Hearst Family Update

August 27, 2021

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Principal's Message

Dear Hearst Families,

It was lovely to see so many of you at today's Open House and I hope that your visits helped you and your family become familiar with both your child's classroom as well as the school itself. The update below contains information about arrival, lunch, recess, and dismissal, as well as an important update about symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 testing at school. In short, the policy for testing has changed from an opt-in policy to an opt-out policy, meaning all students are eligible to be tested at school unless families complete the form saying they do not want their child to be tested. As you can see by today's surprise announcement, DCPS policy changes can occur rather quickly so please watch this update space and Bloomz for any additional policy changes over the course of the year.

Thanks in advance for your flexibility and grace this year and I hope you have a great weekend,


News and Announcements from Hearst

Upcoming Key Dates

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

  • At the open house we handed out the Ask, Ask, Look forms for this year. If your child did not get one, we will have extras on hand at arrival for you to complete. This form must be completed before children enter the playground and/or school building in the morning.
  • We also handed out technology use agreements at the open house and if you did not pick one up, a form will be sent home with your student during the first week of school. Please complete the parent/guardian section and return to school as soon as possible.

Arrival Procedures

A Bloomz announcement will be posted before 8:15 to let staff and families know if we are operating under inclement weather guidance. If no announcement is sent, we are using fair weather arrival procedures.

Fair Weather Arrival

Arrival begins at 8:30. Please do not drop off kids on the playground or at school before this time as there will be no staff to supervise them nor any Patient Care Technicians (PCTs) to verify their health screening has been completed.


  • PK team members will greet students at the main entrance to verify their Ask, Ask, Look forms have been completed. PK team members will then escort students to PK classrooms


  • PCTs will greet students at entrance to playground from 8:30-8:40 to verify their Ask, Ask, Look forms have been completed. Once verified, students can enter the playground with or without a parent/guardian.
  • Students can play with appropriate distancing and masks on the playgrounds, basketball court, and soccer field. Please note that because of the number of students on the soccer field during arrival, to avoid injuries and accidents, students cannot play catch, football, soccer, etc. during arrival.
  • At 8:40 a whistle will blow and students should line up on the soccer field behind the sign with their homeroom teacher's name. This is the time for families to say goodbye and move away from the class lines as well as playground exits so that students can move with their class into the building. As a reminder, no parents are allowed into the buildings.
  • Note: students who arrive after 8:40 will not be allowed onto the playground. They will form a line outside the main entrance and wait for PCTs to verify their Ask, Ask, Look forms before those students can enter the building. If students arrive at the main entrance from 8:40-8:45 they will go directly to their classrooms after their health screening. If they arrive after 8:45 they will go to the office for tardy slips before going to their classrooms.

All CES Students will be escorted to and supervised on the tot lot during fair weather arrival.

Inclement Arrival

Arrival begins at 8:30. Please do not drop off kids on the playground or at school before this time.

PK, K, 1st

  • A PCT will greet students at the main entrance to verify their Ask, Ask, Look forms have been completed.
  • PK & K team members will then escort students to PK & K classrooms.
  • 1st grade students will walk to classrooms, where they will be supervised by staff.

2nd - 5th

  • A PCT will greet students at entrance to gym from 8:30-8:40 to verify their Ask, Ask, Look forms have been completed.
  • Students will enter the gym and wait in a socially distanced line for teachers to pick them up at 8:40.
  • Note: students who arrive after 8:40 will form a line outside the main entrance and wait for PCTs to verify their Ask, Ask, Look forms before those students enter the building. If students arrive from 8:40-8:45 they will go directly to their classrooms after their health screening. If they arrive after 8:45 they will go to the office for tardy slips before going to their classrooms.

All CES Students should enter the building through the main entrance and will be escorted to the green couches and supervised there before transitioning to the classroom.

Regardless of weather at arrival, students in before care should enter the school through the gym entrance, where a PCT will verify their Ask, Ask, Look forms have been completed. At 8:30, Flex staff will escort before care students to the playground or to their classrooms/line in the gym. Students who wish to eat breakfast at school can do so from 8:15-8:30 daily. Students should enter the school through the gym, get breakfast from the cafeteria line, and sit at one of the designated breakfast tables with at least one seat between them and other students.

Additional reminders to make arrival as smooth as possible for all Hearst families:

  • Do not double park on 37th Street as this seriously impedes the flow of traffic and makes it particularly difficult for the buses to drop off students.
  • Do not make any u-turns on 37th Street as this is very dangerous and also impedes the flow of traffic.
  • Do not pull into our school driveway to turn around as this is dangerous for pedestrians and other drivers
  • The parking lot is reserved for Hearst staff from 7:00am-3:30pm so please do not park in our lot.

Given all of the construction traffic and parking around Hearst, please leave plenty of extra time for arrival this year.

Meals and Water

A few quick updates about meals:
  • School breakfast and lunch is free for all students this year.
  • A Bloomz announcement will be posted before 11:30 to let staff and families know if we are operating under inclement weather guidance. If no announcement is sent, we are using fair weather lunch and recess procedures.
  • If the weather allows for it, PK-5th grade students will eat outside, either at picnic tables on the rear plaza or picnic style on the front plaza and lawn. Students will be assigned seats and be expected to remain 3 feet from one another while eating outdoors.
  • If there is inclement weather PK and K as well as ECE and K-2 CES students will eat lunch in their classrooms.First through fifth grade students and 3-5 CES students will eat inside in the cafeteria at assigned tables and be limited to a maximum of 4 students per table to maintain 3 feet of separation from one another.
  • Note that Hearst is a nut-free school and any food with nuts should not be packed for snack or lunch.
  • Any students participating in after school programming will receive a snack from the cafeteria.
  • Please check in with your child's teacher if you have questions about snacks for your child during the school day.
  • Please see the infographic below for additional information about meals in DCPS.

Access to water:

  • Hallway water fountains are turned off, however classroom water fountains and the bottle filler in the Wings will remain on this school year. Additionally, there are water coolers in the gym and staff work room for student and staff use. Students and staff should use these water fountains to fill refillable water bottles from home or from Hearst and should not drink directly from the classroom water fountains nor the water coolers.


Fair Weather Recess

PK, K, and PK-2 CES students will use the tot lot for recess while 1st-5th grade and 3-5 CES students will use the large playground, soccer fields, and basketball court. Outdoor recess equipment (balls, jump ropes, etc.) will be provided for students so please do not send students with recess equipment.

Inclement Recess

All students will have inclement recess in classrooms if there is inclement weather. In 1st-5th grades, classes may combine for indoor recess. For contact tracing purposes, students must stay in one location as socially distanced as feasible during indoor recess and for contact tracing purposes, indoor recess staff will note where students were sitting during indoor recess.


We will incorporate dismissal cards this year to support a safe and efficient dismissal whether indoors or out. On Monday, each family will receive two dismissal cards per child and these cards will be color-coded by homeroom. Families are required to show these cards to staff for students to be released to the families. Please note that no copies of dismissal cards will be accepted and that families who do not bring their cards will be asked to wait until staff can verify their identity before dismissing a student to them.

Fair Weather Dismissal

Dismissal begins at 3:15pm. At this time, PK-1 and all CES students will dismiss from the main entrance to the front plaza, 2-3 will dismiss from the playground, and 4-5 will dismiss from the rear plaza. Staff will escort students getting to their designated dismissal areas and wait with them until they are picked up by a designated adult or family member. Families waiting for pick up should wait next to the marked and designated dismissal area for their child's class.

Inclement Dismissal

Dismissal begins at 3:15pm. PK-1 and all CES students will dismiss from the main entrance, 2-3 from the trailers, and 4-5 from the rear plaza. More specifically Ms. Thompson and Ms. Boyle's classes will dismiss from the left doors of the Wings as you face the building and Ms. Solms, Ms. Burleigh, and Ms. Halpern's students will dismiss from the exit at the right side of the Wings as you are facing the building. 4th graders will dismiss from the library's back door on the rear plaza and 5th graders from the rear exit. Family members should show their dismissal cards to staff standing at these exits and these staff members will call students to meet their families at the door.

Students in Flex or DPR programming after school will be escorted to the gym by Hearst staff, where they will be checked in by Flex or DPR. After all students are checked in, Hearst staff will exit the gym.

Update on Asymptomatic and Symptomatic Testing at DCPS

As the new school year begins, we are committed to the health and safety of our students and staff. We have a robust, layered mitigation strategy to prevent the spread of COVID-19 based on three key pillars: prevent, screen, and inform.

Earlier today, DC Public Schools announced an update to the screening pillar, and we want to make sure you saw this important information about how COVID-19 tests will be administered at school.

Students will now be automatically enrolled in the testing program that supports asymptomatic testing, symptomatic testing, and testing for close contacts. The test will be a non-invasive, saliva-based PCR test. Instead of a nasal swab, students will hold a small vial with a funnel attached and produce a saliva sample.

Consistent with health guidance, we will test 10 percent of students each week to screen for COVID-19 as part of our health and safety protocols, targeting unvaccinated students. Weekly asymptomatic testing will begin on a rolling basis across DCPS starting September 2.

Testing programs that screen for COVID-19, alongside other prevention strategies, can detect new positive cases of COVID-19 and work to prevent potential outbreaks. This not only protects the health and wellness of our school communities but supports schools in remaining open for in-person instruction safely.

If you wish to opt-out your student from receiving any COVID-19 test at school, you must complete the available at osse.dc.gov/page/school-based-covid-19-testing and return it back to the school signed. You can also email it to the school at kestaganer.johnson@k12.dc.gov.

This transition from an opt-in COVID-19 testing model to an opt-out model does not affect a parent’s rights concerning their student’s participation. On the form, the District is providing detailed information on the testing program so that parents can make an informed decision whether to affirmatively opt out of the program.

Please disregard any COVID-19 testing consent forms previously shared in messages from us and DCPS prior to August 27.

As a reminder, each family should complete the “Ask. Ask. Look” checklist prior to coming to school each day and clip it to the outside of their child's backpack. Anyone experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms should not come to school. Also, if any student is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms while at school, on-site rapid tests will be available beginning on the first day of school.

I encourage you to visit dcpsreopenstrong.com/health for detailed information about our health and safety measures for students and staff, such as wearing a mask, physical distancing, and enhanced air filtration. Additionally, please see below for the most recent HVAC report for Hearst.

Reminder: 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), Long Term Substitute (additional information will be shared when the person is officially processed by DCPS)

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)

Reminder: 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!

Reminder: School Supplies - bring towel for outdoor lunch too!

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.

Reminder: 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

SY 21-22 Calendar Updates

The SY 21-22 calendar has been updated to incorporate the Juneteenth holiday and the updated version is available on the DCPS website. Please note, the last day of school for students is now Thursday, June 23.

Reminder: Student Immunization Requirements for In-person Attendance

Schools are reminded to alert families about the importance of submitting health forms, including updated immunization records and Universal Health Certificates. All students must have updated immunization records on file with the school. Students who are not compliant with their immunizations are not to attend past 20 school days, until appropriate records are submitted. View OSSE’s Immunization Attendance policy here. Please email health forms to manik.hinchey@k12.dc.gov or send them in with your students.