to schedule an appointment for their vaccines and annual physicals. POC:

Asymptomatic Testing for Students - Reminder

Asymptomatic testing for students will take place at Peabody and Watkins on Thursdays. We successfully completed our first round this week! You can read more about this year's test here.

All students are automatically enrolled in the testing program. Caregivers can opt out by returning this form to the school. Please send the forms to the school's office.

More information about DCPS health and safety practices can be found here.

How do you get your child's results? Directions are here. This first week hasn't been smooth for all parents. For what I've heard, trying both schools and all parent info has worked. Here are some other tips some parents have shared, however, we cannot verify at the school:

If you don't yet have an account, you click the "Sign up for an account" link. You need your school code to sign up; the three CHCS school codes are:

  • Peabody: peacphil

  • Watkins: wescphil

  • Stuart-Hobson: stuhobms

Two big notes about the signup process:

  1. DCPS only sent a single parent's information to the testing portal company for each student — so if you get the error that your information doesn't match an existing parent, try your partner's information. (In my case, it was my wife's info that was on record, not mine.)

  2. Each parent is tied to only one school, so if you have kids in more than one school and you get the error that your info doesn't match an existing parent, try one of the other schools your kids go to. Note that this is true no matter which child you're looking for results for; two parents couldn't create an account to find their SH kids' results because they also have kids at Watkins, and had to sign up for their account using the Watkins school code. (But once they did, both their kids were listed.)

The portal help desk (833-762-0762) is actually really helpful, so if you run into problems, definitely call them.


W.I.N. time has begun!

We have finished our first week of W.I.N. - what I need. This is our new intervention and enrichment block to challenge and support all learners. Some students are identified as needing additional instructional support and some students have been identified as needing addition enrichment opportunities. Some students are identified as candidates for both! This time is 30-45 minutes per day.

W.I.N. is an all-hands on deck approach to supporting and challenging our students. Homeroom teachers, special educators, instructional aides, instructional coaches, and specials teachers all support students in all grades.

Our team as reviewed our student data from BOY testing and classroom assessments and determined that the individualized plan is best. Our staff will assess our initial launch on the October 8th PD day. The following week, we will send out the details of the plan for all students, as that day and our subsequent data review may alter the initial plans somewhat.


3rd-5th Grade Panorama Survey

One of our CSP goals is to increase the percentage of students that feel loved at school. We gather this data during the Panorama Student Survey that is given twice a year. Last Spring, Watkins had an all-time high of 68% of student reporting that they feel loved to 75% this spring.

Twice a year, we ask students in grades 3 and higher to complete a survey about social emotional learning for DC Public Schools, the Panorama Student Survey, to help DCPS and school administrators better understand what students think about their school experiences and their social and emotional learning. Parents can opt their student out of the survey but this data is valuable to our school planning. Read more here.

Nurse's Suite Update

We expect the furniture to be delivered next week and the inspection scheduled immediately after. We've been in touch with the Nurse manager and she is ready to place a Nurse on site as soon as inspection is complete.