Hearst Weekly Update

August 5, 2019

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Principal's Message

Good afternoon Owls,

Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year! We're hard at work getting ready for a fantastic school year and hope to see you at our Back to School Open House on Friday, August 23, from 3:30-4:30pm. This is a time to visit classrooms, drop of supplies, and (re)connect with Hearst staff and families. If you can't make it on the 23rd, during your home visit this summer please ask your child's teacher about a time to visit the classroom before the start of the school year. Staff will be reaching out soon to schedule these home visits, a time for them to get to know your child and you better and for you to get to know our amazing Hearst educators. To help us visit as many families as possible before the start of the school year, please be sure to register your child if you haven't done so already and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same if they haven't yet registered. Below is information about many of our new staff members as well as a few logistical items that will help get our school year off to a smooth start for everyone. Thank you for choosing Hearst and we hope to see you at our Open House on Friday, August 23.

In partnership,

Principal Jen Geoffroy (formerly Thomas)


Upcoming Events

  • Friday, August 23, 2:30-3:30pm - PK Orientation
  • Friday, August 23, 3:30-4:30pm - Open House
  • Monday, August 26 - First Day for K-5 students
  • Thursday, August 29 - First Day for PK students


What I'm reading this week: Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates

News and Announcements from Hearst

Welcome to Our New Staff

We have several new staff members joining our Hearst team in the 2019-2020 school year and introductory notes/bios from them are below.


Danielle Shea, PS/PK CES Teacher

My name is Danielle Shea and I am excited to join the Hearst community! I join Hearst for my 5th year teaching early childhood students in Washington D.C. Before moving to the District, I grew up with my younger sister in Boston and studied Anthropology and Child and Family Studies at Haverford College in Pennsylvania. Since then, I completed a Professional Certificate in Early Intervention at Georgetown University and pursued a M.Ed. in Special Education at Penn State University. I most enjoy teaching communication skills and partnering with families to maximize student growth. When I’m not teaching and learning, I spend time around waterfronts in the DMV. My favorite spots are Sandy Point, Navy Yard, and Old Town Alexandria, but I appreciate any other suggestions. I look forward to learning more about and working with everyone in the coming year!


Carolyn Diaz, Intermediate CES Teacher

Carolyn Diaz is an 8-year special education veteran who has taught in two states and the District of Columbia. She has served students from kindergarten to high school in self-contained and inclusion settings. In her classroom, Carolyn believes that all students can succeed when provided with a positive and caring, yet structured, environment where everyone's voice is heard. A big believer in the power of family engagement, she has served as a member of Flamboyan’s Family Engagement Professional Learning Community, Flamboyan's Family Research Collective, and Teaching for Change’s Tellin’ Stories project. Additionally, she’s channeled her passion for mentorship through service as a new teacher coach for DC Teaching Fellows, as a writing tutor for the Posse Foundation, and as a Big Sister for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the National Capital Area. A self-described “cat lady,” she spends her spare time traveling, crafting, and performing in a competitive karaoke league.


Cristina Show, Spanish/ELL Teacher

My name is Mrs. Cristina Show. I am very excited for the upcoming school year as it will be my first year as the new Spanish/ELL teacher at Hearst. I am looking forward to an excellent year full of new learning experiences. Before joining the Hearst team, I taught Spanish at Wheatley for the past four years and prior to Wheatley, I taught English in my hometown of Cartagena, Colombia.


Liz Dittamo, Art Teacher

Hello! I am Liz Dittamo and I have been an art teacher for 13 years. I am from Virginia where I still live with my three children, a daughter who is 7, and twin 2 year old boys. I am very excited to join the Hearst community and I look forward to seeing all the amazing artwork that's to come! My goal is to create a safe and welcoming classroom environment where students feel open to creating work that makes them proud and learn new ways of expression. We will integrate general education topics into our art and utilize work stations to help further students understanding of each unit and explore a variety of mediums. I am excited to meet the Hearst community and sharing my love of art!


Melissa Moss, 2nd Grade Teacher

My name is Melissa Moss and I'm so excited to join the Hearst community! I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina and have a great love for the outdoors. I can be found hiking, camping and running in my free time. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I moved to Washington, DC to be a part of the Inspired Teaching Residency Program. Through my teacher training with Inspired Teaching I learned a lot about social emotional development, following students' interests, and creating strong classroom community. During my residency year I taught Kindergarten at the Inspired Teaching Demonstration School. I then joined the Pre-Kindergarten teaching team at Powell Bilingual Elementary School. As a Pre-Kindergarten teacher I focused a lot on social emotional learning, creativity, and foundational literacy skills. I'm eager to bring my experience to a new community and to get to know you and your students in the coming school year. Go Owls!


Cassi Duvall, 4th Grade ELA Teacher

Hello my name Cassi Duvall and I will be joining Hearst as the 4th grade E.L.A. and Social Studies teacher for the upcoming school year. I am proud to say that I am a D.C. native and that I have been an educator in the district for almost 10 years. I have a MAT in Early Childhood Education from Trinity university and am currently pursuing a certification in Elementary Education. It is my belief that every child should have the opportunity to learn in an atmosphere where respect for one another is a top priority. I consider it a great privilege and responsibility to be your child’s teacher this year and look forward to meeting you soon.


Stay tuned for a note from Javi Henry, our newest 1st grade partner teacher, and check our website for additional information about all of our staff and their roles for the 2019-2020 school year. One note, we are in the process of hiring a new 5th grade math/science teacher and will share that person's name, bio, and contact information as soon as we are able.


Please join me in welcoming our new staff to the Hearst family!

Hearst is a Nut Free School

Hearst is a nut-free school. Students can bring in foods that have been processed in a facility that processes tree nuts, so long as those foods are for personal consumption. In order to minimize the risk of cross-contact issues that can result with nut oils/residue left on surfaces, our staff is being extra vigilant about cleaning surfaces after eating and ensuring that students wash their hands after eating. For ideas for nut-free lunches and snacks, visit: http://school.familyeducation.com/slideshow/lunch/71131.html or http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2013/10/07/nut-free-school-lunch-ideas/

Administration of Medication at School

With the beginning of the school year come many questions from families about how we address student health needs. This year we are excited to have Nurse Fisher on site on Monday through Friday. Additionally, we have six medically trained staff who can address student health needs in the event that Nurse Fisher is out. DCPS and DOH policies are in place to protect all students and staff and without appropriate paperwork from a doctor, medications (prescription and over the counter pills or liquids such as Benadryl or Dayquil, inhalers, prescription lotions/creams, sunscreen, bug spray, etc.) cannot be sent to school with kids. If you have questions about your child's medical or treatment needs, please contact the nurse’s office at (202) 282-0258 or visit https://dcps.dc.gov/page/health-and-wellness.

All School Menus & Dietary Accommodation Forms

Do you ever wonder what delicious food your cafeteria will be serving each week? Find your school menu here! A reminder all students who need dietary accommodations in the cafeteria must submit the completed dietary accommodation forms as soon as possible to the school nurse. After submitting, the school nurse must send in the completed forms to Food and Nutrition Services (FNS). Please keep in mind that it can take 3-4 weeks from the time forms are received by FNS from the school nurse for dietary accommodations to be made in the cafeteria.

Volunteering at Hearst

All volunteers, including parents and anyone chaperoning or attending a field trip with Hearst students, must complete the DCPS Clearance process before volunteer services can be provided. To complete the DCPS Clearance process, complete the following steps:


  1. Complete the online Clearance Application found here.
  2. Complete a TB test or obtain documentation showing cleared TB test results from the last 12 months.
  3. Report to DCPS Central Office (1200 First Street NE, 10th Floor) during operating hours to complete the fingerprinting process Monday through Thursday from 8 am to 5 pm and Fridays from 8 am - 3 pm. TB test results must be provided upon reporting to Central Office for fingerprints*. Individuals who fail to produce TB test results from the last 12 months will be denied fingerprinting services.
  4. Wait 3-10 business days for a clearance letter, indicating cleared fingerprinting results.
For additional information, including exceptions to the above process, please visit the DCPS Volunteer page here. Answers to frequently asked questions, see Volunteering FAQs. For additional questions, contact DCPS Clearance by email at dcps.clearance@dc.gov.

News and Announcements from DCPS

News and Announcements from Other Organizations

Tuesday, August 6: National Night Out

On Tuesday, August 6, residents and community leaders from across DC will come together with the Metropolitan Police Department to celebrate National Night Out. Residents and officers will observe “America’s Night Out Against Crime” with cookouts, block parties, talent shows, and athletic events.

This annual event is celebrated throughout the nation, and helps create safer neighborhoods by fostering relationships between police and the communities they serve.

Learn more about National Night Out in the District HERE.

ICYMI: Don't Wait, Vaccinate

Mayor Bowser is urging parents not to wait until school starts to get their children vaccinated. Specifically, as part of the #dontwaitvaccinate campaign, the Mayor is highlighting the importance of ensuring children and teens are up-to-date on the measles vaccine.

Find sites across DC where families can access free immunizations HERE.