Hearst Family Update

August 13, 2020

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Principal's Message

Dear Hearst Families,

As we continue to prepare for the upcoming school year, I'm happy to announce that our virtual schedule has been approved by DCPS. At this stage I can share that in the K-5 general education classes, we are offering the option for kids to engage in live, synchronous instruction in either the mornings (8:30-11:30am) or afternoons (12:30-3:30pm). These blocks will include small and whole group instruction, ELA, Math, Social Studies, and Inner Core instruction, and breaks for kids and staff. We are asking families to identify their preferences for when you want your child engage in live instruction. While we hope to place everyone in their preferred learning times, we're unable to guarantee that we will be able to do so at this time. To help us schedule students as soon as possible, we are asking that families complete the following survey by Monday, August 17, at 12pm. The survey can be found here: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=7kagKk6zM0qSt5md8rwKMrokwfOwIAhEmZryty8pQBJUMTBYS0RQR0FTWjFVMVBHVFVZWUlJT044TS4u. Our goal is to schedule kids into AM or PM live instructional blocks early next week and as soon as that process is completed, we'll share your child(ren)'s instructional block time with you.

We'll also be sharing details about PK and CES schedules soon and in the interim, know that children in PK and CES classrooms will be engaging in small group live instruction multiple times per day and this live instruction will be interspersed with asynchronous/independent learning times as well. All families will receive detailed student schedules the week of August 24, after our instructional staff officially return to work and we can finalize the details in the instructional schedules together.

One final note, you'll see below in the Upcoming Key Dates section that I've updated the dates for the upcoming Hearst town hall meetings and links for these meetings are included as well. If you're unable to participate in these meetings, we'll be sending recordings of the meetings to all families via this newsletter.

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


News and Announcements from Hearst

Upcoming Key Dates

  • August 10 - 20 - DCPS Summer Bridge at Hearst for incoming 3rd graders

  • Wednesday, August 19, 3:00-4:00pm, Hearst Town Hall Meeting for Families (https://virginia.zoom.us/j/96774203886?pwd=RVhOdDlydG4rNmVGQWxBRlozR201QT09; Meeting ID: 967 7420 3886; Passcode: 182400)
  • Monday, August 24 - First day of the 2020-2021 school year for instructional staff (Note: please expect a delay in response to any emails/communication sent to instructional staff prior to 8/24)
  • Wednesday, August 26, 3:00-4:00pm - Hearst Town Hall Meeting for Families (https://virginia.zoom.us/j/97912830321?pwd=eDNGNjUrcW9yY0hHcHhVUEpvSy9RQT09; Meeting ID: 979 1283 0321; Passcode: 431483)
  • Friday, August 28 - Final school opening communication to families from Hearst
  • Monday, August 31 - First day of the 2020-2021 school year for K-5 students
  • Thursday, September 3 - First day of instruction of the 2020-2021 school year for PK students

Reminder: Student Belongings Pick Up

We have received clearance from DCPS to allow families to pick up student belongings from the previous school year. The DCPS guidance permits only 10 individuals to be in the building per hour and you can sign up for a time slot from 8/13 to 8/20 using the Sign Up Genius link below. Student belongings are located in the gym and we ask that you come to the gym entrance during the window for which you have signed up. If you are unable to pick up your child's belongings during the available windows, please reach out to kestaganer.johnson@k12.dc.gov to find an alternate time. Also, please note that parents who previously requested student devices via the DCPS survey can also pick them up when they come to get their students' belongings.

Sign up for a time slot here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0D4DA5AB2BA6F4C07-pickup

Our 2020-2021 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) will be updated next week and include updated staff contact information and photos.

Next week, families will also receive an invitation from Bloomz, our family communication platform. Each family will be connected to the school wide Hearst Bloomz site, as well as the page for their child(ren)'s homeroom. Be on the lookout for these invitations next week as this is how your family will receive homeroom assignments for your child(ren). If you have any questions about Bloomz after you receive the invitations, please reach out to manik.hinchey@k12.dc.gov. Thanks!

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, Dawn Gray, Beth Prince

1st Grade: Sarah Schiers, Elizabeth Volpe (awaiting DCPS email)

2nd Grade: Ashley Boyle, Megan Burleigh

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

3rd Grade: Katie Dilley (ELA/Social Studies), Dylan Stacey (Math/Science), Hannah Halpern (All Subjects - awaiting DCPS email)

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

5th Grade: Emily Loughead (ELA/Social Studies); Joshua Levin (Math/Science)

3-5 CES: Carolyn Diaz, Janice Hargrove, & Partner Teacher Awaiting DCPS clearance

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

General Education Partner Teachers: Sara Addeo, Jonyce Cole, Courtney Evans, Sumita Singh, & Partner Teacher Awaiting DCPS Clearance

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, Cristina Cantillo-Show - Spanish (cristina.cantillo@k12.dc.gov), Joshua Harms - Art, Elizabeth Vandivier - Library Media Specialist

Social Worker: Tandra Brown (tandra.brown2@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)

Welcome Notes from Our New Hearst Staff, Part 1

Elizabeth Volpe - 1st Grade Teacher

Dear Hearst Community,

Greetings! I am so excited to introduce myself and to join "The Best Little School in the District." My name is Elizabeth Volpe and I will be joining the 1st grade family at Hearst Elementary. I feel privileged to work alongside such dedicated and creative educators, parents, and students. As an elementary school teacher it is in my very nature to nurture curiosity and creativity in young students and to be able to do so in a community so enthusiastic about thoughtful and purposeful learning is a dream come true. This year is going to be an adventure (to say the least) but it is an adventure I can't wait to begin. There will be challenges along the way, but with a little bit of innovation, imagination, and a positive attitude, it will be a wonderful ride. I cannot wait to meet and serve the students, staff, and families of Hearst. See you soon!


Mrs. Volpe

Josh Harms - Art Teacher

Hi there, my name is Josh Harms. I'm from Salt Lake City, Utah where I grew up camping, hiking, and snowboarding with my two younger brothers. I studied English literature in undergrad, after which I joined Teach for America and taught fourth and fifth grades in South Dakota on the Lakota Sioux Reservation. I moved to DC four years ago for grad school at American University. I love rock-climbing, reading, and trying out new recipes. I'm really excited to help students incorporate art into their lives as a tool for fun, connection, and self-care/reflection.

Sarah Boone - Special Education Teacher

My name is Sarah Boone and I’m so excited to join the Hearst community as a special education teacher. I began my teaching career in Boston Public Schools six years ago, and moved to DC two years ago. In that time, I have taught 4th and 5th graders in general-education, inclusion, and special-education settings, and have also enjoyed working with students outside of the classroom through extracurriculars like the school track team or engineering club. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, running, watching baseball, and going for long walks in Rock Creek Park with my dog. Teaching is a team effort and I am excited to work closely with families, students, and colleagues to create meaningful and memorable learning experiences. I can’t wait to get to know all of you and become part of “The Best Little School in the District”!

Hannah Halpern - 3rd Grade Teacher

Dear parents, students, and staff,

My name is Hannah Halpern and I have taught at a private gifted and talented elementary school for the past two years. Growing up in the DC area, I was an active member in several community arts programs as both a participant and as an educator. In high school, I joined the DC Youth Slam Team in which we toured to perform and teach across DCPS, Boys and Girls Clubs, and halfway homes for youth. The program taught us teenagers to believe in the power of equipping the next generation of leaders with the tools, perspectives, and engagement to speak up and speak out for justice, for kindness, and for the world they want to see in their future.

Upon graduating Oberlin College, I moved back to the DC area to give back to the community that gave so much to me. I chose to become a teacher because of what I witnessed as a member of the DC Youth Slam Team. Teenagers from all over the DC area, including myself, spent hours writing and memorizing poems after school. The community that my poetry slam mentors created for us youth, and that we in turn created for the greater DC area, is unforgettable. I learned that no matter who you are, or where you come from, every child deserves to feel that their voice matters, that they should be heard, and that their ideas are important. That is what school is about for me as a teacher: empowerment, tool-giving, and holding space and place for young people to reach their full potential.

I started my career as a second grade teacher at a private school while simultaneously completing a teaching licensure program. I then chose to "loop" with my kids from 2nd grade, and moved on to become their third grade teacher. I hope to start every school year “fresh” and this past year I created a large bulletin board entitled “Take What You Need.” During the first week of school my students and I wrote tens of post-it note compliments and things that are hard to say aloud and pasted them up on the bulletin board. Examples included "thanks for listening to me," "I'm LOVING your focus right now," "Thanks for being such a good teammate," "Are you OK?" and "Take a breath." Students and teachers could write more post-it notes when they felt inspired, and they could also take a post-it note off the board and place it on someone else's desk or privately hand it to them, in order to grant compliments and check-in with one another as active community members. This is how I lead a classroom. We are first and foremost a community of care givers and receivers, of empaths and good citizens. I structure my classroom in a way that enables everyone to feel safe, to feel joy, to have an eagerness to learn, and to feel open and willing to try and fail, and perhaps to continue trying and failing, and with the help of a community, to eventually succeed.
While community building may look different in the midst of distance learning, we will rise to the challenge in creating and growing our virtual classroom, and eventually our in-person classroom. I look forward to getting to know all of you with time and can't wait for what this school year has in store for us!

Preparing for Virtual Learning

As we move closer to the start of the school year, we'll be sharing ideas and tips to help your child and family be successful with virtual learning. We hope you find these suggestions useful for your family and please be sure to visit the DCPS Reopen Strong website for additional information and resources: https://dcpsreopenstrong.com/.

Technology: Each student will need their own device with a keyboard and unlimited internet access. Preferred devices run either Windows 10 or iOS. DCPS devices purchased through the Empowered Learners Initiative are Microsoft Surface Go devices. Students who cannot purchase their own devices or Internet access will be supplied with these by DCPS. If you have not yet completed the DCPS technology survey, please click here for the link to the survey. Any questions about requesting technology from Hearst should be directed to kestaganer.johnson@k12.dc.gov.

Supplies: We want to ensure students have all the supplies at home that will support their learning during virtual instruction. In addition to asking families to pick up math books at the school in the coming weeks, we will be posting a link to order virtual learning supplies in the coming days. These virtual learning kits have been customized by Hearst staff for our students and can be delivered straight to your homes. If you have some of the items at home already, you can order only the items that your child will need. Also know that you're welcome to use the list as a starting point and are free to buy the supplies elsewhere if you choose. Finally, for any families that are unable to purchase the virtual learning supplies, please email Hearst's social worker, Tandra Brown (tandra.brown2@k12.dc.gov), and we will ensure that your child(ren) gets the supplies that they need. Stay tuned for more details about picking up math books and the links to the virtual learning supply lists!

Adult Support: Hearst staff are committed to presenting clear, joyful, and rigorous instruction virtually. However, we know that our learners will need support with their virtual learning, including logging in and submitting assignments, especially at the start of the year. Our goal is to build students' independence and stamina for participating in live instruction over the course of the first weeks of school and we know that you will play an integral part in your child's success with virtual learning.

Technology training for parents and caregivers will be offered as part of a new series of Parent University virtual workshops that will help families focus on learning at home in the fall. Additional training will also take place through online learning lessons for you to take on-demand and at your convenience.

A Virtual Learning Space: Below are links to several articles with ideas for creating a learning space in your home that will support your child with engaging in virtual learning. Ideas include finding a location for virtual learning with as few distractions as possible, having your child decorate the space to give them ownership of their learning space (much like we do in the classroom), and working with your child to organize their learning supplies in a way that makes sense for them.





Town Hall Recording from 7/31

If you were unable to join the Hearst town hall on July 31, here is a link to the audio recording of the meeting: https://dck12-my.sharepoint.com/:u:/g/personal/jennifer_geoffroy_k12_dc_gov/ESy-amjQCDpFhLWVJAwRWkIBUh0lgtOrktNBSD9YzExm0g?e=hWgtej.

News and Announcements from DCPS

Update on Scheduling and Homeroom Requests

DCPS leaders and teachers 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, DCPS school leaders and staff members will not be able to account for pandemic pods during the scheduling and class list process, including in group arrangements or schedule times.

#ReopenStrong – RSVP for Parent University

Join a Parent University session. This month, we are kicking off a Parent University series focused on the #ReopenStrong questions at the top of your mind, including what learning at home looks like, online tools, and more. These online events will be held weekly and recordings of each session will be posted on our website so you can watch any time.

Topics for the upcoming #ReopenStrong Parent University sessions are based on what we heard from you. These hour-long sessions are created with the busy parent in mind, providing information in an accessible format that can be watched live or streamed later on YouTube. This series addresses matters for student success, concerns you have about the start of the new school year, and where you may need assistance in using technology for learning at home.

You can RSVP for #ReopenStrong Parent University sessions at bit.ly/dcpsparentursvp.

The first session on August 11 at 3:00 p.m. covered DCPS’ approach to learning at home with an overview of student schedules and online tools. Other upcoming sessions will provide targeted information for families with students in Pre-K or those who receive specialized instruction. There will be a session about how to use Canvas, the online learning platform every student will use. We are also focusing on the mental health of our students and families with a session on how DCPS supports response to trauma.

Check out the full schedule at bit.ly/dcpsparentursvp.

DC Facilities Name Change Survey

Mayor Bowser charged the District of Columbia Facilities and Commemorative Expressions (DCFACES) Working Group with evaluating named DC Government-owned facilities, including schools, and making recommendations as to what, if any, actions need to be taken if the person for whom the facility is named is inconsistent with DC values and in some way encouraged the oppression of African Americans and other communities of color or contributed to our long history of systemic racism. Please encourage your school community to complete the survey to provide their thoughts.

Reminder: Immunization Policy for In-Person Attendance

As a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency, District health care providers have recorded an extremely low rate of pediatric immunization administrations. According to DC Health, the rate of pediatric immunization administrations has dropped by 70 percent in the District as families have avoided or not had access to well child care during the emergency period. Due to this, many children in the District are not fully immunized, creating a high risk for an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable infectious disease such as measles among our students. DC Health has advised that such an outbreak of another infectious disease could be as much, or even more, of a public health risk for school communities than COVID-19 itself, and would add another complex obstacle for school operations this year.

District law and regulations require schools to verify immunization certification for all students as part of attendance (DC Official Code § 38–501 et seq. and DCMR 5-E § 5300 et seq.). Beginning in the 2020-21 school year, all schools will be required to enforce this District immunization law by requiring immunization certification as part of school attendance, including notifying and potentially removing non-compliant students from in-person instruction after a 20-school day period until they obtain the necessary immunizations (DC Official Code § 38–505).

Please carefully review the attached Immunization Policy for In-Person Attendance which provides guidance on the implementation of this law beginning next school year. To prepare schools and families for this policy, OSSE is encouraging school leaders to review this policy and ensure immunization compliance is part of planning for the start of school. We request your assistance with communicating immunization requirements to families now to ensure their children are protected from vaccine-preventable infection, and to give them as much time as possible to make appointments with their health care providers and receive necessary immunizations before the start of school. DC Health will continue to encourage District health care providers to notify patients of missing immunizations and prioritize immunization appointments.

FREE Student Tutoring Services Available

A team of seniors from School Without Walls High School has started a free online tutoring service called, “Washingtutors,” to help DCPS families support their students with learning at home, and they have also partnered with GWU to add service capacity. Tutoring is available for all grade levels and subjects include Math, Science, Social Studies, English Language Arts, and Computer Science, as well as Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and Hindi.

News and Announcements from Other Organizations

Grocery and Meal Sites

Grocery sites and meal sites continue to operate across the District. At dozens of sites, anyone under the age of 18 can walk up for a free meal, Monday through Friday. Additionally, families can continue to access free bags of fresh groceries at schools across DC.

Find a full list of meal and grocery sites HERE.

League of Women Voters DC Poster Contest

The League of Women Voters Washington DC is excited to announce our Youth Voter Education Poster Contest!

Please help us spread the word! We’re looking for talented young people to help us share information about registering to vote and voting. We especially want to let our community know that they can go online to VOTE411.org to learn more about voting. It’s really quick and easy! We also want to encourage people to vote. Artwork can be about registering to vote, voting or both. Winning art will be used in our outreach efforts as we encourage our community to get out to vote. We’ll also share the images on social media, and encourage you to share them, too.

If you are an educator, youth group leader, parent or anyone interested in voter education, you can go to Education Resources for activities to pair with the contest activity.

The challenge is to create a piece of art encouraging people to register to vote, vote, or both. We will display submitted artwork on our website and will use ranked choice voting to choose three designs to be featured on our LWVDC homepage. In addition, the following cash prizes will be awarded:

1 st Place - $100
2 nd Place - $50
3 rd Place - $25

Click here to learn more and to submit an entry form. Deadline for submission is National Voter Registration Day, September 22, 2020!

All entries will make a difference in the voter education process. We know that the youth vote is a crucial component of any election and voter education is essential for this emerging cohort. We hope this activity will help our youth learn about the voting process and spark discussion among adults.

Questions? Email lwvdc1920@gmail.com. Thank you in advance for your artwork and your support!

League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia

1875 Connecticut Ave NW 10th Fl

Washington, DC 20009-6046